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. Robear Says:

    Anyone have the cliff notes to Sillys earlier post? Can’t read that shit without coffee.

    Miner figured out a way to stop the hate mail. Congrats. I respect that.

  2. marcoesq Says:

    forgot bout DCU

    The Band hasn’t finished a Hood since 2wks ago.

    871 days since Last Ghost

  3. Robear Says:

    T3!!!!!!! That’s gold! Only about 53 more to go!

  4. GhostPhunk Says:

    @Rob I couldn’t be more with your thoughts right now. Spot on.

  5. neemor Says:

    Thanks GP.
    I’m very sensitive like that!

    Course…dude “rocks” a flatbrim. See me commenting on that nonsense? Nope. Not even a little. 🙂

  6. GhostPhunk Says:

    cliff notes to Silly piece:

    It’s the experience that matters, get there.

  7. harryhood Says:

    @marco

    Ghost played at DCU as well. Where you getting your stats from brother? Llfa

  8. poop goblin Says:

    I apologize for my nonsense this morning. 2 things that get me crazy with 100% accuracy.

    AA people.
    and people that think herbs are drugs.

    both were hit on at once and made my head spin. plus someone has to give this place a little PT vibe no and then keep you on your toes. the all dick riding all the time gets old

    busy day peeps
    agree 100% stoney case
    laterz

  9. Robear Says:

    Kid took a half page to say that!? He will make a great lawyer. God save the trees!

    Te band finally out Amherst’d the Amherst run. Look for a Manchester type show around the corner.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    seven words, gphunk? George, I can summarize that post in TWO words.

    “Experience, yo.”

  11. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Mr.Miner Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 5:30 am
    damn. people are harsh. Miner is a fluffer.

    ^Meta

  12. neemor Says:

    Interesting perspective from a thoughtful and sonically aware poster in Robear.
    Hartford ’09 was magical.

  13. sumodie Says:

    cliff notes to Silly piece:
    It’s the experience that matters, get there.

    “Phish ter or die!”

  14. marcoesq Says:

    Hood, I’m just tooling on myself.

    2.15.03: Fans hung a large white banner over a section of the venue balcony proclaiming that it had been “871 Days Since Last Ghost”;

  15. neemor Says:

    People that don’t like AA people may someday become AA people!
    That’s my experience.
    But it’s probably cuz I have no willpower, right?
    llfa

  16. MiA Says:

    Dave Chappelle struggled in Austin (impromptu show) due to the inconsiderate crowds.

    Fans seem entitled to provide feedback now more than ever before. Esp. during shows/concerts. Interesting read.

    Tweezer still ripped. Maybe the only thing that ripped, and could have gone longer, but I really liked it.

  17. Guyute711 Says:

    Here’s tonights setlist:
    Moonchild, The Evil That Men Do, The Prisoner, Still Life, Die With Your Boots On, Infinite Dreams, Killers, Can I Play With Madness, Heaven Can Wait, Wasted Years, The Clairvoyant, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden.

    Can’t wait!!!!

  18. MiA Says:

    @marco, and the next day they put it up again.

    ““871 1 Days Since Last Ghost”

  19. MiA Says:

    That was a kick ass Ghost too.

  20. halcyon Says:

    T3

    Looking at it now…..will email in a few

  21. sumodie Says:

    Time to go snort some real life

    Beware the brown electrons!

  22. DryIceFactory Says:

    @marco

    did you surf when down at AC? we were getting shaaacked saturday morning on the north side of casino pier.

  23. GhostPhunk Says:

    careful sumo, I’ve seen that stuff tear apart many a man

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    not entirely off topic, this book looks like an interesting read when it hits the US later this year

  25. marcoesq Says:

    yeah they did, Mia. Ran into them that next night with the huge banner, loved it.

    Next on my html checklist: learn how to do that cross through

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