Tonight is the ninth show of tour and the fifth played in the state of New York. It is also the last time we’ll be in the band’s home-away-from-home for a while, however, for we’ll be heading steadily south for the rest of the month. “Golgi” opens up the show and sounds good as an opener, though there are a couple of minor timing issues. “Maze” emerges from “Golgi” and, as it is being played earlier in the show than other performances this tour, feels more like a warm-up than it has recently. Both solos are good but don’t quite reach the level of bringing down the house. Neither Page nor Trey overshadows the other. “Guelah” and “Sparkle” brings us to “Split Open and Melt,” which is still being kept on a tight leash of less than three minutes of jamming. Trey’s solo begins at 4:30 and at 5:30 there’s a weird section where Fishman drops into a half-time tempo and Mike does a lot of booming on his bass. It’s an interesting though short section. Trey shreds throughout the whole jam and is sounding quite good tonight. The jam peaks at around 7:20 and the song is over by 9:00.
“Esther” makes her second appearance of the tour and lacks the extended keyboard intro of the last outing. It is well-played and segues into a tour favorite of mine, “The Wedge.” This one doesn’t stand out from previous performances but once again gives Page a nice spotlight, which he uses to deliver a great jazzy solo in the middle of the song. “Chalk Dust” is “Chalk Dust,” but it feels nice and energetic and features a decent Trey solo. “I Didn’t Know” features an unusual solo from Fishman tonight, and I honestly don’t know what instrument he is playing here. I thought jazz standards had all but vanished from Phish’s repertoire at this point but “Take the ‘A’ Train” makes an appearance here as the penultimate song of the set. It’s short but features an actual, honest drum solo from Fishman which is quite a rarity.
“Run Like an Antelope” emerges over the chaos of the “‘A’ Train” ending and features a great solo from Trey at the beginning with a lot of shredding; he’s really been killing it this set. Maybe we need more early set “Mazes” to warm-up those soloing chops? Trey leads the song to its peak by 6:30 but a Page-led breakdown leads into a mini-second jam. A real tight and energetic performance of this song makes it the easy highlight of the set for me, but the whole first half has been filled with good playing and song placement. A solid first set in the context of the tour.
Set 2 opens with “My Friend, My Friend,” a slot that it hasn’t occupied yet on this tour but that it fills well. Once again they experiment with the “Myfe” ending of the song, playing a largely guitar driven mini-jam under the ending lyrics that extends the song a bit. “All Things Reconsidered” brings us to the first highlight of the set: “Reba.” The pace of this song seems a little slower to me than recent performances and more in line with what I would expect the tempo of the song to be today. The jam begins at 6:30 and is brought to a peak by 9:15. Instead of bringing the song to a quick close, as they have often done with jams on this tour, they really extend and embellish this peak for a couple of glorious minutes. Fishman starts to cue the ending at least a couple times with Trey just playing right past him; Trey doesn’t sound like he wants the song to end. Definitely a very good “Reba.”
“Poor Heart” follows “Reba” and goes into “Big Ball Jam,” which is appearing earlier in the setlist than it normally does (it definitely feels like they’re experimenting with their setlist at this show). “Fast Enough for You” makes its first appearance since the D.C. show and is well-placed here as a breather before the band drops into “You Enjoy Myself.” The most interesting passage of this “YEM” is during Trey’s solo where he brings the band into a very quiet passage in which Fishman almost drops out entirely for about a minute. They then snap back full-force at 13:45. Despite this cool section this is far from my favorite “YEM” of the tour, neither Page nor Trey’s solo peaks particularly hard and the bass-and-drums segment is kept very short. Perhaps more exciting is the song they segue into out of the vocal jam: “Ya Mar” makes its first appearance on stage in 95 shows. “Ya Mar” is well played but not too remarkable.
Tonight’s Henrietta segment/Syd Barrett song consists of “Terrapin” and no banter to speak of. Usually the most interesting parts of the second set come before the Henrietta segment but Phish throws that for a loop tonight with a double-dollop of awesome to close out the set. First up is “Harry Hood,” which shockingly hasn’t been played for over a week. I figured this was a setlist regular at the time but maybe they’re only playing it as an occasional treat? Whatever the case it’s a good “Hood;” similar to the “Reba” earlier in the set the peak is thrilling and embellished. To close out the set we get a surprise “Harpua” (then again, what “Harpua” isn’t a surprise?). Before the narration starts proper Trey mentions that they are embarking on “three months of driving around on a bus” and that the bet over whether Fishman will be late for the bus or not has apparently risen to $1000 up from the $800 mentioned a few nights ago. There’s a strange narration in this “Harpua” about Jimmy watching the Super Bowl halftime show featuring Michael Jackson. Poster doesn’t like MJ and wanders outside to his death. After coming face to face with Harpua he has a heart attack. It’s strange and fun in a way that only “Harpua” can be. The night ends with an amplified “Amazing Grace” (sounds good) and some Zeppelin (“Good TImes Bad Times”).
I think this night’s show is a clear improvement over the last few shows. For the most part everything is well-played, it sounds like they’re (successfully) experimenting with their setlist a bit, and there are several instances of great improvisation. Between the strong peaks in “Reba” and “Hood” and the zaniness of “Harpua” there are also a lot of highlights in the second set. This was a great way to say goodbye to New York and the northeast as the band embarks on their three-month journey around the rest of the country.
- Show rating: 4/5
- Highlights: “Run Like an Antelope,” “Reba,” “Harry Hood,” “Harpua”
- Phish.net setlist
- First set length: 73 mins.
- Second set length: 107 mins.
- This was the first and last time Phish performed at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.
- The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Ya Mar,” returning after a ninety-five show absence (4/24/92).
- The best represented studio album is Rift (6 songs).
Postscript: TreyDHD, over on Reddit, had this to say about tonight’s show:
The latest show you review, Poughkeepsie, has a strange Phish fact. It’s the first Harpua where Poster Nutbag kills Harpua. My friends drove Page to Waterloo 1993, and he told them they actually used to keep count of how many kills Harpua had, so this was a “big deal.” He was being tongue in cheek I’m sure, but I always found that interesting.