Left In the Now With a Wondrous Glow

8.9.11 - Lake Tahoe (John Crouch)

Phish continued their romp through the Wild West last night in Lake Tahoe with another standout second set, a solid first, and another psychedelic monstrosity for the record books. Following their opening night “Rock and Roll”—a musical journey of instant legend—Phish dove head first into another alternate reality last night in the centerpiece of the show—“Light.” Driven by Mike’s mind-bending bass leads, the band trekked far off the grid in a completely groundbreaking, next-generation piece of Phish. With plenty of other standout music to support this excursion into the unknown, the first night of Tahoe showcased the band’s creative edge, while it making four straight bangers out West for the hottest band on the planet.

Official Tahoe Print (Kelly)

Launching the second set with the upbeat dance grooves of “Jibboo,” the band didn’t take long before dipping into their satchel of sorcery. Thrashing into “Light,” Trey’s atonal soloing set a passionate tone for the jam before the band, collectively, began to move outwards into dark and wide-open adventure. Migrating into a realm of spacey dissonance, the course was set for Mike’s absolute dominance of this jam. As he emerged as the commander-in-chief of “Light’s” psychedelic joyride, Trey laid way back, comping his leads with funk licks, a looped “plinko” sequence, and then a barrage of sonic weirdness. Mike embarked on a personal jihad and his band mates coalesced around him with a spectrum of abstract and eerie accompaniment. Together, the quartet crafted a piece of epic proportions. Reaching completely original realms of the likes Phish has never touched in their career, the band showcased their recent proclivity for jaw-dropping exploration. As Trey and Page focused more on Storage-based psychedelia than any sort of lead playing, the band put a magnifying glass on their newest improvisational style and came up with another absolute masterpiece. The jam only gets nastier as it progresses, and the merging of hard groove and dissonant alien encounters has shot this “Light” to the top of every fan’s Wednesday priority list.

8.8.11 (J.Crouch)

Moving from this exploratory madness into a combination of Phish anthems, “Chalk Dust and Slave,” the band’s creativity spilled directly into these pieces. Taking “Chalk Dust” in a completely original direction, not only did the guys integrate music from the Harry Potter movies (Dixie and Hedwig’s themes), they also moved from the song’s hard rock textures into a delicate and enchanting breakdown. Taking one of the most straightforward songs in the book and crafting a transcendent segue into a mid-set “Slave” is but another example of a band firing on all cylinders. And the “Slave” was magnificent. Whenever Phish places the piece in a central slot, more often than not they deliver a highlight version and last night was no exception. The full-band interplay came to a thrilling guitar-led peak and a high dosage of musical catharsis, thus concluding the meat of the second half.

A token “Free” set the table for a surprise and poignant cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Page took lead vocals while also doing his best Elton impression on the ivories, and Phish notched another classic piece of rock history in their belt. Playing off the song’s reflective and emotional vibe, the band dropped into the first “Harry Hood” of tour. A pristine rendition brought the set home with power but for a seemingly gratuitous “Walls of the Cave” closer that didn’t really jive in context.

8.9.11 (J.Crouch)

Phish’s visit to Tahoe started earlier then usual, as the band came on stage just after 7 pm due to a 10:30 curfew. “Party Time” and “Oh Kee Pa > AC/DC Bag” got the show off to a quick start, but the meat of the first frame began with the mid-set “Punch You in the Eye.” An extended intro had the crowd popping off early as the band tore apart the grooves with added gusto. The bustout of “Meat” bled into a “David Bowie” that ran away with the first half thunder, following Mike’s lead through a delicate rhythmic journey. From there, however, the set petered a bit with a final foursome of “Bouncin,” “Horn,” Water In the Sky,” and “46 Days.”

Driven by “Light’s” improvisational odyssey, however, Phish is now a cool four-for-four in the second half of summer, with each show providing timeless highlights and a couple of them blasting us through portals to the future. Pushing down the doors of new musical galaxies as a matter of practice again, the band is back and—dare I say it— better than ever?

