San Francisco Sally: Phish Kicks Off Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Run – Photos, Recap, Setlist & The Skinny

By Ben Greenfield Jul 19, 2016 4:19 am PDT

Phish played the first of three shows at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Monday night. The 8,500-capacity indoor venue has hosted three-nighters each year since 2012, with the exception of 2015, when the band’s lone Bay Area stop was at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Following a weekend at The Gorge that showcased the band’s skillful playing and setlist construction but was short on deep improvisation, the jams came back with a vengeance on Monday night. While the first set was bolstered largely by guitar acrobatics, the second set included multiple pieces of extended, inspired improv, to the delight of the capacity crowd.

The band blasted off with “Martian Monster,” opening a show with the tune for the first time since their previous night in California, last July 25 in Los Angeles. A quick run through “Halley’s Comet” preceded a fiery, guitar-heroic take on “46 Days,” which brought some much-needed heat to the crowd that had just come in from the 58° San Francisco streets. Next up was the Mike Gordon-penned “Sugar Shack,” followed by a “Roggae” that opened up into an even bigger, more blissful peak than usual, largely thanks to Mike and Trey.

The bluegrass spiritual “Daniel Saw the Stone,” which was last seen at the tour opener in Minneapolis last month, came next, before a typically soaring “Divided Sky.” Ambling in afterward was “Ocelot.” In the tour debut of “Ya Mar” which followed, Trey implored Page McConnell and Jon Fishman to play it for their grandpas. During the latter solo, the guitarist took to the Marimba Lumina, while Mike ripped a solo on Trey’s guitar, with Page holding it down on the bass. The set came to a close with a vintage “Possum,” which included a classic tension and release jam en route to a crashing peak.

TV on the Radio’s “Golden Age” got the second set started, and Page quickly took over the jam, which at first sounded like “2001,” and only got grittier and nastier as it went along. Trey kept his MuTron pedal close during a quick “Twist,” followed by even quicker trips through “My Sweet One” and “The Line.” Improvisation returned to the set with “Simple,” which was broken down, with Trey chording sparsely under some ethereal leads from Page.

“Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” had been M.I.A. since last August 16, and this version more than made up for lost time. Trey took the reins of the first part of the jam, bringing it to an enormous peak. Just as the jam seemed to have petered out, the tempo gradually increased, ushering in a second, frenzied climax before a final return to the song’s main refrain. “Limb by Limb” had some interesting, though occasionally off-key, moments, before “Slave to the Traffic Light” put a glorious cap on a rousing set. The encore opened with the band’s first take on Los Lobos’s “When the Circus Comes” since Magnaball, and closed with a compact, high energy “Run Like an Antelope.”

Phish returns to Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Tuesday.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium [See upcoming shows]


9 shows — 08/17/2012, 08/18/2012, 08/19/2012, 08/02/2013, 08/03/2013, 08/04/2013, 10/27/2014, 10/28/2014, 10/29/2014

The Music

10 songs / 8:07 pm to 9:29 pm (82 minutes)

10 songs / 10:06 pm to 11:36 pm (90 minutes)

20 songs / 15 originals / 5 covers


9.3 [Gap chart]


Ya Mar, Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley, When The Circus Comes

Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley - LTP 08/16/2015 (29 Show Gap)

Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley - 17:57

My Sweet One - 2:13

Junta - 1, Lawn Boy - 2, The Story of the Ghost - 2, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 1, Joy - 2, Fuego - 1, Misc. - 5, Covers - 5

The Rest

58° and Partly Cloudy

G2 #6 / NewDoc

Capacity: 8,500

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Photos by Paul Citone

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”320″ gal_title=”20160718 Phish San francisco Paul Citone”]


[Ya Mar Rotation Jam | Captured by Jam Catcher]

[Seankin’ Sally | Captured by Thatcher Michelson]

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