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:

    Madison, please.

  2. Andrew Says:

    Catching up on the rumored fall dates – if 10/17 ends up being Greensboro I’m game on hosting the meetup at my place, room for tents in the yard if need be. I’ve been feeling a return to GSO lately, would be so dope!

  3. Kurt Says:

    So anyone seen those “fall dates” posted on phish.com under the fresh bait download?

  4. Gavinsdad Says:

    Sorry to hijack but yo @AJ…I’d been meaning to ask u….I’ve been a fan of Stephen Mitchells translation of the Tao Te Ching. It spoke to me. I’ve kept it bedside for many years…thing is, I haven’t necessarily found many other Taoist, or Taoist inspired titles to read…most stuff in that section is academic, or like chuang tzu…still very stiff. I’d like to get more Taoist practice going in my life as it’s the stuff that resonates with me the most…any idea where I might be able to look next??

  5. phoammhead Says:

    I see that @Kurt, but doesn’t seem to be in line with the other rumors – don’t think it is the official announcement – although confusing, for sure . . . . i think someone is having a little fun or is wishing for those . . .

  6. Kurt Says:

    yea im thinking its probably just a comment left by some hopeful, but i was pretty startled when i first saw it, figured id run it by this group for any type of (non)confirmation

  7. phoammhead Says:

    yeah – kinda clever with the title of Fall Tour 😉

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    Hey GD, thanks for asking

    Not much in the Taoist/Daoist cannon. It is mostly an oral tradition and there are lots of more religious/esoteric texts in China, but that is not really the fun part of Daoism.

    One that I would highly rec is the Hua Hu Jing/ Hua Hu Ching, which is also attributed to Lao Zi. It is short like the Dao de Jing and pretty profound.


    I am a huge Zhuangzi/ Chuangzi fan, and dont find it scholarly at all. In fact, he is meant to be the prankster in the bunch and I often think of him as the Maitreya Buddha (the fat drunk buddha) of the Daoist gang… always up for it.

    Let me know if you check out the Hua, it is pretty good.

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    PS. flattered you asked

  10. angryjoggerz Says:

    Oct 5, 6, 7 – South Point Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
    Oct 8 – Austin City Limits – Austin, TX
    Oct 12 – Les Schwab Amphitheater – Bend, Oregon
    Oct 13 – McDonald Theater – Eugene, Oregon
    Oct 14, 15, 16 – The Gorge Amphitheater – George, WA
    Oct 18 – The Top Hat – Missoula, MT
    Oct 31 – Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA

    ^ fake dates in question

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    Also, GD, there are not many Daoist centers in the USA, and in China it is much smaller and less organized than Buddhism these days. The battle between Buddhism and Daoism was well waged and Buddhism really won in the end with the evolution of Chan/Zen Buddhism, which took alot of the indigenous Daoist views and incorporated them into Buddhism. Chinese philosophy has a marvelous way of adapting to new ideas and incorporating things (this is what I wrote my undergrad thesis on). Both Chan Buddhism and Daoism are sort of seen as intellectual and obscure in China these days, but it is there, particularly away from the temples and into the mountains. I have had some great conversations with monks there about “where the real buddhists are” .. .and they often just point to the hills. Cool stuff.

  12. Gavinsdad Says:

    @AJ – will order tonite and thank you very much. In the past I did some lightweight sitting at a Tibetan Buddhist spot in S. Fla but I always dug the Taoist thought more. It’s not like I can find a place in Philly to practice the way…unless it’s the wachovia center…thx again.

  13. hossmaster Says:

    free summer tracks on livephish

  14. Absher Says:

    Listing to Live Bait right now. Looks like some good pics

  15. Frycanthropist Says:

    also listening to Live Bait..

    really diggin the flow of this little compilation.

    Nice bonus jam from Caspian prior to the Tweezer.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Rumors only fuel themselves until the offical dates drop.

  17. sumodie 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

    I used to say something similar till I popped in the Clifford Ball on my large TV with surround sound -WOW- after that I snapped up all the official releases

    Otherwise I do stay away from all unofficial videos (my obsession is big enough, no thanx to this site 8), and yeah, my phish vids will sit around for quite awhile, but from now on I’ll eagerly await any official new releases

    That Clifford Ball box set is worth every penny, and so is the IT dvd in spite of its flaws

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    GD, in case you are interested:


  19. kayatosh Says:

    @smodie: forgot they released clifford ball on dvd. gotta grab that one at some point.. My only phish festival.

  20. joe Says:

    speaking of releases. are they planning on releasing the 3d movie on dvd in some form?

  21. Absher Says:

    This Live Bait almost sounds like a matrix mix. Anyone know?

  22. fee4zy Says:

    I’m torn. I would love to see Phish this fall. The only shows I think I can make are the Halloween shows. I would first have to get tickets. Then get plane tickets for me and my two girls. Then fly to NJ and drop off kids with my mom for the weekend. Then drive down to AC for the shows. But the real question is if I even should do this since I missed last Halloween with my girls for Fest8. Even though the CO shows are closer, I couldn’t get away with ditching the kids. This would cost me like $1400 for three shows. I don’t know.

  23. halcyon Says:


    Lets meet up at some point. I am in the mtns, but hit the front range frequently.

    you can hit me up at s m dot wander at gee mail

  24. halcyon Says:


    Broomfield is only 7 hours away, or 1.5 hr flight .. in and out for at least one show

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @aj, I ordered that book a week ago, should be here any day, looking forward to it

    if you love the Tao Te Ching and haven’t read Ursula LeGuin’s translation (done with a professor of Chinese I knew growing up, oddly), I recommend it as a unique and highly poetic take on the text:

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