Phish Triumph in Randall’s Island Finale
Photo by Dean Budnick
After two nights at Randall’s Island, Phish’s finale on Sunday night may have been its best yet and potentially the best since their return in 2009. While weather threatened to hamper the greatness, Phish would hit the stage around 7:15 for a first set that kicked off with a tight, funky “Sand” that loosened up the crowd and band early on.
“Winterqueen” came in the two spot as the delicate Fuego tune served as a cool down before Trey Anastasio kicked into “Reba,” a request from members of the audience to which the guitarist thanked afterwards. The patient, soaring jam the band delivered established the theme for the evening and would carry over into the second set. A rocking “Birds of a Feather” and topical “Water in the Sky” followed before the band kicked into an energetic pairing of “Possum” and “Runaway Jim.” The latter featured more patient jamming, developing into a noteworthy Type I jam before finishing out.
After a fun “Bouncing Around the Room,” Phish tore into “Maze” with ferocity as both Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio pushed the group to another level during the jam. As the set approached the 90-minute mark, “Split Open and Melt” would be thrown in at the end and see some tastefully quirky jamming, clocking in at around 14 minutes.
For Phish’s finale, they would deliver their best yet as the normally standard “Chalk Dust Torture” exploded into what would end up as a 28-minute version. The band touched on numerous themes throughout, carefully weaving their way through and exploring every possibility of the improv section. A stunned crowd was then treated to “Light,” another jam vehicle that continued the theme established throughout the show and weekend. Anastasio would expertly lead the band into “Tweezer,” prompting a full on glowstick war from the exuberant crowd.
After the first three tunes clocked in around an hour, Phish rightfully cooled it down with “Wading in the Velvet Sea” and “Sing Monica” as the crowd and band tried to catch their collective breath. In the end, it only seemed right that “Slave to the Traffic Light” closed the set, with another exhibition in delicate jamming that came to a soaring peak. An encore of “Backwards Down the Number Line” and “Tweezer Reprise” was all that would be needed to cap the weekend in grand fashion.
Phish will perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tonight.
Here’s a look at the setlist as it appears in our Box Scores section:
Randall’s Island, New York, NY
Set I: Sand, Winterqueen, Reba, Birds of a Feather, Water in the Sky, Possum > Runaway Jim, Bouncing Around the Room, Maze, Split Open and Melt
Set II: Chalk Dust Torture > Light > Tweezer, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Sing Monica, Slave to the Traffic Light
Enc: Backwards Down the Number Line > Tweezer Reprise