There’s an old saying on Phish tour: Never miss a summer Tuesday show at Madison Square Garden coming off the first three-night run of an extended residency. Okay, that’s not exactly an old saying, but after last night’s show at MSG—a thrilling performance that seemed to echo the unbridled energy of The Baker’s Dozen‘s “Jam-Filled” Tuesday—we might have to make it one.

An opening “Ghost” stayed ethereal and undefined for much of its extended runtime as the band seemed to grapple with the change in sonics caused by the curtain blocking off a swath of seats behind the stage, one of many elements of the night that evoked memories of the Dozen’s first Tuesday. The full-tilt opener caught a breeze as it rounded the 12-minute mark and shimmered as Trey Anastasio pushed it to a heavenly peak. “Reba” evoked sunset imagery as Chris Kuroda‘s wash of oranges, yellows, and purples reflected off the seats on the arena’s far wall. A reliably breathtaking ramp-up jam offered the perfect soundtrack for the pastel visuals.

Up next was a roaring “Funky Bitch”, an early-show opportunity for each member of the band to flaunt their warmed-up, settled-in, post-Sabbath aptitude like they were strutting down Fifth with Saks shopping bags on their shoulders. Continuing the standout set, the foursome rolled into “Timber (Jerry The Mule)”—nod to Jer?—for a jagged-edged excursion that steadily ballooned in size until some chainsaw Trey licks sent it tumbling back to the verse.

Amid a set of old favorites, the hosts reminded their Garden party guests that new songs are in this season with the Phish debut of “Broken Into Pieces”, one of ten new songs debuted during Trey’s weekend of trio shows with Jon Fishman and Dezron Douglas (Trey Anastasio Band) at Denver’s Mission Ballroom in June. Many of those songs have now entered the Phish repertoire—”Oblivion” (debuted 7/11/23), “Ether Edge” (debuted 7/12/23) “The Well” (debuted 7/16/23), “Pillow Jets” (debuted 7/21/23), and “Monsters” (debuted 7/22/23)—and Tuesday’s show dipped into that same well for the band’s first take on “Broken Into Pieces”. While the song dragged slightly, its lyrical nod to “scaffolding”—Phish’s unofficial opening act all week long on 7th Avenue—and its urgent, angry closing jam were enough to win over the New York audience.

Phish launched from there into an excellent “Wolfman’s Brother” that gurgled and dripped in “Melt”-like fashion as it descended into frantic, menacing murk, the spinning, writhing lights adding many extra layers to the madness. Both Mike Gordon and Fishman shined here, creating a deep-sea chasm of a pocket for Trey and Page McConnell to test their echolocation tones.

Phish – “Wolfman’s Brother” [Pro-Shot] – 8/1/23

Apparently still unsatisfied after a “Wolfman’s Brother” that could have easily bookended set one with 17-minute jams sans complaints, Trey opted to toss in one more surprise: the band’s sixth-ever cover of The Beatles‘ “I Am The Walrus”, and a fantastic one, at that, draped in red and purple psychedelic madness from above and explosive musicianship through the PA. With the seven-show residency at its official midway point as the lights came up for intermission, it was hard not to think of Tuesday’s first frame as the best set of the run so far.

Related: No Rules At The Garden: Phish Wraps First Weekend Of Residency With Potent Mix Of Old & New [Videos]

When set two opened with “Sample In A Jar”, the “Jam-Filled” buzz once again rippled through the crowd. Rarely a vehicle for jams, this song had gone the distance when it opened that fateful Tuesday night in 2017, and its prime, second-set-opening placement here boded well for a reprise of that creativity. This version made good on the hype as the band pushed out into yet another deep, varied, multi-section jam topping 17 minutes in length, making this the longest—and most interesting—sample of “Sample” to date.

“Kill Devil Falls” was up next, and while the “KDF” chatter this summer has mostly surrounded the beast of a jam from Alpharetta, it was the lyrics, not the improvisation, that stole the headline here as they captured the essence of Phish’s approach to this seven-show stretch—a no-rules run of summer MSG shows that resembles 2017, and is decidedly not The Baker’s Dozen, but certainly recalls it fondly: “Who knew a day would turn into a week? / I’ve learned my lesson, and I can still remember the last one / This time will be different, until I do it again.”

Yet another funky, exploratory jam on “Golden Age” led into a beautiful “Shade” interlude before “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” flipped the switch back from pretty and swaying to down and dirty, its final minutes providing one of the biggest crowd energy moments of the evening. After a brief, wavy run through “Twist”, the start of “You Enjoy Myself” sent another wave of howls echoing through the arena. Requisite bouncing, dancing, and vocal noise-making ensued. Boy. Man. God. Shit. That was one Hell of a show.

An encore is just an encore, a bonus, but the curtain call does tend to make or break a show’s reputation in hindsight. It can elevate a middling setlist, or deflate a strong one, but when a great show gets a great encore, it’s a done deal. And when you close the best overall show of an MSG residency (so far) by blowing past the weekend’s end times on a Tuesday with “Wilson”, then “Sanity” (the first in more than 100 shows, complete with its 2023-appropriate “I forgot the rules” line), then an active “David Bowie”, then a rocking “Character Zero”? I mean…

There’s just something about Tuesday night Phish at Madison Square Garden. What else can you say?

Click below to check out a gallery of photos (via Bahram Foroughi) and a selection of crowd-shot videos from the performance. Scroll down to view the full Phish MSG Tuesday setlist.

Phish returns to Madison Square Garden tonight, Wednesday, August 2nd, for the ongoing residency’s fifth of seven nights. For a full list of upcoming Phish tour dates, head here. Subscribe to LivePhish+ to listen to every show on the tour and browse an archive of live Phish recordings. To order your LivePhish webcasts for any of the band’s upcoming summer shows, head here.

Revisit Live For Live Music‘s nightly coverage of Phish’s seven-night run at Madison Square Garden below:

  1. Friday, 7/28/23
  2. Saturday, 7/29/23
  3. Sunday, 7/30/23
  4. Tuesday, 8/1/23 (You’re already there.)
  5. Wednesday, 8/2/23
  6. Friday, 8/4/23
  7. Saturday, 8/5/23

Phish – “Wolfman’s Brother” – 8/1/23

[Video: Richard Wolf]

Phish – “I Am The Walrus” (The Beatles) – 8/1/23

[Video: Gregory Marcus]

Phish – “Twist” – 8/1/23

[Video: Dave’s Bits]

Phish – “David Bowie” (Partial) – 8/1/23

View Videos

Setlist [via]: Phish | Madison Square Garden |

Set One: Ghost, Reba, Funky Bitch, Timber (Jerry the Mule), Broken Into Pieces [1], Wolfman’s Brother, I Am the Walrus

Set Two: Sample in a Jar > Kill Devil Falls [2] > Golden Age, Shade > Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Twist, You Enjoy Myself

Encore: Wilson > Sanity, David Bowie > Character Zero

[1] Phish debut.
[2] Unfinished.

This show featured the Phish debut of Broken into Pieces and the first Sanity since August 6, 2021 (103 shows). Fish quoted The Well in Wolfman’s Brother. Kill Devil Falls was unfinished.