Phish crossed the halfway point of their Baker’s Dozen run with their seventh of thirteen shows at Madison Square Garden last night featuring a cinnamon theme complete with Saturday night rock standards.
The show opened with the heavy trio of “Llama,” “Wilson” (which included a brief heavy jam) and “Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan” with a searing solo from Trey Anastasio before Mike Gordon led the band on a smooth “Ya Mar.”
“Tela” made its very first appearance at Madison Square Garden before the Chilling Thrilling cut “The Birds,” marking yet another song from the band’s Las Vegas Halloween blowout to appear during the run. “The Line” and “Water in the Sky” slowed things down a bit before “Vultures” provided more energy. “Train Song” and “Horn” preceded the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” to cap a fun, well-played set, including quotes from “The Birds” and “Your Pet Cat.”
While the first set proved enjoyable, Phish had yet to dig into real improv and they changed that with the opening “Blaze On,” a 24-minute excursion surpassing the limits of the song quickly with full-band interplay giving way to an ambient section that dissolved appropriately into “Twenty Years Later.” Anastasio then led the proceedings on a rare “Alumni Blues,” calling out for Gordon to take a bass solo (even changing the lyrics to “I’m alright because Mike is playing the bass”).
The band continued a light-hearted set after the heavy “Blaze On” with “Meatstick” complete with Japanese lyrics before “Dirt” proved to be a worthy breather before the “Harry Hood” set closer. In a sprawling, 17-minute jam, Anastasio worked in a number of teases including the Allman Brothers’ “Mountain Jam” as well as the preceding “Dirt” before bringing the song to its proper conclusion.
With very little reference to the night’s theme over the course of the show, Phish emerged for an encore that directly nodded to the night’s donut with a cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” the first since July 31, 1997, marking a gap of 629 shows and ranking as the biggest bustout of the run, topping “1999” played earlier in the week.
Phish return tonight for their eighth show at Madison Square Garden.
Here’s a look at the setlist:
Madison Square Garden New York, NY
Set I: Llama, Wilson > Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan > Ya Mar, Tela, The Birds > The Line, Water in the Sky, Vultures, Train Song > Horn, I Am the Walrus
Set II: Blaze On > Twenty Years Later > Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues > Meatstick > Dirt > Harry Hood
Enc: Cinnamon Girl*
*Last time played 7/31/97