The Phish Report Night 3: I Feel the Feeling I Forgot
By Mike Greenhaus
Phish brought its three night, six-set reunion run to a close Sunday night with arguably the weekend’s tightest and overall strongest performance. While Fridays reunion show contained more energy and Saturdays performance took more risks, more than any other show Sundays finale utilized Phishs extensive songbook to truly explore the bands eclectic nature.
Opening with Sanity, a collaboration between Phish and the Dude of Life that slipped out of rotation after November 27, 1998, Phish used its first set to pull out a few of the few remaining crowd favorites from its extensive canon: an area-ready Wilson, a Page McConnell-heavy version of Foam, a relatively short and funky Tube, the MMW-approved Cars Trucks Buses and a slimmed down, rocking Free that earned some of the weekends biggest cheers thanks to the lyric I feel the feeling I forgota line that may continue to trigger a crowd response moving forward much like the Everglades allusions in Water in the Sky. The band also managed to turn heads thanks to a tight Maze that featured McConnell prominently in the mix. Keeping in line with the groups precise delivery of Trey Anastasios early compositions all weekend, Phish also offered on point versions of Bathtub Gin, My Friend, My Friend and AC/DC Bag that stripped away any post-1996 structural changes.
Likewise, Phish continued to roll out the quirky tricks it largely jettisoned from 1997-2004 in favor of a denser, more aggressive style of improvisation. Most humorously, McConnell strapped on a keytar and moved between Anastasio and Mike Gordon during a particularly strong, set-closing Frankenstein. Anastasio and Gordon also entertained fans with their customary dance during the klezmer section of Scent of a Mule, and the band finally debuted the title-track to 2004s Undermind. Like the Trey Anastasio Band version of Undermind, the number begins with some poppy clavinet coloring, before shifting into funkier territory for a brief jam. In fact, the only time the rooms energy waned was on the latter day ballads All Of These Dreams and Army of One, as well as a cover of George Jones She Thinks I Still Care that owed more to straight-ahead country than bluegrass.
Phish truly embraced its space and funk leanings second set for the first time all weekend, beginning with a set-opening Down with Disease that gradually uncoiled into an entire improvised sequence easily classified as Type II jamming. The group then plunged into the Round Room chestnut Seven Below, before slowing down for a segue from The Horse into Silent In The Morning. The cerebral numbers led into a meaty funk segment that included Twist, 2001 and Moma Dance. Like many of the weekends strongest jams, McConnell led his bandmates as each song moved past its composed sections. ‘Twist, in particular, benefited from McConnells more pronounced role in a reunited Phishs jams. However, unlike Saturdays jam-heavy second set which took greater risks but also fell flat on several occasions, all five jam-vehicles were executed with precision and, in line with Phish 3.0s cleaner sound, felt cohesive and focused.
Later in their career, especially in their post-hiatus period, the members of Phish tended to end shows with either long, reflective ballads that slowly build to a crescendo or short, guitar-heavy rock songs. With that in mind, Phish faked the audience out on two consecutive occasions by covering the Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps and running through its own Wading in the Velvet Sea, only to bring the show full circle with another composition-heavy collaboration co-written by the Dude of Life, Slave To The Traffic Light.
For the first time since Phish announced its reunion, Anastasio directly addressed his audience at the outset of the encore, describing the weekend as amazing and touching upon the three-night runs spirit of reunion. He also wished Jon Fishmans father Leonard a happy birthday, before joining the members of Phish and the crowd in area-size rendition of Happy Birthday. The band revisited the birthday theme at the end of Contact, with Gordon using his foot bell as an exclamation mark at the end of the jam. The weekend then came to a close during a charged Tweezer Reprise that peaked as crew members released huge, white balls into the crowd as part of the bands new light show. *SETLIST: * *March 8, Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA *
Set I: Sanity*, Wilson, Foam, Bathtub Gin, Undermind#, AC/DC Bag,My Friend, My Friend, Scent of a Mule, All Of These Dreams, Maze, She Thinks I Still Care$, Army of One, Tube, Cars Trucks Buses, Free, Frankenstein**
Set II: Down With Disease^, Seven Below, The Horse >Silent In The Morning, Twist, 2001, Moma Dance, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Wading In The Velvet Sea, Slave To The Traffic Light
E: Happy Birthday$$, Contact>Birthday Jam, Bug, Tweezer Reprise
_* Last played 11/27/98 _
_# First time played _
_$ First time played, George Jones cover _
_** With Page on keytar _
_^ With long spacey outro jam _
_$$ Crowd and band sing Happy Birthday to Leonard Fishman, Jons father _