The relentless heat of Phish’s summer tour continued both on stage and off in Raleigh, NC on Friday as the quartet hit the now unduly named Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek for the 11th time since 1994.

Wasting no time in embracing the thick air, an already shirt-unbuttoned Trey Anastasio counted off “Moma Dance”, bringing the band out strong and into a jam that had a little extra pepper in it due to the underlying Jon Fishman propulsions. The early energy continued into “Possum”, a song that’s been taking on more of a set ignition rather than conclusion role as of late.

“Steam” came next, another tune that seems to have found its place in the first set over the past few years. The “Steam” jam evolved into the opening lick of “Stash” in a gradual acceleration that felt much like an abbreviated version of the legendary “Down With Disease” > “Mike’s Song” transition from the same venue 25 years prior. “Stash” then had a major/minor tug-of-war with itself before landing back in “Steam” to complete the hot-press sandwich.

A quick jump into “Funky Bitch” kept the first-set standards rolling. “The Wedge” followed, despite being played just a few nights earlier in Hartford. But of all the songs that Phish could potentially overplay, personally I’d take a “Wedge” every night of the week. “Horn” followed “The Wedge” in a reversed order of their pairing on 1993’s Rift, but still the first time the two had ever been played back-to-back live.

If anything has been guaranteed this Phish tour, it’s that you’re bound to get an extensive jam from an unexpected place. Raleigh’s standout would come in the form of a first-set-closing “Rise/Come Together”, a tune that has never surpassed the nine-minute mark before, but this night would soar beyond the 20-minute wall.

Phish – “Rise/Come Together” [Pro-Shot] – 7/29/22

The modern church-camp anthem quickly found its way into completely unrecognizable territory as Trey tried on a bunch of different melodies before he and Mike Gordon found one they agreed upon. From there it was a rotation of victory laps, and the tune eventually settled into a natural and gentle resolve. But then Anastasio remembered he wanted to close the set with “Rise”, so he awkwardly worked back in a vocal reprise of the chorus. The good lieutenant’s desire to conclude strikes once again.

When “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars” opened the second set, you’d presume there would be no time to consider that it hasn’t opened a set in 30 years, or that it has never opened a 2nd set, or that 27 shows into 2022 we’re getting its first play of the year. You’d think that the ironic thrash metal would be too strong for thoughts like that. Yet this “BBFCFM” was surprisingly tepid—a slower pace, no screaming from Gordo, and a couple new chord changes added in after 35 years to make it sound more like a Black Flag song than its normal screamo absurdity.

Of all the new variations on old songs we’ve seen the past few years (slow “Llama”, slow “Maze”), radio-friendly “Big Black Furry” is the one I hope is forgotten most quickly. That being said, it did serve as a nice springboard into “Carini”, although Trey was adding in some new major fourths on the choruses there as well. Regardless of his fixing of unbroken wheels, Trey was poised to take control of this “Carini” early.

The jam found its way into a tentacular throb, a peaceful devouring of all within its grasp that was equally portrayed by Chris Kuroda’s all-consuming, visual demonics. “Waste” would emerge as the landing pad—not the ideal placement for the song, but it flowed well here.

“Ruby Waves” came next, at this point fully established as a reliable modern jam vehicle. It quickly turned threatening in a most welcoming manner, entering a dark conjuring phase that resurrected everything from a Pompeii “Echoes” to an early ’80s “Dark Star” to Sonic Youth’s “The Sprawl”.

“Beneath a Sea of Stars Part 1” settled the nerves momentarily with its ethereal float, but it spent some time drifting into a darker realm than normal before letting the light side win the battle.

“Piper” then picked up with the thrust that had propelled “Ruby Waves”. Pushing hard, it morphed into a jam that vocally called back “Big Black Furry” and would follow a dark pocket that was strongly reminiscent of the infamous “Wormtown Jam” from Amsterdam on 7/2/97.

A buttery segue into “Light” saw it too maintaining 5th gear throughout, not going too deep but keeping intimidation levels high. An aptly placed cover of The Rolling Stones‘ “Shine a Light” would close the set—another 2022 debut. Phish has done a great job of keeping this tune in rotation but never overplaying it since it first premiered during the band’s 2009 Halloween cover of Exile on Main St. That’s helped maintain a degree of well deserved sanctification to the song, and it always feels like a cap to a special night when they pull it out.

Long encores are more the norm than the exception for Phish as of late, and frankly it’s great to see the band so excited to be on the stage. A blissful “Strange Design” would be followed by yet two more 2022 debuts: “Heavy Things” and “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley”, the latter of which could have used a little more time to stretch its legs.

“Wilson” wrapped up the four-song mini-set encore, completing a rock-solid top-to-bottom night for the band. It’s another night from this tour with a setlist that reads completely different on paper than it does on playback. The unexpected has never been more expected.

Phish resumes its summer tour with a two-night run at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st. To order your LivePhish webcast for any of the band’s upcoming summer shows, head here. To sign up for a free trial membership to LivePhish+ and listen to the whole summer 2022 tour and more, head here.

Following Phish’s Friday show at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on September 2nd, an all-star amalgamation of funk players will keep the party going at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom for Purple Party: A Tribute To Prince featuring members of The MotetTrey Anastasio Band, The Nth Power, John Mayer‘s touring band, former members of Turkuaz, and more, with rising jam band Dogs In A Pile playing on the Other Side [get tickets].

Setlist [via Phish.net]: Phish | Coastal Credit Union Music Part AT Walnut Creek | Raleigh, NC | 7/29/22

SET 1: The Moma Dance > Possum, Steam -> Stash[1] -> Steam, Funky Bitch, The Wedge, Horn > Rise/Come Together

SET 2: Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Carini > Waste > Ruby Waves > Beneath a Sea of Stars Part 1 > Piper -> Light > Shine a Light

ENCORE: Strange Design, Heavy Things > Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Wilson

[1] Unfinished.

“Stash” was unfinished. “Carini” contained “Martian Monster” quotes. “BBFCFM” was quoted in “Piper”. Trey teased “Call to the Post” in “Wilson”.