Viewing ‘Roo Through the Screen

Official Bonnaroo Print (Kelly)

Yesterday was my first webcast. It was odd at first. It certainly didn’t seem real; more like watching an old DVD I had never discovered. Instead of dancing, I texted my friends and posted on Twitter for much of the first show—the entire experience felt different than a Phish show. But then I got into it. The soundboard feed and crystal clear video began to draw me in, and my first night of couch tour turned into fun time. It was certainly a novelty—bong hits on the couch while cranking the show in the early evening in California? Not a wook to be seen? No spilled beers? Not so bad, really. Was it a substitute for being there? Not at all. But watching live was certainly a great option to be as close to Manchester, Tennessee as I desired.

I don’t feel that one can give a review of a show without being there to experience—it’s just not a genuine take. But in the interest of consistency throughout the summer, I figured I’d share some thoughts on the three segments of the show that stood out the most.

“Tweezer” I

After a long string of standardized singles in the first set, the band really brought me off the couch late in the opening set with the first “Tweezer” of 2012. As soon as the band launched into the jam, they dropped into virtual silence for a few measures before creeping into a very minimalist groove. With almost no backbeat, Trey began to weave a signature staccatto—or  “plinko”—lick into the mix, pushing the delicate groove forward. Each of the the band members were laying so far back in was as if they each had their own Lazy Boy, and the result was quiet and collaborative sonic tapestry. Fishman gradually built up the jam’s rhythmic backbone, as Page stepped up for the second part of the jam. But aside from Trey’s final guiar solo, this version strayed from a conventional “Tweezer” territory, continuing the fresh trend of Worcester. After the peak, the band slid into a brief ambient outro in which Fishman seemed to be hinting at “My Left Toe.” But Trey ended any such ideas with the opening riff of “Free.”

“Carini -> Shafty” II

Bonnaroo 2012

For the second time in three shows, Phish used “Carini” as a second set launch pad into sinister waters. While Worcester’s version traveled into ambient dementia, Bonnaroo’s maintained a hard-edged psych rock vibe, as Mike anchored the jam with gargantuan bass grooves. Rather than soloing, Trey favored seething, uncompressed, Hendrix-like guitar growls while Mike and Page led the thick, psychedelic brew. As the band added layers of spacier effects over the groove, Trey took a high-register staccato solo over the increasingly abstract music. The final segment saw him carving out notes with long sustain as Mike soon decided to drop the “Shafy” bassline behind the jam. For the second time this tour, Mike was the apparent decision maker of musical direction, and this time, Trey quickly fell in line, coalescing in a smooth segue. This two-song sequence was the no-doubt highlight of the second set, while featuring the first “Shafty” since Miami ’03.

 “Harry Hood -> Light” I


Towards the end of the second set, Phish dropped this unlikely song pairing. But before we get to the segue, let’s talk about the “Hood!” While Worcester’s version was nice, Bonnaroo’s was in another league. Playing with incredible passion, Trey lit up this rendition with original melodies that were distinctly different from his usual arsenal, and his finger dexterity and fluidity was on full display again. Mike responded throughout the jam with unique lines of his own, and “Hood” fully elevated with their ongoing, creative exchange. Once the band reached the top of the cathartic jam, instead of moving into “Hood’s” final section, Trey used the expected change to move into “Light” via a series of choppy rhythm chords.  This unexpected shift mimicked a similar transition from the band’s set at Austin City Limits set in 2010, but this time, they got into some experimental ambient textures in “Light.” While not fully developing a jam out after the composed section, the band did build a dark and abstract sound sculpture than extended well beyond the normal song structure.

Now Phish will take an uncharacteristic four-day break before playing again Friday in Atlantic City. Enjoy the week and see you there for the continuation what looks to be a very promising tour! See you on the road…

I: Down With Disease, Funky Bitch, The Moma Dance, Sample in a Jar, Axilla, The Gambler*, Possum, Wilson, Tweezer > Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Cavern, 

II: Golden Age > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Chalk Dust Torture, Carini -> Shafty > Rock and Roll, Alaska, Harry Hood -> Light > Character Zero, Rocky Top 

E: Show of Life, Julius, Tweezer Reprise

* w/ Kenny Rogers

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750 Responses to “Viewing ‘Roo Through the Screen”

  1. The Flesh Says:

    anyone taking megabus from NYC to atlantic city?

  2. sumodie Says:

    Yeah, CDT did sound somewhat off

  3. jdub Says:

    Last thing I want to see on Ck’s rig is a “computer thinking” spinning circle. But could go places with a little practice.

