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. fee4zy Says:

    Good point. Maybe I could, but my hubby would have to take a morning off to get the kids to school. He’s still pissed that I left the kids with him last Halloween and won’t be too keen on that. But then again I could at least see one show for a lot cheaper than flying to NJ.

  2. halcyon Says:


    115 Rt on Southwest,
    60 for a ticket
    30 for bus to and from airport
    100 hotel
    30 food and drink

    335 total.

  3. fee4zy Says:

    I like your math.

  4. fee4zy Says:

    I also would like to be around for Halloween with the girls. Even though it falls on a Sunday and all the Mormons won’t be giving out treats that night. Can you believe that the Mormons will try to trick or treat on Sat?

  5. Gavinsdad Says:

    C – it’s been awhile but I know you mentioned that ULG translation in the past. Thx for the reminder.

    The BB is a mighty resource.

  6. Gavinsdad Says:

    Think Halcy just got you a taste of Fall feezy…that looks good and gets you home to chill with kids and huz for All Hallows Saturday

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Cool, C. Hope you enjoy it. I have tried to tackle it in Chinese, but shit is obscure as hell and not really in contemporary Chinese. It is amazing how much can be said in so few characters, though. I love Chinese.

  8. fee4zy Says:

    I’m still amazed that you are into Chinese. I’m Chinese, but don’t speak much of it unless I’m with my family. SLC doesn’t have a large Chinese population. I did study in Beijing during college, but have forgotten almost all of it. I can still have a good convo in Chinese with anyone at anytime.

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    Where did you study in Beijing? I did Beida for a year, and lived in Xi’an for 2 years before that.

  10. fee4zy Says:

    I was at Beida too. In the spring of ’03. Was so much fun. Partied like crazy. Hashish from the Muslim market. Beijing beer in 40oz. Dancing at the western hotel clubs. Fun times.

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    I was there in spring 2003 as well! Fall 2002-May 2003. Didnt party much, lived off campus and studied my ass off. Which program were you there with? Hmmm, I wonder if we had classes together. Small world!

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    For those bb;ers who dont know, Beida (Peking University) is the shit. One of the top 2 schools in China, really an honor to go there. Who knew that 2 bb’ers went there. Tongxue!

  13. Andrew Says:

    Cool story along the Chinese lines.

    My grandfather grew up in Shanghai until he was 17. Transposed from Russia when he was a baby. Long story there but in a nutshell – great-grandfather was an ambassador for Tsar Nikolas during the time they were ousted by the Bolsheviks, living in Tehran but he escaped and ended up in a concentration camp in Shanghai. My grandfather made his way to San Francisco via a connection his older sister had with a top-ranking OSS officer (knowing the war was coming), fabricated ID straight into the service (back overseas to translate – underground communications). Unfortunately my grandmother was a child of the Great Depression and during the Red Scare kept his background under lock and key. I’ll never forget the nights he ordered Chinese – the man spoke almost every dialect, and in all around 7 languages. Badass but by the time I was an age to really get into his true essence Alzheimer’s set in and cut off a lot of good story-telling. I’m very fond of Chinese thought and really appreciate the rec’s, thanks!

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    ok now THAT is a serious bit of synchronicity!

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    …and some badass family backstory!

    good stories tonight already

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    Very cool story, Andrew. Thanks for sharing it, very amazing.

  17. fee4zy Says:

    I can’t remember what program I was with. It was through my college in DC. We lived in the “foreign” students dorms and met all kinds of great people from all over the world. I truly loved that about Beida. Partied with Africans, Japanese, Europeans, as well as fellow Americans. I honestly didn’t study as hard as I should have. I relied on my native language to get me through the program without problems. I loved traveling through China. Taking the train with all the people and seeing the country. I’ve seen more of China than my grandmother who was born in Shanghai and lived in China until she was 54!

  18. BTB Says:

    So Crossalope is getting the full DVD treatment, huh?


  19. fee4zy Says:

    I love meeting “whities” who speak Chinese. It is really hard to get those tones down for someone not used to hearing them. Our former Gov of Utah, Huntsman is now the Ambassador to China and he speaks very well.

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    Nice, you lived in the Shaoyuan. I had some classes there. My spoken Chinese was good ( I won the Beida speech contest for my level, whippee), but my reading and writing was non-existent when I go there, so that took a lot of work. Truly an international university. It really paved the way for my career, and I am happy to say that I now run the largest Chinese language program in the USA, which I love. I get back to China 2-3 times a year, but mostly for work. I need to get back and do some real travel again soon. Been to all but 3 provinces, and no Taiwan, but hope to someday.

  21. TreasureReprise Says:

    The lack of any west coast fall dates is a bit disheartening. I guess it’s Broomfield of bust!

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    I know Huntsman fairly well, his Chinese is amazing.

  23. fee4zy Says:

    I was born in Taipei. My family originates from Shanghai, but left when the communists came. I came to the states when I was 4. I would love to hear more about your Chinese program. I’m getting back into teaching soon and even though my teaching has been in social studies, I’ve been thinking about teaching Chinese since it is getting “trendy” in schools. Email me fee4zy@gmail.com

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    I lived in an apt across from the Yuanmingyuan. It was cool cus I was the only foreigner there (until my to be wife came in Jan) so I had to speak Chinese all the time. Had some good Uiyghur friends there too, love those Xinjiang noodles. A family from Xi’an that ran the noodle shop near me sort of adopted me, so it was great to be back with Shaanxi people, dem my peeps.

  25. angryjoggerz Says:

    Will do. Utah is my big competition for Chinese, but their state wide program is still growing, while mine is in one district. 12,000 kids learning Chinese every day! love it. I think there is a huge growth in interest in Chinese, so you should really consider it, if not as an additional endorsement for teaching.

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