7.6.2012 (Dan Lewis)

In a power-packed performance with nary a lull in either set, Phish greeted SPAC with a show that immediately leaped into contention for the best of summer. Shedding the added pressures of the holiday and a web-casted audience, the band burst out of the gates with a jam laced first set, and a second that just blew the roof off the place. Both central jam sequences of the second set—“Carini > Sand” and “Sneaking Sally -> Ghost—stand out as immediate gems of tour, with the latter totaling 25 minutes of free-form glory. Bookended with scalding versions of “Chalk Dust” and “Antelope,” the second set flowed quite well, while showcasing dynamic interplay throughout. Starting from note one of “Runaway Jim,” Phish was ready for business last night, opening their tour-ending run in sensational fashion.

Playing everything with extra zest and crafting several highlights along the way, the band tore through an opening frame that flowed far better than most this summer, and one that packed more of a punch than any, with the first night of Deer Creek and Cincy being the only competition. Without getting out of the box, “Ocelot” contained an extra juicy jam, as did “Back on the Train”—a song that has been re-birthed this tour. But after a rousing “Funky Bitch,” one of the choice nuggets of the opening frame unfolded. Possibly responding to a sign in the front row, Trey led the band in a transition from “Tube” into the first performance of “Psycho Killer” since Hartford ’09! Seamlessly blending the funk jam into the Talking Head’s classic, and also back into “Tube,” Phish had the pavilion freaking hard early on in the evening.

7.6.12 (D.Lewis)

In the past few shows, the band has integrated Fishman appearances into the first set, a slot that works particularly well for the humor based episodes. Last night, Fish brought his cymbals with him to the center of the stage which could only mean one thing—“Cracklin’ Rosie.” But the comedy didn’t last too long, as after Friar Tuck did his shtick, the guys dropped into a serious version of “Stash.” With such spicy setlists in this summer’s opening sets, we have only seen the regulars, like “Stash,” a couple times, thus increasing their impact. And last night “Stash” hit hard. Delicate full-band interplay was backed with a similarly meticulous beat, and together the guys climbed a musical vine of tension. Trey only played as necessary, not dominating the conversation in anyway, and allowing plenty of room for Page and Mike to increase the drama. The poorly ventilated pavilion had many dripping in sweat after this smoking excursion, as Phish exhaled with a perfectly-placed “Bouncin.”

The final couplet of the set—“Corrina” and “Light Up and Leave Me Alone”—had plenty more than bust out value to them. Trey poured himself into his “Corrina” solo—a tranquil moment amidst so much action—and the guys absolutely lit up an extended rendition of “Light Up,” transforming the cover into the unquestionable jewel of a first set with passion and fury. But all that said, the second half would be where dreams unfolded.

Sparking set two with a stretched out “Chalk Dust” that, for a few moments, sounded as though it might blossom into a far larger jam, the band followed Trey’s cue as he reigned them in and dropped into one of this summer’s show-stopper’s, “Carini.” Starting in Worcester, each time the band has taken this song into unknown waters, they have come up with very different—and always golden—results. And last night continued this trend and then some. Instead of turning for a guitar solo, Trey stepped back and joined the band in a seething soundtrack to a dirty Phish fantasy. Immediately turning to his murky, uncompressed growls, Trey influenced the band into a slowed tempo as Mike stepped to the forefront of the jam and let things loose. Crystallizing the post-hiatus sound in a very modern musical context, “Carini” morphed into a menacing piece of psych-rock of the sorts of which I dream. With the airtight communication of 2012, this prowling groove remained patient throughout as the band seeped into its guitar-led, second movement. As the band maintained a palpable patience, Trey turned for blissful realms and the band followed right along into a stunning denouement, and a subsequent move into “Sand.”

