From playing Grateful Dead covers almost 35 years ago, Phish has become today’s premier jam band to see. With the death of Jerry Garcia, and the end of the Grateful Dead, Phish filled in that massive hole for those fans and gave a new generation of fans a special experience comparable to a Dead show.
Besides the musical similarities, both bands have their own tailgate party before each show known as “The Lot” for Phish and “Shakedown Street” for Dead shows. It’s easy to see why Phish guitarist and frontman Trey Anastasio was chosen to play Garcia’s parts and sing his vocals for the massive “Fare Thee Well” shows celebrating The Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary.
After two hiatuses, one of two years and the second of five years, Phish is bigger than ever. Phish has hosted a number of festivals as well as playing to audience of 18,000+ nightly each tour. Phish is so popular that they play a consecutive “Bakers Dozen” (13) series of shows at Madison Square garden. Also like the Grateful Dead, Phish always has a changing setlist each show and the show is broken into two sets as well as keeping a consistent line up for over 30 years.
Since Phish’s debut album in 1986 the band has been Anastasio, Jon Fishman (Drums), Mike Gordon (Bass, Vocals) and Page McConnel (Keyboards)
Phish played two nights at the Forum this past weekend on July 27 and 28. I was there night one, it was my first Phish Concert besides seeing Anastasio solo. Set one kicked off with “Chalk Dust Torture” and ended with “Sand.”
From the minute Phish hit the stage, it was one big dance party all night with glow sticks being tossed around. Phish is an experience and a special type of show you don’t get with many other bands.
Set two started with “Blaze On,” and ended with “Slave to the Traffic Light, before Phish returned to close with “Weeping Monkey” and “Weekapaug Groove” in the encore.
Phish’s summer tour continues through the beginning of September then picks up for the Fall part October 16 at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY . Phish’s last dates of the year at this time are four nights at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas from October 31 to November 3.