Leg Two: First Impressions

The Greek Theatre - 8.5.10 (Wendy Rogell)

A year and a half after hitting the stage at Hampton Coliseum on March 6, 2009, the band we know and love has returned to glory. After a triumphant second leg of summer tour that saw Fishman and Trey fully enter the zone again, Phish is once again firing on all cylinders. No longer is Mike just dropping bombs, or Trey shredding solos – a whole-band ethos has emerged in which the best live moments materialize when no single person is dominating at all. Over two weeks in August, the band displayed a new patient prowess, something we hadn’t seen thus far in this era, allowing jams to organically breathe and collectively build. This type of playing had been foreshadowed at times last year, but with their listening skills and chops fully in tow, Phish 2010 is shining brighter now and ready for the future.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

Not only did Phish improvise better than on any other tour since their return, all parts of their game were considerably honed. Compositions popped with accuracy, transitions often happened seamlessly, jams weren’t cut off due to impatience or lack of direction; over Leg II, we undoubtedly witnessed the next step in the re-evolution of Phish. Armed with an aurally-stunning, magic guitar (a topic for another day) and a desire to mesh with the band’s musical fabric, Trey has let his rock-star persona slide in favor of a more intricate and collaborative improvisational style. The wailing solos were not as prevalent as Red darted and dashed around Mike’s lead bass lines, while, simultaneously, toying with Fishman’s rhythms. A selfless jamming emerged from the entire band, and it was this dynamic that formed the countless stellar jams from The Greek to Jones Beach.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

Jon Fishman had – by far – his best tour since the comeback, adding a whole ‘nother dynamic to Phish’s playing, while lighting a fire under Trey. Adhering far more to to his college philosophy of “never playing the same beat twice in a row,” the diversity and power of Fishman’s rhythmic offerings created a defining element of the band’s newest musical style. Debuted in The Greek’s “Disease” and furthered in the the next night’s “Rock and Roll,” Phish quickly introduced an original type of playing – a faster ambient music – that Fish framed with driving, yet delicate rhythms. Exploring this style throughout the tour, Mike, Trey and Page often collaborated in melodic experiments over his ever-changing beats, bringing a new facet of jamming to their expanding game.

Page’s piano figured predominantly in many maniacal jams, often bringing a retro feel to forward-looking pieces, while his use of the Rhodes was slicker than as ever, comping Trey’s minimalist sections perfectly. Mike Gordon, the man who has been there all along, continued his sonic dominance, leading and co-leading jams with masterfully unorthodox ideas. Throughout the Second Leg,  Gordeaux’s ideas often spawned the most surreal segments of improv, as others were quick to follow his lead. But the most beautiful aspect of August was that all his band members finally caught up to him; most particularly, Big Ern. Learning a more cooperative way to play together, Trey and Mike can now legitimately be called the co-leaders of Phish. And with Trey’s new guitar boasting a much fuller sound, their tones work together like peanut butter and jelly.

The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

Aside from personal progressions over the past two weeks, Phish was consistently greater than the sum of their parts – as they always have always been during their best eras. By the time Alpine and Jones Beach rolled around, that subconscious flow had returned to the band’s music, jams, sets, and shows. Gelling on another level during Alpine’s opening night, and carrying this momentum through the end of tour, Phish proved they are a “force of nature” once again; a musical tsunami that can crush you at any time. With proficiency no longer a hindrance to creativity, Phish’s unbridled enthusiasm and success over the past two weeks point to another peak era on the horizon. With a rediscovered intent and a will to explore, look out come fall tour and beyond…Phish 2012…I like the sound of that.


Jam of the Day:

Cities > Moma” 8.6.10 I

A monumental exchange of energy between Phish and their crowd, this outlandish groove-fest set the tone for the rest of tour.




8.6.2010 The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA < Torrent

8.6.2010 The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA < Megaupload

8.6.10 Pollock

A smoking two-set effort on the second night of tour with tour-highlights in “Cities” and “Simple.” But don’t sleep on “Rock and Roll,” another example of Phish’s newest improvisational style.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guyute, Ocelot, It’s Ice, Cities > The Moma Dance, Bathtub Gin, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Rock and Roll > Ghost > Mike’s Song > Simple > Backwards Down the Number Line, Show of Life, Seven Below > Weekapaug Groove, You Enjoy Myself

E: Good Times Bad Times

Source: Schoeps mk22> KC5> CMC6xt> EAA PSP-2 + Schoeps mk4v> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (@24bit/48kHz) (Taper – ctaylor)

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729 Responses to “Leg Two: First Impressions”

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  1. bigjig Says:

    musical tsunami- I might have to start using that one. First biatches!!

