Starting Things Off

7.8.2012 (Ryan MacNeil)

Openers, though not crucial to a standout show, necessarily set the opening tone of the night. Often used as a slot for a warm up song or a bust-out, when the band expands on show openers, the vibe of the night is immediately elevated. Phish featured a mixed bag of openers, hitting on all parts of the spectrum from token to stellar during Leg One, and following were the top five.

5.”Soul Shakedown Party” 7.1, East Troy, WI

A welcome beginning to any show, when the band opens up with the Bob Marley cover, it usually foreshadows good things. And looking back on Alpine’s second night, this occasion certainly fits the bill. A bust out that everyone loves, “Soul Shakedown” began a theme of rarities that carried throughout the first half. Nothing too serious, this opener, if nothing else, gave everyone plenty of time—and the perfect soundtrack—to burn a show-opening spliff before the action got going in earnest.


4. “Mike’s > Hydrogen > Weekapaug” 6.16, Atlantic City, NJ

Regardless of how insignificant “Mike’s Song” has become on the modern improvisational landscape, when put at the front of a show, the guitar lick, the drop into the jam, and the menacing textures take on a whole new role. Far more akin to its original format of the early ‘90s than its late-’90s jam-fiestas, “Mike’s Groove” will, nonetheless, always hold a special place in the annals of Phish. In this more compact format, the front of the first set is, arguably, the best placement for the musical suite, demonstrated perfectly by this Atlantic City version.


3. “Buried Alive” 6.7, Worcester, MA

This old school shredder kicked off the entire tour, illustrating the band’s intent to thrill right off the bat. Instead of warming up with “Sample” or “AC/DC Bag,” the guys dove head first into summer with a fierce take on”Buried Alive.” A good omen, no doubt…


2. “Wolfman’s Brother” 6.22, Cincy, OH

When Phish starts the show with a chunk of improv, a different sort of energy grips the crowd, and when the guys dropped a thick and extended “Wolfman’s” to spark Riverbend, that is exactly what happened. Digging into a plinkofied, funk exchange that blossomed into the most significant version of tour, the band strapped on their seat belts right away for one of the best two-setters of summer.


1. “Skin It Back” 7.3, Wantagh, NY

One of the greatest openers of their career, the band kicked off Jones Beach with their biggest bust out off all-time—and they jammed it! Though everyone thought the band was bringing back “Spanish Moon” from Waiting For Columbus, Phish was, in fact, digging far deeper—1,417 shows to be exact—playing the eleventh version of Little Feat’s “Skin it Back.” Jamming significantly in the bluesy, percussive sound, the guys combined everything one could look for in an opener into a single experience. It will be tough for any second-leg opener to dethrone Jones Beach’s shocker.



Jam of the Day:

Light > Twist” 7.8 II, SPAC

The fourth “Light” of Leg One; all were tour highlights.

[audio:,] Tags: , ,

206 Responses to “Starting Things Off”

  1. marcoesq Says:

    TRI Studios show replaying on Sirius Dead channel right now

  2. Robear Says:

    I could’ve given more love to ‘Jibboo, Mikes, and Simple’ from Star Lake. So here I am. Giving more love. 

    Star Lake 12 may be the best show that I missed since Star Lake 03. Doh!

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse at MSG

    2 tickets on ticketmaster- sec 118. $288 per for a grand total of $576.10 with fees….

    ^^ are you kidding me?

    Luckily Patti Smith is the opening act. Might have to pull some strings.

  4. marcoesq Says:

    I found the TRI Studios mp3’s on PT

  5. Litteringand Says:

    The top three shows I’ve seen in 3.0- 1.UIC1 2.Star Lake 12 3. SBIX3

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Star Lake was a lot of fun. Great on playback, getting better with each spin

  7. Robear Says:

    UIC at the top of my Doh! List

  8. marcoesq Says:

    ^ Me too.

    TRI downloads

  9. sumodie Says:

    Ouch, palms

    scored gen adm floor tix to neil’s boston show in nov, $100 with fees

    paid a lot more for my last two neil shows so was glad for a break this time

    crazy horse AND patti!!!!

  10. marcoesq Says:

    Anyone use the DJay app on iPad? I’ve been compiling all the music for my wedding on my iPad, looking for a good app that can crossfade my playlist automatically.

    DJay comes highly recommended but it’s $20. Any other apps out there?

  11. sumodie Says:

    JB skin it back was truly EPIC

    such a great day, jb1 is my personal sleeper show

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    Soul Shakedown may be the perfect Sunday show opener. All great picks by Miner and Phish.

    Whoa Neilie! Good thing I bought a vinyl Live Rust a few days back for $4. Neil is hungry.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sumo- She is marrying ( as an ordained minister) my uncle in Oct. I’ll see him this coming weekend. Ticket grovel will commence… Ha!

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    Your getting off easy for $20 marco.

  15. marcoesq Says:

    I know. Just being stingy. It’s a great app

  16. MiA Says:

    I love Star Lake ’12. And Cincy ’12.

    Been spinning the first sets of both lately I like them so much. Removed SOAM from Star Lake, and works great that way. Same with the Alaska from Cincy.

    More is less for both of those first sets.

    But I keep going back to that Disease from Cincy.

  17. voopa Says:

    Star Lake Weekapaug Wormhole ftw! Spun Mike’s>Simple>Light>Week>7 Below yesterday and had to revisit that wormhole a few times.

  18. P.S.H.S Says:

    At the beginning of skin it back, it definitely sounds like Spanish moon. Is it because that’s what the beginning sounds like, or did phish start Spanish moon by accident. Don’t have a copy of LF’s version, but I have waiting for Columbus, and spanish moon’s opening riff is pretty recognizable.

  19. dusty Says:

    Mr. Palmer’s cut of Spanish Moon is sic sic…not our Mr. P but Robert. Most of the little feat members on that cut.

  20. MiA Says:

    For all the Zappa fans.

    Can’t get enough of ’73 Zappa.

  21. PigSong Says:

    Thanks for those ‘tube links Kaveh. Enjoying that three part Pre-Show Interviews.

  22. PigSong Says:

    and holy shit, synch swimming pretty wild.

  23. Chonz Says:

    @xpun from the bottom of page 1, re: the Ball Harpua:

    I beleive the story was supposed to somehow relate to the plane (or was it a glider?) that flew over, but when the fan jumped on stage on hugged Trey, it threw the timing off, or else Trey was just thrown off by being assulted by a wook.

  24. marcoesq Says:

    @PSHS- They sound pretty damn similair, especially LF’s live cuts of Spanish moon. You really can’t tell until they start signing maybe minus one little different lick in Skin

  25. snow Says:

    Anybody hear the Pimps of Joytime? The tracks I have heard so far have been awesome.

    Also, I think the lyric “Gotta Jiboo” should be changed to “Baba Ganoush”.

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