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

Tags: , ,

405 Responses to “Beyond Belief”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Tour openers seem like the excitement to play is so dialed in, like finally seeing your lovers after an extended time apart. They welcome the change from the everyday life and explode back into the ethereal playground of their music and the universe, just happy to unwind and relax where they’re so comfortable.

  2. kayatosh Says:

    8.15.12 RnR is pin worthy. fave part of the show.

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Finally going to listen to some of last night. Spun the Rock and Roll earlier. This Ghost is excellent. Never miss a tour opener.

    Have fun in Sf peeps. Try not to get too preoccupied with all the extra cameras around…

  4. PigSong Says:

    Like the Gin a lot too. I’m out, see you folks later.

  5. verno329 Says:

    Busy day around here as I’m picking up my new dog from the Humane Society today and have new Phish to introduce her to tonight. Should be fun.

    @Palmer What a world we live in. Its not even 24 hours after the show and you’re “finally” getting to spin some. Its killing me to wait until I get home tonight.

  6. Dorn76 Says:

    Still waiting for the boys to take Stash for a long moonlit drive with the top down.

    But no complaints when they’re busy knocking up Rock n’ Roll behind the middle school.

  7. bobby weird Says:

    the vocal energy at the beginning of RnR is off the hook! love the obvious enthusiasm to play! even vocals in ghost are energized. great sign for the future.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    gotta love it

    halcyon and I both grabbed trey tickets for the orpheum in the presale today and ended up with six consecutive in row t ray side

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I know Verno. Such a stark difference from years past. We would have to read a review and other’s comments to get a feel for how a show was, until we were able to get a tape, weeks later sometimes. Like anything though, some good points..some bad points.

    I’m listening on that crunchygroove site for now. Sounds great. I’m actually listening to Guyute…that speaks volumes.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Must read:

  12. tela'smuff Says:

    i guess a wall played Rift is all relative. i’ve seen versions where they almost stop playing they f it up so bad. think lasts nights fell in line with the last 4, none have been note perfect, but all better than other 3.0 versions.

    fun first set, liked Cities>Cool It Down.

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Do not miss phish shows.

  14. kenny powers Says:

    Page’s piano sounds really fucking good in the mix.

  15. albert walker Says:

    for me it’s usually Trey telas

    he forgets the lead a lot. unfortunately we all know it by heart. sometimes he fakes it. sometimes he just falls out completely.

    last night he was just falling out not playing anything towards the last 1/4 of the solo.

    one of the early ter versions of leg 1 was pretty nailed. DCU maybe?

    rest of the band seems to know it. always on Troy.

  16. sumodie Says:

    Already spun rnroll > ghost twice

    and now we’ve landed in sf!!

  17. Nate Sluszka Says:

    Ever think that maybe the boys were just putting on a good show for the Biebs?

  18. albert walker Says:

    I actually had to pause at the rift for an errand

    starting set back up on Stash now

  19. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Yes, Fish blows the drums up on last night’s Gin!

  20. albert walker Says:

    but ya def not a trainwreck rift

    just after spinning those 94 box sets all week my sense of what is tight phish is probably a bit skewed

    damn that shit is airtight back then

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    yeah, i may have overhyped it’s perfection earlier upon a 2nd listen, but Rift does have that punch back. but i think that’s a song that will never reach it’s true glory from ’93 -’95.

    anyway, f’in RnR>Ghost.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Holy Hood…

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    Second set was fun, time for the first set now.

    In non-phish news, Spielberg is releasing Raiders in IMAX for a week in September…just before the release of all four Dr. Jones movies on BluRay later in the month.

  24. Gavinsdad Says:

    @avila – just checked the board. Boarding a plane soon for sf. Send me email w your # at edlooram AT yahoo. I’ll check it and call u when I land

  25. William H. Bonney Says:

    @Palmer Worst piece I think I have every read. Made almost no sense, and just making up facts.

    I conduct interviews locally and find that75-95% of people I survey are Libertarian without even knowing it. Most people don’t know what they believe in, barely even think about it . What for some commerical to tell them. In the Phish “scene” maybe 20-30% are. If this board is any kind of sample then even less….Anyway thanks for the link, made me laugh.

Leave a Reply