Phish fans have come to expect the unexpected from their beloved Vermont foursome, and Saturday night, the packed crowd at Wisconsin's Alpine Valley Music Theater received a pair of truly rare treats.
Walking onstage around 9 p.m. (EDT), the funky bunch, led by a smiling Trey Anastasio, broke into a rapid-fire version of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On," a first for Phish. Many in the audience danced and sang along in amazement, but little did they know that song wouldn't be the final surprise of the night.
After playing two full sets of favorites like "Mike's Song," "Esther," "Tweezer," "Wilson," "Fluffhead" and "Chalkdust Torture," Phish re-emerged for a well-deserved encore. Once again tossing the eager crowd a bone, Mike Gordon threw his bass into overdrive as fans recognized the familiar licks of Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing," another Phish first.
In addition, JAMTV and the Rolling Stone Network brought the show to Phish fans worldwide through the only live webcast on this tour. More than 20,000 fans logged on from as close as Chicago and as far away as Australia and France to catch three hours of streaming audio and video.
Phish is currently in the middle of its annual summer tour, which will conclude with a two-day free-for-all at the Lemonwheel on Aug. 15 and 16 in Limestone, Maine. The band also just announced dates for its fall tour. That run will begin on Oct. 29 in Los Angeles and will include a two-night Halloween fiesta at the Thomas & Mack center in Las Vegas and a three-night stint at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago Nov. 7-9. For complete fall tour dates and mail order information, head to the official Phish website.