Saturday 09/03/2011 by pzerbo


The Dick(‘s Sporting Goods Park). The Phish. Labor Day Weekend. End of tour. Echoing the Alpharetta2 (6/15/11) webcast: StormTeam17 reports heavy winds, lightning and sandstorms pre-gig. Think “S”!

Lights @ 8:17 MDT, a stock “Sample” opener, briskly into a “Sparkle,” “The Sloth” combo that keeps the energy high and allows band and crowd alike to settle in before the first catch-your-breath moment. “Sweet Virgina” provides the first deviation from script, their fourth ever performance (the first in 84 shows, 12-5-09 Charlottesville) and third since the Halloween ‘09 cover of Exile on Main St. in its entirety. Then the second-only Phish performance of “Suskind Hotel” kicks the tempo up in a welcome nod to those that have been clamoring for more Mike songs in the repertoire. “Suskind Hotel” was awesome, with strong hints of “Birds of a Feather” in the jam and a “CYHMK” in the ending. A strong presence on the 2006 GRAB tour (as well as the Mike Gordon solo repetroire), this one is a keeper!

A chill interlude with “Strange Design” is next, followed by a mini-band-conference. The first open door to jam territory, “Stash” takes the stage, with a powerful if compact tension-release segment and satisfying if mature conclusion. “Sneaking Sally” goes double-penetration on the “S” (and up pops the wife!). A vocal jam with a strong outro including Mike going low on the Akai Deep Impact bass synth effect and a strong closing jam, the clear improvisational highlight of the first set. Then... wow, “Sparks!” Which when you think about it has a strong resemblance to “Scents and Subtle Sounds” (that seems sure to come!). This was Phish’s first performance of The Who’s classic since 11/29/96 (463 shows).

Then “Scent of a Mule”, “Stealing Time from the Faulty Plansees Phish continuing to play like they give a shit, and with the second “Birds of a Feather” jam of the night! Special commendation for Hiding a Song that Does Not Begin with ‘S’! to “BOAF.” “Shine a Light” is up next, followed by “Split Open and Melt” to take this unique – and, frankly, ass-kicking – set around the home stretch. Perhaps it was the soccer stadium, among such a smart, sassy, secular and spectacular assemblage. Not content with the previous 13 “S-” song in the set, “The Squirming Coil” ends a spectacular and serendipitous set (see 11/15/96)! Stay tuned! We’ll be back... “shortly!”

Sand!” Woo-hoo, and an “S” taboot! Simple and compact but all power, this jam stays within a happy box but crushes all in its path before giving way to “Simple.Short but efficient and awesome! Then a full segue into “Steam.” Lots of fog-based stage theatrics on this one... cool, but borderline heavy? You. Make. The. Call. Sweet outro jam though, with (more) “Birds of a Feather” (predict a monster version in the rest of the weekend run) and “Tweezer Reprise” themes.

So shall we swing into “Soul Shakedown Party?” Then another pure “->” into “Seven Below.” Great Trey-led groove that included brief hints of “Manteca” and/or “Golden Age” before dissolving back into space... then deep space, stunning type-II and the clear jamming highlight of the set. A rote but fun “Suzy Greenberg” follows, giving way to the at-this-point inevitable “Scents and Subtle Sounds” (sans intro) for the “s” trifecta!

A sublime “Slave to the Traffic Light” follows that was so perfectly placed that it could have easily ended the set and sent the kids home happy, but the band clearly had other plans. The first “Horse”-less “Silent in the Morning” since 12/13/99 (251 shows) is followed by “Sanity” that one expects will close the set. After a short conference we are treated to an a cappellaSweet Adeline,” the first since 8/1/99 (285 shows). So many great “S” songs to choose from still on the table we are treated to yet another bustout, “Sabotage!” The first since 11/21/98 (318 shows), the “mature” Phish demonstrate that they can still kill the rocking closer in powerful fashion. Wow.

This gig will obviously be remembered for the “S” theme, but this is a classic “sum is greater than its parts” gig. This show was far from “gimmicky” – sure, the premise is contrived, but the entire show had outstanding flow. While there is no signature monster jam, judicious and well-balanced improv was sprinkled throughout, with highlights residing in “Sneaking Sally” and “Seven Below.” There are widespread reports that the “S” theme referenced Scott Nowak, a green crew member who recently passed away. Apparently, however, this was a coincidence.

This was a straight-up outstanding show, brilliant in planning and execution. Here is the thing about Phish “3.0”: when they give a shit, they destroy everything in their path. Do they give a shit every night? You decide... but on this night? Yeah, that was a straight-up winner. One down, two to go... get some rest, folks!