    Last night’s show was kind of a kickdown. Free live stream with a mid set 2 Carini melt down. Did we really want the band to blow their load completely before AC? Plus I got a huge kick out of starting and ending my weekend with the same tunes. It was funny. And Trey was all smiles so it was alright.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


    from a livephish “review” of last night’s show:

    I never thought I would see the day when the highlight of a show was a guest appearance by Kenny Rogers. For everyone going on tour this summer – looks and sounds like its time to fold em. The band is getting old.

    file that under Bad Puns and Missing the Point

  5. MiA Says:

    Spinning beachball of death behind Troy.

    Even CK5 thinks the jam is going nowhere.

  6. jerseyjim Says:

    calling a repeat of The Gambler for AC.

  7. xpun Says:

    thanks for the encouragement and some great idea (covenant drive by). still trying to convince her to abandon the shit story but guess i’ll let her fall on her face. she’ll learn

    it was a festival, lots of repeats, lots of songs, etc

    what surprised me were the highs were WAY better than i expected last night. need to go dl the show to relisten, but tweezer was great and so was carini>shafty. carini 2 for 2 so far after being so big 2 years ago.

    the band never ceases to amaze me with their tone. they have the greatest sound in the world. prolly why i can never get into 2.0 so much, it just sounded so gritty to me. hard to explain and i know you all know what im talking about but they just really have their sound locked in.

    so gambler in AC? would be totally fitting obviously. i was hoping for some ‘elvira” from kenny, thought the boys would tear that up

  8. GoingSouth Says:

    For what it’s worth, I thought the CDT jam was, at least, interesting. Trey shot out onto a limb by dive bombing with his whammy pedal, the band did their best to stay with the thought, and the end result was jazzy/creative but not spectacular.

    As the band has always said, though, improv can either send you to the moon or put your right on your face. I’m just glad that attempts are being made…

  9. phishnin Says:

    They really should have done Hood > Light > Hood. I love the new lights. The jamming was excellent.

  10. MiA Says:

    @T3, ah … the words of a Jaded Noob.

    18th anniversary today.

  11. xpun Says:

    yes im canceling all my summer plans based on the festi-set being too

    good riddance to you dude. more dance room for us.

  12. xpun Says:

    @mia – wedding or phish

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    Waking up with a little post-Roo cold over here

    Pouring rain right now. Gonna make for some miserable campers trying to get home

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    now is the time to get it into your daughter’s head that nothing good ever happens after 2am (or whatever time you choose to tell her). This has been true for me more times than I can to recall.

    glad I still have 14 years or so until I’m dealing with that stuff. good luck and grab some popcorn for the fireworks later today!

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    *care to recall

  16. MiA Says:


  17. xpun Says:

    i watched just a few videos of worcester but were the ovals there? i noticed the circles up above there, but for some reason the ovals were distracting my eyes last night. but i’m sure i wont notice in AC. i close my eyes a lot. actually sometimes i just wear my sunglasses all show because im that cool

  18. MiA Says:

    According to Jaded Noob, nothing good happens after 8 PM.

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    Happy Anniversary, MiA!

    You and your wife are a great couple to be around.

    If I ever get married, I hope my relationship adds to the experience of those around me like you and your wife’s relationship does, Mike.

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    Silly, did you get a feel for the reaction of non phishies last night?

  21. MiA Says:

    Thanks SW!

  22. xpun Says:

    mia – congrats to you and mrs mia

    t3 – haha. i almost put :pops popcorn: but since that post started with a rag on pt, i didn’t think it would

    i kind of feel bad for her because of the guys that stopped by, none were the guy that she claims she isn’t dating but has been hanging out with a lot. now she has to explain to him why she’s grounded

    i posted this last night because i watched the end of alice cooper’s set but he did schools out and dropped into a mashup with another brick pt2. i’ve been doing that all week singing my 7 year old to sleep. i was drunk and i felt like a rock star. if i hadn’t got so pumped prolly wouldn’t have gone down stairs for another drink and a certain little lady wouldn’t have got busted

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    congrats, MiA!

  24. neemor Says:

    From what I heard in Worcester, and the great vibe from the crowd taboot….this band is alive and thriving.
    Upon re-listen, it truly was a step-back into ’99 in a lot of aspects, not least of which is the fact that every night can blow your mind.
    (’99 being the musical peak to my ears)
    I love haters.
    I feel like I/we have been looking for that Golden Age>2001 for a bit. Nice to see it. Bet it was slick. I know when to hold ’em.
    See what I did there?

    Lest we forget also, this was Bonnaroo. Not a Phish crowd. This is exactly what Manchester was supposed to be. With a few fun-sounding twists.
    Now onto AC.
    For those going, make sure to bring the Depends and a slicker. The slicker for the showering bliss and the adult diapers for the second set glory funk.

    It’s all good. (Again)

  25. neemor Says:

    Since the band has clearly been reading the blackboard, I would like to put in my formal request for Time Loves a Hero.
    It would fit nicely with 2012 PH like Beauty did the other night.

    Oh. And don’t forget that Piper needs to breathe.
    Keep bringing the magic.

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