Lazy Sunday

6.17.12 (Jesse Herzog)

And sometimes there are strange nights at the Phish concert, and Sunday would most definitely qualify. Despite a quality opening to the second set in “Drowned > 2001 > Reba,” the band played songs as if they were on “shuffle” mode all night long and somehow, their iPod missed any true launch pads and—for much of the second set—even rock songs. In a series of head-scratching decisions, the band unveiled a string of ballads in the middle of the second set, totally dousing any fire the set had going, while leaving the night with little to no musical adventure. Phish, to their credit, played every song in both sets quite well, but whoever was calling songs was in a particularly mellow mood and allowed the show—as a whole—to fall flat. Before breaking down the questionable calls in this one, let’s turn to the centerpiece of the show.

6/17 Official Print (DKNG)

Bursting out of the second-set gates with The Who’s “Drowned,” the guys crafted an engaging jam, but it never veered far enough from the song for long enough to qualify for an “Atlantic City Jam,” and for a second-set opening cover, that says a lot. Trey slinked into the background once it started, allowing Page to lead much of the way on piano. But just as the piece dropped into half-time and it felt like things might pop off, the band, instead, turned for a quick, ambient transition into “2001.” And here is where the action of the show truly took place. Opening up the funk instrumental with slowed and chunky, open-air grooves, all four members coalesced in the most exalting “2001” of this summer. Stretching out the first verse with James Brown teases, and then the second verse with slow and swaggering rhythm patterns that evoked the vibe of many past festival monsters, Trey shared the spotlight with Gordon. The wide open grooves continued as the band followed the peak of  “2001” with a divine “Reba.” Remaining true to its classic contour throughout, the band delicately eased into the groove and slowly built a remarkable rendition. But aside from this phenomenal chunk of summer dance music, the show was quite thin and there’s no other way to put it.

After “Reba” came to a conclusion, Phish dropped into a second-set “Roses” and my heart nearly stopped. Were they really shifting “Roses” into rotation as a jam vehicle?! After Worcester’s first set revelation, this move seemed to signify exactly that. But when the juncture came to elevate, the band fizzled out into “Chalk Dust?!” Really? And the blows just kept, inexplicably, coming—“Prince Caspian -> “Silent In the Morning” (a pairing that worked well, though ill-placed), “Bug,” and an anticlimactic ending of “A Day in a Life” and a standard “Down With Disease?!” The setlist oddities continued right through a double encore of “Jibboo” and “Quinn The Eskimo.”

6.17.2012 (Jesse Herzog)

In a Sunday show that seemed bound to blow up on a half-empty Bader Field, Phish took things in the polar opposite direction with virtually zero out-of-the-box jamming in either set. The random song generator was at work for an harmless first half as well. The unquestionable highlight of a solid opening half was a torrid “Timber” and surprisingly energetic version of “Fluffhead.” And I rarely point out “Fluffhead.”

In summation, Atlantic City’s final night left many, dare I say most, in the crowd incredibly underwhelmed. Though each song was played well individually—Phish is at the top of their game after all— their setlist made no coherent sense whatsoever. When the band never even attempts to jump into adventurous jamming, we are left with last night—Singlestown, USA.

On to Portsmouth…

I: Brother, Runaway Jim, Dogs Stole Things, Boogie On Reggae Woman, NICU, Foam, Wilson, Timber, Fluffhead, Walls of the Cave, Character Zero

II: Drowned > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Reba > Roses Are Free > Chalk Dust Torture, Prince Caspian ->Silent in the Morning, Bug, A Day in the Life, Down with Disease

E: Gotta Jibboo, Quinn the Eskimo

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318 Responses to “Lazy Sunday”

  1. butter Says:

    not only is this Tube twice as long as a bunch of 3.0 version, its loose and funky from the start

  2. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i think this is my first post since AC. i had an amzing time at AC (only went saturday).

    came into town and met up with all of the BBers right away at a hotel bar. it was great to see everyone. we all split up before the show but we all got back together before first set and had our own little section it was great. a lot of familiar faces as well as some new ones, like Silly who i hadnt met until then but got to chill with for a while which was cool.

    also, second set raged. i think the light was the best thing ive ever seen live.
    i was so high the whole time. amazing experience.

    its funny cuz i had friends at that show from home, and from school… but i ended up wanting to chill with BB crew the whole show. hard to go wrong there

  3. RoosterPizza Says:

    Thanks for the advice sumo. In the event I stream again, I will keep all of that in mind.


