Phish Perform Deep Cuts + Live Debuts on Fall 2019 Tour Opener

Phish took the stage last night, November 29, at the Dunkin Donuts Center for the first of its two-night stay in Providence. It was a historic night for three reasons: First, it marked the jam band's Fall Tour opener. Second, it was apparently the Dunkin Donuts Center that inspired the band's legendary Baker's Dozen residency (which finally came into fruition in 2017 after years of toying with the idea. The result? 13 nights at MSG in a row with a setlist that never once repeated). And third, it was my first Phish concert.
For those who don't know, the band was formed in 1985 at the University of Vermont by three of its current core four members – Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman and Mike Gordon. Keyboardist Page McConnell joined in the next year with the departure of founding guitarist Jeff Holdsworth.
In its nearly 40-year career, Phish has become one of the most prolific bands of our time. With an ongoing list of studio albums and live releases, the band has performed more than 390 songs since breaking onto the music scene in 1983 (billed as Blackwood Convention). The driving force for Phish continues to be its live shows, backed by the dedication and devotion of its Phans and its members' whimsical and peculiar genius.
I'll admit, I was a little nervous going in last night. I had only really known a few Farmhouse songs and some of the band's famous jams, via YouTube. Luckily for me, the band played seven Farmhouse songs throughout the course of the night, which started off with the blistering psychedelic rocker "First Tube."
A funky "Final Hurrah" followed, which morphed into "NICU" before the band segued into a percolating "Steam" that had everyone grooving. Once the steam cleared, we were treated to what I was told was a rare Jon Fishman ballad. Following a very bluegrassy "Scent of a Mule," he unearthed "Bye Bye Foot" for the first time since 1997 — making it a 705-show gap!
Phish, "Bye Bye Foot"
The quartet got things rolling again with the ever-groovy "No Men in No Man's Land," and I finally started to catch on to the seemingly-synchronized cheers from the sea of entranced Phans surrounding me before getting a nice helping of "Gumbo."
I, too, was hooked. Even when one jam started, I found myself eagerly anticipating what the next would be, and how the audience would react.
Page McConnell took the reins in the first set, with a few key solos, super high energy and his song "Maybe" making its Phish debut. The track off his side project Vida Blue's new album, Crossing Lines, was sandwiched between Phan-favorite "My Soul" and a slow and funky "Sand."
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Phish closed out the first set with a dare I say – electric – cover of The Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Fire," perhaps in honor of what would have been Hendrix's 77th trip around the sun this year.
Phish, "Fire"
Set two commenced with a semi-improvisational jam of Round Room classic "46 Days," and included big jams "Joy," "Birds of a Feather" and "Simple." The entire set oozed with "Plasma," as the Anastasio solo cut trickled in and out of "Light" and "Set Your Soul Free."
The band ended the main set with a cover of James Gang's "Walk Away," and disappeared off stage ... Only to reemerge a few moments later for another 20-minute performance, ultimately closing out the show with an encore of "Meatstick" (complete with the dance), "Sleep," "Driver" and "Bug."
Phish, "Meatstick"
As I sat in my car in the parking garage trying to jot my scrambled thoughts on paper, I realized that I will likely never be able to solve the riddles in Phish's lyrics, nor fully grasp the relationship they have with their live audiences. But for one night, I felt like I was let in on the joke.
Check out the entire setlist and see Phish's remaining 2019 tour dates below. You can buy tickets on Live Nation and get all additional info on Phish's website.
Phish setlist

Phish's Fall Tour 2019 dates:

11/30 - Providence, RI @ Dunkin' Donuts Center
12/01 - Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum
12/04 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Peterson Event Center
12/06 - Charleston, SC @North Charleston Coliseum
12/07 - Charleston, SC @North Charleston Coliseum
12/08 - Charleston, SC @North Charleston Coliseum
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Last updated: 9 Dec 2019, 23:58 Etc/UTC