Soundcheck: Sparkle, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Friday, Nothing (x5), Stir It Up (instrumental)

SET 1: Simple > Glide, Buried Alive > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Roggae > Limb By Limb > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars > Your Pet Cat > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Horn > Blaze On > Run Like an Antelope[1]

SET 2: Halley's Comet > 46 Days -> Bug > Steam > What's the Use? > Steam -> Piper -> Tweezer[2] -> NO2[2] -> Tweezer > Walls of the Cave

ENCORE: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

The first Big Black Furry Creature from Mars included an I Dream of Jeannie theme tease from Mike and a Your Pet Cat quote. Run Like an Antelope included a Call To The Post tease and the lyrics were changed to "Gaktoidler Esquandolas." Piper included a Steam tease. The first Tweezer and NO2 included Trey on megaphone. NO2 was last played August 12, 2010 (202 shows) and included a Martian Monster quote. During the intro to Sleeping Monkey, Trey said that backstage the band had read a website that ranked Phish songs and they were surprised that Page's all-time favorite song was not on the top of the list, so they were going to play it for the crowd right now. Trey then said every night walking off during encore breaks Page asks to play it and Mike says "No Page, not tonight, tonight's not your night, man." Tweezer Reprise included a Sleeping Monkey quote from Fish.
Your Pet Cat and Theme from I Dream of Jeannie quotes in Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Call to the Post tease in Run Like an Antelope, Sleeping Monkey quote in Tweezer Reprise, Martian Monster quote in NO2
Debut Years (Average: 1995)

This show was part of the "2015 Summer"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by n00b100

n00b100 I know what you're thinking to yourself - "Self", you're thinking, "this exceptional tour has given us huge bustouts, stone-cold-killer jams, the return of the 2nd jam in Mike's Song, a freakin' *five song second set*, and has gotten tongues wagging in a way few tours of this era have, but one thing we haven't gotten yet is a truly crazy '93 style segue-laden antic-laden gigantic party show, with some sweet jams thrown in to boot. What's up with THAT?" Well, worry no more, hypothetical .net user I just made up for the purpose of this review, because your prayers have been answered with this show, yet another show that will be talked up as one of the best of the summer when all is said and done.

Set 1 is packed with great songs very well performed (Glide, Buried Alive, McGrupp), a nutty song sandwich in BBFCFM > Your Pet Cat > BBFCFM (I originally thought it was audibled when Page hit the wrong sample, but given how well the opening YPC sample fits BBFCFM, I'm not so sure now), and a lovely Antelope that starts off relaxed '98-style, works into a great Trey/Page duet moment, and gives us a nicely extended Rye Rye Rocco portion. Set 2 is one of those sets that has something for everyone - big jams (a 46 Days that works its way from a thicker and nastier take on the usual 46 Days jam into blissful upbeat hose; a Piper that slides from minor to major key without fail and never lets up in skull-pounding intensity from start to finish, thanks to Fish deciding the jam's not over until he says it's over - it's not too far away from the Pipers of 2003 vintage), a really sweet song sandwich (Steam going sparse and nasty, suddenly giving way to What's The Use?, and then returning to Steam with charming ease), nifty segues (quibble about Steam -> Piper if you want, but 46 Days -> Bug and Piper -> Tweezer - the FOURTH segue into Tweezer of the summer, how wild is that? - are both outrageous), a mega-bustout (NO2, of all damn things, making its 7th ever appearance in the midst of Tweezer), a shredfest in Walls of the Cave, and hijinks galore (the aforementioned NO2, where Mike finally really puts that drill to its best possible use as Page goes nuts with the CTSOTHH samples). Hell, even a Sleeping Monkey encore is given a little added fun with Trey bringing up that Spin article we all crapped on a while back. That's a lot to ask for from one evening of music.

Final thoughts: Merriweather Post Pavilion has developed a reputation as one of *the* places to see Phish, and this show will only further burnish that reputation. Buy the ticket, ride the ride.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by raidcehlalred

raidcehlalred When Phish puts together a first set the likes of which we got tonight, it really makes you wonder what, exactly, they were doing in Raleigh.

Open with Simple whenever, however often you like. I mean it. Seriously. Please.

