Phish Concludes 2018 Merriweather Post Pavilion Run — Recap, Setlist & The Skinny
Phish performed the second of two-straight concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on Sunday night. The band’s final show before heading to New York for this weekend’s Curveball festival came off like a series of fastballs, that — if continuing the baseball analogy– landed squarely in the strike zone. Tour debuts and other first set unexpectedness and a nonstop, jam-heavy second half made for another memorable night at MPP.
The first “Llama” of the summer was unleashed to open Sunday’s first set. The hard-charging opener was trailed by another tour debut as bassist Mike Gordon led the quartet through the punkish “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.” Noting the energetic combo that started the show, guitarist Trey Anastasio joked, “We’d like to speed things up now a little bit,” ahead of the laid-back funk bomb “Meat.” Drummer Jon Fishman laid down a deep pocket for his band mates to trade chunky solos during the first “Meat” of the year. By the time Trey fired up the swinging rocker “Alaska,” a trend had formed as it became the fourth straight tour debut.
The guitarist ended that streak by opting for the increasingly less-rare first set placement of “Tweezer.” Sunday’s “Tweezer” unfolded with Trey teasing The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” and cascading a series of cutting riffs while Page McConnell answered on piano. The foursome’s transition into “Bathtub Gin” gave the night an early second set vibe. This tour’s propensity for noteworthy set one improvisation continued, “Gin” rolling out one soaring peak after another, seemingly testing the strength of the rebuilt MPP roof. The now come-to-be-expected instrumental coda made for a nicely executed rendition of the Phish classic, “The Curtain With.” Setting a trend of four heavy hitters in a row, the set-closing “Chalkdust Torture” brought back the high-level intensity that started the set.
“Tweezer Reprise” picked the energy back up right where set one started and ended. It was just the second time “Tweeprise” opened a second set, the last coming in 1995. The forward-charging pace lasted through the subsequent “No Men In No Man’s Land,” which paved the way for an explosive and exploratory jam sequence built up through several distinct progressions. Page simultaneously played organ and piano, while Mike employed several varieties of effects, Fish textured a mix of fills and backbone, as Trey toyed with the familiar melody that’s shown up frequently this tour. The dense “NMINML” improv groovily slipped into “Twist” whose jam consisted of concise interplay among the four on stage.
The wistful “Prince Caspian” was the bridge to “Piper,” which was a springboard to an outstanding jam. After several minutes of the quartet blasting through a key-changing run of improvisation that barrelled forward with a propulsion that seemingly enveloped the band, the monumental climax resulted in a wild “Tweezer Reprise” reprise. Trey then called for a trip “Backwards Down The Number Line” and the guitarist soon showed off his skillful fingerwork within the nostalgic rocker. Keeping the momentum up, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (“2001”) — the night’s first and lone cover — was amplified by lighting designer Chris Kuroda’s dazzling accompaniment to the disco-funky instrumental. At one point it seemed like “Martian Monster” was going to formulate within “2001” as the crowd supplied Trey-approved “woos.” A towering “Harry Hood,” that had Trey once again employing the prevalent melodic line and Page reciprocating, brought the seamless set to a sublime conclusion.
Saturday’s four-song encore was matched by a three-song encore Sunday. First up was “Heavy Things,” followed by fellow Farmhouse cut “Bug.” Another “Tweezer Reprise” reprise came out to cap the night with a fittingly high-energy ending.
Phish will host their Curveball festival in Watkins Glen, New York this weekend. A webcast – offered in 4K — is available via LivePhish.com.
Merriweather Post Pavilion [See upcoming shows]
16 shows — 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, 07/14/2013, 07/26/201, 07/27/2014, 08/15/2015, 08/16/2015, 08/11/2018
8 songs / 7:36 pm to 8:49 pm (73 minutes)
10 songs / 9:24 pm to 10:54 pm (90 minutes)
18 songs / 17 originals / 1 cover
10.4 [Gap chart]
Llama, BBFCFM, Meat, Alaska
Llama - 31 Show Gap (LTP 7/29/2017)
Harry Hood - 14:34
Tweezer Reprise (Encore) - 2:27
Lawn Boy - 1, A Picture of Nectar - 4, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Farmhouse - 4, Joy - 1, Big Boat - 1, Misc. - 4, Covers - 1
72° F and Rain Showers at Showtime
Phish From The Road Photos
Tour Dates for