Through the Hourglass

9.2.2012 – Commerce City, CO (Michael Stein)

When Trey stepped to the mic to thank the crowd for a wonderful three nights in Colorado and a “joyous” summer, one could hear the emotion and gratitude seep through his voice. But, in reality, we should be thanking him and the band for a second leg of summer tour that grew to places unimaginable, and the unbelievably inspirational music within. Punctuating the season with a seamless set of music that was centered on a mammoth sequence of “Sand -> Ghost -> Piper,” the band left no doubt about the state of affairs in the world of Phish—better than ever.

Official Print – Purple (Stout)

After two historic nights of music to start their stay at Dick’s, the guys needed a first set of songs to exhale and set their bearings after surfing the astral plane for so long. Once the lights dropped for the main event, however, Phish ramped things right back up with a “Sand” that exited stage left into a monumental excursion. “Sand” has been a villain of groove all summer long, birthing sweltering dance sessions since Worcester’s all-star rendition. But if Worcester’s “Sand” makes the all-star team, last night’s is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. All things seemed par for the course as the guys bathed in a scorching groove, but midway through the normal jam, they found a wormhole through which they squeezed, completely switching musical feels. But once they reached the other side, the music moved into space.

Fish dropped his beat and band built an eerie soundscape through which Mike and Fish initiated a triumphant, mid-tempo groove. Instanstaneously, the piece elevated into blissful open pastures, and when Trey rejoined the mix over his own loop, the jam transformed into heaven. Once peaking this euphoric segment, Trey threw down some hard rhythm chops, and the band immediately entered another section of jamming. All weekend long, where Trey would typically pull back, the pushed forth, and as expected, his mates were more than happy to oblige. Building this final part into a soaring rock groove, Trey took the jam to the top, sounding like it was “46 Days.” A seething solo over a full band peak capped this all-time great, or so we thought.

9.2.2012 (Graham Lucas)

At this juncture, and at the end of “Ghost,” the band took their time to pass between songs, intentionally extending jams into the musical setting of the forthcoming piece. This patience helped craft, perhaps, the tightest set of tour. Thus, when Trey turned back to the theme of “Sand” and proceeded to lead a jam out if it, the move just about knocked the socks off everyone in the stadium! With care the band worked the jam into a slower groove, laced with effects, and they morphed into the second “Ghost” of Leg Two. Where Long Beach’s version moved into uplifting sonic reverie, this rendition gravitated towards the dark, though didn’t reach the levels of its tour-opening counterpart. Leading the first part of the jam with an uncompressed, Hendrix-like scream, and stepping back for the second sequence of percussive grooves, Trey hit on multiple styles in this three-part “Ghost.” Finalizing the piece was another “segue jam,” an ambient crawl into “Piper.”

9.2.2012 (M.Stein)

Though not as developed as many of the jams we heard this tour, “Piper,” nonetheless, reached completely original ground. An uptempo staccato carnival, in which Trey locked into some stellar melodies, dazzled the crowd, while Page comped Red with quality piano stylings. The quartet was immersed in some of the more engaging music of the night, but as they had improvising non-stop for nearly 50 minutes straight—and for the first time all weekend—the band pulled up on a jam that still had plenty of life. Artistically twisting into the first appearance of “Twenty Years Later,” Phish completed a colossal chunk of improv, and audience roared in approval.

As the band paired “Twenty Years Later”—a retrospective song about time gone by and life experiences—and their earliest-era, Gamhendge classic,”Lizards,” a certain poignancy emerged. Here the band stood onstage in 2012, nearly 30 years removed from its genesis, and playing the best music of their lives. It felt like the guys realized this as well, using these two songs as a juxtaposition of times in their lives and a celebration of all that has happened in between. And there is no other way to end a musical celebration than with “Harry Hood.” A song that has been played with passion all year long took one more run around the block last night with glorious results. Ending the summer with a cathartic exclamation point, Trey wove a dreamlike solo before stepping up and sharing his thoughts with the audience.

9.2.2012 (Eric Battuello)

If 2009 initiated the Golden Age of Phish, 2012 brought us into a modern renaissance, where the band is no longer limited to jam “portions,” but now feel comfortable to extend their ideas over long periods of time, crafting thematic journeys rather than mere glimpses of the infinite. This summer, starting in Worcester and progressing through Denver, Phish hit a stride like never before this era, and Leg Two has been their crowning achievement. Strewn with all-time jams, Dick’s three-night run was the culmination of this magical year, and the feeling as we break until New Year’s couldn’t be more jubilant. As they started to sing in ’09, Phish wants us to be happy. Well, mission accomplished.

