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. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    MiA Says:
    August 16th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
    Saw 50 year old people I’d think would be at a jimmy buffett concert getting down to Rock and Roll Storage Jam though.

    carries life-sized mirror to phish show. 😉

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    PB is a phascist.

  3. vegas wolfmans Says:

    If Bieber liked it, you know it was a hot show. That’s all the convincing I need.

  4. tela'smuff Says:

    when people fart at shows and that cloud hits me, i’m probably more offended than cig smoke. cig smoke isn’t’ good, no question, but a bad fart cloud is basically like putting that persons wet underwear, ass cheeks, butthole, poo, and might as well throw in ass hair, all up in my mouth. f’in rude. i’ll have my eye on you PB.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Hopefully, the show will change Biebs, because as of right now, after reading his RS article, that kid is a mega-tool. I’m sure I would be too, if my life was like his, but still. Must.woo.Selena.away.from.him.

  6. Darth Plinko Says:

    This Ghost breakdown is incredible. I keep rewinding over and over again.

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I pad my drawers with Bounce dryer sheets to mask the ass-gas.

  8. tela'smuff Says:


  9. Mr palmer Says:

    Wook ass should be outlawed.

    Beibs is 18. He was discovered on YouTube playing the guitar. His parents transformed into this pop freak show so they all could get rich. Have a tough time blaming him for much.

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Canadia is practically communist how else are they going to get rich. There is only one bagged milk tycoon allowed per province.

  11. butter Says:

    gotta a tour friend in the guest bedroom tonite, wifey and her out doin some grocery shopin for BGC. going to chill some champagne and cook some dinner, and try and rest up for the SF onslaught upon us.

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    VW, it was an open portal to the divine last night at times.

    I brought a good friend of mine to the show. Well talked her into driving up from SD and got her hooked up to get in.

    We did not get a chance to hang out much during the show as I raged and she got lost. Post show confirmed she had a blast. Unconfirmed if she got IT.

  13. Billy88 Says:

    for a communist country, Canadia still has a triple eh credit rating

  14. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Wonderful news, PB. Downloading now can’t wait to listen. From the sounds of it your amiga got a good look at the band on a smokin night. Should she not get IT, at least you did your part. Can lead a horse to water yada yada yada.

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    for a communist country, Canadia still has a triple eh credit rating

    ^ Brilliant

  16. voopa Says:

    Crowd was gettin’ down where we were 1st set too. Moved back by the tapers for 2nd, more space, people REALLY gettin’ down.

    Felt like I had the Trey mindmeld going during Ghost…that jam and I were one, then it got even better.

  17. voopa Says:

    Was also surprised at the amount of cig smokers in the show. Then again, I was that guy back in Oakland Coliseum when I was in my asshole 20’s…

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Spinning RnR Ghost again. So much going on. Good stuff. Glad you got the goods Voopa.

  19. Robear Says:

    Tons of babes…….at the airport


  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    you too Robear…

  21. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Where was Snoop Lion?

  22. Robear Says:

    At VW, he’s gone soft. Wanted none IT.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    Rob. Call me

  24. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Just heard his collab. song with Willie Nelson today, titled “Roll Me Up” I think. He can actually sing, kinda. I remember being surprised.

  25. MiA Says:

    PB, that was definitely directed at myself.

    The venue went from pleasantly cool when I grabbed my in-close spot, to being hot, smelled of stale bud beer (folks who dudnt figure out they were serving Foam outside), diesely sativa, and parliament cigarettes and ass gas.

    I know who to blame the last one on.

    Nice hanging PB.

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