Tahoe Revisited

8.9.11 J.Crouch)

When comparing stands of summer’s second leg, Tahoe hasn’t felt the type of love that the Gorge or UIC has received. And while that analysis is completely justified, and the second night left much to be desired, let’s not sweep Tahoe under the rug just yet. Overshadowed by the bookends of Leg Two, the first night of Tahoe stands humbly in the wings; a dark-horse, two-set effort that can hold its own against the stronger shows of summer. Were it not for the wooked-out cocktail party that was popping off throughout the venue all night long (a result of the casino vibe bleeding right into the show) and an undersized sound system that couldn’t compensate for said wooks, the first night would be getting more props for what it was—another stellar night along summer’s second leg.

8.9.11 J.Crouch)

While some shows over this last run were defined exclusively by their second set theatrics, Tahoe’s opening frame carried some significant weight. “Party Time” provided a surprise opening and the rare combination of “Oh Kee Pah > Bag” got the party started in earnest. “Mellow Mood” in the mountain sunshine matched perfectly, as everyone began feeling the set before the band had dropped into any jams at all. Stretching out the intro to “Punch” into an infectious series of grooves, the momentum of the set began to grow. And following a bust out of the ’98 relic “Meat,” the band got serious with a mid-set “David Bowie.” Quite the odd placement for the jam made it all the more enticing as Phish dipped their ladle into melodic-infused darkness early on in the show. A blistering “46 Days” brought one of August’s better first sets to a close.

But—as usual—very few people would walk out of Harvey’s glorified parking lot buzzing about the first set. Enthusiastic conversations centered on the colossal, bass-led excursion that grew out of “Light,” and how it traveled through intergalactic wormholes dripping with harrowing textures and futuristic, beat-driven soundscapes. The band locked into another forward-looking adventure out West—one of those jams that rendered the rest of the set gravy. But this gravy was was quite good.

As “Light” meandered into nothing—as so many of its outlandish journeys tend to—Trey slowly wound up the into to “Chalk Dust” in a complete juxtaposition of styles. From the outer rings of Saturn to slamming white lights, the band jumped right back into a rock concert with little buffer zone. But as a dynamic “Chalk Dust” flew through multiple teases, the band all of a sudden had the crowd on its knees with a delicate breakdown of the classic rock anthem, efficiently deconstructing the song with a melodic bridge to a mid-set “Slave.” And per usual, when Phish centers “Slave” in the second set, a highlight rendition was sure to follow. Slowly building through blissful textures to match the mountain locale, the band unfurled a cathartic centerpiece that resolved “Light’s” journey into the center of the Earth.

8.9.10 (John Crouch)

A concise but cathartic “Jibboo” had opened the set, and after a seemingly random “Free” came out after “Slave,” the show’s delicate feel continued. Apparently spurred on by a legion of fans in some sort of on-going campaign, Phish broke out Elton John’s “Rocket Man: late in the second set, a cover which Page did far more justice than the thousands of bellowing drunkards ever could. And closing upon a similar note, the band dropped into “Harry Hood.” Though “Hood” was tight, it remained a relatively vanilla version. But Phish had one last gasp left—“Walls of the Cave.” And while I can’t say that the song seemed to fit in the set, I can vouch for the fact that Phish tore it to pieces. Ballooning the end jam into a set-closing exclamation point, the guys punctuated a rather delicate show with a bang.

Returning to the mellower feel for the double encore of “Bug, Squirming Coil,” Phish whispered their goodbyes into the cool mountain evening. And though the debauchery would grow from there, Phish left stage with a very mood-matching performance that greeted their fans to the gorgeous locale of Lake Tahoe. And with all the deserved hoopla over UIC and the Gorge, this gem—with a distinct flow from beginning to end—has gotten lost in the mix. Give it a re-spin, you won’t be disappointed.


Jam of the Day:

Light” 8.9.11 II

One of the standout jams of 2011; a dark trek into progressive bass-led mania.



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1,022 Responses to “Tahoe Revisited”

  1. Kaveh Says:

    Bird’s eye view of Dick’s: http://tinyurl.com/3pcysuw

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “CO Harpua. I’m not the best at calling tunes but that’s a lock. ”

    Been thinking the same thing. Last one was Red Rocks ’93, I requested it, in writing a month inm advance and called that day on the porch of a friends house in Denver as a summer storm rolled in. Second song in; I had to discard my underwear in a trash can.

    CO used to get one Harpua a tour wayback in the day and it would make sense for s fitting return for disclosing or alluding to anny planned or unplanned time away, howver surreal or real those plans or unplans be.

  3. Robear Says:

    Colorado webcast.

    Thinking real hard about skipping the shows. So much going on. I truly wish they would announce these webcasts much earlier.

  4. bob dylan Says:

    After singeing most of the hair off one arm, and nearly setting a table on fire, I figured it out.

    ^congrats. you didnt need that arm hair anyway.

  5. bob dylan Says:

    robear, go to the shows. they are more fun not on your couch. take a bong in for jibboo and light.

    least you still have your eyebrows. you wont tho after mike drops bombs on dicks.

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    Go! Near as I can tell now one else will be able to co0mpete in the dance off.

    That picture will look a lot neater with the GA field paly in action.

  7. Kaveh Says:

    @robear…agree with @bd…GO!

