SET 1: Petrichor, Ghost, Heavy Things, Home, Poor Heart, Bathtub Gin, 555, Horn, More
SET 2: No Men In No Man's Land > Down with Disease -> Cities > Roggae > Twenty Years Later > Light > Free, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Harry Hood
ENCORE: Winterqueen, Tube > Rocky Top
Photo © Rene Huemer
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Review by TimPhishMit
After food shopping for some groceries and settling in for about an hour or so at the mansion, we were parked in the lot the E3 post and we were ready to get rolling! Bust out the cooler, pop the champagne bottle, we are making some tropical mimosas, and boy were they tasty. My wife went to one show in the past in Atlanta and it wasn’t really her thing, but I had been spending a nice amount of time leading up to these two shows making her mixes of studio tracks and giving her Big Boat and she was really coming around more than I even expected. I’ve been seeing the band since 2011 and these two Charleston shows were going to be numbers 6 and 7. This was my wife’s first true experience taking it all in the right way, meaning the lot and Shakedown Street and making the whole weekend a true Phish Event. Shakedown delivered on its universal promises of being the best place to chill and look at cool stuff while drinking a tasty beverage in hand. My wife told me I just HAD TO buy some Trey socks so I did, and I went ahead and bought my buddy back home a pair of Page Side Rage Side socks since I know he was pretty bummed he couldn’t make it out for the shows like he would have liked. I had been telling my wife for weeks now that I was gonna be buying her a heady lot shirt for her to rock on night II so she could partake even more so in the festivities; well we found some cool Charlotte folks that had some of my favorites shirts I found on the lot in terms of originality and quality of shirt itself, so my wife now owns an awesome Halley’s Comet shirt that reads Treys Antipasto with a cool image on the front, and now whenever she is in line at the grocery store everybody behind her will reading about Cadillac Rainbows and how much she loves meatballs (funny, maybe they’ll all look for the meatballs in her food cart). Myself, I was just about to walk away with the same shirt in a different color, but then remembered they had an amazing “Phall Tour” shirt with shadowy figures of the boys and some awesome different colored leaves, so I decided to get that one instead and not cramp on Wifey’s style. The breeze was just right and we got our eats in by way of some great little bite size steak tacos with homemade aioli and an incredibly tasty chicken wrap that we were able to split. After speaking to some awesome crystal folks about all the different rocks they had on display (my mouth dropped with some of the rocks I saw on their table), it was time to pack up the car, make sure we had the tickets, quickly follow that dude that said he would take me to the guy who was secretly selling Heady Toppers (he was, but he ran out, and I was able to get my hands on the last Focal Banger IPA), let my wife run into the lobby bathroom of the hotel next to the Coliseum, and head into the show!
My wife seemed to be having a really great time and I was so pumped up and ready for my first opening gig of tour and first indoor Phish show, so I couldn’t have been in any better spirits walking into that place (One side note: walking around the coliseum is fun because there are some other convention-type buildings around it and it totally feels like you are back on your college campus). I was wondering how it was going to work with all these GA seats, and it was awesome for us because we walked right down to maybe 3 or 4 rows from the floor and found 2 seats that were open and we sat with a cool group of guys from Augusta (if you’re reading this Raymond and Andrew and crew, it was a pleasure and a blast). I’ve never seen the band so close before since I typically do the lawn during summer tour because of the easy ticket price and the fun vibe, so this night was going to be a whole new deal. I was ready to get down and dirty.
PETRICHOR – This was an incredible move by the band, and listening back to the show the morning after, they played every note perfect. To open the Fall Tour with this number, considering the different opinions on the new album (I’m one of those who loves Big Boat) and the fact that Chucktown just got hit by Hurricane Matthew a week ago, this was the ballsy move and I loved it. Petrichor is the Big Boat song that has gotten the most repeated listens in my 93’ Buick Regal named Kramer, and I thought it was a very high achievement for the band but didn’t know if we would get to hear it live for a real long time because of how it might translate in a live setting; would it kill the vibe in the 4th quarter, or would it work somewhere? Well, the boys came out with guns blazing and they killed everyone in the venue with two to the chest. It’s worth mentioning that the last section of the song, “And the rain came downnnn”, that’s the section they stretched out to play around with and it worked. Also worth mentioning that the crowd really got down when the song changed up to the funky section earlier in the song. It’s cool they played it, and I’m glad to have the Phish debut under my belt.
