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”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    not that we haven’t been gathering accoutrements the last 2 songs. but a set without any lull is rare & this show is well played (or the set is, I missed set 1)

  2. Esteban Says:

    and then YEM… What time is curfew?

  3. goat Says:

    good point mr. c, but i’ll take a farmhouse of the gorge ilk over this tune… just sayin

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    i think the super clear message is they’re not going deep every night.

  5. goat Says:

    curfew is 10:30, 1:30 for us east coast kids

  6. DryIceFactory Says:


  7. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I totally got caught up in looking for that storage space.

  8. Selector J Says:

    Velveeta pulls some heart strings. I always think of that BC sunrise when they play this.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    oh sure sure there’s always something I’d rather hear than this

    but then it’s also conspicuously in a lot of great sets

    …ok that part wasn’t super well sung lol

  10. Esteban Says:

    There we go

  11. ThePigSong Says:


  12. Corey Says:

    Just having some fun. Yet another, pleasantly unexpected set of tunes. Jim was refreshing.

    And, boom goes the dynamite.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    “I totally got caught up in looking for that storage space.”

    see i was doing that a little at Gorge 2 and learned the lesson. when its a dance party, just dance and enjoy it


  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    I didnt want to see YEM until 12.31.11

  15. ThePigSong Says:

    Last night page left the stage exactly at 10:30.

  16. goat Says:

    yeah, i think it’s a strict curfew on par with hershey and other venues where BIG fines are involved for violating…

  17. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Word C.

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    I just heard the last 3mins of last night’s Light and it sounds incredible – wild psychedelic storage groove.

    Videos have to show up eventually right?

  19. Esteban Says:

    @goat this one’s going to cut it close…

  20. Corey Says:

    This is gonna be phun.

  21. Admiral Ackbar Says:


  22. ThePigSong Says:

    never been, but isn’t hershey in the middle of nowhere?

  23. Corey Says:

    @BK, don’t get me started. 🙂

  24. negev79 Says:



  25. DryIceFactory Says:

    What did Fishman just say?

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