Sunday Velvety Sunday: Night 3 of Phish’s Baker’s Dozen

After two nights of Phish extending jams amid bustouts and debuts, it was clear that these donut themed shows would be filled with jam and not jelly. On Red Velvet donut night, the audience was treated to a pair of Velvet Underground covers bookending the show, as a red hue illuminated the Garden and once again the mantra ‘Never miss a Sunday Show’ held true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPOsiO3opmo

Opening with Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” with Fishman in a Cardinal’s stole and mitre, he sang a perfect song to fit the day and theme, all while blessing the crowd with the ‘holy water’ that was in his scepter. And with that, the show amped up the energy with “Axilla” driving the crowd into a frenzy, “Your Pet Cat” throwing in a dose of funk, and an 11 minute “Back on the Train” that easily ventured beyond the usual length for the Farmhouse fan favorite. “How Many People Are You” kept the energy flowing, and while “Glide” isn’t an intense song, the oft-chased after song was greeted by all as another example of working through the band’s deep catalog to ensure no repeats throughout the 13 show run.

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After a standard “Theme From the Bottom,” the jam of the evening took off inside “It’s Ice,” with the band stretching this version out past the 15 minute mark with a deeply exploratory jam built on patience from all four members. Setting the tone with jams in non-traditional jam vehicles has been a hallmark of this tour (see: Dayton “Wombat,” Pittsburgh “Mr. Completely”) and “It’s Ice” with its jazzy improvisation follows this trend. Closing the set was “More,” something everyone was asking for after the “Ice” jam.

After a creamy first set, Phish came out firing with a brief, but punchy “AC/DC Bag,” which a lot of fans were hoping would get lengthy jam treatment. While it clocked in at its typical time, “Bag” still got the Garden dancing as Anastasio brought some youthful playing to one of Phish’s oldest and most played songs.

Whatever song was up next was sure to get stretched out, as the band has displayed incredible improvisational prowess on this tour throughout each show, but especially in the second sets. So, with the opener providing more of a quick rocker, “Wolfman’s Brother” brought out a very audible cheer from the crowd, as Chris Kuroda followed suit with maybe the most intense lights of the run so far. From behind the stage, it appeared, at times, that the red lights morphed into a reflective orange, which made the crowd appear, at times, on fire. Meanwhile, after Phish got through the song portion of “Wolfman’s Brother,” the band kicked it 50 yards past high gear with a sort of circular feeling ambient jam that saw Mike Gordon lead a layered approach to another old and beloved song, which bled into “Twist.”

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This “Twist” can really be described by its several distinct sections, and was highlighted by Page McConnell’s stellar use of his new synth toy. It seems that every member of the band has added something new, at it showed in this jam, which gave way to a series of loops from Anastasio. When it all came together, the peak settled back gently into the song’s theme. “Waves” came next, and quickly went dark and deep, but the jam was the only flat part of the entire set. Some around the section were loving it, but others were not sold on the jam. “Miss You” filled in where “2001” seemed to be emerging from the spacey jam out of “Waves.”

“Boogie On Reggae Woman” and, of course, “Wading In the Velvet Sea” closed out the set in funky and somewhat emotive fashion. Everyone knew “Velvet Sea” was coming, and it was pretty well placed after a set chock full of improvisation, landing well.

For the first time since Deer Creek 2012, Phish busted out a fan favorite in the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.” Kuroda brought back the red light theme, and Phish played the song flub free, ending with the crowd in a frenzy as the Anastasio jumped up and down to conclude another stellar show of the Baker’s Dozen.

Night 4 of Baker’s has been announced as Jam Filled, with mini Raspberry donuts the theme of the night. Few things can get a phan’s heart pumping than to know a night full of jamming is on tap.

Setlist via Phish.net

Set 1: Sunday Morning[1], Axilla, Your Pet Cat > Back on the Train, How Many People Are You, Glide, Theme From the Bottom >It’s Ice > More
Set 2: AC/DC Bag > Wolfman’s Brother[2] > Twist > Waves > Miss You, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Wading in the Velvet Sea
Encore: Sweet Jane
[1] Phish debut. Trey on drums.
[2] Unfinished.