Phish Fits Jones Beach Finale Inside Full-Show “Mike’s Groove” [Photos/Videos] (2022)

Phish returned to the storied Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on a picturesque July Wednesday evening, playing at the Wantagh, NY beachside venue for the second of a two-night stand. After a solid opening night that saw the group explore some unexpected territory in songs like “Leaves” and “I Never Needed You Like This Before”, fans returned to the scene well aware of the only noble truth of a Phish concert: expect the unexpected.

So it was that Phish opened the performance with “Mike’s Song”, wasting no time whatsoever in getting down to business. The group stretched its collective legs on the Mike Gordon original, diving headfirst into an exploratory segment featuring guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardist Page McConnell trading counterpoint melodies until the whole jam peaked gracefully and settled into the song’s natural conclusion.

Veering away from the traditional “I Am Hydrogen” follower, Page instead hammered out the opening chords of “Wolfman’s Brother”. Again, Phish took its time with this song, lingering on a funky and upbeat jam powered by the band’s rhythm section of Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman.

As Page and Trey explored blues pentatonic licks, Gordo and Fish steadily varied the pace and settled into a more laid-back tempo. From there, Page switched from grand piano to electric as Trey, looking stylish in his Matisse-inspired shirt, dove into a thick, psychedelic segment culminating in a melodic peak. The “Wolfman’s” continued into a stratospheric, ambient jam, and only from there, roughly 15 minutes after it began, did the band segue into the next song, “Ya Mar”.

Thematically appropriate, the island song was a cool, sing-along moment as the “Mike’s” set continued. Gordo took the vocals, but it was Leo who highlighted this version with a remarkable piano solo. Trey noodled on a solo for a moment thereafter, only to bring the song to its conclusion and provide the set’s first pause.

The breather was short-lived, however, as “46 Days” quickly followed. The bluesy rocker raised the energy with its punchy verses and a funky jam led by Gordo until Trey took things over and charted the jam into a trippy, atonal space. Just as the tension mounted, the jam peaked and the whole band burst into the chorus of the song. Instead of ending “46 Days” there, Phish again dropped into spacey territory fueled by prolonged synthesizer tones.

From within the ambiance, Trey hit the opening riff of “It’s Ice”, and off the band went into a well-executed rendition of the tight and challenging composition. Having worked through the song with purpose, Trey, Mike, Page and Fish gave themselves and the fans a moment to exhale with the 2.0-era ballad, “All of These Dreams”. Played for the first time in 40 shows and only the 7th time total post-hiatus, the slower song is a relative rarity indeed, though I’m sure I’m not the only fan who took a bathroom break at this point.

Phish – “All Of These Dreams” [Pro-Shot] – 7/27/22

Nevertheless, the energy picked up quickly when the band broke out Sci-Fi Soldier song “Something Living Here” for the first time since its debut on Halloween 2021. Powered by slick guitar melodies and Page’s expert work on the Clav, this funky number is sure to find its way into more setlists in the future. The jam stayed in the loose, free-flowing mood of the song until Trey hyped up the energy by cranking out the opening riff of “Axilla (Part II)”.

It seems that we are truly living in the second era of “Axilla” these days, as the Part II has been in regular rotation since mid-2021 while Part I occurrences have steadily dwindled. “Axilla (Part II)” features the same energetic structure with an additional, mind-bending coda section. Here, Trey took a moment to give lighting designerChris Kuroda a belated birthday shoutout (“Don’t shine that thing in my face, man. Just ‘cus it was your birthday yesterday doesn’t mean you can shine that thing in my face. Ah, go ahead, shine it”) before merging into a cover of Los Lobos’ “When The Circus Comes”. The song was well played, triumphant at its finest moments, as the set drew near its conclusion.

Phish – “Axilla (Part II)” – 7/27/22

[Video: Gregory Marcus]

Despite opening the show with “Mike’s Song”, it was “Run Like An Antelope” that got the nod for set one closer instead of the expected “Weekapaug”. Would it resurface later? That’s a question for another moment, because this was a barn-burner of an “Antelope” that capped the set in style.

A tip of the hat is due to Kurodaand associate LD Andrew Giffin on this song, which served as a showcase for the cutting-edge “automation” elements utilized by current lighting rig. Kuroda and Giffin spoke about their recent work on the Phish classic in a pre-tour interview with Live For Live Music, and the Jones Beach “Antelope” beautifully highlighted the updates they described:

The gradual improvements to the rig’s kinetic capabilities have largely been tied to technological advancements and the subsequent easing of operational limitations. Back in 2017, Gif explains, each automation move had to be called in to an operator backstage in real-time. As Kuroda adds, if they wanted to go from a “V” shape to an “X” shape, they had to first go to a flat, “—” shape and then shift from there to their final destination. “The way the new system works,” he adds, “we can go right from one to the other without having to go flat first, and it’s a lot more fluid and it’s a lot less jumpy and jerky.”

