Written by Scott Bernstein, Glide Magazine

HT faves Phish concluded a three-night stand at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium this evening, bringing a brief, four-show swing through California that started in Long Beach to a close.

[Photo by Lee Fenyves]

The quartet came out of the gates with a series of high-energy rockers in Crowd Control, Party Time and Axilla I. A typically beautiful Reba featured fine interplay between guitarist Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell and once again was completed with the familiar whistling section. Phish kept the energy up throughout the set as Walk Away, Back On The Train and Gotta Jibboo all contained furious and impressive soloing from Anastasio. The guitarist was also “on” for another powerful Roggae jam. Despite struggling with the start of the set-closing David Bowie, the foursome recovered to deliver an above-average take on the classic.

08/19/2012 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

[1] Mind Left Body tease
[2] Crosseyed and Painless tease
[3] Japanese lyrics.

This was the third of three pay per view performances. The intro to David Bowie included Mind Left Body teases by Mike. Light and Sneakin' Sally both included Crosseyed and Painless teases. Meatstick included Japanese lyrics. Alumni Blues was teased prior to Bug. Prior to Ride Captain Ride, Page said, "We had a lot of fun tonight. Thank you guys. I hope we can come back here and play again."

Phish went with a cover of Crosseyed and Painless by Talking Heads to open the second set and used the song as a springboard to open-ended improvisation. A pretty, major-key jam developed which the band gracefully and patiently explored before seguing into Light. There was no break in the free-form rock-improv; the quartet quickly went off on an inspired journey that featured notes of calypso, funk and jazz fusion as well as an arena rock peak over the course of more than 10 fantastic minutes of jamming. The improvisational fireworks weren’t finished yet as Phish pulled off a perfect transition into Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley.

Keeping the trend from the set going, Phish rapidly brushed past the song’s structure and got to the jam. Another transcendent improvisation transpired that featured one nasty peak after another and somehow led back into a reprise of Crosseyed and Painless complete with a spacey finish. All in all, 45 minutes of glorious Phish that needs to be heard to be believed.

Anastasio and Co. harnessed some of the energy and passion from what they had just played and infused it in a spirited Theme From The Bottom. The relentless set continued with covers of Rocky Top and Boogie On Reggae Woman that found the band having the time of their lives with giggles and smiles emanating from stage. Following spot-on renditions of Meatstick and Bug, Phish had one more trick up their sleeve – Ye Ol’ YEM. The band deliciously toyed with the tempo throughout Trey’s solo which just sort of faded, sans peak, into the drum-and-bass section. Anastasio was so enthused he danced around stage and banged on a small percussive instrument as his three band mates funked away. To top it off the group delivered Ride Captain Ride by Blues Image, with its line about sailing off from the San Francisco Bay, and the Tweezer Reprise that went unplayed on Friday as the encore, capping off a fantastic evening.

Here’s The Skinny from Night Three of Phish at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium…

  • Venue Capacity / Attendance / Type: 7,000 / 7,000 / Indoor Auditorium
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 08/17/2012 and 08/18/2012 – Two Shows
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 12 / 8:16PM – 9:47PM (91 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 10:15PM – 12:01AM (106 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 23 / 6 / 17
  • Biggest Bustout: Rocky Top – 21 Shows [LTP - 06/10/2012]
  • Debuts: N/A
  • Weather: 56° and Mostly Clear at Show Time
  • Wardrobe: Trey – Black and Green Checkered Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Mike – Black T-Shirt and Jeans / Page – Navy Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt and Jeans / Fish – Dress
  • Average Song Gap: 8.79
  • The Spread: Junta – 2, Lawn Boy – 1, Picture of Nectar – 1, Rift – 1, Billy Breathes – 2, Story of the Ghost – 1, Farmhouse – 3, Undermind – 1, Joy – 1, Misc. – 4, Covers – 6
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: You Enjoy Myself 20:57 / Crosseyed (Reprise) 2:43
  • Audio: Live Phish

Scott Bernstein

Scott Bernstein co-founded Hidden Track in October 2006 and was managing editor until taking over as EiC in January 2008. Scotty also writes for Relix Magazine and curates YEMblog.com.
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