Phish brought the jam session to a drenched, rain-delayed crowd at the Pine Knob Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan.
It was only the second stop in the Midwest of the jam band’s summer tour, and the excitement among the band’s famous diehard fans was evident as they stood outside the classic venue of the Detroit area. Even when a heavy band of thunderstorms delayed the start of the show by two hours, fans were kept in high spirits knowing that Phishing has often rewarded its crowds with extra special jam sessions when the weather tries to rain down on the parade.
Lead singer Trey Anastasio opened the night with “I Never Needed You Like This Before”, a new song from his 2020 solo album solitary journey. It was an inventive but relatively straightforward performance of the classic rock-style tune that transitioned to “Everything’s Right” from Phish’s 2020 Sigma Oasis workshop scrapbook. The song carries an uplifting message that has helped many fans through the worst of the COVID pandemic. This evening, it may have served to assure them that a few storms would not spoil the party. Considering the large number of people dancing happily on the lawn of the amphitheater, this was certainly not the case.
Bassist Mike Gordon led the band down a funky, twisty road through the one-song, 15-plus-minute jam session, which was the longest of the night. The band had really started to hit a groove when Trey moved his bandmates into an extended version of “Kill Devil Falls”. Just when the band started to slow down the beat, they then quickly picked it up with a funky rendition of “Camel Walk”.
Then they moved into “Stash”. Although the song is a longtime favorite of the band, they somehow continue to find new ways to keep it fresh. Drummer Jon Fishman, dressed in his trademark robe, provided the structure as keyboardist Page McConnell and guitarist Anastasio worked together to pile peak after peak into the song.
The band then dug into their 90s catalog starting with their two shortest songs of the night, “Bouncing Around the Room” followed by “My Friend, My Friend”. Fans were then treated to another classic in “David Bowie.” Although it wasn’t the extremely elongated version like the band usually does, it was still deliciously jammy.
The set ended with another song from Anastasio’s solo project in “Drift While You’re Sleeping” from his 2019 ghosts in the forest album. Trey closed the set by handing over his pick to 9-year-old Jovi, whom he had called on stage to sing “Bug” with him at his solo concert in Grand Rapids in June.
It was a hint for things to come as Phish again launched into “Bug” to start the encore, with the crowd joining the band in raising their fists in the air during the chorus. The rain finally subsided when the band ended the night with the bluesy “Possum” jam, proving that a bit of bad weather can’t detract from a good time when there’s positive vibes and great music to be had. have.
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