PHOTOS / RECAP: Phish @ Madison Square Garden, New York City 12.28.18


Phish just wrapped up their first of four nights at Madison Square Garden to close out their huge 2018. The band was webcasting live from the show via so fans were able to see the show from their couches.

Before the show started, we had no obvious predictions except expecting a return of some of those Kasvot Växt tunes that debuted at the Halloween 2018 run in Las Vegas. Turns out the band had that right in the front of their mind when they strolled out on stage.

Scroll down to see the setlist for tonight…

Phish @ Madison Square Garden, New York City 12.28.18

Set I: We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains, Martian Monster, Axila I > Free, The Wedge, Meat > Ghost -> Sparkle, If I Could*, Maze, Walls of the Cave

Set II: Set Your Soul Free > Swept Away > Steep, The Final Hurrah, Fuego > Shade, Bathtub Gin > Possum

Encore: Bouncing Around the Room, Slave to the Traffic Light

* – First time ever played at Madison Square Garden

The first set kicked off with “We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains” and got everyone stoked for the night ahead. Great version, extended a bit and a nice resolution to the jam before the band busted out one of their other Halloween nods, “Martian Monster”. The floor was shaking pretty good at that point already. “Axila I” rocked the crowd before a quick move into “Free” which never really fully achieved liftoff. “The Wedge” wasn’t particularly standout either, but the “Meat > Ghost -> Sparkle” that followed is Phish at their best and most diverse. Lots of space in there and lots of great, patient playing. “If I Could” brought in a ballad at a great time before the set closed with some scary (“Maze”) and frantic (“Walls of the Cave”) Phish to close out the first set of the shows.

Set two got going with a “Set Your Soul Free” that quickly moved into a blissful jam with Page swirling synths beneath a beautiful arpeggiated line by Trey. The jam got extended out to the depths at about 17 minutes and starting to make its way for transcendence after about 10 minutes in. Where it got spacey and nicely resolved the band busted out a killer version of “Swept Away > Steep” that really created some beautiful moments in set. Trey seemed to sense the crowd needed to get back into the dance party vibe, so the band recycled “The Final Hurrah”, their second Kasvot Växt tune of the night. I’ll never get tired of Page playing with his samples and the “faceplant into rock” sample got heavily used in this version like the debut version of Vegas.

From there the band delivered a crushing “Fuego” and a beautiful transition into something more mellow, “Shade”. After a nice moment for the crowd to catch their breath, “Bathtub Gin” got everyone singing along and the jam really picks up right out of the gate. A blissful soaring version lead into the always fun and rocking “Possum” which closed the second set.

The encore of “Bouncing Around the Room” and “Slave to the Traffic Light” delivered a nice emotional capper on the evening. It was a great first night and there are still three more shows to go!

Check out photos from our friend Paul Citone below and stop back by later for more setlists from the run…

Photos © Paul Citone