Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Live Review: Phish Randall's Island NYC 7/11/14

7/11/14 Randall's Island, NYC

The Jamband Gods from Vermont played one of their many adopted home towns Friday during their 2014 summer tour. The group staged a rare outdoor multi-night run within the Big Apple's limits. Phish are older, wiser and seem to be actually touring behind their new album playing a few songs off it in high leverage set spots each night.  That said, the band will never change, you either catch or you Phish.

The grounds on Randall's island themselves were excellent for the show as the lush grass held up and no mud puddles were to be seen, what was interesting though was the lack of a festival vibe from the band. For a group who know how to throw a 'fest better then anyone this seemed weak, few interesting exhibits and a noticeable lack of vending, just ask anyone who waited 45 minutes for a beer.  

It is all about the music though and these days a sober Trey and energized band seem to love to play together. Rarely do you get the sense that any song could be a catalyst for adventure (see Phish 2.0) as in the past but these days the group consistently play well. The first set showcased this and was the more successful of the two offered on the night.

The opening "Moma Dance" seemed to sum up the current state of Phish, excellently played but when something special might have evolved right off the bat the group cut things out and dove into "Kill Devil Falls". A reggae tinged "Ya Mar" grooved but the real showcase for the group on this night came next with an excellent "Bathtub Gin" that saw the band climax, then space out as they do almost better then anyone; a must listen for any current future or past fan of the band.

"555" got a funky airing showcasing the first song off of Fuego nicely via Page and Mike's interplay, while Trey took Mike's spot to duel with Page on the old classic "Rift". "Rift" started a run of shorter songs that leaned towards more of the bands pop influences in the best way the group can via "Sample In A Jar" and the new "Waiting All Night" before "Stash" closed things out.   

The second set began with "Steam" before going into that sections best offering a funk filled "Down With Disease" that had the audience woo'ing during breaks. The group played their version of "Golden Age" which TV on the Radio played on the same island (different stage) only a few weeks before at Governors Ball. After a personaly exciting if not monumental "Limb by Limb" the band entered their newest jam monster turf with "Fuego".

While fans on tour have raved about this song from the SPAC and Mann versions tonight's playing seemed OK, but rarely extra ordinary for the band. "David Bowie" showed up next and with a hard curfew at 11 the group seemed a bit rushed, closing with "Cavern" and a "Character Zero" encore. While timing may have been an issue in the second set the group seemed to be enjoying themselves and prepping for 2 more shows to come. 
Seen Phish more then any band in our life and while we are down to 1 or 2 shows a year at this point it is always fun to catch up with old friends (musically with the band, and literally with faces in the crowd). We know we could write a ton more about it, but we think that review says enough for now, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.

Support the band here, see them live here and peep some audio from NYC Taper and video below:

 "Ya Mar"

And Video of the Gin if you want to see it:

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