Vermont’s jam loving rock band, Phish, graced the stage of the woodsy meets urban Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, as they blazed on their 2019 summer tour. The show included a debut from Trey Anastasio side project, Ghosts of the Forest. Phish consists of Trey Anastasio (guitar), Mike Gordon (bass), Page McConnell (keyboard, organ) and Jon Fishman (drums).
MPP is located in the heart of Symphony Woods, a woodland preservation designed by famous architects, Frank Gehry and N. David O’Malley in 1967. It was originally built as a summer stage for the National Symphony Orchestra. The venue has won over popular music acts because of its natural surroundings and excellent sound.
Set one kicked off with “Undermind,” from the album with that name. Two funky fan favorites followed, “Tube,” with a delicious jam from McConnell, and the Son Seals’ cover, “Funky Bitch.” The fire-and-ice jam vehicle “Steam” was up next, followed by phish classics “My Sweet One” and “NICU.”
Phish slowed the set down with the debut of “Friend,” from Anastasio’s side project Ghosts of the Forest. This band was created to play songs honoring Anastasio’s long time friend, Chris Cottrell, who lost his battle with cancer in 2018. Meaningful lyrics pierce hearts: “why do we have to wait until it’s gone to know what love is?”
The boys pressed the gas pedal for “No Men in No Man’s Land,” off their album Big Boat. Classics “The Horse” > “Silent in the Morning,” from the album Rift, had the crowd with arms in the air. Jam monster “David Bowie” was played next, and for the first time in 2019. The set closed out with “Squirming Coil,” from Lawnboy as the sun set behind the venue.
The second set was full of segues and jamming, starting with “Ghost,” from Story of the Ghost. “Ghost” transitioned to the a jam sandwich with high energy “Axilla,” then into new tune, “Set Your Soul Free.” The Pink Floyd-esque “What’s the Use?” and finally “Billy Breathes” followed suit.
“Death Don’t Hurt Very Long,” from their new album Kazvot Vox, started the second segue sequence. The next layer in the jam triffle was “Backwards Down the Numberline” from the 2009 release, Joy. The perennial Phish favorite “Harry Hood” was up next, and Anastasio’s on point guitar work had the crowd feeling good. The boys transitioned into “Rise/Come Together,” another new song. The final layer was the classic “Golgi Apparatus,” ironically last played almost one year ago at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Phish sent their fans home happy with “Bug” > “Character Zero,” including an electrified closing jam. Phish fans await what night two has in store for them. Tickets are sold out, but can be obtained through CashorTrade.
Setlist via Phish.net
Set 1: Undermind, Tube, Funky Bitch, Steam > My Sweet One > NICU, Friend, No Men In No Man’s Land > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, David Bowie, The Squirming Coil.
Set 2: Ghost > Axilla > Set Your Soul Free > What’s the Use? > Billy Breathes, Death Don’t Hurt Very Long > Backwards Down the Number Line > Harry Hood > Rise/Come Together > Golgi Apparatus.
Encore: Bug > Character Zero.
1 – debut