(What might have been wild(er) is the Glide— An ‘f you’ of sorts to people (like me) who questioned the rationale behind the hobbled Llama….)

Either way:

Lest anyone worry, had Glide been buried, it had been done so ‘alive.’

McGrupp is a song which, for me, makes long nights, sometimes going a little bit hungry, worth hitting up a bunch of shows. It’s a song that in so many ways epitomizes the band (cementing Page’s place in the order, for one—yeah Page, it is your night) and seems to get played the exact right number of times, at the exact right places in time.

But forgetting even that.

Any set that goes deep with a Roggae and Limb (two of the best songs to emerge from one of the band’s best ‘eras’) deserves serious attention.

And then it just gets ridiculous. Might be time to cool down. Or Sparkle was checked. Let’s laugh and fall apart.

Nope. Well, sort of….

Let’s laugh and fall apart, but do so MPP-style…. With the tone-setting BBFCM …. into Cat(!) …. back into BBFCM.

(This leaves what for Jimmy to listen to during Harpua? The thrilling, chilling, spaghetti-western that is The Unsafe Bridge?)

As I’ve mentioned before, the playing has been great: but the deliberation going into set list creation really cements this summer as an all-timer. Not only do we get a joyful, incredibly confident Trey, there are simply an outrageous number of fantastic, original tunes to cull from. What more could you ask for?

What I like about Horn is that it’s Horn. A fine ‘ballad’ in its own regard, this song brings back so many memories, and really ‘fits’ better in this set than a number from, say, “Fuego.” This is not a dig at “Feugo!” (Or any other record. ) It simply underscores the reflection that the band demonstrates going into these gigs – and man, does this sort of effort pay huge dividends.

Blaze On.

What more can be said? A Bowie, or, better yet, an Antelope,* might have worked well to end the set— No one would have complained.

But, true to yet ANOTHER great set, the band has the wherewithal to pull, as the set’s ‘new to tour’ selection, the fist-pumping _Not Fade Away_ feel good anthem. A bit of the old (Leo!) touched with the new (_Women are Smarter_…. pick your Dead influence), the closing slot seems like a great spot for the tune, too (Trey’s raging Alpine solo still fresh in mind) as the band continues to toy with this number and others….

(Let’s see what’s up with that heavily checked Scabbard, next…. Nice to hear Magilla teased—again—as Scabbard brings to mind pre-arena rock Phish….)

But you can usually smell a *Lope a mile away, and, yup, the band wanted to blaze on. So it’s Marco [Gacktoidler] who slips on his nice shades to bring this classic set to a close.

For as long as I’ve followed Phish, I have loved first sets. Before YEM, before there were lengthy, dance party Tweezers, I connected with songs like Jim and Foam, Bag and Sloth. I loved the diversity of hearing Peaches en Regalia and Reba, of Divided Sky and All Things Reconsidered. All in one set.

Phish have both butchered and executed their way through a great many numbers throughout the growing number of decades. It has always been that way.

But the one constant seems certain to remain: Give me my instrument and let me play.

And, regarding certain venues: Anything is fair game.

Let me leave some space…. Others will do a better job dissecting Set II….


1. What’s up with Halley’s?
2. Is it possible that this is where Days is destined to stay?
3. You know, it doesn’t matter to me: I like Bug and I like it in this spot.
4. While I like the light in Light, there’s something about that steam in Steam (it’s a little underrated, too: the song can catch a fat little jam).
5. There is never a bad time to get What’s the Use?, but does this mean that we can expect to get one whenever?
6. Can it get any darker and yet remain so bright?
7. If you’ve got a problem with Piper, you’ve got problems.
8. Plenty of people called the Tweezer, but I didn’t hear one Nitrous.
9. I was totally thinking Slave, not Cave.
10. About time.
11. Best time.

I’m a big Animal Collective fan. They are the only band, I believe, who have been given permission to sample the Dead (_Unbroken Chain_); this from the very cool _Fall be Kind EP_.

And this a couple years before they release the awesome Merriweather Post Pavilion.

What is it about MPP?
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by phrench

phrench I love Sleeping Monkey. Nice to learn it's Page's favorite too, even if it's just a joke. Great to hear the crowd sing along with so much heart; honestly, it almost brings tears to my eyes. Funny Trey banter too.

