Beyond Belief

8.15.12 – Long Beach (Sam Heller)

Opening the floodgates of creativity, Phish redefined possibilities with a second set that elevated this game to a completely new level. Storming out of the gates with nearly 45 minutes of experimental jamming in “Rock and Roll > Ghost,” and continuing with an immaculate “Limb by Limb” and “Harry Hood” that will make a you cry, Phish brought their A+ game to a tour-opener of dreams in Southern California.

As not to sound redundant throughout this piece, allow me to say up front—this was the best I’ve heard Phish play in ages. Last night’s second set was a case study in virtuoso communication and the metaphysical explosions that result from such human achievement. Touching on every facet of their sound that makes them the phenomenon we know and love, Phish gave a glimpse into paradise. The best thing you can do for yourself as a Phish fan right now, is to stop reading this review, cancel the next 90 minutes of your life, grab some headphones and bask.

8.15.12 (Sam Heller)

Weaving musical gold while lacing together one dreamscape after another, Phish came out with a massive statement in Long Beach. “Rock and Roll,” in and of itself, contained a entire show’s worth of standout improvisation. Spanning the the full spectrum from wide-open fields of melodic glory to demonic lairs of a “storage” sequence that sounded plucked from the wee hours of Super Ball, itself, the band could do no wrong. After plunging such depths with the first jam of the set, they could have easily hit cruise control. But that’s about the farthest thing from what happened.

Moving from a monumental excursion directly into “Ghost,” it felt that the band turned a corner with this decision. Feeling no need to reel things in, they forged forth into—arguably—the most spectacular portion of the night. Using the entirety of “Ghost’s” jam to peak “Rock and Roll’s Odyssean journey, the band converged on a life-altering peak. Taking but a couple of measures to move outside the box, “Ghost” proved, as it has all summer, to be an efficient path to original music. And this time, they drove the piece right through the heart of the audience, sparking a communal bolt of reverie. After 45 minutes of unbridled, wide-open jamming, the band could have dropped their instruments and walked off stage to a standing ovation. But they just kept moving forward.

8-15-12 (S.Heller)

Concluding almost an hour of non-stop improv with a spectacular take on “Limb By Limb,” it became quite apparent that the entire set would be laced with grandeur. A spot-on and notably raging “Guyute” fit within the context of this set better than any recent appearance of the song, and “Dirt” felt as poignant as ever Trey’s guitar lines dripped with emotion. And when the guys rolled into “Harry Hood,” they could have taken this show to the bank with a standard version—but they didn’t. Sensing a theme here?  Instead, Phish played what has to be considered an elite “Hood” of any era. Listening to each other with a subconscious marksmanship—a hallmark of the entire show—the band sculpted a final dip into majesty. Providing the proverbial cherry on top, this multi-tired “Hood” sealed the deal on a night that was far better than imaginable.

And we may have just scratched the surface…

First Set Notes: A more than solid tour-opening frame was marked by high energy playing from start to finish. “Cities” got things moving as the second song of the show, while both “Stash” and “Gin” popped with extra spirit along the way. But, as many tour-opening sets of this era, this one was long in the rearview mirror by the time the encore hit.

I: Suzy Greenberg, Cities > Kill Devil Falls, Guelah Papyrus, Cool It Down, Rift, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Bathtub Gin, Quinn the Eskimo

II: Rock and Roll > Ghost > Limb By Limb, Guyute, Dirt, Harry Hood > Good Times Bad Times

E: Julius

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405 Responses to “Beyond Belief”

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  1. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I love metaphysical explosions!!!

  2. Bodi Says:

    Like the band, you too seem to be hitting ur stride with write-ups mate, well done, made me giddy just reading it as I ride the crosstown manhattan bus with a crispy and saucy bouncing through my ear phones… Look out SF!

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    just finished RnR, and that’s everything i ever want when attending a Phish show. please bring that every show.

