This show featured the Phish debut of Evolve. Page teased "Charge!" after My Sweet One. Ghost and Bathtub Gin contained Mr. Completely teases. Page teased Bathtub Gin in Also Sprach Zarathustra. This was the rescheduled date from the show that had been postponed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
Charge! tease, Mr. Completely tease in Ghost, Mr. Completely tease in Bathtub Gin, Bathtub Gin tease in Also Sprach Zarathustra
Debut Years (Average: 1998)

This show was part of the "2021 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by Laudanum

Laudanum This whole show is a mood.

Island vibes rule the first set, as laid-back a set as you'll find. Not that it's lazy, or isn't well-played, it just wants a mojito.

Cool Amber and Mercury feels like the lynchpin, providing the vibe for everything that follows. Listen to Page's excellent work here, but also in Water in the Sky. Theme contains more of a wave swell than a peak, and the whole set just floooows.

Even Fluffhead is relaxed and digging toes in the sand, at least until the end, which does provide a pretty explosive peak, foreshadowing what's to come in set two.

Yeah, set two.

That friendly beachside from set one is long gone. Dark jazz owns the night here and Mr. Completely ramps into a why-are-aliens-landing-in-Tennessee churn before settling into Birds of a Feather and turning the amphitheater into a smoky lounge.

Ghost is next and soon the aliens are back and so is Mr. Completely, the whole thing becoming a dark soup of jam at this point. The transition into Gin is so astounding, so twisted that it infects the whole song, much like the transition to Fuego from a few nights earlier in Arkansas.

Mike propels the Gin > 2001 combo to fits of sci-fi disco fury, like the end of Kubrick's film, but with a disco ball and fierce grooves. The only place this possibly ends up, of course, is Melt. No Trey ballad could withstand this psychedelic storm.

And what a Melt it is. A portal opens mere moments into the jam, the band steps through, and we're treated to music of some other place, some other time. An alien landscape, an alien biosphere. More like a Yes album cover than Yes ever was. It is, in a word, phenomenal.

Even the damn Zero encore twists and oozes. They just couldn't stop.

Here, for the record, is something no other band can do: string five seemingly random old songs together and tie them up with sticky jam so they sound like they were brand new and always meant to be played in that order, with that arrangement, with a cohesiveness rivalling the best albums ever produced.

Listen to this show and be astonished. This is one of the greatest Melts *ever* played.

And it's 2021.
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks # 8/11/21 deer creek (N1) review

(reviewed to order, for @n00b100)

I've nothing much to say about Set I, I'm afraid; it's Ideal First Set Summer Phish, No Big Jams Edition, and up to the usual standard of effortless excellence. The banter before 'Cool Amber' is charming (as is the moment where Page apparently forgets what key 'Water in the Sky' is in), and 'Halfway to the Moon' is one of the best tracks on Fuego -- along with 'Waiting All Night' and '555,' baby!! -- but it's just the kind of set with a solid eight-minute 'Theme' and a crushing trill-filled 'Fluffhead' and that's fine with me, y'know? The kind of set where I'd have loved every minute of being there but will never feel the need to listen closely. I'm middle-aged, life is more like that than it was.

The second set's another matter.

I've already effused about the sublime Friday and Sunday Deer Creek shows -- the former a psychedelic detonation, the latter an old-school medley -- and don't wish to go on about how Everything's Right yadda yadda...the usual asterisks are in place next to any account of 2021 Phish. But this second set beats both those heavy hitters for cohesion, sustained deep colours, continuous texture, overall power. It's got one of the summer's most perfect segues (Ghost > Gin) and its wildest closer (Split), along with its longest unbroken improvisatory contour -- for my money it's the closest we've come this year to a Fall 1997-style Dark Carnival, coming from a totally place than (say) 11/26/97 but converging phenotypically somehow...

By which I mean:

The MrC jam starts out friendly but shares the song's own disconcerting major/minor internal tension, the way Trey's descending guitar line plays against its ironic-celebratory refrain, with Copeland/Fish's carpet-yanking hi-hat pattern circling around to interfere whenever the midtempo lope gets too easygoing. Mike's bass drone lets up and the whole band gets spacey -- Phish keeps returning to this dissociative-Epcot vibe and I'm extremely here for it -- but as Trey goes for familiar uplift, Fish reasserts the MrC rhythm (flams!) as if to keep things a little raw. It's the kind of productive tension, an insistent pressure, that's long been a feature of some of their best extended jam sequences.

