In Phish’s first-ever visit to Oklahoma, the band delivered a setlist-driven show, featuring many of their most popular jam vehicles, but only allowing a couple to fully develop. “Disease” and “Twist” provided the improvisational highlights of the second set, but “Rock and Roll” and “Light” each felt prematurely ended before they got going. Without putting together a stunning jam sequence, the band’s highlights came in spurts last night in a show that was certainly well-played, but fell well short of cohesion.
A patient, quasi-ambient “Twist” that touched the divine provided the improvisational gem of the show, while the second set-opening “Disease” saw the band sculpt a lengthy piece of multi-faceted jamming. When this high-quality “Disease” opened the set, drenched with delay and other textural effects, it felt like the band might be crafting one of their Leg Two “One-Two” punches, but instead, they backed up the exploratory jaunt with a pinner-sized “Birds of a Feather.” “My Friend” did nothing to pick up the set, but when the band dropped into “Rock and Roll,” one had to things were about to get wild in Oklahoma. Following 2012 highlights in Long Beach and Alabama, a third monstrosity from the Velvet Underground cover felt imminent. Before the jam grew legs, however, the band wound down for “Twist.” Within “Twist, the guys seemed to exhale and let go, crafting a fully developed jam and a piece must-hear piece of bliss-Phish.
The choppy feel of the night continued with a randomly placed “If I Could” followed by a late-set “Light,” which barely broke form. For the second consecutive time, the band’s modern juggernaut headed home with no original ground covered. And when the band turned the corner for “Harry Hood,” the show felt all but over. Splashing into the jam, Trey hit on a plinko lead that seemed to encourage his mates into adventurous full-band playing, but before long, he fell back on more traditional “Hood” playing that kept the jam contained, though still quite good.
Following one of their strongest performances of the summer in St. Louis on Tuesday, Phish crossed state borders and dropped a fairly average show in Oklahoma City, leaving the nation of fans descending upon Commerce City this weekend sporting sheepish grins as they board planes for the mountains. As we turn to summer’s final trifecta in Colorado, the band has a clean slate of songs from which to choose, and will certainly treat the three-pack as its own entity. Culminating a quick, but magnificent, second leg of summer tour, Colorado has never seemed more inviting. All these different states and new venues have been fun for the diversity of experience, but I’m ready to hit a comfort zone again. I look forward to seeing everyone on the massive GA field in the Rockies to end the summer in style!
Set One Notes: A well-played, though fairly generic, opening frame was highlighted by a plinkofied “Wolfman’s Brother” and a sunset rendition of “Divided Sky”—only its second appearance of summer. “46 Days” carried an extra groove sensibility as it did the last time out, but everything else was played quite modestly.
I: Kill Devil Falls, Rift, Wilson > Backwards Down the Number Line, The Moma Dance, Divided Sky,Wolfman’s Brother, Axilla, 46 Days, Ya Mar, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Run Like an Antelope
II: Down with Disease > Birds of a Feather, My Friend, My Friend, Rock and Roll > Twist, If I Could, Light >Harry Hood, Character Zero, Suzy Greenberg
E: Slave to the Traffic Light, Loving Cup