A Southern Scorcher

6.20.12 (Michael Stein)

In stark contrast to their first show in Portsmouth, Virginia, on Wednesday night Phish threw down a heavy hitting, two-set affair with jams aplenty, several bustouts and a pair of well crafted sets. The ominous tone of the music provided balance to lighter feel of the first night, providing the yang to the latter’s yin. And where night one was light on improv, night two provided a coherent musical journey. Boasting flow from the beginning of the show the through the end, last night sits among the most robust overall performances of this young tour. Let’s take it from the top!

Unofficial Portsmouth Print (Masthay)

When the band stepped on stage to start the show, they immediately rolled out six 2012 debuts, including sought after bustouts, “Ha Ha Ha” and a sign-induced “Dog Log.” The fresh setlist gave the show an energetic jump-start without needing a lick of jamming. Also included in this sequence was a mid-set rendition of “Divided Sky,” a song that provided far more of a treat with its diminished role in the rotation. But when the summer debuts ended, the band kicked into high gear with “Mike’s Groove.” A slowed pace and thunderous groove of “Mike’s” rattled the undersized environs and the show was off and running. “Weekapaug” provided the the first glimpse of the outstanding, full-band communication we’d see from all night as Trey tore off continuous melodies over a popping groove that was anchored by Fishman’s smooth work on the skins. The first set wound to a close with a four song run that included another two 2012 premieres in “Ya Mar” and “Bold As Love.” Trey wove the “Ya Mar” lick quite smoothly, albeit a bit early, into the liquid textures of “Cities” and the band switched into the summer favorite. When “Bold As Love” seemed like it would close an extended first set, the band punctuated the frame with a nuanced “Juluis,” a jam that Fish and Mike framed to perfection with a shuffle beat pocket. With such a pronounced first set, the second was sure to bring huge things. And it did.

6.20.12 (M.Stein)

Taking both “Rock and Roll” and “Tweezer” off the shelf for the first time since Bonnaroo, Phish combined the two crowd favorites in a fantasy sequence to spark the second half. Forging through “Rock and Roll’s” composed jam with notable rigor, the band was clearly locked and loaded for a big set. The progressed out of song structure with a slick, Trey-led, slowdown and passed quickly into an ethereal spacescape. Trey favored loops and effects amidst this elegant sonic mystery. Hinting at a Digital Delay Loop Jam, this segment painted a portrait of the universe’s outer realms before Trey slinked into the “Tweezer” for which so many on tour had been jonesing. Playing through the actual song with all sorts of bells and whistles, Phish revved their collective motor and prepared to enter freezer.

From the onset of the jam, Page assumed leadership, pacing the quartet with his piano chords and assuming the melodic lead as Trey remained in the background. Coiled like a viper behind the groove, Trey alternately raised his head and struck with accented licks, effected layers of sound, rhythm chops, and outright leads. All the while, Mike and Fish remained locked in urgent and powerful dance rhythms. Page hopped to his clavinet and brought the “Tweezer” into Crunchville with a filthy tangent, and the crowd responded to the change of texture with roars of delight. Snapping into “Tweezer’s” traditional build, Red brought the house down with a soaring final peak before the guys slid through an outro groove and smoothly into “Free.”

6.20.12 (M.Stein)

Used as a landing pad for the past three years, it seemed that is exactly what was happening last night. But, momentarily, things got very interesting. As the band seeped out of Mike’s bass solo, Trey began to slice and dice the jam like he hasn’t in years, including a short plinko line that seemed to be pushing the band into the first “Free” jam of 3.0! But he forgot to tell his bandmates. Having been programmed since 2009 to go right to the song’s final chord changes out of the bass solo, that is exactly what the rest of the band did. Trey’s attempt was in vain, but perhaps this illustrates a willingness to stretch out one of the band’s long lost jams of the modern era.

