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. voopa Says:

    Mr. Champion, you forgot Ghost! 😉

    Yet another great night…our campmates, locust_the_lurker and Mrs. _the_lurker, know how to throw it down!

    Great seeing AJ again, and of course Robear, AW, mitch, Tzara’s and nice to meet butter, if but for a sec. (did we meet at the Greek crib last year?)…

    I know the show will catch some flack for the relative lack of jams in the first set, and Pig>C in the second, but this was one of my favorite show experiences all around. Great vibe, not many talkers and plenty of space where we were (most of the time).

    Getting cold here lakeside, time for a final pull of Bushmil’s and then sleep.

    Cu$tyFest next, bitches!

  2. Mike in Austin Says:

    Missed AJ and Butter and setbreak meetup. Great show. Ran into buddies from Dallas and Olospo fame right at the beginning, and had a great show with them. Phish lots are crazy for seeing old friends.

    Setbreak wasn’t the best for MiA. My world started to rotate. Kinda wandered around the bathrooms with Furblanket, then realized I was in no mood for that. Struggled back to me Crew (about 25 rows back) and the second set started.

    My perception improved considerably from there on out. Loved the show. Rock guitar summer concert but really fun from it’s ice onwards. Guyute got a little hairy, but easy to look past.

    I was wearing my YEM shirt, which was 18/21 before today. Now we’re 19/22. You can thank me later.

    Furblanket had on her Stash lot-t shirt. 2/2 today for team MiA.

    Liked the three “Stealing” songs to start us.

    We’re gonna do some hiking tomorrow, probably go out to Emerald Bay. Need to see if I can Hook up with the campers up there.

  3. voopa Says:

    Almost asleep. A Twist, maybe with a Halley’s reprise instead of Pig>C, would have made this second set an all-timer. Still damn good.

    And it was nice to finally find out where Slave, Hood and YEM have been hiding…Tahoe!

  4. voopa Says:

    MiA, we’re leaving camp around 10am. If you make it out before then, drop me a line. vooopa at gmail (3 o’s). Goodnight.

  5. albert walker Says:

    so much fun. great people. perfect weather. amazing sound. the groovefest chunk from set II was the bizness and that YEM blew it up.

    Phish concerts should be fun and tonight’s did.

    can’t wait for outside lands
    nice to see a bunch of you
    night kids

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    listened while distracted last night but was impressed with what I caught. Stash seemed to really take off and where dw/d stalled out runaway spun forward. That little groove jam before the settle into Ghost kept reminding me of dire straits sultans of swing or something. So maybe almost made it to Liquid Time? But settling into Ghost seemed reasonable and that raised the roof up and off. Pretty much everything they touch is turning to gold right now. King Midas tour ™

  7. bhizzle Says:

    ghost golden age 2001…looks nice on paper….how’d it sound?…mornin’ peeps!

  8. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Looking at the setlist, all can do is quote the famous thespian Joey Lawrence and say, “Whoa!”

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    last night is already up on the ‘Drone for those who do that thing.

    haven’t read back but looking forward to hearing how the night went for everyone.

  10. Beantownboy Says:

    Woke up this morning
    Looked at the setlist
    And put my hand on my forehead and said,

    Holy $@#!@#@!!

  11. Selector J Says:

    Too. Little. Sleep.

    For all the early rising reggae heads:

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sweet. this show may have to wait for a bit. needs me some roots.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you do sound a little tired, selecta. stay up late for the stream? 😉

  14. Selector J Says:

    yea, t3.
    Was up til about 2am. Got up at 6 to get to the show at 7am. Still working on my first cup of joe.

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    well, the music isn’t suffering, j. good stuff thus far. keep it up!

    for the college football phans

    funny and creative

  16. Selector J Says:

    only halfway thru that college fb offseason review.

  17. marcoesq Says:

    morning all

    @selector-I’ve been able to catch your show in the best places lately

    Carib>Maryland Coast>Maine Coast this week

    lovin some good reggae on the shores

  18. marcoesq Says:


  19. Jtran Says:

    yawning drone got the show up too already

  20. Selector J Says:

    Cheers, marco! Glad you’re enjoying the tunes.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    bom bom

  22. Selector J Says:

    bom bom beelum

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    never heard this version before.
    i bom bom dig it

  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    2 tropical waves (possible hurricanes!) hopefully headed our way. Long period ground swell should show up by mid next week if all goes to plan. Whose stoked? This guy.

    Oh, and last night’s show was a lot of fun. The dance party was tight and the way the songs kept coming out quickly didnt feel forced at all. Short, tight and precise jamming. 3.o Phish!

  25. Robert Championr Says:

    Working on my first cup of coffee too….Last night was a late one.

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