Then 13ish minutes into the jam, Trey hits a blue note where I suspect he was originally going for a major third, and the whole band takes a deep breath and dives for a nightlight place...from which they won't fully reemerge until the encore. I'm serious: there are smileyface passages in Gin (by necessity) and Ghost (the recent norm), and of course the Strauss/Deodato jam-goof has its anthemic funk 'chorus,' but the primary colour of the set (brought home by Fish's regular invocation of the Mr Completely drum signal) is a sort of relentless advance, like waves coming slowly up the shore to swallow a beach party or frazzled midnight drivers plowing ahead at 85mph toward a bad night's sleep. OK it's not as scary as all that, though honestly the Split has a Tower Jam/Coventry Split vibe that definitely gets under my skin. But when Fish cuts into the post-Ghost glide with those Copeland hits and Mike goes back to droning as Trey and Page darken the lights -- and then again, when Gin gives way to a wailing Thriller-night jam that's the night's centerpiece, biggest stone in the cemetery -- it really does feel to me like the band's remembering, or evoking, one of those stalking spacefunk-era sets, where a groove or mood seems to creep through the whole performance...

To be clear, this Nashville show doesn't sound like 1999 Phish or something. The BOAF runs a tight 6ish minutes, for one thing, and doesn't come unglued -- and the template-setting MrC jam itself is too genial, which is to say the members of Phish are (individually/collectively) just too nice and sensible and settled and maybe just 'adult,' for the debauched vibes of old to fully return.

But then how are they ending a summer funtime show with this goddamn HAZMAT suit Split jam? That's new, isn't it: a set as aggressive as this one, pressing its point one last time like a barroom conspiracist instead of escaping/unwinding into a Slave or Hood or Bug or something. There's no catharsis to this set, no complacency either mind you, just a harried, insistent movement. And that's something it shares, again, with 'Betty Ford'-era Phish -- though again, I think they're coming to it from another direction entirely now. This is purposeful, conscious music. And they fucking get there.

I don't wish to overplay this side of the music! As I said above, Set I is pure bring-your-normie-friends sunlight and the second frame is still made by those well-mannered gentlemen from up north. No bats are getting their heads chewed off, the custom-made guitars were all neatly tucked away after the gig rather than smashed/burned. They don't play super fast or evil anymore and you won't go blind listening to the new shit.

But they got to a place, man. Between this show and the Sunday mishmashup set at Deer Creek, I'm getting that old new familiar feeling. They're well past 50, they're not what they were, 'darkness' and 'intensity' mean different things now, and -- god damn. Feels like they're into something real right now.
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by youenjoymyghost

youenjoymyghost Amazing return to form from the previous night. Fluffhead was the cherry on top of set 1. Funky Gin was really fun. A few repeats were welcome additions to the show and added to the excitement. Banter, ->'s, deep improvisation, and fan favorites. This show had a bit of everything. The vibe was also perfect, we can not wait to return here!
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by DrJerryPunchYITE

DrJerryPunchYITE "Here, for the record, is something no other band can do: string five seemingly random old songs together and tie them up with sticky jam so they sound like they were brand new and always meant to be played in that order, with that arrangement, with a cohesiveness rivalling the best albums ever produced."
You perfectly summarized my thoughts on the music and what they're doing In 2021!
I've been exercising (riding bike) after my kids go down and it's a treat to listen live through Mixlr. It's apparent to me the songs proper could use more practice but I'll take that trade off since Trey having the guitar in his hands for 18 months has clearly been a good thing as he sounds tremendous and creative.
The band goes as he does and that's very apparent now.
I do feel the need to give lots of praise to the other 3 as well.
Mike is mike, holding things down.
Fish sounds as good as ever.
Page was a monster last night in set 2 and his new sounds and efforts to step in when trey strums are giving the whole band a boost.
I pedaled along giggling when they were playing Gin as it was completely new and creative unlike any version ever played and they were clearly having a blast almost 40 years in.
I bought tickets for Saturday and Sunday deer creek last night because tours like this don't happen every year or decade for that matter.
You gotta make hay when the suns shining!!
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by Coconuts_chloroform

Coconuts_chloroform I was lucky enough to pull pit tickets for this show. The fist set was no slouch, and when they played Free I was excited because 1) I enjoy the song and 2) I felt that it opened the door to anything as the first real repeat of the tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the Theme > Suzy > Fluffhead and thought all were strong versions (despite some sloppiness in Suzy, I think Page's performance made up for it and then some!) But I won't harp on the first set...

