Phish Goes Heavy On Ballads In Grand Prairie: Setlist & The Skinny

By Ben Greenfield Oct 26, 2016 5:25 am PDT

Phish played the second of two shows at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie in Grand Prairie, Texas on Tuesday night. Their final concert before their highly anticipated, tour-closing four-night Halloween run in Las Vegas, this was a laid back affair, with a ballad-heavy second set and precious little in the way of improvisation. The band did give the Texas crowd some treats, though: among the evening’s nearly two dozen songs were a handful of covers, a number of classics, and several rarities, including one song that hadn’t been seen since 2004.

The evening kicked off with a dose of energy and a dose of gospel, care of the year’s third version of the bluegrass spiritual “Daniel Saw the Stone.” A string of classics followed: “The Moma Dance” and “Chalk Dust Torture” were textbook versions, while the Talking Heads’ “Cities” oozed slow funk, appropriate for the warm Texas night. Phish’s first album, Junta, had gotten no play on this tour until Monday night, when they closed the first set with “David Bowie.” Two more of the record’s tunes emerged in tonight’s first set. “Foam,” making its first appearance since November 2, 2014, enjoyed a mostly smooth performance. Then, after “Waking Up Dead,” came the return of “Divided Sky” for the first time since summer.

Another ’80s song, “I Didn’t Know,” enjoyed some Texas-themed banter from Trey Anastasio, who noted that, while he was a “real Texan,” having been born in the state, and Page had spent time at SMU, only one of the band’s members is a “cosmic Texan,” which was the cue for Jon Fishman to play the sounds of the (lone) stars — on the vacuum cleaner, naturally. The set’s third cover, the James Gang’s “Walk Away,” was pure adrenaline, while “What’s the Use?” was just the opposite, dwindling to a lovely near-nothingness. The energy came roaring back with “More,” which has now closed first sets in all three of its performances — a role it played well tonight, thanks to Trey’s shredding.

“Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan” opened the second set, doing that duty for only the second time ever. Its Joy mate, “Backwards Down the Number Line,” had been missing in action this fall. Its reappearance turned out to be straightforward, with some neat riffs from Page McConnell’s piano and Trey’s guitar. Next, the band opted not for the expected jam vehicle, but instead for a rarity: the ballad “Lifeboy,” which was last seen December 29, 2011 — 189 shows earlier. A standard “Meatstick” was followed by “The Line” and “Tide Turns.” The tour’s first “Taste” was the set’s first taste of anything resembling an extended jam. For how rare the song has become — this was its third outing since 2014 — it was well played, with each band member contributing to the set’s first highlight.

Next was another bust out, if not a particularly anticipated one: “Friday,” which most fans assumed was left for dead after its previous appearance at Coventry in 2004. It was hard not to imagine that its refrain, “why isn’t it Friday today?” suggested that the band’s mind was on their Las Vegas shows that begin this weekend. They did turn their minds back to the set, though, playing a spirited but quite short version of another Round Room tune, “Waves.” A duo of rockers, “Julius” and Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times,” closed the set with two of its only massive peaks. The band ended the evening with one last ballad for good measure: the tour’s first “Show of Life.”

Phish is off Wednesday and Thursday. They return to the stage in Las Vegas on Friday night, for the first of four shows at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Those shows will be webcast on LivePhish.

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie [See upcoming shows]


2 shows — 07/29/2015, 10/24/2016

The Music

11 songs / 8:10 pm to 9:31 pm (81 minutes)

12 songs / 10:03 pm to 11:26 pm (83 minutes)

23 songs / 19 originals / 4 covers


35.83 [Gap chart]


Daniel, Foam, Divided Sky, I Didn't Know, BDTNL, Lifeboy, Meatstick, The Line, Taste, Friday, Waves, Show Of Life

Friday - LTP 08/14/2004 (325 Show Gap)

Divided Sky - 16:25

Daniel Saw The Stone - 3:47

Junta - 2, A Picture of Nectar - 1, Hoist - 2, Billy Breathes - 1, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Round Room - 2, Joy - 2, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 3, Misc. - 4, Covers - 4

The Rest

75° and Mostly Cloudy at showtime

Koa 1

Capacity: 6,350

Phish From The Road Photos

Videos (Captured by Doug Canady)



[Number Line > Lifeboy]


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