Phish "Live On Letterman" 6.24.2014 [CBS Official Full Video + YouTube Video]

Josh Cohen

by Josh Cohen

Published June 25, 2014

Phish took to the Late Show With David Letterman last night for a performance of "The Line" off of their new album, Fuego, before performing an extended set at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Phish Live On Letterman 6.24.2014
Phish "The Line" live on Late Show With David Letterman 6.24.2014

Celebrating the release of their twelfth studio album, the Vermont-based jam band rocked out in New York City's Ed Sullivan Theater with both, a proper Late Show performance, as well as an extended set. CBS posted an hour-long cut of the performance on their website, but YouTube user Scott Engstrom uploaded the three hour video onto his channel as well.

The band rocked out with keyboardist Page McConnell's high pitched organ melody through the opening verse of "The Line" on the Late Show With David Letterman. Before long, they took the track downtempo for the piano interlude as singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio chanted the chorus, "And you stepped to the line." The guitar solo Anastasio delivered during the song was one of many as the band delved into deep cuts from their back catalog, as well as "Halfway To The Moon," "Devotion To A Dream," and "555" from their new album, during the extended set.

The audience roared with approval before they waged on into the evening with unsynchronized dance moves to the constant flow of funk. While Anastasio is undisputedly the head of vocal responsibilities, each member of the band contributed their own fair share of singing as well. The setlist was saturated with great moments of vocal harmonies dispersed throughout, such as the chorus from "Devotion To A Dream."

With 28 years of performance experience since the solidification of their current lineup in 1986, the band has never been tighter. The death of Jerry Garcia and the dissolution of the Grateful Dead in 1995 has enabled the group to become the premiere jam band of the 21st century. They bring with them a devout following of fans that keep each and every Phish show wild and unpredictable. Whether it be performing in the midst of a flurry of glow sticks, or in the controlled environment provided by the Ed Sullivan Theater, the group always provides an unparalleled level of entertainment.

During "Twist," the last song before the encore, each member of the band got to flex their showmanship muscles while creating a collage of sound. At times this collage was minimal, but at others it provided a foundation for extensive explorations into vast sonic territories. Each member of the band stacked layers upon the others to create a fragmented tower of sound. Their constant elevation of musical tension resembled in many ways a shattered Jenga tower appearing ready to collapse at any given moment. Regardless, the band continued to ascend creating more and more sound while rocking even harder. When the group achieved the final chorus of the song, with Anastasio, McConnell, and bassist Mike Gordon singing, "When it twists around," it felt like reaching the high peak of a mountain. A brief pause in the music took place while the theater was filled exclusively with catcalls and clapping before the band took to the stage for their encore.

Anastasio announced, "Let us do one more," before they broke into the final track of the video, a rocking rendition of "Character Zero," the second song off of 1996's critically acclaimed Billy Breathes. Anastasio rocked a face-melter on his guitar into the final seconds of the CBS clip before the organ crescendo brought about a thunderstorm of applause from the audience.

Read our Zumic review of Fuego here, and you can purchase the album on iTunes and Amazon, as well as their Phish Dry Goods website. For more music, news, and tour information on Phish, check out their Zumic artist page.

Phish "Live on Letterman" Setlist:

1. "46 Days"
2. "Undermined"
3. "Halfway To The Moon"
4. "Carini"
5. "555"
6. "Devotion To A Dream"
7. "Twist"
8. "Character Zero"

Late Show with David Letterman Official YouTube Channel

Jon Fishman Mike Gordon Page McConnell Phish Trey Anastasio
Funk Jambands Psychedelic Rock Television
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