Songs like “Run Like An Antelope” have already benefited from that fluidity, as well as from Gif’s increased control over the speed of the trusses from behind the lighting console. “He has the ability now to ramp up the speed and ramp it down and play with that kind of stuff as we’re going. He can stop it from moving on a dime. … When it all of a sudden goes ‘bam!’ after the jam,” Kuroda exclaims, chopping one hand against his other, “he can stop it, right wherever it is.”

After the break, Phish returned with a slick take on “No Men in No Man’s Land”, riding out the Big Boat funk fest with a soaring jam that moved through bright and playful melodic sections. The band locked in throughout this uplifting section, continuing along with the theme. Eventually, the major-key melodies faded into a deeper, psychedelic space, leaving room for the band to segue out and into the next song.

Mike Gordon’s echoing rumbling bass rumbles could only signal one thing: “Down with Disease”. The band quickly followed the verses with an upbeat, melodic jam session that ultimately settled into a blissful space splashed with the lights from Kuroda’s rig. The luxurious scene dwelled momentarily before the band descended into more psychedelic and effects-laden space.

Emerging from the second consecutive 13-ish minute jam of the second set, Phish unveiled another first-time-played-since-Halloween-2021 selection, “Don’t Doubt Me”. The song features playful, call-and-response lyrics set to a contemplative, distortion-filled backdrop. The band snuck into a tense jam session highlighted by Trey’s crisp tone standing above Gordo and Page’s cosmic, synthesized backing.

Before fans really had a chance to get their bearings in the perplexity of “Don’t Doubt Me”, the band found bounced into the opening notes of TV On The Radio’s “Golden Age”. As the crowd clapped to affirm that they were, indeed, in the right place, Phish got to work on delivering an extended, mid-second set jamboree. Page started the improv with some solo work on the organ, though Trey’s guitar playing quickly accelerated from accompaniment to lead. Trey dabbled in an upbeat space with his bandmates tightly playing around him. Fish slowed down the pace from here, opening the jam and giving Trey the room to open up the next song, “Lifeboy”, which served asas a cool-down moment in an otherwise exploratory and high-energy second set.

The energy rose again immediately as the band introduced the opening notes of the odyssey known as “Fluffhead”. What is there to say about “Fluffhead” that hasn’t already been said? This version was the luscious honey sugar to sweeten an already mellifluous second set.

Finally, Phish closed the loop on the show-opening “Mike’s Song” by closing set two with “Weekapaug Groove”. The version was highlighted by some stylish playing from Page on the Yamaha grand in tandem with blues scale accompaniment from Trey. The group carried forward in lockstep as it returned to the final chorus and ended both the song and the set.

Following the customary brief pause, Phish returned to the stage and performed one final encore song for the Long Island crowd, “Slave to the Traffic Light”. Trey and the band nearly skipped over singing one of the two lyrics in the song, but course-corrected just in time while laughing through the misstep to appreciative applause. The song flowed through its typical dreamy jam session, culminating in its energetic finale to close the performance.

There you have it. A “Mike’s Groove” full-show performance dotted with great jams, packed with thrilling song selections, and bursting with creative energy. Thanks to Phish and the whole community for two great nights of music on Long Island. Phish continues its summer tour tomorrow, July 29th, at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, NC.

For a full list of upcoming Phish tour dates, head here. Scroll down for a collection of photos from Phish at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on Wednesday courtesy ofBahram Foroughi.

To order yourLivePhishwebcast for any of the band’s upcoming summer shows, headhere. To sign up for a free trial membership toLivePhish+and listen to the whole summer 2022 tour and more, headhere.

Following Phish’s Sunday tour-endingDick’s Sporting Goods Parkperformance, an all-star amalgamation of funk players will keep the party going atCervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom for the Phunk Sessions featuring members of John Mayer‘s touring band,Lettuce,Dumpstaphunk, and more [get tickets].

Setlist [via Phish.net]: Phish | Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater | Wantagh, NY | 7/27/22

SET 1: Mike’s Song > Wolfman’s Brother > Ya Mar, 46 Days > It’s Ice > All of These Dreams, Something Living Here > Axilla (Part II) > When the Circus Comes > Run Like an Antelope

SET 2: No Men In No Man’s Land > Down with Disease > Don’t Doubt Me -> Golden Age > Lifeboy > Fluffhead > Weekapaug Groove

ENCORE: Slave to the Traffic Light

Phish | Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater | Wantagh, NY | 7/27/22 | Photos: Bahram Foroughi

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