7.6.2012 (Dan Lewis)

The band combined several of their central 2012 launch pads in this drool-worthy second set, the second of which came with the summer’s rhythmic juggernaut, “Sand.” Filling in a role “Tweezer” once held, “Sand” is now—unquestionably—the band’s preeminent vehicle of groove. Punctuating an opening leg of consistently jaw-dropping versions with another monstrous dance excursion, the band tossed ideas around like a hot potato, responding to each with inhuman immediacy. Trey progressed from rhythm comps into a swaggering solo that grew quickly in scope and sound, while the band moved right beyond the jam’s traditional ending point. The guys wanted no part in stopping as they continued to demolish the groove with increasing effects and abstractions. Trey finally brought the band back to earth with the song’s ending after a white-hot opening sequence of “Chalk Dust,” Carini > Sand.”

7.6.12 (D.Lewis)

When the band revved up “Roses Are Free” in the middle of the second set, it certainly felt primed to explode, especially as the energy of the entire audience was behind every single note. Thus when Trey bailed for “Punch,” even Mike looked miffed. And as an adrenalized “Punch” came to a head, the band drew out the ending into a distorted mystery. This juncture was going to be a huge turning point in the show—might Red go into “Trey Songz” mode or would he keep things moving strong? As the pause became dramatically long, it was like rooting against Whammies on an extended spin of “Press Your Luck.” And when Trey finally hit the plunger, he came up with “$5000 plus a spin” in the form of “Sneakin’ Sally!”

As the band moved in and out of “Sally’s” vocal improv, the jam was, clearly, only beginning. But few—if any—could have possibly predicted where it would go. Laying into the funk only briefly, the guys quickly injected the music with a more harrowing quality. Then, at the point where Trey might have ripped the cord on another night, he stopped on a dime and, with Fishman, led the guys into battle. Changing directions 180 degrees, though doing it without disrupting the jam, the band shot itself into an up-tempo chase through a hard-edged, psychedelic playground. Fishman and Trey worked particularly well through this maddening sequence, collectively setting the pace of the music, as the guys converged like pack of wild hyenas devouring anything in their maniacal paths. Developing into a mind-numbing sequence to which I’ve only had the pleasure of re-listening once, just put on some headphones on and listen to this jam—and might as well keep ‘em on for the “Ghost!”

7.6.12 (D.Lewis)

Segueing into the new-school jump off, the band once again used “Ghost” to forge totally atypical paths of rhythm and wonder. Never for a moment falling back on musical clichés, the band stepped to the plate and knocked another version out of the park. Like so many modern-era success stories, Mike stepped forth to lead this jam as Trey laid back and played tastefully around his bandmates offerings. When in the depths of “Ghost,” Fishman—easily the summer MVP—persistently added and took away the down beat, creating a peculiar and engaging ebb and flow to the music before landing in a driving groove. Growing more collaborative and abstract with each passing moment, this jam gained notable momentum. And seizing that momentum, Trey unveiled a gorgeous melodic lead that brought the piece into a completely different realm. Live without a net, Phish was letting things progress where they may, clearly not over-thinking things, while weaving a striking sonic tapestry. The band allowed the music to the trickle down the mountain into a single drone tone before Trey kept the energy sky high with “Suzie Greenberg.” Every song can hit home if placed well in a show, and after 25 minutes of wide open jamming, this slot seemed to work just fine. Juicing the crowd considerably with their quirky single, the band set up another summer 2012 staple, the set-two ending “Antelope.” Though not as creative as Jones Beach’s standout version, “Antelope,” nonetheless, finalized the frame with an improvisational bang, featuring Tom Marshall and The Dude of Life on vocals, taboot.

This one will take a few more spins before it really sinks in, but it’s easily up there with any show of 2012. Taking Saratoga Springs by storm with a start-to-finish scorcher, the band set quite the high bar for the last two nights of tour. But with the limitless possibilities of Phish at this moment, who knows what tonight will bring? And that is why we go.

