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. Jeffiem Says:

    Dear Phish: Please do not play in Virginia while I am in Colorado for Thanksgiving. That would not make this Hokie happy.
    Or maybe just necessitate a Charleston>Greensboro/Asheville (fingers crossed) run.

    But really. I liked the October 22 date so much better than the Novemeber 22.
    I never thought that I’d be pissed to go to Colorado.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    I mean, he’s not down with the Live Evil style Miles, or Tibetan monk chanting, but plenty of adults agree with him on those

  3. halcyon Says:

    Dan Zanes and Friends features all sorts of good family friendly songs. Many albums feature influences from all over the world too.

  4. El Duderino Says:

    Charleston, SC. > Asheville would be really nice and super convenient

  5. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    As a child I never liked “kids music” and my favorite album was Appetite for Destruction, which my mom had on cassette and played in the car all the time. There are curse words on that album, as you know, but as a child I didn’t know what they meant, or even that they were words. I would sing along to “You’re Crazy” as “You’re walkin crazy”. I did have cover/tape sleeve with drawings taken away from me though.

  6. butter Says:

    love the avatar @C

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Added another night to my AC hotel reservation. Gonna be bittersweet leaving that dump prior to the actual Halloween show, but at least there will be 2 show preceding halloween. Don’t see myself hitting anything else this fall. 🙁

  8. El Duderino Says:

    @ Ramblin’

    How Old are you? 17?

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    FWIW the documentary “Grateful Dawg” has absolutely priceless footage of them performing Jenny Jenkins, one of the funniest songs on the album. Really hilarious. Can’t find it online tho…

  10. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Also re: kids music – Jack Johnson did the Curious George soundtrack (or at least did songs inspired by the movie) with guest appearances from G. Love and Ben Harper. I’ve never heard it and I’m sure it’s not great, but it probably won’t make you want to kill yourself like Raffi style kid stuff

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah back to the old standby @butter

    core identity never changes

  12. El Duderino Says:

    @ Palmer

    Slow and steady wins the race

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    second the Dan Zanes rec strongly

    real music for kids that will not make parents want to rip their ears off

  14. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @Dude – I’m 25.

    Makes sense. My two albums as a kid were Appetite for Destruction and Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever, both late 80’s releases.

  15. Bandito Says:

    My earliest musical memories from childhood are “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Yellow Submarine”.

    And the “We Are The World” album (EPIC!)

  16. El Duderino Says:

    Grateful Dog has to be the best Jer related comercial release ever.

    When he’s at David’s and everyone is outa the room and Jer is staring out the window…. I practically broke down.

    I miss that mother fucker

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that Jack Johnson Curious George album is a solid kids album, complete with an altered take on “Three is the Magic Number”
    nothing earth shattering, but there are far worse, far more annoying kids’ albums out there.

  18. El Duderino Says:

    knew every Garcia lick on that NFKO album…

  19. El Duderino Says:

    Think of it like this for sec…

    Jer died at 53

    Trey is 47

    Way too young…

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s definitely the only video I’ve ever seen where you get any sense at all what he was like as a person.

    ===== my childhood soundtrack
    from my mom:
    Beatles (early on, mom stopped playing them pretty early)
    Nick Drake
    John Fahey
    Bob Dylan (folky stuff)
    Beethoven symphonies and piano pieces

    from her friends:
    Old & In The Way (I remember when this album came out, it had a huge impact on the grownup social scene esp. musicians)
    Will The Circle Be Unbroken
    Warren Zevon
    Jackson Browne
    Bonnie Raitt
    more Dylan

  21. Selector J Says:

    re: kids music
    Maybe someone’s already mentioned this but… Have you guys checked this stuff out from rockabye baby?
    My friend bought me the Marley one as a gift when we had our first.
    Lullabye versions of all kinds of crazy stuff Radiohead, GnR, AC/DC, you name it.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    The schoolhouse rock soundtrack ain’t bad.

    the DVD is $$$$$

  23. whole tour! Says:

    no dogs allowed in the subway today….

    you heard it here first: “No dogs allowed” tour opener.

  24. fromthetub Says:

    @Silly, Tela – I went to Miami in Oxford, OH

  25. kenny powers Says:

    damn i just realized i burned Grateful Dawg years ago and haven’t actually watched it. Will have to dust that off and give ‘er a spin!

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