Phish kicked off the second leg of their summer tour tonight at the iconic Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA for the first of two shows. The quartet first performed at The Gorge in 1997 and has played a total of five two-night stands (’97, ’98, ’99, ’03 & ’09) leading up to this year. We’ll have a full review and photo set from Friday night’s show later this weekend, but in the meantime we’ve shared some facts, thoughts and images from the show.
Friend of HT Kristy Freeman has always been a huge fan of Phish’s version of Nellie Kane by Hot Rize and she took matters into her own hands to get the band to play the song. She enlisted the help of about a dozen friends who all held creatively decorated signs with Nellie Kane on them. Kristy’s plan worked as Phish opened with Nellie Kane to her delight. Nellie Kane wasn’t the only relatively rare song on tap for Darien’s first set. Mellow Mood, Buffalo Bill, Undermind, Ride Captain Ride, It’s Ice, Dog Faced Boy and Brian and Robert all saw their first action of 2011 in the 14-song marathon opening stanza.
The band dotted the 11-song opening stanza at the venue near the site of the Woodstock Festival with four covers including Walk Away by The James Gang, Roses Are Free by Ween and Woodstock legend Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love. According to Sam Davis of Dog Gone Blog the improv out of Kill Devil Falls was a “full departure from the song structure,” as it contained a “spacious, flowing jam” that was “just amazing.” Surprisingly, there were no new covers or originals debuted during show one of the summer tour.