Phish Blazes On in Return to MSG

For the first time in just over two years, Phish returned to the familiar stomping grounds of Madison Square Garden (MSG), kicking off a four night run postponed from late December 2021.

This was also the band’s first show on April 20 since 1994, and first show in April in the NYC Metro area since 1998, setting up a night full of potential, the rescheduling notwithstanding.

Wasting no time, Phish began the run with 19 minutes of “Carini,” that helped set the tone for the evening. Riding the early wave of energy, Phish parlayed this into a crowd favorite in “Possum” that helped shake the Garden to its core. A funked out, but unfinished, “Moma Dance” then found itself batting third in the lineup. 

“Stash” and “Blaze On” satiated fans expecting cannabis-themed references for 4/20, with the former in usual mid-set placement and delivering a blistering jam.

“Sigma Oasis” opened Set 2 and gave way to 22 minutes of “Down with Disease”, an all too prescient combo of ‘take off your mask’ and ‘down with disease / three weeks in my bed. Somewhat surprisingly, Phish didn’t use the “Disease” jam as an immediate launchpad into something else and instead rounded back into completion. 

“The Howling” seems to be one of the more popular selections from the band’s Sci-Fi Soldier experiment recently unleashed in Vegas last Halloween and made another appearance mid-second set. A clean segue into “Twist” followed which brought another momentous jam along with it before Phish throttled it back down again once more with ever poignant “Mountains In The Mist.”

To the delight and surprise of many, a late set “Reba” then emerged that yielded a mesmerizing, slow build jam that was rife with euphoria, getting a well deserved cheer from the Garden crowd. The newer Ghosts of the Forest tune “Drift While You’re Still Sleeping” then capped off the emotional second set.

In another surprise of sorts, a rolicking “Gumbo” started off the encore before Phish tapped into the feels once more with a “Slave To The Traffic Light” closer that hit just the right notes, ending the first night of the four-show run in grandiose fashion.

Setlist via Phish.net

Phish – MSG – NYC – April 20, 2022

Set 1: Carini > Possum, The Moma Dance[1] > Leaves, Strange Design, Stash, Blaze On

Set 2: Sigma Oasis > Down with Disease > The Howling -> Twist > Mountains in the Mist, Reba, Drift While You’re Sleeping

Encore: Gumbo, Slave to the Traffic Light

[1] Unfinished

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