Photo by Dean Budnick
Phish opened up the final weekend of their Baker’s Dozen run at New York’s Madison Square Garden last night, playing the 11th of 13 shows and continuing in the same unexpected vein that the residency has established so far, with two more cover debuts and much more.
Friday’s theme and donut flavor was lemon, as the venue passed out lemon poppyseed donuts to the first fans to arrive. The band once again opened the show with a nod to the theme, presenting their debut performance of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave is Kept Clean.” The quartet injected some upbeat boogie into the yearning blues number, then launched into “Punch You in the Eye.” The energetic crowd favorite let directly into “Party Time,” which kept the crowd moving and preceded the ripping “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.”
Next up was the first “Dinner and a Movie” since July 2013, before the jovial “Ocelot” prompted an extended jam that took the band to some grand peaks. The quick-hitting bluegrass number “Poor Heart” followed, then “Winterqueen” gave everyone in the stadium time to catch a breath. A soaring cover of “Bold As Love” came next before a frenetic “First Tube” closed out the opening fram.
After setbreak, Phish returned to the stage for an a cappella set opener of the bouncy “Dem Bones” before reclaiming their instruments and digging into “No Men in No Man’s Land.” The biggest surprise of the night – and one of the biggest in the MSG run so far – came in the form of the band’s debut of Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place,” which manifested in a spacey, atmospheric endeavor with Jon Fishman leading on vocals, emphasizing the recurring lyrics “sucking on a lemon.” That ethereal segment would become a recurring theme in the remainder of the show, being teased in each of the songs.
After the instrumental “What’s the Use,” Phish entered the home stretch of the set, opening up “Scents and Subtle Sounds” to an extended bout of varied improvisation that entered some spacey territory. The anthemic “Prince Caspian” kept the jam flowing and the crowd singing along, which led into the set-closing “Fluffhead” after another “sucking on a lemon” tease from “Everything.” Trey Anastasio paved the way into the song, playing the chord progression and whipping the crowd into hysterics with an 18+-minute rendition. The quartet later returned for an encore, exploding into “Frankenstein,” which saw Page McConnell and his keytar join Anastasio and Mike Gordon at the front of the stage, leading to some great interplay between the three.
See the setlist below as it appears in our Box Scores section, along with video highlights of the night. Phish return to The Garden tonight and tomorrow to close out their historic run.
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Set I: See That My Grave Is Kept Clean*, Punch You In the Eye > Party Time, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Dinner and a Movie, Ocelot, Poor Heart, Winterqueen, Bold As Love, First Tube
Set II: Dem Bones, No Men In No Man’s Land > Everything In Its Right Place*, What’s the Use? > Scents and Subtle Sounds^ > Prince Caspian > Fluffhead
Notes: *Phish debut
+Page on keytar