Chasing Phish Through The Southeast: Tuscaloosa: Night 3 August 11, 2015 18:09
Written by Bo Hanan - Live & Listen Contributing Writer
Photos by Live & Listen
After a scorching two night run at Aaron's Amphiteatre Lakewood in Atlanta, Phish's third stop on the deep south leg of their summer tour found them returning to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the first time since November 8, 1991 and only the fourth time overall. Playing the four-year-old Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, this just under 7,500 capacity venue provided an intimate outdoor setting for a Sunday night show. Nestled along the beautiful backdrop of the Black Warrior River and featuring clear sight lines, a spacious pit, and excellent acoustics throughout, this venue was sure to be a hit from the start.
"Sample in a Jar" began the proceedings, serving as a show opener for the second time this tour. Though not the most lively of openers, the crowd responded well and things were off. The energy picked up afterwards as Trey and the boys whipped things into a frenzy via a rendition of "Chalkdust Torture" that while perhaps lacking in time, it certainly wasn’t in strength. Next up was "Train Song," a beautiful and fairly uncommon Mike ballad that was most certainly a nod to the tracks crossing the river just behind us. "Devotion to a Dream" continued with the laid back feel before an extra funky "Meat" featuring a false ending made sure everyone was up and moving. A scorching "Maze" continued to build the excitement and anticipation before things once again slowed back down with "The Line," which thankfully found itself back in the first set. "Roggae" continued the mellow mood, and included an absolutely wonderful solo from Trey that evoked memories of Phish from years past. "My Friend, My Friend" followed with a somewhat slower than normal buildup and for the very first time in the song’s history featured quotes from "The Very Long Fuse." A blistering "46 Days" had everyone thinking it was the set closer before the band switched gears by seguing into the always crowd pleasing "Cavern" to end the first set on a high note.
As is normally the case, the real guts of this show are found in the second set. "Down With Disease" begins things, quickly venturing into Type II territory after the structured beginning. Stretching just shy of 20-minutes, this version features a beautiful Piper-esque jam sandwiched between often dark and brooding interplay before Trey quickly changed gears into "Camel Walk," only the second time these songs have been segued in the band's history. This old school funk number created smiles abound before a great cool down of "Seven Below." While this jam didn't venture into the unkown territory some previous versions have, it set things up perfectly for the end of the night while providing concert goers a brief moment to catch themselves before the first keys of "Fuego" were struck. Though it has stayed mostly in the composed realm, some very well placed confetti by those riding the rail added excitement and energy that carried over into "2001."
Stretching a bit longer than many 3.0 versions, Page and Trey's interplay was very much on point and each note took the crowd higher and higher, serving as an excellent springboard for the show’s culmination of "Harry Hood > Possum." Though a bit shorter and more structured than many recent versions, Hood once again was a genuine crowd pleaser and set the stage for the roof to be blown off with a blistering "Possum" closer. The show was perfectly wrapped up with an encore of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life," perfectly encapsulating the show’s overall feel in a single song, leaving us all drifting into a dream as we headed to the exits.
Stay tuned for our recap of Nashville: Night 4 tomorrow!