Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
It’s Sunday morning – and so I must go to church. In this case, I must allow my imagination to take me to the church that is the Beacon Theatre. No problem. It’s a room I know fairly well from experience. Unfortunately, I never saw Phish play there.
Before I dive into this, I’ve gotta say that this 3-night run at the Beacon looms large in my consciousness. I heard about these shows on rec.music.phish long before I ever heard the tapes. This was a band out to prove something to world. Their new album was out and it was clear they wanted a piece of the larger pop culture pie, what with an MTV video and radio-friendly singles, etc.
So, while the first week of tour found the boys in the heart of Phish country, 3 nights at the Beacon put them squarely in the heart of the media capital of the world. As if to emphasize this fact, the boys started their day with Dennis Elsas at WNEW for some old-school album promotion. They could have promoted their Beacon shows had they not sold out in 33 minutes (“33 and a third” according to Trey). Still, the recordings are out there, and they are hilarious. They can’t even take their media promotion seriously. But they are being good record company men and doing their part to sell Hoist.
That’s not to say that they are out there at the Beacon selling this new album. I mean, they only played two tunes from it on this first night. But they were clearly on a mission to prove something in New York. They played these three shows with fire. These shows are as tight and energetic as any Phish shows you’ll ever hear.
All that said, I really wasn’t in the mood to listen to Phish this morning. Like not at all. I can appreciate the Buried Alive opener. I dig this Stash. But it’s just not what my mood is calling for.
But wait a minute… stop the presses… The Lizards has changed my outlook entirely. It has sucked me in. I love this band. Of course I want to listen to this show right now. There is nothing better for me on a Sunday morning! Thank Icculus I was willing to wade into these waters. As Julius picks up steam here I am eternally grateful for this project now. Without it I would not be so happy to have my coffee kick in to the sounds of Machine-Gun-Trey!
I can’t blame them for playing acoustic with no mics in that room, but it’s a little annoying on tape. That’s always been the case, though. I am reminded here of how much more annoying the sushers were than the people they were trying to sush. Just shut up and listen. Your “SSSSSSSHHHHHHHH” is not making the moment any better (sorry, that’s an old rant that hasn’t come up in years, but it’s still so fresh in my mind).
Oh yeah… this Divided Sky is pure energy. I am totally sucked in now. Woohoo!!
Second set opens with Faht??? Hilarious! At least to me that’s hilarious. Also, check out this version of Reba for the brief sing-along. Band cuts out and all you hear is the audience singing “Bag it. Tag it.” Is there another example of this happening? Ever? I imagine if there is, I’ll hear it this year during this project. I doubt it happened after this one! Oh, also a stellar Reba peak here!
A little zzyzx! shout out: This was the very last time Phish played Take the ‘A’ Train. This song has been at the top of my “most common songs that were not played” list forever. Maybe they’ll bust it out this summer and change all that… not holding my breath.
Intense Bowie – glad my coffee seems to have kicked in fully. Whew!
The rest of this show was an absolute joy to listen to. The Beacon run! Man, how great would it be if Phish took the reigns from the Allmans and did a March residency at the Beacon for the next 20 years or so? A man can dream, right?
Thanks for reading!
Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
Set 1: Buried Alive > Poor Heart, Stash, The Lizards, Julius, Ginseng Sullivan, Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus
Set 2: Faht, The Curtain > Sample in a Jar, Reba, Big Ball Jam, Fee -> Take the ‘A’ Train, David Bowie, Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, AC/DC Bag
Encore: Sweet Adeline, Good Times Bad Times
Notes: Stash closed with a Can’t You Hear Me Knocking tease. Ginseng was performed acoustic, without microphones, and featured Fishman on washboard. Faht featured Fishman on acoustic guitar. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Reba contained an All Fall Down signal in the pause before the whistling ending and Bowie contained Oom Pa Pa and Simpsons signals in the intro and ‘A’ Train and Reba teases from Trey. Sweet Adeline was also performed without microphones.
Setlist courtesy of phish.net.