  2. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    glad the boys are finally back!
    for me the seccond set of dc1 still reigns supreme as a whole flow set
    although many other highlight jams from different shows surpass the jams
    in this set, but something about the new found flow was amazing
    and the set list is very 1.0….. pretty dope

  3. Matso Says:

    Red was certainly still collaborative, but he also wasn’t afraid to lead jams in a way that he didn’t do as much in Leg 1. Listen to the JB Timber, for example. A few weeks earlier, Trey’s modus operandi during a jam like that would have been to craft his solo as an on-going response to Mike and Page’s ideas (with the drawn out whale-tones giving him the breathing space to do that), but on this one, it’s Page and Mike that need to keep up with Trey (and they’re often beaten to the punch by Fish, who seems to have rediscovered his own mindmeld with Trey).

  4. El Duderino Says:

    It’s almost as if Trey were bi-polar when looking back at both legs…

  5. jdub Says:

    They are only going to get better which is scary considering how good this leg was. Fall tour should be one for the ages. Only one month off, indoor intensity, and a good amount of shows to pick up momentum means watch out for the juggernaut.

  6. BeantownBoy Says:


    Thanks for a quality synopsis of Leg 2.

    Hopefully we’ll get some confirmed tour dates for Fall tour in the next few days. But those dates that you posted over the weekend look mighty nice to this New Englandah.

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    excellent piece this morning miner!

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    No expectations.

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    Watcheed Shutter Island last night and it was a pretty good flick. My recomendation to anybody who wants to watch it is don’t do it right before bed or you will be dreaming about being insane all night long.

  10. punkmug Says:

    Great write up Miner. That Cities still gives me the shivers.

  11. sumodie Says:

    @Miner: Nice write-up! Thanks for the great pH analysis this summer.

  12. tela'smuff Says:

    hey butter, if you read this, shoot me an email. funkybch @ gmail

  13. kenny powers Says:

    man, i might have to go buy one of those Western Digital HD media players right now. there’s an HD video of JB1 on Trader’s Den and the screen shots are mouth-watering!

  14. BeantownBoy Says:

    In regards to the rumored Amherst dates does anyone have a good hotel recommendation for the area?

  15. kenny powers Says:

    Amherst??? that would be sweet! i’m so late to the game…anyone point me in the direction of the latest rumored dates?

  16. bodi Says:

    I have to say Mr. Miner your writing has kept pace with the transformation of the band as well, ever more concise, cohesive and creative. Bravo mate!

  17. dognamedwilson Says:

    @kp, from Miner yesterday:

    I know these are also on the green board, but they were passed to me from a “reliable source”…seems like they’d fill in some off days in there…
    October 8: Austin City Limits – Austin, TX
    October 10 – 12: 1st Bank Center – Bloomfield, CO
    October 15 – 16: North Charleston Coliseum – N. Charleston, SC
    October 19: Augusta Civic Center – Augusta, ME
    October 20: Utica Memorial Auditorium – Utica, NY
    October 22: Dunkin Donuts Center – Providence, RI
    October 23 – 24: Mullins Center – Amherst, MA
    October 26: Verizon Wireless Arena – Manchester, NH
    October 29 – 31: Boardwalk Hall – Atlantic City, NJ

  18. Guyute711 Says:

    Utica sure seems like an oddball place for them to play.

  19. sumodie Says:

    Amherst, MA motels/hotels:

    2 are within walking distance:

    -UMass Hotel (on campus) -perfectly acceptable, though I’m not sure I’d stay here after a show, but super close to venue

    -University Lodge – super small, not fancy, but can walk to either Mullins Center or downtown UMass -this would my choice ‘cept I live here

    Cluster of 4 hotels in Hadley (~2 miles from venue): Marriott, Howard Johnson’s, Holiday Inn, and just down Rt 9, the Econo Lodge

    All the above, except the UMass Hotel, here:


    For a more sophisticated urban environment w/ more restaurants/bars, check out lodging in Northampton, MA -only 10 miles away down Rt 9

  20. sumodie Says:

    As quite often happens here, yesterday’s tension point of discussion evolved into some great commentary from several BBers – it even brought some lurkers out

    I’m more than ready for some Ocedoc Jam in Amherst, MA – lots of it!

  21. InAMinute Says:

    It’s amazing these guys have already played about 15 more shows, in four fewer months than post-hiatus Phish. So much for taking it easier.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Do any of you parents have any good kids music in your mediafires? I am uploading a bunch of kids music that doesn’t make me want to kill myself into a new folder to share with a bunch of my buddies who are or will be new dads soon, and I would love to have more to add. I will share the link for bb parents when it is getting complete.

  23. lastwaltzer Says:


    I don’t have a mediafire account but if I have time later I can upload

    The Point- Harry Nillison, this is a great one for small kids, funny story, good music, good message.

    and of course I’m sure you already have

    Not For Kids Only- garcia Grisman (there may be lobsters on some of you mobsters but there ain’t no lobsters on me!)

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    and I don’t have kids 😉

  25. b-rock Says:

    AJ — I’d take you up on that… I don’t have a mediafire but might create one. I have several of the Rockabye Baby albums that I use for putting the little one to sleep.

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