A Hershey’s Kiss

Hersheypark Stadium [Rene Huemer via Phish]

It was one of those nights. As if lifted from a fantasy, Phish played an impeccable show from start to finish dropping two sets drenched with improv that were each experiences unto themselves. It is very rare that the band comes out from note one and never lets up for the duration of an entire concert, but that is exactly what happened in Hershey tonight. Perfection is elusive in any human endeavor, especially one with so many variables as live improvisational music, but dare I say, that show was perfect.

It did not take long to realize that Phish meant business tonight. The opener of “You Sexy Thing” set the tone, but what delivered the message loud and clear was the astounding run of jams that followed. Significant takes on “Wombat,” “Free,” and “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” set up the unquestionable highlight of the first half in “Halley’s Comet.” “Halley’s” jams have become the white whale of the modern era, and tonight Phish dropped an all-timer, easily the most significant version in over two decades. The jam did not take long to launch into uncharted waters, as the entire band cohered in an incredible groove session that smoothly modulated into a blissful plane and absolutely took off in some of the most gorgeous and spiritually uplifting music of the summer.

The band followed up this extraordinary excursion with the debut of Trey’s “Lonley Trip,” a song I immediately fell in love with when it was released during the pandemic. I couldn’t wait for Phish to incorporate it into their repertoire and it, frankly, it was amazing. The delicate and introspective ballad worked especially well juxtaposed with the uptempo improv that surrounded it. The non-stop set concluded with on point versions of “Jibboo,” “Meat,” and “Maze,” which bled into a brief reprise of “You Sexy Thing.” When the band finally came up for air, the set was over and the crowd was left astonished at what had just gone down. And the story of the night had only half been told.

A colossal version of “Birds of a Feather” anchored the first half of set two in which Trey put on a jaw-dropping clinic in guitar tone. As if Merlin paging through an endless tome of guitar sorcery, Trey led this jam with playing that progressed through a myriad of mesmerizing sounds. Page complimented Trey’s outstanding work by weaving in his own arsenal of sonic color while Mike simultaneously synced up with both of them offering dynamic, shape-shifting bass lines. Fishman’s intricate rhythms gave the jam a breakbeat vibe which kept the intensity cranked up for its duration, completing the equation of a thoroughly experimental Phish jam.

Following an interlude of “Bug,” the second half of the set ignited with a fully locked “Light” jam that saw the band playing off each other subconsciously, moving as a single entity through a passage that seemed bound for big things. Instead, however, Trey opted to layer the “Party Time” lyrics over the groove in what has become a common segue over the past several years. The vibe stayed high as the band concluded this sequence and dropped into “Ruby Waves.”

Phish capped the night’s improv with a patiently building, emotionally reflective and rhythmically shimmering version of the “Ghosts of the Forest” crossover. Trey brought this piece to a climactic and rolling peak with emotive guitar theatrics that tied a bow on an astounding night of Phish jamming. “Chalkdust” would provide the cherry on top of a spectacular set of music.

During the encore of “Show of Life,” I was flooded with awe, surrounded by an extended crew of friends filling the spacious dance floor. It is peak nights like these, in which every aspect of the experience falls into place, that makes me step back and truly appreciate the the path we have traveled over so many years. I am eternally grateful that we have all found each other in this time, place and dimension and have been able to share in something so special for so long. It is like nothing else I know, and I can’t imagine life without it.

I. You Sexy Thing, Wombat, Free, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Halley’s Comet > Lonely Trip, Gotta Jibboo, Meat, Maze

II. Theme From the Bottom, Birds of a Feather, Bug, Light -> Party Time > Ruby Waves > Chalk Dust Torture

E. Show of Life, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.

15 Responses to “A Hershey’s Kiss”

  1. Al Says:

    No words!!!! Peak

  2. Yatta Says:

    Interesting review. I heard a band in the second set struggling to connect after coming out with a great first set. They birds jam went nowhere and the ruby waves had two mins on the backend that was cool but a lot of noodling from Trey for most of the jam. And chalkdust completely missed the mark on intensity and set closer vibes. First set was great though.

  3. kayatosh Says:

    Great review. Miner called the Wednesday heater after Tuesday’s show. I will forever regret not using my ticket for this show. Btw my advanced age, the heat, rain, covid, and a 2 hr solo drive each way, I took the path of least resistance. Gonna dl it and drown my regrets in green tea and . I lost at Phish, again. Halley’s jam??!!! Should have been in it to win it. That 1st set alone would have injected me with new life and passion

  4. Aquaman Says:

    Absolute fire from the boys. A perfect affair in all respects. Thanks to the BB fam for keeping it real and holding it down with skill and class. An unforgettable two days in PA. Crazy poolside afternoon followed by a rain to end all rains, with a lighting strike that caused all of Hershey Park to flash its light and then go DARK! Can’t make this shit up! Craziness in PA on a hot summer night.

