New Material Highlights Phish Summer Tour Opener
Photo via Instagram
As Phish returned to the road to kick off their summer tour last night in Bend, OR, the question of whether or not the band would work in some new material was answered almost immediately as throughout the two sets, three new Phish originals made their debut at Les Schwab Amphitheater.
The first came late in the first set, a straightahead rocker entitled “Blaze On.” With obvious references to drug use, the crowd seemed to react positively to the song. In the second set, the next two came back to back as a soft ballad, “Shade,” emerged from an impressive “Fuego” jam. Led by Trey on vocals (it’s worth noting that Mike Gordon spent some of the first set sporting a “Let Trey Sing” shirt) the song mirrored some of the softer material from Fuego, with a meandering solo from Anastasio, bringing the song to a close.
After that, the most impressive of the three came to life as “No Men in No Man’s Land” made its debut. The jam, which stretched just past the ten-minute mark, marked one of the best of the set that also included a “Ghost” and “Mike’s Groove.” Phish expertly found their way through the new jam and into “Weekapaug Groove.”
Other highlights throughout the rather impressive tour opener included a first set “Sand” that featured some fiery playing from Anastasio, reminiscent of the inspired playing we saw from him during the Fare Thee Well run. The first-set closing “Wolfman’s Brother” also had some flashes of energy from the group, as they worked through the funk groove before Anastasio grabbed ahold of it to bring the set to a rousing conclusion.
The second set opened with a particularly lively take on “Ghost,” which saw the band at their most patient. All four members moved seamlessly through the jam before a rather abrupt transition into “Birds of a Feather” as the sun set on Bend, OR, leading to the first notes of “Mike’s Song.” As it did last year, “Fuego” provided a centerpiece to the set, igniting the crowd and stretching into a solid jam. Phish closed the set with rather straightahead takes on “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and “Chalk Dust Torture,” following it up with a “Theme From the Bottom” encore.
Phish returns to Bend tonight for the second of two nights. The show will be streamed via LivePhish.
Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:
Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend, OR
Set I: Sample in a Jar, Sand, 555, Rift, Halfway to the Moon, Horn > Devotion To a Dream, Blaze On*, Tube, Wolfman’s Brother
Set II: Ghost > Birds of a Feather, Mike’s Song > The Wedge, Fuego > Shade*, No Men In No Man’s Land* > Weekapaug Groove > Boogie On Reggae Woman > Chalk Dust Torture
Enc: Theme From the Bottom