On October 20, 2010 Phish played their first ever show in Utica in the heart of the Mohawk Valley. Utica Memorial Auditorium is a hockey arena with a capacity of about 5,700 and a design very similar to another round room and favorite Empire State Phish venue, Madison Square Garden. Utica was the smallest venue on Phish's fall tour and the atmosphere was charged with electricity - the music was swinging, inspired and transcendent with a crowd that rose to the occasion. One clever fan even went so far as to craft a "Guyutica" sign that no doubt helped shape the night’s events. A new camera mounted at the front-of-house position accentuated the light show in a way never before featured on a live, indoor Phish DVD. Set one was bookended by a soul sandwich, opening with "My Soul" and closing with "Run Like An Antelope" ("set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul"). "Vultures" and a funky "Wolfman's Brother" > "Cities" with local references brought the show to an early fever pitch. The music seemed to play the band as intricate, full-band improvisation intertwined the songs of set one throughout an absurdly creative sequence of "Guyute", "David Bowie" and "Wilson”. The show's theme song "Guyute" bloomed again repeatedly during "Saw It Again" and "Run Like An Antelope", both of which oozed with exquisite detail fueled by a fully mind-melded band and audience. Set two built on the momentum of a stellar first set, opening the door with a patient, jazzy "Sand" > "Theme From The Bottom" and diving headlong through it with an explosive combination of "Split Open And Melt" > "Have Mercy" > "Piper" > "Split Open And Melt" > "Slave To The Traffic Light" that nearly blew the roof off the Utica Aud. By the time “Birds Of A Feather” re-appeared during “Piper”, it could accurately be described as Uticular. In keeping with its series of interrelated themes, nearly optimum flow and an overall magical glow, Utica also showcased some relative rarities from The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday such as "McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters" and "Tela".
The nearly three hours of music on the Utica box set was recorded with 64 channels of digital multi-track and beautifully mixed and mastered, appearing on the DVD's in 5.1 Dolby surround and full-resolution, uncompressed PCM stereo. The video was shot with 8 cameras (16:9 widescreen), recorded and post-edited in High Definition. Combining a stellar performance with gorgeous improvisation and a healthy sense of adventure, Utica makes it clear that the band is back and playing for keeps.
The Utica box set features the complete October 20, 2010 performance on 2-DVD’s and 2-CD’s to be released nationwide on May 24th
. The box set presents three hours of crucial Phish
in an intimate venue with an inspired audience that returned the energy at every turn.
Check out some clips from Live in Utica: