Chasing Phish Through The Southeast: Nashville: Night 4 August 15, 2015 13:39
Written by Preston Barnes: Live & Listen
Video by LazyLightning55a
Phish’s run through the southeast culminated in another memorable show, this time at the brand new Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN. Despite the show being early in the week, Phish phans flocked to Music City, USA, with high hopes that the boys would pull out all of the stops. Let’s just say the consensus opinion was that this show was one of the best yet on this year’s summer tour. Furthermore, you were very lucky if you were able to get into the show, as the intimacy of the venue made this show a very hard ticket to get. Needless to say, each set was stock full of great song selections and tasteful jams.
The first set had a powerful start as the emphatic and beautiful beginning of “Free” slowly reverberated throughout the venue, getting fans excited and eager for the song’s classic bass-heavy jam. Of course, that jam has its funk tendencies, which we would all soon come to find out would be the theme of the night’s first set. Immediately following “Free” came the funk anthem of the summer, “No Men in No Man’s Land.” This new tune is driven by Page’s clavinet and always gets the crowd moving from the second it begins. Furthermore, one can always expect a solid jam. To keep the funk theme going, the beginning chords from “Wolfman’s Brother” sang out to everyone’s delight. Every since its introduction back in the 90s, this tune has always been a personal favorite of mine. With catchy lyrics, a kind melody, and a tight rhythm section, this song seems to never fail in pleasing the crowd’s ever-present desire to dance and have a good time.
Just when we thought they would slow it down, Trey and Fish laid down the simultaneous intro to one of the band’s traditional funk covers, “Funky Bitch”. To me this was about the point where everyone in the crowd realized how great this show was going to be, as the masses of phans went into a dancing frenzy. The set finally took a momentary breather with “When the Circus Comes to Town” before heating back up with one of Phish’s most classic tunes, “Stash.” What’s so cool about this song to me is how during the jam, Fish is able to exhibit so much tasteful control over his kit by pushing Trey to his quintessential crescendos without hardly ever hitting the snare. This has and will always be one of those songs that perfectly encapsulates the sound of Phish. After a pleasant rendition of “Lawn Boy”, the first set closed out with a brilliant version of the allegory heavy track from Round Room, “Walls of the Cave”.
As always, the second set could not start soon enough as the capacity crowd eagerly waited to see what the boys had in store for the rest of the evening. Right of the bat, Phish delivered with “Golden Age”. a TV on the Radio cover that has become a fan favorite and was its first appearance on the summer tour. After a beautifully improvised jam, the boys quietly transitioned into “Light”, a song that always provides a highly explorative jam while also giving lighting director, Chris Kuroda, the appropriate musical canvas for him to show off his mastery of the light show. Next came the new ballad, “Shade”, which despite its catchy chorus, does not seem to be on many people’s wish lists. Thankfully, the night would take off from here beginning with a “Mike’s Song” that would deliver the seemingly fabled second “Mike’s” jam that had been shelved since 2000. Not missing a beat, the boys followed “Mike’s” with a great version “Piper”, a song that seems to be simply one big crescendo. Never stopping, always going, never failing…you get the point.
The night got even better as one of the first tour bustouts came in the funky cover of the Talking Head’s “Crosseyed and Painless”. This cover always delivers on the jam front, and everyone knew that “Weekapaug Groove” would certainly follow….which it did! This was a very interesting “Weekapaug” as it changed tempos several times and then ventured off into dark territory as Trey and Mike faced off in a duel of power chords marked by heavy metal meatiness. As they swayed back and forth in unison at the front of the stage, everyone knew this would be one of the biggest highlights of the night.
As with many shows on this tour, Phish closed out the show with one song, and we were all happy to hear that it would be “Slave to the Traffic Light”. I remember the first time I heard this song I thought to myself that the epic crescendo that marks the last half of the song was the most beautiful piece of music I had ever heard. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to have this classic Phish opus bring it all home in what was truly a magical show. Until next time, boys! Phish on everyone!