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. Snigglebeach Says:

    Always thought Gordon had a Sound Comparable to Chris Squire from Yes. obv peeps are going to disagree. Don’t really think fishman is much like Bohnam. More Keith moon than Bohnam.

    And I think Santana had a big influence on Trey in the early days.

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    The Mike Gordon Band jams a lot.

    Some MGB show from 2011 has a 30min Sugar Shack in the first set which segues in and out of other songs the rest of the set. And the second set is a Suskind Hotel sandwich.

    Pretty cool.

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Mike builds great setlists*

    *Though I’m just assuming he’s the one writing them

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    Totes BK. MGB was hot last year. Played Skin It Back a few times too.

  5. MiA Says:

    Fishman- Terry Bozzio
    Trey- Frank Zappa
    Page- Tommy Mars
    Mike- ???

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Add this to your netflix

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    3rd edition of Companion, saweet! And Miner made the survey, woot.


  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Mia likes the Zappa comparisons i see….

    Keith Moon works.. I like that one

  9. albert walker Says:

    this little 16 year old kid from Chicago showed up to drop this track during araabmuzik’s dj set

    this is when real street kids make crazy music. barely rapping. song is called I don’t Like. just lists shit he doesn’t like.

    shit kills IMO

    Chief Keef – I don’t like


  10. albert walker Says:

    fake shrooms made his I don’t like list. classic.

  11. Cable Hogue Says:

    I hear a lot of Bill Bruford in Fishman’s playing.

    I think of Trey as a more freewheeling Steve Hackett.

    Page is similar to Bill Payne from Feat, in how well he uses the whole arsenal.

    Mike, I have no frame of reference for.

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    Gathering of the Juggaloes 2012


  13. Cable Hogue Says:

    Fish definitely has some Moon in his kitbag.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    THE NATURE BOY RIC FLAIR is twistin at the gathering! Wooooohhhh!

  15. joe Says:

    almost 9 million views on that shit is crazy aw. (not so) underground hip hop is 9 million times more popular than phish.

  16. joe Says:

    well more than 9 million times more popular? I suck at math.

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    ^charlie sheen is hosting a nite too @bingos

  18. Gavinsdad Says:

    Really really tough to describe what Oneohtrix did with his set. Once we went up in front of the sbd it all made sense. Full sound, clear view, thc head, real focus. This guy was basically mixing large thick “blocks” of sound. You know how a dj will scratch a tiny sound or a club dj will beatmatch/crossfade one song into another? Well take large blocks of noise and mash them together but keep building a path out of these blocks. Then somehow make ambient sounds = music and you kind of get a sense of what he was Doing.

    I personally was hearing a completely new form of music and definitely a new format (tho I’m sure it’s very common)

    Long story short: see him live. There really is no way to properly describe it.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I might have to go with Golden Age as tour MVP ( or “S). Man they crushed that tune this summer. Just spun the Golden>Ghost from Blossom. Great version of GA. You all know how I feel about the Jb version. They did play it a lot. I have no problem with that, especially when they are all pretty unique versions. Not sure Sand was as diverse sounding vs. Ga…

    Random first puff thought….carry on.

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    I generally don’t like heavy academia intruding my music but this interview with Oneohtrix is headily informative:


    (rip altered zones btw)

  21. ThePigSong Says:

    I’m far from a musician, but I always think of psycho skin slammin Bonham. Fish couldn’t be farther from that to type of player to me. Just an uneducated opinion. I like the Santana reference for Trey, fitting.

    A Sausage Fest, That’s that shit I don’t like
    devonekeyes 4 hours ago 9

    ^werd. why the fuck did they make a rap video with a bunch of shirtless dudes? Isn’t that strictly forbidden in the Rap Video Bible?

  22. sumodie Says:

    spun the AV1 Golden Age > 2001 today. Think I prefer that GA jam to the JB1 GA jam (tho the JB song section is cleaner)

    then again, even on replay I love the short cruncky Wolf’s that follows the JB GA, not to mention the Walk Away


  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Light is probably mvp though, now that i think about it. Nice to have choices..

  24. joe Says:

    1st step to dicks in place. put in for time off. next step: finding a spare thousand dollars or so lying around that I didn’t know I had for flight, hotel, food, tickets. etc. ugh. being poor and not a member of the debt accumulating society sucks kids. work hard

    in all seriousness, how cheap can I reasonably expect to do that trip? figuring I’m not buying merit badges or belt buckles at the show anyway.

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    Light was MVP, but Golden Age was the thread holding tour together.

    Anybody catch Willis Earl Beal? Heard great things and had the most intriguing article in The Reader a while back. Love those kind of success stories, makes it seem like anything is possible.


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