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. tela'smuff Says:

    good stuff @Alf. after all this insight, certainly you now see missing Denver would be crazy, so i’ll see you here.

    thank you @Miner, your work is special, thanks for the contribution to the community. can barely wait for Leg 2.

    i’m going to spend a week not listening to phish. spent an amazing weekend in the Arkansas River Valley near Salida, CO. heaven on earth in that area.

  2. sumodie Says:

    Great alien thoughts, alf. Wish my ears were better at listening to the Greasy Troll’s playing at shows

  3. sumodie Says:

    Not Played in 2012 List – courtesy of Sean Wilson

    (Have been played in 3.0) (Shows Since)

    Lifeboy (22)
    Glide (23)
    Halfway to the Moon (25)
    Fast Enough for You (26)
    Scents and Subtle Sounds (27)
    Sleep (28)
    Colonel Forbin Ascent (28)
    Fly Famous Mockingbird (28)
    Anything But Me (30)
    Mellow Mood (33)
    Destiny Unbound (37)
    Harpua (40)
    Cars Trucks Buses (41)
    Esther (41)
    Icculus (42)
    Army of One (43)
    Train Song (45)
    Brian and Robert (48)
    Dog Faced Boy (49)
    Pigtail (61)
    Frankie Says (61)
    Mountains in the Mist (62)
    Demand (107)
    Talk (124)
    Catapult (129)

  4. sumodie Says:

    (Haven’t been played in 3.0) (Last Played)

    All Things Reconsidered ( 97′ )
    Magilla (03′)
    Acoustic Army (95′)
    Eliza (92’)
    Dave’s Energy Guide (95’) (Has been teased this year)
    The Vibration of Life (96’)
    Flat Fee (91’)
    The Inlaw Josie Wales (00’)

    (Covers) (Last Played)

    Albuquerque (11’)
    On Your Way Down (11’)
    The Ballad of Curtis Loew (11’)
    After Midnight (11’)
    Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (10’)
    Hello My Baby (09’)
    Terrapin (04’)
    Johnny B. Goode ( 98’)
    Izabella (98’) ( Has been teased this year)

  5. neemor Says:

    “Paul Simon’s Graceland” would be a great Halloween cover.
    ^ daydreaming…

    The state of Phish is alive and well.
    When my biggest hope is that they simply keep touring so as not to ‘rest on their laurels’, I feel like it’s truly a Golden Age.

    Wish I could hit some of leg two because as we know, the West Coast tends to produce an entirely different soundscape from Phish.
    I like to think of it as more of the spacious, festival sound. Laid back.
    2012 will not be the year for this guy to head west, but really glad that you that call the left coast home will have some close shows…

    And those that are travelling will be able to bring back some truly tasteful work from the band, no doubt.

    Thank you Miner for everything through these last years…to echo previous sentiments.
    It comes as a bit of a shock to the soul to know that posts will be coming less frequently if at all but the understanding that you will have time to focus on the important matters of life and home and family makes me realize that you don’t belong to us,
    No matter how much I like to think so.

    You are no less than a tie that binds this community together and I look forward to your reviews of 2012.
    Thanks for inspiring us to stick with it for the payoff!

  6. sumodie Says:

    ^ obviously not a comprehensive list. Most glaring omissions, for me, would include 20YL & Two Versions of Me

  7. Kaveh Says:

    Thanks for the writeUp @Miner.

    Fishman is a beast!

  8. stapes Says:

    Denver will get Mountains in the Mist out of some ambient space post throwdown jam

  9. neemor Says:

    Also not played in 2012:


  10. neemor Says:

    “Most glaring omissions, for me, would include 20YL”
    Yeah. WTF?

  11. neemor Says:

    Count me among the camp who love the space whale call.
    Life changing.

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    awesome post alf!

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    going phishless after today until cali. not gonna listen to spac 3 for at least a month.

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Fuck 20YL, that song sucks.

  15. RicksFork Says:

    I hope Spanish Moon shows up on Leg 2. Big fan of 20YL and also Army of One FWIW.

  16. MiA Says:

    It’s always “after today” DF…

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    they just need to keep jamming things like roses and fee, that’s when we hear jams we’ve never heard before.

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    MiA, i’m good at getting over addictions

  19. Robear Says:

    @Alf, not bad for a nOOb.

    Miner, welcome back to earth. Not bad, except for all the people.

  20. Dorn76 Says:

    Great thoughts today @miner & @alf.

    Amazed at how damn good even the “down” shows sound. Miner is right on about the consistency. The highs are insanely high, but overall the level of playing is top notch.

    Even AC3 starts off smoking. Brother, though campy, has 2 mins of my favorite funking, and they just rip off Jim with all sorts of macho soloing from Trey right off the bat. Hard for me to complain about a first set that also includes Timber, Walls and Foam…

    The State of The Union of Phish is strong.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    slow board day, we blow our collective loads on the 3000+ post previous article?

  22. MiA Says:

    Emotional Rescue

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    now there’s a cover they should bring back

  24. MiA Says:

    I’m gonna try that phish fast starting today.

    I like the idea. That addiction is hard for me to kick. Especially with the talk on here.

    Phish could make live bait 8 from leg one.

  25. neemor Says:

    “they just need to keep jamming things like roses and fee, that’s when we hear jams we’ve never heard before.”
    They could keep doing what they’re doing and what they’ve always done and jam whatever they feel like jamming at the time.
    Then things like Roses or Bag or Gin or Disease or ANY SONG become launchpads.
    And we remain surprised.

    The lyrics to 20YL mean lots of different things to different people and it’s just another tune that has promise.
    Sleep on it. See what happens.

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