And It Was Alright…

5.28.11 (Chris Klein)

And then on Friday, Phish became Phish again. Combining all the elements that make them the greatest band on the planet, the guys threw down a tour-defining performance that left their week of quasi-mediocrity as a perplexing stumble in the summer of 2011. Somehow, last night Trey was able to let go and join in the collective glory that emerges when a four-minded patience allows greatness to develop. No jams were cut off, they were, instead, played with utmost creativity through their natural endings. And in Charlotte, instead of tearing through a setlist, Trey’s patience allowed the music—and show—to breathe and his band to explore, and lo and behold, one of the most cohesive, complete and brilliant shows of this era resulted.

Official Charlotte Print (Methane)

Sculpting a stratospheric journey by combining “Rock and and Roll” and “Ghost,” the band threw down enrapturing, top-shelf jamming of the likes that we haven’t seen since Detroit. To describe this profound excursion with metaphors and imagery would be to cheapen its absolutely impeccable nature. This is one of those nights I’m gonna let the music do the talking; grab a set of headphones and kick back. Embarking on “Rock and Roll’s” jam with an exploratory intent, the band departed from structure early and would up in a stunning four-piece conversation in which Trey was clearly listening and responding to Mike and Page, as the three engaged in a subconscious exchange—with Fishman—that blossomed into pure and unadulterated Phish. Moving through several stages of jamming, the band continued to delve deeper into the source, taking the audience to that magical place that we quest for with so much of our hearts and souls. And when the enchanting ride finally settled into an ambient plane, as if scripted, the band moved into the second “Ghost” of tour.

6.12.11 (B.Ferguson)

Monumental. Bliss. Perfection. Any of these words could be used to describe the music contained within last night’s “Ghost.” Just listen. Honestly. Just listen. This is the type of cathartic mastery that drove us down this crazy road to begin with. Making the hallowed MSG version look rather tame, last night brought the song to a whole ‘nother level in a defining performance of this era. The refined communication on display throughout was staggering, and the band sculpted a jam, that when combined with “Rock and Roll,” formed an mind-bending odyssey to be reckoned with. Just listen.

But that wasn’t all the band hand to offer after setbreak. Gone were the speedbumps that have plagued second sets of late—this frame flowed like liquid. Resolving the next-level improvisation with, “Free.” Perhaps, the move of the night came next when the band followed up “Free” with “Reba!” I’ve been talking about getting “Reba” into the second set all tour, and last night it happened in the biggest way. As tapped in as they were last night, placing “Reba” squarely in the second set was a shrewd and dreamlike decision. Focusing their passion and precision on the soulful groove, the band crafted a pristine version that felt like everyone was surfing the same wave through the universe; pure magic. Within the context of the-whole band conversation, Trey unleashed a series of leads that pulled at one’s heart while meticulously directing a phenomenal exchange. Things felt real again. Very real.

6.12.11 (B.Ferguson)

And then, as the band brought the stellar piece to a crescendo, they didn’t move into the song’s whistling ending, they moved into “Icculus.” It felt as though the band’s virtuosic playing had awakened the god of Gamehendge, as a spiritual quality laced the band’s improv all night long. While Trey—in a comically intense rant—reminded his audience to “Read the fucking book!” it felt as though he was reminding himself of what this is all about while still reeling from the extraordinary ride. In a powerful moment that was, simultaneously, fused with comedy, the band had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, and the spirit of Phishiness was alive again.

Continuing this Phishy trend, out came Fishman for his first spotlight schtick of this tour— and it all flowed perfectly. Performing Syd Barret’s “Bike,” everyone was in the moment and having a blast—both onstage and in the crowd. It was just one of those special nights. Following Fish’s interlude with an engaging and intricate “Chalk Dust,” anything the band touched turned to gold at this point. And there was only one way finalize this evening: “You Enjoy Myself.” Taken off the shelf for only the third time this summer, the band punctuated the show with the seminal classic. It was just one of those nights.

6.5.11 (M.Stein)

And the show had something going from the get go. Instead of plucking a sign for a bustout to start the first set, Trey pulled up a piece of cardboard that read “Mike’s House.” And just like that, Phish launched into a show-opening “Mike’s Groove,” starting the night on the right foot. After a string of old-school singles, the band dusted off the Gamehendge pairing “Forbin’s > Mockingbird” for the first time in almost a year, navigating the old-school composition with precision. A swanky “Wolfman’s” that carried a serious collaborative groove provided another first set sign pointing towards a heavy-handed second half.

Combining to-die-for jamming, Gamehendge lore, tight compositions, and a stellar song selection, Phish came out and destroyed Charlotte last night, a refreshing breakout that needed to happen. With a peak-experience through and through, the band kick-started their final three shows of June in the biggest way possible, thank the Lord. And thank you, Phish, from the bottom of my heart.

I: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Bouncing Around the Room, NICU, Sample in a Jar, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Axilla, Wolfman’s Brother, Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Rock and Roll > Ghost > Free, Reba > Icculus, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself

E: Wilson > Loving Cup

670 Responses to “And It Was Alright…”

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  1. voopa Says:

    “It was just one of those nights.”

    Nice summary MM, complementary to the kickass throwdown Phish gave us tonight. Gonna give RNR>Ghost a relisten and try to get some sleep.

