A New Flow

Official Worcester Print (Vogl)

Far surpassing anyone’s wildest fantasies, Phish came out on the first night of Summer Tour with a show laced with divine interplay throughout. With two sets of incredibly fresh sounding music—and a second steeped in non-stop improvisation on the deepest planes, Phish blew the minds of many on their first night in Worcester. The patience and fluidity that characterized the band’s single-minded playing last night—specifically in the second set—is the stuff I long for at every single show, and IT is what fuels this entire scene. People can debate Phish music until the cows come home, but when the band drops a show like they did last night, everyone just looks at each other, smiles and understands. This is why we come.

As the crunching chords of “Carini” set off the second frame, few could possibly have predicted the path of what has to be considered one of the greatest start-to-finish sets of this era. Clearly practiced and ready to make a statement, there was no ambivalence when the “Carini’s” jam started; the band got right to work attacking and deconstructing the song with a laser-focused intent. Moving distinctly away from the major-keyed “Carini” jams of the past two years, Phish  flowed into dark and ominous waters that immediately started to speak to the soul. Continuing down this mystery-laden path, soon the band was effortlessly crafting some of the most beautifully deranged music we’ve heard in ages. And as the jam seeped into more layered and and murkier territory, Fishman moved to a cymbal-focused beat and seamlessly blossomed into a “My Left Toe” jam for the first time since 1999! With a refined skill set and locked into higher powers last night, Phish bled right into the powerful and improvisation-based instrumental. Taking the ambient piece into a cathartic, ultra-melodic and densely-layered ode to all that is, one must simply take this piece in to believe it. Upon my only re-listen to this point, I was equally—if not more floored—with what I heard than at the show. This is the real deal. As the band artistically dripped into “Taste” I turned to my closest friend and gave her a big hug, because “Carini -> My Left Toe” is why I love Phish. These were the deepest and most spiritual moments of music that I have heard since the Gorge last year, and far more so than any music since. And the band was far from done…

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Giving “Taste” a rare second set spotlight, the band absolutely tore the piece to shreds. As they set sail into the jam, Trey eased into a completely natural tease of “Norwegian Wood,” a subtle nod to the similarity of the two melodies. “Taste” only really blows up when the band applies their undivided attention to the song, and coming out of this primordial music, that is exactly what they did, and the song shone in stylistic juxtaposition to all that had come before. And just when one thought the first action-packed segment of the show was ending, the band took about a minute to ease into the most outlandishly smooth “Ghost” intro in memory. While the few quality “Ghosts” of this era have all been very groove-directed, last night’s version was a totally different take on the song. Trey laid way back as the band passed into their crowd favorite, and before long, the crowd could barely recognize what was happening.

12-30-2010—MSG (Graham Lucas)

It has been ages since the Phish used “Ghost” as a jumping off point to real improv—not the guitar-led scorcher of 12.31.10, not the complex grooves of 6.17.11—real, out-of-the-box improvisation. Throughout this mind-bending monster, the band smoothly moved between ideas, as Trey and Mike played off each other like Siamese twins. I cannot stress how unique this version was, really taking many elements and sounds of “Ghost” and putting them together in a totally inventive way. Trey laid way back throughout most of the jam, allowing both Mike and Page to step up at different times and take the music in fundamentally different directions. Never at any point in the jam did the guys fall back on cliché “Ghost” material, but continually pushed forward with astounding communication and interplay. Phish allowed the jam to live and breathe naturally, never forcing it in any one direction—a quality that underlined the entire show.

And just when you thought the band was gonna’ finally calm down with as Mike initiated an envelope-filtered move into “Boogie On,” the guys turned the party out with—easily— the most energetic jam of the night. Taking the usually innocuous filler song, the band exploded with spontaneity, bubbling with Gordeaux bombs, MVP guitar licks, and perfect Page accompaniment. The place absolutely exploded as the band wouldn’t relent with power grooves, crushing the most indelible communal-energy highlight of the night. This final portion of this jam saw Trey tease of Denver’s “Guy Forget” jam before flowing into a denouement that placidly landed the band in “If I Could.”

(Shelly Siegel)

If emotions were worth their weight in gold, this song would certainly have been one of the heaviest parts of the night. Fit perfectly in a set filled with musical madness of all shapes and sizes, “If I Could” provided a still oasis of beauty. Played with such patience and feeling by each and every member, this passage remains one of the most heartfelt of the night—easily.

As the band dropped into “Quinn The Eskimo” coupled with the fresh feeling of the show, it seemed like they might close the set with a rousing rendition of the Dylan classic. But instead of ending there, the band took one last dive into “Harry Hood” to the delight of all. At the end of an awe-inspiring evening, Phish let things flow into a cerebral, mellower-than-usual “Hood” that seemed to fit just right. Taking the song’s final note and crashing into “Cavern,” Phish looked to cap the frame with the short set-closer, but when they reached the song’ final sustain, Trey brought the show full circle by bursting into a “Buried Alive,” the song with which the whole night got rolling!

