Phish Summer Tour 2019: Alpine Valley Night 3 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

By Scott Bernstein Jul 14, 2019 9:37 pm PDT

Phish proved the axiom “Never Miss A Sunday Show” true once again on Sunday night at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin. After loading the first set with a whopping nine tour debuts, including a song that had been shelved for 22 years, the quartet unleashed a monster 38-minute “Ruby Waves” as part of a jam-filled, marathon second set also featuring the beloved “Icculus” plus “Catapult” and “Contact” in the middle of “You Enjoy Myself.” Sunday’s concert was one for the ages that likely will stand among the best of the era.

“The Landlady” served as opener, marking the A Picture Of Nectar instrumental’s first appearance since July 10, 2016 – a span of 122 shows. Phish had shelved the song from December 10, 1994 through September 6, 2015 and then played it twice in 2016 before it disappeared again. The rust was evident on Sunday night. “Mike & I like to start each concert with a little dance lesson, I hope you’re all taking notes” guitarist Trey Anastasio told the crowd in reference to the choreographed moves he pulled off with bassist Mike Gordon that were “one beat behind.” The biggest bust out of 2019 came next as the quartet dusted off “Olivia’s Pool,” a song debuted in 1997 that came back in 1998 with a completely different arrangement and name, “Shafty.” While “Shafty” was last performed on June 10, 2012, the “Olivia’s Pool” arrangement hadn’t been played since November 17, 1997. At 692 shows, “Olivia’s Pool” has been the biggest bust out of tour and was nailed by the band.

Phish wasn’t done digging deep into their catalog as they unearthed “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” > “Avenu Malkenu” > “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” after 147 shows. The pairing of the instrumental theme from Trey’s Gamehendge thesis and funky rendition of the traditional Hebrew prayer had gone missing since August 21, 2015. Despite some struggles with “Landlady,” the band had no such issues with the string of songs that followed including “Meatstick” and the year’s first “Vultures.”

The four-piece began 2019 with their third Phish Riviera Maya destination event and treated fans to the return of “Spock’s Brain” after 16 years as part of the festivities. On Sunday, Phish played “Spock’s Brain” once again and kept the gems flowing with “Pebbles & Marbles.” The Round Room chestnut gave the band a nice chance to stretch their legs and they turned in another impressive rendition before unearthing “Glide” for the first time since July 23, 2017 during the “Baker’s Dozen” residency at Madison Square Garden. “We like to follow every dancing lesson with a singing lesson, we hope you’re all taking notes,” Anastasio stated after the a capella conclusion of “Glide.” The guitarist then led his mates through the fiery “About To Run” from Ghosts Of The Forest before it was back to 2019 debuts for the tender, Page McConnell-sung “Strange Design.” The ballad was last played on July 8, 2016 – a gap of 124 shows.

The instant classic show continued on with a “Timber (Jerry The Mule)” featuring outstanding interplay between McConnell and Anastasio. It was then Jon Fishman‘s turn to play vacuum during “I Didn’t Know.” Trey repeatedly referred to Fish as Jon “Sullen Melancholy” and even changed a line of “I Didn’t Know” to fit the drummer’s latest nickname. Phish capped the frame with one more tour debut, a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.”

Phish kicked off the second set with a “Mercury” they used as a springboard towards the evening’s first Type II jam, but it was on the “Ruby Waves” that followed where the band truly went deep. Clocking in at 38 minutes, the Ghosts Of The Forest jam vehicle featured seven distinct and outstanding explorations. Phish slickly alternated between keys and between Trey-led sections and egalitarian affairs. By the 15-minute mark it became clear the Alpine “Ruby Waves” was the best jam of the year thanks to Trey’s assertiveness, Page’s usage of nearly every instrument in his rig, Fish’s half-time groove and Mike’s steady anchoring. Fish provided a reggae beat around the 20-minute mark that led to a nasty evil segment that itself was longer than any other jam of the past week. The drummer picked up the pace and his mates followed along and built to an impressive peak. There was nary a wasted minute in the action-packed “Ruby Waves” that was among the longest jams in Phish history and longest of the era.

