photo by Jake Silco (via Phish From the Road on Twitter)
The rumors were swirling prior to last night’s Phish show at Boston’s Fenway Park, the group’s second of two at the famed ballpark. Thunderstorms were certainly inbound, but would the show be delayed? Rescheduled? Canceled? At 7 p.m. ET, the band released a welcome statement on social media: “Phish will play tonight!” Fans were also told that the performance would not contain a set break. What followed was a marathon single-set performance containing some quality jamming in “Down with Disease,” “Split Open and Melt” and “46 Days.”
The show began with “Carini,” which ignited the crowd—a fitting way to let off some steam after the hours of waiting many fans had endured. “Possum” came next, making its third appearance of the summer. “Set Your Soul Free” led to the first type-two jamming of the night and, while only 13-minutes long, still contains some focused improvisation. The following “Thread,” making its first appearance of 2019 and only its fourth appearance in the band’s history, contained a very unusual and intriguing jam segment. (The time signature there is 15/8, or 15 eighth notes per measure. This is essentially a 7/4 time signature— 14 eighth notes per measure—with one extra eighth note per measure.) Using this particularly odd time signature gives the jam section of “Thread” a jolting feel, almost as if the music is constantly tripping over itself. Drummer Jon Fishman did an excellent job of holding down the complex beat while the other band members floated over the top.
“Wolfman’s Brother” followed, allowing both the band and the crowd to sink back into a familiar groove. “Reba” came next, making a quick turnaround after being played in Camden, and the rather short version was beautiful as always. “Back on the Train” featured some fine playing from guitarist Trey Anastasio, and “Mound” gave the entire band a chance to show off their technical chops. “About to Run” seemed to serve as the pseudo-set closer, and again Anastasio was spraying fire from his Languedoc guitar.
“Down with Disease,” often a set two opener, came next. This version contained stunning improvisation that featured quite a bit of minor-key jamming before moving to a major-key bliss jam for the final four minutes. “Simple” emerged next and seemed to be headed into serious type-two territory before Anastasio opted for “Backwards Down the Number Line.” The upbeat tune was well played, with some more fine soloing from the guitarist. The Kasvot Växt song “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” was perfectly placed, giving the crowd another chance to belt lyrics along with the band. “46 Days” kept the energy high and seemed like it could close the show, as it was already around 10:15 PM. Instead, the band smoothly modulated from B-minor to D-major and then transitioned into the gorgeous instrumental “What’s the Use?” (in the key of D).
The goofy “Mexican Cousin” came next, followed by a raging version of “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” “Split Open and Melt” contained some wild dissonant jamming, as is often this case with the song. The jam segment in “Melt” also had an interesting time signature element (the band played three bars of 4/4 followed by one bar of 9/8, again creating a lurching feel). “Suzy Greenberg” closed a historically long set of Phish (the second-longest single set, after Big Cypress). “Rise/Come Together” started off the encore, and “Wilson” sent the crowd home on a high note.
Check out the full setlist below, along with fan-shot video and a pro-shot opener via LivePhish’s webcast of the show. Phish continue their summer tour this week with two gigs at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, July 9 and 10.
Fenway Park – Boston, MA
Carini > Possum, Set Your Soul Free > Thread, Wolfman’s Brother, Reba*, Back on the Train, Mound, About to Run, Down with Disease^ > Simple > Backwards Down the Number Line > Death Don’t Hurt Very Long > 46 Days> What’s the Use? > Mexican Cousin > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Split Open and Melt, Suzy Greenberg
Enc: Rise/Come Together > Wilson
Notes: * No whistling.