After the incredibly successful summer that Phish has already had, we still have a dozen shows to go! In a bit more than a week the circus will travel to the hallowed grounds of the Gorge to kick off the back end of the touring season. And things couldn’t look brighter. When we left the band just a few weeks ago, they had just thrown down the best weekend of music in the modern era amidst a full-blown Phish festival of the sorts we only dreamed about a few short years ago. It is impossible to deny the musical momentum built over the first half of this summer and— more than ever—it certainly feels like the dawning of Phish’s Golden Age.
Full-blown creativity, new improvisational directions, experimental jamming, airtight communication, uncharted territory—all of these facets were part of Phish’s opening month of tour. And if the progress made from leg one to leg two during the past two summer tours is any indication, Phish is going to come back with even sharper jaws and enhanced improvisational adventure. At Super Ball, the band seemed to play with a laid-back patience, understanding that we were all there for three days and there was no reason to rush anything. As a result, almost almost no jams were ended prematurely and the weekend possessed an undeniable flow. Though some sets were better crafted than others, the band left us with a slew of the most innovative music to be played in this era.
Two nights at the Gorge, Hollywood Bowl, Tahoe x 2, Golden Gate Park, then two three-packs—at UIC and Denver…there is heck of a lot of music left to be played this summer! And just like the last two, when all is said and done, my bet is that the second leg will produce the most memorable jams of the tour. Building off a spectacular June that was in a different league than its 2009 and 2010 predecessors, the thoughts of what might come out of August is awe-inducing. Five new venues and a return to two of their most classic haunts will provide us with 24 more sets to take us through a Phishless fall. But something tells me that after a spectacular—and lengthy—summer, that won’t be too much of a problem for anyone.
In 2011, Phish has created a buzz in the community like no time since their Hampton return. Showcasing a completely revitalized improvisational brilliance—built upon the foundation of ’09 and ’10—Phish took people by storm in Bethel and have maintained that quality of play, and improved upon it, right up through Super Ball. It’s an exciting time to be a Phish fan, as the entire comeback has brought us to right now. And heading up to the Gorge in this context, could anything be sweeter?
Jam of the Day:
Deep in Portsmouth’s second set, Phish got into an intricate and psychedelic take on “Light” in which Trey actually sets up a quasi-transition into “Number Line.” With so much meat in his show, this “Light” jam hasn’t been discussed to much; check it out.