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Published: 2014/07/06

Old Material Highlights Final Night of Phish at SPAC

Photo: @PhishFTR

While the first two nights of Phish’s SPAC run were centered around newer material from Fuego, the finale last night featured some of their best older material and compositions.

Starting with “Crowd Control,” a popular third night opener in the 3.0 era, Phish would cover all aspects of their 30-year career in the first set with cuts like “My Friend, My Friend,” “Scent of a Mule,” “Undermind” and more. “Mule” featured Fishman turning to his Marimba Lumina for a solo as well. After a second Undermind track, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing,” Phish played just their second cover of the year in “I Didn’t Know.” This particular version of the tune was complete with Fishman busting out his vacuum, as Trey Anastasio jumped on the drum kit to lead a longer than normal jam.

The complex “Foam” followed before the first of two Fuego tracks was played in “Wombat.” Trey Anastasio struggled through the composed sections of the following “Divided Sky,” leading to a more delicate selection in “Wading in the Velvet Sea” after that before a much cleaner “David Bowie” provided a chance for redemption to close the set. All in all, the 11-song first set would be light on improv and heavy on tour debuts, as ten of the eleven saw their first action this summer.

The final frame of the SPAC weekend included some of the best Phish has to offer. As they opened with a “Carini,” the crowd roared with excitement as the tune has flourished as of late. While this version didn’t quite get there, it gave way to a “Waves” that continued the melodic theme set during the “Carini” improv. “Wingsuit” came in the third slot, providing a nice breather after 20-minutes of jamming and, as they’ve done the previous two nights, the energy was cranked up yet again with a “Piper” that featured the best improv of the evening.

Much like “Divided Sky,” “Fluffhead” proved troublesome for Trey Anastasio on this night, leading to a more standard “Heavy Things” that followed. Anastasio would give it one more try, however, with a sublime “Slave to the Traffic Light” that saw a focused, determined guitarist. It seemed as if “Slave” was a breakthrough for Anastasio as the “You Enjoy Myself” that followed ranks as one of the best since 2009. Complete with a full Trey/Mike duel in the jam section, the 23-minute performance closed the set with all four band members performing at their very best. “Suzy Greenberg” would provide a fun cap to the weekend.

Next up for Phish is a two night run at The Mann Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY

Set I: Crowd Control > My Friend, My Friend, Scent of a Mule, Undermind, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, I Didn’t Know, Foam, Wombat, Divided Sky, Wading in the Velvet Sea, David Bowie

Set II: Carini > Waves, Wingsuit > Piper > Fluffhead, Heavy Things > Slave to the Traffic Light, You Enjoy Myself

Enc: Suzy Greenberg


There are 13 comments associated with this post

me July 6, 2014, 12:52:03

I would agree with BS… although I think their friend recorded it prior to Phish but, to me, Phish hasn’t really played a “cover” yet this tour… cover to me would suggest something like Quinn,the Eskimo, Jesus Left Chicago, Highway to Hell, Ride Captain Ride, Bold As Love, Curtis Lowe, Walk Away, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, etc… Regardless, they do seem to be focused on Phish material more than past tours. Disappointing to here about the flubs, those two songs are tough and miscues are especially painful to hear in them… hopefully Trey shakes off the rust. Can’t wait to get to the Mann!!!

ronnie July 6, 2014, 13:01:40

dear trey, I don’t care about the flubs. Just play and rock on. cheers!

hip July 6, 2014, 13:13:56

I heard rumor that Billy Joel was pissed he couldn’t play NYE at MSG and called them a glorified cover band. So they aren’t playing covers any more

Aron Manger of Aron Magner Presents Aron Magner's The Disco Biscuits July 6, 2014, 14:04:14

if that was a standard Heavy Things, then PAGE IS PISSED.

ronnie July 6, 2014, 14:20:55

Just finished listening to most of the show and it was money. I don’t get the review. My highlights are Waves, Wingsuit, Piper and that’s about all I heard when I was listening…great show, great start to a tour, let’s go!

JRapp July 6, 2014, 15:10:00

I can’t believe people still believe that BS Billy Joel Rumor.. Tom Marshall debunked it months ago. It never happened.

NHPanic July 6, 2014, 16:02:22

You cannot ‘center around’ something (first paragraph). Just sayin’ . . . .

Aaron July 6, 2014, 17:01:59

“I didn’t know” isn’t really a cover song.

Daniel the dingo boy Morris July 6, 2014, 21:21:14

Nancy wrote it…

Phan4Lf July 7, 2014, 01:06:53

Saturday night 1st set was some atrocious playing by Trey. Wow, almost had to walk away. I felt embarrassed. Not as bad as the Oxy years, but ouch

Ose July 7, 2014, 12:19:00

I would not consider it a cover

Noodles July 7, 2014, 12:40:50

The last Mann Shows. 19 years ago. There was a choice between going to a near enough Grateful Dead show, turning out to be the last tour… Or Phish. Having already seen Jerry many times and recently, all of us decided to hit up the Mann. I just couldn’t watch Jerry nod off and forget words again, others couldn’t watch the band painfully making it thru another lost show and just couldn’t support the scene of horror it had turned into for too many lost souls any longer. Having seen Phish from 92 on, esp the PSU shows, NY and Hershey Park et al, Phish was obviously just starting to become what they would be …. Mann Here We Come !! Ps. Looking back, it might have been sweet to have been with the GD family another night. At Giants stadium the music was so horrible we thought it was a loop tape played- a true rumor floating around, not true if course, but what was true is that Phish was on Fuego. That’s that.

BS July 6, 2014, 12:18:35

I’m no Phish expert…but, I don’t think “I Didn’t Know” is a cover. It was written by their friend…

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