Powder Like It’s ‘1999’: Night Five Of Phish Baker’s Dozen Residency – Recap, Setlist & The Skinny


Coming into Wednesday’s fifth of 13 Phish shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City there were two big questions. How could the band possibly follow Tuesday’s jam filled epic and how would their selection of “powdered” as the evening’s donut flavor play out? The answer to the first question was by delivering arguably the best second set of the historic tour and the answer to the second question came in the form of songs referencing “snow” and bookend cover debuts of “White Winter Hymnal” and “Powderfinger.”

Phish opened with a debut cover of Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” off the Seattle-based band’s 2008 self-titled studio album. The quartet interpreted “White Winter Hymnal” as an a capella number and its performance ends a streak of four MSG openers starting with the letter “S.” Up next was the first “Cars Trucks Buses” in a little over a year, the blues rocker “My Soul” and a straight forward cover of “Roses Are Free” by Ween. The show rolled on with just the third performance of the gorgeous “The Very Long Fuse” since Phish debuted the song as part of the Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House set in Las Vegas on October 31, 2014. A particularly slow and throbbing “Gumbo” followed.

Bassist Mike Gordon had his first turn in the spotlight on Wednesday when he led “Yarmouth Road.” The band struggled with “Yarmouth” especially towards the end. One of the biggest bust outs of the run thus far came next as the beloved “Pebbles & Marbles” was played for the first time since August 3, 2014 – a span of 106 shows. Yet a much bigger surprise laid in wait for the second set. While the composed section of the complex Round Room gem was a bit rough, the quartet made nice work of the short but sweet jam. The improvisational highlight of the set followed as Phish took the normally dark and dirty “Tube” jam into pretty territory reminiscent of “The Very Long Fuse.” Keyboardist Page McConnell utilized his bevy of instruments to great effect over the course of the longest “Tube” of the era. Guitarist Trey Anastasio strung together one powerful riff after another before the veteran jam act brought the song and set to a close. All told, eight of the ten tunes Phish played in the opening stanza were tour debuts.

Set two opened with an adventurous “Carini” that scored on both the quantity and quality fronts. Phish continued a trend of swiftly moving the “Carini” jam into blissful territory. Both Trey and Page fit beautiful melodies into the mix and the band eventually settled in on an anthemic riff while drummer Jon Fishman hinted at “Mr. Completely” underneath the music his mates were playing. Fish got his way and off Phish went on just the third “Mr. Completely” in Phish history. The patience shown in “Carini” continued as did the copious amount of bliss jamming. Anastasio worked euphoric leads into the meat of “Mr. Completely” as the band built the improvisation to a twisted and glorious peak. Out of nowhere Trey kicked into “1999” by Phish, a Prince cover the band famously played in the same building to open their December 31, 1998 performance and never touched again…until Wednesday night. The 524-show bust out received a hero’s welcome at MSG.

[1999 | Captured by rdeal1999]

As if it wasn’t enough that Phish dusted off “1999,” they also extended it with the third outrageous jam of the set. The quartet took “1999” deep with a bout of improv that explored various jam spaces before working to yet another powerful, crowd-pleasing climax. Fifteen glorious minutes of “1999” gave way to “Steam.” After fitting just three songs into the set’s first 45 minutes, Phish also extended “Steam” with a “Type II” jam that dove into Pink Floyd-esque soundscapes. The dream closing frame continued with a triumphant cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” and concluded with a romp through “Character Zero.” Both “Steam” and “No Quarter” contain mentions of “snow” in the lyrics keeping in tune with the “powdered” theme.

[Powderfinger | Captured by rdeal1999]

The band had one more huge surprise in store to end the evening as they unveiled a cover of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger.” Neil released the original version of the song on his 1979 album, Rust Never Sleeps. Trey had asked Neil to perform “Powderfinger” with Phish when Young collaborated with the band at Farm Aid in 1998. As the story goes, according to Jefferson Waful, Neil played it during his own set and Phish settled on “Down By The River” for their Neil Young collaboration on October 3, 1998 in Tinley Park, Illinois. The foursome did a fine job with Young’s song at The Garden. Phish returns to MSG on Friday for night six of the Baker’s Dozen residency. A webcast is available via LivePhish.com.

The Skinny

The Setlist

The Venue

Madison Square Garden [See upcoming shows]

43 shows — 12/30/1994, 12/30/1995, 12/31/1995, 10/21/1996, 10/22/1996, 12/29/1997, 12/30/1997, 12/31/1997, 12/28/1998, 12/29/1998, 12/30/1998, 12/31/1998, 12/31/2002, 12/02/2009, 12/03/2009, 12/04/2009, 12/30/2010, 12/31/2010, 01/01/2011, 12/28/2011, 12/29/2011, 12/30/2011, 12/31/2011, 12/28/2012, 12/29/2012, 12/30/2012, 12/31/2012, 12/28/2013, 12/29/2013, 12/30/2013, 12/31/2013, 12/30/2015, 12/31/2015, 01/01/2016, 01/02/2016, 12/28/2016, 12/29/2016, 12/30/2016, 12/31/2016, 07/21/2017, 07/22/2017, 07/23/2017, 07/25/2017

The Music

10 songs / 8:09 pm to 9:28 pm (79 minutes)

7 songs / 10:03 pm to 11:28 pm (85 minutes)

17 songs / 11 originals / 6 covers


56.2 [Gap chart]

White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes), Powderfinger (Neil Young)

White Winter Hymnal, Cars Trucks Buses, Roses Are Free, The Very Long Fuse, Gumbo, Yarmouth Road, Pebbles & Marbles, Farmhouse, 1999, No Quarter, Powderfinger

1999 - 524 Shows (LTP - 12/31/1998)

Carini - 16:35

White Winter Hymnal - 3:54

Billy Breathes - 2, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 1, Misc. - 7, Covers - 6

The Rest

71° and Partly Cloudy at showtime


Capacity: 20,789 Donut Flavor: Powdered

Pro-Shot Videos

[White Winter Hymnal]


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