Perrenial jamband continues to lead the pack
Last seen in these parts back in 2019, Phish hit the road again this summer making stops for 22 shows along the east coast. For many bands in the jam genre, a border crossing can be more of a hassle for the band and much more for a touring audience. For this reason, Canadian appearances of the band are anticipated and appreciated. August 10 at Budweiser Stage was no different. Slow entries pushed the start time back a half hour but when the band finally got onstage, they hit the ground running with an extended take of the title track off their latest album, Sigma Oasis before easing into Blaze On. Moving through a winding first set with the fun and weird in My Sweet One and Wombat, and the mellow grooves of Steam and Sand. The second set let ‘fifth’ Phish member, lighting director Chris Kuroda show his stuff. Kuroda’s light art on this tour included hydraulic trusses covered in lights and LEDs that repositioned to form shapes. What sets Kuroda apart as one of the top in his field is how he not only knows every note of each song from a set list that changes each show– no easy feat when the band in question improvises heavily, but that he hits the beat a half second behind on his controls to synch with the band onstage. Known as CK5, he’s a skilled improviser himself.
The second set was a clear nod back to the heyday 90s with romps through Sample In A Jar, Down With Disease, Bouncing Around The Room, a sick funky version of Also Sprach Zarathustra from 2001, A Space Odyssey, a cover of Robert Palmer’s Sneaking Sally Through The Alley and a first encore of Lawn Boy. The band has concluded the tour but will close the summer as usual with a 4-night stand at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO over the Labour Day weekend.