2015 Year Enders, End of Year Lists, Music

Best Phish Shows of 2015

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Hi there, Nick from Deep Thoughts here…Ya know, I’m not only into private-press downer folk and avant-garde noise. I spend a good part of my time every year seeing what I still consider to be the greatest working band in music today, the psychedelic band from Vermont: PHISH. 2015 was a banner year for them. Guitarist and bandleader Trey Anastasio showed a renewed sense of purpose this summer after taking the job of filling Jerry Garcia’s shoes during five gigs with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. I saw 18 Phish shows this year (crazy huh?) and these are my personal highlights:

8/12/15: The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Set 1: AC/DC Bag > Free, Ya Mar, Sample in a Jar, Cities, Stash, Birds of a Feather, The Line, It’s Ice > Character Zero

Set 2: Bathtub Gin, No Men In No Man’s Land > Twist, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Harry Hood

Encore: Loving Cup

This show had what we fans call “phlow”. The second set is a unified masterpiece that draws from all periods of their career, yet finds the brand breaking new ground, especially during the extended version of “Twist.” Stream the whole thing for free here: http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/2015-08-12

8/04/15: Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville, TN

Set 1: Free, No Men In No Man’s Land, Wolfman’s Brother, 555, Birds of a Feather, Funky Bitch, When the Circus Comes, Stash, Lawn Boy, Walls of the Cave

Set 2: Golden Age > Light > Shade, Mike’s Song > Piper > Crosseyed and Painless ->Weekapaug Groove

Encore: Slave to the Traffic Light

Phish broke in this new venue with style. The first set is relatively standard, but that second set is one of my most replayed of the summer, especially the Mike’s Groove, which features the first extended jam on both Mike’s Song and Weekapaug groove in over a decade. Stream the whole thing for free here: http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/2015-08-04

8/15/15: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

Set 1: Simple > Glide, Buried Alive > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Roggae >Limb By Limb > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars > Your Pet Cat > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Horn > Blaze On > Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Halley’s Comet > 46 Days -> Bug > Steam > What’s the Use? > Steam -> Piper ->Tweezer -> NO2 -> Tweezer > Walls of the Cave

Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

This show might not have the deepest jamming of the year (though 46 Days gets pretty heady), but it more than made up for it with a creative setlist and plenty of onstage antics and gags.  Stream the whole thing for free here: http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/2015-08-15

8/07/15: Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Set 1: A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, My Sweet One > Wilson > Timber (Jerry), Roses Are Free, Rift, The Moma Dance, Ginseng Sullivan, Wingsuit, It’s Ice > Bathtub Gin

Set 2: Chalk Dust Torture -> Tweezer > The Lizards, Makisupa Policeman > Ghost >Harry Hood > Tweezer Reprise

Encore: Good Times Bad Times

This show is a little uneven at points but Chalk Dust > Tweezer > Lizards >Makisupa is one of the best segments of music of the summer. Phish goes pretty dark in this one. Stream the whole thing for free here: http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/2015-08-07

8/22/15: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY

Set 1: Divided Sky, The Moma Dance > Mound, Army of One, Scabbard > Sample in a Jar,Tube, Halfway to the Moon, Camel Walk, How Many People Are You, When the Circus Comes, Undermind > Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Wolfman’s Brother, Halley’s Comet > 46 Days -> Backwards Down the Number Line> Tweezer > Prince Caspian

Set 3: Meatstick > Blaze On -> Possum > Cities > Light > 555, Wading in the Velvet Sea> Walls of the Cave

Encore: Boogie On Reggae Woman > Tweezer Reprise

Set 4: Drive-In Jam

No list would be complete without this show, the middle night of the band’s 3 day Magnaball festival. First set is standard, with a nice Divided Sky, but the jamming in Set II (Tweezer > Caspian especially) and Set III (newer tunes Blaze On and Light especially shine) is a force to be reckoned with. The music truly plays the band. Don’t even get me started on the all-improv hour long Drive In Set. This is probably the best show of the year. Stream the whole thing for free here: http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/2015-08-22

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