Phish 2012—A New Age

Portsmouth (Katie Loya)

I’ve had a couple days to kick back and spin the highlights from the first half tour, and—wowzers—talk about playback value! The current process of picking a show or set to listen to likens the old days—almost every show is worthy! And on top of that, one can just hit play at let things roll. Virtually vanished are the awkward jam abortions, the on-stage musical power struggles, and the routine setlists. Present are fluid transitions, fresh, cohesive jamming, and a spicy song selection that nobody can predict. This summer, the band has come to play, and thus far the musical highlight reel is dizzying. Last weekend in the Midwest put Worcester and AC in the rear view mirror and has the community drooling over the rest of summer’s open road. If the band continues at this rate—and they have shown no signs of slowing down—the amount of outstanding music we’ll be listening to come will be mind numbing.

Starting in Worcester on June 7 and carrying through Blossom on June 24, the band has maintained an incredibly high level of play for over two weeks—the longest such period in this era with no notably “off” show. Even in 2011—a year that upped the musical ante considerably—the night-to-night consistency that once defined Phish was still lacking. But this summer, those nightly blasts into original sonic dimensions have returned. With refined skill sets and a minimalist, “less is more,” philosophy, the guys have crafted countless highlights within the first two weeks of tour. The tightness, precision and adventure that so many fans associated with Phish throughout their career is back with a fury! Pulling elements from every era while adding new stylistic directions—all with the polish of matured musicians—the band sounds as good—if not better—than ever. They have stepped through another musical threshold—some have called it Phish 4.0—and the there seems to be no boundaries to where summer’s music may travel.

Atlantic City (Steve Lehrman)

Think about this. All of the following jams have happened in the past two weeks: Worcester’s “Carini > Taste,” “Ghost -> Boogie On,” “Roses Are Free,” and “Sandy Kane;” Bonnaroo’s “Tweezer’” AC’s “Birds > Back on the Train,” “Lighteca,” and “2001 > Reba,” Portsmouth’s “What’s the Hood?,” Cincy’s “Disease,” “Twist,” and “Sand -> Roggae,” Star Lake’s “Seventh Simple Light Groove,” and “The Golden Ghost”of Cuyahoga Falls! Innovative jamming all over the place—and that’s just the super-dope chronic shit! There are supporting jams all over these shows that stand out as well. Consider the results from following songs that have been in consistent rotation—“Bathtub Gin,” “Stash,” “2001,” “Tube,” “Stealing Time,” “Piper,” “Ocelot,” “Slave,” and “Tweezer.” Put all that together with an array of bustouts, laser-like precision, and a revitalized enthusiasm, and Summer 2012 is shaping up to be quite the season!

If one word can sum up the difference in the band’s playing this summer, it is “patience.” Applying a minimalist approach to jams, no member is forcing ideas into the mix. Instead, each player is listening and tastefully adding their part to the whole. Obviously, the most significant change in this respect has been with Trey. Laying back in almost every jam, he is allowing others to steer the ship before striking strategically with his most creative playing in years. One need not look any farther than the aforementioned jams to hear the spectacular results. And, again, we are only one third of the way through the summer. If 2012 follows the contours of the previous three years, the playlist we’ll have at the end of the year will be heavenly.

Night in and night out, Phish have been executing their game plan. Crafting thematic shows based on different aspects of their repertoire, the band’s creativity is at a 3.0 peak. The level of excitement in the shows, on the lot, and in the community is palpable and growing with each and every throwdown. I can’t remember the last time such a widespread positive sentiment blanketed the scene. Everyone has jumped back on the train and we are in for a joyride like we never imagined.

Star Lake Pre-Show (Erin Loeb)

Tags: ,

1,069 Responses to “Phish 2012—A New Age”

  1. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    What about mike’s simple light groove below?

    About to leave gate flying home from florida to az. CO gets the return of Harpua

  2. RoosterPizza Says:


    I have no problem with the LEDs or ovals, at all.