Though the transcendence of the summer’s tour opener was focused in the second set, the first set was also quite good. Right out of the gates, the band sounded on point, peppering the first set with fresh song choices, crisp playing, and a couple pieces that could foreshadow things to come. Opening the show with an old-school one-two punch of “Buried Alive” and “Runaway Jim,” the show immediately harnessed the vibe of New England shows of lore. But the old-school feel wouldn’t last, much to the delight of fans looking for a spiced up rotation with new material. “Nothing”—played for the first time since Camden 2010—was reworked with an outro that seems primed for summertime exploration. Additionally, the band brought back Page’s “Beauty of a Broken Heart,” a song that will hopefully break into regular rotation this tour. The always welcome “Torn and Frayed” stood out as well, as did above average versions of “Ocelot”—in which the band began to earnestly jam within the song’s tempo—and the quite possibly the most interesting version of “Possum” I’ve heard this era! Yup, when even “Possum” is a highlight, it was a good night. And last night was simply phenomenal.

I: Buried Alive > Runaway JimTorn and Frayed, Funky Bitch, The Moma Dance, Rift, Nothing, Ocelot, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Possum, Rocky Top

II: Carini* -> Taste, Ghost > Boogie On Reggae Woman > If I Could, Quinn the Eskimo > Harry Hood > Cavern > Buried Alive

E: Loving Cup   (*w/ “My Left Toe” jam)


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705 Responses to “A New Flow”

  1. Falcor Says:

    Hello Mr Bailey!

  2. Falcor Says:

    My story is neverending! Disney on Ice!

  3. robear Says:

    Good night all! Lots of happy folks. Well done.

  4. plord Says:

    What up BB. I thought tonight’s sets didn’t flow as well as last night, but the peaks were very very high.

    We can officially kill the “They never jam Roses anymore” complaint. That was the shit. Maze did that thing it does. Slowwwwww Gin groove, super danky.

    Big dirty Disease. Yes. and I was totally digging the tight, granular Sand. It was shortish and brownish and mossy. It spoke for the trees. Then, it spoke for the grass. Bluegrass, that is. That segue was a George Gervin finger roll. Not one I would have called, but it’s hard to complain when they lay it in that well.

  5. willowed Says:

    Tonight’s show and last nights shows were two different beasts.

    The one link, the boys are ready to play. They practiced!

  6. willowed Says:

    I am totally sauced right now. Me and KP are in my hotel room getting straight lifted.

    Tomorrows a new day!

  7. willowed Says:

    Box of wine…….ouch

  8. hoedown Says:

    Right here with ya Willowed. Feeling what your laying down.

  9. ReidIcculus Says:

    The loop at the end of Roses kinda has the sound of a fawn in the Forest whos mother was just executed. Just saying’

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    plords george gervin reference ftw

  11. YborCity Says:

    I love this place when tour is happening.

  12. MisterChristian Says:

    Miner got that jammy Free he’s been chasing. Might not be an all time monster, but definitely worth the time.

    Add a jammy roses to consecrate last nights ’98 vibe. Gooood shtuff

  13. MisterChristian Says:

    2nd set felt short to me, like they lopped off the actual last song. Expected a monster encore. I’m not the biggest suzie fan but this one got a smile out of me.

  14. ReidIcculus Says:

    Willow getting lifted

  15. willowed Says:

    Just listened to the KDF……shit was smokin. I am totally off the grid right now. Me and KP are straight lifted

  16. willowed Says:

    this 2001 has a KDF jam to it.

    They gave it the extra treatment tonight

    Wow….I am fucked. need sleep

  17. willowed Says:

    yoooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooo fuckin hoooooooooooooooo

    Drivin back to CT tomorrow is going to be a bitch.

    Then I have to coach my daughters lacrosse tournament at 12:30

    Say a prayer for me BB

  18. revise your despise Says:

    In the name of wookie jesus, please give willowed the clarity to will the team to victory and not wander around aimlessly hitting on all the lacrosse moms. Amen

  19. GhostPhunk Says:

    You got this willowed, good vibes your way regardless.

  20. willowed Says:

    Lacrosse moms are hot….mark it

    Listening to the Boogie from last night….smokin

  21. willowed Says:

    Trying to coach my 9 year old after taking a bunch of boomers will be tough.

  22. willowed Says:

    See you all in AC signing off

    Phish just slapped the taste of MSG out of our Mouths. Woooohooooo

  23. voopa Says:


  24. sumodie Says:

    Another sweaty rager – sets werent as tight but loved the cascading peaks

    sure, that sand was intense until it inverted into nellie cane, but the flip was slick as shit

    Exhaustion pulls me under….

  25. MiA Says:

    Reidicculus is back. Nice.

    Love the dispatches from the front.

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