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. dognamedwilson Says:

    That Russ looks nice @mia but you probably don’t need a new amp. The firmware will improve your sound card but you could just bypass the card with a dac and keep the denon amp. If you use the denon iPhone app you’ll notice a huge improvement in sound quality with any decent dac.

  2. marcoesq Says:

    I’ll be there, Palmer. Oak Mtn>ATL so far, working on CLT

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    leo- email sent via FB. Don’t have your reg email here..

  4. garretc Says:

    Palmer, I was referring to the totally going to happen couple week run in mid-December that will make its way from SD up the coast to Vancouver before heading back East for a night or two.

    Trust me, I totally heard about it from a guy at the very top of Phish Inc. He’s giving me free tickets too.

  5. Dorn76 Says:

    Really that was uncalled for. Beautiful state, I’m sure.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Would love a true winter tour. It’s possible, right? they said no fall, not winter.

    Could go for a ’99 style winter tour, closing with 4 big ones at MSG. Won’t have to worry about practice then..

  7. garretc Says:

    Yeah P, so they’re saying there’s still a chance!

  8. Jtran Says:

    socal outdoor winter mini-tour > MSG

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    a million in one.

    so you’re saying there’s a chance!

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Spring tour too, while we are at it.

    According to xyz stats, I have never seen a show in the month of March. Only month to be shut out. What gives? My birthday month no less.

    Spring tours are the best. Indoors and the weather is just perfect for the most part, for pre game chillin..

  11. marcoesq Says:

    As of 2010 I had finally seen Phish in all 12 months of the year.

    My last month to complete the calendar?

    June. The most played month in Phish lore, only took me 12yrs to see a show in June.

    And yeah, winter tour would kick ass.

  12. marcoesq Says:

    March is a tough one, palmer. I’ve only seen one show in March 03.01.03

  13. garretc Says:

    I’d punch a baby for winter and/or spring tour

  14. garretc Says:

    So if, you know, there are any annoying babies y’all know about…

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    All babies are annoying.

  16. snow Says:

    sorry garret, I’d offer miner but she is no longer a baby.

  17. Timber, YO! Says:

    you’re not a true phan until you’ve seen a smarch run show, yo

  18. snow Says:

    epic fail.

    miner should be mine.


  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Df hates 20yl and babies.. whats next? ice cream and puppies?

  20. garretc Says:

    See, that’s what I thought, DF, up until there was a baby that was actually someone I should care about, and then I realized that babies have their upsides… But everybody else’s baby still sucks, don’t get me wrong!

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Chick fil A sucks

  22. voopa Says:

    “Stupid babies need the most attention.”

  23. garretc Says:

    Everybody else’s baby = sucks

    Chick Fil A = sucks

    Hence, Chick Fil A = everybody else’s baby?

  24. plord Says:

    No wonder their prices are so low…

  25. snow Says:

    I can confirm that Chick Fil A is not my baby, if that helps with your research garret.

    And Billie Jean is not my lover.

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