Chula Vista Love: Phish Sleep Train Amphitheatre – Recap, Setlist & The Skinny

By Andy Kahn Jul 23, 2016 11:20 pm PDT

Making their fifth appearance at the venue known as Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Saturday night Phish brought the main leg of their Summer Tour to a close in Chula Vista, California. Following Friday night’s fairly straightforward affair in L.A., the Southern California audience and those watching on the LivePhish webcast weren’t likely to call Saturday’s show standard. The first set had noteworthy improvisation segments and the return of the beloved “Tube” jam, while set two welcomed the return of a once common opener, extended jams and other memorable moments.

Saturday got underway with “Farmhouse” opening a show for the first time since July 3, 2014. The mid-tempo pace continued with bassist Mike Gordon leading the quartet through his steady “555” for the fifth time this summer. The relaxed vibe kept up as the slowed down arrangement of “Water In The Sky” presented Page McConnell a chance to stretch out on piano. A rare first set “Ghost” brought about its signature deep-pocket groove and a healthy dose of tight improvisation driven by Trey Anastasio’s focused guitar work and McConnell’s melodic response. After the “Ghost” jam ventured through a series of climatic peaks, drummer Jon Fishman brought the band back to the song’s main theme and then delivered his new tune “Ass Handed.” Following the second ever rendition of the Fish original debuted at The Gorge, “I fucking love that song,” Anastasio proclaimed a few moments before starting up “The Sloth.”

“Your trip is short!” rang out through the outdoor venue during the ensuing jolt of “Martian Monster.” Once past the composed opening, the gorgeous second half of “Reba” served as a sublime soundtrack as the sun was setting off in the distance. As “Reba” drew near its ending, Fish fired up another quick rendition of “Ass Handed” before the group moved on to a performance of “Tube” that (finally) saw the band go into a full on improvisation sequence that featured Trey employing an array of effects as the foursome went deep into a jam ahead of returning to the song’s bluesy close. “Wolfman’s Brother” got off to a funky start and preceded to maintain a silky groove complete with a thorough “California Love” jam ala the July 15, 1998 version. A rocking “Walls Of The Cave” brought the set to an end as Anastasio handed his pick to a young fan riding the rail before leaving the stage for set break.

The second set got off to a disco-space start with once regular opener “2001” returning to that slot for the first time since July 11, 2000. Bathed in lighting designer Chris Kuroda’s lights and fog, more “California Love” teases materialized along with a compact jam. A rocking “46 Days” centered on Anastasio’s rapid soloing and Fish’s chasing fills and soon transitioned to “Piper” which rapidly picked up momentum as the foursome moved far beyond the structure of the song. “Twist” came next, keeping the band in the comfortably chilled-out groove they’d seemingly been in all night, taking a patient, minimalist approach to the jam that eventually picked up pace and complexity. The light and lively “Backwards Down The Number Line” brought some levity to the set before being drawn back into sharp intensity via the hard rocking “Carini,” during which Trey and Fish dropped some “Ass Handed” quotes.

Taking a brief pause for the first time all set, Mike and Trey then went face to face for a portion of the “Harry Hood” intro, retaking their normal positions for typically majestic rest of the song. The Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup” had Page pounding his piano and Trey giving a commanding solo on the Exile On Main Street classic that brought the set to a close. Trey addressed the crowd at the start of the encore, noting how great he thought the show (and tour) had been and then introduced “Sleeping Monkey” as Page’s favorite song. Page indicated he might not be ready for it, and Trey replied the keyboardist may cry. Some ribbing about Mike crying and Fish mimicking the sound of tears followed, as did instructions from Trey on what to Google (“sleeping monkey revived at train station in India by friend”) in order to learn the meaning of the song. A rare “Tweezer”-less “Tweezer Reprise” with substituted “Ass Handed” lyrics brought the night and tour to an end.

Phish will return to the stage on August 26 for the first of two appearances at the Lockn’ Festival being held at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, Virginia.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre [See upcoming shows]


4 shows — 09/18/1999, 10/04/2000, 07/08/2003, 10/25/2014

The Music

11 songs / 7:48 pm to 9:08 pm (80 minutes)

10 songs / 9:42 pm to 11:05 pm (83 minutes)

21 songs / 19 originals / 2 covers


6.64 [Gap chart]



Reba - LTP 06/29/2016 (14 Show Gap)

Harry Hood - 12:47

Ass Handed - 1:08

Lawn Boy - 1, A Picture of Nectar - 1, Hoist - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 2, Farmhouse - 3, Round Room - 2, Joy - 1, Fuego - 1, Misc. - 7, Covers - 2

The Rest

74° Sunny At Showtime

G2 #6 / NewDoc

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