A Southern Scorcher

6.20.12 (Michael Stein)

In stark contrast to their first show in Portsmouth, Virginia, on Wednesday night Phish threw down a heavy hitting, two-set affair with jams aplenty, several bustouts and a pair of well crafted sets. The ominous tone of the music provided balance to lighter feel of the first night, providing the yang to the latter’s yin. And where night one was light on improv, night two provided a coherent musical journey. Boasting flow from the beginning of the show the through the end, last night sits among the most robust overall performances of this young tour. Let’s take it from the top!

Unofficial Portsmouth Print (Masthay)

When the band stepped on stage to start the show, they immediately rolled out six 2012 debuts, including sought after bustouts, “Ha Ha Ha” and a sign-induced “Dog Log.” The fresh setlist gave the show an energetic jump-start without needing a lick of jamming. Also included in this sequence was a mid-set rendition of “Divided Sky,” a song that provided far more of a treat with its diminished role in the rotation. But when the summer debuts ended, the band kicked into high gear with “Mike’s Groove.” A slowed pace and thunderous groove of “Mike’s” rattled the undersized environs and the show was off and running. “Weekapaug” provided the the first glimpse of the outstanding, full-band communication we’d see from all night as Trey tore off continuous melodies over a popping groove that was anchored by Fishman’s smooth work on the skins. The first set wound to a close with a four song run that included another two 2012 premieres in “Ya Mar” and “Bold As Love.” Trey wove the “Ya Mar” lick quite smoothly, albeit a bit early, into the liquid textures of “Cities” and the band switched into the summer favorite. When “Bold As Love” seemed like it would close an extended first set, the band punctuated the frame with a nuanced “Juluis,” a jam that Fish and Mike framed to perfection with a shuffle beat pocket. With such a pronounced first set, the second was sure to bring huge things. And it did.

6.20.12 (M.Stein)

Taking both “Rock and Roll” and “Tweezer” off the shelf for the first time since Bonnaroo, Phish combined the two crowd favorites in a fantasy sequence to spark the second half. Forging through “Rock and Roll’s” composed jam with notable rigor, the band was clearly locked and loaded for a big set. The progressed out of song structure with a slick, Trey-led, slowdown and passed quickly into an ethereal spacescape. Trey favored loops and effects amidst this elegant sonic mystery. Hinting at a Digital Delay Loop Jam, this segment painted a portrait of the universe’s outer realms before Trey slinked into the “Tweezer” for which so many on tour had been jonesing. Playing through the actual song with all sorts of bells and whistles, Phish revved their collective motor and prepared to enter freezer.

From the onset of the jam, Page assumed leadership, pacing the quartet with his piano chords and assuming the melodic lead as Trey remained in the background. Coiled like a viper behind the groove, Trey alternately raised his head and struck with accented licks, effected layers of sound, rhythm chops, and outright leads. All the while, Mike and Fish remained locked in urgent and powerful dance rhythms. Page hopped to his clavinet and brought the “Tweezer” into Crunchville with a filthy tangent, and the crowd responded to the change of texture with roars of delight. Snapping into “Tweezer’s” traditional build, Red brought the house down with a soaring final peak before the guys slid through an outro groove and smoothly into “Free.”

6.20.12 (M.Stein)

Used as a landing pad for the past three years, it seemed that is exactly what was happening last night. But, momentarily, things got very interesting. As the band seeped out of Mike’s bass solo, Trey began to slice and dice the jam like he hasn’t in years, including a short plinko line that seemed to be pushing the band into the first “Free” jam of 3.0! But he forgot to tell his bandmates. Having been programmed since 2009 to go right to the song’s final chord changes out of the bass solo, that is exactly what the rest of the band did. Trey’s attempt was in vain, but perhaps this illustrates a willingness to stretch out one of the band’s long lost jams of the modern era.

The unquestionable highlight of the night, however, had still yet to be played. The stylistically opposing “Guyute” and “Birds of a Feather” provided a mid-set buffer before the guys jumped of the deep end into a profound “Harry Hood.” Once again, Trey laid way back as the band joined forces, allowing Page and Mike to set an ambient tone to things from the jump. Trey merged with this idea, offering minimalist “Hood” licks to the collective, and then layering his own psychedelic offerings into to a thickening dreamscape. Utterly awing in every sense, the band built an abstract take on an old tale, captivating the crowd with their originality. This excursion reached planes that “Hood” rarely, if ever, touches, and provided a welcome improvisational diversion. And when things reached their most abstract, Trey coyly laid in the melody of “What’s the Use?!” The band all took heed and adjusted within measures, sculpting another staggering summer segue.

6.20.12 (M.Stein)

The Siket Disc instrumental blanketed the pavilion with its post-apocalyptic sound, though the band—not rushed at all—moved through the piece with a bit more tempo that usual. As “What’s the Use?” came to an end, Fishman made the obvious decision and moved directly back into “Hood’s” cadence—it seemed that the band would complete their early classic. But as Page took over with a piano solo leading away from the song, the band missed a golden opportunity for another magnificent transition. Page’s hijack took the set into “Velvet Sea,” which, given the larger musical circumstances, wasn’t altogether inappropriate. The stage seemed set for a monster “YEM,” but—for whatever reason—the band is holding back their seminal piece this summer and, instead, turned to “Possum” to close the second set.

