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)

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

  1. Lycanthropist Says:

    whats the stream?

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    Fuck. Thought AV was set up for Tweezer for sure.

  3. Oldskool Says:

    Someone just tweeted “too songy” some people amaze me

  4. MiA Says:

    Awesome xpun

  5. acleo Says:

    This is already a must spin asap

  6. MrCompletely Says:


    that first set is too songy

    thats priceless

    yeah that’d be better without so much Curtain With, Fuck Your Face and Tela’s in it

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    21 years since back to back Tweezers. Motherfucker.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Yeah C- the record I’m on now might be my favorite album title ever.

    “Taking Drugs to Make Music to take Drugs To”…

    Perfect Prescription was great, as per AW recommendation.

    So much VU sound from this band. Maybe too much? Not that i don’t love VU, but can be construed as a rip-off.

    Still have about 8 albums ( including live stuff) to get through.

    Thanks to the ‘noid super Spacemen 3 torrent.

  9. MrCompletely Says:


    that first set is too songy

    thats priceless

    yeah that’d be better without so much Curtain With, Fuck Your Face and Tela’s in it

  10. MiA Says:

    Ohkeepahblig is an idiot.

    “First time re-listening to the Blossom Tweez, such amazeballs. The closest 3.0 has come to Oswego day 2, set 3. #phish”

    Um. Try again.

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    I think C just broke the internet. Never seen that before.

    Too songy. Thank god thats the opinion of someone tweeting at a phish show.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    Perfect Prescription was where it all came together for them but I love the first two albums just as much, the raw madness of it

    You can still count on Walkin’ With Jesus taking the roof off the dump when Spiritualized plays it midset these days

    for some reason I just like S3 a lot better than VU. I know there’s no objective reason for that. Just how it is.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    you know the only problem with “Taking Drugs to Make Music to take Drugs To”…?


  14. Albert walker Says:

    Never too much vu rippin off. Palmer. It’s like prime era stones.

    Some bands were so sick everyone just had to cop there shit.

    But agree pure velvets on that shit.

  15. The Flesh Says:

    Need myself a lifeboy between july 4th and end of spac

  16. Albert walker Says:

    Velvets were just raw. 20 years ahead of the rest.

  17. voopa Says:

    Nice stream tonight. Tuned in during WB, started getting choppy for me during Cool, came back during Tweez jam. Set 2 Mound, Reba, 2001 coming.

    …and Alaska.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:


    shoot me a link?

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    The thing is when you have a band like VU that just creates a whole new musical world then it’s not really the same thing as ripping them off I don’t think

    VU discovered the territory but there was still plenty left to explore when they were done

    like Hendrix or Gram Parsons or Garcia or Miles any of the real pioneers

    it’s just that 90% of the ones who come after the pioneers suck at creativity. They don’t bring any new flavor or ideas. Thats when its ripoff bullshit.

    it’s possible to play Gram Parsons derived stuff and be interesting or creative. or you can hack it out.

    ear of the beholder I suppose

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    ah yeah what @aw said as usual

    i mean how much of modern experimental rock is at least partly Velvets derived?

    pretty much all of it thats any good right?

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    but really it comes down to the fact I love S3 so much on a visceral level I don’t even give a shit if they are ripping people off

    thats my jam

  22. MiA Says:

    Everything is a derivative. Just gotta know from where.

  23. P.S.H.S. Says:

    all the vu talk has me thinking white light white heat mid second set, didn’t someone say that earlier? watched spiders from mars the other night, first encore white light, second encore rock n roll suicide. between bowie anounced “last show ever for the spiders” but forgets to tell the band, umm…. awkward

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    jesus the pants Jerry is wearing lol

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    i bet billy almost broke his rule about never dickpunching Jerry because of those pants

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