Phish Tour 2021 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny: Nashville Night 2

The instant classic second set contained six well-jammed classics strung together in impressive fashion.

By Scott Bernstein Aug 4, 2021 8:48 pm PDT

Phish tour reached the one-week point on Wednesday as the band returned to Ascend Amphitheater for their second of two shows in Nashville. Repeats finally started with four songs making their second appearance of the run. While Wednesday’s first set had it’s moments, the six-song second set was an all-killer, no-filler affair filled with impressive improvisation.

The quartet opened the concert with the Phish debut of guitarist Trey Anastasio‘s “Evolve.” Trey wrote “Evolve” with Tom Marshall and Scott Herman while quarantining in his New York City apartment last year and recorded the song for his Lonely Trip LP. “Evolve” was played live by Anastasio at NYC’s The Beacon Theatre as part of his second “The Beacon Jams” livestream concert on October 16.

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Filling the two-slot in Nashville was “Free,” the first full repeat of the tour as “Weekapaug Groove” was played briefly in Arkansas before receiving the complete treatment in Alpharetta. Once again the Billy Breathes track was slightly extended with a tasty funk workout. “Thank you. We’re so happy to be here, you have no idea,” Anastasio told the crowd at the end of “Free” before revving into the loping “Ocelot.” Next up was “My Sweet One,” the bluegrass-tinged ditty from Lawn Boy penned by drummer Jon Fishman. Trey alerted the audience Fish wrote “My Sweet One” and joked the song “went straight up the charts a few years ago with a bullet, Number one.” Anastasio went on to introduce “Cool Amber & Mercury” as, “a little cover we like to play every once in a while by one of our favorite old bands from the ’80s. A band called Kasvot Växt.” The drummer asked “Do I start this?” before Trey took charge and said, “Well, I’m gonna count it off myself then” and lit into a tight version of the song Phish debuted on Halloween 2018 in Las Vegas.

Keyboardist Page McConnell stepped into the spotlight in leading the band on “Halfway To The Moon.” The parade of well-played first set staples continued with “Water In The Sky,” which featured a gorgeous Wurlitzer solo from Page, “Theme From The Bottom” and “Suzy Greenberg.” Trey did flub some of the lyrics in the latter with McConnell again shining in extending a triumphant run on piano beyond the spot Anastasio usually comes in to sing the final verse. Phish closed out the frame with a nearly spot-on rendition of the beloved “Fluffhead.”

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

The Skinny

The Setlist

Set 1: Evolve [1], Free, Ocelot > My Sweet One, Cool Amber and Mercury, Halfway to the Moon, Water in the Sky, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg > Fluffhead

Set 2: Mr. Completely > Birds of a Feather, Ghost -> Bathtub Gin > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Split Open and Melt

Encore: Character Zero

This show featured the Phish debut of Evolve. Page teased “Charge!” after My Sweet One. Ghost and Bathtub Gin contained Mr. Completely teases. Page teased Bathtub Gin in Also Sprach Zarathustra. This was the rescheduled date from the show that had been postponed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

The Venue

Ascend Amphitheater [See upcoming shows]

6,800

6 shows
08/04/2015, 10/18/2016, 10/19/2016, 10/23/2018, 10/24/2018, 08/03/2021

The Music

10 songs / 7:26 pm to 8:46 pm (80 minutes)

7 songs / 9:18 pm to 10:43 pm (85 minutes)

17 songs
16 originals / 1 cover

1998

10.56 [Gap chart]

Evolve

All but Free, Ghost, Bathtub Gin and Character Zero

Water In The Sky & Theme From The Bottom LTP 12/04/2019 (16 Show Gap)

Mr. Completely 19:23

My Sweet One 3:26

Junta - 1, Lawn Boy - 3, Billy Breathes - 3, The Story of the Ghost - 3, Joy - 1, Fuego - 1, Kasvot Växt - 1, Misc. - 3, Covers - 1

The Rest

82° and Sunny at Showtime

Koa 4

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More Skinny

Phish kicked off the second set with “Mr. Completely,” a mainstay of the Trey Anastasio Band repertoire which the quartet had only performed six times prior. The foursome quickly broke through the song’s normal boundaries and embarked on a blissful excursion featuring impressive interplay from Anastasio and McConnell. Bassist Mike Gordon led a transition into a dark jam space the band explored for a few minutes before making the move into “Birds Of A Feather” just ahead of the 20-minute mark. “Birds” was an extremely short affair and gave way to “Ghost.”

The tour’s second “Ghost” saw Trey utilize his new synth tone between verses. It didn’t take long for the band to go Type II with Fishman providing a powerful beat, Gordon thumping on bass and McConnell painting around Anastasio’s potent riffs. The first movement of the “Ghost” jam was evil while the next was a pretty major-key section featuring “Mr. Completely” teases from Trey and Fish and the third marked a return to dark soundscapes. Phish then pulled off a sweet transition into “Bathtub Gin” while still jamming on the last theme they explored in “Ghost” making for a deliciously weird start to the Lawn Boy classic. The quartet patiently settled in on the “Gin” jam and continued the trend of alternating between minor and major keys throughout. Eventually, Page stepped up and unleashed a torrent of energetic riffs. Not to be outdone, Trey took control and led the band to a mighty peak to bring “Bathtub Gin” to a close.

The evening’s first cover, “Also Sprach Zarathrustra,” aka “2001,” kept the energy high and gave LD Chris Kuroda a chance to show off the full capabilities of his rig. Page teased “Bathtub Gin” on synth as the band resumed a trend of toying with the song they had just finished. Phish took their time working through “2001” to the delight of the capacity crowd. “Split Open & Melt” came next in the instant classic frame. Just when it seemed another bout of bliss jamming would begin, the four-piece instead settled in on an eerie soundscape replete with scary synth work from Page. Phish worked over the monster groove with authority as they slowly and surely propelled the bubbling jam to close the set. Anastasio took a moment before the final notes of “Split” to introduce his band mates and himself (“I’m Trey, I play guitar”) and also advised the audience, “this last song was in the key of C#, C#. We hope you enjoyed it.”

The relentless energy continued into the encore with the crowd-pleasing rocker “Character Zero” capping the evening and run. It’s now off to Noblesville, Indiana for Phish, who begin a three-night stand at Ruoff Music Center on Friday. Webcasts can be purchased through LivePhish.com.

Split Open & Melt


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