On Saturday night, Phish returned to Madison Square Garden for the second night of their sold-out New Year’s run. Phish continued their quest in delivering standout renditions of Halloween’s Kasvot Väx material, unveiling “Turtle In The Clouds” in the first set, followed by “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” sandwiched in between a monstrous 20-minute “Tweezer”. Friday night’s opening show had some standout moments, but Phish’s follow-up on Saturday night harnessed the band’s electric energy that started percolating at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Phish took no time to dive head-first into a show opening “Buried Alive”, lighting the sold-out arena ablaze out of the gates. The heat continued to rise as the quartet moved into “Blaze On”, with Mike Gordon laying down a rhythmic groove that Jon Fishman quickly joined in on. Moving out of the compositional structure of “Blaze On”, Trey Anastasio took the reigns, carefully taking his time to allow Page McConnell to fill in the open space on his clav. Phish continued in their trend of working through impressive second-takes on Kasvot Växt material, as the band delivered “Turtle In The Clouds” next. Trey and Mike had fun playing with all of the tune’s goofy theatrics, despite no white outfits or the original synth onstage that Trey played at “Turtle In The Clouds”” debut.
Following a brief pause, Anastasio led his bandmates into a standard take on “The Sloth”, before smoothly flowing into a rocking rendition of “46 Days”. With Fishman having some fun hopping around between his cowbells and woodblocks, Anastasio laid down some serious effects, chopping up segments of his guitar riff. McConnell got down to business, unleashing an impressive melodic array of sound on his grand piano, before passing the torch back to Anastasio to finish “46 Days” off with a confident and aggressive solo. The unstoppable locomotive that Phish harnesses kept on chugging, as Vermont’s finest pushed on into “Cities”. Following a funky “Cities” intro, McConnell set a plinko-esque vibe to the jam, with Gordon strutting his stuff on his 5-string Modulus bass. The “Cities'” plinko-funk segment led way to a slowed down melodic groove, before the lights went down, giving the four-piece a slight chance to catch their breaths.
Phish surprised everyone with “Corinna”, played last at Phish’s 2016 MSG New Year’s run, and played for only the seventh time since Phish’s triumphant return in 2009. Trey absolutely nailed the vocals, treating the Taj Mahal cover with the utmost respect, as Gordon laid down a bass-bomb heavy solo, with the New York City arena erupting with applause. The rare “Corinna” led way to “Ya Mar”, before Phish powered their way into a set closing “Wolfman’s Brother”. Phish blasted off into Type II territory, before landing in a “Wolfman’s Party”, tossing “Party Time” quotes around the room. With Anastasio dancing in and out of “Wolfman’s” central theme, he eventually landed in a fiery-hot peaking solo to close out the set.
Following setbreak, Phish came back out to open their second set with “Carini”, as Chris Kuroda moved his spaceship-like light rig in unimaginable movements above the band’s heads. The opening “Carini” jam seemed promising with Trey harassing the dark and evil Phish that we all beg and plead for, but the band seemed to be eager to move forward, hopping into the opening riff of “Tweezer”. As fans always hope and expect, last night’s “Tweezer” got taken out for a serious ride, with the band pausing, giving their attentive crowd a chance to “woo.” Next, Trey and Mike added some creative lyrical scatting, before Mike rocked an earth-shattering bass solo.
“Tweezer’s” epic voyage continued pushing the bar higher, with Trey and Page tossing solos back and forth, continuing to build on each other’s quick-witted moves. The band slowed the “Tweezer” jam down a few notches, incorporating a funky groove into the midst, before delivering their fourth Kasvot Växt song of the weekend with “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long”. There was no possibility of Phish’s energy being contained, as the band trucked forward, screaming out the recently debuted song’s chorus with tenacity and smiles all around. As Fishman started to cackle and giggle, Trey leaned towards him exclaiming, “funk for the people Bob Weaver.” Trey continued to makes his rounds as he headed over to Mike, teasing him yelling out, “cactussssss, go catussss.”
Following some special improvisational treatment in “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long”, Anastasio led the way right back into “Tweezer”, breaking into free-flowing blissful territory. Kuroda continued to dazzle Madison Square Garden with his electrifying beams of light, tilting his spaceship of a rig from side-to-side. As “Tweezer” came to a halt, Phish pushed forward with “No Quarter”, tearing through the Led Zeppelin cover in grandiose fashion. McConnell’s smooth-sailing work on his synth set the tone, with Gordon sprinkling in some eerie bass lines over Anastasio’s gritty guitar work on his Languedoc. The remainder of Phish’s rowdy second set concluded with “2001” and “First Tube”, allowing Anastasio to jump up and down between his amplifiers, blowing the roof off of the Garden at Phish’s second night of their MSG sold-out New Year’s run.
Phish came back out to encore The Rolling Stones’ “Shine A Light”, as Anastasio took one final moment to flex his vocal chops, basking in the glory of the band’s noteworthy second set. “Tweezer Reprise” brought the glorious evening to a close, leaving the explosive room with huge expectations for the remaining two nights of Phish’s New Year’s run.
Setlist: Phish | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 12/29/2018
Set One: Buried Alive, Blaze On, Turtle In The Clouds, The Sloth > 46 Days –> Cities, Corinna, Ya Mar, Wolfman’s Brother
Set Two: Carini –> Tweezer > Death Don’t Hurt Very Long –> Tweezer > No Quarter > 2001 > First Tube
Encore: Shine A Light > Tweezer Reprise