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. halcyon Says:

    Hey Hey BB!


    Thanks for the rail trail tip. Really enjoyed the stroll yesterday through the shaded trail. It was cooler on the trail than it was in our place. Damm was this past weekend humid. You could cut the air with a butter knife.

    Happy B Day Tela’s – Crackin an IPA brewed with coconut for ya 😉

  2. TheUniverse Says:

    A webcast is a media presentation distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers.

    Is it so hard to use google?

  3. Xpun Says:

    Haha voopa. Best tweezer of leg 1. Wasn’t all or at least MSG shows from 10 casted. Festi sets I believe in. Webcasted I do not.

    We KNEW it was happening. Did dicks even sell out last year? Big place right. What’s capacity

  4. Xpun Says:

    All of holiday 10 run I guess I should clarify.

  5. Mr palmer Says:

    Southern Run on the cheap, FTW!

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    You might be a phish nerd if you feel the need to clarify or correct something on the internet that was posted by mostly anonymous alias.

  7. Mr palmer Says:

    I firmly believe that there is no ” webcast effect”.

    It is all in the hyper active minds of a insanely crazy fanbase.

  8. Xpun Says:

    Oops. Half rooster’d became 3/4 rooster’d while grilling dinner. Started to rain so rolled grill into garage opened doors and had a breeze cutting through. Blasting golden ghost and set off every damn fire alarm in the house. My bad bitches.

  9. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    With my SF run on the ropes, a webcast does not make the business case to go in-person a more meaningful message to the other stakeholder’s and bank acount.

    Thanks, Universe!

  10. Mr palmer Says:

    Don’t skip the LBC.

  11. TheUniverse Says:

    I’m pretty sure that the webcast will just make not going that much more painful. Could be wrong.

  12. Xpun Says:

    Haha true. AJs post about getting called a nerd on a Friday night on a phish site being redundant was so classic. I was telling my wife the history of some song one day and she said how do you know that. I said I don’t know it’s online and before that I read it in a book. It’s just known. She said but who cares. And I said well I don’t know, WE do.

    Was reading about cults today and one characteristic is absolute belief in th leader thinking they can do no wrong. So I’m glad we ride troys ass from time to time. Seriously dude stop horsing shit.

  13. Mr palmer Says:

    Has anyone heard from Robear since the webcast announcement? I’m worried about him….

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I heard he bagan thumbing his way to the LBC, starting early.

  15. Xpun Says:

    LBC will be hot. No doubts

  16. tela'smuff Says:

    right on voop and mr p . i’m in agreement over some pondering on the subject. Tahoe Light was and still is a peak Phish moment for me. Dicks? well Dicks was simply amazing and inspiring. so, going off of that, i can’t get too crazy about a stream.

    had i been at the show for the Riverport Buried Alive, i can imagine i would have been 9mins mins into the jam, when all of sudden i’m like “oh shit! they’re jamming Buried Alive!!!”” that’s how naturally this m’fer evolves. please bring that a bit more, ala Starlake, throughout leg II.

  17. tela'smuff Says:

    at about 9:40-10:10 Trey reminds us to where we’re at.. epic

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Plus, last years MSG run was more about no practice than anything to do with a webcast. It’s just one of those things. Can’t convince me that a band playing together for 30 years reacts any differently when a show is webcast or not, especially when all the shows are video taped anyway.

    I do find the topic fascinating though. People feel strongly both ways. I just think there are way too many other variables that affect what happens on stage, many of which, we have absolutely no clue about….

  19. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    Robear last seen on rail of Golden Gate bridge. After quitting Waterwheel, shredding Phish card, and torching mgmt via Twitter.

  20. joe Says:

    will they start the webcast early to accommodate us east coasters who can’t stay up that late?

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Ha! Yes. Start time for BGCC is now 6pm pacific.

  22. joe Says:

    at least the show fizzle out at the end anyway. can skip the last 30 minutes

  23. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    U can’t be serious about the earlier start time.

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:


  25. joe Says:


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