Bust Out City: Phish Concludes San Francisco Run At Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – Recap, Setlist & The Skinny

By Ben Greenfield Jul 21, 2016 1:10 am PDT

On Wednesday night, Phish played the final show of their three-night run at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Following a pair of evenings that were notable for their improvisation, on this night the band played a different card, with a first set that was among the most bust out-heavy of their entire career. Though the second set had some highlights as well, they were easily outshined by what happened before the break.

The crowd might have suspected something was in the air when Phish opened with “Demand,” which hadn’t appeared since December 31, 2009, and had only ever been played 15 times. “The Curtain With,” which came with some lovely lyrical soloing from Trey Anastasio, was a somewhat less shocking choice, having been played in Mexico in January. But that couldn’t be said of “Alumni Blues” and “Letter to Jimmy Page,” which were last seen on August 3, 2013, in this same room, or “Fuck Your Face,” which was last played November 1, 2014.

But the next slot was the biggest bust out of all: the Beatles’ “Cry Baby Cry,” which was missing in action since November 21, 1998, a whopping 496 show gap. Trey dedicated the next song, “Sing Monica” (last played November 1, 2014) to producer Bob Ezrin, who was in attendance. Next were a trio of songs that had last been played in the summer of 2015: “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters,” “The Very Long Fuse,” and “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars” — all well played in spite of their hibernation. “BBFCFM” included a “One, two, buckle my shoe” keyword from Jon Fishman. James Gang’s “Walk Away,” last seen October 29, 2013, preceded the first “Sanity” since last August 9. The band had some extra fun with the latter, adorning it with chants of “I don’t need a place to hide!” and “Rawhide!” Finally, after 12 tour debuts, the band played a song they had previously played this tour: “David Bowie.” The tune’s jam spent much of its time in a major key, with an ecstatic run that eventually bled into the triads that close the song.

After the setbreak, song selection returned to something more closely resembling normal. “No Men in No Man’s Land” got the second set going. It featured a big guitar solo followed by a brief dreamy, open jam that fizzled out before “Mike’s Song,” whose jam was colored by Trey’s dirty tone. “Fee” was next, returning for the first time since July 27, 2014, and immediately following “Mike’s Song” for the first time in its nearly 20-year history. “Seven Below” followed, building to an exciting peak while staying within the song’s normal parameters. After “Waiting All Night,” the band played a sizzling “Gotta Jibboo,” with Jon Fishman’s drums fueling Trey’s leads. Next was the ballad “Miss You,” whose only prior appearance was last month in Chicago.

“Weekapaug Groove” finally put the top piece of bread atop the five-layer “Mike’s Groove” sandwich. After a funk-rock groove, Trey got behind the Marimba Lumina and Mike, the keyboards, before everyone finally returned to their own instruments for the closing refrain. The tour’s second pairing of “Oh Kee Pa Ceremony” > “Suzy Greenberg” came next, giving Page his biggest solo of the night. Trey got perhaps his biggest solo in the “Julius” that followed, closing out the set. After the encore break, Page thanked the crowd for an enjoyable run before playing the opening chords to “Wading in the Velvet Sea.” The crowd handled most of the vocals in “Character Zero,” as the mics seemed to experience some difficulties.

Phish returns to the stage Friday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium [See upcoming shows]


11 shows — 08/17/2012, 08/18/2012, 08/19/2012, 08/02/2013, 08/03/2013, 08/04/2013, 10/27/2014, 10/28/2014, 10/29/2014, 07/18/2016, 07/19/2016

The Music

13 songs / 8:20 pm to 9:32 pm (72 minutes)

11 songs / 10:15 pm to 11:47 pm (92 minutes)

24 songs / 22 originals / 2 covers


61.37 [Gap chart]


Demand, The Curtain With, Alumni Blues, Letter to Jimmy Page, Fuck Your Face, Cry Baby Cry, Sing Monica, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, The Very Long Fuse, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Walk Away, Sanity, Fee

Cry Baby Cry - LTP 11/21/1998 (496 Show Gap)

The Curtain With - 12:51

Letter To Jimmy Page - 1:05

Junta - 3, Lawn Boy - 1, Hoist - 2, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 1, Fuego - 2, Misc. - 12, Covers - 2

The Rest

59° and Mostly Sunny

G2 #6 / NewDoc

Capacity: 8,500

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More Skinny


[Fee | Captured by JamCatcher]

[Walk Away | Captured by JamCatcher]

[Sing Monica | Captured by JamCatcher]

[Alumni Blues | Captured by JamCatcher]

[Gotta Jibboo]

Phish From The Road Photos


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