What A Run!

7.4.2012 (George Estreich)

The Phish from Vermont have arrived—again. If 2009 and 2010 provided building blocks for this era, and 2011 was the year the band began to forge new ground again, 2012 is the year they have hit full stride. Each and every night of Leg One, Phish came to play with a polished musical consistency that all fans have longingly sought since 2009. Practiced and adventurous, the band left a wake of fire across the eastern US over June, addressing almost all of their fan base’s grovels while crafting timeless jams with the effortless nature of lore.

The band’s collective patience that popped up in certain jams of 2011, quickly became the hallmark of 2012. Beginning with Worcester’s opening-night bomb and carrying right through SPAC, Phish—especially Trey—displayed a willingness to let the music breathe. This patience gave all jams a far more dynamic quality right off the bat, and the resulting interplay left us with hordes of highlights to debrief throughout the next month.

Throughout summer’s opening leg, Phish certainly righted several issues that had plagued their shows in the modern era. Trey’s infamous “ripcord,” though not gone completely, didn’t play a large role in disrupting summer shows. In fact—in quite the opposite direction—the band dropped handfuls of stunningly seamless segues of the like we hadn’t heard in years! In addition to a wide array of bust-outs this summer, including one we thought we’d never see in “Skin It Back,” the band diversified their central jam vehicles to include “Ghost” and “Twist”—two songs that were in desperate need of revival, “Golden Age”—used primarily as a single last year, and “Back on the Train.” The band also included noteworthy one-off jams on “Roses Are Free,” “Birds of a Feather,” “Fee,” “Skin It Back,” and two-off jams on “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” and “Sneakin’ Sally.”  Notably absent from setlists were long-form compositions, as “Divided Sky” and “Guyute” made only one appearance each, though “Fluffhead,” a veritable 3.0 anthem,  still dotted several sets.

7.4.2012 (George Estreich)

The guys’ musicianship shone all month, but none more brightly than Jon Fishman’s. Arguably, one of the last band members to fully get up to speed in 3.0, Henrietta-turned-Friar-Tuck absolutely owned his kit this past tour. Fishman’s next-level beat science drove the band all June and became the defining facet of so many tour highlights. Creatively steering so many jams this summer, Fish’s leadership has been crucial to the band’s enhanced communication. And when The Greasy Troll is on fire, the backbone of the band—Trey and Fish—becomes far more daring. Though Phish is unquestionably a four-minded monster, the symbiotic relationship that has always existed between Trey and Fish blossomed in 3.0-style this summer, pushing the band further and further into new territory. When reviewing your favorite sequences from this run, be sure to hone in on how tour MVP, Jonny B. Fishman, kicked them up a notch.

And the highlights! Oh, the highlights! Far to many to list in a summary piece like this, suffice it to say that we will have plenty to talk about for this month and beyond. Almost every single night of tour, Phish dropped at least a sequence, if not several, of to-die-for jamming. Taking the concept of “musical density” to a whole new level, the band covered staggering amounts of ground within single jams, moving fluidly through many diverse feels.

If 3.0 is the “The Golden Age” of Phish, 2012 sure seems like the start of “The Rennaissance.” Reaching levels not approached in the past three calendars, the band has melded their modern foci of enchanting sound-sculptures and “plinkofied” rhythmic bliss with the rest of their musical repertoire, forming a refined style that encompasses their entire career. Using this wide musical palette, Phish painted different styles of shows over summer’s first act, ranging from from dark and improvisational to playful and song-based, speaking to everyone in their audience. And if the contour of the past few years stays true in 2012, we are in for one hell of a second leg!

7.4.2012 (George Estreich)


Jam of the Day:

Sneakin’ Sally > Ghost” 7.6.12 II, SPAC

One of 2012’s most engaging sequences.



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279 Responses to “What A Run!”

  1. Lycanthropist Says:


  2. snow Says:

    yeah, but if music is only impressive cause it’s hard to play, then what’s the point?

    6.16.12 soundcheck snippet

  3. voopa Says:

    Part of the point is exactly that. I was wowed by Yngwie, Van Cliburn, Eddie VH and Charlie Parker as a youth, and it inspired me to learn how to do that.

    Of course now I know that having technical ability is only part of it. And even if it was out of my cultural realm of understanding, like those DJ’s were to me at one time, just look at everyone in the crowd getting down to see the other point of it.

  4. garretc Says:

    Music need not be impressive only because it’s hard to play, but, at least for me (and this is, of course, totally subjective), it does add points if it is, because not only do you need the artistic ability to conceive it, but the technical ability to carry it out.

