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. litteringand Says:

    Would agree Kaya, really saying that more with the mindset that they are riding a major wave of creativity right now and I want to see those songs interpreted.

  2. kayatosh Says:

    right on, littering.

  3. Phishm0610 Says:

    Figured you all were bored with the song by song chatter about a show you all just saw. Halfway through Light and. Well you can finish my sentence. Blown

  4. kayatosh Says:

    how about waves after simple on saturday night? #line’d

  5. Phishm0610 Says:

    I gotta ask. Is Mike Gordon playing 2 to 3 bases at the same time. Or is looping and then looping again a soul shaking rhythm that only devils are aware of. And then playing over it???????????????

  6. Phishm0610 Says:

    Nevermind. He’s just that good.

  7. Phishm0610 Says:

    I’m just so glad that this show is just as good the 2nd time. Can’t wait to play this to everyone. This is my new meditation music going forward.

  8. Phishm0610 Says:

    I’ll shut up now, but literally getting spun again and have no hesitation whatsoever to let it happen. Thanks PHISH.

  9. Troy Whaley Says:

    Whats gonna happen at starlight? I’m ready, whatever it is. Been on an involuntary phish hiatus for a few weeks so bring it!

  10. churdslick Says:

    Anyone got extra starlight tix? I need a pair. (I asked earlier but am trying again because my post got pushed to the bottom of the page.)

  11. Slicksasquatch Says:

    Lol @ Chanel dog# 5 . Probably be a hit on rodeo drive.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    First time light listening

    Page doin some wack shit! Diggin this like a happy storag jam

  13. Robear Says:



    So glad you all felt the love on webcast and listen back. Rare moments. Seems like many folks were going through little personal anxieties and growths, and day to day stresses. Then Sunday the Love came together.

    My favorite shows come complete with a Meatstick anymore. Trey knows.

    IPA = Inverse Panic Attack

  14. Lycanthropist Says:


  15. Robear Says:

    Lycan! The Zion train is coming your way.

    I checked the stage a few times Sunday. Didn’t see anyone else up there.

  16. MiA Says:

    Wow. Coi is BGCA3 vs. Gary Danko being BGCA2.

  17. Phishm0610 Says:

    I’m not feeling well and need sleep. I’m suffering from an acute case of IPA. It caused me to introspect with a feeling of insecurity, yet conscience jubilation. Which feeling do you think I’m bringing to bed with me?
    Night all and look forward to another conversation that reminds me that I’m not the craziest being I know, Even though my favorite/only band has the ability to make me glow at will now.
    Now I know what lightning bugs feel like on a warm summer day.
    Hope I feel this way tomorrow.

  18. Csb Says:

    Wooooooooowwwww. A night of magic. Truly. This band has grown in so many positive ways it’s amazing. My favorite Phish ever! And I am old! Don’t get me wrong. There are many years of good phish but shhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt!

  19. ThePigSong Says:

    Love te vibe on here today. I’m cloud nine’d on Ph right now. Something must be going on because sleep is an afterthought so far this week.

    Four day work trip starts tomorrow>hopefully meeting up with a few BBers>LKWOOD

    Hit me up if you wanna meet meet up Saturday afternoon. ThePigSong at gmail

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    Awesome photos voopa! The green wash center pic is now my lock screen.

  21. MiA Says:

    Coi is amazIng .

  22. MiA Says:

    Coi is intoxifying. Bastards.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    i got an extra starlight

  24. Phishm0610 Says:

    IPA = euphoric radiance

  25. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Bb in a good place. SF3 still not digested here. Haven’t even gotten past theme!

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