I: Runaway Jim, Ocelot, Heavy Things, Back on the Train, Funky Bitch, Tube -> Psycho Killer -> Tube, Hold Your Head Up > Cracklin’ Rosie > Hold Your Head Up, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Paul and Silas, Horn, Corinna, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone

II: Chalk Dust Torture > Carini > Sand, Roses Are Free > Punch You In the Eye > Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley -> Ghost > Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope*

E: Loving Cup

*w/ Tom Marshall and The Dude of Life on lyrics

7.6.2012 (Dan Lewis)

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804 Responses to “SPACtacular!”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    thanks for the inside look at japan, rooster.

  2. brother Says:

    @mia….dreamt i killed a kardashian sister hitman style in my dream the other night, spent the entire dream tryin to escape from the mega-mall i popped her in.

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    i enjoyed the hell out of that set.

  4. Mr palmer Says:

    Good set? Missed whole thing. Family fun night.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    get on board, family man. set II comin up.

  6. RoosterPizza Says:

    One of the kanji in my daughter’s name is 麻  Zoom in on that and tell me what you see.

  7. brother Says:

    @palmer….very tight set. cities>maze, gin, torn n frayed highlights

  8. sumodie Says:

    Wheres my TUCK

    Nice flowy set with wet gin peak & crusher good times

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Nice.. Have xm/sirius in my car. Don’t feel like sitting in the car. Any alternative?

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    hey now. caught bits of set 1, sounded good

    spun highlights of last night driving through the country earlier. loved it. 3 different flavors of heat.

    spectacular day on the river. the kind of paradisical beauty that turns people permanently pagan. goddess swims close to the surface on days like this.

    i had to pull a woman out of the river on the way out. nonswimmer went after her kid in the current. never had to do it before but been kind of waiting for something like it to happen in that spot. oregon rivers are no joke…got soaked for the ride home

    ran into senator wyden at the store later. i’m very cynical about politicians but wyden is actually kind of great. keeps turning up on the right side of a lot of issues.

    so not a typical afternoon, but awesome

    next: more phish, chai, tubes, sunset

  11. phoammhead Says:

    i feel like i’m going to be way behind this set . . . sounds like it’s getting ready to start for me. band now coming on stage.

  12. kayatosh Says:

    palmer. go online.

  13. RoosterPizza Says:

    This country has a rich (a couple of thousands of years) of herb and meditation going hand in hand. It wasn’t until they wanted to pack everyone into cities and into business suits that meditating and relaxing went by the wayside. Ok, done ranting…

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    internets, palmer

    u haz them

    if you’re a subscriber you should be able to log right in

  15. halcyon Says:

    Mr P

    if you are already a subscriber you should be able to log in via the webs

  16. MiA Says:

    I guess that means 3 mins from now for me.

    That’s a great dream Brother. That should be a movie.

  17. kayatosh Says:

    or sit in your car

  18. RoosterPizza Says:

    palmer, i pay an extra 2.99 a month to have it on my computer and ipad. I listen more in my house than in my car. One of the main reasons I don’t have cable.

  19. MiA Says:

    Going live right now

  20. marcoesq Says:

    YEMblog ‏@YEMblog

    To hear the @siriusxmjamon #phish broadcast in real-time use @musicdock app [thanks @vidiconefive ]

  21. RoosterPizza Says:

    Fuck it. I’ll write it and we’ll do it live! Fucking thing sucks!

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Pslmer, internet/phone subscription is like $3 more a month. so worth it especially for travel. I listen to stern/music every single day through my phone on the road

  23. xpun Says:

    Jeez typed a huge post and opera lost it.

    Rooster- I see two girls in dresses dancing

    Neghborhood hang outs on hold due to week of 100+ temps. Stuck n AC land

    Enjoy the rising sun and the new little lady

  24. kayatosh Says:

    maybe palmer can do the 7 day free trial

  25. xpun Says:

    I still like starting road trip playlists w the hoist version of dwd

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