As for the rest of the concert, well, I could say it's the best of the tour, and it would probably be true, except there are already five or six best shows this summer, not to mention Magnaball and Dick's coming. It's almost annoying that we can't decide once and for all; almost every night we must reconsider our choices; the band should be told there's a legal upper limit to the number of best concerts you can play in one tour. It's not '97 anymore, for Piper's sake.

Hard time to be a phan.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by rackham

rackham From the first playful notes of the Simple opener it became clear to me that this was going to be a special show. Gliding into Glide and then unburying McGrupp hopefully brought everyone else to a similar realization...

The first set had it all: celestially jams; lighthearted goofiness; crowd pleasing classics; and a new tune that felt right at home in a set that was pure and powerful Phish.
On the eve of the 19th anniversary of my first Phish show I couldn't have asked for much more, but then the second set started and I relearned what the word 'Epic' truly means.

The band once again lead us through an adventure of glorious feelings, razor sharp rocking, magnificent melancholy, blissful release, and utter awesomeness.

I rode the comet for 46 days and saw a beautiful bug crawl through the steam pondering, "What's the use?" just before retreating to the call from the Piper and being plucked up by a tweezer and placed safely on the wall of a cave.
It may have been briefly gassed before finding a sleeping monkey because it couldn't stop laughing; even as it was slammed back into the freezer.

Holy shit.

Thank you, Phish!
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by Philbombs77

Philbombs77 Am I the only one who heard an inevitable segue to X-eyed during the last three minutes of Piper? Don't get me wrong - the actual segue to Tweezer was amazing, but I thought they were laying the groundwork for X-eyed and were going to drop in through the climax in Piper, similar (in fashion, not sound) to the BGCA '12 Light > Sally. This Piper packed a wallop and was, to my ears at least, the highlight of the second set.

On a different note, I'm not sure if I read this during the stream last night or today, but someone said that the Halley's was Phish's equivalent of blue balls. It's been over 15 years since the heyday of Halley's as a jam vehicle. The Hampton '97 and Cumberland '99 apotheoses are long gone. I think some of us wonder "Why can't they just jam _____ (song) out like they did in ______ (year)?" Phish doesn't re-listen to their music the way we do. I've played the Hampton '97 Halley's 3-5 times within the past few months. I can all but guarantee you Trey, Page, Mike, and Fish haven't listened to that Halley's since it was slated for release in its box set (and possibly not even then). They live in The Now which is how and why we are getting such an amazing Summer of '15. They might listen to one of their shows once in a while, but generally they're inspired by their newer material, other bands' contemporary work, and a conglomeration of historical influences....but not Phish circa '97 - '99. I know some of us start to get a bit excited, especially when Halley's opens the second set and is ripe for the 3rd quarter takeoff. So for the guy who mentioned blue balls - don't worry, there was plenty to get off on and go home happy.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by Phabio

Phabio The look your dog gives you after you've been gone for a vacation and come home.

The first smell of hose-water in the summer.

Knowing you have a 3 day weekend.

This show.

What do they all have in common? Unadulterated happiness.

As a New Yorker I'm spoiled with bars, restaurants, 24-hour everything, and especially (generally) more shows in the northeast than many others. So after seeing the tour announcement, MPPI would be my first show of the tour. Le sigh.

After having streamed a handful of shows and reading reviews and listening to audio from the others, I was giddy for the past week knowing I would be able to share in the groove so soon.

And so, there we were. Standing up on the top of the middle of the lawn in the most crowded MPP show I've ever been to with an electric feeling of connectivity between us all. Truly, you could feel the happiness pulsing within the venue like a boozy, groggy amoeba floating around in morphing shapes, sizes, colors and sounds.

Cue stage lights. Prepare for liftoff.

When you can see the band having as much fun as we are in the crowd, and interacting with us all, there's nothing quite like it in the world. That feeling you get when everyone is in the right place at the right time. Some place warm, where the melodies flow harmonies, and the jams instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. This, my friends (my friends) is that night.