That second set...mind blown!

Mr Completely featured a jam that really got started with Fish and Mike driving a thumping groove that trey and page traded licks over with spacey effects in tote. The groove speeds up around 10:30 and Trey and Page continue to trade licks off off each other, with Trey emerging into a blissful and satisfying solo! Page takes a turn after and the jam ascends into space, with beautiful ambient-spacey riffing from Trey. 5 minutes of beautiful music there, with the jam heading further and further out to space, all the while over a strong, pulsating backbone laid down by Fish and Mike. It ascends into the cosmos and we hear the countdown to BOAF.

BOAF is fairly straightforward, especially in this set, it does build to a satisfying peak and features strong interplay from Trey and Page. We get the "we attack" sample and closing riffs to BOAF and it transitions immediately into Ghost!

Ghost had a nice low first mini solo, and the jam starts in space at the 4 minute mark. This is a very satisfying jam given it's length, and builds slowly from effects-laden space ambience full of Mike bombs to a dark and crunchy solo from Trey, featuring some melodic trilling while the intensity builds around the 8 minute mark. We get some page/trey interplay of the space-rock variety before the jam descends into a crunchy, gut-wrenching groove that methodically transitions into Gin...somehow. I almost feel ridiculous trying to verbalize that jam...

The Gin - you must check out the transition, it is unique. It "infects" the whole Gin in the best meaning of the word possible (especially in these times). Like Martians hijacked the song (as another review alludes to). The jam is fairly satisfying-normal from the 4:30 mark to about the 7 minute mark, then the tone gradually descends to a minor/darker tone. Trey rips it up until about the 10:45 mark (this a a great passage of guitar work, with Page throwing in licks throughout). Trey throws in a crunchy effect towards the end of the solo and the jam gradually starts fading into space around the 11:10 mark and takes it's time transitioning into 2001!

2001 is a short version, but I actually really enjoyed the short, funky groove that developed first with Mike and Fish laying a relaxed funky groove, then Page laying the synth over it, and finally Trey adding ambient licks over it all. Good stuff!

We get an awesome-chaotic SOAM to end it all, and I use that word in the best way possible. This one is full of dissonance and synth bombs until about the 8 minute mark, when Trey comes in with some middle eastern-style licks! The intensity starts to build around the 10 min mark into what I would describe as space funk. Trey comes in hot with the licks around the 11:40 mark. Around 12:40 we get some tasty work on the keys with riders on the storm-esque vibes to it from Page. From here we ascend into chaos... pulsating, space-funk chaos! Somehow we arrive back to reality with a smooth transition to the traditional closing of SOAM. We were treated to band introductions at this point and Trey even shared his secret...the song was in the key of C#! I don't think I need to explain the irony of tying this passage of music to a particular key.

Character Zero closed it all with some added flavor.

I felt I had to review this was a privilege to experience it. Thank you Phish!!
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by emkeyone

emkeyone TL;DR, very good show, underrated first set, excellent second set.

I get the impression that there is some ambivalence over whether this is 4.0 or a continuation of 3.0. Personally i think this show answers that question very effectively. It’s still Phish, but many things old are new and it feels like the band as a whole and individually have entered a new era.

The second set on this one is great, but the first set is more than solid. Some might complain about the song selection but Phish is not and never has been a greatest hits band. If you want to hear the hits, don’t bother. Technically they don’t have any. What they do have is a deep and expansive catalog and the ability on any particular day to deliver magic no matter what song they happen to be playing at the time.

Evolve, a song off of Trey’s 2020 album “Lonely Trip” debuts and opens set one with a nice mid tempo feel and solid performance. It’s a newer Trey song so some amount of cynicism from phans is to be expected but it is catchy, and it establishes a theme for the evening.

