The Era of Good Feelings

6.20.2012 – Portsmouth, VA (Michael Stein)

This summer, if one thing was evident from Worcester to Denver, Phish felt great. Filled with joy, their positive emotions permeated their music all summer long, redefining the meaning of “Bliss Phish.” Where improvisational segments once turned towards the dark and ominous in such pieces as “Tweezer,” “Ghost,” and “Rock and Roll,” this summer,the band veered for the light in almost every instance. Thus, Summer 2012—especially Leg Two—was largely defined by these uplifting, melody-anchored escapades.

The Long Beach “Ghost,” KC’s “Tweezer,” Alabama’s “Rock and Roll,” Charlotte’s “Tweezer,” Dick’s “Undermind,” “Chalk Dust,” “Light,” and “Sand” head the top of this tour’s bliss jam class, and herein lie many of tour’s most magical moments. The joy and light that lives within every one of us recognizes these similar vibrations released by the band, resulting in truly heart-opening experiences. While I’m all about dark Phish jams, more often it is a bliss jam that connects one to the infinite. Why are so many people still reeling from Denver’s tour closing three-night finale? One reason is because so many of Dick’s jams elevated to this place of communal reverie, creating experiences more powerful and inspiring than normally outstanding Phish jams. The band was tapped into IT, creating more than music in the Rockies. They were harnessing universal messages from beyond everyday comprehension and channeling them through their instruments. Finally stepping out of the way, the guys were conduits in Denver,  as Trey often talked about in the mid-‘90s, allowing life’s energy and sounds to flow through them. And that made all the difference.

8.19.2012 San Francisco, CA (Michael Stein)

Most of the issues fans have pointed out in this era—rocky transitions, odd song selection, ripcorded jams, fizzling sets—have, arguably, come from the band overthinking things and not letting IT flow. On this past tour, however, that problem vanished in the air, as Phish glided through a fortnight of dreams. When thoughts cease, the false self dissipates and truth arises, and throughout Leg Two—specifically in Colorado, we experienced the truth.

6.19.12 – Portsmouth, VA (M.Stein)

At so many junctures during Leg Two, where Trey used to bail, he persevered, breaking down improvisational walls that once constrained him. And with the cooperation of his ready-to-jam bandmates, the guys formed excursions that shot arrows through our hearts all tour long. Phish’s good feelings didn’t only effect open jamming, but was infused into each “Harry Hood,” “Ocelot,” “Maze,” and even “Golgi Apparatus” that they played. The band was in the moment all tour long, and every second felt as important as the one before.

Music reflects the people and environment from which it is created, and with Phish and their fans teeming with joy all season long, everything clicked on Leg Two, resulting in a wake of euphoric music. As the band criss-crossed the nation with an absurd quickness, each night they were able to slow everything down, and take it one measure at a time. This commitment to improvisational patience combined with the gratitude, celebration, and appreciation that wafted through the air at every show, created a magical mixture that pointed the band towards catharsis more often than not. When it comes down to IT, music is all about feeling, and throughout Leg Two, things had never felt better.

6.20.12 (Michael Stein)


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 8.22 II, Kansas City, MO

One of my favorite bliss jams from summer.



6.19.2012 (Michael Stein)

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977 Responses to “The Era of Good Feelings”

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  1. plord Says:

    first with a repost…

    Anybody [still awake] who wants it, from the Deluxe edition, the Orb NOT Featuring Lee Scratch Perry, Instrumental mixes of the tracks on _Orbserver in the Starhouse_.

  2. Al Says:

    Absolutely agree, Miner.

    Though there were also many leg 1 shows and jams that had leg 2 quality (Wosta 1, AC, Burgettstown, AV. (cincy twist, ac Birds, JB golden age…)
    After a couple of listens I somehow prefer the Bieber RnR over the Bama RnR.

