Phish Tour 2022: Charleston Night 1 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

The band's first show at Credit One Stadium kicked off with a 23-minute "Set Your Soul Free."

By Court Scott Jun 1, 2022 5:56 am PDT

Hot off a three-night tour opening run in Orange Beach, Alabama, Phish returned to Charleston, South Carolina Tuesday night for the time since late 2019, kicking off a two-night stand at Credit One Stadium. The 11,000-seat venue is newly renovated and is the only new-to-Phish venue on the Spring + Summer Tour 2022. Filled to capacity, the tennis arena turned music venue boasted an early showtime due to an early curfew, with the band taking the stage just after 7 p.m. ET.

The two opening tunes, clocking in at a combined 38 minutes, set a relaxed pace for the show; deep, unhurried playing with room to breathe, where familiar tunes grew and contracted in new ways. Those first two selections each featured extended jams, followed by a handful of shorter tunes which comprised the meat of the first set.

The beginning of the second set’s energy mirrored the start of the first’s with the band seeming to come alive once the sun went down. Highlights included a rambunctious “Axilla II,” extended Type II “Light,” “Golgi Apparatus” and an almost 20-minute encore.

Yet, for the strong improvisation that bookended the show and a playful attitude, it seems like the band got caught by surprise playing songs they’ve performed hundreds of times; jarring transitions, odd cues and a not terribly adventurous setlist made for a slightly uneven show.

Wasting no time when taking the stage, guitarist Trey Anastasio plucked the chords of “Set Your Soul Free” and after the first chorus quickly veered wonderfully off course. Keeping with a burgeoning spring tour trend of opening a show with an extended jam, “Set Your Soul Free” clocked in at 23 minutes – the fifth-longest show opener ever – and also only the seventh time Phish has opened a show with a jam longer than 20 minutes.

[Sidebar: narrator’s voice] Did you know that you can support music education by pledging to donate to the Mockingbird Foundation for each jam over 20 minutes?! You can also pledge a donation for each debut (original or cover), uber bust outs of songs not played for 100+ shows, or if you’re particularly good at “calling” tunes and matching them with a venue, there’s an opportunity for you!

“Set Your Soul Free” saw the Vermont foursome take the tune on an improvisational walk that traversed a twice modulated jam, saw Trey tickle the delay pedal early on and then come back to it deeper in the jam before taking a more melodic path. Drummer Jon Fishman’s fills and rollicking rhythm backed bassist Mike Gordon, who was set to rolling boil, and keyboardist Page McConnell alternated between the Hammond and piano before introducing the Moog later in the tune. The band traversed some familiar themes and phrases before an abrupt detour out of the jam pulled them back into the chorus to end the song.

With a rare second song placement – the second earliest it’s ever been played, in fact, just behind the August 14, 2004, Coventry opener – the band launched into “Walls Of the Cave.” For a tune that’s almost exclusively a set closer, the band delighted with a 15-minute version that deviated from the usual tension and release antics, instead opting for a breezy Type II jam that was exploratory and expansive – decidedly deviant, and wholly delicious.

Stepping away from the expanded jams, the rest of the set consisted of seven songs each under 10 minutes. A straightforward “Sample In a Jar” clocked in at four minutes. Fists pumping in the crowd, the anthemic tune was followed by “Steam.” With the fog machines pumping behind the band, Mike’s bass line set the pace while Page punctuated the groove with his Rhodes. Bluesy and dark, Trey approached the lyrics and melody with patience before moving to “My Friend, My Friend.” The Rift-era tune can be a technically challenging song with so many moving parts and cues. The band handled it well, but like “Steam,” it seemed a bit slower and, thus, less menacing than other versions. The band skipped the “Myfe” closing lyrics, instead going straight into “Sparkle.”

