Everything In Its Right Place: Night 11 Of Phish Baker’s Dozen Residency – Recap, Setlist & The Skinny
The word “lemon” can have several different connotations in different contexts. As a flavor it’s a distinctive sour tang, for a cleanser it’s a clean and fresh scent, and for a used car, it means a POS dud. For Phish, playing their 11th no-duds-here show of the already-legendary Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden, “lemon” somehow connotated “we are traveling by spaceship to another galaxy.”
Oh sure, the show opened innocently enough, a debut take on Blind Lemon Jefferson’s blues “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” got things rolling and continued the band’s streak of new covers each night to match the show’s theme donut. It being Friday night, the kick-off of the final weekend of the run, there was an end-of-the-week stress-release in the form of a spiked glass of “Punch (You in the Eye),” a romping, take-off-those-work-clothes-cause-it’s “Party Time,” the suggestion of what to do when you “get home from work,” were you a “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars,” although, on second thought maybe a “Dinner And A Movie” would be a better option than trying to kill you, or anyone for that matter.
The band balanced some occasional hey-it’s-the-weekend!, TGIF sloppiness with a tangible, tangy, poppy-seed high energy. This carried them into an “Ocelot” that had a wonderful I-think-I-can build-up rock-out that pushed the crowd to the first of what would be a, if my math is correct, gazillion peaks over the course of the night. The first set closed strong with the band clicking into place for a lovely “Winterqueen” and the you-can-never-have-enough-set-closers pairing of “Bold As Love” (only the third time in 20+ years it hasn’t closed a set or show) and “First Tube” which never fails to send a packed house into an absolute frenzy. While nothing was off-the-charts crazy, almost everything in the first set certainly had an extra lemon zing to it.
There were already hints that the MSG crowd would be leaving our home planet Friday night. The “BBFCFM” for one, hinted at alien presence in the room. Even more so, Chris Kuroda’s lights – photonic strings of varying wavelength criss-crossing the arena, moving up and down as if by some extraterrestrial hand – seemed destined to finally lift things off the ground completely. To travel into outer space requires an incredible amount of thrust to leave the atmosphere, bringing you to an ethereal otherworldliness. The second set of show 11 featured both high octane, rocket fuel propulsion, extraordinary power capable of counteracting the Earth’s gravitational pull as well as plenty of psychedelic out-of-this world space jams in equal measure.
After a maybe-strangely placed set-opening a cappella take on “Dem Bones” the second stanza got rolling proper appropriately enough with “No Men In No Man’s Land,” Trey’s guitar was set for phaser with the usual effects. The ensuing jam was of the can’t-tell-who’s-leading variety, unfolding slowly as boosters 1, 2, 3 and 4 hit full ignition. For a run that’s been surprise after surprise after… surprise!… more surprises, watching Phish inch its way to a Radiohead (surprise!) song might rank up there with the most shocking (for those of you who rank these kinds of things). With Fishman doing his best to simulate Thom Yorke’s falsetto, the band’s version of “Everything in Its Right Place” (whose lyrics include “sucking on a lemon”) was something intergalactic. Anastasio left his guitar and added some zero-G synth while Mike and Page filled the room with haunting atmospherics.
It was a we-are-floating-in-space stretch and an historic one-small-step-for-PH-kind event, the audience caught off guard and enjoying the journey as the ambient weightlessness continued with a well-placed, well-played version of the instrumental “What’s the Use?” From there, the set was a scramble of deep improvisation, themes from “Right Place” returning, its mood permeating and alternating with more triumphant jet propulsion in the ensuing “(lemon) Scents and Subtle Sounds.” The jam in “Scents” was truly interplanetary, bouncing between bright happy full band orbit-hops and rocket-launch Anastasio climaxes, Trey eventually bringing back bits of “No Man’s” which unfolded into a blissful, spaced-out, no-one-can-hear-you-scream section that had at least this recapper reaching for a glass of Tang.
“Prince Caspian” continued its can-be-a-jammer-now run with an impressive array of fist-pumping engine burns and disassociated weirdness before the evening’s voyage approached its end with an I-sure-do-hope-the-heat-shield-holds verion of “Fluffhead,” the crowd forgiving some this-isn’t-rocket-science rough takes on the composed parts and going Planet-of-the-Apes for the final peaks, arms aloft, high-fives all around for surviving the trip more or less intact. I do not believe the encore, a keytar-at-the-ready “Frankenstein” had anything to do with lemons or donuts or the weekend or outer space, but like everything else Friday night, it was in its right place. Two more shows left, two more flavors to try, surprises await, where will the next voyage go? Strap in!
Madison Square Garden [See upcoming shows]
49 shows — 12/30/1994, 12/30/1995, 12/31/1995, 10/21/1996, 10/22/1996, 12/29/1997, 12/30/1997, 12/31/1997, 12/28/1998, 12/29/1998, 12/30/1998, 12/31/1998, 12/31/2002, 12/02/2009, 12/03/2009, 12/04/2009, 12/30/2010, 12/31/2010, 01/01/2011, 12/28/2011, 12/29/2011, 12/30/2011, 12/31/2011, 12/28/2012, 12/29/2012, 12/30/2012, 12/31/2012, 12/28/2013, 12/29/2013, 12/30/2013, 12/31/2013, 12/30/2015, 12/31/2015, 01/01/2016, 01/02/2016, 12/28/2016, 12/29/2016, 12/30/2016, 12/31/2016, 07/21/2017, 07/22/2017, 07/23/2017, 07/25/2017, 07/26/2017, 07/28/2017, 07/29/2017, 07/30/2017, 08/01/2017, 08/02/2017
10 songs / 8:09 pm to 9:19 pm (70 minutes)
8 songs / 9:55 pm to 11:19 pm (84 minutes)
18 songs / 13 originals / 5 covers
30.94 [Gap chart]
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (Blind Lemon Jefferson), Everything In Its Right Place (Radiohead)
See That..., Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars, Dinner & A Movie, Bold As Love, First Tube, Dem Bones, Everything In Its Right Place, Fluffhead, Frankenstein
Dinner & A Movie - 164 Shows (LTP - 7/21/13)
Fluffhead - 18:11
Poor Heart - 2:48
Junta - 2, A Picture of Nectar - 1, Billy Breathes - 1, Farmhouse - 1, Undermind - 1, Joy - 1, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 1, Misc. - 4, Covers - 5
88 degrees and Sunny
Capacity: 20,789 Donut Flavor: Lemon Poppy
Phish From The Road Photoshttps://www.instagram.com/p/BXZWdgngNss’
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