Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue


Published: 2011/09/15

Phish’s Vermont Homecoming

Phish headlined their first Vermont show since Coventry at Essex Junction, VT’s Champlain Valley Exposition last night. Not only was the show Phish’s first Vermont performance since 2004 but it was also the group’s closest show to their Burlington, VT hometown since a 1997 benefit at the Flynn Theater.

All proceeds from last night’s benefit were directed to The WaterWheel Foundation and The Vermont Community Foundation’s flood recovery efforts following Hurricane Irene. Thanks to underwriting support from several local organizations, most of the money raised will go directly to those in need.

The benefit—held at the site of an annual state fair—had a decidedly local feel. Before the group’s first set, Mike Gordon and Governor Peter Shumlin thanked the crowd for their support, and Shumlin name-checked all four members of Phish. In reference to the band’s time away from the Green Mountain State, he also asked, “It’s been 7 years…was it worth the wait?” His question was met with overwhelming applause.

Later in the night, Trey Anastasio mentioned that the band’s former drum tech/engineer Pete Carini and his wife were two of the only local friends they had not seen at the show, and the band promptly busted into “Carini.” Jon Fishman also referenced the recent hurricane during his regular “Suzy Greenberg” rap. Like some of Phish’s multi-band festival performances—where the band is playing to a higher percentage of prospective fans—last night’s set focused on the group’s classic songs, including a show-opening “Chalkdust Torture,” a slightly jammed out “Wolfman’s Brother” and “Possum.” An unfinished version of “Down with Disease” was the show’s improvisational centerpiece, while “Cavern” was an appropriate choice given the venue’s proximity to the establishment it references, Nectar’s. In what may have been a record, Phish’s soundcheck was also bootlegged and distributed through fan circles before band’s first set.

The band’s only other performances in the Greater Burlington, VT area in the past 14 years were stealth appearances at events like the Higher Ground closing run in 2004 and a Committee on Temporary Shelter benefit at the Flynn Theater in 1999. Though last night was Phish’s first time at the Champlain Valley Exposition, Trey Anastasio Band appeared at the venue in 2002. Anastasio, Gordon and the Benevento-Russo Duo also co-headlined the Expo with Phil Lesh & Friends in 2006. A mini-reunion almost occurred at the latter gig when Page McConnell sat in with Anastasio and Gordon during their set.

Here’s a look at last night’s setlist as it appears in the Box Scores section

Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction, VT

Set I: Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance > NICU, Funky Bitch, Sample in a Jar, Cavern, Bathtub Gin, Alaska > Possum, Wolfman’s Brother > Julius

Set II: Carini* > Down with Disease^ > Slave to the Traffic Light > Rock and Roll > Twist > Backwards Down the Number Line, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg > Character Zero

Enc: Loving Cup

Notes: Before the show Mike Gordon and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin thanked the crowd for their support *Unfinished, dedicated to Pete and Tara Carini ^Unfinished



There are 22 comments associated with this post

Phil September 15, 2011, 09:17:35

Most predictable, repetitive band on earth.

Dan September 15, 2011, 10:53:15

Most predictable, repetitive troll on earth.

renee September 15, 2011, 10:55:03

What an honorable band to step up and donate their time to help raise money for fellow Vermonters. For fans who have not seen the band since Coventry, I think the band proved they are renewed & playing at a stellar level of musicianship.

Dave September 15, 2011, 11:11:46

Glad I donated to the flood recovery and not the Shitty setlist. What a waste of a good slave. Vermont deserved a better show, average at best.

able to be honest about Phish September 15, 2011, 11:13:59

i agree with Phil. Phish has become so pompous and bloated that they can’t even put on a decent show for a hometown benefit. you “fans” can hate me for being honest, but at least i can step out of the fan box and be critical of these dudes. Phish is no longer a musical tour de force. they are playing solely to collect your cash and spend it on their families. there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t say that Phish is putting on great mind blowing concerts. needed to get that off my chest…..

able to be honest about Phish September 15, 2011, 11:17:50

ooops. i would like to amend my prior post regarding the cash statement. the vermont show was a benefit for a good cause. phish did not pocket the benefit money. it was a nice thing to put on the benefit, but they should have just donated money from their own pockets rather than phoning in a poppy show and wasting everyone’s time and expectations.

Seriously? September 15, 2011, 11:22:43

Seriously people, this band doesn’t owe the people that could afford to come/fly/travel to this show bust outs just because you could afford to get there. They played a show for the state of Vermont and it sold out and all the money was donated, they bust out/play over the top when we least expect it. I have spent my money flying/driving to the big places for years but when I go to the random venue that isn’t selling out on a Tuesday night because I love this band they give it to us, not because they owe us, but because they know it’s random. When did we all become so entitled that just because we show up they MUST play their sickest show ever – every time. Relax people and take it for what it was – a fine show for the great people of Vermont. This isn’t about you.

Noodles September 15, 2011, 15:28:42

Seriously…. Could a doctor or lawyer or financial pro or a design expert or marketing or web guru offer services for free? So why in the world do you braindead morons complain about a rock band! Enough. I am a phan since 1992 when a friend from a school from VT gave me a cassette from a show at his high school dance on 1989 or so. These guys deserve what they can get, get a life!! If it wasn’t for the frat mentality of dudes throwing around molly like its candy the scene would be what we all miss. Thus the excitement for the upcoming SCI tour with good people helping keep it “real”. Furthur is also on fire. Plenty to do!

