Phish in Hampton, Night One

They’re back.

That was the unanimous decision tonight as Phish performed their tightest show in years on an electric Friday night in Hampton, VA. The quartet took the stage and meant business from the start, giving fans the highly sought “Fluffhead” as an opener to a first set that was close to 2 hours long. Many were predicting no setbreak at all, as the band served up a set-ending “David Bowie” after dusting off classics like “Divided Sky,” a dark “Stash,” “Suzie Greenberg,” and “Rift.” “Squirming Coil” was also a first set highlight.

Chris Kuroda’s light show was perhaps his most extensive setup yet, as an over-the-top main rig was enhanced by another ring of lights over the middle of the floor that projected glowing colors onto giant white orbs that hung around the coliseum rafters. The inner ring of balls fell in slow motion to the audience as the band performed “Bouncing Around the Room” during an eclectic encore that included a witty acapella take on “Grind” and a jubilant “Loving Cup.”

The second set gems included a funkotronic “Tweezer” jam that wound its way into a brief ambient section before giving way to a ferocious “Taste.” The rest of the show was jam-packed, with well-lit, well-performed versions of “You Enjoy Myself,” Harry Hood,” and a particulary burning “First Tube.”

Most impressive all of all, though, was the band’s clear polish. Some of the material was performed with an accuracy and gusto not seen in the band since 1999. Page McConell shone particularly bright on numerous energetic solos on his endless array of keyboards.

Hopefully some pictures tomorrow, and your setlist follows. Have a great morning, and I’ll see you after night 2!

Phish – March 6, 2009 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

Set 1: Fluffhead, The Divided Sky, Chalkdust Torture, Sample in a Jar, Stash, I Didn’t Know (with Vacuum), Oh Kee Pah Ceremony > Suzie Greenberg, NICU, Horn, Rift, Train Song, Water in the Sky (slow), The Squirming Coil, David Bowie

Set 2: Backwards Down the Number Line, Tweezer > Taste, Possum, Theme, First tube, Harry Hood, Waste, YEM

Encore: Grind (a capella), Bouncing Around the Room, Loving Cup

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