Phish Groove The Night Away    

December 4, 1996, 8:41 AM EST


 Phish (Pauley Pavilion, UCLA; 12,771 seats; $25)

 By Troy J. Augusto

 HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Much to the chagrin of Phish-heads everywhere -- 
but to the surprise of no one who has followed the rising fortunes of 
this Vermont quartet -- Phish, the little free-form band that could, has 
reached arena-level status, even here on the West Coast.

 At the nearly-full Pauley Pavilion, a mix of faithful and newbies 
noodle-danced for nearly three hours as Phish did what it does best, 
playing effortless-looking and -sounding improvisational jams that began 
in the form of a song, but which soon flew off into magical experiences 
even the band members seemed unable -- make that unwilling -- to control.

 As usual, the show, which was split into two sets, was a one-night-only 
blend of songs from the band's six studio albums, as well as a few 
non-album tracks and cover songs.

 The evening began with a rusty version of Frank Zappa's '60s 
instrumental gem Peaches en Regalia, and included such live staples as 
Down With Disease, offered here as an extended prog-hippie jam, the 
reggae-flavored Reba and the bluesy, endless crowd fave Tweezer.

 The other covers played were a show-stopping version of the Beatles' A 
Day In the Life, Johnny B. Goode and encore Highway To Hell by AC-DC. 
(Who else but band leader Trey Anastasio would tackle John Lennon and the 
late AC/DC singer Bon Scott in the same set?)

 Phish still hasn't crossed into the mainstream, as MTV and commercial 
radio have yet to find a song to latch onto. But inspiring, sustaining 
shows such as this one will only, inevitably, lead the group -- perhaps 
kicking and screaming -- into a mainstream that neither deserves nor 
understands them.

 Presented by Bill Graham Presents. Band: Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, 
Page McConnell, Jon Fishman. Reviewed Dec. 1, 1996.

 Reuters/Variety



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