  3. Phishm0610 Says:

    Got to agree with your post again Miner. Great read. Brought back memories that may of gotten lost in the wind. Glad I have these shows to go back to over and over again.
    Dang, it’s early. Probably need more sleep. Just wanted to check and see if Miner wrote something light. Good stuff.

  4. halcyon Says:

    Morning folks. Too busy lately for much of anything, luckily have had time to listen to many of these shows. Another year older today, not any wiser or more knowledgeable, probably have more questions than answers. One thing I do know is that my baby girl’s smile melts my heart every time.

    Many people are talking about Dick’s Light, and Sand rightfully, however there hasn’t been much said about Carini from night 1. I love that version.

    Have a great day out here. Thanks for the link Plord.

  5. Stimpy Says:

    Happy Birthday Halcyon!

    It was a blissful summer. Phish brought the happiness quotient.

  6. Stimpy Says:

    Happy happy joy joy!

  7. PigSong Says:

    HBD wanderin’ Halcy.

    Good one all. Dicks Paug is a Trza show and tell.

  8. MiA Says:

    Great post. Happy Birthday Halcy.

  9. PigSong Says:

    Nailed this write-up, per usual.

  10. getafix Says:

    ,”resulting in a wake of euphoric music”

    love it,
    Great piece
    love the conduit reference too
    (great metaphors, they paint color in my brain)

    dark jams this summer?

    immediately reminded of DCU Carini and Ghost

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    happy birthday Hal!

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Happy Happy Halcy!

    Robear, bwana summed up the headlamps nicely. two great recommendations right there.

    and this is for the joggerz of the world. I would argue that hockey should be included in may/june too, but it’s a start.

  13. gavinsdad Says:

    and thank you Miner.

    i’m going to keep being the squeaky wheel here. would be very interested to get your “hindsighting” POV on this piece from April.

    Three years into this era, Phish has played plenty of great shows and thrown down many jams that stand up to any era, but where are they “going” musically? Are they “going” anywhere? Can you remember the last time Phish played for three straight years without establishing a signature sound or improvisational focus of the era? Probably not, because it has never happened.

    one view says they are doing the same thing they did last year from a schedule perspective and another view says that musically they all listened to your “football huddle pep talk” without you actually having to have it.

  14. dognamedwilson Says:

    It’s my birthday, too (so to speak). Not to sound like a born-again but I need a miracle everyday and today I get to pick up a little award because it happens to be the 365th consecutive day of miracle appropriations earmarked for my purposes. And that’s the last I’ll mention it for the next year.

    Jah no dead!


  15. MiA Says:

    1 year sober is a good anniversary DNW.

    I think that’s what you’re saying.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    good on you, dog. keep it up!

  17. dognamedwilson Says:

    Check out Big Mike with the deductive reasoning skills on display this morning 😯

  18. Gavinsdad Says:

    Dnw – big milestone. No small task. Have a buddy 50 days in. It takes work! Congrats.

  19. btb Says:

    I’m here for the bliss

  20. Shred Says:

    I’m not into Phish to feel the good feelings or hear a bliss jam.

    I’m in it to hear them shred.

    If you don’t think Albany Yem holds up to D-light then you’re a little clueless.

  21. plord Says:

    Happy Birthday Halcy and congrats DNW.


  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that Peel collection sure is something, eh? I need a table of contents or something to figure out how to tackle it all

  23. Beaten Worker Says:

    Quick drive by:

    This just got posted to YouTube and its got a nice, almost plinko sounding jam. Looks like a really cool venue as well.–i1w0&feature=g-all-u

    That vid got me thinking, what if Trey comes out on this TAB run in the fall and just continues to open up jams, the way he did in early TAB years? I think that would be a huge statement.

    Also, does anyone know what the lineup for his band is this year? I thought I heard that he said something at the Bear Creek show last year that that was the last time that particular group of people would play as TAB.

  24. voopa Says:

    Shrek- Are you arguing with anyone in particular, or just trying to start shit?

  25. tela'smuff Says:

    happy birthday @Halcy! drove by your old hood yesterday. miss ya out here!

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