Monday, October 19, 2009

Tour Opener #1 - September 8th, 2000 Albany, NY

Set 1: Mellow Mood, Limb By Limb, Ghost, Bouncing Around the Room, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Saw It Again, NICU, Glide, Axilla, Taste, Golgi Apparatus

Set 2: Birds of a Feather, Windora Bug, David Bowie, Back at the Chicken Shack, Bathtub Gin > Jam > Character Zero

Encore: Fire

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When we think of shows that NEED to make a statement, there are only a handful of shows that come to mind and this is maybe the most memorable.

Perhaps it was just all of being in the right place at the right time, but it seemed as though this entire Fall Tour consumed my life and those around me for its duration. There was class, work, family, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends but through it all, the only thing that mattered was checking the set-lists and trying to get our hands on AUD's through the rudimentary systems setup on the internet at the time.

Before everyone was carrying cell phones and Twittering set-lists, we needed to wait for our friends to leave the show and get home before calling us with their updates.

For all of us, we were waiting to find out how the band was going to approach this last tour.

And our answer came immediately: Mellow Mood. This song captured the moment with such certainty that any doubts that were lingering breezed away. Phish was back on tour, and we should be enjoying it.

Both the title and the lyrics to this old school Marley classic were perfectly placed. Phish was relaxed, they were ready to "play our favorite song" (all of them) and instructed us to "strike the hammer while iron is hot." For me, this was a directive to take advantage of what we're giving you because we're going to leave it all out here and once we step off the stage, we might never come back.

Side Note: This is a moral of seeing Phish that i've taken to heart in 3.0. Think about it for a moment. Each and every night that these guys step off the stage COULD be the last show they ever play and we need to savor it.

The rest of the first set, though light on improv, was a career spanning who's who of standalone cuts. No song, no era was going to be left out on this tour.

Limb by Limb warmed everyone up before oozing into a terrific Ghost. Bouncin' and Horse>Silent led to an energizing Saw it Again before the highlight of the first set for me.

NICU, Glide, Axilla, Taste, Golgi

Moving backwards and forwards through their repertoire, they blazed through these five songs. Though no version of these tunes stands out particularly, all were well played and provided great energy to the crowd.

The real question of the evening had yet to be are the jams gonna be?

A fairly standard Birds they debuted Windora Bug, a forgettable tune from this last tour. Then it got nuts.

This particular Bowie always stands out in my memory. Maybe its my love of this venue, but this is when the HEAT started in this show. There's always that moment in a tour opening show when you can feel the tension release and in my opinion this is where it happened.

After a quick Chicken Shack, the evening's highlight of Bathtub>Character Zero was dropped on us like a megaton bomb, vacuum and all. Really take a listen to this if you haven't heard it, great melodies and lots of fun.

With one last burst of energy, an encore of Fire closed down this evening with perfection.

We heard jams, we heard well timed covers and we heard from a wide variety of the band's repertoire.

The band was practiced and was ready to dust off some oldies, they hadn't lost their touch for amazing improvisation and they were ready to tour across the nation lighting each venue on "fire" as they left.

It wasn't the best set-list, but it was a well composed one and as with any good tour opener, we were left wanting for more.


  1. I was at this show (along with 11 others after) that started my run to shoreline for the tour closer. Living right in dowtown burlington then and attending st. mike's, I knew that the Albany shows would be fire. After the unbelievable 99' tour-closing shows there just one year prior, we knew these would be great.

    You're right about the setlist, nothing special, but the first set was hot! Trey shredded apart what may be, the best 1st-set ghost ever.

    This show was a great prelude of what was to come, but the next night was one of those truly special phish nights. Michael Ray dancing around the stage in a jester costume for over 4 songs that followed the 2nd set opening Jiboo>curtain! Truly special stuff and would get even better and phish took the road south and then out west

  2. Right on Mark. We were considering combining both of these shows for the post since it was such a mind blowing gig, but in the true spirit of this exploration of tour opening shows, we decided to keep it the initial statement of that run. Terrific points though!