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. ThePigSong Says:

    yeah lots and lots of notes /sry

    looking forward to some smart phone reviews tonight/a review in the morning. Looked like fun, I only caught the last half of the second set. I bounced on the casino during Ghost because I thought it was going to go big (and I don’t really enjoy casinos).

  2. goat Says:

    nice 🙂 i was kind of hoping they’d shelve it for a LONG time, so we could have banners reading *&(^( days since last YEM…

  3. sumodie Says:

    at the least every sold out show should be webcast

    they already film every 3.0 show. wonder what the cost increase is to webcast a show vs. just filming it?

  4. Corey Says:

    Missed a lot of set one. Looking forward to hearing it again, in full, tomorrow.
    Jim went beyond the traditional. I enjoyed that second set up through Wading, a nice breath of fresh air. You Enjoy Myself had an energetic solo from Trey, and a fun vocal section, I think. Nice to hear it again. Hello, old friend…
    Good Times was great. Mike was really playing with JPJones’ approach to the tune. Sounded fantastic, to these ears.

    We got Bethel and Watkins over here. They got Gorge and Tahoe over there. Seems like a fair trade to me. 🙂

    Fun tonight, folks. Looks like another lively discussion is imminent, come morning.
    Off to bed. Dreaming bout my wife and I…going out for beverages.
    G’night everybody. Always a pleasure bouncin’ thoughts back and forth.

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    A totally uneducated guess says it can’t be more than a few grand. I’m not sure if bandwidth charges can increase with every stream connected to the main feed, but netflix can do it for 8 bucks a month and that is all we rock at home.

    Other than that it seems like all they would need is a director watching all the cameras and a few techs per night.

  6. Robert Champion Says:

    This is not refined or edited but is the basic him haw

    Tahoe night two started out fair enough and the Stash happened. This is the song that gave birth to my poetry series and now Science Friction website theslopingcompanion.com and this one delivered. It was stretched out the way I liked it and could not come at a better time to get me more interested in the set. The Sloping Companion. Those three words mean so much to me. Maybe some other time.

    The Funky Bitch is always a phamily pleaser and this one got the job done with no real leap into that place that we still have yet to give a universal name and definition. However, Phish was not running on idle. They were all invested the entire time.

    Instant Karma was fun and notable.

    My stream for night two is cutting out a lot more than night one. Do I blame comcast or do I blame Phish? I blame myself for being so obsessed.

    I write notes about Phish shows while Phish is playing. Why? Because I can. I don’t do it everytime but couch tour makes it easy as pie but not American more like a nice rhubarb.

    Second set of Tahoe night two opened strong with “Disease” Stop Stop Stop…No Phish…Keep on going. It might sound cliche but so far this has been a tour of second sets for me and I don’t say that about every tour. The jam at the end of “Disease” was strong and to the point. Trey’s sustain then broke into a short stated series of 16th notes the was reminscient of machine gun Trey of old but let’s not get bogged down in technicalities. Let’s talk about the feelings that those technicalities create in any number of people with any number of backgrounds….Shit…Machine gun Trey. It’s one of his elder tricks and he has learned apply it tastefully over the tours instead of banging you over the head with it to the brink of almost having an anxiety attack 1.0 style. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy that brink in my youth..Hell…I chased it… but I am in a much more relaxed anti manic stage in my life and have learned to embrace the whole that present day Phish creates and when he brings out the machine gun then I stand ready to be shot by it.

    It’s these same tasteful applications of their entire tool box that has marked the maturity of this band into present day American venue icons and I don’t use the word icon casually. “Disease” went on until it melted into an abrupt rest and then back up again into “Runaway Jim.” Plinko Jam became the theme of this meandering “Runaway” for the intro into the second verse. They have been using that tastefully as well this tour and I actually am embarrassed to even use the term publicly but there you go.

    The second chance for the band to improvise was again straight ahead Phish and created a second story beyond the plinko….beyond the jam….beyond any competition. And then we went there again…Phish took us there again as the song concluded. Where did they take us? They took us to that place that we still haven’t been able to universally define or put our finger on exactly because it keeps wobbling off every time we get closer to the one. However we wobbled for quite some time before they busted out the arguable song of the Summer for me personally. We are truly living in a Golden Age. Sell now!!!

    The impromptu vocal jam out of Sallie made the song unique and obviously had the crowd shaking their collective asses.

    Fuck…Guyute. I have often said that I could hear “Guyute” at every Phish show and never complain. Do I really need to explain why? The short answer is that this song rang through my head almost every time I lined up to the assassination range while I performed in The Dupage Symphony Orchestra. We were playing Brahms or some god awful rehashed Christmas spectacular…but in my head…everytime I picked up a stick or a mallet….I was playing “Guyute.” That’s the short answer. The long answer? Let’s not go there.

    Trey grinning before going into the final verse left me fleeing all cares and worries of the day while we were getting ever closer to that one thing. Mike also was grinning ear to ear during the final musical phrase and it’s always good to see him lose the poker face and smile like he probably smiled when he figured out his first scale.

