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”

  1. angryjoggerz Says:

    I need that Not For Kids Only, do you have it? I really like MMW “Lets Go Everywhere” as well, a BB rec.

  2. plord Says:

    “a faster ambient music”

    ^That’s funny, when “faster ambient” music developed in the electronic music world, we called it “Trance”, an apt description of where the best Phish improv takes me.

    For the sake of the BB, let’s just take any argu^H^H^H^H discussion about the endlessly multiplying subgenres of electronic music, and which one suck most, as written and closed, mmmmkay? 🙂

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    @AJ : That would be grrrr…eat! I used to have “Not for Kids Only”, but no more. I’d also recomend the Sponge Bob Movie Soundtrack. Some real cool shit on there, I’ll try to find it.

  4. SOAM Says:

    Fall tour rumors are what?

  5. plord Says:

    ?? All music is kids music if the lyrics are free from profanity. and even then you make exceptions (Uncle John’s Band, for example).

    If you’re going to stick to category, another vote for _Not for Kids Only_ and a big vote for TMBG _No!_.

    My 7yo boy has a playlist that includes:
    A bunch of Johnny Cash including “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Big River”
    “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
    “Birdland” – Weather Report
    “Peaches En Regalia” (Zappa version)
    “The Distance” – Cake
    “Axel F” – Harold Faltermeyer
    a bunch of Pet Shop Boys songs
    the Red Rocks Tweezer
    “Lover Come Back to Me” – Dead or Alive

    Nothing to complain about there, for me.

  6. halcyon Says:

    Padelimike’s Telluride recording = $$$

  7. jdub Says:

    I will upload these at some point this evening but my kids have really gotten into a couple of Putamayo CDs. One is titled Reggae Arround the world and the other is titled A Latin Dance Party. Both get the youngins and myself dancing around.

  8. Jtran Says:

    I always liked Tom Chapin growing up. Do kids still listen to that?

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    A bunch of what I am uploading are Putamayo cds, which I love. We listen to a lot of jazz and stuff with her as well, but she does respond to kids music. Right now we are loving the Yo Gabba Gabba comp.

  10. halcyon Says:

    Agree with Jdub…Putumayo has a wealth of cool kids cd’s. I can try and upload those some point this week. Our Modem died, and we have no interwebz until we get a new modem.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:


    I’ve got Not For Kids Only, will try and upload it when I get home.

  12. Chuck D Says:

    Phish 2012: Phish Destroys the Universe

  13. jdub Says:

    Great idea AJ, would love to see what you come up with. Also, have you dived into the JB #Line? It is about as close to acid jazz/jungle as Phish gets. Curious to hear your perception of it.

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    Thanks everyone for not laughing at my kids music thing and for also sharing. Those cds can really add up and I think we have probably all bought our share. The more the merrier. I figure each cd equals 24 hours less tv in the future.

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Bitches Brew is about the all time best kid’s music CD

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    Rafi anyone?

  17. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I figure each cd equals 24 hours less tv in the future.”AJ


  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    Jdub, I have not, though I put it on my best of Leg 2 mix based on reviews. Am behind in catching up with JB, too much other new music coming my way these days, but looking forward to it. I still find the Greeks to be overall the most majestic, but perhaps it is tainted by my being there, though I was at AV as well. Good run.

  19. willowed Says:

    These fall dates look lovely but I have a feeling I will only be able to swing AC and possibly R.I. if they play R.I.
    My wofe already wants by balls on a pltter for this little trip I am planning for AC.
    I can see it know.
    Kids: Hey mommy, where’s daddy? I want him to see my halloween costume
    Mommy: Yeah….ummmm…. your daddy is running around AC in a Mango costume with a bunch of his internet friends.
    Kids: Daddy is an asshole right mommy?
    Mommy: He sure is.

  20. Chuck D Says:

    Bitches Brew is about the all time best kid’s music CD

    ^is this a real comment? i LOVE this disc, but… for kids? i mean, the title has “Bitch” in it…

  21. willowed Says:

    My grammar is horrible

  22. Leo Weaver Says:

    But your humor is fantastic @willowed…LLFA

    Morning guys! Hope y’all had a nice weekend and are getting things started on the right foot. The BB made for an interesting read yesterday…guess it really is the post-tour blues – kinda like “Suicide Tuesday” after eating a bunch of X the weekend before.

  23. cotuitkid Says:

    Great write up today Miner. I love how we can talk about this band and how they evolve and change, often for the better. There’s not many bands like that out there.

    Sweet seats for the Crosby, Stills, and Nash show last night at Ravinia (just north of Chicago) fell into my lap last night. Six rows back right in front of Stills. I figured why not? Beats googling for the latest fall date rumors.

    Overall, the show was ok. Every Stills guitar solo was the same, it just seemed like he played louder each time. But the people around me (mostly 50 and 60 somethings/ex-hippies now investment bankers) went insane each time. There was no real improv, but the fact that one of their heroes was right in front of them made them go nuts.

    It made me realize how lucky we are to have a band like Phish. A band that will lay it on the line every night knowing that sometimes they may come up short but will be better off for it in the end.

    I know comparing CSN to Phish is ridiculous, they are completely different. But that’s what I was left with.

    Quick question – Will there ever be an era again where musicians are treated like, and expected to be, leaders? A lot of political banter last night on stage. And the crowd ate it up. They still believe they can change the world. And that’s why they go. For me, when I go to a Phish show I just want to have fun and be blown away. Again, different bands. but I think the question is valid.

    thanks for indulging me.

  24. halcyon Says:

    @ Willowed … so are your typos 😉

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    Funny you brought this up. I was tasked by my oldest’s teacher to send in two discs for the class to listen to during free study time. One smooth, one relaxing.

    I only had one blank CD so the hyrbid plays like a disc of both varieties.

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