Phish kicked off their summer tour on Tuesday night at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis. The band came out swinging, tackling a variety of material including old staples, Kasvot Växt favorites and even a Phish debut.
The first set began with the Kasvot Växt tune “Cool Amber and Mercury,” complete with “faceplant into rock” audio samples. The song’s short but inspired jam section made it clear that the band was locked in. Guitarist Trey Anastasio then launched into “46 Days.” This rendition took on extra significance as its subject’s namesake, longtime Phish crewmember Leigh Fordham, passed away earlier this year. Next came “Stash,” the highlight of the set and perhaps the entire evening. Many “Stash” jams during the 3.0 era stay firmly planted in the structure of the song; this one, on the other hand, veered away into blissful, type-II territory. The entire band was firing on all cylinders during this stunning 16-minute jam. Phish followed this with the beloved bluegrass tune “Nellie Kane,” before delivering a dynamic, crowd-pleasing sequence of “Free,” “Theme From the Bottom” and “Tube.” The set closed with Phish’s debut of “Drift While You’re Sleeping,” a cut from Anastasio’s Ghosts of the Forest project. The song suits Phish quite well, and the rousing final section was a fitting end to quality set.
The second frame began with “No Men In No Man’s Land,” which has become a Phish second-set staple, and for good reason. The band again delivered a fine improvised section, complete with “hose” jamming. The hose continued during “Bathtub Gin,” which has now been placed in the second set the past three times it’s been played. And while it wasn’t necessarily the longest version of “Gin,” this jam packed a punch, with Anastasio leading the band into a stunning peak. The energy continued as Phish ripped through a fantastic sequence of “Ghost,” “Piper” and “Blaze On.” Again, none of these jams were particularly long, but each contained focused improvisation from the band, a good sign for things to come on this tour. Next came the one cool-down song of the evening, “Joy.” After only being played once in 2017, “Joy” has enjoyed a renaissance of late, as it was played four times in 2018, and now in the very first show of 2019. The cool-down didn’t last for long, however, as the band ramped the energy back up with a roaring rendition of “Simple,” followed by an equally-blazing “Limb By Limb.” Finally, during the set-closing “Slave to the Traffic Light,” Phish again exhibited their improvisational prowess as the band navigated through a delicate improvisation.
The encore began with another Kasvot Växt favorite, “Turtle in the Clouds,” featuring Trey and Mike’s synchronized dancing. The band closed out the show in classic fashion, with “Character Zero.” As they hit their final chord, McConnell threw in some “faceplant into rock” samples for good measure.
Phish tour continues tomorrow night in St. Louis, before the band travels to Manchester, Tenn. to headline Bonnaroo.
Check out Tuesday’s full setlist below, and video of set openers below:
June 11, 2019
Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO.
Set 1: Cool Amber and Mercury, 46 Days, Stash, Nellie Kane > Free > Theme From the Bottom, Tube, Drift While You’re Sleeping^
Set 2: No Men In No Man’s Land > Bathtub Gin > Ghost -> Piper > Blaze On, Joy > Simple > Limb By Limb, Slave to the Traffic Light
Enc: Turtle in the Clouds, Character Zero
^ Phish debut.