After six blistering sets at Watkins Glen, Phish brought it all home with a phenomenal Sunday show. The group concluded their Magnaball festival with a top notch performance that mixed bust outs, fan favorites, big time jams, and a massive fireworks display in celebration of the event.
The group started their set off with “Punch You In The Eye”, a great song selection that unfortunately contained some flubs during “The Landlady” section. The song certainly brought the crowd to attention, locking down the vibes by the next song, the rarity “Buffalo Bill”. The all-but-forgotten track hadn’t been played since June 2012, over 130 shows.
“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” came next, bringing some tight rocking jams into the first frame. That broke into an always upbeat “Limb by Limb” with an interesting jam session that took some brief type-II turns before closing in familiar jam territory. That was followed by a standard version of “Waiting All Night” from the Fuego album.
The next two tunes, “Theme From The Bottom” and “Maze”, both proved to be breakout moments for Page McConnell on the keys. The latter especially saw some funky work, as the song’s chord progression builds and builds into a frenzy. It was exciting, to say the least.
After “The Line”, the group ventured into a noteworthy “Stash” before dropping into one of the big winners from set one, “Reba”. Executed to perfection, this was a real highlight of the show and weekend.
During the next song, “I Didn’t Know”, Trey Anastasio and Jon Fishman took a moment to thank the audience, their entire crew and staff, as well as the local authorities that made Magnaball possible. As Anastasio read through lists of names, Fishman would “suck for love” on the vacuum.
“Character Zero” closed out a thoroughly energetic first half, but things got even more interesting in the second half, as they tend to do. Opening with “Martian Monster”, the Halloween 2014 instrumental contained an all too fitting narration: “your trip is short.” Where did the three days go?
A monster “Down with Disease” followed, with some lofty improv sections that flowed directly into “Scents and Subtle Sounds”. This was a particular psychedelic version that jammed its way into “What’s The Use?”. Now halfway through set two, the good times were only getting started.
After a mellow moment with “Dirt”, Anastasio dropped the riff for “Mikes Song”, and the floodgates were open for set two. “Mikes” got spacey, only brought to Earth by the opening notes of “Fuego”. This song always packs a punch, and the middle of a Mikes Groove was no exception. Amazing.
The Groove kept on grooving with a “Twist”, a big jammed that version that included a very memorable “Immigrant Song” quote with Fishman bellowing some vocals. The whole jam bled into “Weekapaug Groove”, which somehow found its way through a jam and into the main section of “Martian Monster”. From beginning to end, that was a monster of a set.
To close everything out, Phish jumped into their magnum opus, “You Enjoy Myself”, a towering version that included some great funk jams from Mike Gordon. As the song’s vocal jam picked up, a huge firework display shot up over the side of the stage. McConnell ended the show a quote of “The Very Long Fuse”, the narration saying “you thought there was going to be a big explosion, didn’t you?” Of course the reference was to the fireworks, a truly epic display to celebrate such a successful performance. Simply brilliant.
Stay tuned for a full festival recap and more L4LM coverage of the glorious Magnaball festivities. Phish resumes touring with three shows at Dicks in Colorado over Labor Day Weekend.
Set 1: Punch You In the Eye > Buffalo Bill, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > Limb By Limb, Waiting All Night, Theme From the Bottom > Maze, The Line, Stash, Reba, I Didn’t Know,Character Zero
Set 2: Martian Monster > Down with Disease -> Scents and Subtle Sounds -> What’s the Use? > Dirt > Mike’s Song > Fuego >Twist -> Weekapaug Groove -> Martian Monster
Encore: You Enjoy Myself
 Trey thanked the crew, production staff and local officials.
· The Tears of a Clown tease
· Immigrant Song and Mainstreet quotes in Weekapaug Groove
· Immigrant Song tease & quote in Twist
· Brick House and The Very Long Fuse teases in You Enjoy Myself
Notes: This show was webcast via LivePhish and was the third show of the Magnaball festival. Mike teased The Tears of a Clown before Punch You In the Eye. Buffalo Bill was played for the first time since June 22, 2012 (134 shows). Trey thanked the fans, crew, production staff and local officials during I Didn’t Know while Fishman “sucked love” on his vacuum. Down With Disease was unfinished. Immigrant Song was teased in both Twist and Weekapaug Groove. Mainstreet was teased in Weekapaug Groove, which was unfinished. Mike teased Brick House in You Enjoy Myself, which culminated in a fireworks display and a quote from The Very Long Fuse to celebrate the end of the festival.
[Cover photo by Dave Vann]