The band initially seemed to struggle to sync up in “Sparkle,” so the shortest tune of the night and typically a song of nimble chaos, felt a bit disjointed. However, “Sparkle” ushered in the first in a pair of tunes that turned into teenagers tonight; both “Ocelot” and “Light” debuted 13 years ago in 2009 at Fenway Park. “Ocelot’s” casual swagger gave way to the Sigma Oasis cut “Leaves,” a slow-rolling tune written by Trey and lyricist Tom Marshall. Rounding out the 85-minute set was perennial closer “The Squirming Coil.” Deeply compositional tune, “Coil” twisted and turned with Trey leading the charge before handing over the proverbial reins to Page for a beautiful, sweet baby grand outro.

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Credit One Stadium [See upcoming shows]

10,200

The Music

9 songs / 7:06 pm to 8:31 pm (85 minutes)

10 songs / 8:57 pm to 10:28 pm (91 minutes)

19 songs
18 originals / 1 cover

1998

10.84 [Gap chart]

None

All

Golgi Apparatus LTP 10/15/2021 (25 Show Gap)

Set Your Soul Free 23:02

Sparkle 4:06

Junta - 1, Lawn Boy - 1, A Picture of Nectar - 1, Rift - 2, Hoist - 2, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Round Room - 2, Joy - 2, Sigma Oasis - 2, Misc. - 4, Covers - 1

The Rest

80° and Mostly Sunny at Showtime

Koa 1

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During a brief 25-minute set break the sun went down and the energy went up. Way up. The band came out and immediately tore into a rambunctious “Axilla II,” now an apparent part of the song rotation after a 26-year absence. It included a short jam on the outro, bookended by Fishman and Trey jokingly arguing about who was more serious about “don’t shine that light in my face, man.”

After “Axilla II,” the opening notes of “2001” further amplified the crowd, whose energy surge bolstered swirling spotlights, fog, and can’t-stop-won’t-stop bass line from Mike. The band responded in kind with funky licks and a laid-back disco beat. As the band built to the inevitable second, bigger release, glow sticks arced over the crowd. Trey’s guitar took on a synthy, buzzy tone mimicked by Page’s swerving, oozing keys. It was also here that Kuroda’s lights seemed to take off and delight with their alternating jittery light bars and swinging spotlights.

From “2001” the band moved right into “Light.” At 18 minutes, the second-longest song of the night, “Light,” tenderly progressed before the band ventured into a more jazzy Type II wah-driven jam that pivoted to a curious, seeking section driven by Fish’s polyrhythms. Toward the end of the tune, Mike appeared to want to lean into Kasvot Växt’s “Passing Through,” but appeared to be rebuffed.

Farmhouse B-side “Mountains In The Mist” flowed from “Light.” Each band member gave one another plenty of room during the tune and the result provided a soft landing after the “Axilla II” into “2001” into “Light” first half of the set and before dropping into “Meat.” Fishman took over lead vox while Mike, Trey, and Page added vocal layers to the stuttered beat. After the breakdown, Trey and Mike faced off in a friendly duel while Fishman added in Leave It To Beaver samples.

Crowd sing-along fave “Golgi Apparatus” followed “Meat” and saw Trey replace one instance in the second chorus with “I saw you, with some kind of barcode in your hand,” a nod to the retirement of physical tickets. “Slave To The Traffic Light” clocked in at nine minutes, and while another compositionally challenging tune, this version was played with aplomb. While it would be safe to assume this was the second set closer, the band quickly followed “Slave” with a hard-charging “Cavern.” At one point Trey was so into it, he forgot the beginning of the second verse, but to be temporarily lost in a state of Phish bliss is an understandable thing.

Like the first two songs of the evening, the last two – while shorter – ventured into textured, uncharted territories. “46 Days” made its encore debut with a subtle “Mr. Completely” tease while “Tube” undoubtedly left the audience wanting more. Due to the early curfew, we’re all going to have to hold out for tomorrow night.

Phish performs again in Charleston tonight. A livestream is available via LivePhish.

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