Phish Tour 2021 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny: Las Vegas Night 2

Phish Tour 2021 – Setlist, Recap & The Skinny: Las Vegas Night 2

Last night, Phish continued their winning streak in Las Vegas with their second of four shows at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Friday’s concert saw an unlikely 21-minute “Axilla (Part II)” in the first set and a 19-minute “Tweezer” among the memorable aspects of the second set.

Opening the show with the eighth version of the highly sought after, upbeat rarity “Olivia’s Pool,” it was evident that this show was going to be special. Guitarist Trey Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon brought back the banter from Santa Barbara, going back and forth with one another on stage — “Hi!” “Hello” “How are you?” “Good.” “We hope you have a good time!” “Thanks!” (the phrasing coming from the song “Little Squirrel” by the pre-Phish project Bivouac Jaun).

Through giggles, one could hear Trey then say to the band “Axilla II … with jam. With jam” before getting back onto the mic to quickly address the audience with the same banter prior to dropping into the rocker. “Axilla (Part II),” which made its grand resurgence earlier this summer at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California after 855 shows and 26 years of being shelved, immediately created a rowdy, frenetic energy in the room that slowly faded after three and a half minutes, opening up into a spacey, ethereal jam that would last an additional 17 minutes.

Clocking in at 21:23, this unexpected jam vehicle would take many turns throughout the course of its time here, starting first in dark, dirty waters then quickly transitioning to a lighter, more blissful space. The first Type II jam of the evening became totally unrecognizable from the original song structure, first lifting off into the clouds before nose-diving back to earth with a fervor being driven by the drums of the one and only Jon Fishman himself. The jam sunk deep to its murky conclusion with Trey returning to the lyrics, again reprising the “Little Squirrel” narration and adding “Finally!” to the mix.

Without hesitation, Trey then dropped into “Mike’s Song,” which most fans know means the next half hour or so of music is going to be top-notch. Tackling this tune with a focused energy, Trey and keyboardist Page McConnell interwove nicely with Fish and Mike supporting before wrapping up the first jam and segueing into the lovely and delicate “I Am Hydrogen.” The drop into “Weekapaug Groove” got folks moving again, with the fast-paced groove picking up a fantastic amount of energy before smoothly returning to the song.

The back and forth “Little Squirrel” banter returned once more as the band drew this “Mike’s Groove” to a close, about a half-hour after it started. After that scorcher, the band took a breather with the tender ballad “Shade.” Page’s “I Always Wanted It This Way” came next, quickly transitioning from vocals to electronic madness. Coming close to the 14-minute mark, this extended, synth-heavy jam closed the set out on a high note, leaving the song count for the first set at seven.

Read on after The Skinny for the rest of the recap and more.

The Skinny

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The Setlist

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The Venue

MGM Grand Garden Arena [See upcoming shows]

16,800

12 shows
10/31/2014, 11/01/2014, 11/02/2014, 10/28/2016, 10/29/2016, 10/30/2016, 10/31/2016, 10/31/2018, 11/01/2018, 11/02/2018, 11/03/2018, 10/28/2021

The Music

7 songs / 8:05 pm to 9:19 pm (74 minutes)

9 songs / 9:52 pm to 11:26 pm (94 minutes)

16 songs
14 originals / 2 covers

1997

13.88 [Gap chart]

None

Olivia’s Pool, Axilla (Part II), I Always Wanted It This Way, Ass Handed, Funky Bitch, Walk Away

Olivia’s Pool LTP 07/14/2019 (51 Show Gap)

Axilla (Part II) 21:23

I Am Hydrogen 2:43

Lawn Boy – 1, A Picture of Nectar – 2, Hoist – 2, Farmhouse – 1, Big Boat – 1, Sigma Oasis – 2 Misc. – 5, Covers – 2

The Rest

72° and Clear at Showtime

Koa 4

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The band returned to the stage and Fishman spoke into the mic, exclaiming “You get your ass handed to you every day. You do, don’t you? I did! I’ve had my ass handed to me today. Have you had yours? You have? So, let’s all sing along…” before launching into “Ass Handed.” After the minute and a half of silliness, things intensified, with Fishman continuing to sing as the rest of the band rocked out behind him. The jam continued on for six and a half minutes before smoothly segueing into the much-anticipated fan favorite, “Tweezer.” Fishman held it down as Mike and Trey traded off licks before Trey picked up on a little melody, dancing around in lightness. The band settled into a dancey pocket that got spacey and weird, diving deep into funky darkness before bringing back the “Ass Handed” theme.

As the jam settled, the band brought the crowd back to life with a heavy drop into “Funky Bitch.” Page shined through this tune, taking an impressive solo before sharing the spotlight with Trey who ripped the blues licks with a passion. The band reached an intense peak before moving on to a rare set two “Reba.” After nailing the composed section, the band dropped into an exquisitely delicate jam that lingered in this lightness for a bit before gaining momentum and peaking hard multiple times. This “Reba” was relentless, continuing on long after it could’ve been over. Once the jam finished, during the whistling section of the song, the band returned back to the “Little Squirrel” narration, fitting it perfectly into the song followed by Trey reprising “Ass Handed” before wrapping things up.

After a quick breath, Trey started the countdown into the next tune with a feisty “One, two, mother fuckin’ THREE” before dropping into the funky groove that is “Sand.” Fish drove this beat, allowing Trey to explore some truly beautiful space with Mike and Page complementing him nicely. The “Sand” jam reached great heights before the 12-minute mark where it mutated back into “Tweezer.” While not noted as such on LivePhish, this was absolutely “Tweezer” again and the jam kept driving ceaselessly, with Trey and Fish locked in as tight as humanly possible. Fish threw in a “Yeah” sound effect, saying what all of us were thinking, as Trey continued to tear it up.

The band then effortlessly segued into “Sigma Oasis” which ripped harder than usual, coming to a close before lighting into the first “Walk Away” in 47 shows. Page took the mic, growling with an intensity that carried through until the end of the barn burner. The band was so clearly feeling it, nailing the tune perfectly. After about three and a half minutes, Trey took center stage, showing off his chops and absolutely shredding peak upon peak, creating a frenzy within the room that was unparalleled throughout the rest of the evening. Droves of sweaty, hot humans thrashed about to this pinnacle of Phish as Trey sustained an extended note, creating a tension-and-release beyond what anyone could have asked for. The band brought the tune to a close amidst a deafening roar of applause from an exceedingly satisfied crowd before exiting the stage.

Upon returning, the band broke into the upbeat “Julius,” getting folks moving once more. This swinging number grooved in its usual manner before the ultimate show closer, the one and only “Tweezer Reprise.” Arguably three or four of the best minutes in rock ‘n’ roll, this song was the cherry on top of yet another spectacular Phish sundae. With two shows down and two to go to close out undeniably one of the best tours in quite some time, excitement and anticipation are at peak levels, with fans buzzing about what could possibly come next.

Phish’s Las Vegas Halloween run continues tight and tomorrow. Livestreams can be purchased through LivePhish.com.

Phish From The Road Photos

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Poster

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