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. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Enjoy your shows this weekend MiA ! May you see the show of your life.

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Listened to the Hood>What’s The Use – I do not consider that a “->” – Trey ended Hood far too early IMO. But I feel like I’m preaching to the choir 😉

    How is everyone?

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    nothing to do with the test

    some background checks for my license to practice haven’t come in from all the states i’ve lived in for the last 10 yrs.

    i only have one thing on my record, and they already told me that was fine. but they still have to have all the paperwork that says i’m good.

    i can’t start work until they’re in.

    one of my problems (right there) is that I can’t get a hold of my boss.

    if my employment date was to be pushed back I could have done the run, because I would have had time after alpine to look for housing etc.

    If I hear from my boss that I’m still set to work July 2 then I have to get on the housing thing stat.

    i spent all the time i had planned to find housing trying to straighten out all this paperwork.

    and, thus, i’m staying.

    sorry. didn’t mean to write all that. but, i definitely owed explanations to people like robear and jeff i.

  4. lumpyhead Says:

    What ever happened to my problem right there?

  5. Guyute711 Says:

    Maiden tour bitchez!! Mote to come.

  6. phoammhead Says:

    G7 on fiya!

  7. phoammhead Says:

    Also great to meet selecta

  8. MiA Says:

    Thanks Mr. P

    Ready to carry the baton forward. Still haven’t packed. Looks like its hotter than balls. T-shirts and shorts?

  9. Jtran Says:

    Musical @lumpy

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    In Cincy finally!! Let’s do this shit. Ready to get down and with the level of stress I’ve been under, I’ll throw down to a 2nd set Alaska and f’n like it at this point. #minerpositivityrubbingoffonme

  11. MiA Says:

    I’m so ready for Phish they could play Spread it Around and I’d like it.

    6:00 flight tomorrow. Packing up necessities.

  12. tzara's Says:

    No NBA thoughts tonight? We don’t cotton to OKC here in Seattle, so congrats to Miami Heat.

  13. brother Says:

    Lebron capping off the single greatest playoff performance in NBA history (…and i watched prob 80-90% of every MJ playoff run)

  14. brother Says:

    @tzara….you guy should get a team real soon. bullshit what they did to you guys

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Packed and ready. Work playing a fun game called “everything crashes down on you right before you leave”. Good times. Looking forward to seeing people in Cinci tomorrow.

    Team Enthusiasm, let’s do this.

  16. tzara's Says:

    Thanks @brother, it’s looking pretty good. Sac kings have a local hero in Isaiah Thomas so that could be fun.

  17. joemeg Says:

    If they play spread it round that means you probably just saw a great show

  18. MiA Says:

    My Soul > Spread it Around > Foam = shits Going DOWN!

  19. voopa Says:

    Sac Kings can move to Siberia for all I care anymore. Fuck the Maloofs and all their BS. Mayor Kevin Johnson is a joke too, but we all knew that going in.

    Time to calm myself with some DCU & AC highlights.

  20. voopa Says:

    I dig Lighteca, thought it was the culmination of the best jams of that night. Not your typical Light for sure, but I love it for what it is.

  21. tzara's Says:

    I feel ya @voopa, definitely no joy in taking a team from another city. That’s what happened to us. Sounds like the Maloufs are total douches. I’m not a big NBA guy anyway, more baseball (which is even more brutal in SEA).

  22. robear Says:

    Rest of the tour will slay. Portsmouth too close to unavoidable throw down in Atlantic City. Trey has plenty of fresh ideas for Phish. Just needed this little break to reset them. DCU, AC really high level stuff.

    Cincy Primed to bring back HuggieBear.

  23. brother Says:

    “cincy primed to bring back HuggieBear”….as someone who lived most of their life in cincy i love that statement

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    Listened to the Hood>What’s The Use – I do not consider that a “->” – Trey ended Hood far too early IMO. But I feel like I’m preaching to the choir

    ^ gotta harshly disagree with this. Best Hood since Worcester and a seamnlesss segue. What the f. is going in with people’s (or my) perception of this show? 4th/5th best full show of the year.

  25. bathtub brian Says:

    Great show last night, and the night before. It’s great to see the guys having so much fun! Bags are packed for the road to Star Lake. Have fun in Cinci everyone!

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