I: Party Time, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag, Mellow Mood, Rift, Punch You In the Eye, Meat, David Bowie, Bouncing Around the Room, Horn, Water in the Sky, 46 Days

II: Gotta Jibboo, Light > Chalk Dust Torture > Slave to the Traffic Light, Free, Rocket Man*, Harry Hood, Walls of the Cave

E: Bug, The Squirming Coil


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1,327 Responses to “Left In the Now With a Wondrous Glow”

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  1. Fly Says:

    Jesus. The Ocedoc sounds fucking readicculus.

  2. bhizzle Says:

    So how was the venue? Should The Phish return?

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    I’m just waking up on the couch in the Custy Crib West

    Following tradition, I got so baked hanging out with BBers that I could barely talk last night in the house after the show

    Last night was really really fun. Light was awesome.

    Sound is really good in the venue, but the venue is kinda weird. You can’t really see the mountains and you’re on this big concrete slab in the heart of parasdise.

    But Tahoe is gorgeous. Definitely a cool place to have a run.

  4. DryIceFactory Says:

    Tahoe Light… enough said.

    Can’t wait to hear some more reactions from those of you who made it inside.

  5. bhizzle Says:

    Just received an email from LivePhish and it shows top 10 singles downloads….8 of 10 are cover songs…the only two originals, roggae from the recent 8/5 show and steam from 6/12.. how we like our covers.

  6. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Steam tonight?

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    Tahoe Light was awesome

    You definitely got the feeling when they started into Light that they were going to go deep

    The venue is so small. It fits the vibe of Tahoe with pines surrounding it. The large floor is nice too

    I also really like Walls of the Cave at the end of the second set. It was a fun way to end the set.

    And apparently they rehearsed Rocket Man at set break after seeing all the rockets that everyone held up

  8. ThePigSong Says:

    picking up this show now

  9. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Rest up for tonight @Silly. The webcast jinx has been squashed. Anything is possible.

  10. Jtran Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it silly!

    Real fun show from the couch too (and the venue looks tiny)

  11. bhizzle Says:

    The Tahoe poster is sweet. The LA poster was sweet. Don’t recall Gorge’s poster, but leg II posters are on track to killing it.

  12. Luther T. Justice Says:

    If you like galloping horses you’ll love the Gorge poster @bhizz.

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    Falling asleep during light was interesting. It affected my dream state and I was transported to the show with weird consequences.

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    Awesome leg II posters.

    Tweezer->Steam second set opener.

  15. DryIceFactory Says:

    I would love nothing more than a 45 minute jaunt of Tweezer->Steam->2001. Legit segues.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that’s funny. I was just thinking that they could completely blow it the eff up by going


    as the entirety of the 2nd set. Go for it. Heck throw that 2001 in there if you want. Gravy.

  17. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Thank goodness for Phish cause this f’in Dow is depressing.

  18. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I’d love a Tweam.

  19. Robert Champion Says:

    Last night was very exciting and I am pumped to re listen to that “Light”

  20. dorn76 Says:

    I really dug the webcast last night. Light was deep enough to bring me to a place very far from my couch and my dark living room…Until the buzzer for the dryer went off.

  21. dorn76 Says:

    Remember, those of you that bought the webcast, you can watch it on demand for up to 24 hours after the show! Hello lunchbreak Light!

  22. Corey Says:

    Huh. Guess everyone’s drinking the light kool-aid. Although they certainly took it in a new direction, I felt they merely got stuck. Watching the band, it seemed clear that Page wasn’t sure what sounds to make. Someone else also mentioned this at the time. Personally, this came the closest to Albany in that they were unsure as a band which way to go. They stayed right there, which didn’t amount to much, musically speaking.

    Flame away if you must. I’m still in the camp of 8.6.10 > 8.7.10 too, so…

    But I enjoyed the surprise cover, even if people had rocket ships on their heads. Also dig Mellow Mood whenever they play it.

  23. dorn76 Says:

    Update from LivePhish says on demand stream not ready…

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Will chime in after my relisten sober at lunch….

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    to be fair, light kool-aid is much better for you than the full sugar stuff. rots your brain.

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