Thinking of Summer

Bethel Woods (G. Estreich)

Summer Tour is just around the corner and it seems like nobody knows just what to expect come Worcester and beyond. Almost 10 months have passed since Phish tore apart Dick’s in Colorado, and with the tame New Year’s Run, it feels like ages since we’ve seen the band do what they do. Traditionally, Phish has started off tours quite well in this era, often spring-boarding from a few days of focused practice in the city of their first show. Examples of these strong opening stands or runs include, 6.11 through 6.13.2010 at Toyota Park, Blossom, and Hershey; 8.5 through 8.7.10 at The Greek Theatre, 5.27 and 5.28 in Bethel, and 8.5 and 8.6.11 at the Gorge. If this pattern follows, the Worcester shows could serve as musical defibrillators for a Phish community that seems to hold less anticipatory excitement for this tour than any in this era. If Phish doesn’t blow the roof off The Centrum in the way they have sparked their recent tours, it will be quite interesting to hear everyone’s reaction—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here!

I’ve been wondering which band will come out at Worcester—the jammy version we saw at UIC and Dick’s or the rock version we saw at MSG. Related to this thought, two days ago on Twitter, @eward leaked a Trey quote from this week’s Rolling Stone saying that Phish “plan to break out at least 200 tunes at their gigs this summer.” Ummm—great—just what we need to hear, a song-centric sound byte from Red. One would hope that within this ballpark figure are a handful of new songs and jam vehicles to spice up the rotation, but I’m not gonna’ hold my breath. One thing is for sure, if this tour becomes bust-out and setlist-oriented, there will be a communal groan throughout many groups of fans. Hopefully, this alleged song barrage will be centered in the first sets of shows.

Bethel Woods - 5.29.11 (D.Lavery)

After three years back, however, it’s second sets that need the most tender loving care this summer. Instead of placing jams within a set of songs, one would hope the band would perform more complete, start to finish frames that have been relatively elusive in this era. In 2011, though the band progressed in this department, the two areas that still need the most improvement is fluidity and set-closing. In terms of fluidity, I mean moving from song to song with thoughtful concept and diligent execution. Hopefully the jarring instances of Trey pulling the string on jams will lessen and there will be a more group-think in determining where the music will go. In terms of “finishing,” Phish often kicked off many second sets with prowess last year, but the second half of many them fizzled in momentum, and band often “stumbled” to the end point. While they used to employ big-time second set closers like “YEM” and “David Bowie,” “Antelope” or even “Weekapaug,” last year they were just as likely to punctuate a set with “Character Zero,” “Stealing Time,” “First Tube” or “Suzie”—not exactly the same effect. I feel if these two elements of second sets come together, whatever happens in the firsts is fine.

In terms of jamming, in addition to anything new they bring to the table, I hope to see Phish further explore the two original styles that have emerged in this era— “Plinko” and “Storage.” Last year, the band engaged in sporadic “Plinko” jamming after they really honed in on the style during New Year’s Run 2010. “Storage” jamming was born last year, and Phish integrated the style into the live show—often with Theremin—during leg two. I find this to be the most promising and original direction for their music right now, as some of the best jams of 2011 were born of this darker, abstract focus.

More than anything, Leg One will give the band a chance to get rolling again. A month-long tour, though susceptible to ups and downs, provides far more opportunities than three or four night runs for the band to hook up and create adventurous music. As we embark on 2012, the fourth year of 3.0 Phish, one can only hope it will surpass the year before, as each has during this era. And if that happens, I think everyone will be happy.

Bethel Woods (George Estreich)


Here’s a link to my “2012 Wishlist” which relates to this topic.


Jam of the Day:

Gumbo” 8.3.98 II, Noblesville, IN

If you didn’t catch it, Kevin Shapiro dropped Live Bait 7 yesterday, including this gem from the Cornfields in ’98.

[audio:] Tags: ,

422 Responses to “Thinking of Summer”

  1. Jtran Says:

    Fish really swings on this Stash. Fits right in with the 1.0 picks

  2. sumodie Says:

    Since people have died at phish shows, i don’t see why it’s so hard to believe that peeps have shot up with needles too

    but yeah, I’ve long considered mia to be a faker. Isn’t he just another extension of the poop goblin’s personality.