    All knowing BB-

    I’m hoping the resident headphone master and/or his/her apprentice will be able to point me in the general direction of a product worthy enough to listen to the sound–or dare I say “see the sound”– that is Phish 2012. I will spare no expense unless the returns diminish.

    Congrats on another exciting weekend of the Phish. Sadly for me I was unable to make it, but I’ve intently listened to the first two nights, and I’m so happy for those that were able to be there. There’s no stopping that train now.

    When not at the show, my Phish routine since Bethel11 has been to download sbd ALAC the moment it’s available (so I see most of the set list) whilst finding proper head space through whatever means necessary (repeat, as necessary.) Then i listen front to back, form my own pure and authentic opinions and questions, and then anxiously wait for Miner’s (and BB’s) reviews and answers. For me it is an exhilarating process. I do it this way to try and somehow simulate the ritualistic and anticipatory beauty of the real thing (a la no spoilers)

    I have so much respect for the ears of the Phishlopedias that are Miner and most of BB that I like to compare what I hear with what they hear to check myself. I can do this more easily on the West Coast, and its just my way of doing things, not even a recommended way necessarily.

    I suppose I mention all this though, because the placebo effect is an invariably powerful thing, and I personally need pure and powerful medicine to cure my daily ills. Now that I’ve read Miner’s and BB’s opinions of things prior to AC3, I’m honestly a bit worried whether or not my medicine will take when I listen.

    (Actually not really, when the first two nights are that good… the 3rd night is what I call “found music!”) I’m as stoked as ever to listen to about all of those tunes, even if they might just be good, solid tunes and not parts of sets. How often do we go back to listen to sets in their entirety anyway? OK bad example, I’ve already listened to W1-II about 9 times!

    Excitedly in anticipation for the future….

  5. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    yea theyre certainly leaving a trail of increasingly high expectations for the rest of summer. im more on the edge of my seat for each new show this tour than i have been in tours past.

    today i secured another 7/4, bestowing upon myself the honor of taking my friend to his first show. me and my other friend (who i took to his first show at utica and he hasnt looked back) have been trying to get this kid to come to a show forever and we finally are bringing him to july 4th, of all phish shows. watching a first show experience as a full blown phan is one of the best joys of the gig.

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    NO expense? Audiophile phones go pretty high up there.

    …well, don’t buy Beats By Dre. I got to listen to those for the first time recently. Hilariously awful. EQ’d monstrosity, like Bose style nonsense on crack.

    No, I have no constructive suggestions, sorry

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    6.18.94 Ph
    6.18.74 GD

    a good day for music

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    interesting, the sociological parallels of tour then and now

    listening to Spring ’90 in order, every note, interpolated with this realtime Phish tour…the memories are coming thick and fast and it’s hard not to notice some resonant themes

    for instance Hartford 3.18, the first “letdown show” of tour, and fan reaction to it, in re: AC3

    I’d say the panties-in-a-knot level was approximately equal, present company excluded of course, and of course equally misguided

    i think what I’m trying to say is mostly “Twas ever thus”

    getting headspace properly dialled in for second run through AC, highlights this time & with focused attention, or so one hopes…the best laid plans, &c. All I can do is load up the ipod and hope for the best.

    things I had forgotten about Hartford:
    1) the venue was attached to a mall. WTF
    2) St. Stephen rumors were widely believed.
    3) I ran out of grocery-store stickers for stickering trippers (“Smoked”, “Boneless”, “Discontinued”) 2nd night and had to travel to Canada without any, robbing me of my signature cowboy-blues-and-brent-tune hobby

  9. Snowbank Says:

    I bitched to myself about phish going to Manteca again and they shoved up my ass.

    Pretty much what I am looking for.


    @Mr.C You’re awesome buddy. Love that perspective. I know it was so taboo to compare such things back in the day but now the Phish demo has gotten much older, we can handle it much better. (i.e. much less defensive) GD was my first love, though, so I’ve never frowned.

    Let me know if you run across a headphone guru.

  11. Snowbank Says:

    Go get’m C. Here’s hoping you get a proper spin.