    I was watching the Clifford Ball with Hood some time ago, and he commented on how he wished they would go back to the simpler lights. I started to agree, but then I thought about how I am sure there were a lot of people who thought those were too much. I think the lights seeming too intense is an ongoing progression. Whatever the case may be, I like this rig quite a bit.

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    You are the intarwebz, T3

  4. flyingvgibson Says:

    always love reading your post and respect your views; haven’t seen any shows this tour, but the ‘casts, pix, and vids and the new light rig seems like disco phish. anyone else miss the old rig?

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Worcester roses on xm in the car? Hellz yeah

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Loverboy’s ‘Turn Me Loose’ would be a hilariously awesome jam for phish to arrive in out of a nutso, peaky tweezer or ghost.

  7. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Just posted AC #1 sources review. Went with M934c source. Taylorc has a new rig and it sounds righteous. Click on my name for the blog.

  8. Weekapaug Says:

    Great review Miner. Do you mention, did you forget to mention CK5? His new rig seems to be way different and better than any past tours. I havn’t been to a show yet cause I live on the Best Coast, but I’m blown away by the videos!

  9. Weekapaug Says:

    There’s more than just the added LED’s. It looks as if there are 4 Mac’s between each Oval too.

  10. jerseyjim Says:

    Thanks for the no-spoilers. It’s like finding spare change in the couch!

  11. btb Says:

    Alpine is now confirmed for this guy!! Making the trek!

  12. poop goblin Says:

    Hey Peeps! Loving this tour. band is groovin hard and Prancer sounds the most crisp since the late 90’s. loving 2012!

    anyone that needs some last minute jones beach tix my sisters girl has this pair trying to unload.

    sec 8R
    row MM

    seats 9,10

    have a good one peeps. thinking bout hitting Friday DC but def AV.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    David Lemieux is previewing Dave’s Picks 3 on the gd channel right now

  14. MiA Says:

    Cup of coffee and the Vimeo Twist. First time for me.

    See how this goes.

  15. Beaten Worker Says:

    mkdevo presents the Golden Ghost

    This guy is amazing

  16. cwc Says:

    Cant agree more. Bands whole playing is soo good right now. Evrything seems to have more juice.

    Funny thing, I was wearing my phishtoughts 1.0 tee at Porstmouth and I got asked 3 times if I was Miner. Also got to meet AJ in lot and got both gunslinging parrot and portsmouth print for 30. They are sweet!

  17. MiA Says:

    Well then. That took me back.

    46 likes is all? I hope that band isn’t taking that as fan feedback.

  18. jtran Says:

    Morning comrades

    On flight to Milwaukee. Southwest pretty impressive so far. Never flown them.

  19. Beaten Worker Says:


    I think it was just posted. If you arent familiar with this guy, just click on his name. HD videos of almost every song this tour.

  20. Beaten Worker Says:

    Ah you were talking about the twist video…

    ::backs out embarrased after misdirected post::

  21. MiA Says:

    I do love MkDevo too.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Stupid wook flu.

  23. The Flesh Says:

    I’ve kinda chilled out since AC.. if you have listened/attended these shows so far this tour, please rank the shows in order from must listen – to pass on. thanks. pumped for the 4th and all 3 spac shows next week!

  24. MiA Says:

    I was wearing my phishtoughts 1.0 tee at Porstmouth and I got asked 3 times if I was Miner.

    Hopefully cause you were raging and having a good time.

    Hmm… someone should start wearing on OPT shirt, and if they ask them if they are Online Phish Tour, they can tell everyone that they’re all wrong. This all just sucks.

  25. MiA Says:

    The Flesh …

    Listen to them in order. You hear the progression. Nothing wrong with that.

    Plinking songs out of shows is (IMO) easy to do, but of questionable value in the end.

    Gotta have the foreplay.

Leave a Reply