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, comment by Almahigh
Almahigh "S" is for Scottie!
, comment by DrWilson
DrWilson Show on September Second Surprises Soccer Stadium Spelling Songs with S!
, comment by Trempkin
Trempkin Only Phish could do something so profound on two different levels. Folks know what I'm saying.
, comment by GnarnianRanger
GnarnianRanger Spectacular early review @pzerbo. That setlist is something special.
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray What a show.
What a show.
What a show.
, comment by Live_Eels
Live_Eels In the history of music, can anyone think of another band who could have pulled off what the boys did tonight?? Ssssspectacular. With the chess matches, secret language, big Ball Jam, etc all but gone, it's so great to see that the sense of humor/immaturity is still alive and well in phishland. My jaw is still on the floor.
, comment by seabright_sc
seabright_sc A truly spectacular show. I love couch tour.
, comment by PhAnnapolis
PhAnnapolis Super Sick Show!
, comment by walstib
walstib All the S songs were "Birds of a Feather" so to say.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor In many jams Phish plays I hear hints of BOAF, probably more than any other Phish song.

, comment by Timber22
Timber22 Haha! put a smile on my face all night sitting at home trying to guess the next S song.
, comment by progidy
progidy To my friend Sean S - you are a lucky bastard!
, comment by Trempkin
Trempkin As to whether the "S" show was for Schenectady Scottie, I can say that he was VERY close with the community of folks (like myself) who spent much if not all of the mid- late 90s on G Crew, backstage, etc. and was certainly known to the band - so of course they're not gonna make it "official" and keep it as a "rumor' -and some may say the joyful music doesn't reflect a sombre tribute. Knowing and having travelled extensively with Scott, I can say this doesn't fly. G crew have been known to write setlists (Aug 15 2009 most recently - I haven't done it since 1.0 so I dunno) - and theband would most definitely pay this sort of tribute - and to boot, three of his favorite songs. I think it flies in the face of reality to call it coincidental. I know his mother was pleased to hear about what kind of show took place, and I'm curious as to why Phish.Net would mention this dear friend of many of ours in a review, if only to shoot down what they claim - without backup -as coincidence.
, comment by Trempkin
Trempkin In other words, Scottie would have wanted a show like that...
, comment by thebarnpresents
thebarnpresents They still have enough "S" songs to play four more sets without moving to another letter:
, comment by Jake0712
Jake0712 All I Can Say Is - I'm Still Sanely Shaking Since September Second!!
, comment by abirken
abirken One of my personal favorite Phish 3.0 shows that I have been able to attend! Simply sick
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Inquiring minds want to know.. When will they debut Steamprise?
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Someone actually WROTE the 8/15/09 setlist??

Congrats on the Crowd Control opener, aka the single most hated song choice of all time. Which somehow became amazing when Phish opened with it a year later at the same venue and we all SAW IT AGAIN!
, comment by Trempkin
Trempkin I meant 8/14....the Hartford show....sorry, I don't do tour anymore and get dats mixed up. I do like Crowd Control......doubt its hated as much as Jennifer Dances (and I remember when Sparkle, Bouncin and Sample were hated)...
, comment by Trempkin
Trempkin 8/14 is one of many sets written or designed by green crew or others...
, comment by drucifer
drucifer A wonderful, wonderful night. Blows the recent first set timidity out of the water. Well stated from the review... when 3.0 is engaged like they were last night, they destroy. It's nice to see the four of them have as much fun as they seemed to be having last night! Here's to many more nights just like that one.
, comment by thepiog
thepiog @nichobert said:
Someone actually WROTE the 8/15/09 setlist?? Congrats on the Crowd Control opener, aka the single most hated song choice of all time. Which somehow became amazing when Phish opened with it a year later at the same venue and we all SAW IT AGAIN!
actually, the most hated song choice of all time would be "the connection" or "mock song"...."spread it round" is right up there too.
, comment by curleyfrei
curleyfrei A friend texted me late last night asking if I had seen the setlist, noting that "this show is brought to you by the letter 'S'." I didn't have a clue what he was talking about, but then just started laughing my ass off once I looked at the set.

Unbelievable. I fucking love this band.
, comment by Sneknsally
Sneknsally Suffering sufatach!!!! Was listening to it on my livephish app... Sounds like good start to the weekend!!! Saw cinch and all 3 nights at uci..hope that energy carried over from chi town!!! God I love this band! Have gun phellow phish phriends
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @Sneknsally said:
Have gun phellow phish phriends
Please turn those in at the gates though. Understood in the lots.
, comment by Heatty3Legger
Heatty3Legger Fishman and Page both needed some Sssssteak gorditas- those fuckers are fat (-ph). That 2 minute encore wore 'em out !!!!
, comment by xHOPSx
xHOPSx Silent in the Morning without the horse before it... Pretty epic.
, comment by thesloth2001
thesloth2001 the ssssssssssssssss was for sssssssssscottie. fact. old-school pham. y'all just don't know... rip scottie nowak.
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