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. Gavinsdad Says:

    Back to Phl in a sec. Good seeeing some BB peeps at pfork: AJ/AW/fatB/lastW. Nice work y’all

    I cannot wait until this work week is over. Massive event we are planning on Thurs in NYC. Then family hang in NYC on sat then work event Sun. Just wanna wake up next Monday with all of it behind me.

    That said, anyone want to see the Chromatics on Sun nite at Music Hall of Williamsburg let me know I can get u on list.

  2. garretc Says:

    Well shit, snow, no I just don’t know WHAT to think!

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    Trying out the latest issue of apple earbuds, they’ve come a long way in the last few years. Nothin on my Maximo’s that I left at home, but much better than I remember.

    Great start to the review review season mr m. Got my 2012 playlist going while I wait to go home. The Prez has the airport here in cinci tied up, nobody is going anywhere at the moment.


  4. ThePigSong Says:

    I just wish the guy I’ve been working with all weekend was here. According to him…

    Obama controls all the national media outlets, all of ’em.

    Obama is reasonable for the housing crisis.

    Obama vacations more than any other prez.

    Obama and his ____ wife are destroying our schools by focusing too much on ghettos. Wtf?

    Where do these people come from?

    plz ignore my mini rant.

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    AC Birds>BOTT!

  6. lumpyhead Says:

    ^ top 3 or 4 jam of the tour for me, for sure. Certainly my most listened to, but that’s largely cause I was there I’m sure.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    gdad, interested to hear your ptchfork thoughts.

  8. ThePigSong Says:

    thank you mister pres for delaying us just long enough to incur a late afternoon tstorm delay. Glad I’m charged up with lots of tunes to get through.

  9. joe Says:

    “Where do these people come from?”

    they come from the comment sections of a majority of websites, I think.

    Great Piece, Mr. Miner. Where’s the countdown clock to leg 2?

  10. GhostPhunk Says:

    that bottom photo on this post is really awesome.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    ^^^ good call, ghostphunk

  12. MiA Says:

    I love that there are no cell phones. No signs.


  13. ThePigSong Says:

    Where is SOAM in this summer of the Twist?

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    1st soccer practice today. Get fackin pumped! My teams are always the bad news bears of the league, without the redemptive victory in the end. We have the most fun though. I wouldn’t mind getting some talent this year. winning is fun too.

  15. litteringand Says:

    At the very least, after what will be another epic leg this summer, the idea of going into the studio to cut an album in the fall smells like a chance to have a little Island Tour Redux.Quick somebody turn on the homing beacon.

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Mia- I didn’t notice until you mentioned it re: cell phone and signs.

    You are truly a crusader on a mission in the war against glowsticks, signs, and cell phones. I wish you luck in your August endeavors to rid the phish world of this plague.

  17. garretc Says:

    MiA is the chairman of PPPPPPPPP: People Persistently and Persuasively Proselytizing for the Perpetual Purity of Public Phish Performances

  18. angryjoggerz Says:

    Pitchfork was a great time – went into it knowing the least amount of bands and with really little expectations and ended up having a blast and getting turned on to some great music. Always fun to see GD/AW/K – great people and very chill.

    Lots more hip hop this year than usual, which was very welcomed. Highpoints for me were Liturgy, Flying Lotus, Japandroids, Clams Casino, Schoolboy Q and Oneohtrix Point Never (which was an incredibly psychedelic experience).

    Great festival, could not be more chilled out. Glad I went. Feist is kinda cute too. Felt very un-cool that I mostly knew her from an Elmo video.

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    dang. really wish I had gone to this festy. looks like a really mind-expanding time was had. this family looks like they really got down

  20. MiA Says:

    Thanks Mr. P.

    1) Don’t throw glowsticks/rings at the band. You wanna rage the lawn, have a ball. I may step on your feet though, and not feel bad.
    2) Don’t hold signs up after the band has seen it for 4 seconds at the beginning of the show. They can read fast. (Unless it’s lyrics of course).
    3) Cell Phones are for emergencies. Holding them infront of MkDevo’s Rig, so you can have a shittier video recording from your iPhone is ridiculous.
    4) Even if Fish or Mike or Page did know you, they wouldn’t want you screaming their name out. And Fish doesn’t want to be reminded of his dead Mom, Mimi, all the time, because you knew her name.
    5) Don’t stare a Trey or Page too long. They’ll start staring right back and things get weird.

  21. MiA Says:

    Awesome Garret. Glad you’re back.

  22. MiA Says:


  23. marcoesq Says:

    where do you find this stuff, tiii?? hillarious

  24. garretc Says:

    Thanks MiA, me too. The only downside to having Phish shows happening is that, in order to avoid spoilers, I have to find somewhere else to waste all my time…

  25. BingosBrother Says:

    Find? Thats T3 and his parents.

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