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. joemeg Says:

    There’s definitely a webcast effect. Please sell me your BG Saturday tickets while you still can.

    My username + 2001 at yahoo

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Digging the new live bait. Never heard most of these. The Gin, Simple, and Buried Alive are revelations to me.

  3. Robear Says:

    If they do read these blogs. They’re likely itching to dispell the much disputed “webcast effect” debate. Or not.

  4. joemeg Says:

    I’m actually with Mr P, I do not believe in the webcast effect. I thought the CO run last year ended that theory.

    But for those who do feel strongly about it, I am looking for Saturday tickets that yoiu should get rid of.

    This live bait is geat

  5. joemeg Says:

    robear, I sent you an email. Didn’t notice yours until today

  6. joe Says:

    what happens when there are so many conflicting issues. west coast love. indoor summer phish. vs. saturday night special. webcast. We need a formula to determine which force is greatest. drugs vs. sobriety. women vs. men in the front row. too much to keep track of.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Denver Tweezer is my personal favorite of 3.0. Nice inclusion in the LB.

  8. Robear Says:

    Joe, we need an App for that.

  9. vegas wolfmans Says:


  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    webcast effect happens.

  11. voopa Says:

    By request from a regular poster here, I’m now seeding these 2 fine ’82 Jerry shows:

    Santa Cruz CA
    Second Set

    s2t01 I’ll Take A Melody
    s2t02 Roadrunner
    s2t03 Russian Lullaby
    s2t04 Valerie
    s2t05 Tangled Up In Blue

    Source: SBD of unknown lineage kindly provided by Seaweed1010.

    Transfer: Maxell XLIIS > Nakamichi CR-5A > Edirol FA-66 > Wavelab >
    R8Brain > CD-Wave > TLH > FLAC tagged. Transfer by Andrew F. Oct 2010

    Notes: Aud patches from ID-17377; start of Melody 0:00 > 3:12, and end
    of Tangled Up 10:49 > 11:47. Start of tracks 03,04,05 slightly clipped.

    Jerry Garcia Band
    Keystone, Berkeley, CA
    March 27, 1982

    Disc 1
    Set 1:
    They Love Each Other Love
    In The Afternoon
    After Midnight
    (I’m A) Road Runner

    Disc 2
    Set 2:
    Don’t Let Go
    Russian Lullaby
    The Harder They Come >
    Dear Prudence
    Tangled Up In Blue

    (53min+68min), probably MSC>dat


  12. SillyWilly Says:

    Hope you all had a good day

    Pretty tired over here. Taking advantage of the 8 hr sleep nights when they come along

    I’m an old ass man.

    Just storing up the energy for san francisco

  13. joe Says:

    Caught a glimpse of the Hood blimp flying overhead while walking between buidlings at work.

  14. sumodie Says:

    webcast effect happens.

    and the earth is flat

  15. dognamedwilson Says:

    Agree, miner. All those people dialed in, hoping to get a glimpse of the feeling of being there. What we end up with is a lot of disappointed people shut out of the show but still close enough to hear. Rather than have this negative energy pent up, pressing to be released at the next opportunity, as in the days of tour kids missing tough ticket shows, we have instead the negative energy of couch tour focused on the performance and the performers in real time. That is a lot to have to overcome just to present one’s art to people who paid (and are therfore presumably eager) to consume it.

  16. sumodie Says:

    Whoah….webcast effect has two possible meanings…? Sure

    Only one that matters, imo, is whether webcasting impacts the actual live performance. And I say no

    Watching a webcast is uniquely different from being in the building, so yeah, there is a webcast effect in that regard. But it’s not necessarily a negative effect

  17. BingosBrother Says:

    the earth is also hollow. fwiw.

  18. MiA Says:

    Hopefully the webcast takes down the anxiety of people upset to be “locked” out of a local show.

  19. MiA Says:

    Webcast effect is an East coast thing where fans stayed up to 2:30 AM to watch three shows in a row.

    Sunday may be killer.

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    respectfully, because you think it, doesn’t make it so. i recall your words on Dicks Tweezer and Tahoe Light, and recently ranking the JB Twist above the DC Disease>Sand. that leaves a night in GA that was hit by a tornado, a benefit concert for flood relief, and a second night of Tahoe that actually wasn’t all that bad, a non-practiced MSG show, and what else? Portsmouth i think is actually your best case for the webcast effect. but given the factors above, Dicks and Portsmouth cancel each other out, just like MSG ’10 does MSG ’11.

    if i could be in San Fran, i would do anything, and would literally never think about the simulcast. my biggest issue would be expectations that a GD member show up. or a GD cover, given the recent collaboration.

    anyway, Leg II will dominate.

  21. Gavinsdad Says:

    How bout we just hit some shows without all the nerdism?

  22. Gavinsdad Says:

    All I’m looking for is some spontaneous crying like I witnessed on the floor at AC Halloween. Thats when I know the band is at their filthiest.

  23. Gavinsdad Says:

    Floor tears for your extra

  24. voopa Says:

    The twitter argument over the webcast effect was pretty crazy.

  25. voopa Says:

    FWIW, I completely agree w/Miner and CD’s ultimate point- they are aware that they have no idea how many people or who exactly are seeing it, so there is that extra thing on top of everything else that goes into doing a show.

    Of course they have to realize that whatever they play now will be heard or seen by anyone who wants to eventually, but the live aspect probably does change it a bit.

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