Next up is Free, which is I believe the first repeat of the 2020 summer tour. It’s a personal favorite and it’s already clear at this point that the band is in a nice place. They are evolving, they are free. But freedom is not without challenge and occasionally pain. Trey’s guitar playing expresses that well. It is precise, nuanced and expressive.

Trey was relatively chatty all evening and opens Ocelot by noting how good it is to be present. He is not alone in this sentiment. The song itself is both sinewy and joyous and fits in well with a first set that feels designed to slowly pull us all into another place known as set 2 where the band will turn it up another notch. The interplay between Trey and Page in the jam section of Ocelot is particularly tasty.

It’s hard for me to believe that the same mind that conceived “Ass Handed” is responsible for “My Sweet One”. Both have their appeal but for the longest time I thought “My Sweet One” must be an obscure bluegrass cover. It’s catchy and fun and the band nail it here. Again there is some nice chatter at the end as Trey and Phishman banter back and forth about who is supposed to count off the next song.

“Cool Amber in Mercury” is a return to a more mid tempo feel from the frenetic fun that is “My Sweet One”. It’s a nice jam vehicle and things seldom go badly when the band pulls out a Kasvot Vaxt song. While there is nothing particularly remarkable about this version it does manage to keep the flow flowing.

“Halfway to the Moon” is a great pick for this spot in the set. Page delivers this Stones classic well and his playing throughout is tasty and always on point. In the jam section all the parts are moving in a way that is both distinct and completely united at once.

“Water in the Sky” is another expressive mid tempo song that neither elevates no detracts from the set. It is a nice bit of glue that provides contrast to what comes next.

“Theme From the Bottom” is another personal favorite. Phish may not have hits in a conventional sense, but if they did then I’d like to think this would be one of them. It’s a great jam vehicle and the lyrics are at once whimsical and thought provoking. It is again clear that everyone is in a groove with Fishman laying down a great foundation, Mike providing both a bottom end and great counterpoint while Trey and Page make a bit of musical magic.

“Suzy Greenberg” is always fun but I don’t think this is going to go down as anyone’s favorite version and is arguably the weakest song of the show. Trey struggles a lot with the lyrics for some reason. It’s reasonably well played otherwise.

Which brings us to the first set closer, “Fluffhead”. I don’t have anything clever to say here but I will voice the opinion that this is a more than competent rendition of song with a lot of moving parts. It is for me seventeen plus minutes of musical bliss.

On to set two.

“Mr. Completely” is not a song I’m familiar with and it’s a bit of a rarity. Apparently it’s from Trey’s first solo album. An interesting way to open the set. Nothing really stood out to me on this one. I generally need to hear a song four or five times befre I really hear it if that makes any sense. I could in theory do that for the purposes of this review, but there is too much good stuff coming up so I’ll pass for now.

BOAF kicks things into another gear, though there is a slight vocal flub by Trey at the beginning. I get the impression that he’s still not 100% happy with his latest guitar setup as there are times when he seems distracted and can be seen looking down at his feet. That being said, this is where everything starts to elevate.

Ghost is not a personal favorite. I don’t hate it, but when the song starts I always end up thinking to myself “Trey, you have in fact told us about the ghost, many many times in fact”. That personal bit of angst out of the way I will admit that it’s a great jam vehicle and anything that inspires Trey is a good thing. The jam in this one starts murky and chaotic, at times feeling a little like a slow moving train wreck while avoiding any sense that the band is less than 100% dialed in. Eventually it morphs, but only partially into “Bathtub Gin”.

Hearing “Bathtub Gin” done in this way was the highlight of the evening for me. Was it planned? Did it just happen spontaneously? I guess the fact that it happened at all is what really matters. I don’t know that there is any other band out there that could come close to this level of demented creativity. They did something similar with “Fuego” in Arkansas. Maybe this is a 4.0 thing?

“Also Sprach Zarathustra” slotted in nicely. It tends to be a fan favorite, and with good reason. This one does not disappoint.

SOAM closes out the show with authority. It has funk, it has passion, it has groove, it jams. It is in short a great way to end arguably the best set so far of summer 2021.

