Phish Return to SPAC, Debut 7th New Song, Jam on Chalk Dust Torture

Phish – July 1, 2016

Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY

Songs from Phish’s TBA forthcoming album continue to bring an element of surprise to the band’s summer tour on an almost nightly basis. To recap:

That’s in addition to numerous new originals played at recent soundchecks, including three on July 1st. The third of those three was 14 promising minutes long, and the first – titled “Let’s Go” – was later officially debuted midway through set 1.

Except for 2011 and last year, Phish have played Saratoga Performing Arts Center every summer they’ve been on tour since 2003; including a two night stand in 2010 and three night runs annually from 2012-2014. This year resumes the yearly tradition with three nights, July 1st – 3rd, and Phish’s return to SPAC kicked off in high gear with “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” and the first full performance of their jam to “The Birds” from Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House since Phish debuted it on Halloween 2014. The energy was high, the band was groovin’ and the crowd was movin’. The rest of set 1 seemingly had a bit of everything: bluegrass via Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen,” chill vibes via “Waiting All Night” and its accompanying trippy LED screen visuals, the aforementioned new tune “Let’s Go” and three crowd-pleaser classics (“Bathtub Gin,” sing-a-long “Golgi Apparatus” and a “Squirming Coil” that even had the audience clapping along throughout the piano solo).

It’s set 2 though that distinguished SPAC night 1 as the best show of the tour to date for many fans, especially the improv in its opening 43 minutes connecting “Sand” to “Carini” to “Chalk Dust Torture” (22 minutes of which being the latter song). As the first 20-plus minute jam of 2016, this “Chalk Dust Torture” covered a lot of territory, most memorably the section when Trey put down his guitar to play Marimba Lumina and Mike joined Page at the keyboard. “Chalk Dust Torture” was also noteworthy for the melodicism of Trey’s leads (in contrast to the rhythmic coloring approach that characterizes most of his playing during jams at recent shows).

Watch the full concert below:

Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan
The Birds
David Bowie
Uncle Pen
Halfway To The Moon
Let’s Go
Waiting All Night
Bathtub Gin
Golgi Apparatus
The Squirming Coil

Chalk Dust Torture >
Prince Caspian >
Shine A Light
My Sweet One
Sleeping Monkey

Character Zero

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