Disclaimer, I am one of the people who was originally scheduled to attend Phish’s originally scheduled Toronto appearance on 7/9/13, and went to the show. I sadly did not have an opportunity to make it back to tonight’s show. Thanks to LivePhish for the live music sharing capabilities.
Phish love water. Are you wet yet? If you have been seeing shows this tour, you have no doubt been affected in some way, shape or form by water. You might have experienced this in the form of showers, humidity so thick that to dance in it causes those who don’t sweat to sweat buckets, cold torrential rain, rain on steroids, and even floods. You might have had a set cut short, or an entire set cancelled, or an entire show cancelled.
Phish had completed soundcheck in Toronto on 7/9/13 ready to make its first performance outside of domestic borders in 4752 days (13 years 4 days). The show was postponed from its originally scheduled date due to "insurmountable transportation and public safety issues resulting from the power outage in Toronto after severe downpours in the city." It would be 4765 days (13 years, 13 days) until Phish could make IT happen. So the Canadian phans and those who are dedicated enough to make a return trip across the border are wet and they’ve been waiting a long time, so tell us, Phish, what’s for dinner, eh?
First sets this tour have not often exuded inspirational playing. Phish kicks the show off with “The Moma Dance” in rare opener slot (first since 10/4/00). A standard “Chalk Dust Torture” follows, followed by a short, sweet “Undermind." “Army of One” is a song I always enjoying hearing more during the fall or winter, but the arms of the arctic do unfold in Canada, so this seemed like more natural placement. The first set continues with fairly standard versions of “Halley’s Comet," a “Twist” with “Oye Como Va” teases, “Bouncing Around the Room” and a good version of “Stash." Then Phish serves up Gordon/Murawski ‘s “Yarmouth Road” which made me get off my couch and dance. Too predictably, a short “Tube” follows. Clearly, it is not as stupendous without a funky jam. Where did “Ocelot” go? I’m not sure, but it was the highlight of the first set. Always a crowd pleaser, “Suzy Greenberg” closes the second quarter and it’s halftime.
After a short setbreak, Phish comes back and begins the third quarter with heroic strength. Trust me, put on some headphones and listen to this “Down with Disease." Clocking in at 18:57, this “Disease” has the extra spicy delight of Canceaux Sauce all the way through. From the moment you hear Gordon’s chill inducing bassline you could tell it would not be a standard “Disease.”
It’s moments like these that keeps most fans coming back to the water. 2013 has been a hard weather tour for everyone, the fans, band and staff included. The band certainly showed IT still can happen! Containing teases of “Piper” and “Undermind," this “Disease” doesn’t disappoint, heading into type II territory at the 4:50 mark, you can hear the “2001” coming in from the 17:07 timepoint, and a free funk dance party erupts. “2001” gives way to a standard rocking “Free” which fell into a second beautiful gem of the evening, a short, but every note intense “Piper” that was teased in the “Disease.” The “Piper” ends rather abruptly, but falls into a soulful little “Tweezer” which almost had an old-school ending feel.
“Silent in the Morning” appears again without “The Horse." Is “The Horse" dead? This is the third consecutive “Silent” appearing with no “Horse” in 2013 (7/3/13, 7/16/13). “Silent” yields yet another “Backwards Down the Number Line," and the fourth quarter loses a little steam. A standard “Cavern” follows, and then gloriousness ensues. Put those headphones back on and tighten your headbands my friends, because this “David Bowie” delivers. You could not ask for a better set closer, arguably one of the finest “Bowie’s” of 3.0.
Page has been the spokesman of the tour, as even Trey acknowledged in Chicago. So it was only appropriate he continue the role as speaker as he gave a warm shout-out to the phans, band crew and staff. Doing what they do best, giving all they can, Phish gives Toronto a triple encore beginning with “Loving Cup” – what a beautiful buzz indeed! They keep the party going with the first “Squirming Coil” played this tour, and of course end the show with the typical ragefest of “Tweeprize."
So how about it, Toronto? You had a very standard first with a lot of crowd pleasing tunes. Set two provided type-II delicacies in “DwD," “Piper," “Tweezer," and a crushing “Bowie." So happy for better weather and some time off before this happens once again. For those of restarting or beginning your celebration in the West, I wish you amazing shows! There is not a finer place to kick start the dry tour than in the beautiful place they call the Gorge! See you kids in Tahoe, and don’t forget to support the Mockingbird Foundation’s Tahoe Phamily Poker Classic on Wednesday, July 31!