Phish Tour 2022: Toronto – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny

A fun night in Toronto featured another jammed-out "Sample In A Jar" and much more.

By Andy Kahn Aug 11, 2022 7:22 am PDT

Phish tour continued Wednesday with the band’s return to Budweiser Stage in Toronto. This was Phish’s fifth show at the venue they first played in 1999 (when it was named after a different beer company) and first since 2019. Wednesday’s concert was Phish’s 22nd performance in Canada and 10th in Toronto.

“Thanks so much every body, that was just too fun,” guitarist Trey Anastasio told the crowd at the end of the show. “Please invite us back soon, thank you!”

Over the course of the previous two-set show, the four members of Phish – Anastasio along with bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and keyboardist Page McConnell – certainly appeared to have been having plenty of fun.

“Sigma Oasis” opened a show for the second time on the band’s Spring + Summer Tour 2022. The song opened up into a delightful jam that saw Trey incorporate a riff that’s popped up a few times this summer. Page added interesting synth sounds to the serene start of the show. As they were settling in, what seemed like perhaps a return to “Sigma” was instead a segue into “Blaze On.” This too paved way for an improvised run that was lively and joyous.

Trey thanked the audience following the welcoming, uninterrupted 20-minute start to the show. “Steam” came next, and oozed out swampy blues while Trey’s tone became drenched in effects. The band loped along before hitting on a pure rock peak that led back to the end of the song. A tinge of bluegrass followed in the form of the Fishman-written “My Sweet One,” which brought smiles on the band’s faces as they sang the round-robin verses.

Page’s distinct piano line then filled the amphitheater as “Theme From The Bottom” landed on the setlist. The foursome took the song out a bit beyond its usual turns, cycling through a swirling jam that was linearly thematic, like a river – consistent and constantly changing. More smiles appeared on stage as Fish kicked into “Wombat” and he and Trey laughingly made their way through the call-and-response lyrics. A funky little jam developed with Trey employing a delay effect and Fish holding down a steady and dynamic pattern.

Among the many highlights of this tour have been performances of “Stash,” and Wednesday’s version added to that trend. The jam started with Trey laying entry by strumming chords and Mike soon responding with a complimentary bassline. The band latched on to a pretty melody and stayed with it, passing ideas around and moving together with an effortless ease that comes near the end of a long tour. “Sand,” which served as the first set closer, came loaded with a concise but vigorous jam, the kind that gets in, quickly accomplishes its goal, and gets out.

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

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Budweiser Stage [See upcoming shows]

5 shows
7/20/1999, 7/06/2000, 7/09/2013, 7/22/2013, 6/18/2019

The Music

8 songs / 7:34 pm to 8:48 pm (74 minutes)

11 songs / 9:25 pm to 10:56 pm (91 minutes)

19 songs
17 originals / 2 covers

2001

9.21 [Gap chart]

None

Death Don't Hurt Very Long

Death Don’t Hurt Very Long LTP 10/31/2021 (36 Show Gap)

Down With Disease 18:18

Lawn Boy 2:58

Lawn Boy - 3, A Picture of Nectar - 1, Hoist - 2, Billy Breathes - 2, Farmhouse - 1, Joy - 2, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 1, Kasvot Växt - 2, Sigma Oasis - 2, Covers - 2

The Rest

76° and Sunny at Showtime

Koa 1

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More Skinny

The welcomed (if not somewhat unlikely) trend of “Sample In A Jar” being a jam vehicle continued on Wednesday night in Toronto with the fourth occurrence of the song being stretched out (previous jammed-out versions include the Baker’s Dozen “Jam” night in 2017, Santa Barbara in 2019 and Bethel earlier on this tour). The second set started with a 12-minute “Sample” that saw Trey adding extra emphasis during the opening lyrical section before leading an angular and incisive improvisation that turned dark and cutting under Page’s eerie synth layers, Fish’s jittery rhythm and Mike’s deep, pulsating tones. Trey matched the atmosphere with a drony, crunchy sound coming from his guitar.

Out of the “Sample” jam came Mike’s thumping introduction of “Down With Disease.” Over the next 18 minutes, a progressive improvised sequence developed through distinct sections, first with Trey chirping notes and Page adding piano accents while Fish rolled everyone along and Mike found his way into the conversation. A second section came when Trey picked up a new riff and Fish quickly coupled it with a faster tempo and stronger sense of urgency. Page’s synth sounds swelled and Mike assertively intertwined his bass into what the others onstage were laying out. A third, pretty section emerged as Page dotted in ethereal sounds and Trey nimbley picked high notes, Fish hitting all around his kit and Mike tastefully providing the low end glue holding things together.

Another excellent segue arose from the “DWD” jam as the band transitioned into “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long.” The band appeared to enjoy playing the Kasvot Växt song, which made its first setlist of the year. The set continued with “20 Years Later” unfolding with both mournful and menacing themes. Likely a coincidence, Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Widespread Panic guitarist Michael Houser, who with his bandmates had close ties to Phish in both bands’ formative years. A second straight song off Phish’s 2009 album, Joy, came next as “Light” trailed “20 Years Later.”

The “Light” jam was just that, light. The subdued improvisation felt thoughtful and restrained. Taking a less-is-more approach, the jam was a display of the foursome’s variety of routes to successful results. “Bouncing Around The Room” appeared next, and the singalong proved a bit tricky for Trey. Phish then kicked into “2001.” It is likely few pre-show predictions included a “Bouncin” and “2001” paring, but this one worked as the cover brought a dose of dance-driven rock to the set. Another danceable cover, “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” was paired with “2001” and kept the crowd moving and grooving.

The set closer was well-executed “Free.” The set’s final song propagated a funky, punchy jam accented by Trey working his wah-wah pedal over Mike’s bubbly and bouncing bass notes. The band traversed to a build-up that brought about a big finish to the set.

The encore started with Page fronting the band for “Lawn Boy.” Those hoping for another jammed-out “Jam” night repeat were left with a standard, but fun, “Lawn Boy.” The evening’s finale was the, to use this adjective again – fun – Kasvot Växt rocker “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”

Phish begins a three-show run at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin on Friday night (and I’ll be there). Watch livestreams via LivePhish.com.

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