GHOST – Great placement in the 2-slot. After the huge deafening applause post-Petrichor, hearing Trey play the Ghost riff with the whole coliseum in the dark with no lights, we were already to blast off in this spaceship together. The jam was Type-I and it was sweet and crunchy, which honestly is exactly what a Ghost is expected to do in Set I: deliver the goods and get the crowd in the right frame of mind. Thank you, Ghost!
HEAVY THINGS – I’m one of the crowd who enjoys a nice Heavy Things, and the band had a little extra gusto with this one. When people listen back to the show, I think they will enjoy it because it just seemed like the right song to play. We just got blasted with a great new big composed monster to open the show, followed by taking us back to the funk with Ghost? Let’s all throw our arms around each other and sing about Vanessa and Mary!
HOME – Home is a song I enjoy, but also a song I was willing to use as an opportunity to grab another beverage and use the restroom. I was able to hear it pretty well even though I left the seats (another plus of seeing the band at an indoor venue) and it sounded like it rocked. Listening back to the show, it pretty much stays in the lane that you’re familiar with from the album. Cool thing I didn’t catch Page say before playing the song, his mom was in the crowd and he said hello and dedicated the song to her. I’m guessing his parents live in Charleston since his dad was up on stage with the band back in 2010, the band’s last visit to the city.
POOR HEART – I rolled back to the seats just in time to catch this number start. The song is standard and what we all come to expect, but I have fun with it. Who doesn’t like dancing to a lil’ diddy when the mood is right on the first night of tour?!
BATHTUB GIN – I was very happy to hear this come out in Set I. It could truly come out anywhere and I would be very happy, but getting Ghost and Gin in the first set is usual a sign of a STRONG first set, and this set was working out its muscles right now. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering at the show, but again, it’s Gin and it’s always good when mixed just right. Listening back, I really like Gordo’s playing in this version, so keep the ears open for that if you are looking for some meaty bass playing.
555 – I am a big fan of this song; it’s probably in my top three favorite songs off of Fuego, and I think it’s a great Gordo song. My big issue with this song is I really think it has the ability to be a HUGE jam vehicle and for whatever reasons the band has, they don’t seem to want to do much more with the song at the moment. When they opened up Set II of 07/25/2014 in Charlotte with this song, my hopes got so high just to be shot down. PLEASE GUYS!! TAKE THIS SONG TO NEW PLACES!! Nonetheless, always a welcome song for me.
HORN – This was a good time and a nice treat. Never got a Horn before. I’m not looking at the song’s history, but it seems that it’s pretty sporadic with where it pops up in a show, so I enjoyed myself. It’s a good straight-up rock tune and it’s good to have that in the later half of the set to keep the vibe on the up-and-up.
MORE – I was surprised the band decided to play More here. I think we can all agree that we heard this song on the album and collectively thought, “Oh, this song is cheesy, but it sounds like it will be a lot of fun live and work perfect in the encore slot”. Well, they decided to use it to close out the first set instead. I don’t want to sound like a party pooper, because I will definitely be listening back to this whole show a lot and enjoy it all thoroughly; I am just being nit-picky now, but I think I can think of other songs I would rather have in the last song of the set. So, all in all, it was cool and it was a nice finish, I just think the song might transcend itself more in the encore slot of a fantastic show.
SET ONE SUMMARY: This was a GREAT opening set of tour and when Fall Tour is over, I think we all agree that we could tell how great the tour was going to be by how the band delivered here. Fired up, not willing to take chances, and looking to share the vibes with the responding crowd in the city rocked by the hurricane.
