Phish Tour 2021 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny: Nashville

The band's first night in Nashville featured a handful of impressive jams and the debut of a new original.

By Jeffrey Greenblatt Aug 4, 2021 6:51 am PDT

Phish continued their summer tour on Tuesday night as they pulled into Nashville for the first of two shows at Ascend Amphitheater. After dropping a +30-minute “Tweezer” on Sunday night in Alpharetta, the quartet delivered a trio of lengthy jams in Music City with extended takes on “No Men In No Man’s Land,” “Ruby Waves” and “Light” in the back half of the night.

The scratchy guitar notes of “Punch You In The Eye” kicked off the evening, as the foursome slowly and almost methodically worked their way through the Gamehendge tome. This being Nashville, guitarist Trey Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon used the opportunity to show off the song’s traditional line dancing, two-step moves. Straightforward takes on the Shuggie Otis’ soul-tinged psychedelic pop tune “Strawberry Letter 23” and original “Sample In A Jar” followed, with the Hoist cut offering up the first high energy peak of the night.

Anastasio addressed the crowd next, saying “Thank you, thank you. Everybody good? Everybody’s okay out there? You look beautiful, stunning, gorgeous. Absolutely. A sea of beauty, an ocean of beauty.”

The Vermont-birthed act then reached back to their early days for “Halley’s Comet,” which contained a brief burst of improv before segueing into “Backwards Down The Number Line.” The nostalgia-laced number offered the first true jam of the night, as Anastasio patiently led the way, before locking in with keyboardist Page McConnell for some steady and blissful interplay.

“Undermind” followed as the title track from their 2004 album featured a swampy groove. Anastasio leaned in on wah-tones while McConnell utilized the Clavinet before switching over to his Hammond B3 organ, eventually returning to a more rock-oriented sound. Drummer Jon Fishman also got into the act triggering his sound effects pedal, shifting the tune into dub reggae territory, providing punction and eliciting a “yeah!” from the smiling Anastasio.

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

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Ascend Amphitheater [See upcoming shows]


5 shows
08/04/2015, 10/18/2016, 10/19/2016, 10/23/2018, 10/24/2018

The Music

11 songs / 7:24 pm to 8:50 pm (86 minutes)

8 songs / 9:23 pm to 10:50 pm (87 minutes)

19 songs
16 originals / 3 covers


9.67 [Gap chart]



Backwards Down The Number Line LTP 12/01/2019 (17 Show Gap)

You Enjoy Myself 19:03

Strawberry Letter 23 4:19

Junta - 2, Lawn Boy - 1, Rift - 1, Hoist - 1, Undermind - 1, Joy - 2, Big Boat - 1, Misc. - 7, Covers - 3

The Rest

80° and Partly Cloudy at Showtime

Koa 4

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An expertly executed rendering of “Divided Sky” got the call ahead of the debut of a brand new Mike Gordon song entitled “Mull.” The tune, which had been soundchecked prior to the show according to and had a bit of a Little Feat feel, faded into a spacey funk jam before abruptly coming to an end. A faithful take on “It’s Ice” followed along with “About To Run,” from Anastasio and Fishman’s Ghosts Of The Forest project giving the guitarist the opportunity to show off some heavy and crunchy Neil Young vibes.

“The Squirming Coil” was tapped to close out the opening frame in Music City. As per tradition for the Lawn Boy classic, Anastasio, Gordon and Fishman left the stage as McConnell delivered a beautiful and at times meditative piano solo before letting everyone know they’d be right back.

The second set in the Volunteer State got off the ground with “Party Time.” The good times, Meters-inspired song provided a jolt of energy. “No Men In No Man’s Land” occupied the next slot and delivered the big jam the sold-out crowd had been waiting for. Bass bombs courtesy of Mike Gordon and Anastasio and McConnell once again working in sync on some thick, gooey sounds gave way to an expansive improv. The group-think jam was anchored by Trey but found his other three band mates providing psychedelic-drenched support throughout. The Nashville “No Men” drifted deep into some truly dazzling deep outer space sounds over the course of 15 minutes, before fading to “Ruby Waves.”

The Ghosts Of The Forest jam vehicle continued to find Phish coloring outside the lines and delving into interstellar, acid-drenched territories. As they stretched the boundaries of “Ruby Waves” into a pocket of dreamy sounds it eventually gave way to a rollicking take on “Possum” that saw Anastasio taking charge by delivering some impressive country-fried guitar work.

Los Lobos’ “When The Circus Comes” provided a necessary breather, marking just the fourth time the tune has been trotted out since 2016. Next, the bouncy and euphoric “Light” once again gave Phish the opportunity to dig in, offering another patient jam that echoed back to Trey’s comments earlier in the night as it unfolded into “a sea of beauty.”

If the second stanza hadn’t already featured enough heavy-hitters, the four-piece decided to close it out by dropping the tour’s first “You Enjoy Myself.” The beloved classic showed no signs of rust as it came replete with a Trey dance party during the bass and drums interlude and a dose of weirdness with its vocal jam.

The Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup” got the nod as the lone encore choice in Nashville. The Exile On Main St. song provided an opportunity for Trey to cut loose one more time as he laid down a dirty guitar solo to cap things off.

Phish tour resumes tonight with the second of two shows in Nashville. A webcast is available via
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