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. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


  2. garretc Says:


    Nice, pulling that STTA show now, I’m intrigued by two sets of improv!


    Thanks for grabbing that New York show too, also intriguing…

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Thanks t3. I wish it was the REM tune. 😉

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    that show does not count for stats purposes kfl!!

  5. KfL Says:

    its still sick though df. uploading both stand>izabella’s to my mediafire. custy drive ftw

  6. thedayman Says:

    i need to start filling my hard drive, ive been putting that off for far too long. plus itll encourage me to start dling even more muziq which is always a win.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I took a week off of downloading. I need to listen to some of this stuff. I have to make myself.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Best Jibboo of 3.0?

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @palmer, i’d say either 12/29/09 or AC

  10. KfL Says:

    stand>izabella from 6-6 and 6-13-97

    haven’t listened to 6-13 yet but 6-6 is sick. play it loud

  11. KfL Says:

    click the link palmer, you won’t regret it 😉

  12. KfL Says:

    its only 4 songs, that doesn’t count against your dl break

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    1/1/11 Jibboo was nice also.

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    yeah, that 12.29.09 was the bizness. good call. forgot that one.

  15. thedayman Says:

    i was just gonna pimp 1/1/11 palmer, just listened to it today. although the 10/31 jibboo is pretty tasty too. trey just cannot stop jibbooin’ in that one.

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    11111 had a sick first set, i forgot about that

  17. KfL Says:

    i forget people can just go to the spreadsheet for this shit

    oh well. would love to see the return of stand>izabella at bethel

  18. Gavinsdad Says:

    Jibboo got the freshen up in ’10

  19. Gavinsdad Says:

    ^word DF and the Inspired div sky.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Jibboo, Reba, Walls… that was some hard core boogieing(sp) music. Actually, Jibboo thru Bowie on 1/1 was a non stop dance party.

    Round Room was even a nice surprise in that 1st set. That tune can get a bit trippy.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    fucking loved that divided sky, tube was my fav of that set though, dont forget that one

  22. Venus Says:

    Jibboos of 3.0: 7/4/10 is right up there

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    gonna spin that set tomorrow morning

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Bleh. I need to sleep more – legs are like twitching now. Awesome.

    I wish they had jammed on that Round Room 1/1 – that song has potential, and with the kind of Page/Trey interplay in the Tube/Runaway Jim I kind of expected that to go somewhere.

  25. KfL Says:

    damn. the 6-6 is dope. been too long since i’ve spun that.

    went through a family scare today and feeling the love tonight, along with a bit of fresh perspective. can’t wait for bethel (bitches). peace BB.

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