Story by Allison GaareLast Friday the well known jam-band Phish performed the first of two shows at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin. As usual, the band delivered a varied setlist of old and new material, while providing great vibes for the thousands who flock to this grassy hill each year for this perennial favorite.
Photos by Terry Mayer
Prior to the show, the parking lot was filled with its typical organic atmosphere, including a colorful myriad of patchwork threads, tie-dye shirts and nappy dreads. Everything from ganja food to hemp necklaces, not to mention the many different styles of beer, could be found throughout. The smell of hot grills and the occasional scent of patchouli filled the air along with the various music spilling out of the many cars, buses and vans.
The lot quickly started to vacate as the theatre filled, and Phish soon took to the stage. They opened with "Axilla," which created a lot of energy between the band and their audience. They then went into "Rift" where the momentum flowed straight into "Bathtub Gin," a number from their 1989 Lawn Boy album. At one point singer / guitarist Trey Anastasio took a short break practicing his chords, before the band leisurely strolled into "Roggae," as well as a new number "Discern." During the song "I Didn't Know" Jon Fishman then broke into a peculiar solo performed on a vacuum cleaner, as he was accompanied by bandmembers Mike Gordon and Page McConnell to the tune of Kansas' "Dust In The Wind." After the strange solo had ended, Phish jumped right back into "I Didn't Know" before ending the first half of their show with the song "David Bowie."
When the band started off their second set with "Down With Disease" the crowd was up and ready to dance. Despite the fact that the two newer songs "Secret Smile" and "Two Versions of Me" were a bit slow in places, when "Twist" started up, so did the energy. "Character Zero," a favorite from their 1996 album Billy Breathes, finished out the set, and, judging from the audience response, was a great song to do so. Once again, Phish delivered a superior performance with a broad setlist for their faithful fans here in Southeast Wisconsin.
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