Words by Patrick Lacey | Photos by Jeremy Gordon
Phish came roaring into New York City on July 11th for the first of a three-night stand at Randall’s Island Park. Though they’ve played numerous shows in various venues throughout the city in their 30 year career, this would be only the third outdoor venue the band would grace the stage of to date. And with “Beers of the Boroughs” stands and “The Freezer” archive merch store, boy did they make it their own. Not a typical Phish festival, but definitely had that vibe, much like Bader Field in Altantic City two years ago.
The boys got right to it with first set staples “Moma Dance”, “Kill Devil Falls”, and “Yamar” and then launched into another with “Bathtub Gin”. After a blissful peak in “Bathtub”, the crowd was ready for the return to the chorus, but instead Trey and Page clicked on a groove that carried the rest of the band into a piece of improv that is rarely seen in the first set. To say the least, this “Bathtub Gin” was one of the best versions Phish has laid down in years. “555” and “Waiting All Night”, songs off the new album Fuego, were also showcased in the first set that came to a close with a version of “Stash”, and had the crowd licking their chops for what was to come.
Second sets are usually where things get serious at Phish shows… seriously amazing! And with a six-song second set that lasted over an hour without a breather, that is exactly what this set turned out to be. It started out with a rendition of “Steam” that saw smoke fill the stage and fill the crowd with a tension that needed to be released. That release was found in “Down with Disease”> “Golden Age” as the centerpiece of the set. Filled with frenzied guitar solos and thick, bass-filled funk, the crowd was able to do what they came to this island to do – get down! Title track “Fuego” and an epic “David Bowie” brought the fellas to the finish line in an all-out effort to show New York they came to play for real. It was an amazing start to what shaped up to be an incredible weekend with The Phish from Vermont.
Set 1: The Moma Dance, Kill Devil Falls, Yamar, Bathtub Gin, 555> Rift> Sample in a Jar> The Wedge, Waiting All Night, Stash*
Set 2: Steam> Down with Disease> Golden Age> Limb by Limb> David Bowie, Cavern
Encore : Character Zero
* Trey teased The Munsters theme song
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