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. MrCompletely Says:

    well of course, HYHU does have fantastic tempo

  2. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I like couch tour because if the show rips, I feel like I was kind of part of it, and if it doesn’t, I don’t feel let down. Fantastic emotional optionality.

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    that was getting a little too songy. bring it soundcheck style boys

    alright gotta GTFO for a bit, enjoy couching it kids

  4. plord Says:

    if this goes large, the antics will be all but forgotten.

  5. jdub Says:

    mmm. Late set Waves to sooth the soul

  6. MiA Says:

    No stream. Looks good

    Done with glory hole phish

    But download codes appreciated

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    no one enjoys couching it, c

  8. Robear Says:

    and it’s not worth listening too. #losing.

    download soon, west coast time.


  9. MrCompletely Says:

    couch tour is to the live experience exactly as porn-based fappage is to sex

    the more you think about that analogy the more apt you’ll realize it is


  10. Henry Says:

    Caspian has had enjoyable outro jams the past couple of years. Definitely prefer 3.0 caspian to older versions, but gotta agree that the song itself’s pretty lame

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    this waves is sounding pretty spacey

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    there seems to be a whale in those waves

  13. angryjoggerz Says:


  14. jdub Says:

    Space whale.

  15. Albert walker Says:

    Now waves I’m bummin to not get at av

  16. phlorida phan Says:

    Waves>bug = one smooth ass segue

  17. DukeOfLizards Says:

    That sounded pretty goddamn wonderful.

  18. plord Says:

    yeah that was a good one as far as I can tell.

  19. revise your despise Says:

    the more you think about that analogy the more apt you’ll realize it is

    ^^Its apt I tell you. APT!!

  20. plord Says:


  21. jdub Says:

    And a Bowie to rage it on home.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    I dont know, I thought we were supposed to hate the whale but man, when that whale comes swiming through the space waves I am down as fuck

  23. jdub Says:

    Space whale works so much better than drowning whale.

  24. Beaten Worker Says:

    Couldnt agree more AJ

    The mating call sounds amazing this tour

  25. Calpain Says:

    just checked the set-list for the 1st time tonight, to see this:

    Weekapaug “featured” Trey on drums and Fish on guitar. Said Fish: “I think we’re a better band this way!”

    ^ antics, nice! all part of the game.

    interesting 1st set.

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