Phish’s 2021 summer tour has finally made its way to the East Coast with a return to the land of chocolate in Hershey, PA. Hersheypark Stadium once again played host, with the band playing their fourth and fifth shows at the venue, and the first ones here since 2010. Although plenty of rain and isolated thunderstorms joined the fray as well, there was no dampening of the spirits inside the stadium.
The inclement weather prevented fans from entering right away on Tuesday as the gates remained closed while rain pelted down on the parking lot, accentuated by streaks of lightening in the distance. Thankfully, this was the last of the storms for the day and the rest of the night stayed dry. Once given the green light, fans entered en masse and were treated to an exhilarating opening 1-2 punch of “First Tube” and “Axilla.” After such a scorching start, “Fuego” made more than sense to follow as the humidity eased and the grooves increased. Instead of rounding back into form, “Fuego” drifted for a while before turning into a “Runaway Jim.” Other Phish originals such as “Sample in a Jar” and “Llama” were peppered throughout the opening set, giving it an old school feel, while newer tunes like “Steam” and “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” proved old dogs can indeed learn some new tricks.
While there may not have been any “monster” 20-minute jams that this summer tour has been blessed with repeatedly, Tuesday’s second set only contained one real pause as Phish weaved in and out of another set that featured a masterful blend of newer material and longtime favorites. “No Men In No Man’s Land” immediately set a course for “funky” and the band took it from there. “Soul Planet” later emerged from this before an impressive segue into the rare second set “NICU.” The last major jam sequence of the evening was spearheaded by “Golden Age” which had all of Hersheypark Stadium dancing in a collective rhythm. Longtime fan favorite “Lizards” got dropped late in the second set, the first one since Mexico 2020. The one and only cover song selection of the evening, The Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll” left everyone feeling alright and more than hopeful for the promise of tomorrow.
Setlist via Phish.net
Phish – Hersheypark Stadium – Hershey, PA Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Set 1: First Tube, Axilla, Fuego ->Runaway Jim, Gumbo > Sample in Jar, Steam, Sugar Shack, Llama, Death Don’t Hurt Very Long > Run Like an Antelope
Set 2: No Men In No Man’s Land > Soul Planet -> NICU > Joy, Scent of a Mule, Golden Age > Prince Caspian > Backwards Down the Number Line > The Lizards > Character Zero
Encore: Rock and Roll
On Wednesday, Phish gave a few nods to Chocolate Town U.S.A., kicking off the night with “You Sexy Thing,” by 70s funk band Hot Chocolate. They would return to the familiar riff a few times during the night, with Trey serenading the crowd and referring to them as ‘You Sexy Things.’
Despite the rain earlier in the evening as fans were arriving and pregaming in the Hersheypark lots, no spirits were dampened from the performance this night. A ‘Halley’s Comet’ clocking in at nearly 16 minutes provided liftoff for a set, thanks to Page McConnell keeping the jam going with his synth work. “Gotta Jibboo,” “Meat” and “Maze” rounded out one of the tightest first sets of the tour.
Set 2 started with a standard “Theme From the Bottom” but the true highlight came in the form of a nearly 20-minute “Birds of a Feather,” with a rainbow of lights punctuating the jam that unfolded. The chocolate references continued late in the set with Ruby (chocolate) Waves and “‘Choc’-Dust Torture,” which was also performed at Chocolate Night of the Baker’s Dozen, along with “You Sexy Thing.” “Show of Life” and “S.A.N.T.O.S.” rounded out the show, with fans setting their sites east towards Atlantic City
Set 1: You Sexy Thing, Wombat, Free > A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Halley’s Comet > Lonely Trip > Gotta Jibboo, Meat, Maze
Set 2: Theme From the Bottom > Birds of a Feather, Bug > Light -> Party Time > Ruby Waves > Chalk Dust Torture
Encore: Show of Life > Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S. Phish debut