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Phish Sends 30-Minute “Fuego” Into “Oblivion”, Dedicates “…

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On Saturday, Phish continued settling into its home away from home, Madison Square Garden, for night two of the band’s seven-night summer run in New York City.

We talked a lot about themes (or the absence of themes) after night one, so we’ll spare you the conspiracy theories today. As far as we can tell, there was no particular unifying thread on Saturday’s setlist, which definitely dampens the somewhat defendable but most likely meaningless “Sloth-y” sentiments heard throughout night one. Who needs a theme, anyway? Let’s get on with the show.

While most fans in attendance would likely tell you that night one was a step above night two, there was plenty to love on Saturday at the Garden. “Back On The Train” got the call to start night two of seven. The rocker served admirably in the opening role, even if it didn’t approach the heights of last Sunday’s version from Syracuse.

Much like night one got down to business with a big improvisational outing in the two-slot on “A Wave of Hope”, Saturday’s show hit its stride on its second song with a stretched-out “Down With Disease” that cycled through several distinct motifs and rode waves of tension and release throughout its nearly 19-minute runtime. Chilling, Thrilling rocker “The Dogs” had the Garden crowd howling as it roared in on a wave of momentum from the early-set “Disease”.

Trey Anastasio took a moment to dedicate the next song, “Bug”, to Jovi, the young girl who made all of our lives a little bit brighter last summer when she charmed her way onstage to sing the song with the guitarist in Grand Rapids, MI. Jovi was in the crowd at MSG on Saturday, Trey explained, and all in attendance channeled their inner Jovi innocence as they shouted along to the sentimental Farmhouse ballad.

Related: Trey Anastasio Welcomes Young Fan Onstage To Sing “Bug” In Michigan [Photos/Videos]

The energy in the building waned somewhat as the band worked through a string of first set filler tunes: a surprisingly clean “Sugar Shack”, a lukewarm “Evolve”, a pretty “Horn”, a dissonant “Foam”.

I get the feeling we’re going to keep coming up empty when we try comparing 2023’s 7 at the Garden to its 2017 Baker’s cousin, but you can surely put “Moonage Daydream” in the center of that Venn diagram. Just as the David Bowie cover served as a largely unsung hero of the Baker’s Dozen’s opening night (and the residency as a whole), “Moonage Daydream” arrived in midtown on Saturday to reinvigorate the dragging first set with the guitar-driven heat of an exploding star. Yep, still works.

After starting out set two with a straightforward “The Wedge”, Phish linked up with Diego and hopped into a “Fuego” that wound up being the improvisational centerpiece of the night—and one of the most enthralling jams of the year so far. Clocking in at over 30 minutes in length when all was said and done, this Fuego rolled and rolled through probing, synth-layered sections, the four members of the band each offering up ideas for the others to latch onto. Rather than peaking upward in the usual, soaring fashion, this one seemed to descend a sonic staircase into the molten crust of the Earth with the same intensity, making for a unique sort of climax. The eruption of cheers as Trey reintroduced the “Fuego” riff felt organic and thoroughly earned after this winding voyage.

Summer 2023 noob “Oblivion” provided a parking spot for the half-hour “Fuego” and once again prompted some excellent improv that flirted with quick-footed jazz and dabbled in a water color palette of tones before blowing apart and reforming as “Wingsuit”. Remember when Fuego was going to be Wingsuit? We think they made the right call, too.

Even after the heavyweight “Fuego” > “Oblivion” combo from earlier in the set, a stellar “2001” made its case for jam of the show when it dropped in next for a palpable shot of space-funk adrenaline. The funky Space Odyssey is always a dance party, but Phish really got under the spaceship’s hood this time around, tinkering with its inner workings to electrifying effect.

Rather than riding the vessel to the song’s signature closing build-up (look for the end of “2001” to make an appearance as the run continues), Anastasio steered the foursome off an exit ramp and into “Hold Your Head Up”. The traditional call for Jon Fishman antics sent Anastasio to the drum kit and summoned a cymbal-wielding Fish to center stage for his first run through Neil Diamond‘s “Craklin’ Rosie” since summer 2012, a gap of 396 shows. “I am Neil Diamond!” Henrietta cooed after the tune.

Returning to the cosmos—though not to the missing conclusion of “2001”—Phish finally closed out the set with a resounding “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”, leaving the scent of space lingering in the garden as Anastasio, Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Page McConnell briefly exited the stage.

A sour mix of “oooh” and “ehhh” greeted the encore-opening “Farmhouse”, but Phish quickly won the crowd back to its side with a towering “First Tube” exclamation point that surged with high-voltage rock current as Trey hoisted his Languedoc to the rafters.

Two down, five to go. Never miss a Sunday show. See you out there tonight.

Scroll down to check out the full setlist from night two of Phish’s summer seven at MSG. Click below to watch a selection of videos from the show.

For a full list of upcoming Phish tour dates, head here. Subscribe to LivePhish+ to listen to every show on the tour and browse an archive of live Phish recordings. To order your LivePhish webcasts for any of the band’s upcoming summer shows, head here.

Phish – “Moonage Daydream” (David Bowie) – 7/29/23

Phish – “Cracklin’ Rosie” (Neil Diamond) – 7/29/23

[Video: Gregory Marcus]

Phish – “First Tube” – 7/29/23

[Video: TheKamherst]

View Videos

Setlist [via Phish.net]: Phish | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 7/29/23

Set One: Back on the Train > Down with Disease, The Dogs, Bug, Sugar Shack, Evolve, Horn > Foam, Moonage Daydream

Set Two: The Wedge, Fuego > Oblivion > Wingsuit > Also Sprach Zarathustra[1] -> Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin’ Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.

Encore: Farmhouse, First Tube

[1] Unfinished.

Bug was dedicated to Jovi, who was in attendance. Also Sprach Zarathustra was unfinished. Cracklin’ Rosie was performed for the first time since July 6, 2012 (397 shows).



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