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. Mr.Miner Says:

    personally, all dvd releases sit on the shelf after a week, and stay there…I have a 8 inch high stack of team hoods I generally never watch either. for some reason, watching the band live or on TV isn’t that interesting to me…11.2.96 will be good for a spin or 2 though….

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

    im in longmont, co @absher

  3. Absher Says:

    @The Beasel and all other CO fans…

    I need to meet some fans. I’m sick of not having any friends that like the best band in the galaxy. Anyone feel like meeting up for a beer sometime.
    I’m in between louisville and boulder.

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    theme from the bottom, most improved song on leg 2? harry hood is in contention but there were some other really good hoods before then

  5. Absher Says:


    The other day someone made a comment about how they would fist fight anyone that didn’t like the Greek Hood. I would have his back on that one.

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

    I got nothing but time on my hands since i just moved here recently and
    still dont have a job…so u got it! name the time & place. i also dont know many folks so, im itching to socialize…

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    what does that have to do with anything absher?

  8. Absher Says:

    I just thought it was a funny comment.

  9. Absher Says:

    Beasel –

    Do you play any instruments? I’ll be free to meet up this weekend if you want to have a beer and talk some phish or any music for that matter.

  10. Nagarjuna Says:

    @ramblin – thanks for the scooby link. hilarious that it’s in there and hilarious that someone noticed it.

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

    ya. I play keys and drums. my roommate is a drummer.
    cool. lets plan

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    JB Hood is no slouch. That shit just straight up grabbed me by the collar and dragged me away….to far away place.

  13. Nagarjuna Says:

    @Absher – In between Boulder and Louisville eh? sounds like the beer should come from Avery or Southern Sun…though plenty of other good options too

    I’m in southwest boulder myself and am gang the hang with ya phriendly freaks sometime. need to do our warm ups for the b-field run…

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    welcome back palmer

  15. Nagarjuna Says:

    ^game to hang. oops

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

    word @naga

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    gang the hang yo lol

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

    my addy
    the beasel at gmail dot com

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

    I met up with KWL at Left Hand Brewery. Good Times.
    been planing to meet up w halcy since the Gorge 09…but havnt yet…
    we should do a boulder meet up…

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Funk, Soul, Groove and Grind Vol. 1


    not to be missed…
    also in linkee

  21. Absher Says:

    Beasel – you have mail

  22. Nagarjuna Says:

    Cool @Stupe, I’m totally game. Being an old codger, the family responsibilities occasionally hinder my schedule but nothing that can’t be overcome

    One other note for CO front rangers, are any of you cats heading to NedFest this weekend? nice little line up and ultra chill scene:


  23. Absher Says:

    Nagarjuna –

    The 3 of us should meet up sometime. Southern Sun?

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

    nedfest looks like a cheese fest

  25. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Greetings blackboard. Haven’t posted is a bit. Still wrapping my head around what I witnessed at Greek, DC, and AV. Finally listened to the Jones Beach shows yesterday/today. A couple of thoughts:

    Like Miner (and many on here), I am forever in search of the big open, type II jams. That is what I find most exciting and the reason I keep going. However, the energy displayed at Alpine Valley and what I’m hearing on the Jones Beach tapes is unprecedented. Blow the roof off this motherfucker type vibe. And I like it. A lot. Length of jams becomes irrelevant when locked in the way they were. All of these leg II jams feel “complete” when I listen to them. Nothing aborted or impatient.

    Completely agree with today’s write up about Trey’s improvement being what was missing before this run- and the catalyst for the smoking hotness of this stretch. There were some enormous breakthroughs made at the Greek that seemed to carry over to the rest of Leg II. Alpine was the tits, but you can feel the energy on those Jones Beach shows. Not sure what the consensus is, but I was blown away.


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