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. TheUniverse Says:

    Or maybe just collaborate with trey. You guys could do a musical.

  2. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    @ Butter: I predict hard drive sales in KC rise tenfold. Stuck with shitty DSL in Nowheretown, NY.

  3. oldskool Says:

    @Butter, finally got my Hario setup and rocking! LOVE IT! Where should I order some beans from?

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    I know St. Louis picked up a fan.

    Upon 1st listen, that Hood sounded clunky. Not my kinda Hood. Flame away.

  5. xpun Says:

    listen again bingo.

  6. snow Says:

    I Just pulled a sat for BGCA. anybody need it?

  7. snow Says:

    as in, I can buy this saturday BGCA ticket if anybody is still looking.


  8. oldskool Says:


    four barrel, sight glass or blue bottle? any specific favorites?

  9. snow Says:

    I let it go… Tix are available for Saturday BGCA on Ticket master


  10. jerseyjim Says:

    wrt ticket codes – when i called the Phish offices after MSG 11, they gave me a replacement code on my mail order ticket. very nice folks.

    they also offered this pro tip: enter all your codes before the show, and it will be automatically posted to your account, when they upload the show.

  11. MiA Says:

    August 16th, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    FYI: if u have been seeing Phish since 09, u r no longer a nOOb. Congrats. In 96, the kids that started in ’93 were considered h3tty.

    This is not true. I started in ’91, and I still think all your asses are Custy noobs.

    Sat next to a kid during first set. Him and his SLF have seen all the LA shows in 3.0 but he was “cool” to Phish for a long time. Said he was at the first festival, and lived it. I said “Which one?” (kid looked maybe 30) he said “I don’t remember the name of it. You know the first one!”. I said “Clifford Ball?”. He said “yeah. That’s it.”. I said “how old were you”. He said “I don’t know?”. I said “what year were you born?” he said “December 1979”. I said “you were 16 then. Of course it was amazing”

    I was at Clifford Ball. Just don’t remember all the 16 and 17 year olds that must have been there.

  12. MiA Says:

    Whoa. I would think Sat would be easy to sell on the streets snow.

  13. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Anyone else heard someone scream “TREY YOUR HAIR LOOKS NICE” after the end of KDF? Made me nearly snarf my tea.

  14. jdub Says:

    Whats up Bb?

    I did the no spoilers today while working away. Great way to take a show in if you can’t be there. About to start round two set 2, no distractions.

    West proves to be the best again. Eat it up Cali Heads. Gonna be a fun run of shows here.

  15. yematt Says:

    wow. been listening to last night’s show in my car all day and fish’s drumming is the most impressive I’ve heard him do all summer, especially during ghost. holy shit. what a start!

  16. PigSong Says:

    “FYI: if u have been seeing Phish since 09, u r no longer a nOOb. Congrats. In 96, the kids that started in ’93 were considered h3tty.”



  17. voopa Says:

    My photos from last night

  18. PigSong Says:

    “This is not true. I started in ’91, and I still think all your asses are Custy noobs. ”


    This Ghost is real though, pumped for no show tonight so I can stream last night again tomorrow.

  19. Dr Pronoia Says:

    So my dads visiting NYC and after I told my Cali stories he told me his from the late 60s and early 70s. I knew he and my mom were heads and hitchhiked and shit but apparently he was a full blown commune-living wook

    My mind is pretty blown

    I need to step up my game and represent the family lineage

  20. Snow Says:

    Yes it would have MiA but I have a job and TM has theirs. I would have helped a BBer but I don’t need to scalp tix.

    It’s prolly still available…

  21. PigSong Says:

    Didn’t someone from here go to the Ball at like 14 or so? Irie Beantown maybe?

  22. Snow Says:

    And Of course you don’t MiA. You were probably in to 13/14 yro’s then.

  23. PigSong Says:

    ^not available snow 🙁

  24. yematt Says:

    fwiw: you can download individual songs from crunchygroove with the firefox plugin “netvideohunter”. works for anything that’s streamable on the webs. probably a similar plugin/extension from chrome but I have yet to search for it.

  25. plord Says:

    An actual >Roggae there after the Ghost would have been impossibly epic, amirite?

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