A Night for the Ages

8.19.12 – BGCA (Michael Stein)

Perfection is elusive in the realm of improvisational music; a shining light in darkness deep that is strived for but seldom reached. An infinite number of variables must go right within a group dynamic, let alone individual performances, to attain the sacred stride that envelops the consciousness of an entire room. Four minds—rather 7,004 minds—become one, harnessing a power far greater than any of them, speaking to the divine in human existence. Although Phish has played so many shows in their career, only the best of them have rolled off the stage as flawlessly as last night’s performance in The City By the Bay.

Sunday night’s show made me feel like a kid again; like a noob being blown away by four larger-than–life superheroes who could do no wrong. The emotion that shook my being as the band entered “Tweezer Reprise” to close their best show in god knows how many years, was one that I haven’t felt in just as long. It was a cocktail of celebration, exaltation, sheer disbelief, and a deep pride in the band and everyone of us who believes in them with all of our soul. IT was a triumph of incomprehensible proportions.

8.19.12 (Michael Stein)

Over the first two nights in the historic hall of Bill Graham, it felt like Phish had yet to drop a top-tier effort, despite playing three spectacular jams—”Disease,”Tweezer” and “Simple.” But the guys couldn’t leave the intimate Bay Area room without upping things to a level that would have made any of the city’s psychedelic pioneers smile from ear to ear. After a high-energy beginning, the band stepped things up quite a bit with the last three songs of the first set—“Jibboo,” “Roggae,” and “David Bowie.” The band pushed each beyond convention, infusing each with an enhanced creativity. And when the guys pick up momentum in such fashion before the break, it always is a good  omen. But who could possibly have known what lurked around the corner?

At setbreak, a buddy and I left our post upstairs to rejoin our friends in the back of the floor. As fate would have it, for the set of sets, almost all of our friends—30 plus—were together with plenty of dance space in what became a musical sacrament. After such a cathartic live experience, I’m taking a day or so to distance myself before listening back—the memories are just too rich. In short, the band played nearly an hour of seamless, free-form improvisation of which the wildest dreams are made. With the all-time sequence of “Crosseyed > Light -> Sneaking Sally -> Crosseyed > Theme” Phish blew the minds of every person I’ve talked to in attendance. Every. Single. One. Undertaking a musical trek like none we’ve heard in this era, the band left a spiritual legacy in the hallowed concert hall of San Francisco. Original and experimental, cohesive and subconscious, with nuanced peaks and valleys featuring a segue that will make you scream—this was Phish at their absolute finest.

8.19.12 (M.Stein)

The guys dropped a couple of Phishy maneuvers within the second set as well. Punctuating the next-level suite with a blistering run through “Rocky Top” out of the farthest reaches of left field, the band somehow made the Tennessee anthem feel just perfect. How could it not? In addition, they carefully penned their signature on a night of instant legend with the most original “YEM” we’ve heard in eons. Trey didn’t even take a guitar solo in favor of the most lampin’ lounge funk you’ll ever hear, seducing the audience with sultry grooves amidst a minimalist wonderland. A song that represents a celebration of everything Phish each time played, “YEM,” on this night, was a collaboration to behold.

When Phish walked off stage, fans shared hugs and looks of disbelief. Had that just happened? The memory of everyone’s greatest post-show feeling, all of a sudden, had a brand new contender. I had fallen head over heels in love with Phish again, all in the course of a single evening. The knowledge that “Tweezer Reprise”—a build that was teased during the height of “Light’s” drama—waited in the wings sent surges of adrenaline through my veins. Before jumping into the final climax, however,the band gave a musical nod to The City with the bustout of “Ride, Captain, Ride,” a song whose first line references San Francisco Bay. It was the perfect encore to the perfect show, because nobody who made the trip to Bill Graham will ever forget their August weekend in Fog City.

I: Crowd Control, Party Time, Axilla, Reba, Free, Mound, Walk Away, NICU, Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo, Roggae, David Bowie

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Light -> Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley -> Crosseyed and Painless > Theme From the Bottom, Rocky Top, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Meatstick, Bug, You Enjoy Myself

E: Ride Captain Ride > Tweezer Reprise


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605 Responses to “A Night for the Ages”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    have fun, mia. you are the man.

    shout out to tzara’s ghost for making, and generously sharing, delicious sauvignon blanc. respect, washington wine.

    spinning meatstick which was played on robear’s honor.

  2. hoedown Says:

    Wait so there is way to dl from crunchy groove? Need last night for long work car rides… Can someone point me in the right direction please. adsurf @ hotmail

    Very exciting write we have here. It truly sounds like we have entered a New / Golden Age.

  3. bobby weird Says:

    holy mackeral!