NMINML – The boys got right into it with this song to open up SET II. I think it works well for getting the crowd going right away, so I like it for that. And to be honest, sometimes I don’t know what my personal feelings are on this song regarding if I’m a big fan or not, because since they’ve debuted last summer around the same time, I’m more of the Blaze On guy; funny, I always think of those two songs together because of Summer Tour 2015. I usually think of the song as a great song to blast off into a more serious jam, but just a pretty straightforward funk song on its own. At this show, the song revealed itself to me as not just a place to jump into the stratosphere from, but a good song on its own to get the crowd going out of the gate. Cheers to that, and an even bigger cheers to what came next…
DOWN WITH DISEASE – Honestly, now that we are in the 3.0 era, when are we not excited to get a DWD in the early part of Set II??? I could listen to that DWD guitar lick we all love and know so well ALL DAY EVERY DAY and it will always succeed in getting me pumped for what is to come out of it. For me, that guitar lick is one of the trademark musical sections of this band. Kudos to the two guys behind me who were singing “NMINML” with me when we both had fun realizing we both heard the same tease at the same time. DWD is always a good time, but what hit next was probably what I will remember most from this show on a very personal note…
CITIES – MY FIRST CITIES. I could try to express my love of Phish’s take on this Talking Heads song and the way it gives me the down-and-dirty-southern-Charleston-covered-in-grits-feel that I love oh so much, but I don’t have to because we all feel the same way collectively. At the 8-minute mark of DWD, the band slows things down and gets sludgy for all 13,000 of us in the coliseum and this awesome dirty jam led into the tasty-like-gravy segue (and I mean legit segue, none of that “song stops and Fishman plays on his hi-hat a little bit while we go into the start of the next song” crap). This Cities is slow baby, and it fits perfectly with Charleston and what we were all wanting down in the south for this Fall Tour. Raymond from Augusta hugged me and thanked me for this because I spoke to him earlier about how much I would love a Cities since I have yet to catch one. I hope y’all all enjoy Gordo and Trey’s Bass/Marimba Lumina battle as much as I did! Think of Charleston, small city… well, on this night, the coliseum felt like we were our own city and Philadelphia had nothing on our brotherly love. And I love Elvis, so thank you Elvis for bringing your spirit down for this one!
ROGGAE – I’ve always enjoyed this song. In my head, I tend to pair this song together with Limb By Limb because they are both chill and not super heavy or loud fast, but perfectly fitting to follow up after that great molasses that came before. Always a pleaser for me if it is placed in an appropriate spot, and it was at this show.
TWENTY YEARS LATER – I view this as the curveball they pitched tonight, and I liked it. The song is cool, no monster or anything, but I think we can all love the fact that Twenty Years Later is our breather of the set, am I right?! “Hey man, it could’ve been The Line, so I’ll take it!” ;D
LIGHT – Light was GREAT tonight. I feel the song has two sides to it: it can either meander with its usual Lighty-self and the next thing we know we are in the next song and we look back and see it was just filler. Then we have the Lights we love so much that blast us off into outer space and land us on the moon; we dance around as hard as we can until that one guy grabs the American flag that was placed there so many years ago, you know, that one we weren’t supposed to touch?! He waves it around and runs around like a mad man and we then find ourselves just cheering him on because he had the balls to do it. That was last night’s Light. Have fun with the NMINML tease that begin at the 7:30 min mark. The jam they play with at 10:40 in is the jam we heard somewhere earlier this summer. I can’t remember which it is, but my gut is saying maybe the Ghost LOCKN? I could very easily be wrong, but it is from one of the jams I loved most in Summer 2016.
FREE – Who is dumb enough to ever say that they didn’t want to hear Free? I had my arms wide open and up in the air and I was taking in every minute of it, making sure I didn’t miss my chances to yell “FREEEEEEE”. I always enjoy the breakdown, always enjoy Gordo slapping my ass, oops I mean his bass.
BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN – YES YES YES PLEASE OH YES DO NOT STOP. GIVE IT TO ME HARDER. ( I enjoyed myself)
HARRY HOOD – For the sake of time since we want to get going to an aquarium around the area before tonight’s sequel, let me just say that I always feel good about Hood and this set just reminded me of that important part of life.
SET TWO SUMMARY – One for the books people. This book will be place on my shelf at a spot that is easily accessible for me to grab whenever needed. Y’all down here will never see no dust on this book!
PLEASE, READ THE BOOK!!!!
PS – For the encore talk, we stayed part wat into Winterqueen but I didn’t feel the need to stay and believed I had my fill and was ready for heading out the doors. I got back to our place and saw that they had played Tube and Rocky Top after WQ, and thought “Man, I would’ve stayed if the encore was Tube>Rocky Top!” I love those tunes, but honestly, it’s all good everybody, I got all the amazing memories I could handle on the first night of Fall Tour in Chucktown. Also, we went to Wafflehouse after the show and I had a blast there eating an amazing hashbrown bowlwith scrambled eggs and sausage. Ronya at Waffle House was wonderful and she gave me my hash browns the way she likes them, so I was calling it the Ronya Special Hashbrown Bowl. People work so hard at that joint man, I love sitting at the bar and watching them put the food together. After seeing a great Phish show and appreciating people and life, the Wafflehouse was a wonderful experience that transcended what a normal Wafflehouse experience is to an everyday visitor.
The P-Fish – changing Waffle Houses everywhere, one tour stop at a time.