The Austin Chronicle

ACL Live Shots

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, October 15, 2010, Music


Zilker Park, Oct. 8

In the more than 10 years since Phish last appeared in Austin, a lot has gone down with the Vermonters. They seemed genuinely thrilled to be back in front of a Texas audience that, although a slight disappointment in terms of size, welcomed them with unrestrained enthusiasm. During the set opener, a jazzy "Down With Disease," guitarist Trey Anastasio hopped around the stage with a colossal grin on his face. Normally the quartet plays two sets per night, but in a festival setting they were restricted to one long performance, playing for an hour and 40 minutes almost nonstop. Balancing some of their best-known tunes ("Chalk Dust Torture," "You Enjoy Myself") with incomparable cover material (Talking Heads' "Cities," the Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll," Deodato's "Also Sprach Zarathustra"), the bandmates revelled in all their influences and possibilities, from Zappa-esque quirk to popping funk fueled by bassist Mike Gordon and exquisite jams that skirted prog-rock complexity. While the noodling and accompanying "noodle dancers" with their glow-stick wars might have left some cold, it was a night of unmitigated rejoicing for Phish and Phishheads alike.

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