Blister in the SPAC

Official SPAC Print (Kelly)

A night after Phish showcased their sinister and creative side, the came out Saturday with a far more playful affair, weaving Violent Femme’s “Blister in the Sun” throughout a second set that lacked back-end flow—a problem that has plagued more than a few shows this tour. Despite the momentum-stalling, mid-set selections of “Number Line” and “Scent of a Mule,” the band never allowed any second-half jam to breathe other than the opening “Disease.” With a far more fun than serious night of music, the band has left quite a bit hanging for their tour finale.

While crafting a smoking opening frame, Phish largely left the bust out stone unturned in favor of a modern-shaped setlist. Though the guys sounded tight from the jump, the set picked up considerable steam as with the drop into “Cities.” Steering the piece into Plinksville, the band let things grow for the first time of the night as the liquid grooves enveloped the pavilion. Seamlessly moving into a maniacal “Maze,” Page destroyed the place with his organ solo, bringing the audience to its most energetic point thus far by leaps and bounds.

The second standout pairing of the set began with the second appearance of Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia” this summer. Using the short instrumental to launch into “Bathtub Gin,” here would come the undeniable highlight of the opening frame. Within the slow cadence of the jam’s onset, Trey took hold of the jam and never let go. Spouting one creative melody after another, he led the band and audience on a super-charged joyride. Though the guys supported his soulful outpouring with proficiency, there was no question who the spotlight was on in this jam. And to finalize the set, Trey picked another song that would showcase his chops with a rare first-set appearance of “Good Time, Bad Times.”

7.7.2012 (Dan Lewis)

When a second half opens with “Disease” it always feels that the band could be on the precipice of writing an epic set-long tale, as so many have started with the improvisational go-to. But this set would follow a different path. Weaving the melody of “Blister in the Sun” early into the “Disease” jam, the entire band hopped on the idea and segued smoothly into the timeless song for the first time since Barcelona ’98. Moving just as smoothly back into the “Disease” jam it seemed that this was but a fun stop along the way, but little did we know it would soon turn into the theme of the set. Within the dark and groovy “Disease” jam, if I’m not mistaken, the guys toyed around with the “Moby Dick” theme, referencing their classic Deer Creek show in 2000 where every jam wound up in the Led Zeppelin cover—some tongue-in-cheek foreshadowing as to what was coming? Playing this heavy  jaunt—and highlight of the night—to its natural conclusion, Mike introduced the envelope filter, and within measures made the switch into “Boogie On.” Trey added some engaging loops behind the latter part of the jam, and it seemed that the band was going to bring the cover into uncharted waters. But, instead, Red kept the setlist moving with “Golden Age.”

One had to think that tour’s final “Golden Age—a song that has been an improvisational revelation this summer—placed in the middle of the second set at SPAC was primed for take off. But before the jam got a chance to sprout baby wings, the band bailed out into “2001.” The funk instrumental set up was certainly setting up the rest of the set, and what came out of its peak would determine quite about bit the show’s contour. And Troy chose “Number Line.” With this set-deflating move, the guys moved into a conventional jam in which they would weave in teases of “Blister in the Sun.” And that was the script for the rest of the night—except for “Prince Caspian.”

7.7.2012 (D.Lewis)

Floating through the jam of the mellow anthem, the guys created something wholly beautiful out of “Caspian.” Coming together in a stunning three-part conversation, Page, Mike, and Trey sculpted a minimalist and cerebral musical portrait that evoked the sound of the Grateful Dead. Easily one of the highlights of the night, Trey laid back amidst the band’s rolling textures, playing with a soulful sensibility. But what happened next was a bit confusing. As the guys bled into a tranquil soundscape, Trey hinted at the beginning of “Piper,” and everyone I’ve talked to since the show ended was sure that’s where we were headed. But when Trey countered his own idea with “Scent of a Mule,” the word “deflating” would be a colossal understatement. Killing any sense of set flow or coherency, even his own band members—according to friends in the front row—looked perplexed at the call.

Deer Creek (Crowe Light Photography)

The invigorated speed-grass passed through another verse of “Blister in the Sun” within a more engaging than usual “Muel Duel.” And when the band cranked up “Mike’s Song,” everyone knew how the show would end. Lacing teases of “Blister” into both “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug” the guys concluded one of the those sets that many will look back on fondly, and others, not so much. And that’s just the nature of the beast.

Always best when viewed as a whole, the middle night of SPAC’s three-pack provided light hearted entertainment with three quality excursions in “Gin,” “Disease,” and “Caspian.” And when the band balances the scales with an in-depth journey to end their tour tonight, all will feel right in the world of Phish. But that’s another story for another time.

I: Grind, Possum > Golgi Apparatus, The Moma Dance, Torn and Frayed, Rift, Cities -> Maze, Lawn Boy,Peaches en Regalia > Bathtub Gin, Good Times Bad Times

II: Down with Disease -> Blister in the Sun -> Down with Disease > Boogie On Reggae Woman > Golden Age -> Also Sprach Zarathustra > Backwards Down the Number Line*, Prince Caspian -> Scent of a Mule -> Blister in the Sun > Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song* > Contact > Weekapaug Groove*

E: Sabotage

* w/ “Blister in the Sun” teases

7.7.2012 (Dan Lewis)

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1,310 Responses to “Blister in the SPAC”

  1. stapes Says:

    Thanks for the link MiA!
    Love the Cypress Bug

  2. tela'smuff Says:

    it’s that deviants dude. mixed with the kush. housed me.

