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)

Tags: ,

729 Responses to “Leg Two: First Impressions”

  1. kenny powers Says:

    @ tela

    i’ve never seen one of those in action but going off the specs, you’re gonna want to figure out how to get some Phish videos on there – the screen is enormous!

  2. kenny powers Says:

    for a phone, that is…

  3. angryjoggerz Says:

    doh – 1.5 hour drive? Amherst is not for the rolling luggage tour crew.

  4. KWL Says:

    the single song most played in 3.0?

    no cheating

  5. angryjoggerz Says:


  6. BeantownBoy Says:

    All Amherst hotels have 1) jacked up their rates; 2) instituted a 2-night minimum policy.

    Whose got some floor space just for Saturday night?

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  8. bwana Says:


  9. fat bastard Says:


  10. b-rock Says:


  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    dark star?

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  13. Guyute711 Says:


  14. Robear Says:


  15. Mr. Completely Says:


    oh, by phish!


  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    eh….I’ll go Possum…that’s the most relentless seeming one

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    haha, yes it is

  18. Guyute711 Says:

    nobody is right?

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    gotta be possum.
    or maybe BDT#L
    or Hood.
    but yeah, definitely possum.
    or not.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    lots of YEMs, Mike’s Grooves, Ocelots, Antelopes, and Numberlines, too. Those are the ones that seem to just keep coming….

  21. mr. murph Says:

    I’ll go with yem

  22. Guyute711 Says:

    Antelope is a strong possibility

  23. Patterson Says:


  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    wouldn’t surprise me if it was a tied between a few, but hte way @kwl phrased the question makes me doubt that…

  25. KWL Says:

    Total Times Played
    Possum – 27 (34%)
    Down with Disease – 25 (31%)
    Run Like an Antelope – 25 (31%)
    You Enjoy Myself – 25 (31%)
    Backwards Down the Number Line – 24 (30%)
    Harry Hood – 24 (30%)
    Chalk Dust Torture – 23 (29%)
    Ocelot – 23 (29%)

Leave a Reply