Wanted weird placements? You get 'em.
Wanted bbfcfm? Got it. (multiple times)
Gamehendge stuff? Got it.
Power drills and stage antics? Yes. Plenty.
Flawless victories in the form of segues? Got 'em.
A 46 days that still has me tasting the fear days later? Yes, you guessed it. GOT IT.
And the coup de grâce, Sleeping Monkey banter/song/Tweeprise? WOOF.

Yes, it may not be just, or maybe it seems redundant to hear the same old, "KILLER SHOW" comments. But honestly everyone, Phish is en fuego right now and we're all blessed to be able to share in this wonderful time of earthshaking improvisation, tear-jerking laughter and a love for a band that continues to leave us thankful and hungry for more.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by raidcehlalred

raidcehlalred @MKnapik

That's tough. And your wish list rocks; I've wanted them to bust out that Cat for a while now. It really is wild, the difference that night makes. But it's cool you got that second set Reba.

Enjoy the rest of the way out. Create some more lists while you're at it; write down something like Union Federal and Sky Train Wand while you're at it.

Must be the East ends (or begins) at MPP.

Or something.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by fathertypo

fathertypo For the second straight show of tour I take someone to her first Phish show and she gets a smoker. Not enough can be said about that Piper-> Tweezer. The transition was one of the most beautiful all tour. Sleeping Monkey dialogue and raging Tweeprise capped off a magical night. Once again I find myself saying they can't top this tonight. But i'll know i'll be wrong.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by Pianowitch

Pianowitch Sorry that you missed your songs by one night. We've all had that happen to us now and then. That's one of the beauties of this band, you never know what's going to happen. Obviously, there's going to be some shows that are better than others during a 28-show run. You go and catch as many as you can and hope for the best. At the very least, you will have a good time. However, anyone who did not expect a smokin show last night has not been paying attention. I believe something changed with band on 6/27/10. It seems to me that they really started to get to where they are now around this date, and they come back every year to MPP to re-live the moment. After the show, I saw the venue staff changing the Merriweather sign to read "46 days pavillion."

As far as people saying, "why can't they play (song) like they did in (year)?" Well, if it's not new, then it's through. Why would they want to play the same way over and over again for years? If you don't keep things fresh then you lose people's attention. It's a new age of music and that's the whole point.

Oh yeah, and this show was pretty good. I was smiling practically the whole time. Very fun for the band and the crowd. I can't explain it really, but this show seemed to have come alive, if you will. This show is worth listening to more than once. The antelope, 46 days, piper, tweezer, walls, and encore were all great. Fish really drove that piper into something great.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by MKnapik

MKnapik @raidcehlalred
Regarding the Raleigh first set vs. MPP - WTF?
...and yes, I did like the Raleigh "Reba" after it reached the improvisation portion.

If only I could show the "wish list" I made before heading to Raleigh. Guess what? I must be freakin' clairvoyant! I have YPC, Blaze, Steam & WOTC on that list! Missed & Pissed!

I was going bonkers every time I checked the set list last night! Why couldn't something near this caliber have occurred one night earlier?
My friend just quipped "they ARE a north east band". Oh well.
I guess I should be happy they are playing so well and roll with it.

It didn't keep me from feeling like The Phish can be a big-fat-stinking group of ASSHOLES on certain nights - while in the moment. Did I mention I was pissed?

5 Stars...creeps!
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by gphishmon

gphishmon This is DEFINITELY a 5-star show, pay no attention to the naysayer.

Listening to the recording after being at the show, I'm thinking my choice of listening spot might not have been as good as I thought at the time. I came in late and so missed Simple (a very sweet, though brief, jam) and Glide (an incredibly complicated, difficult tune that they nailed). Heard Buried Alive on the way in and then got on the lawn for McGrupp. The sound there was very quiet, almost inaudible in spots. I needed a bathroom break (during Roggae) and some water, and found that the front of the area around the water fountains seemed to have really loud, clear sound, so I ended up staying there most of the show. When I finally went back to the lawn during WOTC, the sound there had improved dramatically. Oh well.

