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. poop goblin Says:

    Go for it man. These algo driven political decision motivated markets scare the fuck out of me.

    My gld was up today. More $$$ are coming. Ben says so.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    That penalty could cost them the Cup. 5 minute major.

    Fucking dumb ass

  3. GhostPhunk Says:

    Missed call at center ice Palmer

  4. poop goblin Says:

    being long Merkel or short Merkel doesn’t seem like a trade but a dice roll IMO

    not true edge as far as short term.

    def get though having a longer term end of the world too much leverage in the shadow banking thesis.

    but short term seems like an option on some ugly bitch from Germany.

    too weird.

  5. poop goblin Says:

    long ugly chubby german bitch with the crazy greeks election as a hedge

    welcome to trading in 2012

  6. chad Says:

    TO: “Dyda” on top of page one of the comments…

    You are absolutely right and you are not alone. I am mystified that so many, including our host at this site, who devote so much time to Phish on the web are not echoing what is, to you, me and my most thoughtful/tasteful Phish family the plainly obvious fact that last night’s show was nothing short of another brutally disheartening concert by the 4 guys that we still hope have some bit of magic left.

    I know what you mean when you feel shocked to assert that position and find yourself branded a “hater” – when in fact, for many of us, it is the deepest kind of love which motivates us to offer experienced and honest appraisal. Hate? The only thing we hate is the looming possibility that we might have to finally admit that something fundamental and irreplaceable has been lost and isn’t coming back. No there’s no hate in wanting Phish to take back the Keys to the Kingdom, to adjust not their obviously still active musical talent but instead alter their philosophical orientation – away from their current path and back towards one of patience – to return to that guiding brilliance of a time when truly anything was possible for band and fans alike when the lights were dimmed.

    Last night’s show was a step backwards. Period. There were so many moments when they might have re-committed and each time, as has been the case for 97% of the last 3 years, they chose to serve diminishment instead of expansiveness. And you are right to say so, my friend, not because you are a “hater” but because your love of what they can be is so profound. You, friend, are no hater. Love is all that we have left… it’s hope and faith that are running in short supply.

    I, too (and many others) struggle to maintain hope and faith – especially when we are amongst those for whom last night’s show was in any way acceptable. But let’s hold fast to the notion that we aren’t alone and that those rare, sparse signs of this band’s spark that were heard as last summer drew to a close might still, somehow be fanned into a real flame.

    I’ll keep trying if you will.


    PS: Miner, it’s cosmically possible that you and I were watching a different webcast last night, or that social media is particularly distracting to you… but if not, well, you’re better than to serve up that snow job of a review.

  7. jdub Says:

    Man, Leo attacks his piano in this Gin intro. The second time stuns Trey to the point of distraction. Love it.

  8. GhostPhunk Says:

    NHL officiating is maddening. Two refs on the ice and they still can’t get it right. This power play should never have had a chance to be called. Play should have stopped on the penalty that wasn’t called against the kings. Maddening I say!

  9. xpun Says:

    damn what happened?

    got on phone to get AC travel plans worked out came back in to 2-0

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Gp- true, but it’s still a dumb penalty to board a guy like that from behind. 5 minute major, ejection.. No they are screwed. Fuck you DF!

  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Hockey is a pretty fucking fast sport, have a little respect for the refs.

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    AC bitches!

  13. stapes Says:

    yes @ el jefe in re: 12/30/03

  14. GhostPhunk Says:

    Yeah no doubt Palmer, they need one before the end of this period.

  15. xpun Says:

    have roo tweezer queued up for intermission. stream froze on me last night so first proper listen

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    respect for refs? come one DF, this is America.. We hate fucking refs, especially incompetent ones… 😉 I kid. Your looking good here, kid.

    What size shirt are you ladies Medium?

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Devils hit the post…ugh.. needed that one.

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    I would look great in a lady’s medium for sure.

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    chad. that was great festi show. I think you missed the point.

  20. tba Says:

    ps3 needs to update their streaming, couldn’t even stream bonn. also does not work for latest phish webcasts but did in 2010. not really a gamer, save some sports and music games, but was an xmas gift. wish i had x box as it seems to be more well rounded, although never used one. anyway yes several other options to do the job, but my ps3 is by far easiest to the bedroom. off topic, anyone who has not seen the new marley movie watch it asap, trust me.

    miner i laughed out loud at your– 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.

    not a substitute, but i love the webcasts. great sound and view, wish the internet had more concerts. although the you tube dead shows are one of my favorite things ever, to see something i was at so many years ago as a high school kid is sick and moving as hell. that said, frankly the net is at a cross roads, there needs to be more taking advantage of art, music, and literature in a smart as well as innovative way. surprised that the imagination for the good stuff possible is lacking a bit lately.

    seems “they” are starting to mold it a bit too much the way “they” want, and diversification is surprisingly tame.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    no doubt, poop. back in the chop zone btw. 1270 and 1330 – little edge here. looked like we were gonna breakout, but epic fail. I plan to stay disengaged for next 3 days and take fri. off for good times.

    like this mini-build up to AC. promises to be a tasty times.


  22. kayatosh Says:

    “brutally disheartening concert”

    ^^^ really?

    I found it to be a happy festi show showcasing some decent chops w/ a few kickdowns. no complaints.

  23. poop goblin Says:

    I dig this chad cat

  24. kayatosh Says:

    poop: the rub today may have been that unscheduled italian bank “holiday” and the dawning realization that spain is in deep.

    boring lingo done. sorry yall.


  25. xpun Says:

    this first melodic line trey puts out in roo tweezer is same as dcu1 ghost right?

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