Even with all the hype surrounding Phish’s upcoming 13-night Baker’s Dozen run in New York, which kicks off tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden, the band has put together a solid run of shows prior to that massive outing, continuing the trend last night at the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA, for the final pre-Dozen show, which featured the band playing a tune that hadn’t been seen on a Phish setlist for 14 years, plus some other notable choices and another jam-filled second set.
The night kicked off with a cover of Clifton Chenier’s “My Soul,” with Trey Anastasio leading the way through the bluesy early rock-and-roll number. Next up was “NICU” before a quick “Halley’s Comet” which led right into a swampy, choppy “Undermind.” The second half of the set saw the band take on a lovely “Divided Sky,” followed by yet another debut of a solo project tune with Mike Gordon’s “Marissa,” which the bassist debuted with his band just a few weeks ago at High Sierra.
The set rolled on with Page McConnell’s “Home,” one of the keyboardist’s contributions to last year’s Big Boat record, and then Anastasio dropped into “Prince Caspian,” which would end up being a set highlight to close out the frame. The guitarist led his bandmates on a journey that began bright and blissful and saw the quartet come together for multiple euphoric peaks, with lighting director Chris Kuroda getting a workout on his rig near the end.
Phish returned to the stage to begin set two with a crowd-pleasing, danceable “Punch You in the Eye,” which led right into the surprise of the night in the first rendition of Anastasio’s solo number “Mr. Completely” since its segue-fest Phish debut back in July 2003. The band took advantage of the major bustout, stretching last night’s version to over 20 minutes and including a bit of everything, from an extended, understated jam in the middle portion to a slow build and release that reached high into the venue’s rafters.
Phish still had most of the second set to go, though, and the band continued with a shorter “Mercury” that was taken into another debut for the band in Anastasio’s “Come Together,” which the guitarist first showcased with TAB this past spring. A standalone “Contact” preceded the energy-filled “Axilla,” which kicked off the set-closing run of “Steam” and “Backwards Down the Number Line.” Returning to the stage one last time for a three-song encore, Phish began with another McConnell Big Boat cut, “Things People Do,” before floating through “Bug” and rounding the night out with the jovial bluegrass classic “Rocky Top.”
See the full setlist below as it appears in our Box Scores section, along with video highlights of the night. Phish embark on their 13-show Baker’s Dozen adventure starting tomorrow night at MSG.
Peterson Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Set I: My Soul, NICU, Halley’s Comet > Undermind, Divided Sky, Marissa*, Home > Prince Caspian
Set II: Punch You In the Eye > Mr. Completely > Mercury -> Come Together$this->footnoteID(‘1’,’‘), Contact, Axilla > Steam > Backwards Down the Number Line
Enc: Things People Do, Bug, Rocky Top
Notes: *Phish debut