Phish was the surprise of the Bay Area’s summer concert schedule.
No, it was no surprise how good the Vermont quartet was at the premiere of two nights at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View on Tuesday. It wasn’t at all shocking considering we were dealing with the biggest jam group in the world.
The surprise was that these two Mountain View shows were happening.
Just a week earlier, those fans – or, in Phish parlance, “Phans” – had no idea they would be having fun with guitarist Trey Anastasio, bassist Mike Gordon, keyboardist Page McConnell and drummer Jon. Fishman in Shoreline.
Many of them had originally planned to be with Phish at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena in Stateline, Nevada this week, but the promoters were later forced to move the shows to Shoreline due to the horrible air quality and dangerous conditions caused by the Caldor fire.
As the wildfire impacted earlier planned concerts at the same Tahoe venue – causing shows by country stars Dierks Bentley and Eric Church to be postponed / postponed – many people began to sidestep expect the same fate to befall Phish’s concerts.
Still, the move to Shoreline came as a real surprise, in large part because it’s run by an entirely different promoter – Live Nation – as opposed to Another Planet Entertainment, which books the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena as well as the Greek Theater in. Berkeley, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and other venues.
The end result is that the Bay Area will now host a total of four Phish shows this year – make five, if you add Sacramento into the mix. The group is also scheduled to perform October 16-17 at the Chase Center in San Francisco, as well as October 15 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Show time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $ 55 to $ 95; apeconcerts.com. (Plus, there are still tickets left for Wednesday’s show at Shoreline; $ 85, livenation.com.)
While both of these shows were moved to Shoreline, it was evident that Tahoe was still very much on the minds of many of those in attendance on Tuesday.
That number most certainly included Anastasio, who spoke to the crowd early in the first set – something he rarely does – and conveyed the group’s love and concern for the Lake Tahoe region.
“We all think of everyone out there,” Anastasio said.
Yet it’s a band that does more than just talk.
As such, the group collects donations for the El Dorado County Community Foundation’s Caldor Fire Fund through its WaterWheel Foundation booth at both Shoreline concerts. Donations will then be matched by the group and will go directly to those affected by the forest fire. Visit phish.com/waterwheel for more information. Donations to the Caldor Fire Fund can also be made directly at eldoradocf.org.
Phish kicked off the first set with the always fun “Glide”, with the opening lyrics – “And we’re happy, happy, happy that you’re alive” – drawing smiles and screams of joy as the audience s ‘was setting up to enjoy the first Bay Area Phish Show since July 2018. (The band was supposed to perform in San Francisco in 2020, but those shows have been postponed due to the pandemic.)
From there, the group ventured into ‘Colonel Forbin’s Ascent’ and ‘Fly Famous Mockingbird’, two big favorites of Phan – just ask the guy wearing the ‘Straight Outta Gamehendge’ shirt in Shoreline – but not really. for good musical reason.
Things got up a notch with “Wolfman’s Brother” and then again with “Stash” – which provided the first-sized psychedelic jam of the night – only to wedge it up a bit with a somewhat disposable version of “Bouncing Around. the Room “.
Still, the first set ended triumphantly as the band delivered an enthralling rendition of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” with the kind of fireworks display that earned Anastasio a long time ago a place among. the best rock guitarists of all time.
The musicians were showing off their jam-band chops – and how – at the start of the second set as they threw themselves into a marathon version of “Soul Planet” that lasted a breathtaking 47 minutes.
No, it’s not a typo.
The remainder of the second set of was filled with relatively concise tunes, with the exception of the 15+ minute version of “Harry Hood” which ended the main set.
The band returned to the stage for a terrific encore of two songs from “Fee” and “Wilson,” sending Shoreline fans on high note and eagerly awaiting more great music the following night.