The unquestionable highlight of the night, however, had still yet to be played. The stylistically opposing “Guyute” and “Birds of a Feather” provided a mid-set buffer before the guys jumped of the deep end into a profound “Harry Hood.” Once again, Trey laid way back as the band joined forces, allowing Page and Mike to set an ambient tone to things from the jump. Trey merged with this idea, offering minimalist “Hood” licks to the collective, and then layering his own psychedelic offerings into to a thickening dreamscape. Utterly awing in every sense, the band built an abstract take on an old tale, captivating the crowd with their originality. This excursion reached planes that “Hood” rarely, if ever, touches, and provided a welcome improvisational diversion. And when things reached their most abstract, Trey coyly laid in the melody of “What’s the Use?!” The band all took heed and adjusted within measures, sculpting another staggering summer segue.

6.20.12 (M.Stein)

The Siket Disc instrumental blanketed the pavilion with its post-apocalyptic sound, though the band—not rushed at all—moved through the piece with a bit more tempo that usual. As “What’s the Use?” came to an end, Fishman made the obvious decision and moved directly back into “Hood’s” cadence—it seemed that the band would complete their early classic. But as Page took over with a piano solo leading away from the song, the band missed a golden opportunity for another magnificent transition. Page’s hijack took the set into “Velvet Sea,” which, given the larger musical circumstances, wasn’t altogether inappropriate. The stage seemed set for a monster “YEM,” but—for whatever reason—the band is holding back their seminal piece this summer and, instead, turned to “Possum” to close the second set.

The Final "Tuck" (M. Stein)

The encore provided thematic closure on nTelos Pavilion’s two-night stand as Trey came out and quietly played the Star Wars theme before the band launched into a final tucking” episode in “Sleeping Monkey.” During the song, Trey put his guitar down and serenaded Fishman, finally asking him to come out for one last “tuck.” And as you might guess, Fishman was more than happy to oblige. Torching the venue aflame with “Tweezer Reprise,” Trey stomped like a madman around the stage, pushing the 6,500 person crowd into a frenzy. And when the guys took their final bow of the night, everything seemed back on track in Phishland as they prepare to invade the Midwest.

I: Sparkle, Ha Ha Ha, AC/DC Bag, Divided Sky, Dog Log, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove, Cities -> Ya Mar, Bold As Love, Julius

II: Rock and Roll > Tweezer > Free, Guyute, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood -> What’s the Use? > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

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754 Responses to “A Southern Scorcher”

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    I honestly am sitting here chuckling at each negative comment. Did they show night one again? Rock > Tweezer? hello? Hood -> Use is the absolute goooodz. anyhow, not sure what the fuss is about, but jade on…

    2012. unjade and enjoy the band crushing nightly.

  2. marcoesq Says:

    Morning all. Haven’t heard one lick of last night, lets take a look. Miner fluffing the show!

  3. punkmug Says:

    I basically have the same take as Poop. It just seemed like they missed a few golden opportunities to really put the show on the next level. Still had a good time rocking the webcast though. It’s all good.

  4. RicksFork Says:

    I took my laptop and the purchased stream to a buddys house last night for a cookout with only one other hardcore Phish fan and decided to see what the reaction would be to me playing the show. After some initial skepticism everyone really got into it and a party that would have ended at 10 went on until 11:30 on my friends kitchen. The power of Phish. Maybe it was just a cool experiecne, but I really enjoyed this one. It had a little bit of everything I look for.

  5. Chonz Says:

    I loved the show from my couch. Opening with Sparkla -> Ha Ha Ha was a funny nod to the antics of the night before. Still was wishing they would finish that Hood though.

  6. alf Says:

    my comment is about the webcast, not the show. it’s an artificial and disconnected way to take in a show for me, i had no chance of getting into either night

    webcasts: when 60k instead of 6k people think they ‘saw’ the show

  7. RicksFork Says:

    I see where you are coming from Alf and by no means do I think that I captured what you can only get by being there, but it was still fun.

  8. Shred Says:

    It’s a cou de ta on here. I love it when people get contrasting views like this. People expect a lot from the band due to bar they set themselves. What’s the use is a barn burner tho.

  9. jerseyjim Says:

    >> “brought the “Tweezer” into Crunchville with a filthy tangent'”

    nice!

  10. alf Says:

    def a fun night… and clear enough that the band is slaying

    in other news, i have jones beach stadium extras on the exchange board

    selector thursdays!

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    RIP LeRoy Nieman.

    sure, his artwork was kinda cheesy but as a kid growing up in the 80s his style was unmistakable. and trippy.

