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Phish Plays Rain-Delayed Concert At Pine Knob – Recap, Setlist & The Skinny

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I grew up in southwest Michigan, often venturing east to the Palace of Auburn Hills to see acts like Milli Vanilli, MC Hammer, and the good ole Grateful Dead (is it sacrilegious to mention these musicians in the same sentence?), but I never made it to nearby Clarkston to see a show at Pine Knob Music Theatre. A venue that boasts of repeated visits by Chicago, Bob Seger and Kid Rock, Phish had only played there twice before their show last night. A highly rated 2011 show on bassist Mike Gordon’s birthday and a less highly rated show in 2014.

Pine Knob would be their second Midwest stop of the summer leg of the tour, after a fantastic show the previous night at Blossom Music Center with a monster jam in the second set. Anticipation ran high as fans in this part of the country were getting their first taste of Summer 2022 Phish after a lengthy run on the East Coast. Sadly the sunny skies from Ohio didn’t follow the band to Michigan and a thunderstorm led to a rain delay. Phish has been known to reward their fans for withstanding bad weather (remember July 22, 1997?), so vibes remained high despite the rain. The cancellation of set break was announced pre-show and fans filed in once doors to the venue opened at 8 p.m. ET.

Expectations continue to be high for this band, they are expected to deliver completely unique and inventive improvised music and innovative setlist construction every time they step onstage. It’s their own fault though, they keep delivering so we keep expecting it. Despite these tremendous pressures and intense listening from a rabid fan base, this summer tour has been exceptional. Phish has shown us again and again why they deserve the hype and the lifelong fans who are willing to spend endless time and money seeing the same band again and again. It’s because they are in the moment and allow us to be as well.

Opening the delayed show with a newer song off guitarist Trey Anastasio’s solo album, Lonely Trip, “I Never Needed You Like This Before” is a classic rock tune that sounds like it has been around forever. I will always associate this song with the first glimpse we saw of Trey when he took the stage on The Tonight Show in August 2020 to tell the world that rock ‘n’ roll had survived the pandemic. A recent performance of this song with a decent jam at Jones Beach led us all to wonder if they would open with a big jam, but a solid performance of the rock tune was what they had in store. Next was “Everything’s Right,” another song I associate with the pandemic for its hopeful message and excellent studio version released on Sigma Oasis in April 2020. A reliable jam vehicle, the band quickly found the pretty place they have been effortlessly falling into this summer.

Trey was driving the band toward blissy peaks, but then Mike steered the ship toward funk town. Mike keeps standing out this tour as his playing seems especially inspired and also perhaps turned up in the mix. I thought the jam was in a groovy spot and could have extended even past its excellent 17 minutes, but Trey gave the signal and the band moved on to “Kill Devil Falls.” An extended version with a melodic jam saw drummer Jon Fishman pushing the energy forward and great interplay between him and Trey. The jam landed in an interesting quiet space as they launched into an unhurried and funky “Camel Walk.”

Smiles were abundant on stage as they sauntered through this silly song and we got our first sample from Fishman’s kit, a “YEAH” to affirm the collective joy on stage. Up next was another highlight of the set as the band played an all-time favorite, “Stash.” This song has been played 434 times and they are still finding ways to keep it exciting such as sandwiching it inside “Steam” at Walnut Creek or finding an unexpected musical place inside the jam. The band galloped through this song expanding a riff with keyboardist Page McConnell and Fishman adding texture along the way. Trey built incredible, energetic peaks during this “Stash” and seamlessly ended back in the song to put a bow on it. Standard versions of old-school Phish, “Bouncing Around the Room” and “My Friend, My Friend,” were next, taking us back to the ‘90s

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

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The Setlist


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The Venue

Pine Knob Music Theatre [See upcoming shows]

2 shows
6/03/2011, 7/16/2014

The Music

14 songs
/ 9:05 pm to 11:35 pm (150 minutes)

14 songs

14 originals / 0 covers

2000

8.57 [Gap chart]

None

None

Camel Walk LTP 06/04/2022 (16 show gap)

Everything’s Right 17:09

Bouncing Around The Room 3:26

Junta – 1, Lawn Boy – 1, A Picture of Nectar – 1, Rift – 1, Farmhouse – 2, Joy – 1, Big Boat – 1, Sigma Oasis – 1, Misc. – 5

The Rest

70° and Rain at Showtime

Koa 1

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More Skinny

Next up was another classic, and we all held our breath as we heard the first few chords of “David Bowie.” Everyone (on Phish Twitter) is hoping for that next great “Bowie” that stretches out past its glorious composed sections and gets weird and unpredictable. I saw a big “Bowie” at my first show in November 1994, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time. Despite this one having jam potential, a well-played version is what we got and hearing Mike put some extra sauce into his vocals made my night (see also the Raleigh “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars”).

Phish loves to play “Carini,” and the crowd loves to hear it, so it works all around. This song is often a launching pad for excellent jams and last night we got to hear our only hint of the alien sound that is the yin to the yang of the melodic jamming we’ve been hearing this summer. A great segue as the band found themselves in “No Men in No Man’s Land,” a song that often leads to a hypnotic groove that reminds me of my house music rave days. This version showed signs of going dark, but Trey found a riff and the band caught up and slowly started playing “Twist.”

The set ended with “Drift While You’re Sleeping,” a song from Trey’s Ghosts Of The Forest album that he wrote with stunning intimacy while he watched a close friend succumb to cancer. It’s amazing how Trey can write personal songs that come to define moments in my life as well. Whether it is “My Friend, My Friend” opening my first show 28 years ago and blowing my 17-year-old mind, or “Drift While You’re Sleeping” bringing me to tears while driving to the grocery store masked and gloved, scared to come into contact with anyone. These songs become part of us and the moments that make up our lives. This is indicative of how present this band continues to be, of course in their ability to improvise every night, but also in terms of songwriting.

Every year that goes by is filled with moments that become part of our collective memory as a fanbase. These inside jokes and touching moments we experience together help bond us together in a world that feels more and more torn apart every day. We love seeing this band because it is a place where things feel connected and meaningful, even if it is just for a laugh or a chance to dance until you sweat through your clothes (not saying I do that).

Trey ended the night by handing his guitar pick to Jovi, the girl he had called up on stage to sing with him on his solo acoustic tour in Grand Rapids in June. When the band came out to encore it was of course dedicated to her and the band played the song she sang with Trey, “Bug.” Seeing everyone raise their fists in the chorus as she did when she was onstage, was one of those moments when being in the present is a gift and these guys just keep on giving. The boys from Vermont ended with the exclamation point of “Possum” and sent everyone skipping out, thankful for another Pure Michigan summer night of being together and being present. The best gift of all.

Phish begins a three-night run in Atlantic City on Friday. Livestreams are available via LivePhish.com.

Phish From The Road Photos

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cg0hYnquIKO/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Cg0hL6LOrxP/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Cg0MwXCOdYa/

Poster

https://www.instagram.com/p/CgzhsNrL6uN/

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Source: JamBase.com