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. MiA Says:

    I really want to be TT’ing right now. Work is slamming me.

    Ugh. Barely can afford to hit refresh over here.

  2. viola Says:

    ::bows down to Alf:: excellent post alf, you have said what many people cannot even understand. thank you.

    the trey/fish axis is mayan 2012 prophesy

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    qual breakdown, Alf. Trey/ Fish is the most integral link in the band’s improv.

  4. kayatosh Says:

    ^^^ the axis: bold as love

  5. Dorn76 Says:

    This is so cool. Solar flare vid. Nobody does a light show like The Universe.


  6. Dylan Says:

    Hey- Long time lurker, I have 2 extra tixs for both the friday and Sunday Bill Graham shows, please email ddstahl at yahoo if interested (just lookin for face). thanks

  7. neemor Says:

    I was always told that if a place is lacking something positive, I should do my best to bring some positive to the place.
    It’s that thing mom used to say, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”
    Negative breeds negative.

    Someone once asked me why I spend so much time listening to such happy music, knowing that life isn’t always “rainbows and butterflies.”
    My response was basically, “exactly”. If I want darkness and negativity, I don’t turn to music. I can simply open my front door and walk outside. Or read the paper. Or the green board.

    I love the fact that thoughts here are either positive and silver-lining seeking or at least constructive. For the most part.

    This practice has led to increase my love for the music.

    If I had experienced a more negative or witless view of things here, I probably wouldn’t have stayed for all these years.

    It may totally be my headspace but I feel that my time here has almost run its course as, apparently, Miner’s has too.
    It’s one thing to feel like maybe you don’t get along with someone because we all come from different places. Recently, though, I feel this too often here.
    I have begun to feel that the over-analization of the music has become unhealthy for me. I don’t leave here as often feeling lighter or improved anymore.
    When I first began posting here I remember having a discussion after some of Miner’s earliest posts about how this forum was basically boundless. It certainly still is, especially with the state of Phish being so vibrant. I’m starting to feel that by picking apart every song, every jam, every lyric like I’ve begun to do that I’m missing the big picture. Or that taking part in such dissections steal some of the magic of the moment. Or dismiss that magic.
    I recognize that that’s just for me.
    What used to be such an amazing thing for me about coming here, that analization of the music, has become tedious and overwhelming.
    I guess I pine for a simpler time of Maxell II’s and B&P’s when I was awed by the music and allowed it to flow freely into me rather than through a filter. Where I was open to surprises and treated them as such.
    Like I said, that may be entirely me…

    You guys have given me so much to ponder and so much to be grateful for, so much to enjoy and such friendships that have shaped the past few years of my life, show-going or otherwise.
    Entirely new ways of looking at all aspects of my life. The human connections and shared experiences have helped me throughout in countless ways.

    I hope to see and dance with you guys soon and often.
    To everything this band gives us.

  8. kayatosh Says:

    neemor: you’re a good guy. don’t over think it. it’s a message board for the free flow of ideas and it’s a good one. it’s not necessarily the case that anyone’s missing the big picture simply because they choose to look at the music under a magnifying glass and assign certain jams dollar signs. the analysis of the music is part of the enjoyment for some. It can be helpful to the avid playback listener looking for points of interest. we’re all just comparing notes on a very subjective thing. all in good fun. believe it if you need it, if you don’t just pass it on.

    and FWIW i enjoy your input. so keep it frosty and best of luck.

  9. kayatosh Says:

    nothing can steal from the magic of the moment. the ex post facto analysis is separate beast.

  10. MiA Says:

    “but I feel that my time here has almost run its course as, apparently, Miner’s has too.”

    I don’t know if I understand this?

  11. MiA Says:

    Analysis isn’t negative also. Just sayin.

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    ^ yup

  13. jdub Says:

    Great post this morning Miner! Much praise for bringing the enthusiasm every time.

    And a great addition by @Alf as well. Well done. The quadruple helix starts with Trey and Fish. SPAC Piper being a perfect example.

  14. Dorn76 Says:

    Don’t get confused, listen to the music play.

  15. Robear Says:

    Take care always Neems.

    I blame me for the negative tones on the board. I was a huge fluffer. I’ve turned into a jaded west coast phan.
    More because of logistics. I think the band sounds amazing. Good as ever. They won me over. I’m just pissed at the business model.

  16. jdub Says:

    Keep your head up Neemor. Everyone does Phish a little different, nothing wrong that. I have yet to find a Phish message board that has as much insight into the music though. And no sifting through Threads. Just like Phish, the discussion here flows freely, gets stagnant, some good days, some bad days, but always on the move.

    Posters here understand what the deal is – the live experience is what it’s about. All the other stuff is fun and games to pass the time.

  17. snow Says:

    it’s my birthday.

    I’m older. Fuck me.

    great phish thought Alf

    And well said kaya. it’s just a blackboard.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    tonight, gonna leave that 9 to 5 up on the shelf and just enjoy yourself
    let the madness and the music get to you, life ain’t so bad at all
    when you’re livin off the wall.

  19. jdub Says:

    Happy birthday @Snow.

  20. Robear Says:

    FTR, I’ve always loved ‘Bouncin’, never liked ‘Sample’. Minor hasn’t changed that.

    But I do know and love the Island Tour now.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    TT on fire

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    “but I feel that my time here has almost run its course as, apparently, Miner’s has too.”
    I don’t know if I understand this?

    ^ me neither!

  23. voopa Says:

    Happy Birthday snow! You decide what it contains.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    I ain’t goin’ nowhere….if i skip a few shows next year, it’s not the end of the world folks. This shit is moving forward. viva la bb!

    and fwiw, my 7 year anniversary today. good stuff:)

    Happy B-Day @snow!

  25. kayatosh Says:

    nice it up.

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