Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
A wise man once told me never to write a bad review. On the way to Jones Beach yesterday afternoon, my friend Taylor was giving me a hard time for not writing a review immediately after the show in Fenway Park this past Sunday. I felt necessary to hold my tongue until after the first night of Jones Beach. While seeing Phish at Fenway was a unique experience with several highlights and overall a fun evening, any review would seem far too critical to be an enjoyable read.
This being said, after Phish’s performance last night at Jones Beach, I feel I made the right decision in waiting to give my inaugural review for Phish Summer Tour 2009. The band I saw last night was exciting, dynamic, and experimental in a way not seen in the band I saw on Sunday.
As I walked into the Jones Beach Amphitheatre through the tunnel separating the courtyard from the seats the lights went down in the moment of awe and I quickly rushed to my seat. The show began with “Runaway Jim,” which had more movement and feeling than this simple song often has. This seemed to be a theme for the evening that was most apparent in songs such as the “Simple” itself, often essentially a throw away jam between bassist Mike Gordon’s epic “Mike’s Song” and his show off progressive funk “Weekapaug Groove.” But before Mike sent the crowd to “Weekapaug,” there was an ardent shift into the ballad to the “Wolfman’s Brother” that was highly unexpected.
That is what Phish has always done best: to be unexpected. It is good to see them doing this again, busting out rarities like the rocking “Timber Ho” to be followed by an incredibly funky “Cities” ala the Talking Heads which was nearly reminiscent of porno music. Keyboardist Page McConnell was the driving force in this funk, reminding those of us who were at the Hampton Coliseum earlier this year how truly professional a musician he is. This is not to say that the band played a perfect performance, still being somewhat lost during certain jams. It is positive to see the band in front of you trying new things while continuing to develop their craft. No true fan is satisfied with a greatest hits show, and many were left wanting after Fenway Park.
Back to last night, Guitarist Trey Anastasio show dynamic progress in nailing the complex segments of “Reba” down to the ground. He rocked hard on new material such as “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan,” driving fans to whisper to another. It is rare to see a band that has been performing for over twenty years come out on essentially their reunion tour with material that impresses and intrigues fans. This was the second most promising part of the evening.
The single most extraordinary highlight from this first show of three at Jones Beach was the classic old school fan favorite “Harry Hood,” which let itself to the spaciest and strangest point of the evening as well. I am impressed because my ear is so accustomed to progressive movement, I often get lost in such space. I was fully compelled during this whole “Hood,” animatedly layered and tremendously trippy. This space jam led into the Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup” to end the set before Phish came back to drive the crowd’s energy back to it’s peak for the encore of “Suzy Greenberg.”
Drummer Jon Fishman wins the most improved member for this show relative to the first four performed in 2009. Granted his ability to hear fellow band members properly at Fenway was often impaired. Fish is necessary to drive the power of Phish, and last night he was in full form.
Labels: Phish at Jones Beach 2009-06-02