(Cover photo credit goes to Dave Vann – Full gallery on facebook)
Phish hit their fifth spot on their Summer tour last night at Austin360 Ampitheater in Austin, Texas. Phish hasn’t played Austin since October 8, 2010 at the Austin City Limits Festival. Phish covered a lot of ground last night, and treated the crowd to some truly amazing moments. I got to watch the show from the stream party at the 1up Colfax in downtown Denver. It was truly the next best thing to being in the venue.
The Fishman penned “Party Time” started off the show last night. This song always does well as a first set opener IMO. It never fails to get the show started off on the right foot. Free was batting number two in this set, and this standard yet precise version kept the flow of the set rolling in the right direction. Halley’s Comet was up next. Halley’s has been under utilized since Bethel in 2011. This song has so much potential for high energy improv, but they keep the Comet on a tight leash for some reason. Not much room to complain though, as an incredibly energetic Wolfman’s Brother was up next. Wolfman’s is probably the most consistent first set rager in the bands arsenal. I’m never upset to get a Wolfman’s, as this song always brings on the first set dance party. Wolfman’s was the highlight of the first set. Following Wolfman’s, Trey and Page engaged the crowd in some banter about how Trey was originally born in Fort Worth, Texas. Possum and Lawn Boy follow up next in the set. Page got to grace the front of the stage and the dudes in the front row all swooned. Bouncin’, Water in the Sky, a fantastic rendition of Dirt, Devotion to A Dream, and Sugar Shack all followed. The band was hitting singles left and right. Antelope closed out the set. While Antelope got choppy in some spots, the closing was fierce overall. A fairly standard first set with a few choice highlights.
After a short set break of playing NBA jam and drinking whiskey at 1up, we made our way back into the venue for the opening chords of 46 Days. 46 Days is a always a good way to start out a set, but this version is particularly noteworthy. 46 Days made a quick and precise segue into The Dogs. The Dogs is one of my favorite of the Halloween songs from the Chilling, Thrilling Set, and I hope we continue to see this on the setlists this tour along with Martian Monster. The Dogs made a great segue back into 46 Days, and we were treated to a few nice minutes of full band improv before making the transition into Piper. Piper is one of the songs I prefer with a slow intro, but last night they seemed to dive right in head first. This version may not strike you as being a huge Piper on paper (clocking in at 8:57), but this Piper absolutely soars. It’s absolutely worth checking out. Length does not always determine quality for this band. Ghost follows Piper. This version of Ghost had a short, but beautiful improv section, and the hose came out to briefly spray everyone off and provide respite from the Texas heat.
Ghost stops fairly suddenly, and the transition to Shade occurs. As I said following the tour opener in Bend, this song needs to find it’s place. It can either be a nice breather song, or a momentum killer. It felt like it killed the momentum that was built up so far in the set. I enjoy this song, but it does need to be used sparingly in the second set IMO. A nice high energy Gotta Jibboo follows Shade. Waiting All Night follows Jibboo. My favorite of the new Phish songs, Blaze On, follows Waiting All Night. Blaze On can show up as often as it wants in the setlists. Trey and Tom really hit the mark on this one. Wading in the Velvet Sea brings the ballad count to three during this set. Bowie, Suzy, and Tweeprise come in to finish the set off. Page delights us with a Loving Cup encore to end the night.
Overall this was a fairly good Phish show that has several good moments to take home with us. Wolfman’s Brother, 46 Days -> The Dogs -> 46 Days, Piper, and Ghost are the highlights of the show IMO. Check out the setlist below (brought to you by phish.net)