  8. lastwaltzer Says:


    not that I didn’t already think this cat was a hack but this just seals the deal.

  9. bouncin fan Says:

    I was on the fence for Colorado too Robear. just not comfortable with the amount of money and vacation days I’ve given to seeing shows this year.


    since SBIX the band is actually playing progressive psychedelic music (at times)
    weather in COlorado this time of year is damn near perfect
    3 night run in the suburbs in a way undersold venue will be relaxing as fuck
    who knows how long this return to the stage will last
    we’re not getting any younger
    life is fucking short as all fuck

    those are the main points that pushed me to go. I think you should follow.

    plus we all know how much it will kill you and I to miss another Harpua!

    my .02c

  10. Robear Says:

    U cats are great. Really tearing out my hair here. Gotta go inspect the garden before final decision. Time away from the kids has me struggling too. We spent some nice quality time this week. Last few days before school starts. Ugh.

  11. butter Says:

    Robear: bored waiting to check out of hospital…so my .02$

    are you thinking of skipping it for important work or the webcast?

    my intuition tells me more the former, and the latter helps deal with missing it better

    that being said, can you hire help to do the work while your in CO?

    it seems there’s always the forefront issue of family with us horny breeders, too 😉

    hope you can make the shows

    never skip Dicks

  12. Robear Says:

    Being the ‘last shows until whenever’ is a big pull. Chance to say ‘see ya later’ to a whole group of Phamily. End of season WW party. Etc. Good pts at Bouncin. Haven’t caught ‘Harpua’ since we did the ATL run.

  13. Chuck sweD Says:

    just gonna start the day out with a big “fuck you” to musictoday.

    …as you were.

  14. bouncin fan Says:

    no doubt Robear

    being Childless and not a farmer I sometimes forget other peeps actually have responsibilities around this late summer period

    notice responsibilities was no where in my decision making process plus late summer on wall street is like watching paint dry. everyone is on vacation this week.

  15. Robear Says:

    Thx Butter. Was thinking about missing before webcast announced.

    Work seems to be in order. Have a house sitter. Gonna go inspect for PM real quick. Seems on verge of an outbreak.

    Torn about leaving my daughter. She seems to be stressed a bit from her moms house combined with pre teen years.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    So, it’s “see you there.” then? Huggiebear?

    Rupert Papaya, You making it?

    GA field! GA field! GA field!

  17. Mike in Austin Says:

    Regarding this:

    “Were it not for the wooked-out cocktail party that was popping off throughout the venue all night long (a result of the casino vibe bleeding right into the show)… ”

    Funny that at Tahoe, the crew I was around were really quiet and considerate. Mostly not smoking cigarettes (guy asked if he could) and handing out party favors and tangerines. Always seems the closer you get to the stage, the more respectful the fans are.

    As much as I’d like to think I could compartmentalize just the show from the whole experience, I can’t. People I’m standing around, or ease of getting in or out, the atmosphere, etc. They’re all contributors. A show can be really a struggle if you have jerks around you, and you can’t focus on the music. But if you can be in your own world during a Reba, totally absorbed … that might just up the “Reba Quality Experience” right there.

    Tahoe was not only a gorgeous area, but laid back people. Easy in and out (no shaved head security guard confiscated my advil) and it took me 3 minutes to get to the Waterwheel Booth post show and get a high five from Robear. That’s quality right there.

    Plus, you can leave your car unlocked at the local safeway, and not worry about anybody stealing anything.

    Hope they do Tahoe again. Like The Gorge, it is a must see area. Regardless of the WOAC they played that you liked or didn’t like.

  18. butter Says:

    who knows how long this return to the stage will last
    we’re not getting any younger
    life is fucking short as all fuck


    i’m always amazed when people plan on hitting the “next summer tour” or whatever

    one of our scene’s core principals is living in the moment

    i’d say we are building a pretty good case for hittin dicks

  19. Mike in Austin Says:

    I’m not going to Colorado, so they will surely throw down again. They want us to miss them terribly. I’m sure of that.

  20. bouncin fan Says:

    totally Butter

    me and my girl make all our tour decisions as if this is the last run they will ever do.

    I also feel this little 2 week break is perfect for them to still carry over momentum from the other summer dates while recharging the creative batteries.

    Phish will come out swinging. kick out some hot tapes to hold over until the New Years run. this run will slay.

  21. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Too bad he won’t fly stranded BBers to Dick’s!
    But still pretty gracious….

  22. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Colorado Phish!

    Summer Tour Closer!

    I’ll be there!

    All fine reasons to attend.

  23. butter Says:

    def family first, but maybe you take those 4 days for you, Robear

    then clear a nice week for lil bear when you get home


  24. Kaveh Says:


    Torn about leaving my daughter.

    ^Now that I hear this. Webcast is my vote. Family > Phamily.

  25. Mike in Austin Says:

    Hmm. They’ve never played Sept 2nd or 3rd before.

    I am at the same point as Robear. I could probably make it and get a hotel, etc. I am so lucky they have chosen to Webcast it.

    Live while you are young is a great attitude. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that being at a Phish show is living while you are young.

    It may be, it may not. There is a lot of living outside of Phish shows too.

    Do love me some Summer Tour closing though. That was the point of the festivals in the past. End of an era. Throw down.

    Celebrating the Start of Summer and End of Summer with Phish are great bookends to a summer. Congrats to all who are doing it.

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