Phish Sci-fi Soldiers Through Halloween

Phish let it all hang out in the final night of their four-run night run in Las Vegas, which served as the final stop of their 2021 Fall Tour. The customary three-set performance featured a mix of old fashioned originals blended with a brand new gimmick of assuming a different band’s identity.

The first set opened with “Buried Alive” and only picked up from there. A highlight of the entire show was the mammoth “Ghost” played in the first set which seemed to contain about four to five distinctly different jams within. A first set “Wolfman’s Brother” also had a little extra meat on its bones as well. The first set later closed with an awkward-starting but ferociously-ending “David Bowie.”

sci fi soldiers

For the musical costume set, Phish took the stage as Sci-Fi Soldier, a band “from the year 4680,” a number that had been thrown around by the band all weekend. Adorned in spacesuit-like costumes that each reflected a different color pattern ,the band “teleported” to the stage and proceeded to drop almost two hours of new intergalactic space rock that no one had ever heard before.

With the occasional nod to 2018’s costume of Kasvot Voxt, song titles included “The Ninth Cube” and the opening “Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue’ was accompanied by more in depth choreography from Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon at the front of the stage. Another song called “The Howling” seems ripe to be paired with a “2001” at a show in the near future. Instead of the traditional Phishbill this year, a comic book detailing the four characters and their back story was handed out before the show, which contained all the song names for the set as well.

sci fi soldiers

The band was hard pressed to follow up such a spectacle of a second set but began the third set with a powerful “Carini” that somehow made its way into the mellow, laid back “Lonely Trip.” “Soul Planet” got the MGM Grand Arena up and rocking but the emotional contrasts continued throughout the final set with a fairly mellow “Twist” and a “Drift While You’re Sleeping.” Finally, “Harry Hood” served as the encore, which was more than a proper song for the entire venue to let out some emotion in a big way for the final time in this epic four-night Vegas run.

Setlist via

Set 1: Buried Alive, Roses Are Free > Ghost, Wolfman’s Brother, Kill Devil Falls > Free, David Bowie

Set 2: Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue[1], Get More Down[1], Egg in a Hole[1], Thanksgiving[1], Clear Your Mind[1] > The 9th Cube[1], The Inner Reaches of Outer[1], Don’t Doubt Me[1], The Unwinding[1], Something Living Here[1], The Howling[1], I Am in Miami[1]

Set 3: Carini > Lonely Trip, Soul Planet > Death Don’t Hurt Very Long > Twist, Drift While You’re Sleeping

Encore: Harry Hood
[1] Debut

For the second set, the band’s “musical costume” was all debuted originals, performed as the invented band Sci-Fi Soldier (a 14-page comic book distributed upon entry detailed the group’s adventure to save the planet). For that set, the band performed in elaborate costumes (helmets and all), with alternate instruments (Trey on a BCR Mockingbird), each playing within a flashing/glowing shape (two circles and two squares), after descending (in the form of holograms) from the ceiling in cylinders of colored light. Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue included extended choreography by Trey and Mike. During Get More Down, matching upright geometric shapes danced around behind the band, reducing to the two circles overlapped by Egg in a Hole, which featured pyrotechnics. Before Clear Your Mind, Trey introduced the band as from the year 4680 (the total of the October 28, 2021 songs as noted during that night’s encore-ending Grind). During The 9th Cube, there were projections of donuts and turtles on a cube above the band. Fireworks rained down on the stage during The Inner Reaches of Outer. For I Am in Miami, Trey switched to an acoustic guitar and the band stood together at stage front with the four-mic a cappella setup. After the set, the band departed as holograms back up the colored tubes. The start of Harry Hood included alternate lyrics (Holy Blankenstein). Soul Planet contained Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue and Don’t Doubt Me quotes.

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