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:

    Little Feat playing here in Baltimore on Wednesday

  2. MiA Says:


  3. dusty Says:

    pimps are fun to get down to in a bar. Not mind blowin by any stretch.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    For a Plasma TV- Samsung or Sony?

  5. Xpun Says:

    Yeah let’s get high and take on the best judo fighters in the world said no one ever.

    Didn’t realize a “fan”was onstage during encore. Knew it was to coordinate w the plane just didn’t know if anyone knew what the song was to be??

  6. lumpyhead Says:

    sony if you can afford it

  7. dognamedwilson Says:

    yall seen this yet?

  8. Kaveh Says:

    In case you missed it:

  9. marcoesq Says:

    Just picked up Air Scratch HD on the iPad, sick app! 2 decks, multiple effects, bpm meter and shit. lov it

  10. IrieWalton Says:

    Caught the new Neil Young documentary, Journeys, this past weekend.
    Highly recommend it.

    Granted, it’s mostly material from the “Le Noise” album, but some classics thrown in there as well. However, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the mic cam capturing Neil rockin’ out in all his glory about 3 inches from his mouth.

  11. MiA Says:

    SPAC Light really is awesome. +1 for sure. Really top tier.

    When they drop into Twist, the hair on my arms rise.

    Then … well … nothing happens.

    Hopefully Leg II, they follow up monster jams, with … monster jams.

  12. Selector J Says:

    @marco – If you just need a crossfader, lots of stuff can do that including winamp and iTunes. Probably easiest on iTunes:

    For iTunes (on a PC):
    > Edit Menu
    -> Preferences (I think this is in a different place on Mac OS)
    –> ‘Playback’ tab
    —> [x] Crossfade songs

    I usually set mine to about 8 seconds.

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    Trey, it threw the timing off, or else Trey was just thrown off by being assulted by a wook.

    ^ what?! No such wook…the glider flew over early, killing the story and trey bailed…..wook?

  14. marcoesq Says:

    Thanks Selectah, got that running now. For some reason the iPad doesn’t give you that same option. I guess I could just run off my PC

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Spac YEM

  16. dognamedwilson Says:

    kfc loves the gays

  17. MiA Says:

    Woo hoo!

  18. lumpyhead Says:

    how’s everybody enjoying their chicago 94 business?

  19. lumpyhead Says:

    how’s everybody enjoying their chicago 94 business?

  20. MiA Says:

    I can’t comment on that after that.

  21. lumpyhead Says:

    boof. 🙁

  22. marcoesq Says:

    I’ve only listened to 2 of the UIC discs, can’t get past 6.18 set II

  23. MiA Says:

    Been spending the day with SPAC ’12 today. This YEM video really reminds me how far the band has come since ’09.

  24. Selector J Says:

    @marco – Right on. I’m sure there’s got to be something good and free out there for the iPad that’ll do the trick. My friend used something on his iPad for that kind of thing at his wedding this past June. Can’t remember what it was called, though. Speaking of which, if you find yourself feeling hungry near the Cross Street Market in B-more, go check my friend at his sandwich shop, Hot Corner Lee’s. He does a mean cheese steak.

    Also, when is the wedding? Congrats!

  25. Chonz Says:

    @ miner re: Clifford Ball wook:

    taken from the Harpua review (I also remeber it happening live):

    “Well thank you all so much for being a part of this whole thing…it’s just incredible, man. (loud loud applause) “incredible” (inaudible mumbling from someone as a slightly fucked up concert-goer hops up on the stage and stumbled over to Trey to hug him before getting carted off) “hahahaha…Other than that guy it was incredible.” (laughing from stage and audience)

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