Album Notes - Phish: 2021 Summer Tour that Was

Album Notes - Phish: 2021 Summer Tour that Was

September 17, 2021

Apologies in advance to those of you who don't take interest in the exploratory live offerings of four 50 somethings from Vermont. A little over a month ago we took a look at Phish's 2021 Summer Tour So Far. Given the quality of output and inspired playing that continued to materialize over the remaining shows, following the tour's conclusion I feel compelled to provide one more report. This current year of Phish has been a beast unseen in quite some time. 

While all four members impart their musical wisdom on the band, the direction the quartet takes largely begins and ends with Trey Anastasio. Since their 2009 return, Trey has been, often rightly so, viewed as the castrated, happy rock warrior, for whatever reason frequently lacking the guile to push boundaries that were nonexistent in the band's heyday. 

Whether it was the impact of the pandemic, numerous tours and shows cancelled last minute throughout the summer by fellow musicians, the death of the bassist in his solo band, or something else entirely, a fire was lit under Trey's ginger derrière. Every stop featured multiple highlights (see below for an incomplete list of favorites) that hearkened back to various eras of the band's finer moments. Concert staples were taken to previously unexplored ends. Oft-derided newer material turned heads and led to some of the best jams all summer. A 46-minute "Soul Planet," which to most fans sounds like a punishment, was anything but, and clocks in as the third longest jam in Phishistory. Proper segues returned, frequently bridging decades old tunes with those added more recently to the repertoire. Auditory butter ensued.

2021 will go down as a year of inspired playing for Phish. Whether it stands as a peak or a step to higher ground remains to be seen. Either way, it's great to once again be sharing in the groove.

2021 Summer Tour Highlights:

  • Runaway Jim (7/28/21 – Rogers, AR)
  • Carini (7/30/21 – Pelham, AL)
  • Everything's Right (7/31/21 – Alpharetta, GA)
  • Tweezer-> Twist-> Piper (8/1/21 – Alpharetta, GA)
  • No Men In No Man's Land (8/3/21 – Nashville, TN) 
  • Mr. Completely (8/4/21 – Nashville, TN)
  • Sand (8/6/21 – Noblesville, IN)
  • Simple (8/6/21 – Noblesville, IN)
  • Mike's Song (8/8/21 – Noblesville, IN)
  • Halley's Comet-> Lonely Trip (8/11/21 – Hershey, PA)
  • Ruby Waves (8/11/21 – Hershey, PA)
  • Tweezer> Bathtub Gin (8/13/21 – Atlantic City, NJ)
  • Camel Walk (8/27/21 – George, WA)
  • Soul Planet-> The Final Hurrah (8/31/21 – Mountain View, CA)
  • Cities-> Passing Through (9/1/21 – Mountain View, CA)
  • Tweezer (9/1/21 – Mountain View, CA)
  • Sigma Oasis (9/5/21 – Commerce City, CO)
  • Simple-> Catapult (9/5/21 – Commerce City, CO)