The Final "Tuck" (M. Stein)

The encore provided thematic closure on nTelos Pavilion’s two-night stand as Trey came out and quietly played the Star Wars theme before the band launched into a final tucking” episode in “Sleeping Monkey.” During the song, Trey put his guitar down and serenaded Fishman, finally asking him to come out for one last “tuck.” And as you might guess, Fishman was more than happy to oblige. Torching the venue aflame with “Tweezer Reprise,” Trey stomped like a madman around the stage, pushing the 6,500 person crowd into a frenzy. And when the guys took their final bow of the night, everything seemed back on track in Phishland as they prepare to invade the Midwest.

I: Sparkle, Ha Ha Ha, AC/DC Bag, Divided Sky, Dog Log, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove, Cities -> Ya Mar, Bold As Love, Julius

II: Rock and Roll > Tweezer > Free, Guyute, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood -> What’s the Use? > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

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754 Responses to “A Southern Scorcher”

  1. sumodie Says:

    and my Spiritualized obsession continues…

  2. poop goblin Says:

    Carini > Taste > Ghost > Boogie > If I Could

    to my ears is the most patient flowing relaxed not a wrong note piece of phish you can get in 3.0.

    I really love this chunk of music.

  3. phoammhead Says:

    Greetings from nc outer banks . . . Ahhh . . . So glad the boys dropped that tweezer on my head full last nite. Stopped in weepin radish brewery on the way here. Life is good.

    We had a grate run of five. Enjoyed seeing familiar bbers – sumo, silly, leo, g7 (also friend mike), mitch, adub, willowed, mrP, gDad. and, meeting some new faces – drP, glowy, xspun, df, alph.

    1st nite AC we hung out with some sopped … Huggie group. 2nd nite with a long time friend of Bek’s. 3rd nite with bbers . . . Loved watching many of you getting down . . . esp silly . . . cat loves phish.

    Ports dialed it large with some old time hommies . . . Raged it good.

    Cheers . . . Raise a glass!

  4. bob dylan Says:

    I’m on page 19 still.

    I used to smoke beesters. Not that I’m getting the killdawg now but least it’s not that. Want more of that shit from AC.

  5. plord Says:

    Uruguay to legalize jah herb.


    Sumodie, you work your way around to _Let It Come Down_ yet? Def an underfluffed Spiritualized album.

  6. voopa Says:

    Gonna have to hit a show w/DIF so I can point at him during Cities. “Look over there…” Can’t not think about that every time I hear Cities now.

  7. DryIceFactory Says:

    I’m very much in the “go ahead, cover the talking heads” camp

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    UIC I set II is my fav set of 3.0 still, though Worcester I is close @aw

    Waves->Undermind is $$$$

  9. M00nshake Says:

    Back from Portsmouth. I had a great time at one of my favorite venues. Sure it wasn’t as good as Worcester but it was a ton of fun. I liked the Tweezer last night and I had plenty of rage room where i was standing. I’m paying for it now, though, because I’m exhausted. Debating on whether i will make it to Charlotte…

  10. poop goblin Says:

    mine too BK

    the guitar work on that Waves > Undermind is just vintage dirty Trey

    both really the only 2 to consider on flow alone. besides maybe 1/1 but not quite enough meat there.

  11. MiA Says:


    From http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/145238-charles-bradley-no-time-for-dreaming:

    Listen to Charles Bradley and you will hear a man living his dream. Born in Brooklyn in 1948, he spent much of his childhood on the streets. The brightest moment of his youth came in 1962, when he saw James Brown’s fabled performance at the Apollo, which left him so astounded that he instantly decided his future would be as a singer. However, there were plenty of setbacks and delays—he lost jobs, he moved a lot, his brother was murdered. But in 2002, Daptone Records spotted Bradley’s talent and drive and signed him soon thereafter. And now, roughly a decade after that deal and 49 years after that fateful 1962 night, Charles Bradley is finally releasing his debut album, No Time For Dreaming.

    As you may have guessed, it nods to the great soul men of yore—Brown, Al Green, and Otis Redding included—and does a fine job of paying them homage. After all, Bradley was around when the music he imitates was in its prime, so he undoubtedly has a good grasp of his particular genre. But unlike Aloe Blacc, Raphael Saadiq, and Bradley’s fellow Daptone late bloomer Sharon Jones‘ records, which make welcome stabs at soul revivalism but still sound unmistakably modern, No Time For Dreaming doesn’t sound contemporary in the slightest. But that’s the point. It sounds like everything was recorded at once, and the occasional female backing vocals could have been plucked directly from Aretha Franklin’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You.

