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. Calpain Says:

    wow, i thought the tronz ate that post. ^^ it was from before set ii started…

  2. lumpyhead Says:

    just watched mkdevo’s ghost from blossom.

    holy fuck

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    How was the show? Setlist? I left after Caspian

  4. robear Says:

    Thx for the reminder @ lumpy. Time to catch up on vids.

  5. robear Says:

    Lumpy this is Insane. On Golden Age. The video is all world.

  6. angryjoggerz Says:

    that long note at the beginning of ghost fucks with me

  7. DryIceFactory Says:

    Hi Chicos,
    I just peeped the set list. +500 to a (technically) WITH opener. Phish really is addressing my biggest complaint of last summer – small rotation. I think they must already be at (or beyond) the 200 songs they promised. I didn’t get to stream tonight but as MiA put it last week, anyone who isn’t digging what is going on right now is a “stupid eeyore”. These set lists and shows conitnue to be ridiculous – I dont even have to listen. Caspian>Wavesbug>Bug must have been epic on all levels. What else do I need to know?
    A Sincere Fluffer,

  8. DryIceFactory Says:

    I definitely called that set I Cool it Down like 2 days ago. Good on me.

  9. Robear Says:

    wow. we’ll never see another ghost quite like that. the little loops and and shit Trey gets going the last few minutes. wow. he was stalking the crowd for awhile. sheesh.

    who is this mkdevo cat? my hunch is former or current ‘team hood’. much thx.

  10. robear Says:

    DiF they are around 152 unique songs with like 7 tonight.

  11. sumodie Says:

    long note during Blossom Ghost intentional or not?

    aaaahhh, the return of Waves…

    ….that leaves ASIHTOS and S&SS (preferably 2nd set)

    and more Waves, please

  12. DryIceFactory Says:

    S&SS? My brain is shtut off.

    I really hope they save my Alumni opener for SPAC

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    it doesn’t sound like feedback if thats what you mean but I haven’t watched the vid yet. maybe in a minute here

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    Sammiches & Sammy Smiths

    name of my lot vending franchise

    franchises available in your area at surprisingly reasonable rates

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Late night GD on the stream is serving me well.

  16. DryIceFactory Says:

    Could we see the return of the 4 song second set? I think it would now be reincarnated as the 7 song second set, due to 1) the nightly ballad slot 2) overall length of set IIs in this era and C) the fact that shows are centered around 3 medium sized jams rather than 1 or 2 big ones.

  17. sumodie Says:

    S&SS = Scents and Subtle Sounds

  18. DryIceFactory Says:

    This would work in my formula.

    Tweezer->Sand, Harry Hood, Light->Piper->Joy, YEM

  19. sumodie Says:

    I’d be psyched if every set 2 this tour only contained material from 2.0 onwards

  20. Robear Says:

    spinning tonight’s ‘Waves’

    wow category. 4.0’d

  21. Robear Says:

    not quite Camden Sand, but uber sick in my book

  22. Robear Says:

    a highlight disc from this tour would be staggering already. wow.

  23. DryIceFactory Says:

    Any bouts of improv in set I?

  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    Other than With and Wolman’s obviously

  25. DryIceFactory Says:


    Very true. But try and imagine the Canadian highlight disc.

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