Phish phianist phlays Philly
The crowd waits anxiously and nervously for what is about to ensue on stage. The last member of the legendary band Phish is about to go solo for the very first time, and this is the first stop on his tour to promote his album. No one knows what to expect.
None of Phish’s members have topped their older works, settling for just keeping busy by playing with other bands and releasing solo albums. But Phish keyboardist Page McConnell went another route. Sure, he created the side project Vida Blue, but he took things slowly, mostly keeping to himself. And now this is the first time he will be in the forefront, writing most of the songs on his new album and having the spotlight mainly on him and his round-table of keyboards.
Chestnut Hill-born McConnell appropriately chose Philadelphia’s World Café for his new album, tour and future to be unveiled Friday afternoon. A World Café and WXPN’s noon concert series, it was also broadcast over the radio and on the Internet.
He stepped onto stage and kicked things off right away with “Heavy Rotation.” The song seemed to set a statement — a man post-Phish, a man moving on from the limelight of a famous band. The song got the show and his tour off right, saying, “He’s back.” Throughout this song and the rest of the show, McConnell played his keyboard outstandingly.
Whether it was jamming out with a funked out style, or slowing it down for softer love songs such as “Maid Marian,” McConnell hasn’t lost a step, and I loved all the songs he played. The crowd was just as enthusiastic about the material.
McConnell saved one of his more experimental songs for later in the set, a tune called “Complex Wind,” and he really amazed me with not only what he could do on a keyboard, but how the entire song was arranged and blended into this weird entity.
The band meshed well together on this song, as well as on others. McConnell and his young guitarist went back and forth jamming together on stage, and for the band’s first show, the camaraderie seemed to be there.
WXPN’s radio host asked questions in between songs, and McConnell came off very humble. I thought it would be a sore subject to bring up his “old band” because it seems to only create fights among jam fans. But, the DJ asked her questions and McConnell said that all the members of his “old band” are on his album, leaving many to wonder whether Phish will reunite or not. Even if they don’t, I do not think Phans or McConnell have to worry.
McConnell will be touring throughout June, and I am hoping and assuming that he will be added on to festival set lists, where he will really be able to shine. There he goes on the road again, playing star again, and I am glad to see the jam world can once again turn to McConnell.
La Salle University | Advertising | About the Collegian | Staff | Contact Us