Phish returned to the Madison Square Garden stage last night with the unenviable task of following up their historic jam-filled excursion the previous evening, and the band ended up delivering despite the odds, offering up the fifth installment of their Baker’s Dozen run with a couple of brand new covers and a major bustout that came during the stellar six-song second set.
With the powdered donut theme in mind, Phish kicked off the show by gathering around the microphone for another a cappella debut, this time arranging Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal,” with the “white snow” lyric mirroring the donuts handed out to fans upon entry. The band then picked up their respective instruments for “Cars Trucks Buses” to get the concert started properly, then moved into the bluesy “My Soul” that got the crowd moving.
A jovial cover of Ween’s “Roses Are Free” followed, with the audience singing along, before Phish brought out another Chilling, Thrilling Sounds track, “The Very Long Fuse,” one of the rarer cuts from the band’s 2014 Halloween show. “Gumbo” then led into a quick jam, punctuated by some last-minute boogie keyboards from Page McConnell to round out the tune. Mike Gordon then led the way on the reggae-infused “Yarmouth Road,” which preceded the first “Pebble and Marbles” since August 3, 2014. A brief “Farmhouse” then led into the set-closing “Tube,” which the band took to various places in an extended jam, with exciting interplay between Trey Anastasio’s guitar and McConnell’s keys.
Set two opened up with an exploratory “Carini,” which led into some bright jamming before giving way to Anastasio’s “Mr. Completely,” which the band only recently dusted off after 14 years. With strong support and fills from Jon Fishman and marimba-like solo from Anastasio, Phish took the crowd to a peak in the ensuing improvisation before Anastasio pounded out the first chords to Prince’s “1999,” ushering in the band’s first cover of the classic track since New Year’s Eve 1998, the major bustout of the Baker’s Dozen run so far. Not satisfied with simply playing the lost gem, Phish traded vocals on the tune before moving into an extended jam that led to some blissful highs from Anastasio.
“Steam” continued the standout set, leading the band into some otherworldly jam territory before returning to the song’s head to close out and lead into Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” Phish did justice to the pulsing, riff-driven song, with McConnell’s effects-laden vocals and Anastasio’s classic-rock guitar leading the way. The quarted then exploded into “Character Zero,” which brought the set to a satisfying close. Phish weren’t done with the surprises on the night, however, as they returned to the stage to bookend the “powdered” night with their debut of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” putting the evening to rest with the beautiful cover.
See the full setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section below, along with video highlights of the night. Phish return to MSG tomorrow to kick off the second weekend of their Baker’s Dozen run.
Madison Square Garden New York, NY
Set I: White Winter Hymnal*, Cars Trucks Buses, My Soul, Roses Are Free, The Very Long Fuse, Gumbo, Yarmouth Road, Pebbles and Marbles^, Farmhouse, Tube
Set II: Carini > Mr. Completely > 1999^^ > Steam > No Quarter, Character Zero
*Debut; a cappella
^last time played 8/3/14
^^last time played 12/31/98