Phish Launch Seven-Night Residency at Madison Square Garde…


Phish Launch Seven-Night Residency at Madison Square Garden with Unbounded Explorations

Photo by @rene_huemer

Last night, the excitement was palpable as Phish took the stage at Madison Square Garden to kick off their seven-night run in the legendary venue in New York City. The quartet from Vermont showed no signs of holding back, captivating the audience with a carefully crafted setlist featuring an array of fluid improvisation, rock and roll energy and mindful mentions of the venue and city they inhabited.

The night commenced with “Evening Song,” a track from their Sigma Oasis album that hadn’t been played in over a year. Its mellow tones provided a soothing start, setting the stage for the musical journey. As the cheers erupted, without missing a beat, Trey Anastasio launched into the rocking opening riff of “A Wave of Hope.” The song, stretching past the 20-minute mark, featured focused and multifaceted improvisation from each band member and a sprinkling of “Mountain Jam”– likely a nod to Watkins Glen, which took place 50 years ago. However, it was keyboardist Page McConnell’s inclinations that came to the fore during musical exploration as he skillfully augmented the groove with the Yamaha CS60 synthesizer, engaging in mesmerizing back-and-forth interplay and synchronization with Anastasio.

The setlist continued to impress, with the Talking Heads’ “Cities” taking the crowd on a journey through spacey grooves. During the song, they alternated to “Find myself a city to live in” to “Find the best city to live in,” Anastasio also shifted into a major-key switch during which the quartet interlocked, making for one of the night’s finest peaks. Next, Phish paid tribute to their well-known affinity for Madison Square Garden with “The Old Home Place,” followed by a blistering and fast-tempo rendition of “Free.” Next came a moment of reprieve with the tender “Brian And Robert” before they unleashed and united over the rhythmic back-and-forth claps of “Stash” and a frame closing “My Soul.”

The second set opened appropriately with “More,” setting the sea of fans into a joyous frenzy, singing along with unbridled enthusiasm. Next, “Ruby Waves” took center stage with Anastasio and Godons’s back-and-forth improvisations, McConnell’s atmospheric synth layers and Fishman shimmering percussion additionally during the musical flow “Mountain Jam.” The jam progressed into a psychedelic, nearly 14-minute “Plasma” seamlessly melded with “Simple.” Without pause, Phish’s exploratory jamming continued with “Mountains In The Mist,” providing a tranquil interlude before the explosive set-closer, “Split Open And Melt.”

After a short break, the band returned for their encore, an apt and mindful pick of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times,” a nod to the historic Madison Square Garden performance by the legendary band 50 years earlier.

With a nameless and themeless series (so far), Phish have shown that their sheer musical brilliance is more than enough. The run continues tonight – watch all six remaining shows of Phish’s Summer Tour 2023 at MSG via LivePhish in 4K or HD + 48 hours of unlimited replay here.

Madison Square Garden – New York
July 28, 2023

Set I: Evening Song > A Wave of Hope, Cities, The Old Home Place > Free, Brian and Robert, Stash, My Soul

Set II: More > Ruby Waves -> Plasma > Simple > Mountains in the Mist, Split Open and Melt

Enc.: Good Times Bad Times

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