    But most of the authenticity has to do with Bradley’s voice, which is rugged, full and, above all, powerful. It’s also very versatile: Over the course of a few tracks, Bradley transitions from a desperate, Brown-esque near-shriek (“The World (Is Going Up in Flames)”) to a smooth croon (“Lovin’ You, Baby”). Those pipes are at their most affecting on “Why Is It So Hard”, which is the album’s apex and Bradley’s story in capsule form (“Why is it so hard to make it in America/ I’ve tried so hard to make it in America”). Maybe this guy is why there’s an age limit on “American Idol”—he’d put all the younger contestants to shame.

    Musically, No Time For Dreaming is mostly brass-heavy Al Green-circa Call Me pastiche. The Menahan Street Band, who accompany Bradley throughout the record, do everything a great backing group should: Stay away from sounding stagnant without knocking the front man from the fore. The trumpets and saxophones are usually out front and often trace the vocal melody, highlighting the powerful hooks. The guitars sit a little lower in the mix but still add a subtle flair, providing a foundation as integral as the rhythm section.

    All of this functions as a necessary reminder of how awe-inspiring bona fide soul can be when done well. You don’t need to know his back story to fall in love with Bradley—the music speaks for itself. This album has been a looooong time coming, but it’s more than worth the wait.

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Yay Uruguay!

    Seems right for the country with its culture being as such.

    So is the phish from vermont doing anything this weekend?

  13. voopa Says:

    Sounds promising MiA. Bradley’s been on my radar lately, making waves in the SF clubs. I’ll check that for sure.

  14. makisupa Says:

    Howdy Miner and BB – this is a Canadian RANDOM DRIVE-BY post!

    been a year since I last posted and lurked, back when we were all flying high on the Summer tour wave of 2011. Did the Dicks run and loved what i heard. the first Steam this summer will melt glaciers.

    glad to see the BB is alive and well! thank you all for your orangeness and DL’s, kind pholk. life has been busy, congrats to all the new parents out there

    Read Silly’s comments on page 4, re:experiential. love it!

    Sure, collect the moments that matter (songchasing, type II epicness, slick segues). But feel it all. We owe it to the band to feel – the air, the sounds, the love, the phamily, the joy – that is going to live shows. Phish knows how lucky they are to have you, your dedication to this band BB is staggering! you digest the shows and devote much love to the BB with time, and sharing your lives. Keep on giving BB the band feels your focus

    I look forward to hearing more grade A phish from Deer Creek, Alpine, and points midwesty in between. I love the sounds of the Woostah opener, lovely Carini jam.

    Have fun in the midwest, everyone! see you at BGCC, WEST COAST and Phish Glitterati!

    PS opinions matter, good to be divergent and express your individual feelings. I wish for new songs and covers, feel the concern for repeats and nostalgia, and am grateful to have those concerns, and not Phish 2001-02,05-08.

    now back to page 5….:)

  15. lumpyhead Says:

    The criticism!

  16. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Hey Maki! Good to see folks coming back around

    I’ve missed plenty of hot ones but so glad to have caught AV10, 1/1, UIC1, and AC1 lately. Probably for that reason I’m more a flow chaser than anything else lately. 12/28 wasn’t bad either…

  17. poop goblin Says:

    Amazing must hear album MIA

    Some recent live Bradley flacs around too

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    car says 112 degrees out. Beautiful weather… perfect for a Pre-K graduation. All smiles here.. 😉

    Regardless of the last 2/3 shows I still really enjoy listening the sound coming from these 4 band members. It does sound fresh to my ears, even without new material.

    AC 1 is my favorite show with that second set also being my favorite set.

    While I do love that chuck of music from DCU 1, I still gotta go with Ac1 as a complete set… Sally>Bowie to fucking close it out! After the ridic Birds, Twist>Piper…

  19. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Palmer, it is actually 112 here outside.

  20. TJ Says:

    botched Hood>Whats the Fuck? Seg

  21. Mr palmer Says:

    Pb- it’s a dry heat though 😉

    I was in Arizona in July ’97. It was freaking hot. One day the pool at the house we were staying was 90 degrees and it actually felt good when you went in.

  22. IrieWalton Says:

    I’ll never forget being in Phoenix one day for a show (Panic, maybe?) when it was 115 degrees and seeing 3 wOOks getting out of the giant ice coolers outside of a 7-11. Funny stuff.

  23. kenny powers Says:

    Poop Goblin

    Completely agree 110% w/ your top post. I listened to that stretch uninterrupted on a car ride and was pretty floored by the fluidity. Makes you kind of lose track of time its so good.

  24. poop goblin Says:

    I don’t like fake openers like my soul. I like when it jumps right in like Carini

    Also think BOTT got pulled to early

    Agreed back end of set crushes WCU but the first 60 are the most important

    And Carini taste ghost boogie if I could

    Is just the whole package. Flow. Patience. Every jam fully realized

  25. phoammhead Says:

    2nd beer tasting of the day . . . Next up . . . Fish tacos ftw

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