    But impressiveness is not necessarily equal to enjoyment, merely a factor

  5. joe Says:

    in lycan

  6. albert walker Says:

    some albums of artists I dug from pitchfork. I’d spin all this if you’ve never heard it.

    Schoolboy Q – Habits and Contradictions


    this is the hook I can’t get out of my head from his set. featuring A$AP Rocky – Hands on the Wheel


  7. MiA Says:

    Due to Canadian content laws, I assume Carly Rae Jepsen is on radio non-stop up there, eh?

  8. albert walker Says:

    Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica

    this cat crushed an ambient set. my girl says she was hearing blips and squeals all day in her head. maybe time to lay off the fluff.


  9. albert walker Says:

    Clams Casino – Instrumentals


    this kid produces some sick beats for A$AP Rocky but did a sick psychedelic minimal downbeat hiphop set.

  10. garretc Says:

    Oneohtrix Point Never is the shit. Have both of the last two albums (only two?), “Returnal” and “Replica”. Out of the two I think I prefer “Returnal,” it feels like “Replica” is an ever so slight move towards normalcy (not that it’s mainstream or anything…), but both really top notch. Would love to see ’em (him?) live.

    I can up “Returnal” sometime if anyone is interested in that one too

  11. albert walker Says:

    Big K.R.I.T. – Live from the underground

    sick MC from Mississippi. cat crushed it.


    laterz peeps
    have fun

  12. garretc Says:

    Although a warning to anyone who does check out “Returnal”:

    I found the first track, which is essentially 5.5ish minutes of feedback to be essentially unlistenable, and I’m generally more tolerant of feedback than most, but track 2 through the end is gold

  13. snow Says:

    people were getting down cause they like the way it sounded, I imagine?
    Yeah, I guess it’s a bonus to musicians when they hear something that it is hard to play. I was just trying to point out that the difficulty of the music is likely not going to convert viola. Which was stupid to do because I don’t really care. Mostly just bored. I was hoping this post was going to get funny at some point. damn it.

    I came up with an actual joke. Ready?

    It’s a little known fact that Dad is actually an acronym for Does Everything Wrong.

  14. RoosterPizza Says:

    Add dog named to the list of bb I am trying to meet.

  15. snow Says:

    I’m stoked for the recs AW. Thanks for reporting back.

  16. kayatosh Says:

    I can relate to schoolboy Q’s mssg. thanks for the youtube link, adub.

  17. Xpun Says:

    Happy Bday snow

    Great list Mia. All true. Though I was guilty at the wall for catching a few vids that place was lit the f up all night. Look down from 400s onto the floor seemed like ever othe person was on their phone.

    @T3 festi fam- how tall is the milkman?

    Long fucking day

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Wow.. thanks for all the links to the new music Aw. I will check them out.

    This MMJ stuff isn’t that bad. Need to see their live act. Heard it is great.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    My phishthought/question of the day.

    Who, if anyone, would you compare each band member’s playing style to? I was thinking about this earlier and it’s really hard to do, especially since i’m the furthest thing from an actual musician.

    The only member i could come up with a comparison for was Fishman.

    Fishman- Bonham ..heard a Zep song on the radio and was listening to Bonham. Man, Fishman sounds similar to him at times.
    Trey- ?
    Page- ? ( Lycan, this is where you come in)
    Mike- ?

    Always felt that band sounds like Phish, ever. So i guess it makes sense that each individual member has their own unique and brilliant style.


  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Always felt that NO band sounds like Phish, ever.. ^^^^

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    One of the guys I used to see a lot of ph shows with is a big mmj fan. Says the sets are fairly straight forward big time rock shows with some “planned” type I jamming, if that makes sense. Still need the check them out myself

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Fishman spent a lot of time in the early years tryin to figure out Bonhams bashing, so good example mp. might be trite, but Mike is like Phil to me. maybe not in style, but attitude.

    Team Australia is readicculus! the soccer gods have finally shined a light on me. hopefully I am not being the Mr. Miner of soccer coaches. j/k Miner! 😯

  23. joe Says:

    one of the cleaners at work here just asked me to translate the directions on some laxitives for her. says she wants to take them to become skinnier. told her to get back to me tomorrow to let me know if she still thinks that’s a good plan.

  24. joe Says:

    my spanish is just good enough to convey how bad of an idea I thought it was. She popped 2 anyways.

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    She just wants to be clean for you georgie.

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