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. mittens80 Says:

    nice set though

  2. Andrew Says:

    Yes DryIce, it’s about to kick in full-gear the next couple of weeks. 93L looks like she’ll be on the tails of 92L, depending on how far west they track before forming proper it could get very interesting – possible back to back monsters. Models a few weeks out have two more major waves exiting Africa right behind these two.

    It’s been a long hot flat summer. I want nothing to do with loss of property or even power, but I love this time of year.

  3. kayatosh Says:

    oh shit! there’s the GXBX.

  4. Corey Says:

    Somebody called that.

  5. plord Says:

    Gratuitous and entirely welcome!

  6. sumodie Says:

    love a funk set like this as much as gorge1’s psychedelia

  7. Selector J Says:

    damn! nice call, kaya.

  8. ThePigSong Says:

    that was a money call for such a poseur

  9. Esteban Says:

    @Andrew I’m working from your house next week… Just need internets

  10. Corey Says:

    Right on @kayatosh. They’ve given us a lot of quality doubles, since the return.

  11. Andrew Says:

    Are you on the coast DryIce?

  12. Corey Says:

    They are killing it! Mike!!

  13. Cable Hogue Says:

    Jim>Ghost brought the goods for sure. Good fun set. Totally perplexing Guyute but whatever.

    Both Jim and Ghost will merit further spins for sure. Thought Jim was headed towards Steam. Both jams definitely got into the storage unit for a bit.

    2001 was such a nice groove, can’t tell why Trey doesn’t want to take a solo over it. A jam out of Sally would have put the set right over the top.

    Gnight kids.

  14. mittens80 Says:

    frettin’ about another hurricane? Been through three typhoons this season. No worries. Even been through one yesterday on couch tour ain’t no thing. But we have concrete over here . Maybe Florida should get a hold of some.

  15. mittens80 Says:

    Yeah, Guyute wasn’t appropriate but it was better than most of the late 2nd set lulls we dealt with during most of Junes first leg.

  16. kayatosh Says:

    hot GxBx. They pull of zepelin like pros.

    Trey was on fire all night. solid show. some original sonic space at the end of Jim and Ghost.

  17. kayatosh Says:

    2001 was a hot pocket of funk love.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    well that was a treat for the ears and eyes (i feel ya, corey).

  19. sumodie Says:

    incendiary gtbt, wow, trza afire

  20. kayatosh Says:

    peace yall. another great one in the books.

  21. She Divides Says:

    Yep that was a hot good times, bad times- makes you just want more!

  22. goat Says:

    missed the bulk of yem, anything of note?

  23. ridge runner Says:

    talk of other webcasts to come? love it. just love it.

  24. sumodie Says:

    Tahoe was quite the 2-pack. Energy was popping both nights. Love the way tour keeps building

    Storage jam influence is all over the tour highlights

  25. sumodie Says:

    thought YEM was really tight and extra juiced -worth the wait

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