[We would like to thank user Aaron Presuhn, for volunteering to recap, and actually recapping, last night's show. -Ed.]
Phish at the Nutter Center. Fall tour. October. I love this venue and they obviously do too. It’s kind of hard to believe that these shows were only the 4th and 5th played here. Hopefully there’s more to come in the future.
Everyone knows THIS show. 12-7-97 was my soundtrack to a fun LSD-fueled sunrise hike among the woods and rocks of southwestern PA, and it holds a special place among my favorite shows.
The Nutter show in 2017, along with the Pete (Pittsburgh) show the next night were the best birthday present one could get. And now, six years later, the band returns to the Nutter for a two-night stand before the tour-ending run in Chi-town. Weather couldn’t have been more perfect for these shows, too…60s, sunny, great for spending a few hours relaxing on lot.
Shortly after 8, the band took the stage and started up “Set Your Soul Free.” I enjoy this tune as an opener, and we got a healthy dose of 1st-song jamming here. “Funky Bitch” was up next and gave Mike a chance to shine. At one point he bellowed out a particularly loud LAWD…and the crowd went nuts.
They slowed things down with a breezy “Roggae.” Once again, Page had some beautiful piano playing going on here.
“Kill Devil Falls” slots up in number 4 and we get about 12 minutes of fun, major key jamming. After building to a nice peak, “Steam” slides in. If KDF was happy and light, "Steam" is the polar opposite. Dark, slinky, and vaguely menacing…I fell in love with this tune immediately when it debuted at Blossom 2011.
"My Friend My Friend" is played straight, and “Crazy Sometimes” is up next. Some Mike tunes can be kind of “meh.” But one thing you can count on is that they are weird, unique, and always quirky. This version is a Mike and Page showcase. Page looked like he was having a blast. Very danceable tune. Billy Loomis just about summed up the sentiment here.
Page’s piano started up the intro to “Walls Of The Cave” in what I think we all knew would be the cap on a fun first set. This version built to a typical rocking peak and that was that.
So…the second set last night. Sometimes I think Trey just has a vision in his head when a particular set comes up and it gets executed to perfection. For me, this was one of those sets. I try not to fluff or hyperbolize much, but MAN…everything clicked here.
Nobody will ever complain about a set-opening “Down With Disease.” This version clocks in at 17 minutes and stays relatively upbeat. About 3 minutes left to go, it sounded like Trey was searching for “Ruby Waves,” and they eventually got there.
"Ruby Waves" is a song which almost always guarantees a good jam. But THIS version…wow. Any time I hear this song, my mind immediately goes to the Alpine 2019 masterpiece. Will it approach that greatness? I have yet to relisten, but I’d say it comes darn close.
Clocking in at just over a half hour, this version has several movements. At points, the jam almost sounded composed to me, I thought it was that good. There were at least two times I thought they were going to wind it down, only to have them launch into something completely different. The last few minutes of this jam were some of the most intense Phish in recent memory. The UFOs landed. The aliens were coming out. Kuroda’s lights were pulsating. It was a glorious cacophony of demented, blathering NOISE and everyone was just WTFing all over the place. I was completely sober but hooboy, if I’d been on psychedelics, it might have been lights out. Go listen to this immediately.
Where do you go after that? One of the most beautiful rarities in their catalog, in my opinion. My first “Lifeboy” did not disappoint. I was still trying to process the prior madness, so it took a moment for me to recognize it. But once I did, I seemed to have gotten something in my eye, because the tears were there. Perfection. If you choose to believe in a higher power…he, she, it…was definitely listening tonight.
“Piper” was very welcome next, and the crowd reacted accordingly. I really wanted it to go on longer than it did, but instead we were treated to a rocking “BDTNL.” I like that song to (almost) end a set. Happy Happy indeed.
But wait! There’s more! My (and probably a lot of people’s) first “I Am The Walrus.” And the walrus is MIKE. It’s always been Mike. Who else would it be, really??
A quick break and they’re back out for some more demented nonsense (that’s a compliment) with “Egg In A Hole.” “Possum” sends everyone rollicking out of the building, and Dayton is complete.
Overall, a very enjoyable two-night run. Now we’ve gotta get back to Chicago. Which I’m gonna do in a few hours. I think it’s gonna be a special run to end the tour. Till then…thanks for reading, AND GO LISTEN TO THAT "RUBY WAVES."
If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Phish.net. Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.