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”

  1. voopa Says:

    Another code:


  2. butter Says:

    Miner’s right that the Ghost jam was like a celebration + extension of the gold they’d tapped into in the RnR exploration

  3. butter Says:

    damn ya’ll are fast on the codes that voops is already spent

    they ripped my ticket stub code off last night


  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    pretty sure if you email phish tix they’ll send you a new code for a ripped ticket

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    haha, no shit butter. I think someone has invented a codebot on here. I didn’t know they even rip stubs anymore?

    Dude- Contract is signed. Sounds like it is a done deal to me, especially since you’ve been pre-approved.

  6. butter Says:

    @Silly for SF i would bring shorts and pants. you’ll thank me later.

  7. butter Says:

    thanks T3 it has some other unique number on it, huh?

  8. steamer Says:

    when does the hyperbole become more amusing than instructive?

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    not entirely sure… are they mail order? I figure they can reissue based on your order

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    thanks, butter! and I totally hear you.

    But, I can only bring one.

    I’ll go with shorts. I rocked shorts in January and again in April in SF when it was only in the mid 50s and I was fine walking around everywhere. (I know. Mark Twain…)

    I always put Show Comfort over other types of comfort (like financial comfort, familial comfort, relationship comfort, employment comfort, and comfort comfort).

    Better to be comfortable at the show and uncomfortable everywhere else than warm during the day and too hot to groove during the show.

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    whatever you do, DO NOT check out the Shamrock Series uniforms ND just unveiled. The field turf was one thing – and I can live with that – but these unis are something else entirely.

  12. butter Says:

    the energy of the crowd from set 1 to set 2 seemed like night and day.

    1st set seemed to be the super naunchalaunt west coast crowd that just sits around and waits for something huge to wack them over the head.

    then they came out for set 2 and WTF’d the room fairly well and the energy seemed locked between the crowd and band for the rest of the show

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “when does the hyperbole become more amusing than instructive?”

    ^ ask The Universe

    I think it is a travel day though.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    This is what all the kids on tour are rockin.,r:2,s:0,i:78

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    Ah, the elusive grey post.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Agreed, Butter.

    Set 1 last night I had plenty of dance room behind the soundboard with casual observers.

    Set 2 same spot serious dancers, and one ahole who kept smoking tobacco.

    What the fuck is up with tobacco smokers?

  17. MiA Says:

    Absolutely PB. And extremely rude about it. One girl held the cigarette at full arms length away and into MrsMiA’s face.

    I should have slapped her whole arm.

    Whole time I thought Trey was Channeling Holy Ghost through it. Esp. that triplet run part.

  18. lumpyhead Says:

    yep, tobacco was in the house last night.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    West coast shows have cigarette smokers also?

    Wtf? Next thing your going to tell me is that there were some people with white hats on and others that held smart phones in the air.. I’m shocked!

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    Just got a text from my best friend (Mich grad) about them…

    and I went to look…

    god. why?

  21. MiA Says:

    The look of the crowd last night was very eclectic for LA.

    Ed Hardy with a glow stick throwing down.

  22. MiA Says:

    Saw 50 year old people I’d think would be at a jimmy buffett concert getting down to Rock and Roll Storage Jam though.

  23. lumpyhead Says:

    not comparing to any coast. Just saying. bothered me lungs.

  24. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Indeed, Palmer.

    I was guilty of dropping serious ass as a result of some dietary choices yesterday. Still smelled better than those fouls cigs.

    Neat part about shows, is a fart that would normally rattle windows goes unheard in the venue and sometimes in line waiting to get in.

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    First Goal post Powerball win is a self produced nearly private phish show.

    Only person in venue who gets to smoke cigs is CK5.

    No beer either that shit stinks when you get sloppy with it.

    No powders or pills That shit is stupid, sorry if you need it to fill some hole in your soul.

    Trees, caps’n’stems and sweet tarts allowed, encouraged.

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