Split Open and Tuck

6.19.2012 (Michael Stein)

Throughout the modern era, it has been proven time and time again that sometimes the guys just like to play songs and have fun with out flirting with exploratory jamming. In what amounted to one long first set, Phish ran through 26 songs—crushing each and every one—with airtight interplay and obvious precision. The musical highlights of the night were weighted in the first set, while the random song generator was in full effect for the second straight second set of tour. Phish’s “Shuffle Mode” set in after the break and they spat out songs with no rhyme or reason. The set craftsmanship of 2012 that we saw on display in Worcester and for most of Atlantic City was nowhere to be seen in Virginia last night, as the show lacked any coherence, whatsoever. Laced with fun antics in the second half, the band seemed to decide on songs with little thought as to the nights contour—a very odd juxtaposition to first week of summer. But Phish will be an enigma to the end, and all we can do is enjoy them while they are here in whatever form they take. And we got that going for us, which is nice.

6/19 Official Print (Spike Press)

The first frame set things up quite nicely for the second with highlights of “Tube,” “Babylon Baby,” “Bathtub Gin,” Stealing Time” and “Antelope.” The band followed up AC’s standout “Tube” with another swanky first setter, as Trey got creative with rhythmic comps and palm-muted leads while Page went buck-wild on his clav. With Mike and Fish playing together as smooth as ever, the pocket was deep and the band came together in an early throwdown on a humid summer evening. The second appearance of Mike’s “Babylon Baby” also stood out as the band moved through its jazzy interplay with precision and urgency, upping the ante from UIC’s debut. This jam carries a fresh sound into the mix, and I think can it can really become a modern staple if the band allows it into the regular rotation. Check it out.

The set really picked up in audience energy with “Bathtub Gin.” The band palpably upped the crowd’s enthusiam as the jam concluded the hot summer day and brought us into the “cooler” evening. The music took an upward swing as Mike and Fishman shifted out of conventional “Gin” territory with a dancier pocket that carried Page and Trey into a jam that had a rocket on its back. Blasting through this sequence as if a one-minded beast, the band proved once again that their state of playing is clearly not an issue this summer. Annihilating this “Gin” and taking it to the top with a fury, they sustained the last note and splashed into yet another first set standout—“Stealing Time.” The band has finally added a jam to this song after two years of existence, and with each play it’s getting more and more engaging. In a crystallization of the post-hiatus sound, the band entered a dirty, sparse, and swinging groove while Trey unleashed his uncompressed growls within the jam as opposed to an overpowering solo—really quality stuff. Look for “Stealing Time” in a second set coming to an amphitheatre near you soon!

Fishman "Tucking" - 6/19 (M.Stein)

Of all things, a Fishman appearance set the tone for the rest of the show. During his vacuum solo in “I Didn’t Know,” he made a joke about tucking his dress into his underwear—and the proceeded to do just that as he played the Electrolux. Ridiculous to the core, the joke of “tucking” ran through the rest of the show, altering the lyrics of several second set songs, as well as the final chorus of a burlier-than-thou, first set closing “Antelope.”

When Phish came out for the second half with “Back on the Train” and “Rift,” it certainly seemed we had a case of “Jukebox Phish” on our hands. Things got far more serious in an instant, however, as the opening beats of a “Split” rang through the intimate pavilion. Coalescing in this jam like they haven’t in any recent “Split,” the band’s polished playing made this version pop with terrorizing artistry. A slowed tempo allowed the music to breathe, and the band to really be able to listen and respond to each other with intricacy. Fishman—perhaps the emerging star player of this early summer—held down this jam with alternating beats that kept the guys on their toes, without room a moment of complacency. This dark excursion ebbed and flowed with Fish’s leadership, and when all was said and done, the band had—easily—crafted the most menacing and cohesive “Split Open” of this era and the no brainer highlight of the night—must hear Phish.

6.19.2012 (Michael Stein)

But just like in the final Atlantic City show, here started the run of questionable second set song choices. While “Mango,” “Number Line,” “Limb” and “Shine a Light” are all stellar songs, stringing them together as the “meat” of the second set just doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. But one can’t criticize the playing of the band for a moment, and that is a lot more than we have been able to say over the past few years.

6.19.2012 (M.Stein)

The show got particularly funny when Trey picked up a light saber while Fishman invited any guys that were wearing a dress in the crowd onto the stage to “tuck” during “Lengthwise.” Well, the first “tucker” had absolutely nothing to tuck his dress into and wound up bare-assing the entire audience to the humorous dismay of the band. Then, as Fishman called a girl to stage, Trey began waving the light saber as a Jedi, while mimicking the voice of The Emperor saying “The force is strong with this one” while pointing at the second audience participant. Embracing his own Jedi mythology, Trey continued his Star Wars antics as the band slid into “Maze,” playing some parts of the intro with light saber on guitar. Needless to say, the “Jedi Maze” absolutely crushed, but it did little to salvage a second set that had been long lost.

