photo by Rene Huemer (via Phish From the Road on Instagram)
Phish returned to the MGS Grand Garden Arena stage on Friday night for the third of four shows at the venue, a run that kicked off on Wednesday night with their “Kasvot Växt” Halloween performance. Last night’s penultimate offering once again featured some extended first-set improvisations—now the norm for the band’s 2018 shows—along with another strong, energetic second frame and the return of Jon Fishman’s “Bike” antics in the encore.
Set one burst out of the gates with typically playful “Cavern,” followed by a cover of bluegrass icon Del McCoury’s “Beauty of My Dreams.” The band then moved into ballad territory with a blissful “If I Could,” the song’s first appearance since July 2014, a span of 159 shows. Page McConnell showed off some boogie piano skills on “Weigh,” then the band jumped into a couple of tunes that started with Trey Anastasio’s solo band, “Sand” and “Back on the Train,” followed by the funky Chilling, Thrilling cut “Martian Monster.” To round out the set, Phish offered a two-set run that began with an expansive “Mercury,” which stretched over 24 minutes with some dark jamming, Fishman taking his marimba lumina for a spin, and a somewhat surprising second round of improvisation before the band dropped into classic set closer “Suzy Greenberg.”
The six-song second set opened with newer band favorite “Soul Planet,” which was also stretched out again with some Anastasio- and Fishman-fueled improvisation. Second-set staple “Down with Disease” followed, leading into “Guyute.” A crowd-pleasing, funky singalong of Allen Toussaint’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” then preceded a raging “Light,” with Anastasio’s soaring guitar lines leading the way before the band closed the set with a climax of “Slave to the Traffic Light.” Last night’s encore kicked off with a throwback of “Hold Your Head Up,” followed by “Bike”—for its first appearance since September 2015—with Fishman bringing out his vacuum solo before addressing the crowd, saying “This is the funnest band in the world. Thank you.” Anastasio also egged on the drummers stage dancing with shouts of “Bob Weaver,” and Fishman eventually ended up on top of McConnell’s grand piano to pump up the crowd before returning to his drum set for a night-closing run of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.”
See the full setlist below, along with some video from the night. Tonight, Phish wrap up their Vegas run and their 2018 fall tour with night four at the MGM Grand.
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
Set I: Cavern, Beauty of My Dreams, If I Could+, Weigh, Sand, Back on the Train, Martian Monster, Mercury > Suzy Greenberg
Set II: Soul Planet > Down with Disease* > Guyute, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Light > Slave to the Traffic Light
Enc: Hold Your Head Up > Bike^ > Hold Your Head Up, Good Times Bad Times
Notes: +Last time played 7/29/14
^Last time played 9/4/15