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. Robear Says:

    Need to put the stereo back together ASAP! New Live Bait is no time to have the system scattered about the living room!

  2. Robear Says:

    Luther, listen for the Smiths ‘How Soon is Now’ tease, during the LB Tweezer. About 14 min mark. I need some muscle to back me up.

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    give it up robear. Didn’t Dirksen kick you around enough already on that claim? 😉

  4. BTB Says:

    Not letting me poast

  5. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Will do Robear. If I hear it too, I won’t stand for any dissension.

  6. BTB Says:

    Can we not link mediafire links on the board?

  7. Yalta Balt Says:

    I also heard that Phish is pulling the plug after this year.

  8. Robear Says:

    Palmer, I’m recruiting some muscle.

    Unions: here to defend, your parking space

  9. Phishentine Says:

    So Miner……..what are you saying?! LOL. 🙂

  10. marcoesq Says:

    morning all. how bout them devils? hate em but they look damn good

    great article, miner. definitely much less anticipation in the air since anytime I can remember since maybe ’04?

  11. marcoesq Says:

    This Tweezer is the fucking TITS!!

  12. Guyute711 Says:

    They looked really good for part of the game marcoesq. As long as the Rangers and that smug asshole Tort go down I don’t care. Kings for the cup.

  13. Mike in Austin Says:

    I think the Rolling Stone guy heard it wrong. The name of the new song is called “200 Tunes.”

    Trey “I can’t wait to bust out “Two Hundred Tunes”
    RS Dude : (this is the best scoop i’ve ever had – I must tweet it and get lots of page hits and coments from Phish phans that will talk about anything…)

  14. xpun Says:

    Face melting is only two weeks away!

  15. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    re: no expectations….it’s a load of bunk. anyone who travels across the country to see Phish and tells you they have no expectations of the show is lying to you.

  17. marcoesq Says:

    trey is annoying

  18. Robear Says:

    Thanks Miner. I wasn’t sure that type of real talk was permitted. Word.

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    The saddest thing about that clip xpun is that they are re-making the movie. Hollywood sucks.

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah, i have some serious expectations. if none of them are fulfilled, a Dog Log will make up for it. anyway, i generally always have an expectations to see some exploration from the boys, and i was lucky in ’11 to get it and almost every show i attended out West. had you asked me in ’09, well…

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Being up in Albany this week made me miss shows at the Knick.

    Drinks menu at Justin’s in Albany

    And some more..

    I want some FALL TOUR!!

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Fuck Trey.

    I heard they are calling it quits after leg 1…..

  23. Pencilneck Says:

    Hey now. How are cats getting into AC? We’re thinking of flying to Philly and a train or shuttle in to AC. Would love some input. TIA.

  24. halcyon Says:

    Morning folks….. busy busy days lately as we prepare to visit family back east, and I managed to secure two interviews this week and next week. Exciting opportunities, though might have to take a step backwards in income before realizing large gains down the road. Real nervous and excited about tomorrow, though haven’t been able to prepare as much as I should have. Not enough time in the day to do so.

    Has anyone taken psychometrics testing prior to interviews? I need to take a PSP metrics test, and is expected to last 2-3 hrs. Kind of nervous about it, though there isn’t much I can do except be honest, and answer the questions.

    Can’t wait for my only show this summer. Dick’s night 1! Bring it boys!

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    i expect Phish to be great. any way they want. I don’t think that’s too much to expect.

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