Thursday 05/30/2019 by howard_roark

WEEKLY CATCH WITH OSIRIS #17: BETHEL WOODS CENTER FOR THE ARTS - BETHEL, NY - 05/28/2011

[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris! A weekly series brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a historic Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from Michael Shields of Across The Margin.]

Listen: Bethel Woods Center For The Arts, Bethel, NY - 05/28/2011

From day one of this project, one that teamed Phish.net and the Osiris Media Group, the goal of the Weekly Catch has been to bring Phish fans a historic Phish show from the week the article is published and provide some context into the show in question. The hope is for the show chosen is that it is one not well know, not an official band release, and generally an overlooked gem. And thus, one could surmise, the Weekly Catch will usually be focussing on shows from back in the day, well before Coventry and a hiatus.

But at this point in the modern era glorious shows can easily get overlooked or left unsung as the grandeur and legend of 3.0 persistently grows. And so, I am happy to be the first writer in the series to whisk the Weekly Catch into the 3.0 era and celebrate easily one of the best shows of Summer 2011.

To take you behind the curtain some, when I was in discussion with Brian Brinkman, one of the hosts of Beyond The Pond (a podcast that is absolutely on fire in 2019!), I mentioned to him that I was thinking of discussing Phish’s Bethel Woods run in 2011, and although I wasn’t in the room with him, by his response I could tell his eyes lit up upon that suggestion. Brian urged me onward, proclaiming he too believed that Bethel Woods — particularly May 28th (the 2nd show of the run) — was one of the best runs that summer. I then responded that I was on it, and that I could not wait to dig in and get lost exploring my recollections of the “Gin” and the “Disease.” And while these two versions of these songs hit oh so very hard on the re-listen, they are only a part of the majesty of that evening.

Commencing a show with a song the length of “Theme From The Bottom,” while a treat in itself, fashioned Phish entirely warmed up for the show after one song — and this was surely the case this evening. Trailing the tight, uplifting “Theme,” Phish jovially ripped through a version of “NICU” en route to a wonderful sequence where an impassioned “Cities” led into a superb version of “Hailey’s,” one which raged with second-set level depth. Not to be outdone, the “Runaway Jim” that followed featured impressive staccato style rifts that permeated the arranged sequence of the song, exemplifying how absolutely locked in the band was.

Crisp versions of “Gumbo,” Quinn the Eskimo,” “Limb by Limb” and a pacifying “Horn” all led into a first set capping “Bathtub Gin.” This “Gin” featured a climatic sequence that mashed-up “Manteca” and “Golden Age” (“GinTeca Age?”) in an unfathomable manner, putting a bow on a superb first set.

Down With Disease” opened the second set, and the jam that arose was fierce. Trey’s aggressive thrashing led the charge, yet in time all band members were simultaneously laying it all on the table. The intensity mellowed in time, but to a melodic, hypnotizing groove that acted as a wonderfully consuming entranceway into what came next: “Free.” “Free” always hits, and Mike’s gooey bass bombs throughout it manifested themselves particularly inspired this evening. The “Backwards Down The Number Line” that followed is one of the best versions of the song I have come upon, bolstered by “DEG” teases from Mike and a darkness and depth not typically associated with the song.

The mood was lightened by the “Makisupa” that followed (jokes about the band member’s houses abounding!), and the closing sequence of “Cavern,” Harry Hood,” and “David Bowie” (three apt closing numbers back-to-back-to-back!) brought the second set home.

An encore of The Beatle’s “A Day In The Life” topped off a perfect evening in Bethel Woods — a two set stunner of a show that demands revisiting time and again.

Thanks for reading and hopefully you're enjoying this series. Another Weekly Catch with Osiris will be up next week!

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