Ruby Waves Audio Taped by Chris King, Shared by Eric Lussier

Almost an hour in and “Twist” was the first song of the set that didn’t break form. Next up was the 2019 debut of the “Swept Away” > “Steep” sequence, the 220th and 221st songs Phish has played this year. It was then time for a dip into Kasvot Växt Land for “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long,” which was followed by Fish pointing out “You know it’s good when Trey starts drooling, that’s how you know it’s good!” Anastasio used the drummer’s joke as the basis for starting one of the most beloved rarities in the Phish repertoire, “Icculus.”

“It’s not every show that you start drooling,” Trey said in starting the narration for the first “Icculus” since December 31, 2013. “I’m sure some of you have drooled. Fish, have you drooled?” the guitarist asked to which the drummer retorted, “My whole family drools.” Trey went on to explain, “It’s been a fun summer and the four of us will go back to our homes and sit in the dark” at which point Fish chimed in “Drooling!” before Anastasio added, “As we sit in our dark lonely rooms the four of us will be reading” and then asked his band mates to chime in with some “Oohs.” Once Fish provided some backing vocals, Trey said “Feel free to ooh, feel free to drool, do whatever the hell the want, I don’t give a fuck. Turn to the person next to you and drool! We hope that you too in the break between the next time we come back here will do a little reading and pick up on some of the important things in life.

“It’s not the note that you play, it’s the attitude you put behind it,” Anastasio continued. “You know where I learned it? I learned it from a very special book. You too can learn to drool and play a guitar note like this [shreds] if you can only seek out this book I’m talking about.” He mentioned the book, “Can stop you from being a ‘Sullen Melancholy’ vacuum-sucking fool” and got to the point of introducing the author of the “Helping Friendly Book” – “the great and knowledgeable Icculus.”

The sixth “Icculus” since 1995 was followed by the return of “Buffalo Bill” after nearly two years. Anastasio then led an extremely brief “Icculus Reprise” before waving it off and at the 80-minute mark of the set launching into “You Enjoy Myself.” Just as Trey was supposed to start his solo, he instead began chanting the words to “Catapult” (last played 191 shows ago on July 27, 2014) in alternation with Mike. After the line, “there ain’t going to be no wedding,” Trey told the story of meeting a couple the previous day and said “there will be a wedding ” as the woman was waiting for her boyfriend to ask her to marry him and he would only do so if Mike sang “Contact” at Alpine Valley on Sunday. With that, Phish left the spot they were at in the “YEM”/”Catapult” mashup and performed “Contact” changing the course of that couple’s life. Without missing a beat, the quartet picked up where they left off and finished “Yoe Enjoy Myself.” For the encore, the foursome served up a hard-charging “More” and the “Tweezer Reprise” that paired with the “Tweezer” performed on Friday night at the same venue.

Phish returns to the stage on August 30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Alpine Valley Music Theatre [See upcoming shows]


19 shows — 08/10/1996, 08/09/1997, 08/01/1998, 07/24/1999, 07/08/2000, 07/18/2003, 07/19/2003, 06/25/2004, 06/26/2004, 06/20/2009, 06/21/2009, 08/14/2010, 08/15/2010, 06/30/2012, 07/01/2012, 08/08/2015, 08/09/2015, 07/12/2019, 07/13/2019

The Music

14 songs / 7:43 pm to 9:05 pm (82 minutes)

13 songs / 9:39 pm to 11:37 pm (118 minutes)

27 songs / 24 originals / 3 covers


70.17 [Gap chart]


The Landlady, Olivia's Pool, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Avenu Malkenu, Vultures, Spock's Brain, Glide, Strange Design, Good Times Bad Times, Swept Away, Steep, Icculus, Buffalo Bill, Catapult

Olivia's Pool - LTP 11/17/1997 (692 Show Gap)

Ruby Waves -- 38:08

Swept Away -- 1:01

Junta - 2, A Picture of Nectar - 4, Billy Breathes - 2, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 1, Big Boat - 1, Misc. - 13, Covers - 3

The Rest

76° and Sunny at showtime

KOA 1 (Except Blonde 2 for Pebbles & Marbles)

Capacity: 37,000

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Watch fan-shot video of “Icculus” captured by shinepigeon:

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