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. lumpyhead Says:

    GET ON THAT TWEEZER – I’d never heard it. I loved everything from the release yesterday, but that tweezer is just so unique.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Man, with that Live bait being released yesterday i completely neglected Miner’s Summer ’97 jams from yesterday. Need to get cracking over here.

    I did sneak in that Antelope though. One of my favorites. So original and unique.

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    that Lot Life site just sucked some valuable time. shudders to think.

    maybe best vid though is the cop running someone down and tripping, crashing to the ground. spewed my beer.

  4. DavidSilver Says:

    Phish RS blurb. 200 songs? Gonna try to break the record of most songs in a show a la UIC3?(no idea if its the record but that was a lot of songs)

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    SIlver is AJ

  6. MiA Says:

    Good sleuthing.

  7. Albert walker Says:

    Fuck you cunts

  8. DavidSilver Says:

    AJ could never pull a hottie like Donna. Fail.

  9. MiA Says:

    Ha ha ha ha.

  10. lumpyhead Says:

    I don’t know what to make of this whole 200 song bidness…

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    make nothing of it. It is a 3 sentence blub in RS and that isn’t even a quote.

  12. ElJefe Says:

    Didn’t they play 250 last year? Or are they breaking out 200 new songs? All new songs are called “jam” hopefully…

  13. poop goblin Says:

    Tour openers. Love that shit.

    That cubs fan maybe this is the tour prancer stops douchin out attitude starts comin out

    Gonna be fun. Indoor dirty stylee phish

  14. Fly Says:

    Dear friends,

    I’m making a radical decision to quit all video games and non news/research/email related internet, which means quitting this board. This is a wonderful place, but if I am going to do this, I have to do it right.

    If you want to stay in touch, email me at yetanotherfakeemail420 at gmail and I’ll give you my real email

    I am NOT quitting Phish, though, so maybe I’ll see you on tour

    All my love,

  15. xpun Says:

    so page says “the shows just fly by, the HOURS do too.”

    I don’t get this. I think it’s a typo, suppose to say TOURS. That makes more sense.

  16. lumpyhead Says:

    it was awesome in leg 1 summer 2010 when they would bust out new covers left and right… I’m all in for that shit.

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sweet! My First Phish show in flac on bt.etree.

    Saturday, 02/13/1993

    Bob Carpenter Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

    Set 1: David Bowie, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart > It’s Ice > Glide > Rift, Stash, Lawn Boy[1] > Maze, Golgi Apparatus

    Set 2: Runaway Jim, Wilson[2] > Uncle Pen, Tweezer > The Lizards, Llama, You Enjoy Myself[3], Big Ball Jam > Hold Your Head Up > Lengthwise[4] > Hold Your Head Up, The Squirming Coil, Cavern

    Encore: Amazing Grace, Tweezer Reprise

    [1] Trey guitar solo.
    [2] Simpsons, Oom Pa Pa, and Random Note signals.
    [3] Vocal jam contained a Lion Sleeps Tonight theme.
    [4] Introduced by Fish as “a very nice song, a sad lament, where I am left out naked on the plank (I can get arrested for that these days)” and he directed a crowd sing-along accompaniment to his vacuum solo.

  18. lumpyhead Says:

    damn fly!

    I guess we’ll see you around

  19. jdub Says:

    19 years is a long time to be seeing a band @Palmer.

    How about a Bowie Woosta opener. Would be the shit.

  20. ElJefe Says:

    Lumpy- there’s a compilation from summer 98 called ‘Under the Covers’ or something. Worth looking for…

  21. jdub Says:

    And cheers @Fly. Good luck with your endeavors.

  22. ElJefe Says:

    Ooh or Untitled jam #1-200 or something

  23. lumpyhead Says:

    thanks eljefe. Looking now.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hey Jdub! How are you? It is a long time , but it certainly flew by. I still remember walking into that arena to Fishman tapping those cymbals for the Bowie intro.

    As of this moment i have every intention of hitting the Woosta opener and a Bowie opener would be perfect…i agree. See you there. 0n the floor, left of the SBD.

    Best of luck Fly. Do what you have to do.

    Summer ’98- a classic, great tour, was chock full of bustouts and silly covers. just sayin..

  25. lumpyhead Says:

    snow Says:
    May 24th, 2012 at 11:13 am
    hey, thnkfstpal thinks fast. he never claimed they were good thoughts, just fast.

    ^ That is fucking funny.

Leave a Reply