Finishing the night with “Cavern > Fire,” and a “Mexican Cousin,” “Slave” double-encore, the band went offstage having played quite well from note one of the show right through the last, but without crafting any sort of flow in the second set, the first set of this show has far more playback power. But that “Split” is some truly demonic music from a song that hadn’t produced any in quite some time. When we look back at this tour, the first night of Portsmouth won’t be one of the shows that pops out as a highlight, but that’s totally due to song choice and placement rather than any lack of musicianship. Things are looking quite good in the Phish universe these days, now if we can just get the second set back in order, everything should progress just fine.

I: Sample in a Jar, Party Time^, Simple > Axilla, Tube, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, Horn, Babylon Baby, Bathtub Gin > Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, I Didn’t Know* > Run Like an Antelope

II: Back on the Train, Rift, Split Open and Melt*, The Mango Song, Backwards Down the Number Line, Limb By Limb, Shine a Light, Lengthwise* -> Maze, Cavern > Fire*

Encore: Mexican Cousin > Slave to the Traffic Light

^w/ Carl Gerhard of GCH on trumpet, * w/ “tucking” references

6.19.2012 (Michael Stein)


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1,083 Responses to “Split Open and Tuck”

  1. MiA Says:

    I hope checkered flag dude and unicorn rage stick dude have a seizure with those lights.

    Bringing my sunglasses into next concert.

  2. robear Says:

    Nice bluesy Tweezer. Couple Really slick funky bars. Couple token tease loops.

  3. jdub Says:

    Definitely a rushed set 2. With WTF all over the place.

    I miss that patient Phish I fell in love with in Woostah.

  4. tzara's Says:

    I went right from the last note to 5/11/72 dark star. Just sayin’

  5. voopa Says:

    Wow, they even cut that Reprise short. Weird.

    Enjoyed the show anyway of course. Obv. highlights are RNR>Tweez and Hood>WTU.

  6. MiA Says:

    Good idea Tzara’s.

    I’m gonna resist all the urges that make me ….


  7. robear Says:

    If I were a song named Harry Hood, I’d be a little bit pissed in this tour

  8. GhostPhunk Says:

    I need a throwdown STAT, shits getting too real right now

  9. MiA Says:

    G’nite everyone. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  10. JerZ Says:

    so far I feel like the AC light was the tour highlight

  11. jdub Says:

    Some really hot playing in there. RnR>Tweezer was such nice run. Birds was fiery, even if it was contained. Missed the Hood ambient melt down, but WTU sounded quite tasty. Unfortunately very little flow to this set, and the WTF song choices. But that is Phish. Just building some tension.

  12. sumodie Says:

    Twanx for the giggly shites

    least interesting show so far….

    This tour seems on par with last leg1 summer, tho with crispier chops & more energy

    and so onwards>>>

  13. Stupendous Says:

    I thought this was way better than last night…. wish i wouldve been in a theater-simulcast tonight instead

  14. bobby weird Says:

    Wait, so peeps hated on tht show? I’ll take a patient WTU n sleeping monkey any day of the week.

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I loved tonight. Largely because I did not see last night and immediately upon switching to cable after the webcast. GEICO’s possum commercial comes on.


  16. MrCompletely Says:

    Hood > WTU was sexy

  17. MiA Says:

    Was it?

  18. jdub Says:

    To top off the night, I left the garage side door open and now a skunk is hanging out in there. Son of a bitch.

  19. MiA Says:

    I didn’t see or hear it. Refund! I want a Refund!

  20. MiA Says:

    Play Possum. It’ll leave to take a piss break.

  21. joemeg Says:

    Brighten the night with dicks tweezer. So good

  22. voopa Says:

    lol MiA.

    Hood > WTU was quite good. And since C said so, Honky Tonk just came up on the jukebox, just for him, apparently.

  23. tzara's Says:

    5/11/72 dark star = antidote.

  24. jdub Says:

    Good advice MiA, I just blued balled him by choosing velvet sea>Possum instead of epic Hood ending. He ran away with his tail tucked between his legs.

  25. robear Says:

    IMO, Band has lost all momentum since AC night 2. They need to get their game back like James Harden. Lucky for Phish, they are not playing against The Heat.

    They have a couple days off to right the ship for

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