And It Was Alright…

5.28.11 (Chris Klein)

And then on Friday, Phish became Phish again. Combining all the elements that make them the greatest band on the planet, the guys threw down a tour-defining performance that left their week of quasi-mediocrity as a perplexing stumble in the summer of 2011. Somehow, last night Trey was able to let go and join in the collective glory that emerges when a four-minded patience allows greatness to develop. No jams were cut off, they were, instead, played with utmost creativity through their natural endings. And in Charlotte, instead of tearing through a setlist, Trey’s patience allowed the music—and show—to breathe and his band to explore, and lo and behold, one of the most cohesive, complete and brilliant shows of this era resulted.

Official Charlotte Print (Methane)

Sculpting a stratospheric journey by combining “Rock and and Roll” and “Ghost,” the band threw down enrapturing, top-shelf jamming of the likes that we haven’t seen since Detroit. To describe this profound excursion with metaphors and imagery would be to cheapen its absolutely impeccable nature. This is one of those nights I’m gonna let the music do the talking; grab a set of headphones and kick back. Embarking on “Rock and Roll’s” jam with an exploratory intent, the band departed from structure early and would up in a stunning four-piece conversation in which Trey was clearly listening and responding to Mike and Page, as the three engaged in a subconscious exchange—with Fishman—that blossomed into pure and unadulterated Phish. Moving through several stages of jamming, the band continued to delve deeper into the source, taking the audience to that magical place that we quest for with so much of our hearts and souls. And when the enchanting ride finally settled into an ambient plane, as if scripted, the band moved into the second “Ghost” of tour.

6.12.11 (B.Ferguson)

Monumental. Bliss. Perfection. Any of these words could be used to describe the music contained within last night’s “Ghost.” Just listen. Honestly. Just listen. This is the type of cathartic mastery that drove us down this crazy road to begin with. Making the hallowed MSG version look rather tame, last night brought the song to a whole ‘nother level in a defining performance of this era. The refined communication on display throughout was staggering, and the band sculpted a jam, that when combined with “Rock and Roll,” formed an mind-bending odyssey to be reckoned with. Just listen.

But that wasn’t all the band hand to offer after setbreak. Gone were the speedbumps that have plagued second sets of late—this frame flowed like liquid. Resolving the next-level improvisation with, “Free.” Perhaps, the move of the night came next when the band followed up “Free” with “Reba!” I’ve been talking about getting “Reba” into the second set all tour, and last night it happened in the biggest way. As tapped in as they were last night, placing “Reba” squarely in the second set was a shrewd and dreamlike decision. Focusing their passion and precision on the soulful groove, the band crafted a pristine version that felt like everyone was surfing the same wave through the universe; pure magic. Within the context of the-whole band conversation, Trey unleashed a series of leads that pulled at one’s heart while meticulously directing a phenomenal exchange. Things felt real again. Very real.

6.12.11 (B.Ferguson)

And then, as the band brought the stellar piece to a crescendo, they didn’t move into the song’s whistling ending, they moved into “Icculus.” It felt as though the band’s virtuosic playing had awakened the god of Gamehendge, as a spiritual quality laced the band’s improv all night long. While Trey—in a comically intense rant—reminded his audience to “Read the fucking book!” it felt as though he was reminding himself of what this is all about while still reeling from the extraordinary ride. In a powerful moment that was, simultaneously, fused with comedy, the band had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, and the spirit of Phishiness was alive again.

Continuing this Phishy trend, out came Fishman for his first spotlight schtick of this tour— and it all flowed perfectly. Performing Syd Barret’s “Bike,” everyone was in the moment and having a blast—both onstage and in the crowd. It was just one of those special nights. Following Fish’s interlude with an engaging and intricate “Chalk Dust,” anything the band touched turned to gold at this point. And there was only one way finalize this evening: “You Enjoy Myself.” Taken off the shelf for only the third time this summer, the band punctuated the show with the seminal classic. It was just one of those nights.

6.5.11 (M.Stein)

And the show had something going from the get go. Instead of plucking a sign for a bustout to start the first set, Trey pulled up a piece of cardboard that read “Mike’s House.” And just like that, Phish launched into a show-opening “Mike’s Groove,” starting the night on the right foot. After a string of old-school singles, the band dusted off the Gamehendge pairing “Forbin’s > Mockingbird” for the first time in almost a year, navigating the old-school composition with precision. A swanky “Wolfman’s” that carried a serious collaborative groove provided another first set sign pointing towards a heavy-handed second half.

Combining to-die-for jamming, Gamehendge lore, tight compositions, and a stellar song selection, Phish came out and destroyed Charlotte last night, a refreshing breakout that needed to happen. With a peak-experience through and through, the band kick-started their final three shows of June in the biggest way possible, thank the Lord. And thank you, Phish, from the bottom of my heart.

I: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Bouncing Around the Room, NICU, Sample in a Jar, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Axilla, Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Rock and Roll > Ghost > Free, Reba > Icculus, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself

E: Wilson > Loving Cup

670 Responses to “And It Was Alright…”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    “thats what it must feel like to have your brain operated on by aliens while your awake”

    ^^^ quote of the tour easily

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    Jane’s Addiction – Lollapalooza ’91

    nice clean sbds.