    PA, which BTW is a State that smells all the way from Harrisburg to basically, the GW Bridge. There was holdover stink all the way through NJ. A humid assault on ones nose and respiratory system.

    Thank you Mr. Miner.

    That is all.


  5. butter Says:

    Great review Miner!! So awesome to wake up to a fresh review of this fresh 4.0 fire.

    What the hell has gotten into Trey!?! just standing in one place doing gnarly beautiful clean guitar playing. Way less pedals and way more fingers doing the work. It’s like he’s come out with a revitalized approach post pandemic (not that the pandy is over)

    I have a lot of thoughts around Trey’s approach right now.

    Page is inspired with his new tones and contributions and when you have inspired Trey doing work on the scales not leaning on pedals + inspired fresh Page you get incredible Phish. Fish and Mike are a one mind incredibly fluid pocket and things are incredible in our land right now.

    Some set 2 thoughts as that’s all I streamed:

    Birds was a showcase of guitar tone yes Miner! Was dancing around my living room while wifey was putting finishing touches on a lightly fried shrimp salad 😉

    the Light jam was sounding a lot more like NFA than Party Time. Fun pairing sticking around and one of their cleanest segues that’s become naturally teed up for them

    Ruby Waves – get the F outta here. As Miner describes the one organism feel in the Light jam, that’s all I could think and hear during this jam, with just beautiful modulating tones dripping off the stage, with Trey leading in an egoless yet completely inspired fashion

    Enjoy AC all that can make it, and stay safe and take your precautions. I’ll be streaming along as much as I can and respinning the next day.

    Going to catch a light workout to first set now

  6. Xpun Says:

    Last night was tiddies. Start to finish my favorite show of tour. I’d actually forgot about the Halley’s jam after set two pushed everything from my mind. Jiboo may be the most consistently pleasing song they play to me. That jam never disappoints. Maze closer. Yes.

    On paper I’d shrug at set two but that’s what makes this band so good. I’d agree with the review up there that said it took ruby waves a minute to find its groove but once it did holy shit. Chalkdust had two endings and was exploding with energy.

    Mikes side front corner again throwing down hard all night. Love that vibe. See you all in AC.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    That Halley’s – sweet jambrosia! Mike says “go deep” very subtley (perhaps it was subliminal) at the outset of the tune during the lyrics. Holy Space groove! Their sound is sooo big and balanced. Page’s synth hand is Strong. Trey doesn’t just groove he solos. Happy glorious soloing and then a downshift to darkness. lovely jam. This sounds like a step beyond what they were doing pre-2021. fresh phish

  8. Bwana Says:

    ~~ Chocolate Rain reprise vibes in Hershey Town ~~


  9. Sipes Says:


  10. Eddie Says:

    I must be way late-but did Mr. Miner’s Phish thoughts go offline for awhile? And when did he return? I have his awesome book so I’m super excited to see this!

  11. Fly Says:

    I’m somewhere between @Yatta and Miner on this show. The first half of the Birds jam is quite good; Trey hooks up with Fish’s incessant pace with a nice melody that the band plays with until about 13 minutes, and then Trey comes in with the scuzz comped nicely by Page. The jam hits bullfrog resolution at about 15 minutes, but after that there is a lot of searching and washing for the last four or five minutes. With a tour marked by some monster multi-movement, multi-dimensional epics (Carini, Simple), this Birds doesn’t deliver the full goods.

    The Birds bookended by Theme and Bug was uneven. Light and Ruby offered quite a bit, however, and propelled the show far past the jukebox of Hershey I. The first set was fantastic, but the show’s failure to deliver a top tier jam after such a great first set leaves it in the second tier.

  12. Myhkel Says:

    Jesus this Tweez & Gin is melting my brain.
    Thank god nnjimmy is still around.

  13. Cal Says:

    That last paragraph especially, Miner.

    I miss the old geeky days here! Cheers you guys, what a tour this has been.

  14. theBaker Says:

    ^what cal said; aPHtrr 0ur humbled NarrAter expounded of chocolate 2, u sexythAng, Ewe!

  15. theBaker Says:

    THEME ‘s myFav0rITe 2ndSet0pener EVAH

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