  3. RoosterPizza Says:

    I just ate octopus so fresh that suction cups sucked to my mouth. Real talk!!!! Don’t be a fucking va je je.

  4. MiA Says:

    Hey punkmug. Yes.

  5. MiA Says:

    From The Archives – Volume 16 – Part One – July 6, 2012

    Halley’s Comet – Cumberland County Civic Center – December 7, 1999
    Tweezer – Redwood Acres Fairgrounds – April 21, 1992
    David Bowie-> Johnny B. Goode-> David Bowie – Sugarbush Summer Stage – July 3, 1995
    Ghost – The Paradiso – July 1, 1997
    Timber (Jerry) – Arco Arena – November 30, 1996
    Split Open & Melt – Meadowbrook Music Festival – August 12, 1993


  6. MiA Says:

    That is from duanebase, who is the man.

  7. Tweezer Says:

    Fun show to be at with friends on that lawn at SPAC. Kind of glad I didn’t overpay to have pavilion last night. Another show that the first set was stronger than the second, like Alpine 2 and JB2.

    It seems like webcasts and live streams never bring out the most creative playing or setlists. Not that it was a bad show, every show is great, but of the 14 I have attended on leg 1, I’d rank it #14.

  8. robear Says:

    Agreed Oldskool! I thought Trey had several ideas go unexplored in GA and 2001. He got /Troy’d by his mates it seems.

    Thought Caspian was super sick. I thought I heard the theremin at a weird time. MAybe during Boogie or GA??

    P.s. Band only gives us type 1 streaming these days.

  9. robear Says:

    Right on, Tweezer! You’ve been on the whole tour?! More feedback, stories, and insight. Welcome.

  10. joe Says:

    all of superball was on sirius and that turned out ok.

  11. MiA Says:

    P.s. Band only gives us type 1 streaming these days.

    I agree. I guess the band doesn’t want anyone changing the channel when they hear a guy chanting “tuck” throughout the set? Not having people change the channel is always a problem for creative artists.

    The last 2 mins of the Disease go to a great spot. The last 2:30 of the Caspian, an even better spot.

  12. robear Says:

    Joe, yep. Same with Dicks. Its specifically this year with the Type 1 streams.

    I loved last night. Great sound. Great price. I’ve set the bar so low for these ‘official’ streams that it was a big win.

  13. RoosterPizza Says:

    Suction cups…truthhhhhhhhh

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    Fun show via stream last night. Loved the interplay in Caspian. I missed the first part of DWD->Blister but the second part of the jam sounded really nice. Sounded to me like Trey was pretty insistent on the donkey and left the others trying to figure out first what, then why. At least they gave it a little extra.

    Robear, that’s a healthy perspective.

    Still looking for the Deviant Dales here…my beer store gets small quants of it but always sell out before I can get my paws on any.

    Rainbows and 3d glasses in Denver? 8)

  15. Albert walker Says:

    I dug set 1

    Set 2 was all I hate about 3.0 phish

    Troy had me put bad teacher on with no sound just to be entertained

    Choppy. Undeveloped nonsense. Oh well can’t win me all. 2 minutes of dwd and the outro to caspian can’t save a set Troy. Obummin. One of the worst sets of ter. Thanks for the stream prancer.

    They nailed rift though!

    Oh well can’t win them all.
    Have fun kids

  16. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Its specifically this year with the Type 1 streams.

    Alpharetta, Essex, and MSG 2011?

  17. robear Says:

    I could easily agree with @Albert Walker.

    Shows how desperate we are out west for semi-phresh Phish.

  18. Darth Plinko Says:

    I hear that Moby Dick! Good call Miner! Read the book or watch the movie.

  19. robear Says:

    Okay Duke is right. Maybe they didn’t tell the band that SBIX and Dicks was streaming.

    Bold prediction:

    Phish will open the second set on the second night of every three night run with ‘DWD’

  20. CamdenChalk Says:

    Slip, stitch and brunch

    Furthur was meh. Setting was great.

  21. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Maybe there’s an inflection point in quality once you hit three consecutive shows. Almost like the intensity of the “we’re being streamed” factor is diluted based on the length of the run.

  22. DukeOfLizards Says:


  23. Darth Plinko Says:

    I love when Mike hits that ultra low BBBEEEWWWWW! Such as the end of Waves at DC and the end of DWD from last night. If your in the front 10 rows it shakes your bones down to the marrow.

  24. marcoesq Says:

    Mornin all. Had a fun time streaming and hanging out here last night.

    Don’t think we need to worry, Saturday night special’d

    Friday had some heat, so will tonight. SO much good music to listen to this morning with FTA and Friday Ghosty

  25. marcoesq Says:

    Think Andy Murray has a chance? He’s tied 2 all in the 2nd set after taking the first one 6-4. Federer looks rattled

    I think I can still hear that dude at SPAC still yelling Harpua

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