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    come on, yawningdrone. hook a brother up.

    So happy for everyone there. Looks like a lot of kids are going to be puddling their way into SF today and tomorrow.

    re-programmed heads wandering san francisco will make for some weirdness this weekend.

    safe travels, LongBeach cosmonauts.

  5. Luther T. Justice Says:

    If this is what happens when Beiber & Gomez are in attendance, get that douche up to SF.

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    Funny story:

    Storming hard here this morning. So I drove my car to the courthouse this morning for the first time. It’s 4 blocks so I always walk.

    Get out of my car, and think: “I’m rolling up to court for a client and I’ve got a Phish sticker on my car.”

    Prosecutor walks by, looks at the sticker, and says: “You would.”

  7. SillyWilly Says:


  8. avila Says:

    @gavinsdad – long time lurker, very infrequent poster here. Seeing the band since ’93. I am extremely interested in your post yesterday regarding 2 Fridays that are available in Marin, which is where I live. These Fridays would make my Saturdays and Sundays not feel so lonely. Next step? Tnx.

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    That’s funny Silly. I’ve had a few clients ask me if I’m into the Dead, Phish, and all that druggie hippy music…I smile really big.

    Anybody got some ticket download #s?

  10. kenny powers Says:

    So I guess Miner liked the show 😉

  11. tela'smuff Says:

    wow, Ghost! Rnr>Ghost indeed a worthy “best of 3.0” discussion. interesting Roggae breakdown at the end of Ghost.

  12. kenny powers Says:

    Can…not…wait…to hear…set II

  13. kenny powers Says:

    Hahaha check out the first comment,692/Phish-mp3-flac-download-8-15-2012-Long-Beach-Arena-Long-Beach-CA.html

  14. Litteringand Says:

    19 year old me= would have been copmpletly pissed that i missed this throwdown.

    32 yr old me= Just happy that it happened and stoked for any BBers in attendance.

    God I’ve matured well. Werther’s Orginal anyone?

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    The uncrescendo of Hood was neat!


    SF will be great and the next show and the next and so on and so forth.

    Get to Denver!

  16. Spelling_Helper Says:

    Hey there phan. Couldn’t help but notice the slight error you made in the review.

    You said “multi-tired Hood.” This is incorrect. See, the word contains an “e” between the “I” and “R” Therefore, the sentence should read, “this multi-tiered “Hood” sealed the deal on a night that was far better than imaginable.

    Cheer up, phriend. There’s always room for improvement! <@;-)

  17. kayatosh Says:

    have been spinnin set II. up to dirt now. RNR>Ghost>LxL is sashimi grade improvising. favorite ghost in a long time. devolves into LxL. $$$ segment. even guyute works (and nailed). gorgeous dirt. can’t wait to hear this HH.

    SF show prospects looking mighty good right now.

  18. btb Says:

    Streaming SBD

    I’m still slamming the first set. can’t wait for epic storage lift off!

  19. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    If you parse “BBer” incorrectly, you get “Bieber.”

    Its a fact!

  20. Litteringand Says:

    NICE HIT btb

  21. Mr palmer Says:

    Troy reigns in the jams for the cameras but not the Beibs? Interesting….

    PB- psyched you got a great show. Well deserved for a phish starved Arizonan.

  22. ThePigSong Says:

    Nice glowing review, three hour break in my workday coming up. Woot!

    Silly, iPhone? Grab the Ph app and stream.

  23. Fee4zy Says:

    Love hearing all the reviews of last night’s show. I’m still a bit wigged out about Beiber and Gomez being there. Having a Constanza moment where my world is colliding with my girls’ world. Looking forward to Labor Day weekend. Any extra downloads would be appreciated

  24. Luther T. Justice Says:

    “If you parse “BBer” incorrectly, you get “Bieber.””

    ^Now that’s a trap!

  25. ThePigSong Says:

    That’s what I was trying to remember, crunchy groove!

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