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Bethel Woods night 1, an epic opening night

Bethel Woods Museum.
Bethel Woods Museum.
Amanda Aldridge

Memorial Day weekend of 2011 will never be forgotten by the masses of fans that made it out to New York’s Bethel Woods for three nights of Phish Phun. It is hard to put into words how magical these three nights truly were. Night one started around 8 pm on Friday May 29, 2011. Here’s the first half of the run down.

The amazing six inch high grassy knol of Bethel Woods.
Amanda Aldridge

The crowd quieted to an excited murmur as Trey’s guitar echoed the first mind blowing note into the massive amphitheatre of Bethel Woods. Phans erupted in jovial exclamations for the knock-out ‘Tweezer’ opener. Everyone instantly jived with delight as the words “Won't you step into the freezer” bellowed from the stage. You could tell it was going to be a cool night.

Lucien Burkett’s roar of pure passion will never be forgotten in that single epic moment, nor will Bobby’s overwhelming smile. This was a time that will be forever blazed into all of the attendee’s minds for years to come.

Phish put ‘Tweezer’ to bed by jamming into the ‘My friend, my friend’ rift before bringing up the energy again with an excellently executed chorus. The beat hit hard and the volume was pumped. The silly foursome ended the song with eerie goofiness and the classic, “Myf!”

To give the show just the right amount of a country twang, ‘Poor Heart’ electrified the audience into an awesomely nutty hoe-down dance. Feet flailed, elbows butted, and smiles widened. To perfectly complement its obscurity, ‘Roses Are Free,’ an awesome Ween cover, united the crowd in song.

‘Funky Bitch,’ a fan phavorite kept the vibe grooving. “Every time I see her she’s got new fancy clothes.” Head bobbing is a must for this funky beat and Page’s cool keys. Page tore up this song right from the start. He really flaunted his finger work on this one. Phish showed us that they can jam out like they used to.

‘Wolfman’s Brother’ always hits a high point in my mind, especially when Phish can find a way to jam it into a song like ‘Walk Away.’ ‘Wolfman’s Brother’ slows down the chaos then brings it right back. It is a melodic rendition of everything I love about Phish. It has a sweet and gentle groove that rocks then jives. Trey teased in a “snake charmer” jam to the tune of "Streets of Cairo" that stole the crowd into an intense peak arousing master piece.

The lights flickered madly as Phish ended the ‘Wolfman’s Brother’ jam then shimmied their way into ‘Walk Away.’ The song is a James Gang cover. It speaks to anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship, “It seems to me that you don’t want to talk about it. It seems to me, you just turn your pretty head and walk away.” Page, yet again, killed it on the keys and Treys guitar was speeding right along with him. The rhythmic beats of Mike and Fishman held the harmony together without a single flaw. The song peaked hard and finished strong. The crowd chanted their praise.

‘Stash’ brought phans together for unison claps in their scheduled places and sent them into a happy craze. The smooth lyrics rolled out of Trey’s mouth with ease. “OO ooo OO ooo OOOO o,” swept over the minds and bodies of all those in ear’s reach. “Maybe so, maybe not,” harmonized beautifully.

An upbeat Phish song, ‘Bouncing Around the Room’ got fans jumping. The repetitive, layered chorus takes over the brain and sets it to the spin cycle. Next came ‘Kill Devil Falls,’ a heartfelt and honest admittance of a partner bailing for a few days and then asking for forgiveness, not comprehending why their mate would ever leave them. The understanding is that this has happened before and will happen again. Anyone on Phish tour can relate. They jammed out the song for thirteen minutes, going way out there at times. Fans were agreeing it was one of the best versions KDF the boys had done, and this was just the first set..

Page showed off his more than competent vocals again in ‘Bold as Love.’ One phan notes, “Trey believes in reincarnation, as he totally turns into Hendrix.” Fishman’s drums almost ended the song before the entire band erupted yet again into a killer jam ending the first set on a high note. Phish never leaves us high and dry.

Set 2 coming soon!!!


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