Phish New Year’s Eve 2021 Livestream: Setlist & Recap

Phish celebrated New Year’s Eve 2021 with a livestream concert originating from “The Ninth Cube” presented by SiriusXM and Phish Radio. The audience-less performance came as part of the band’s “Dinner And A Movie” series and was put together after Phish postponed their New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden due to a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.

While the show was broadcast for free on YouTube and at LivePhish.com with a simulcast on Phish Radio, fans were asked to donate to The WaterWheel Foundation. Proceeds will go towards six non-profits close to the Phish community — the Divided Sky Foundation, HeadCount, Phans For Racial Equality, The Mockingbird Foundation, the Mimi Fishman Foundation and the Conservation Law Foundation. Nearly $900,00 has been raised through the “Dinner And A Movie” series since the pandemic began.

Phish kicked off the evening with a lively “The Moma Dance.” Drummer Jon Fishman showed off a new pink dress in which the normal colors were reversed as it featured blue donuts. LD Chris Kuroda was on hand and provided a full light show to accompany the quartet’s performance while rows of twig-like lights were set up where the audience would normally be. Guitarist Trey Anastasio propelled “Moma” with a fierce guitar solo and wished the audience at home a Happy New Year and welcomed fans to “The Ninth Cube.” Anastasio pointed out some fan comments in a similar fashion to “The Beacon Jams,” a trend which would continue throughout the night, before the band launched into “Tube.” Trey and keyboardist Page McConnell took turns leading the funky and slightly extended “Tube” jam.

Anastasio noted a comment from fan Michael Plunkett and the band vamped on his comment about breaking down the ninth wall ahead of a concise “46 Days.” The big surprise of the night came next as the four-piece dusted off “Time Turns Elastic” for the first time since October 24, 2010. Phish nailed Trey’s introspective and complex composition which was dedicated to Betty White who died earlier in the day at age 99. The ensuing “Free” featured more fretboard fireworks from the guitarist and thumping bass courtesy of Mike Gordon. More banter in response to comments from fans followed in advance of “Ghost.” Anastasio worked a “Little Drummer Boy” tease into the mix before the band embarked on a tasty jam featuring a mix of evil minor-key and pretty major-key explorations. “Ghost” was highlighted by an anthemic progression Phish connected on and built to a frothy peak. An ambient jam following the peak gave way to a beautiful “Slave To The Traffic Light” which bled into a set-closing romp through “Cavern.” The latter came complete with a fitting lyric change to “before you slip into the bedroom.”

“Sigma Oasis” got the second set underway at 10:03 p.m. after a 13-minute setbreak. Each member of the band changed clothes between frames. Mike Gordon then pounded his bass for the familiar intro to “Down With Disease.” Phish quickly broke through the song’s progression and launched into an adventurous jam. Once again the foursome slickly modulated keys multiple times in exploring plenty of ground over the course of 15 minutes. Eventually, the band transitioned from “Disease” into the ballad “Miss You.”

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The second set continued with “You Enjoy Myself.” Phish expertly worked through perhaps their signature song which featured a particularly patient build of Trey’s solo, heady bass/drums segment and wild vocal jam as over 73,000 fans watched from home. The band accompanied the vocal jam with their instruments in an unusual fashion before embarking on deliciously weird improvisation. “Frankie Says” emerged out of the madness for just its second appearance since 2015. The rarity was followed by live staple “Mercury.” Instead of jamming out “Mercury,” Phish ripped into a fiery “Possum.” More banter in reaction to fan comments came next and then the quartet concluded the set with “A Life Beyond The Dream” from Anastasio’s Ghosts Of The Forest suite.

Phish returned to the stage at 11:39 p.m. and lit into “Blaze On” having once more changed wardrobes. The straight-forward “Blaze On” led into the delicate instrumental “What’s The Use?” and positivity-laden “Everything’s Right” as midnight approached. The band went sans gag as they fit the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” within “Everything’s Right” to signal the start of 2022. “Everything’s Right” included a blissful jam that stood among the highlights of the show.

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“Twist” followed “Everything’s Right” and was dedicated to a pair of Phish fans celebrating their 35th anniversary. “This song contains some wisdom that you may need for the next 30 years,” Trey said as “Twist” got underway. Anastasio utilized a cool synth-like effect as the jam started to cook. A fan then requested some vacuum at which point Fish took center stage and Trey hopped on drums for a cover of Syd Barrett’s “Baby Lemonade.” The song played off the theme of making lemonade out of lemons — each of the recipes for the “Dinner” portion of “Dinner And A Movie” involved lemons — and was a huge bust out with the only other rendition in Phish history coming back on March 11, 1992. Trey, Mike and Page played “Hold Your Head Up” while Fish pounded out beats on the Marimba Lumina and Anastasio chanted “Baby Lemonade” after the cover.

Trey and Page went on to thank SiriusXM and Phish Radio for presenting the concert. Anastasio then revealed a fan watching from home was about to give birth and would name their child after whatever song Phish played next. The band decided against performing “Mrs. Pizza Shit” and instead began “Harry Hood.” Phish moved from the typical bliss in the “Hood” jam to a dark soundscape before returning to the bliss for the song’s climax and to end the show.

Video of Phish’s performance will soon be available for viewing on the SiriusXM app. The band is scheduled to start their Riviera Maya 2022 destination event in Mexico on February 24.

Setlist (via Phish.net)