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    7004? What about all the webcusters? 😉

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Never miss a Sunday show. Church.

  6. bobby weird Says:

    Custy casters now sure to purchase ticket to be there live next time! Ad infininitim……

  7. kayatosh Says:

    srsly, bingo.

    mia: fyi, gary danko is being webcast tonight.

  8. bobby weird Says:

    Custy casters now sure to purchase ticket to be there live next time! Ad infininitim……

  9. kayatosh Says:

    it may not be your thing, but that sugar shack was dank. trey owned it.

  10. bobby weird Says:

    (Sorry, fone froze)

  11. yematt Says:

    repost for crunchy groove download

    yematt Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 7:04 pm
    @ snow you can download the show from crunchygroove with the firefox plugin netvideohunter

  12. kayatosh Says:

    holy jesus, this Light is $$$.

    west coast time.

  13. Kevin Says:

    I hear you about not listening back. I’ve never been able to bring myself to spin the Cypress midnight set ever. Too many great memories, can’t stand to change them (even if for the better in some cases).

  14. Robear Says:

    Robear Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 8:57 pm
    On long journey home. Had dinner with Stash’s sis en route. Enjoy the shows. This weekend was healing. Can’t explain how many little crazy things happened. Everything, and I mean everything came together Sunday. The BB network is greater than the sum of its parts.
    Saw a guy with a ‘Too Jammy’ shirt.
    Thanks to @mrminer and @albertwalker for the ‘de-jadification’ of Grumpybear
    I’m always thinking about @bingosbrother at shows. Peace.

    Also, if u hear me bitching about Phish, there’s probably some chaos in my life and I’m venting.

    Phish is Amazing.

  15. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Huggie Bear has been reborn.

  16. vomax Says:

    Fantastic Post, and man do I dig the positivity of BB after a show like that! Last night was epic, even sitting alone on my couch (when i wasn’t up dancing), and i’m thinking about how funny it is that we as fans have this awesome sense of vindication after a night like that – all the effort, the travel, the fighting with the ticketbastard, etc, is worth it for the fun of a normal show, but when the boys give us a present like that, it just reminds you what CAN happen, and that possibility is (to me) a stronger addiction than any substance on the planet!
    As far as the webcast goes, while I did miss terribly that glowing feeling walking out with thousands of people who shared that experience (which can never, and should never be discounted) the jams last night were particularly well suited to a good stereo system or headphones. It was obviously not at all intentional on the part of the band, but the tenderness with which the quieter segments of crosseyed and light were played really came through on the board mix. Also the Reba and the Roggae were an absolute bliss in that same context. For anybody who’s got an AUD and is deciding on whether or not to hunt down or buy the LP mix, this is the show begs for an SBD. So if spending 40 bucks for the cast is more custy than flying across the country, and the experience was what I had last night, then i’m custy all the way.

  17. Robear Says:

    Trey is in my head too! All weekend I was saying “If he finds out I’m here, we will get some ‘Meatstick, Ride Captain Ride’ type stuff”


    Miner calls ‘Cross>Light>Free>Sizzle Smoke Fire>Meatstick>YEM’

  18. Albert walker Says:

    Sunday was operation dejade Robear and troy came through. Really a perfect night all around.

    Miner nailed it. We all needed this Sunday night show in sf. Healing ass shit sets like that.

    Could feel a little tension in the community that just needed some other worldly phish.

    Great piece miner. Great to chill as always.

  19. PigSong Says:

    Among everything else, that last ~7 minutes of Light is everything and more. Seeya folks

  20. kayatosh Says:

    ^^^ yep.

  21. bobby weird Says:

    Ah… Healing. Good point. Well said.

  22. Robear Says:

    Great post by miner.

    Epic, insightful post by @vomax


    Chicago and Philly kids beat us home.

  23. MiA Says:

    Everyone is beating me home.


  24. PigSong Says:

    Happy for the Robear, was curious where your head may have been at when you posted at setbreak last night.

    Thinking maybe Charlotte this weekend, it’d mean ditching my mom who will be in town on her bday though. Come to think of it, not sure I ever canceled my CLT hotel res. /thinkingoutloud


  25. albert walker Says:

    1 Indica PM Gummi candy + 1 Sativa AM Gummi candy made for safe travels

    fuckin stoned as shit.

    back to real life. K bumpin Marky Mark on Sirius, OG Dabs and checkin babylon emails for work.

    Dicks can’t come soon enough.

    ya’ll are gonna get some shitty shows. some rockers. some jamless. but when Troy decides to fuck shit up those lucky enough to be in the room are in for it. they have all the tools and are developing new jam styles nightly.

    last night. just speechless on Crosseyed through Sally. not a wasted note that lacked intent. extra sauce in everything.

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