After a scorcher last night in Tampa, Phish moves on to Miami for the second and last Florida show of tour. Unfortunately, only about half of the show-opening “Runaway Jim” circulates. From what I am able to hear, the show-opener sounds like a solid/standard “Jim” with a decent Trey solo. A pleasant “Nellie Kane” takes up the two-slot, before the band moves into a slightly-extended “Foam.” The composition of “Foam” is performed well and Trey takes his time with his solo, making this a fun and interesting performance of the song. “Foam” is followed by a pairing of two standard songs, “Fee > Rift,” before the band reaches an opportunity for a significant improvisational excursion: A mid-set “Stash.”
The “Stash” jam quickly centers around Trey’s dissonant riffing, with an intense passage building up tension underway by 5:30. This comes to an initial peak by 6:00, before the mood becomes dark again. The jam loosens up slightly at this point and becomes more subdued. Trey starts playing a relatively simple (but still ominous) melody that sounds quite unlike his typical playing in “Stash.” This comes to another peak by about 9:00, at which point it sounds like the band is heading towards the composed end of the song. Instead, Trey leads through the band through a brief but exciting anarchic freakout, which culminates in the most energetic and thrilling peak of the jam. The band finally lands on the composed ending at 10:20. This is a good, effective “Stash” that goes sideways through multiple tension-building passages that each result in a satisfying release. Easily the most exciting song of the set so far.
“The Horse > Silent in the Morning” follows “Stash,” bringing the energy of the show back down a couple notches. Fitting in with this mellow mood is the subsequent “Ya Mar.” This “Ya Mar” is largely interchangeable with the other “Ya Mars” from this summer, meaning it’s about 7 minutes long and features some nice soloing work from both Page and Trey. An absolutely ripping “Llama” with a ferocious Trey solo builds the energy back up before the set-closing “Cavern.”
This set definitely feels like a come-down of sorts from the wild show the night before. It does have some high-energy moments (“Llama,” “Stash,” the half-“Jim”) and an entertaining tension/release jam (see again: “Stash”), but it also largely features standard performances of songs in heavy rotation (“Rift”,” “Nellie Kane,” Horse >Silent in the Morning”). There’s definitely far more exciting first sets this tour, but the set is still an enjoyable listen regardless.
Set 2 opens with the first “Lengthwise” of tour, and is followed by the obligatory “Maze.” Page’s solo is standard tonight, but Trey adds some nice spice to his, making him the clear winner of the “Maze” duel. Trey’s solo contains some gritty, dissonant runs as well as excellent shredding in the run-up to the peak of the jam. A good, if not amazing, “Maze.” “Bouncing Around the Room” serves as an early breather before the band launches into “It’s Ice.” “Ice” is well-played tonight, and features Page having some fun with an extensive “Theme from the Munsters” tease during the ‘underwater’ segment of the song.
“Ice” leads to an early “You Enjoy Myself,” as the band starts “YEM” only a little over 20 minutes into the set. “YEM” begins with a lovely and ethereal ‘bliss’ jam from 1:30-3:00. Trey flubs a little during the composition of the song, a little after 4:00, but you have to be listening closely and be familiar with the song to notice it. He pulls it together for the rest of the song when the next section of the composition starts. Page’s solo initially sounds rather standard, like his solo in “Maze.” Trey drops out entirely, and Mike begins dropping great bass booms all over the place. This seems to inspire Page, for he launches into a great, melodic chordal progression that builds into a ripping end to his solo.
Trey starts strumming at 10:30 and takes over the jam at 11:30. The jam quickly breaks down after this transition to Trey, with Mike and Page both dropping out. Fish and Trey trade some jazzy playing, before Page comes back in at 12:05 as Trey falls into a swaggering riff. This riff dissolves into silly, staccato fun as the jam quiets to near silence. The band comes crashing back into a rock groove at 12:50. Trey locks into a driving riff at 13:30 that launches him into a solo. This solo builds to a hard rocking and satisfying peak to round out a fun segment of improvisation. The bass and drums solo begins at 14:55. Mike continues with his great playing from earlier to deliver some fine, funky playing. He locks into a dissonant note at 15:55 that is so much fun it even causes Trey to come back in, briefly, for some additional intensity. The vocal jam starts at 16:20. Usually the vocal jam doesn’t do much for me, but this one actually moves through some neat melodic sections before coming to a close with a wailed scream.
This might be the best “YEM” of the tour that doesn’t involve some sort of ‘gimmick’ (such as the guests on 7/27 or the “BBFCFM” segue on 7/23). It’s at least a serious contender for the title. No frills; just a lengthy and fun jam that goes through several distinct segments before wrapping up with a big rock solo. “YEM” is definitely the big highlight of this show. “The Lizards” is next, and is well-placed as a composed pairing to the exciting “YEM” jam. The rest of the set is well-played, but less eventful than this mid-set sequence. “Sparkle” follows “Lizards,” leading into the umpteenth “Purple Rain” of tour for the night’s Henrietta segment. “Golgi Apparatus” is the lone post-Henritta song of the set. A quick duo of “Poor Heart” and “Free Bird” comprise the encore.
This show contains an excellent “YEM” that is surrounded by an otherwise thoroughly average show. The playing is rock solid throughout the night, and both sets feature a decent setlist with some fun sequences. That being said, after last night’s barnstormer, it’s hard to see this show as anything other than a come-down of sorts. The band gets some “rest” after tonight, with their first multi-night break from playing shows in 2 weeks. I say “rest,” for this break will involve travel of over a 1000 miles for the next show in the midwest. I’ll talk to you again on the 6th from Cincinnati, OH.
- Show rating: 3/5
- Highlights: “Stash,” “You Enjoy Myself“
- Phish.net setlist
- First set length: ~62 mins.
- Second set length: 79 mins.
- This is the first and last time Phish performed at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater.
- The longest gap in this night’s setlist is “Lengthwise,” returning after a sixteen show absence (5/30/93).
- The best represented studio album is Rift (8 songs).