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Providence goes ‘Phishing’

Last Friday night Phish fans stood outside of the Dunkin Donuts Center exchanging handshakes, hugs, and high fives, while patiently waiting for the doors to open. Most were reminiscing about the last time Phish had played there, recalling every song and hoping that this time would prove equally as epic.

 

Though it had been 11 years, and the name of the venue had changed, Phish didn’t miss a beat. The unofficial kings of jam gave their loyal fans another memory to cherish.

Guitarist Trey Anastasio, drummer Jon Fishman, bassist Mike Gordon, and keyboard player Page McConnell took the stage an hour after the official start time to a cacophony of cheers.

A spot light shined on Mike as he slapped the first notes of the psychedelic rocker “Down with Disease” that segued nicely into the bluesy “Funky Bitch.”

Then Trey played the opening chords of the complex multifaceted composition “Fluffhead.” This song contains varying time signatures and odd quirky lyrics, which fans love to shout out along with the band. It normally ends with an energetic peak, but this version felt a little flat.

Next up was a cover of Ween’s “Roses are Free.” Phish, adding their own special touches, never fails to do this song justice. The only improvisation of the first set came in the form of “Ocelot”, where Trey anchored the band into a dark groove before gracefully falling back into the song’s original theme.

Set one closed with a fiery “Julius” that saw Trey leading the way with furious guitar runs over Mike’s bouncy groove.

After a short break, Phish was ready to serve up the main course. An energetic cover of “Rock and Roll” set the mood, acting as a launching pad for a fluid piece of improvisation. Trey weaved a melodic pattern mimicked beautifully by Page as the band landed on a blissfully ambient groove. It ended with the sharp distorted chords of the heavy metal sounding “Carini.”

More improvisation ensued as the band fell right back into the previous jam. Mike’s bass emitted a warm funky sound that shook the entire arena as Trey continued to shred.

The energy faltered slightly during the straight forward rocker, “My Problem Right There,” but picked up again instantly when Trey fell into the opening rift of “Mike’s Song.” Glow sticks flew back and forth through the air as the band hit a dynamic stride. It ended with a powerful peak, and Mike let loose the funky bass line of “Weekapaug Groove.”

Page McConnell displayed his nimble fingers in an extended piano solo during the playful “Suzy Greenberg,” while “Character Zero” had Trey showcasing his wah-wah pedal.

The crowd, believing that the set was coming to a close, seemed to calm for a moment before a spacey cover of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” reignited their dancing. Phish’s light technician Chris Kuroda painted the audience with purple and blue hues as they bobbed up and down to the ambient rhythm.

A strong cover of The Rolling Stone’s “Loving Cup” ended the monster set and had fans screaming for an encore. The band acknowledged the cheers with “First Tube,” an instrumental piece with a furious pace and screeching guitar loops.

Fans left the three-hour show feeling entirely satisfied.

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