    I’m one 15 min flight from the ‘ham.

    Peace and love to the BB. I wouldn’t have enjoyed this weekend nearly as much or probably even have gone with out all the BB inspiration and training.

  12. sumodie Says:

    New blog post >>>

  13. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    wow nice mr c

  14. Shred Says:

    Mind Left Body is one of the greatest songs out there. What a great song to bridge the 2 bands. Great call releasing UIC show. It doesn’t get better than UIC MLB. When Jerry was really playing MLB in ’73 with a slide in between dark star and coming out into eyes was unreal. I can’t get enough of that era of the dead.
    Dust it off, rehearse it and play it like everyone knows you can. What are you going to do with it? Stick it under your pillow so it can help you sleep. It needs to be heard. You know we love it since your releasing it. SO!! PLAY IT! I will even let you do it during your favorite song to play…Possum.

  15. Zac Cohen Says:

    Was at Friday and Saturday nights, both very solid and fun shows. Was within 15 rows both nights. 1st set first night was a lot of fun, that Tube and Stealing Time were thick. Nice to see Tube opened up, even if only a little, definitely had that spare elemental thing that Miner’s been talking about. Trey definitely laying back but he got gooey and drippy and crackling with his tone during Stealing Time.

    Second set first night was really awesome. My Soul started things off and that Birds was played very well followed by quite a beautiful jam. The Twist> Piper was solid and pretty. I think they are still dealing with that 12-30-11 Piper jam that was THE highlight of the New Year’s Run, figuring out how to top it, or even if it should be topped.

    End of the set rocked, the Bowie with the teases was just fun and by then Trey was totally engaged, rocking and rolling all over the place, jumping in place, smiling as big red should. First Tube encore felt great and the crowd doing the WOO thing in time to the music was fun. You could tell the guys were clearly digging the vibes from the crowd and their own playing. There was some sloppiness to be had, for sure, but no where near enough to kill the buzz.

    Vibe was good friday night, not too crowded, easy to move around, saturday was definitely busier and tighter. Second set saturday night was marvelous.

    I called a jammed out light and though didn’t exactly get the “minimalist, atonal abstraction” i had requested, to see Light as the jam centerpiece of the weekend was nice. Definitely a strong if more melodic version and with the crosseyed/ light and manteca teases, I mean, who am I to complain. Light was awesome.

    Theme was gooey and nice, pretty tight if I remember. But by the time BDTNL came up, I just kind of wanted to dance and get funky. And then, SAND. Great version. Antelope was ridiculous. Bonkers all over the place and though I usually cannot stand Good Times Bad Times, there was full on Trey wankery happening at that point (post antelope) and boy did he and the rest of the guys take it home. It was a statement of a second set, strong, fun, exploratory but also just rocking rocking.

  16. Snigglebeach Says:

    @ berkeley head,

    I’m no headphones snob and I’ve admittedly never tried the expensive dre beats. But I bought a pair of cheap ass ($35) wireless headphones and they are beat purchase I ever made. They are no name “artic” (what it says). They are certainly not the best, but they are pretty good and 10% price of dre.

    I use them at work and skiing so I bought cheap in case they broke, but uses them almost a year and they are good as new. They even outlast the 20 hours of advertised batt life.

    U say your willing to splurge but I still think these cheapies are a no brainer.

  17. Cable Hogue Says:

    not much time to check in, but what a great weekend of Phish. Night 3 worked great for me, I was extremely beat up and I think they played a mellow, poignant, contemplative show with an outrageous Dance Party in 2001, no complaints here. Nights one and two were for the ages, night 3 was for the moment, and it was fine. Yes, it’s surprising to leave so much on the table at AC, but I’m glad they feel the freedom to throw a curveball, even if it doesn’t result in the kind of exploration we all crave. We got plenty of that this weekend.

    Glad I’m not immune to the charms of a sweetly played Caspian outro that tastefully melts into Silent. Not my favorites for the heart of a second set, but the musicianship and the interplay was still on display.

    More later maybe.

  18. Cable Hogue Says:

    @Mr. C- have you heard anything about a Europe 72-style mass release of Spring 90? Can’t remember where I heard that rumor, but it would seem to make a lot of sense for the next big archival release.

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