I: Cars Trucks Buses, AC/DC Bag, Down with Disease, Bathtub Gin, Nellie Kane, Sample in a Jar, Back on the Train, Rift, Free, Ride Captain Ride, Maze, Halley’s Comet > 46 Days, Possum

II: Sand -> Ghost -> Piper > Twenty Years Later, The Lizards, Harry Hood

E: Character Zero

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2,780 Responses to “Through the Hourglass”

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  1. jdub Says:

    What an evening treat.

  2. Phishm0610 Says:

    wow. about to go to bed. thought i’d bring up the bb on last time. Great review.

  3. Phishm0610 Says:

    and btw. that is a great photo of Trey.

  4. Andrew Says:

    So glad they played Twenty Years Later when they did. Amazing weekend of music and will be spinning this all the way until the new age.

    By the way Trey, we love the following and wish you played them more –

    Seven Below
    Liquid Time
    Sleep Again
    Army Of One

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  6. Aquaman Says:

    No shizzle…I haven’t been page one in over a year.

    Now I gotta go back and read!!

    Good evening all.


  7. Andrew Says:

    Dick’s Chalkdust has many hallmark segments and a really good flow. Doesn’t floor me to the brink of insanity but definitely elevates the pristine visions of radiant joy, which lead perfectly into Emotional Rescue…love they had the knowing thinking Esther as the E song.

  8. Xpun Says:

    i like when the setlist for the second set fits on one line 😉

  9. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    Miner, you have also got to love when they say, “Thank you Mr. Miner!” I know it makes me smile every time. Thanks for the write up, the whole summer tour, and this community…may we meet someday so I may buy you a refreshment!

  10. Xpun Says:

    from last post:

    Oldskool Says:
    September 3rd, 2012 at 7:17 pm
    @Palmer, it is even funnier because Mike HATES to sing that song. It must have taken some convincing. Can tell you more about it off-line sometime

    sounds like a interesting story, cant share online ??

  11. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    Was just about to leave this site til tomorrow, unsure of how to re-approach the world after this whirlwind Colorado weekend. I guess I will do it with a smile, and the knowledge that I will again see this band, and they will simply destroy!

    Page certainly backed Trey up in a special way during that second set, occasionally rising to surface to lead, then settling back!

  12. Aquaman Says:


    Please accept my mighty and whole hearted Thank You.

    Not being in CO with team enthusiasm and the rest of the BB crew has been pretty hard. But, living these shows with your words in combination with almost instant accept to the tracks… has been quite special.

    We certainly live in extraordinary times. And seeing it all unfold since 2009 with a great crowd of folks met through the BB and your work here….well, it’s just amazing. All too often I feel we forget to say thanks.


    P.S. I am glad everyone had a great time this weekend.

  13. MiA Says:

    Great thoughts Miner. I also liked the juxtaposition of 20YL and Lizards.

  14. Aquaman Says:

    This Sand has got me by the brain stem…..spinning now as I type and just arrived at the bliss portion.

  15. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    20 YL and Lizards were a triumphant pairing. Recapping a biographical journey, and its seeming connection to a phantasy world recapped in Lizards. The openings are eerily similar when listening last night.

  16. Xpun Says:

    another refreshing trend was jams coming from unexpected places

    carini (in the 3 hole)

  17. Xpun Says:

    this caspian is bad ass. and i don’t think ive ever said that. whole thing is just on but the last 2 min has serious balls.

  18. GhostPhunk Says:

    great review as always. Nice to get one last realization before bed that it did, in fact, all happen as I was feeling.

  19. GhostPhunk Says:

    6 song 2nd frame. Win.

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    loved the last couple minutes of Piper. thx Miner.

    @aqua – you’re a good singer.

  21. Aquaman Says:

    Just got through the -> from Sand to Ghost and it’s pretty much totally sick. And the Ghost just feels extra punchy from the get-go.

  22. robear Says:

    Matty Beck All Party Weekend Birthday Bash. Began with Firstube, ended with Zero. Ka-Ching. $$$$$$$$$!$$$$$

    I went xpcting regular Phish. It became a revelation.

    The look Stash, Butter and I shared during the ‘Thank you Mr. Miner’ line in Hood was so deep and such an exclamation point to the run.

  23. robear Says:

    Piper was sick as Phuck! Such original Cat and Mouse playing. Unreal.

  24. Aquaman Says:

    A superhero is expected to be multi-talented, yes.

    And, also true that Aquaman is a name that is bigger that the BB and phish.

    But now I’ve revealed too much, and everyone online right now will have to have their memory’s erased…… some other superhero……..whose talents are, admittedly, far cooler than mine.

  25. Aquaman Says:


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