There are nights when the Phish guys can come across, at least for a song or two, as mere mortals.
Not on this night. Not on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012.
On this night, they were golden gods of rock 'n' roll.
The Vermont jam band -- consisting of vocalist-guitarist Trey Anastasio, drummer Jon Fishman, keyboardist Page McConnell and bassist Mike Gordon -- were in truly legendary form during the final concert in a three-night stand at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
It was the type of evening -- an entirely mesmerizing and moving two-set concert filled with superb musicianship and incredible improvisation -- that made the undying devotion of the "phans" seem quite logical. As the group moved through one blistering jam after another, and filled the set list with an equal number of surprises and expected treats, it not only became increasingly easy to understand why someone would follow Phish from city to city -- it also started to sound like a very good idea.
The first set was excellent, highlighted by a rambunctious version of the seldom-played "Mound," a great cover of the James Gang hit "Walk Away," the fun "Gotta Jibboo" and the roaring set-closer "David Bowie."
Yet, the group would top all that in the second set. The segment opened with an epic jam that started with the Talking Heads' "Crosseyed and Painless" and then went through "Light" and "Sneakin' Sally Thru the Alley," before finally winding back up in "Crosseyed" again." Phish followed with a sensational cover of Stevie Wonder's "Boogie on Reggae Woman," the ridiculously fun "Meatstick" (complete with synchronized dance moves) and the set closer "You Enjoy Myself" (which featured Anastasio and Gordon on trampolines).
The encore solidified the show among Phish's finest, as the group performed a rollicking cover of the 1970 Blues Image smash "Ride Captain Ride" and then "Tweezer Reprise" -- thus finishing off a couplet that began when Phish played "Tweezer" way back on Friday night.
Phans definitely should download this show. It was nothing short of spectacular -- a fantastic close to what had been a memorable weekend in San Francisco.
Here's the set list:
"Back on the Train"
"Crosseyed And Painless" >
"Sneakin' Sally Thru the Alley" >
"Crosseyed and Painless"
"Theme From the Bottom"
"Boogie on Reggae Woman"
"You Enjoy Myself"
"Ride Captain Ride"
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