  3. MiA Says:

    Isn’t he just another extension of the poop goblin’s personality?

    That is so meta sumodie. Maybe I am … maybe we all are.

  4. kayatosh Says:

    I am an AW alias

  5. MiA Says:

    I am an AW alias

  6. dorn76 Says:

    Oh, to be an AW alias.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Voopa- Not a huge fan of DP either. Very dry delivery. I do , however, love his man cave/studio. That is pretty badass.

    I find Colin Cowherd very entertaining and intelligent.

    There is a guy out there in SF now, Brandon Tierney who has a show on The Drive? w/ Eric Davis. Brandon is a New Yorker who left ESPN here and has been doing well out there. You should check him out. He’s a good dude.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hakeem Nicks broke his foot, out 12 weeks. and so goes the post super bowl blues. :sigh:

    Scott ferrall and Mad Dog are pretty good also. they are on sirius along with just about everyone else.

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    I liked Billy Packer’s son but he left the Charlotte market and I also grabbed XM so I don’t really do the sports radio thing anymore.

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    wow. i don’t generally share to much personal info, but i’ve had a tough week. my wife is 19wks pregnant and when i got home on Monday from a trip, she told me we got blood results back and they came back positive that our baby had a 1/25 chance of having Downs. talk about a shock to the system. so we had to have a pretty detailed ultrasound and she had an amnio, which for a woman is not pleasant. the ultra sound looked ok, but there was one “soft” marker that was an indictor for Downs. we had to wait on the results until tomorrow, but the Dr. just called and we learned the kiddo is 100% all good. if DS was present, that would have been hard, but we would have been ok either way, but still, happy we got the all clear. needless to say, i’m a bit emotional right now as life has been VERY real for me this week. thus my extra time on the BB to keep me preoccupied. not to get mushy, but this place is where my people are, and special thx to a few specific BB’ers for talking to me this week about it. u know who u are.

    and yes, we’re welcoming our 2nd baby girl into the world. no boys for me, but i’m ok with that.

  11. MiA Says:

    Was hoping for ~10 “I am an AW alias” posts in a row.

    Well, in my mind we did.

  12. MiA Says:

    Great to hear Telas. So happy that worked out as it should.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    good to hear Tela’s. We went through something very similar. Not 1/25, but enough to freak us out. Amnio also, the whole nine yards. Know the feeling. Have a nice big cocktail this evening and hug the family.

    Little Girls Rule, trust me, I got 3.

  14. Selector J Says:

    I’m more of a Dan P guy. His obsession with “The Mothership” (not Hampton) is a bit irritating but for the most part I enjoy his show.

    Now, Cowherd? I loathe Cowherd. Not sure what it is. Just annoys the crap out of me.

    The other day he couldn’t figure out why NOLA was a good place to have major sporting events. If you don’t get why someone would want to party in NOLA, we can’t be friends.

  15. Jtran Says:

    Good to hear telas

  16. Jtran Says:

    On top of your cocktail, blast this Cinci SOAM again (as I’d assume you have already)

  17. Guyute711 Says:

    What you hate about Cowherd is that he is a smug a-hole Selector.

    Very glad to hear tela’s, Duder was just telling me about that yesterday.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Ha Selector… goes to show that there is someone out there for everyone. One man’s treasure is another’s trash. I don’t hate DP, his voice kinda puts me to sleep though.

  19. tela'smuff Says:


    yeah, P, the more i talk to people, the more i learn that this happens quite often. beyond stressful. i think today is the first i’ve smiled this week, or let it sink in i’m having another girl. and yes, they do rule.

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Tela’s as the father of two daughters, I will now be in good company.

    I am glad for you and the family that it has all come to pass as it was intended.

  21. Jtran Says:

    Quick TT session

  22. Multibeast Says:

    Great news Telas!

  23. Xpun Says:

    Tela – that’s great news. Pregnancy is stressful without any added worries. Puts a lot of other problems (like housing) in perspective. Here’s to 21 more healthy weeks to your ladies.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    No one is as smug and pompous as Mike Francessa in NY. You guys have probably never heard him though, or maybe you have? So condescending to people.

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    I disagree Mr P and present to you Joe Buck.

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