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. tela'smuff Says:

    weird again. i just tweeted Shapiro about an hour ago asking him when the next release was.

    Riverport Buried Alive!!! And Cincy Zoo Slave bustout!!! endless kickdowns from Kevin.

  2. Chonz Says:

    Sweet! Thanks for the heads up, Palmer!

  3. MiA Says:

    Awesome. Perfect Bait.

  4. stapes Says:

    Happy B Day Tela’s!!!

    Really stoked about a sbd version of that Buried Alive!

  5. tela'smuff Says:

    thx Voop!

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I wore that Cincy Zoo tape out in college.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    Good job IRS. Legalizing was really cutting into my friends profits.

  8. MiA Says:

    Happy Birthday Brother Tela

  9. stapes Says:

    Thought the Zoo Slave was already released on a FTA. Maybe I’m mistaken though.

  10. hazel mango Says:

    Happy birthday, tela!
    and happy 2nd anniversary Greek Cities!!!

  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Last official vid. SPAC YEM.

  12. MiA Says:

    Lakewood Gin is a real scorcher. All those 2000 Gin’s were top notch. Lakewood, Holmdel, Philly, Deer Creek, Albany, Shoreline, etc.

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    these drops make it hard to keep up the Phish fast. think i’ll have to take this Live Bait out to the deck with the nice Port Brewing Anniversary Ale @Stapes so kindly bought me.

    thx fellas.

    yeah P – that tape was special back then.

  14. stapes Says:

    Yep. Lemonwheel FTA has that Slave.

  15. MiA Says:

    I love these 2000 Gins and so glad Shapiro does too. Great kickdown.

    Woo hoo. Hip thrusting on a Monday afternoon …

  16. voopa Says:

    While we’re at it, happy 16th to the RR Tweezer!

  17. sumodie Says:

    best birthday wishes, tela’s

    still haven’t finished the recent SPAC FTA’s, and now LB08!

  18. tela'smuff Says:

    weird things come in 3’s. literally seconds after i read MiA’s posts of hip thrusting, shuffle pops on Rolling Stones Shake Your Hips. that’s one out of 33,208 songs on my iTunes. giddy up.

  19. MiA Says:

    That Halley’s Comet beginning at Cincy Zoo just threw me off considerably. Weird. Bumbling. Like not in a good way.

    I’ve heard the Slave Before, but not the Halley’s. Maybe for good reason.

  20. GhostPhunk Says:

    real life distractions maxing my time. Just a pop in to say Skin It Back FTW. Have a great day BB!

  21. Kaveh Says:

    Happy B Day Tela’s!!!

    ^ Yes indeed…have a great day.

    And looking forward to getting into this LB release.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    happy birthday, tela’s

    days are flying by at work

    can’t wait to see everyone in san francisco

  23. Xpun Says:

    Happy Bday telas

    Poolside half rooster’d. Beach life is great.

    Two weeks from today willbe flying back from BGCA. Great memories in my head. Some new LP jams in my ears.

    Done burgettstown mikes>-7. So much goodness going on there. I love pages stuff here. Coming back in with light over mikes bass solo. Rarely is that section stepped into by any others. Worked so well. And then bring weakapaug into seven below. Loving it.

  24. xpun Says:


    Requesting a post on the flashback jams of this tour that self referenced gorge rnr, uic, etc

    Short term memory ear

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    New Paradox Charlie show if you guys are interested:

    Download Here

    Lots of new tunes, very HQ recording, couple of sit-ins, good stuff.

    Free music from the horse’s mouth, check it out.

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