Phish Merriweather Post Pavilion 2014 Setlist & Skinny | Night Two

We're just about to enter the home stretch of Phish Summer Tour 2014, a 25-show run that has been filled with highlights at nearly each stop. On Sunday night the quartet concluded a two-night stand at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD; a venue that has hosted Phish on each summer tour since 2009 with the exception of 2012. Once again the "Never Miss A Sunday Show" saying held true as the Vermonters played one of the best shows of the tour filled with wild transitions, bust outs, surprises and impressive jamming at nearly every turn.

Phish came out of the gates with a pair of fan-favorite tour debuts in "Fee" and "The Curtain With." Both songs were first performed in 1987 and had been notable omissions from the rotation over the first 17 shows of 2014. Guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio messed up the order of verses in "Fee," so when the song reached its "harmonics jam" finale Anastasio stopped his band mates, picked up his megaphone and led the group through the missing verse. The guitarist took to the mic to make light of his error and started up "The Curtain With." Sure, there were some signs of rust in "The Curtain With," but all was forgotten after the song's soaring jam. It was back to setlist staples for well-executed versions of "46 Days" and "555." The Jon Fishman-penned "My Sweet One" then saw action for the second time this tour. Up next was a quick romp through a "Sand" with a particularly jazzy feel. The audience was then treated to the tour debut of "Saw It Again," a rarity that had only been performed five times prior since 2009 if you include both the "Saw It Again" and "Saw It Again Reprise" the Vermonters laid down at Merriweather in 2010. In a clever setlist pairing, "Saw It Again" led into "Fuego," which continued a streak of Phish performing the title track of their new album in each city they've played this tour. Yet another surprise followed the straight-forward "Fuego" - a first set "You Enjoy Myself." It had been 13 shows since the song last made an appearance, which ties the longest gap between "YEM"s in band history. In a move we saw during the SPAC "YEM," Trey and bassist Mike Gordon turned to face off against each other for the start of the jam. Anastasio mostly focused on funky rhythms throughout the "YEM" jam and only played lead for a few measures before passing the baton to Mike and Fish for the drums/bass section of the song. Trey danced around on stage like a mad man and waved his megaphone and pressed its siren button, while the bassist teased "Flash Light" within his solo in the set-closing "You Enjoy Myself."

"Wilson" had the crowd engaged right from the start of the second set, especially the fans of MLB catcher Wilson Ramos, who plays for the Nationals nearby in Washington, D.C. The quartet then lit into "Tweezer" to the delight of the audience. Fishman picked up the beat to double-time just as the jam started and his band mates followed along for a transition into "Back On The Train." Anastasio sang the first verse and then the band segued back into where they left off in the "Tweezer" jam. The guitarist unleashed a flurry of rapid-fire riffs before the band returned to finish "Back On The Train." Another segue brought us back to "Tweezer" completing the wacky "Tweezer" > "Back On The Train" > "Tweezer" > "Back On The Train" > "Tweezer" sequence. But as fun as that was, the "Tweezer" jam after the craziness ended was where the real magic was. The lengthy improvisational journey visited a few distinct and exceptional jam spaces including a blissful section that sounded straight out of a "Theme From The Bottom" jam as well as a spacey segment and a funk-based excursion. When Phish returned to "Tweezer" once more following "Free," we had ourselves a straight-out-of-1994 "Tweezerfest" similar to those at The Bomb Factory and Big Birch. The return to "Tweezer" from the middle of "Free" was short lived as "Simple" soon emerged. We weren't finished with the segue madness as the beautiful "Simple" jam melted back into "Tweezer" only for the band to soon work their way back to finish "Free." All in all, the ensemble had played portions of "Tweezer" five times with split versions of "Back On The Train" and "Free" as well as full takes on "Waiting All Night" and "Simple" included within.

How did Phish follow an insane hour of music to start that set? For starters, there was the first "Catapult" since August 14, 2009; aka the biggest bust out of the tour, and another spot-on "Slave To The Traffic Light." Unbelievably, there was still more time for the second set, so Mike Gordon kicked into "Down With Disease." "Disease" got weird fast as the band didn't settle on one particular space within the improv and kept it moving through a segue into "NICU." The four members of the group each accentuated all their parts within a frisky "NICU" that gave way to an out-of-nowhere funk jam. Phish has rarely embarked on improv out of "NICU," but this was no ordinary show. Speaking of the unusual, the funky "NICU" jam eventually found its way into "Hold Your Head Up," a song that signals a coming vacuum tune from drummer Jon Fishman. Fish told the crowd he hadn't prepared any songs for the occasion, so he looked back to Trey who had an idea in mind. The guitarist convinced Fishman to sing "Jennifer Dances," a much-maligned/loved original that was only played three times in 1999. Fish led a rough attempt at the song, which is now the biggest bust out of the tour, that was hilarious and then did a few laps across the stage. Trey and Fish then asked Page where he's been, a bit that's used to introduce "I Been Around," just another bust out on a night filled with them (last time played - October 16, 2010). McConnell passionately delivered the song and then led the band as they walked off stage. We were hoping Phish wouldn't end the evening with a "standard" encore choice and our wish came true as the band put a stamp on a marvelous evening with the tour's first cover of "Boogie On Reggae Woman" by Stevie Wonder and a "Tweezer Reprise" that screamed victory. The tour continues on Tuesday night at nTelos Pavilion in Portsmouth, VA.

Setlist...

[via Phish.net]

  • Venue Type: Outdoor Amphitheatre / 19,316
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 07/17/1992, 08/08/1998, 07/09/1999, 09/17/2000, 08/15/2009, 06/26/2010, 06/27/2010, 06/11/2011, 06/12/2011, 07/13/2013 and 07/14/2013 - 11 Shows
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 10 / 7:35 p.m. - 8:58 p.m. (83 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 14 / 9:25 p.m. - 10:56 p.m. (91 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 24 / 2 / 20
  • Biggest Bustout: Jennifer Dances - 352 Shows (LTP - 12/17/1999)
  • Average Song Vintage: 1995
  • Debuts: N/A
  • Tour Debuts: Fee, The Curtain With, Saw It Again, Hold Your Head Up, Catapult, Jennifer Dances, I Been Around, Boogie On Reggae Woman
  • Total Number Of Different Songs Phish Has Played This Year: 132
  • Weather: 81 degrees and Partly Cloudy at show time
  • Average Song Gap: 34.59
  • The Spread: Junta - 2, Lawn Boy - 2, Picture Of Nectar - 2, Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 1, Farmhouse - 2, Round Room - 1, Joy - 1, Fuego - 3, Covers - 2, Misc. - 7
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: You Enjoy Myself 20:27 / Tweezer 0:54
  • Audio: Live Phish

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[Published on: 7/27/14]

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