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. tela'smuff Says:


    and nice post BH, even though the liking Alaska in the second set, even if it’s patient, is a paddlin’. j/k. kinda


    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone; it’s meaningful

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Happened upon an interesting “elevator” by accident after Worcester1. I have a reserve of imitrex, a migraine medication, for serious headaches. When we got back to the car I felt one brewing so I took one along with a couple advil. By the time I got home, the fun I had eaten earlier that night reasserted itself. Imitrex is a vasodilator. Apparently, it had opened me up even more fully than I had been previously. Like a lot. I cannot recommend this as a thing to try, as use of this medication has its risks, but I can attest to its effectiveness.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Good stuff @BH

  5. Alf Says:

    Some seriously hilarious posts today. Love you kids!

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    yawning drone has been saving me the last few days. hitting up woosta whenever I get a chance over there.

    Wish Apple wasn’t so fucking stingy and I could just drop files into this phone without syncing to my home computer all the time.

  7. Alf Says:

    ^first ever iPad post. It even just changed ipad into iPad. This thing fucking sucks. Still love you kids though.

  8. ThePigSong Says:

    I don’t really know MLT, n00bin out over here.

  9. ThePigSong Says:

    Listened to the Berkley Light on the way home from work, and it’s actually much better than I remember.

  10. ElJefe Says:

    Pig- look up MKDevko I think his name on YouTube is. Got both Worchester shows up. Pretty Hq sound and video from the back of the room so you get good CK5 action…

  11. stapes Says:

    All I know is Troy sounds better and better with every spin of Woostah 1 & 2. Some really solid playing from all the guys. Mike is just full of ideas. Love him these 2 shows. Fish is tight. Page is as strong as he’s been all 3.0. Really like his Taste solo.

    Anyways, I’m pretty damn excited and optimistic for what this summer holds. Also looking forward to seeing Tela’s and AW in matching hipster sweaters over Labor Day weekend.

  12. ElJefe Says:

    Was that Yoda speak?

  13. ElJefe Says:

    Stapes- and skinny jeans?

  14. joe Says:

    If they didn’t care about the festival sets, why did they spend 2 nights of dress rehearsal for it in Worcester?

  15. jdub Says:

    Berkley Light and Gorge Rock and Roll are nestled at the top of 3.0 for me. Rock and Roll is the creme de la creme but damn if that Light does not deliver me from evils time and time again.

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Quick MVP? Called that months ago.

  17. ThePigSong Says:

    It almost felt like they were too embarrassed to be who they are last night and I didn’t like it. – Bingos

    I also got this feeling at a few points, iirc most notably the Tweezer abort mission.

  18. poop goblin Says:

    wow first spin Roses.

    shit just elevates right out of the build. as usual to the Woostah stylee Fish leading the way with some killer beats. such patient Trey.

    reminds of the Greek cities but way sicker. such timeless phish.

  19. ThePigSong Says:

    great thought ElJefe – I’ve been visiting mkDevo for certain woosta highlights, not sure why I don’t just make that my default player. I do really love what the guy at yawning drone is doing though.

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    that took all of 15 seconds and now I have a CK view if I chose.

  21. Alf Says:

    Disagree poop that the roo set is a vacatiion pay day. Trey is prolly working harder at that show, bc it’s a show for the media/critics. He’s ‘on’ for the cameras and I think this shows clearly on the web cast

    He can relax and be in his element for the reg tour stops, in the phish crowd and out of the media spotlight

    iPad auto correct is really annoying. No this isn’t my iPad I’m posting from. Would never buy this piece of shit. No flash on an ‘entertainment’ device, really? I’m done.

    In other news,troy was funny post MSG,but trey put an end to that in Worcester. Cat made it clear he is the treyza again. Fuck auto correct treyza!!!!

  22. Alf Says:

    I’m sure it’s been talked about but the slow tempo in the woosta gin is huge, breaking the mold for future gins to blow the f up. First non template 3.0 gin

  23. tela'smuff Says:

    @alf – what shows you hitting rest of summer?


    I’m partial to the Tahoe Light of the Lights. So very alien… so very alien.

  25. Alf Says:

    Not quite ready for roses but am about to do first proper spin of sand>nk

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