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. dorn76 Says:

    Wait, you’re saying part of the trouble is the jam sounds rehearsed, or stale, but your problem with it is that the band members weren’t on the same page…

  2. aphishfan4life Says:



    It was real buttery…and then…

    But it’s okay, really. Just one man’s trash. 😉

  3. halcyon Says:

    Tiny clip of MMW at the Whitney


  4. lawrencewelk Says:

    “agreed on the 7-10 min mark.

    It’s after that…”phishfan

    oh that part where trey is just shredding the rift to shit with all that fanning and mike is just dropping all kinds of funk as page brings the song towards the end where they end the song with the songs ending…..so whack! If only they’d written a brand new ending to the song for the first time in 20 years.

    And the audenince noise following those last two minutes…….shit was stale. I mean come on crowd, the band is being silent, DO SOMETHING

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’m getting a contact high from this conversation.

  6. st8 of mind Says:

    Trey, you’re just fucking with us, right?

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    My favorite part of that Wolfmans is when Trey breaks out of the box, escapes gravity, lights the universal torch, and we all become the light. Thats how I remember it anyway. Better listen one more time, just to make sure.

  8. aphishfan4life Says:


    I’m saying the final few minutes are ‘shit’, based on the expectation the band made in the previous minutes of the song.

    I still love them!

    But, you can hear it clearly…

    Still, best band on earth.

    Just fun to be able to critique it so light-heartedly!

  9. lastwaltzer Says:

    they should have just kept going…………..like the credits in star wars.

  10. lawrencewelk Says:


    im thoroughly confused now. Can you name another jam from this year that you’d say leaves you the same way.

  11. aphishfan4life Says:


    I’m not here to argue or spew out patronizing comments.

    Just stating what I hear in my trained ears. No need to be defensive.

    I understand, it’s tough to agree with me due to the sheer nature of this website.

    Still, the greatest band on earth.

  12. lawrencewelk Says:

    “No need to be defensive.”phishfan

    you’re entitled to your opinion, I’m entitled to mine. My opinion: I’m confused. Just looking for another example.

  13. aphishfan4life Says:

    Parts of the DWD–>Love Supreme have the same ‘sound/feeling’.

    As awesome as that piece of music is, it does share some of the same moments in a box.

    Aren’t we all just wading in the velvet sea?

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I understand, it’s tough to agree with me due to the sheer nature of this website.”phishfan

    hang out for a while, seriously. This site is not full of fluff, you should have heard people during the camden>MPP run or other weak spots. I’d say people are fairly honest around here, as well as critical.

  15. Kaveh Says:


    Let’s not forget how AWESOME the SuperBall Simple is, especially with the Third Stone from the Sun tease in at the end. Pure magic. Pretty sure that one wasn’t rehearsed. 🙂

  16. alf Says:

    heh, dte disease has stale parts. well i’d say i’m out of this conversation!

  17. aphishfan4life Says:

    Thanks @lastwaltzer. I appreciate that.

  18. lawrencewelk Says:

    Now I’m really confused. Because that jam is wholly original and doesn’t bring the song back around to its main theme (which is what i think you were trying to label commerical).

    Does it seem rehearsed? Not to my ears, although the supposed “love supreme” quote I think turns up in the bethel waves soundcheck. That said perhaps it was rehearsed (the theme that is). What about it makes it feel stale or commercial to you?

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    Planned? There are themes running throughout eras that pop up in different jams. Don’t mistake musical trends for premeditation…if u listen to
    Tech waves, alsupreme theme is in there to…obviously they had been jamming on this lately. But did Trey signal to everyone, ok drop into ALS? No. If that is what u are asserting, I think you’re sorely mistaken. I think
    You are mixing up jamming trends with “planned” jams.

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    Anyone who has listened to phish “for life” would realize this and not make such conjectures…

  21. alf Says:

    where’s pauly ballz? he’d know what to do.

  22. lastwaltzer Says:


    I comeletly agree with your DWD comment. They’d been playing with the theme, page brought it into the discussion and they all grabbed on.

    That said why is it taboo to think they sometimes may say they want to bring something out before they start jamming?

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    funny to use dwd from detroit as your example, as that is the definition of spontaneous jamming…

  24. aphishfan4life Says:

    Thank you Miner.

    Well said, “Don’t mistake musical trends for premeditation”. That hits home with me.

    I do think the lines can get easily blurred with regards to ‘jamming trends & planned jams’.

    Clearly this can get into a deeply technical conversation.

    All good in the hood.

    I’d like to know if the majority of people out here would like to hear from the band on this topic (for example, did they talk about dropping into ALS, or not)? Sure would clear up a lot of speculation!

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    bc they dont talk about what their jams are gonna be like…or then Trey wouldnt cut em off and they’d all be great

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