Phish Continue Bustout Streak, Deliver Yet Another Lengthy "Chalk Dust Torture"
Following a noteworthy show at Merriweather Post, Phish was tasked with topping such an effort as their tour continued in Portsmouth, VA at the nTelos Pavilion. The evening certainly got off to an unexpected start as “Timber (Jerry)” made its tour debut as the opener before a brief “Undermind” dropped into “AC/DC Bag.”
The middle of the first set would be full of comfort tunes for the band as “555,” “Divided Sky,” “Ocelot,” “Halfway to the Moon” and “Kill Devil Falls” all followed before the band dug into their first true improv of the night with “Split Open and Melt.” Building off the previous “SOAM” played at Randall’s Island, Phish dropped into a spacey jam that featured equal contributions from all four members. Closing with “Good Times Bad Times,” Phish bookended the set with a pair of covers making their tour debut.
Firmly establishing itself as the song of the tour thus far, “Chalk Dust Torture” opened set two and spawned more noteworthy improv. Stretching to 18-minutes, the band explored themes they established earlier in the night with the “Split Open and Melt,” this time with additional layers added. The segue into the bustout of the night, “If I Could,” was executed with precision and performed as such. Making its first appearance since 8/29/2012, the Hoist tune featured a gorgeous solo from Anastasio as the band wrapped up the song.
After the stellar opening pair, Phish delivered “The Line” and a rocking, Type I jam in “Birds of a Feather.” “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” made a rare appearance in the second set and nearly got to the edge of some notable improv before Anastasio hit the opening riff to “Mike’s Song.” The band would go into jukebox mode from here on out, offering standard takes on “Mike’s” as well as “Prince Caspian,” “Waves” and “Weekapaug Groove,” the last of which featured a frantic peak before dropping into “Cavern.”
While many fans expected “Cavern” to close the festivities for the evening, the band soldiered on, delivering “Golgi Apparatus” and a “Run Like an Antelope” finale. The encore featured some of the most unique choices of the night and potentially the tour, as the group closed with “Wingsuit” and “The Squirming Coil.” Page McConnell exited the stage last as he finished out his solo with the crowd clapping along in unison.
Next up for Phish is a second show at nTelos Pavilion tonight.
Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:
nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA
Set I: Timber (Jerry), Undermind > AC/DC Bag, 555, Divided Sky, Ocelot, Halfway to the Moon, Kill Devil Falls, Split Open and Melt, Good Times Bad Times
Set II: Chalk Dust Torture > If I Could, The Line > Birds of a Feather, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > Mike’s Song > Prince Caspian > Waves > Weekapaug Groove, Cavern > Golgi Apparatus > Run Like an Antelope
Enc: Wingsuit > The Squirming Coil