    WATSIYEM? I had been secretly waiting for this without going gaga about it on any of the boards. It’s one of the songs that unify everyone involved because in this song we see set up after setup after setup after setup and then….the vocal jam. It was my secret wish since The Gorge launched this leg and I was lucky enough to see it in High Definition. How many set up’s are actually in a standard “You Enjoy Myself?” Then again, this is Phish. Is there anything ever standard about a live “You Enjoy Myself?” The trampolines came out and Fishman was clicking away on his hi hat in perfect sequential order and then the debatable hose for a brief moment. Then, back into Fishman’s seqeuncing which turns into the kilter/off kilter accents on the snare then the debateable predetermined hose again as a whole note just sits in your belly then….then….Boy.Man.God.Shit. Then, the lyrical mind fuck that can only come after listing four basic words that are powerful enough on their own but when stated together and in that order….well…What exactly are they saying in this song? It’s something bigger than we could ever know. It’s something bigger than the four guys on the stage for that matter. It’s the gateway to that one thing. It’s the subconscious wobble that makes itself conscious multiple times when everyone is dailed in…The Mike solo that was the punctuation mark on the end of the first part of the song magically propelled Trey to dance like nobody was watching but we were all fucking watching and if you weren’t smiling then you should just give up right now. Then, the vocal jam.

    Phish quickly went into what I call their Nightmare Before Christmas harmony. There were spiders crawling up my keyboard and then onto my hands and into my various orafices to only lay and hatch more eggs inside of me. Then, they started shouting in some sort of other worldy chant…Not to the mothership but to the thing that controls the mothership. Was that thing answering back? Well…we live in a society that refuses to look up so we may never get that answer. One thing is for certain. Things are certainly looking up for the second leg of this tour for sheer historical record.

    “Show of Life” concluded the evening. Lyrically it’s always a powerful message and is one that I am glad to have reiterated by Phish when they choose to share the message. You know some lives were changed forever in Tahoe. Some for the first time…Imagine having that transformation and then rounding it out with the message that “Show of Life” affords?

    Some of us can remember that first moment….right? Isn’t it our responsibility to give that moment to as many people as we know?

    Boy.Man.God.Shit…I’ve learned what it takes to be a man and I don’t have to wish I was at home because I am on couch tour 2011. Boy…God…Shit? The other three? Again, it’s a long story. Let’s not go there. “Good Times Bad Times”. End of story.

  7. sumodie Says:

    We got Bethel and Watkins over here. They got Gorge and Tahoe over there. Seems like a fair trade to me

    well said

  8. goat Says:

    about to embark on Light from last night for the first time… let me first adjust my head. thanks for taking the time to write that robert, boy, man, god, shit indeed. bart, homer, flanders, wiggum. cheers all, be well and be safe.

  9. Robert Champion Says:

    Hey goat….Good evening. I wrote it out as the second set was unfolding for the most part.

  10. Corey Says:

    @sumodie, you saw three of those sets, right? Nicely done.

  11. Corey Says:

    Now, to bed…see ya’ll in the morn.

  12. Furblanket Rat Says:

    Great writeup!

  13. Furblanket Rat Says:

    (this MiA’s wife)

  14. sumodie Says:

    welcome, furblanket. weren’t you in Tahoe?

  15. alf Says:

    phish shows are fun things to go to

  16. ThePigSong Says:

    thanks for posting your writeup Robert, cool to see another fan’s stream of conciseness during a show (couch tour).

  17. ThePigSong Says:

    not what I had in mind when I was posted about looking forward to post show smart phone reviews Alf 😉

    just kidding of course.

  18. Robert Champion Says:

    Thank you furblanket….After spending the entire week on this website (and loving every minute of it) it inspired me to write down my thoughts about this webcast and it was a good release for me. I credit this “fire under my ass” piece directly to Mr. Miner and his website and community of readers. Thanks guys for showing me that there is more (much more) to the online phish community than hate filled message boards like PT and Oh Kee Pa where not only do the mods blindly attack you but in the case of Oh Kee Pa they actually go into your posts and change the titles and the entire body of the post. They actually do that….How can any board remain credible with mods that operate on that level? The responsibility lies within the head admin and he should be embarrassed to ever even go to another show again with the foul behavior that he gives his consent tooooo….

    The point is this. This website. Mr. Miner’s Phish Thoughts can have opposing opinions and you all have it centered in you to give a person their space to have their opinion without having to be made to feel miserable about said opinion. It’s something that comes with maturity and self respect and respect for others in general. This past week has been a real eye opener for me. Let’s see what happens next.

  19. Snowbank Says:

    Smart phone review.
    Smart phone review.
    Smart phone review.

  20. butter Says:

    What a set 2

    Heard some dte disease, in this disease and the post Jim jam.

    Some slick transitions tonite, 2001 was $$$$

    Page tearin the Rhodes a new one in this set.

    This is some engaging Phish

    Wow. Yem was real fun

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    Fantastic 2nd set. Jim>Ghost was stanley.
    First set was a miss for me. Very chatty crowd and caramels didn’t vibe to start

    Gorge>Tahoe lived up to my hype.

  22. Mdawg Says:


    Midwest got DTE n UIC

  23. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Custy crib crew was about to go all League of Justice on the rampant talkers in the first set. It was a major distraction in our section. Thankfully, the Phish shut them up for the most part with a hardcore dance throwdown to start set two. Disease->Sally = $$$.

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    I, like Alf, had fun.

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    I, also like Alf, am prepared to smoke another j.


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