[Thank you to user Aaron Presuhn for stepping up and recapping last night's show. -Ed.]
Fall tour. Indoors, dark, intimate, a completely different vibe than outdoor summer Phish. It was a chilly day, but the Times Union Center was HOT. Night one was amazing, and it set the tone for what I thought to be a great, well-played set of shows.
Opening the show was “Crowd Control." A quick run through led into “Chalk Dust Torture." Given the excellent first set last night, I fully expected some jamming, and the band agreed. They started off at what seemed to be just a slightly slower tempo that usual. After the composed section, they launched into a calm, major-key jam that slowly picked up intensity and culminated into a few minutes of beautiful bliss jamming, before going into the coda. Trey was having a blast and laughing at his mishandling of the lyrics.
Next up was “All Of These Dreams." The band conferred for longer than usual after "Chalk Dust," so I figured something rare might be coming up. I’m a huge 2.0 fan, and I’ve never seen this song performed live before. Quite the treat!
This led into “Wolfman’s Brother." Always a song guaranteed to get the funk going, and peoples’ feet moving, this version didn’t disappoint. Some nice, slinky jamming, and Page getting dirty with the Clav. This led into another section of upbeat, bliss jamming before bringing the song to it’s usual close. The following "Scent of a Mule" was fun, as always. Some great Page piano work here, and amusing Trey/Mike dueling. A run through "NICU" and "Gumbo" were up next. "NICU" was your standard version, as well as "Gumbo." "Gumbo" is a song I would love to hear more of. I haven’t seen one since 2012, so it made me happy!
Time to give the fog machine a workout with “Steam." I was present for the first-ever version at Cuyahoga back in 2011, and I liked the song from the beginning. After some quick “I Didn’t Know” vacuum action from Fishman, the set-ending “Bathtub Gin” was perfect, well-executed version.
Set two opened up with “Set Your Soul Free." Another first-seen tune for me! This song is definitely still finding it’s place in the catalog, but I thought it was well-played, with about 10-minutes of patient full-band jamming.
Up next was a quick run through “Birds Of A Feather." I thought the song felt a bit forced, but that may be bias on my part, as I’ve never really connected with it. Now we get to, in my opinion, the meat of the set. “Mercury” > “Light."
"Light" quickly became one of my favorite 3.0 tunes, and the same is happening with "Mercury." They wasted no time, starting off with some quiet, serene playing, with Fishman on the Marimba Lumina. This led into some dark, groovy playing that slowly gave way into some spaced-out alien abduction noises. From there, they launched into "Light." "Light" was well-played. Some excellent mid-song jamming with laid back Trey soloing and Page playing a nice rollicking piano counterpoint. Trey starts building up the intensity and Page keeps right up with him. If I have one complaint, it’s that this version didn’t go as dark as some versions before emerging back into the light. I could have used another 10 minutes of darkness, but that’s just me.
A quick run through “The Wedge," “Wading In The Velvet Sea," and “Wilson” and then we get to the set-ending “Slave to the Traffic Light." The blissful peaks of "Slave" are always a great way to end any set.
“Julius” and “Rocky Top” for the encore put a rocking fun cap on a great show.
If I had to pick one night, I might go with the first night as my personal favorite. But both nights in Albany were great, and I think it bodes well for the rest of tour. On to three days at the Mothership!
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See you all in Hampton!
Ok really cool.