    VIVA LA PHISH

  2. Matso Says:

    Congratulations to everyone who was there (especially Leo W who got a big Ghost in his backyard).

    And to all of those people who read into Camden->Atlanta as if it was the end and quickly wrote this era off, let this be a lesson to you. Dismiss our band at your own peril.

    LONG LIVE PHISH

  3. Beantownboy Says:

    Spinning Ghost with a hippie speedball on our deck with my jaw on the ground. Glad to gear that all is right again the cosmos.
    This jam alone will sell thousands of tickets to the feasty by itself.

    Sick.

  4. Beantownboy Says:

    IT IS BACK!

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    why, oh why didn’t I just continue up the road to Charlotte?

  6. Beantownboy Says:

    The drop into free is the bizzness.

  7. Baxter Says:

    Can’t wait to hear this one! Hartford ’09 was one of my favs. Thanks again for all the good writing Mr. Miner.

  8. Beantownboy Says:

    If anyone has a dl code from last night I can trade gw or Denver.
    Got to get this in the lossless…now.
    Thanks.
    Beantownboy35 at gmail.

  9. Brucebeatings Says:

    Obey!

  10. willowed Says:

    so last night I jumped on the stream late in the evening. Really had no intentsions of doing couch tour.

    I popped on right in the middle of RnR. What unfolded thru the scratchy sound was heaven like.

    I posted this last night on page 60 or 61:
    This is matching the MSG Ghost
    tough to do

    I caught a little shit for posting that. Thanks for backing me up on that one Miner.

    That RnR jam and that Ghost were absolute magic. The Ghost reminded me of the MSG build and celebratory feel.

    I am so happy for you guys.

    Thans for the write up Miner!

  11. willowed Says:

    sounds like I should have sayed on for the Reba.

    Unfortunatley, I jumped off after Ghost

  12. butter Says:

    hell yea

    great piece Miner, put the show’s smile right back on my face this morn

    going to make some coffee, and bask in the blow out

    tons to say

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sounds like I should have stayed on for ______.
    Unfortunatley, I jumped off after _____t

    you can apply this on a higher level too. Insert city names on any tour and this holds true. #Microcosm’d

  14. Beantownboy Says:

    I love how Trey laughs when he says read the fucking book as if he is remembering that this is how it feels to jam and melt faces.

    Read the fucking book.
    Miner’s book that is…

  15. Foul_Domain Says:

    Morning BB. Nice review to wake up to. Good enough to dl the show. Went right to the Ghost. Jam commencing…

    They still missed the drop. At this point I dont think anybody really cares about that drop. It would take 5 minutes in the practice room to correct.

  16. Foul_Domain Says:

    Maybe Trey read the fucking blackboard, and got a splash of water in the face.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    just watching the setlist come in on the twitters last night you could tell it was one of those nights. this looks like a setlist format we could have seen BITD.

    I
    Hot Open Sequence to get people moving, Get the Song based stuff in to warm up, Gamehendge, bring the heat and a memorable jam, throw in a phishy number, close it with energy
    II
    pathway opener>melt face>peak that shit>bliss out>phishiness>fishman>YEM
    E
    leave ’em wanting more with a big peak

    phish is soooooo formulaic. 🙄

  18. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Cold lampin on a huge porch in Michigan, my ladies still asleep, coffee being made, beautiful day, gonna farmers market and beach, life is good. Phish knows what’s up and keeps you talking. It’s in the book, yo.

  19. albert walker Says:

    def looked like a good one on paper.

    last night’s setlist and talking to kids that were inside got me to pull the trigger on our custy ball tickets. we were gonna make Trey start kicking down some jams and finding some flow these last 3 or we weren’t gonna go.

    getting stoked again for the rest of summer.

    to hear that they are actually using the new found technical abilities of this tour our great words to hear this morning

    dentist, hair cut, and cubs yankees at wrigley. gonna be a busy one

    but first gonna spin this RnR > Ghost

    have a good one comrades
    laterz

  20. Foul_Domain Says:

    So that Ghost really is sick – really packs a lot in, and didnt feel like 12+ min.
    Love it.

    Also – Fish’s vaccuum solo on Bike is actually pretty good. Cant believe Im saying that..

    Breakfast time.

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    Morning kids

    Great to read that the show was great

    I think I recall writing on thursday: Don’t go in expecting Ghost.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Phish makin me look the fool.

    But, seriously, I truly think we can continue to expect greatness from this band. They are afterall the greatest band in the world.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    “Making the hallowed MSG version look rather tame,”

    ^^ woah! I got hear this. Stream sucked last night, plus my wife was trying to talk to me about something important ( which i forgot , of course).

    Starting Set II on yawning drone now.

    Great call last night willowed on the ghost. I remember you saying it was that good. I do remember being slightly mesmerized by the rock n roll.

    Have a good one today. miss our daily chats. Stupid real world, real problems. Be good.

  23. JMelby Says:

    What, us worry?

  24. Fly Says:

    YES! Great to wake up to this. Good morning, BB denizens.

    Holy Fucking Fishman at the beginning of the RnR jam. If Fish can play like that and Trey can step back and play with the rest of the band, look the fuck out. Haven’t gotten to the Ghost yet, will take that in with the first cup of coffee.

    Bring on the Ball!!!

  25. halcyon Says:

    This Ghost is so uplifting.

    Transcendent. Soaring. WOW.

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