    7-23-91 Irvine Meadows
    Up the Beach
    Standing in the Shower
    Ain’t No Right
    Three Days
    Been Caught Stealing
    Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey (w/Ice-T)
    Ted, Just Admit It
    Of Course
    Mountain Song
    Ocean Size
    Classic Girl

    7-24-91 Irvine Meadows
    No One’s Leaving
    Ain’t No Right
    Three Days
    Been Caught Stealing
    Had a Dad
    Trip Away
    Ted’s Just Admit It
    Of Course
    Mountain Song
    Summertime Rolls
    Ocean Size
    Jane Says
    Chip Away

    bonus tracks – the songs from some live official release thing that don’t repeat the above stuff
    Slow Divers
    Pigs in Zen
    I Would For You
    Rock & Roll (yes that R&R)
    Sympathy for the Devil

    and finally just a little of the not as cool, but underrated

    Porno for Pyros 12-12-93
    100 Ways
    Cook the Rice
    My Time

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    ‘Ted’s Just Admit It’ lol

  4. sumodie Says:

    leo, just cracked an olde hickory ruby lager from cm!

    hope that split was ok for ya

    safe travels home

  5. Guyute711 Says:

    Check yo self fools weak sauce.

  6. sumodie Says:

    word to that, mr c

    we were talkin about dantes inferno and the descending levels of hell

    but butter’s description just nails it

    cant wait for the replay…

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    in 1991 Jane’s was my favorite band whose name didn’t rhyme with ‘hateful bread’

  8. leo weaver Says:

    Butter’s description nailed it perfectly. And I gladly handed over my head for examination. A split you chase.

  9. multibeast Says:

    Janes. What an out there tune to hear. Reppin the AV 98 so it was wild to hear iit again. Split…first tube. Shoosh.

  10. Corey Says:

    Best vacuum solo in a long while, easily. “What the fuck were the words to that song?”

  11. multibeast Says:

    Best band in the world.

  12. multibeast Says:

    Got that blissed out feelin on the ride back to the crash pad that only happens after a PHISH show.

  13. sumodie Says:

    been caught stealing blew the place up

    srsly impressed w/ that one

    our section tonight was just as ominously demented as the set 2 setlist

    i was a freakin aggro death machine dancer to hold the mobs back from our OCCUPIED row during been caught & piper

    ushers were mad at attention all nite

    and the unruly tweakers were relentless

    was a perfect match with the show

  14. multibeast Says:

    My row was the same. Got stubbed down tot the pit and it was relatively calm.

    The janes with the vocal tweak was sooo sick. I was fired up.

  15. sumodie Says:

    before the show in the lots, as soon as holgerdansk & i parked,


    these two dudes were nailed by undercovers (btw, raleigh undercovers have it dialed in tight, fuckers, just like at my last show here in 98)

    saw a few other busts too

    flashforward to the deliciously EVIL my friend my friend….

    this dude, who lives near me in MA, and whom ive only met in airports flyin to phish shows, just so happens to be sittin across the aisle from me (we chatted at setbreak, tho not about narcs)

    anyways, right at the mfmf intro, this dude strolls over & whispers that this guy to my left is an undercover cop

    suffice to say, this spunion got totally hosed, took me the whole song to realize he was just messin with my head

    the whole day was filled with weird little synchronistic moments like that

    only at phish….

  16. sumodie Says:

    also knew wed get possum tonite

    passed a truck on the highway that read ‘possum scrap metal co.’ w/ licence plate that read ‘opossum’

    i said thank christ when it dropped in set1

    then proceeded to lap up every minute of it (hey, it rocked, so sue me)

  17. Corey Says:

    @sumodie, sounds like Sabotage at mpp98. What I heard sounded great.
    But I didn’t hear BCStealing last night…

    As we get to the last of leg I, I’m thinking about the most inspired pieces since the return to the stage. Like the top five excursions since Hampton.
    That Augusta Reba is one of the most organic, deep…never heard anything like it before or since. Have to say the Greek Simple would be there too. Reba’s also in the running for best ever encore, me thinks.

    Thoughts? RandRs from Mansfield and/or Charlotte perhaps?

    Back to Augusta Reba…at 10:10 11:11 12:12 13:13 14:14 they take you to some hip spots. Real deep spots, like abyss deep. This incredible journey is dripping with evident listening skills and deft on a dime twists.

  18. Corey Says:

    ^deft, on a dime twists…

  19. sumodie Says:

    augusta reba remains my fav 3.0 version, tho its not a regular style reba ala charlottes transcendant version

  20. sumodie Says:

    dont sleep on tonites incendiary 46 days

    and yes, halleys was in fact taken out for another lil spin tonite

  21. sumodie Says:

    ok, gotta go, the aliens have returned to perform some more surgery

    seems my brain is uniquely twisted & needs more work

  22. Al Says:

    Well, checked the setlist….
    Is that really a second set?

  23. Admiral Ackbar Says:


  24. sanchothehutt Says:

    LOL Ackbar!!!

  25. Fly Says:


Leave a Reply