Tuesday's second set is where the band really shined and made up for their lack of exploratory music during Bethel's third night. For the fifth time in Phish's history, they covered J.J. Cale's 'After Midnight'. Instead of the short, token versions seen in the past year, a nearly 12 minute psychedelic journey ensued. Whereas New Year's Eve contained a powerful and staccato face melting guitar punch, this version ran along the same lines as 'Rock and Roll' and 'Sand' with Trey using his new effects liberally. Even songs that they have been playing relatively the same during 3.0, Phish's new sound this summer is definitely there. 'After Midnight' continued into a 'Tube'-like jam with bass heavy tones from Page on the keyboards. Again, the Chairman proves to be a contender for band MVP this tour as he plays with various scales and styles while Trey simply provides some standard noodling while Fishman and Gordon keep to Page's exploratory rhythm. While the transitioning into 'Possum' seemed harsh, it actually kept the crowd happy by bring the party back uptempo instead of drifting further into the cosmos. With an exceptionally long build up, 'Possum' again fit the tone of the Garden State Parkway as a crusin' tune for this summer and became the first repeated song of Phish's summer 2011 tour, first played during set two on May 27th. Phish then made their way into possibly the highlight of the night, a two part punch of The Who's 'Drowned' into 'Maze'. Here the band showcased their ability to switch tempos and rhythms and entered an ambient soundscape. Right before the opening drum beats of 'Maze' are heard, Trey plays some electric funk reminiscent of the one and only Riverport Gin. 'Maze' was also a particularly strong song for Page to showcase his talents once again, and after the slow 'Dirt' and 'Alaska' the band entered into the first 'You Enjoy Myself' of 2011. This very strong rendition capped the second set, but not before Gordon teased the bass line from 'It's Ice'. The encore, 'Fire' originally by Jimi Hendrix summed up the first New Jersey night well. Although many phans think of this show like politics and drastically love it or hate it, I firmly believe this show is in the running for a shot at the next DVD Phish will undoubtedly pump out of this summer and is wholeheartedly worth a listen.
Read more at http://funkydanceparty.com