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. verno329 Says:

    @Miner I collected the dvd releases and went on an obsessive d/l’ing frenzy of dvd’s for a long time and I don’t often watch them anymore myself but I’ve always found them nice to put on when I have friends over so there is something to both listen to and watch. Works kinda nicely. Plus I’ll also put them on when I’m doing stuff about the apt. Agreed that its not a substitute for seeing them live but I’ve always found them interesting. Particularly ones that have some close ups of the band or their interaction on stage. Gives me something I don’t usually get to watch when I’m at the show.

  2. Nagarjuna Says:

    great @absher. i just emailed the beasel and we can get the ball rolling.

    always game for southern sun.

  3. pabalive Says:

    @Miner – completely agree on DVD’s. I mean these guys are great, but watching them is pretty damn dull. Even when I am at a show, I barely watch. I find that I can’t hear the music properly if my eyes are on them. Its as though I get distracted. So, I am happy close eyes, spin, dance my face off etc rather than look at them. There is really nothing to see other than the world’s ugliest band….probably right? I mean Cactus alone, let alone Red and dumpy Fish not to mention balding Page.

  4. verno329 Says:

    Then again I also have something like 30+ cd books filled with various shows from various artists in various formats. Regular cd’s (which I haven’t listened to in ages), archived shn/flac discs, and videos. I’d rather not think about how much money I’ve spent simply on cd books alone. I need a cheaper hobby 🙁

  5. vegas wolfmans Says:

    My eyes are closed at least 70% of the time at shows. All about the feel. As a result, DVDs don’t light my fire either. CW&I in the theatre was amazing though.

  6. Nagarjuna Says:

    @stupe – definitely a slice of cheese at nedfest but way more than that taboot – kimock, hbr, motet, vince herman crew, etc. But, no, it aint no phish show

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

    i use to like the cheese at one point back in 99-00
    but havnt listened since…
    looks like a fun time…. I would be down just to get out of the house
    depends on funds.

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

    realy like kimock
    not too familiar w rest

  9. Absher Says:


    You can get my email from Stupe

  10. negev79 Says:

    @el dude, not sure if you are still on here at the moment. You mentioned a few pages back about missing Jerry. Your anecdote made me think of one. I assume you’ve seen Festival Express? The part where Rick Danko, Jerry and Janis are messing around on the train, goofing and singing, and Jerry gets all gooey and kisses Janis on the arm and says something like “Janis, I’ve loved you since the day I saw you.”

    Chills. First time I saw it it brought tears to my eyes.

    Video is here, right around the 4:15 mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am-7Caz5l2I&feature=related

  11. Nagarjuna Says:

    nice @negev. that’s a great flick that i should revisit.

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

    havnt received email from u

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

    got it!

  14. plord Says:

    “Ugliest band?” No, as long as there is even a single living member of Aerosmith, no, Phish is not the ugliest band.

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “I need a cheaper hobby”


  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    Festival Express is another classic one to check out. For one thing, if you never really “got” why Janis was such a big deal, that video should sort it right out for you.

    Plus: holy bonus tracks, Batman! Some great, great stuff in the DVD bonus materials. Easy freaking Wind, are you kidding me?!?

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    re: Nedfest

    is Nederland still as….electric as it used to be?

    no, don’t answer that.

    still, the highlights of that festival could be offstage.

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    here’s a sexy little youtube trick that hasn’t really become widely known yet

    you can send someone directly to a time index in a video by forming the link thus:

    (to use @negev’s example from above)

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    (appending the “#t=4m15s” there, perhaps obviously, or not)

    laters y’all

    keep it greasy

  20. Nagarjuna Says:

    C – i’m pretty sure you would still…um…love ned. special place. on the edge of the wilderness in many ways…

  21. El Duderino Says:

    @ Df

    I have that Fillmore West ’69 Box set!

    I think I sent one show to Miner in that spindle I made him me thinks

  22. verno329 Says:

    @DF places like demonoid and bt.etree and Traders Den are exactly why I need a cheaper hobby

  23. gavinsdad Says:

    how is Ward doin Nagar? That was a little more driving but more, um, reward, so to speak.

  24. El Duderino Says:

    Just think if you didn’t have access to demonoid verno329????

  25. gavinsdad Says:

    sheriff of ward used to blaze with the townies back in 89/90.

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