Get a clue September 15, 2011, 15:34:50

Hey able… talk about pompous… go read your post again… you and the other d*che bags who talk sh*t about them are pathetic… boohoo, I didn’t get my “bust out” grow up you freakin’ loser… I hope you guys leave the scene and can find something you like… maybe that will stop you from being such p*ssies who whine when they don’t get their stellar show with “sick bustouts”... what are you, 14? Go home, your mom is calling…

able to be honest about able to be honest about Phish September 15, 2011, 15:35:09

Clearly you have not heard the tapes b/c daaaaaaamn. Musically, last night’s show totally makes up for the travesty that was Coventry.

Surlybuf September 15, 2011, 17:54:46

That’s funny. When I read the set list, I thought, that would be a fun show to got to. I’ve seen Phish quite a few times but only ever heard Carini once in Vegas. And I enjoy all the others except maybe Alaska. I realize most of you hate because you love so much, but I could give a shit if I get another Esther. Relax and try to enjoy yourself. Maybe find a few new friends. There are much worse things in life than going to a concert.

40acres September 15, 2011, 18:24:50

By phish touring they put lots of money back into our troubled economy through jobs that help regular Americans and their families. The dicks run in Colorado was far better than mind blowing it was soul igniting! Sorry you missed the train. Taboo taboo

Ultimately who gives a F#CK September 15, 2011, 21:48:48

PHISH is Comic..not Cosmic.They do what they do and thats it ..what do want them to do?Bounce on trampolines for 4 hours yelling WE LOVE VERMONT!? Do Gamehenge in speedos and snorkel gear?..You pay..they play

Fly Famous WoodWarbler September 15, 2011, 22:14:00

Whoever you are bitching and moaning about what you think Phish has become, go blow your loaded gasket somewhere else. I was THERE. I’ve been a fan since ’92. The Phish I love best is the progressive, jazz-inspired rock and roll band that blew everybody’s minds last night. They played an old school show for an old school crowd. Wookie world stayed away and the locals got to play instead. I know good Phish from rotten and stopped seeing them after ’99. This show was of superior quality and meant as a treat to us Vermonters. We all had a shit-ton of fun so who cares what DAVE and HONEST TO BE think? We who live here and had our asses kicked by Irene got what we wanted.

Fly Famous WoodWarbler September 15, 2011, 22:18:19

oh, and did it occur to you that just maybe MOST of us in attendance haven’t been following this band around the country the past couple of years? That maybe this particular setlist was perfect for us because we haven’t seen all these tunes all that much recently? there’s always got to be someone getting all pinched up about 12,000 other people’s good time.

Gamehendge Forrest Ninja September 16, 2011, 07:31:11

What a classic. Setlist lacked bustout gimmicks and focused on Phish doing what they do best, playing with their hearts and lifting the souls if those lucky enough to get IT. A truly healing return to Vermont for Phish and fans.

Fly Famous WoodWarbler September 16, 2011, 09:07:58

“Police report the Phish crowd was very pleasant to deal with.” Hurrah Vermont!!|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

cookiepuss September 16, 2011, 14:33:56

Their consistent contribution to philanthropy, their singularly amazing ability to put on fan-friendly festies, their ability to remain fresh and free from nostalgia by writing and developing and reworking songs, their sheer unpredictability, having the best concert sound and lights system in the touring business, their monstrous musical chops and being the best Type II improvisational unit that has ever lived are just a few things to love about Phish. They are true magicians in an era sorely lacking any mystical quality. UIC and Colorado were often transcendent and always resplendent and represent yet another peak era of creativity and daring. It really ‘tis a pity if you just don’t get those facts. I’ve been truly blessed to each one of the 72 shows I’ve attended since ’92. Amazing, just amazing.

Loubert September 16, 2011, 18:03:51

Do these negative nancys even go to any shows?? I went to 3 days bethal, 3 days watkins and 3 days colorodo….... and i didnt see you there haha. Everyone i saw had a huge smile on there face because they knew they couldnt have a better time any place on the planet

kye September 17, 2011, 14:45:48

these douche bags crying about the setlists obviously were not there. this was a BENEFIT show. if u saw the crowd you would understand why they played what they played. there were prob more flood victims there than die hard phish fans so what u want them to play a 30 minute runaway jim to people who just lost there home?? NO they played a happy show for people that needed a lift being from the area the setlist was perfect for the crowd, Being a phan it is EXACTLY what was suppose to happen. If you dont like phish dont go. they raised 1.2 MILLION DOLLARS get a life losers fo real

Oldschool September 19, 2011, 13:39:11

We watched the live stream and had a blast! Saw them 4 times this summer at the Gorge and Lake Tahoe and was totally impressed with the level of musicianship and overall show performance. Totally righteous to come off a serious summer tour and bring their multi-million dollar stage set up to Vermont to do a benefit for flood victims!

G-Money September 21, 2011, 18:28:33

Cmon We are lucky to just see them again.Remember how hard the hiatus waz.
Enjoy while its still here.

Note: It may take a moment for your post to appear

(required) (required, not public)