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. Phuzzy Says:

    If that is “canned” music, then I am a major stockholder in SPAM.

    After almost 30 years of performing original improv music, there is bound to be a point where, subconciously, the band (probably mainly Trey and Page) hits on patterns that are rooted in their brains. Those patterns may appear in different songs and jams. Even though this is the case, I don’t feel that when these patterns and themes crop up that it means that we are getting stock or commercialized jams. No bad taste in my mouth from hearing it. And, I would say that this year is much different in that respect than 09 and 10. I did hear alot of “go to” or “stock” licks and themes in a lot of jams in those years. This year it seems they are trying to build upon these things and break through to new stuff, which, after 30 years HAS to be a very hard thing to do. Inspiration is tough to come by on a nightly basis.

  2. Willowed Says:

    I am kind of in an out today.

    Knocking the UIC Wolfman’s? That’s crazy talk.
    This is what happened when there is no live Phish to discuss.

    The board always takes these little turns during down times..

    2 more days people and all will be back to normal. Then we have all fall to get back to bitching and moaning and pulling shit apart.

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ok, not gonna pile on. I think I understand what you mean, 4life, even if I don’t agree with that notion.

    were you epecting them to drop some trip hop?

    now THAT would be unexpected!

  4. willowed Says:

    Looks like avatars are lost too during these dark times.

    New Phish……hurry.

  5. aphishfan4life Says:

    bouncin…that requires a bit of time and research that I just don’t have right now, but off the top of my head…

    Favorite 3.0 jamz:

    1. UIC Night 1, Set 2 (the entire thing sans the Fire)
    2. Bethel Nghts 1 & 2
    3. Pine Knob Set 2 (although the DWD->Love Supreme also seemed very planned!). Again, still a gorgeous piece of music.

    Favorite shows:

    Denver 97
    Rhode Island Tour 98

  6. bouncin fan Says:

    i hear yeah aphishfan

    my crew was about 25 deep mid floor just getting down crazy style to that jam

    there are few jams these days that really transport me to that free form jamming style I grew up with seeing shows 93-98 and that did it for me.

    different strokes ya know

    out for the day kids
    hold it down
    see ya in Denver

  7. halcyon Says:

    great post silly.

  8. bouncin fan Says:

    nice aphish

    hit all those and out of the 60 I’ve caught in 3.0 would agree those are all at the top

    Bethel was an amazing weekend and can’t go wrong with DTE

    guess we will just agree to disagree on the wolfman’s

  9. SillyWilly Says:


    It’s sort of like the old Babylon vs. Zion conceptions that we use.

    I don’t think any of us are eating Ital, but when we translate the kindness, compassion, cooperation, critical thinking that comes with tour to our work-a-day lives then we’re literally living Zion in the middle of Babylon

    I was thinking about AW calling himself an old Rasta and I think he could drop the “old” and just call himself a Rasta.

    he might not be eating Ital or rocking the dreads, but he does strive to bring a little zion to the grind

    (sorry AW to cop one of your ideas, but one time when I was at your house I had this thought clear as day. I thought while sitting on your couch listening to music: “This is what AW means by calling work and all that shit Babylon. Sitting on this couch, sharing good conversation and better music, I’m in Zion.”)

    Miles, of course, is the guardian of Zion.

  10. aphishfan4life Says:

    Good stuff bouncin.

    So glad the Phish are back and playing together, so happy to enjoy every single moment we have with them.

    Cuz nobody knows how long they’ll be around for.

    Peace & Good Phishing.

  11. dorn76 Says:

    The UIC wolfman’s does not seem stale or nostalgic…so i’m going to give it yet another listen and see if I get bored.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    this would be an example of a planned jam

  13. TheSloth Says:

    is the nice little jam in the begining of the live bait vol 6 wilson rehearsed?

  14. alf Says:

    uic wolf was a jaw-on-floor type of jam

    just sick

    stale because it falls back into the wolf theme at the end? that’s honestly all i can think of that you might be saying. because that jam is straight $$$

  15. lastwaltzer Says:


    Maybe the jam was left out in the sun too long?

  16. voopa Says:

    Hilarious. T3! However I prefer this one.

  17. lawrencewelk Says:

    oh I know what he’s talking about with all this commercialization talk. Don’t why i didn’t try this.

    If you take out your UIC night 1 vinyl and spin it backwards, you can clearly hear fishman saying:


    Don’t know how I missed that 😉

  18. aphishfan4life Says:

    alf…agreed…it definitely had it’s moment in the sun!

    but it does seem dragged out, which is kind of a let down based on previous moments in the song.

    my point is, it could’ve/should’ve/would’ve gone to yet ANOTHER level.

    that’s all. still a stellar version.

  19. aphishfan4life Says:

    yes @lastwaltzer, precisely.

  20. lawrencewelk Says:

    “my point is, it could’ve/should’ve/would’ve gone to yet ANOTHER level.”phishfan

    so what your saying is that jam was stale but you wanted more of it?

  21. lawrencewelk Says:

    wait wait its concise therefore it stale?

  22. aphishfan4life Says:


    Yes…the merchandize is a whole ‘nother conversation indeed.

    Yes…the jam ‘got’ stale, dried up, boring, but could’ve been avoided. It was smokin’ hot for a few minutes, but then lost all heat in an instant.


    After re-listening, it’s clear all members were not on the same page towards the end.

    Again, it’s alright…just pointing out a constant 3.0 intricacy.

  23. dorn76 Says:

    Still not bored! Actually the segment from about 7-10 mins had me pretty engaged.

  24. aphishfan4life Says:

    @dorn76….agreed on the 7-10 min mark.

    It’s after that…

  25. lawrencewelk Says:

    “After re-listening, it’s clear all members were not on the same page towards the end. “phishfan

    It did get pretty sloppy in there. The way they moved through all of the ideas unique so quickly, peaked it and then brought it back to the main theme.

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