I still had an incredible time where I was, but listening to the Piper, I'm not sure I fully took in Page's magnificent organ solo. I knew it was a great Piper and I enjoyed it, but I don't know if I heard it fully. I don't know if being on the lawn would have changed that. It might be just one of those things you catch on relistening. Anyway, 46 Days is identified as the must-hear jam, and it's a good one, but Piper is maybe even better in my opinion. Bug, Steam>What's the Use?>Steam seemed like too much slow music in a row to me, and even though it was all well-played, was the weak spot of the set. Yet I have to admit that WTU? had me in a trance. What can I say about Tweezer>N2O>Tweezer that hasn't been said already, or BBFCFM>YPC>BBFCFM for that matter?
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by Jevers

Jevers Really fun show. Simple got the place going right away. BBFCFM>Pet Cat>BBFCFM was a shitstorm. Loved the chill Blaze On into Antelope to end 1st set.

Standard Halley's Comet. 46 Days rocked as always. Bug is chill. Then things starting going off. Love Steam, saw it at my first show at MPP in 2011. The boys are having lots of fun and can't wait to get to Magnaball.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by stlw8ing

stlw8ing To ;) hilbombs77
I thought I heard the X-eyed tease during the Piper also.
There was a gentleman wearing a black Stop Making Sense T-shirt in the pit, which may have been the inspiration for the Life During Wartime Jogging skit by Trey during the N2O and the tease in question. Have yet had the time to listen to it again.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by bluewater42

bluewater42 I'll save the review for the experts, but wanted to throw out there that the special bust out of NO2 was most likely due to someone down in the pit who brought a yellow beach ball with 'NO2' written on it. I remember seeing it and thinking it was highly unlikely that would be played and it would be more likely they would play the 'Harpua' written on the other ball being hit around. Shows how much I know....and nice job to whomever brought their set of balls for the show!
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by ymhelvetican

ymhelvetican Just want to write a short review on this one. Summer 2015 was a strong tour for Phish, and I think this was one of the standouts of the period. Set 1 was strong, and Run Like an Antelope was an energized closer. Opening Set 2 on Halley's Comet was a great choice, and you can really feel the energy keep up into 46 Days and Bug. The classic Trey antics on the megaphone during Tweezer(s) only solidified this one as high-level for me. If there is any weak point it may be that the encore, while strong, didn't knock me off my feet like some can. Still, quality, quality show. Merriweather seems to always bring out some good jams from the guys, and this was no exception!
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by Simply_Coy

Simply_Coy So happy I attended & on second-listen today this show holds it's head high! Incredibly awesome!! Love a Simple opener. My phamily has been chasing Your Pet Cat since Halloween debut (we just refer to it as 'Cat Jam'... as in "I can't wait to get a freaky Cat Jam one of these nights."). Fortunate to get a rarely heard What's the Use AND NO2, complete with wild band antics! Five stars & all the thumbs up, way up!
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by gphishmon

gphishmon Finally got to listen to this one. I have to say, it's probably the most underrated show on tour, just as the night before may be the most overrated, even by me. Actually, the 2nd quarter this night stands up against its counterpart from the previous night, as does the 3rd quarter. The Disease>Slave>Light>Twist sequence has a lot of really good stuff happening! A long blissful hosiery jam in Disease with a brief key change to E and then back to A. A very strong, standard Slave. Some freaky jamming in Light, followed by a perfect segue to Twist. They lost steam after that, however; even YEM flagged with no Trey solo, just repetitive riffing and the Trey/Mike back to back and playing each other's instruments gag. The 1st quarter lacked the song selection I might have liked, but Undermind, Julius, and 555 were played well. NMIML through Possum have already been discussed and met approval.
, attached to 2015-08-15

Review by dumidiot

dumidiot Just wanted to keep this one short. This could have truly been a 5 star show. Set 1 had all the ingredients (I wish they'd do a set 1 type 2, but that's no biggie). The huge glaring flaw for me is that treys soloing was weak, especially compared to what he's done already on this tour. I really don't care for 46 days as a set 2 song all that much, but what was annoying is while mike, page and fish were throwing out ideas for the jam, trey elected to stay where they were and play with his delay. Peaks weren't happening on that song, and piper was better but not by much. I think it's the ocedoc. Rather than do those lame 2 note repetitious licks, trey had a huge opportunity to shred our faces of. He was improving all first set and antelope was the high point. After that his guitar work felt lazy. Overall good show but I can't give it a 5 star when I know trey can do better, because he did last week
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