The band encores with “Character Zero”. The start of this is a bit sloppy, possibly because they were rushed due to a impending curfew? Mike hadn’t even fully gotten his bass on when Trey kicked things off and it takes a bit of time before they all hit their stride. Once they do they close things out nicely.
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by heathen

heathen Set 1: Well, Evolve is yet another lame new song. Putting up with this lame dad rock is really getting tiresome. Halfway to the Moon isn't terrible. Maybe it's just the change of hearing Page singing and taking the lead, but this song is way more tolerable than pretty much every other 3.0 song. It's not amazing, but when put in the same set as crap like Ocelot and Water in the Sky it sure sounds good. I don't remember hearing this song before so I don't have a point of reference, but this version was thoroughly enjoyable. Theme is a fantastic song, but this version is a bit rough around the edges in the composed section. The Type 1 jam is enjoyable enough, though it doesn't cover any ground that hasn't already been covered in the past with this song. By 3.0 standards the Fluffhead was pretty well executed. They definitely didn't nail it though. For better or worse, these days we just can't expect them to nail Fluffhead like they used to. At least they didn't totally botch it though. Overall, I'd say this is a slightly above average first set. There's nothing essential though.

Set 2/e: Though I am not a fan of the song itself, I enjoyed the Mr. Completely jam here. Birds was a little bit sloppy at times. The Ghost jam was really cool, including the weird (in a good way) transition into Bathtub Gin. The weirdness of the Ghost jam carried over nicely into the Gin (listen to Page!). Even though they got quite a head of steam going in the jam I don't mind that Trey brought it back to Gin. They could've been headed to a cookie-cutter 3.0 crescendo, and bringing back the weird Gin vibe that carried over from Ghost was fine by me. 2001 was fine but nothing special. The Split Open and Melt jam takes a very intriguing turn into spaciness right from the start. This Split Open and Melt jam is something special. This set is the first "must hear" of the tour (I've listened through 8/7 as of this writing). It's the first stuff I've heard that I'll definitely listen to again in the future.

Overall, this is probably the best show so far (again, through the 8/7 show at least). The first set is nothing spectacular, but the second set is legitimately good with moments of greatness. This second set (and in particular the Ghost > Gin and SOAM) is what keeps me coming back to the band. Anyone who hasn't heard this second set yet, listen to it now!
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by DeicideLegion

DeicideLegion Personally, I thought the previous night's first set was better, but I enjoyed seeing Theme, Suzy, and obviously Fluffhead made me shit my pants. Listening back I think you can probably skip to set two, where the band takes us to space and sticks crazy things up our buttholes. I'm serious, I couldn't walk after this show. My butthole was in pain, but in the best possible way. I don't think I have to say more than that. The rare Mr. Completely is a tune I couldn't give a shit less about, but they always bring it and this was no exception. Feather was cool, but Ghost is where Phish really started ripping my butthole up. Damn! Darkness enshrouds my soul. They summoned demons, space demons and maybe demonic sharks... space sharks. Gin, 2001, all badass as well but Melt is really where Phish rival the most sinister death metal in terms of insanity. I thought I was leaving earth. Character Zero took me back to planet earth, a tame place in comparison. Melt got so dirty I think Zero even had some residual ooze.
If some of the set one snoozers like Halfway to the Moon had been replaced with, say, Col Forbin this show would have a 4.9999999. But I can't complain, as my butthole still has not recovered. What more can you ask for after a show?
, attached to 2021-08-04

Review by aybesea

aybesea My first 5 of the tour, not that it was a perfect show, but it was an essential show. The first set is a bit perfunctory, at least until the note perfect Fluffhead. But, the second set of this beast is simply outstanding. I was a little put off by the slow and angular start to Mr. Completely (one of my absolute favs since Utah 03), but as soon as it hits the coda things start to go very, very right. It builds and releases its way to a solid, albeit short and unjammed BOAF. And then there's the Ghost... and what a Ghost. This thing is gorgeous and has more lives than a cat. And it winds, and it builds, and it winds... into one of the most creative jams I've heard from 3.0. This Gin is absolute gold! So exploratory and so deep. A quick dance through 2001 and we get a great, shadowy, menacing SOAM. Just the way it should be.

Perfect show? No way. Essential show? You betcha!
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