For the first show as part of their two-night, holiday weekend run at Boston’s Fenway Park on Friday, Phish‘s delivered a setlist indicative of every era since the rock band’s inception. Friday night’s performance was highlighted by a 20 minute “Mercury”, a slew of teases, and an encore of “The Squirming Coil” which left fans in attendance foaming at the mouth for more heading into Saturday at the historic baseball stadium.
A Fenway “Free” kicked off the night highlighted by bassist Mike Gordon leading the charge with aquatic effects. Trey Anastasio then launched into a solo climbing with inversions of the song’s main theme while teasing dance moves from “Cavern” before heading into “Blaze On”. Interplay within “Blaze On” heard Page McConnell and Gordon in similar stride underneath a fiery Anastasio solo. Batting cleanup in the first set was the always crunchy “555”, played out by Page’s Hammond and employed Trey’s tube screamer throughout a short but sweet solo.
“Tube” was next with Trey utilizing his entire fretboard from start to finish. The song grew toward full bliss in part due to Page’s coaction on his grand piano, before breaking to its final bluesy segment. After a brief song break, complete with Trey throwing his pick to a younger fan, “Brian and Robert” eased the Fenway Park crowd into twilight as a peaceful number for the first time as part of their 2019 summer run.
“Halfway to the Moon” began to warm fans up towards the latter end of the set as Page described the first intergalactic encounter with the heavens upon leaving Earth’s atmosphere. Throughout the jam, Page ran over Trey’s thoughtful and precise solo before they worked together on a summit, ultimately transitioning into “Ocelot”, and did that medium-sized house cat run rampant throughout Fenway. While melodic in nature, this “Ocelot” heard Trey concentrating on pedal work before heading back to the song’s main themes.
“Rift” came to the plate for the first bluegrass fused number of the night. The band’s harmonies were in sharpest form before moving toward a quick-paced “Everything’s Right”. The Tom Marshall-written song went into a dark segment led by Page on Hammond, before heading to “Runaway Jim” to close out the set.
Watch the show’s opening performance of “Free” below.
Phish – “Free” – 7/5/2019
The second set kicked off with “Sand” as Trey worked through his observations of society before leading toward an effect heavy solo. “Axilla I” came next, followed by “Mercury”. The first half of the 20-minute “Mercury” heard Jon Fishman on marimba on top of Trey and Page’s melodic interplay before a short break back to home base. The next ten minutes witnessed watery effects across the board. Page held a top end on his organ while Trey and Gordon had brief interplay together at the front of the stage. As Page worked between organ and electric keyboard, Trey began to reach cosmic paradise through his own Leslie speaker before shooting notes between Fishman and Gordon’s tight pocket, ending with incredible synth work from the master of the boards. Speaking of McConnell, the pianist gently guided Trey back to earth with a soft landing into “Wading in the Velvet Sea”.
Fans enjoyed a brief 7th inning stretch with “Wading” as the band showed off their strongest, most mature harmonies of summer 2019 thus far. A devilish “Fuego” came next thanks to Gordon’s introduction and Anastasio’s thick response with a vague “Manteca” tease amidst the chaos. The transition even heard a very spacey spot reminiscent of “Mercury”. In the ending segment, McConnell winded the jam down with his Hammond before turning into the most impressive segue of the night by Trey into “Say it to Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”, complete with “Martian Monster” samples. “Character Zero” threw the final pitch of the night in its always explosive fashion before heading into the encore.
“Bug” was the first of the pair of encores. The Farmhouse track was taken to a state of full bliss for the Fenway faithful before “The Squirming Coil” closed out the night. With the skyline of Boston to the back of right field bleachers, fans witnessed Page see the show off with another night at the beloved stadium to go.
Watch the second set opening performance of “Axilla” below.
Phish – “Axilla” – 7/5/2019
For a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to Phish’s website. Each show on Phish’s 2019 summer tour will be rebroadcast on SiriusXM Phish Radio (Ch. 29) at 12:00 ET the following day. Subscribe here.
Scroll down for photos of Friday night’s show, courtesy of Andrew Blackstein.
Setlist: Phish | Fenway Park | Boston, MA | 7/5/2019
Set One: Free > Blaze On, 555, Tube, Brian and Robert, Halfway to the Moon, Ocelot > Rift > Everything’s Right, Runaway Jim
Set Two: Sand > Axilla, Mercury > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Fuego > Say it to Me S.A.N.T.O.S.* > Character Zero
Encore: Bug, The Squirming Coil
“Say It To Ne S.A.N.T.O.S.” contained “Martian Monster” quotes