Phish Bust Out "Skin It Back" and More, Stretch "Golden Age"
Poster by Kevin Tong
Phish returned to Wantagh, NY’s Jones Beach Amphitheater last night for the start of a two-show run. The evening featured several rare cover songs as well as a jam-heavy second set. Most notably, Phish opened the show with their first known cover of Little Feat’s “Skin It Back” since July 29, 1988. Once a regular part of Phish’s repertoire, “Skin It Back” was dropped by the group in the late ‘80s, and they have not performed the Feats Don’t Fail Me Now song in 1,417 shows, according to Phish.net. Based on the time between shows, it was the biggest bust out in Phish history. Though Phish has not publicly performed the number in almost 24 years, the Vermont Quartet did cover the song during a soundcheck for their 2003 IT event that aired on festival’s official The Bunny radio station. Bassist Mike Gordon has also performed “Skin It Back” several times with his solo band since 2008.
A few songs later, Phish dusted off another rarity, The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” for the first time since October 31, 1994. Phish covered the song and the rest of The Beatles’ “White Album” as part of their first Halloween musical costume but they have not touched the number in decades. Phish also covered ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” for the first time in 2012.
If rarities marked Phish’s first set then extended jams characterized the band’s second set. Of particular note, Phish pushed a delay-loop colored “Sand” past the 10-minute mark and stretched TV on the Radio’s “Golden Age” to over 13-minutes. Perhaps one of this summer’s improvisational highlights so far, “Golden Age” faded into a long, ambient jam that moved well past the song’s indie-rock blueprint. Later in the set, Phish also turned in high-energy, playful versions of “Fluffhead” and “Run Like an Antelope,” the latter of which featured some ‘Marco Polo’ banter. Much like he did at Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks in 2009, Trey Anastasio also talked about the band’s hand signals before “Bug.”
Phish will return to Jones Beach this evening for their fourth-ever Independence Day concert.
Here’s a look at last night’s setlist via Phish.net
Tuesday, July 3, 2012, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
Set 1: Skin It Back, Possum , Tube, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Halley’s Comet > Axilla > Ya Mar, Joy, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Backwards Down the Number Line > Golgi Apparatus
Set 2: Chalk Dust Torture , Sand  -> Golden Age, Wolfman’s Brother -> Walk Away, Bug > Fluffhead  > The Wedge, Run Like an Antelope
Encore: Character Zero
 Skin It Back tease.
 Izabella tease.
 Dave’s Energy Guide tease.
Notes: Skin It Back was played for the first time since July 29, 1988, or 1417 shows. Happiness is a Warm Gun was played for the first time since 10/31/94, or 658 shows.