After two long years, Phish returned to Las Vegas, NV for an exciting four-night run that leads into the holiest of jam band holidays, Halloween. After a brief fall tour that has been highlighted with great playing, Big Boat material and a sit-in from the Grateful Dead’s own Bob Weir, all eyes have been on Vegas. Fortunately, Phish got started with a bust-out heavy opener to set the pace for the weekend to come.The band introduced their four night stand at MGM Grand with a nod to their 2014 Halloween trip to Las Vegas. The space ship immediately blasted off; excitement was in the air with the initial notes of “Martian Monster.” With “No Men In No Man’s Land,” Trey Anastasio came down hard with the gritty licks. The band picked up on it, and fed from the fruits of their own energy. Off the bat, the spirit was high, and then the band kept things exciting with two big bust outs in a row! They broke into the first “Dogs Stole Things” since 2012 (182 shows) and the first “Beauty of My Dreams” since 2010 (227 shows), and these led into the relative rarity and crowd favorite, “Destiny Unbound.”While the audience was initially a bit apprehensive toward the new song “Home,” the Big Boat tune evolved into an excellent jam, complete with Mike Gordon bass bombs galore. Los Lobos’ “When The Circus Comes” was a nice sentimental moment in the first set, but it was the impressive “Steam” that really picked things up at the MGM. The standard “The Wedge” came next, and the set closed with a solid “Walls of a Cave.” Coming off of a highly energetic introduction, the crowd sank right in with the flow of the show.The second set began with a rarity, “Crimes of the Mind,” which hadn’t been played since 2009 (283 shows). Phish extended that energy into an improv-heavy “Golden Age,” reaching a next-level 25-minute mark worth recording, then shuffling into a dimension that brought “Simple” to a “Light” for the ages. Joy track “Twenty Years Later” provided a breath of fresh air, before “Blaze On” and “The Squirming Coil” became an excellent end to the second set.The band returned for a brief “Bouncing Around the Room” before closing with Jimi Hendrix‘s “Bold As Love.” The TV On The Radio original, “Golden Age”, was the absolute takeaway, especially after their previous, jam-less show in Grand Prairie, Texas. The improv-heavy 25+ minute jam more than proved that Phish is still on their game, with three more nights to look forward to.Watch full videos of the first night, courtesy of Tom Rowles on YouTube. You can navigate through the playlist using the icon on the top left.Check out the full setlist from Phish at the MGM below, courtesy of Phish.net. Viva Phish Vegas!Setlist: Phish at MGM Grand Garden Area, Las Vegas, NV – 10/28/16Set I: Martian Monster, No Men In No Man’s Land, Dogs Stole Things, Beauty of My Dreams, Destiny Unbound, Limb By Limb, Home, When The Circus Comes, Steam > The Wedge, Cavern, Walls of the CaveSet II: Crimes of the Mind, Golden Age > Simple > Light > Twenty Years Later > Blaze On, Squirming CoilE: Bouncing Around The Room, Bold As Love[Photo via Dave DeCrescente]
“The defense is what gave us those 114 points. There in the second quarter, middle of the second quarter, we got stops,” Griffin said. At one point in the run, Griffin got into a brief shoving match with Khris Middleton (14 points) in a scramble for a loose ball. Each player was assessed a technical fouls.The fray only seemed to rile up the Clippers’ big man, who finished 8 of 13 from the field.“I don’t think (Blake) needs the anger to do it. He just does it,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He has been our go-to guy down the stretch.”Later, Bucks guard Luke Ridnour lost the ball on a drive into the lane and Los Angeles went on the break. Griffin in transition hit a layup around two defenders and got fouled for the three-point play to cap the big run.By that time it was 57-36 with 1:33 in the second quarter. At least the dedicated fans that stuck around were treated to free hot chocolate on the concourse, a team promotion to fill the arena while arctic cold gripped the region.The Clippers then led by as much as 39, and the lead fell below 20 just once in the second half.Milwaukee did play with more energy two nights after Drew closed the locker room and challenged players’ lackadaisical style in a 25-point loss to the Hawks.The Bucks just couldn’t keep up with the faster and more athletic Clippers. Drew said his team simply missed shots during the decisive run — including some good looks — and couldn’t answer the opponent’s momentum plays.“You just have to stay the course. When things happen, sometimes you have plays that are rather deflating,” Caron Butler (11 points) said. “Take the ball out, continue to get out in transition, keep the momentum and try to play our style of basketball.” Ilyasova was 6 of 22 from the field, and the Bucks shot just 38 percent on the evening.Things looked promising early for Milwaukee, in desperate need of a spark to make something out of this wayward season. Middleton’s jumper with 9:58 in the second got the Bucks within 34-32.But as often has been the case this season, a spurt of turnovers and sloppy play spelled big trouble for Milwaukee.Notes: Rivers said guard Chris Paul (separated shoulder) was running and starting to shoot again, but there was otherwise no change in his timetable to return around the All-Star break next month. Asked if he played a role in deciding when Paul was ready, Rivers answered “I never have anything to do with that. I’m not a real doctor, as you know. I thought you knew that.” … Bucks starting center Larry Sanders and veteran guard O.J. Mayo each sat out a second game in a week due to flu-like symptoms. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “When we were flying yesterday, flying here, I remember guys saying they can’t wait to get home, stuff like that,” Griffin said. “But we knew we still had a game to play, some business to take care of.”Los Angeles finished its trip 5-2, a franchise best for their annual Grammy sojourn. Darren Collison added 15 points and seven assists.Ersan Ilyasova had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bucks, an NBA-worst 8-36.“Against a team like the Clippers, you have to be clicking on all cylinders,” coach Larry Drew said. “They’re playing extremely, extremely well. The low-post game has been really good.”The 6-foot-10 Griffin alone was a handful in the second quarter. He backed down Ilyasova in the post, and then followed with a steal and breakaway dunk for a 49-36 lead with 3:32 left after Ilyasova mishandled a pass on the other end. MILWAUKEE — These days, there’s no place like this Midwest outpost for NBA teams to end a long road trip on a high note.Blake Griffin dominated the paint with 20 points, Jamal Crawford scored 25 and the Clippers ended their nearly two-week journey away from Los Angeles with a 114-86 win Monday night over the Milwaukee Bucks. Forced to travel more than 11,000 miles through the air during the trip because the Staples Center was occupied by the Grammy Awards, Griffin looked right at home in Milwaukee. After Griffin capped off a decisive 21-2 run in the second quarter with a three-point play, about the only drama left was to count up how many dunks Lob City’s stars would throw down the rest of the night.