What Might Bethel Bring?

Bethel Woods (smartertravel.com)

Opening a sprawling summer tour on the grounds of the original Woodstock festival, Phish will settle in for three nights in the rural atmosphere before hitting the road. Within three shows, we can be fairly certain some serious stuff will go down. Assuming the band is coming into the summer off of rehearsals—as they did last year, when the first three shows were among the strongest of June—Bethel’s trifecta holds promising possibilities and should kick the summer off in style. Here are some things I feel we may see over the first three nights in New York State.


Bethel 5.29 (Masthay)

New Songs: Phish came back with Joy in 2009, and we haven’t seen too many new songs beyond those on the album thus far. As the band traditionally debuts new material at the beginning of tour, I would imagine we’ll hear some new songs over the nights in Bethel. Before the band’s comeback, Trey and Tom, allegedly, wrote a large group songs, many of which we’ve yet to hear. One of the duo’s efforts—”Pigtail’—popped out on 12/28 in Worcester, and sounded like one of the most promising new pieces from 2010. Hopefully Bethel will bring out more of these unplayed Anastasio/Marshall selections. Summer Tour will provide the band plenty to develop whatever new material, they have in store, hence the beginning of the season is the perfect time to break it out.


A New Jam Vehicle: I would also imagine that we’ll hear a new jam vehicle during the first three nights of tour. “Light” has been the band’s sole cosmic launchpad written in this era, with a jam spouting from “Number Line” here and there. It’s high time that the guys add a new vehicle to their repertoire. Whether this new jam takes the form of a comeback song a la “Scents and Subtle Sounds” or “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing,” an expansion of a current song a la “Stealing Time” or “Pigtail,” or a brand new song we’ve yet to hear, I think Phish is ready to add another springboard into the mix. I know we are all ready to hear one!


12.30.2010 (Graham Lucas)

The Rebirth of “Tweezer”: 2010 was a tough year for “Tweezer,” as the band rarely focused their improvisational energies on the classic song. Producing the most impressive—though still contained—versions at Hartford, Merriweather, Alpharetta and the Greek, the band, subsequently, took the song much farther than any of these instances during the New Year’s Run at MSG. On the 30th, the band used “Tweezer” to push musical boundaries for the first time since Miami (12.29.09) and took the song on its most extensive explorations of the modern era. With a massive summer tour staring them down, I think Phish will get “Tweezer” back into the improvisational mix and, once again, use their seminal springboard to explore new ground again during 2011.


12.31.10 (George Estreich)

More Staccato Jamming: Phish seemed to hit on something during the New Year’s Run, as several of their standout jams featured staccato leads from Trey and, in response, similarly-styled phrasings from his bandmates. A jamming style that coaxes equitable offerings from all band members and has already sculpted some of the best four-part conversations of the era, the band may have just found themselves a direction to explore come Summer Tour in their staccato interplay. This type of improv has already infused a spectrum of standout jams spanning “Harry Hood” to “Sand,” illustrating its versatility—a key to any stylistic focal point. I can only assume the guys, themselves, have noticed some of these same things.


With three nights to settle into Summer Tour before hitting the road to PNC, we will get a mini-preview of what the band has in store for us this summer during their first-ever visit to Bethel Woods. Kicking off tour with three-night stands, though a rarity throughout the band’s career, has become their latest M.O., as this will mark their third consecutive tour to start with such a stand (Broomfield, Greek).  Giving the band members, as well as their audience, a chance to ease into the rigor of the road, a three-night stand is just what the doctor ordered. Whether camping, staying at a rental property in lake country, or simply raging a hotey, Memorial Day weekend will be far more laid back staying in one place. And we are almost there.


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 12.30.10 II

This exploratory version that passes through a staccato segment, hits on two of the day’s themes. Bethel, here we come…

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ph2010-12-30t16.mp3] Tags:

1,008 Responses to “What Might Bethel Bring?”

  1. garretc Says:


    They’re probably saving the really big guns for the retirement money maker show releases

  2. Jtran Says:

    Big Cypress DVD

    fall 2011 or post retirement?

  3. Mr palmer Says:

    I dont buy that. Are they going to make that much less money because they released one or two songs previously from an iconic show?

  4. sumodie Says:

    my brand new 2 TB HD was very hungry -I fed it 60+ GB of GD and it ate all! And here I thought that HDs were about storing & sharing music. At least GD flacs are easy to find

    new SBD tracks are being compiled here:


    and here (though duanebase has yet to add the third one):

    c’mon, it’s free music, what’s to complain about?

  5. marcoesq Says:


    Yes! Thats what I’m saying, I almost think its purposeful like they want to keep the golden jams from us as bait or something! They easily couldve done the MPP ’00 Mango>Jam>Free OR the RnR or the 99 Mikes or Twist

  6. marcoesq Says:


    I’m not saying that they would make less money, all I’m saying is that they’re holding the gems in reserve for a rainy day or something

    They’re free, I get it, thats awesome. But each one they release just seems to be a little off the mark of what they couldve

  7. Jtran Says:

    Does anyone know how that Europe 72 release business model is working for the Dead? Hoping that works well enough that Phish does similar things years down the line.

  8. marcoesq Says:

    Watch, for PNC, if they release the 00 RnR>Drowned or the 99 PYITE>Ghost or Melt>Kung>Jam, I’ll eat my words

    But I bet it’ll be something like Guyute>Simple

  9. Jtran Says:


    You’ve gotta assume these releases are, most likely, just one man’s choices that reflect his bias. (Shapiro)

  10. Mr palmer Says:

    I think people over think these things. It’s one guys, Shapiros, picks. His decisions, his tastes. My 2 cents.

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    MPP ’00 Mango>Jam>Free

    ^ this

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    WOULD LOVE to See this PNV 7.15.99 Melt> Kung> (Abstract Split) Jam

  13. marcoesq Says:

    Sorry, when I’ve been saying “They” I meant Shapiro

    He’s always been pretty spot on for other releases though, Memphis 2001, RC Ghost, etc..

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    scent of a mule from a show noone was at…there’s a winner 😉

  15. sumodie Says:

    new PTBM tix design is indeed very cool…

    …but damn is it hard to tell the difference between the dates using the same design -took me 3 attempts to distinguish between Sunday Bethel and nTelos (also a Sunday show)

  16. marcoesq Says:


    Me too

    I’m out, folks. Gnite

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    both of those have been released marco…these are from summer tours, and i thought from the venues they will be visiting…

    blossom Mike’s 6.20.95?

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    yeah. the tix are cool, but gimme a break with the printing on them, it takes a magnifying glass to figure out what show they are….especially when soaking wet 😉

  19. sumodie Says:

    But each one they release just seems to be a little off the mark of what they couldve

    they could’ve release no SBDs too 😉

    beware the “could shoulds”! (as if I do, lol)

  20. Mike in Austin Says:

    Maybe that’s how I get into my Tuesday Tahoe.

  21. sumodie Says:

    I’m more focused on what should be played at Bethel anyways

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Whats been released, Guyute>Simple? Bc that would be hillarious

  23. Mr palmer Says:

    Probably another ploy to keep kids off whole tours. Confuse the shit out of them. 😉

  24. ThePigSong Says:

    “c’mon, it’s free music, what’s to complain about?” – sumo


    that being said I’ll skip the mule download 🙂

  25. marcoesq Says:


    I see what youre saying, I know those other releases were for radio Bonaroo, just making comparison. I understand these releases, I’m just pointing out I would pick other ones

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