  12. marcoesq Says:

    Alf-which night?

  13. Yalta Balt Says:

    WTU is the highlight…which scares me!!

    It was trey led songs calls all night…cities cut for yamar. Free cut for Guyute…which was actually appreciated.

    It was a lot of trey “wailing around” for the second set. I thought Tweezer was about to go into slow dark monster a la Red Rocks ’09. But Noooooo….

    What’s Brown Acid?

  14. MiA Says:

    I played 6-19/20-09 before the webcasts. What a diff on where the band has come.

    In comparison, the band is back to their sharp ass Jedi skills. And better song selections. Probably too many songs for some.

    Type II has been removed mostly. Replaced with noodling psychedelia. If you wanted Type II you didn’t get it.

    Got it in ’09 with crosseyed disease and piper. But that seemed so contrived and recycled

    I have zero expectations for Cincy. So much taken off the table.

    I like this.

  15. MiA Says:

    Anyone Chicago peeps close to LastWaltzer? Walk past him on the streets? Can you get him in contact with me?

    I have 2 pavs for him at Alpine. Need to send them and get some traveling money.

    Not sure of he still wants to go or not.

  16. oldskool Says:

    @Miner, I am 100% with you. I watched the webcast sans BB last night and thought the show was stellar and was shocked to read through all the negative comments last night. Glad to see at least I wasn’t the only one who thought last night had the goodz 😉

  17. halcyon Says:

    Listened to Tweezer on the way in to work this morning, and thought it was hot. The boards sound excellent. Mike and Fishman are throwing punches and landing them in this Tweezer.

  18. GhostPhunk Says:

    Mr.Miner Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 5:35 am
    if they went back into Hood for 1:30 second and then played Bowie/YEM instead of Possum, everyone would be oohing and ahhing imo haterz.

    But they didn’t

    I’m also in the boring camp. I may be having a serious breakdown. I feel like miner pre Albany right now.

  19. MiA Says:

    My neighbor in MN had about 20 original Leroy Niemans and dozens of numbered prints. And 4 or so 6′ tall stacks of club/hustler/cherry/playboy etc.

    #pornstashinthewoods

    Wish I would have taken the Niemans.

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @halcy
    I could have written that exact post. I did the same on the way in and felt similarly 8)

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    I thought the show was up and down personally.

    Upside:

    The Mike’s Groove was solid.
    The RnR > Tweezer > Free was awesome. Definitely some toying around with the Free jam in that one.
    Loved the note perfect Guyute.
    Sleeping Monkey made me chuckle.

    Downside:

    It just seems like they couldn’t properly finish anything last night.

    Undermind just fizzled out

    Cities > Yamar was rough IMO

    and the Hood. Man they were in such beautiful textures, and I love the idea of going into WTU? but it seems like Fishman either didnt want to make that move or wasnt paying attention, and as a result what could have been a great move turned into a clunky one. And man they really should peak Hoods though. I mean if they had come out of that space and rebuilt it back up it could have been epic. Just my personal opinion.

    I think the move into WTU then into Wading was a huge momentum killer.

    That being said, I will definitely listen to the Hood > WTU more than once because the space they were in before WTU was gorgeous.

    It was a fun show but not on the level of the first four of tour imo.

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Who still says Trustafarian

  23. poop goblin Says:

    I’ll give the tweezer another spin but it seemed very guitar heavy to me. def not one of the stronger versions.

    I just want that WCU #1 band back. if last night’s set was on par with that or AC #1 I’ll have to retire from Phish cuz I’m just not hearing that.

    a guitar heavy tweezer and 2 minutes of hood ambience does not make a set for me.

    couch ter sucks though. nothing comes through the TV vs live experience.

    I’d say last night’s was def better than the night before but still not up to the other sets of tour IMO

    anyway no reason to convince anyone
    I’ll give it another spin on tape see if I was missing something

  24. poop goblin Says:

    exactly Lycan

    cities Ya Mar and Undermind should have been the meat

    a blank space where my jams should be

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    Even my wife who isnt really into the jams as much felt like Cities, Undermind, Hood, Rock n Roll felt trunticated and unresolved.

    And she loves all those songs

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