PHISH in New Jersey - REVIEWS
- By Nick Rhodes
- Published on June 03, 2011
As the preeminent jam band in the country ventures off on their 2011 Summer Tour, various fans, Headstash staff writers and even some random, first-time Phish-goers will submit reviews of each night. They'll tell you their favorite songs and segues, how the crowd reacted and whether this show is worth buying, downloading or skipping altogether.
After opening up in Bethel, NY, Phish hit New Jersey for two nights at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Check out what staff writer Ryan Stiles had to say about each show below.
For a complete list of tour dates, check out Phish's official website.--
May 31 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
Set I: Chalkdust Torture, Roggae, Punch You In The Eye, The Moma Dance > Rock and Roll, Sand, Tube > The Divided Sky, Character Zero
Set II: After Midnight > Possum, Drowned > Maze, Dirt, Alaska, You Enjoy Myself
Crowd Atmosphere: Crowd was as rowdy as ever. Typical mixture of beautiful hippie ladies, wooks and bros.
Best Song: You Enjoy Myself
Best Jam: Maze
Best Segue: The Moma Dance > Rock and Roll
Sloppiest Moment: A short mishap by Trey during "Divided Sky"
Twitter Recap: The boys are back. That's for shit sure. If you're looking for a life-altering show to attend to, I'd suggest Phish anywhere this summer.
Rating out of 5: 4 stars, thumbs, jams, etc.
Buy/download/pass: Buy for sure.
Other notes: Location, location, location. PNC is an outdoor amphitheater that is similar in design to the Susquehanna Arts Center in Camden, NJ. Another interesting note is that both Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell both grew up in New Jersey, not far from PNC at all. So this could be some what of a homecoming for the two of them.
Right as the sun was beginning the set the boys took the stage.This was the moment of truth. This opening song would set the tone for the rest of the evening. Trey ripped the rowdy opening licks of "Chalkdust Torture," one of my favorite openers for this very reason. It is a perfect upbeat song to get your ass shaking and feet moving. It set the tone for the evening to come with its high energy and over-the-top climaxes.
The evening truly took shape as the opening riff of "Rock and Roll" rung out and Page took over with his perfect pitch. The energy Trey was feeling would make for an interesting flub on his part during "Divided Sky." He missed his cue (meh, it happens) but then proceeded to take the mic out and let the audience sing his guitar part while he got his place. He jokingly said “I did that on purpose.”
Eventually Trey got the hang of it and picked up right where he left off to which the audience responded with a two minute round of applause.
After a 25 minute set break, the boys were back again to give us the substantial jams we had come there for, and they would not disappoint. Jamming out of "After Midnight" and right into a "Possum" with an extra twang of Southern flavor to it.
Chris Kuroda really shined during the set-ending "You Enjoy Myself" and especially during the ending vocal jam.
June 1 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
Set I: First Tube, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Camel Walk, Heavy Things, Gotta Jibboo, Wilson > Seven Below > Kill Devil Falls, Axilla > Split Open and Melt, Suzy Greenberg
Set II: Tweezer > No Quarter, Carini > Piper > Twist > Ghost > Backwards Down The Number Line
Encore: Show Of Life > Tweezer Reprise
Crowd Atmosphere: The crowd was a little less rowdy than the night before simply for the fact that they were mostly all wet.
Best Song: Led Zeppelin cover of "No Quarter"
Best Jam: Tweezer
Best Segue: Axilla > Split Open and Melt
Sloppiest Moment: Cutting the "Piper" jam down and ending early.
Twitter Recap: Basically the same as above. They're back.
Rating out of 5: 3.0
Buy/download/pass: I'd suggest you find the torrent somewhere.
Other notes: Wednesday, rainy Wednesday. The beginning of the day was filled with sunshine, birds chirping and all around happiness. Then the clouds began to roll in.
There was almost as much moisture in the air was there was excitement. The band was sure not to let that excitement go to waste. Tearing wide open with a ripping "First Tube" let every one know that the boys were relaxed and ready to play their hearts out for us. The crowd erupted with cheers once they first note of "Camel Walk" rung out through the moist night sky.
"Seven Below" got back into the experimental nature of this band that we all know and love. You could hear them noodling back and forth, giving each other the lead without anyone missing a note. Beautifully executed. The next 30 minutes consisted of near perfect renditions of some of the best Phish songs. The final song of the set was an upbeat, crowd-enthused "Suzy Greenberg."
With the end of set one, lightning began to strike in the distance and grew closer. At a certain point, the entire crowd had turned away from the stage to witness the natural light show the Earth was giving us. After what felt like ages, the band returned to the stage as the first few drops of rain began to come down. No one really seemed to mind as the crowd was more amped up than ever before.
After "Tweezer," Page began to play a familiar tune to any Led Zeppelin fan - "No Quarter!" - one of the most soulful and elegant Led Zeppelin songs every to be recorded.
During the encore, the band gave us a treat. "Show Of Life" was first on the block and you could hear the passion and admiration that the band has for all of us fans, and we felt the same way towards them. After that sappy moment, they knew we needed a rager to leave off on. Sure enough the last song for us was the bookend of the beginning of the show with a roaring "Tweezer Reprise." A perfect ending song to a glorious two days of happiness, beauty and most of all love.
- Ryan Stiles
Stay tuned as we continue to publish short fan reviews from each night of Phish's Summer Tour 2011.
What did you think of the New Jersey shows?