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. Jtran Says:


    don’t sleep on the new Trey track. I think it’s actually pretty good.

  2. Dgrooves Says:

    I know it’s good when I’m on couch tour and I start texting updates and my excitement level to my best friend who I KNOW has long since went to sleep in a different time zone. Why text him then? you might ask…Because I just HAD to text someone…lol. CEP > Light > Sally > CEP > Theme = new underware for me after the show.

  3. voopa Says:

    Jtran- I didn’t put it up, but I’ll email it tonight. Hit me up at vooopa @ gmail (3 o’s)

  4. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Thank you wookie jesus for the latest Bowie.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    robear’s smile and high five squeeze when meatstick kicked up was priceless and i’m pretty sure not on the webcast.

  6. kayatosh Says:

    luther: you just made me belly laugh. will say a prayer to W.J. tonight before bed.

  7. mike Says:

    couldnt keep his trap shut – I knew it

  8. Luther T. Justice Says:

    With wookie jesus, all things are possible.

  9. voopa Says:

    Oh shit, that is Tori! Thought so, but wasn’t sure.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    got Bama! Thanks @verno!

    need ATL. Who can help?

    100 level please 😉

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Thy shall be done

  12. sumodie Says:

    Also like trey’s new solo track on first spin. Def fresher sounding than his other recent efforts.

    aah right, trey onsales happen this week

    afterglow carried me home today. about to crankointo some bgca, likely fri nite highs

  13. sumodie Says:

    Just got off the phone with a non phish lovin friend (i dragged him to nye98). he’s stupified that I’m still following this band, nevermind hitting both sf & denver in such a short span

    meanwhile he has tix to see some american idols concert next week. love the guy, even tho his taste in music sux. at least he was considerate enough to schedule his upcoming wedding when phish wasn’t touring (dec 15)

    time for some sf tweez…

  14. Robear Says:

    Epic day on the board.

    Thanks for the dejading minEr! Thanks for this new circle Friends that I really dig.

    Great stuff from all the new posters. Wow

  15. Phishm0610 Says:

    And to the individual that welcomed me to the post and I sort of dissed his comment due to my glowing nature of typing today. Thanks. This is an awesome blog.

  16. phoammhead Says:

    stomach ache is subsiding . . . sweet, looks like i’ll be able to play appropriately for the southern run! 🙂 do what i say not as i do.

  17. Phishm0610 Says:

    You are all good people. I’m fizzeled out now. Need more then 3 hours of sleep tonight. Early night for me. Have to have a 2nd listen soon. Peace all.

  18. joe Says:

    impossible not to read the past few days and not feel the glow. 1 week to hit the powerball so I can make it to Colorado.

  19. kayatosh Says:

    robear: noticed you sent me a txt mssg or two. remember, I have a dumbphone, and I hardly use the sucker. while I appreciate the love, email much easier for me.

  20. Phishm0610 Says:

    One other thing pointing towards Silly. Good luck man. Anxiety almost did me in. It’s almost like quiting smoking or drinking or something like that. Day by day. If you look too forward ahead and never live in the now it will give you a field day of things to be anxious about. If you can forgive others then how hard is it to come to terms with yourself.
    Of course I work on it everyday and have good one’s and bad one’s. This was definately a good week let alone day.

  21. revise your despise Says:

    Nice Miner! Still looking for an oak mtn myself. What do you guys think the chances are I get shut out if I wait till the lot to grab it?

  22. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I had an out-of-body experience listening to this show at work today. For the first time since Utica, I immediately had to listen a second time in it’s entirety. Then a third. Just awesome.

  23. revise your despise Says:

    Actually they are webcasting it so I don’t want to go anymore since the show will suck now 😉

  24. poop goblin Says:

    Zero revise. Maybe have a couple chunks of OG to offer in case of emergency.

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Set your intention now, revise.. it Shall be

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