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. BingosBrother Says:

    Thou shalt not speak ill of the sandwich slayer.

  2. GhostPhunk Says:

    lol @ LittleBuddy story 1 and 2

  3. sumodie Says:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnside_Fountain

    wooksta’s turtle boy sculpture

    “…the sculpture is a bronze statue of a youth riding a sea turtle, created by sculptor Charles Y. Harvey who killed himself due to voices he heard while carving the statue.,

  4. voopa Says:

    Good stuff LB!

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @sumo
    I love how later on in that wiki piece they mention that much of the statue’s popularity is tied to “bawdy insinuations about how the boy and the turtle are portrayed”

  6. Robear Says:

    even this Bowie is stupid.

    screw this place for underfluffing AC 1.

  7. poop goblin Says:

    only reason wasn’t fluffing it Robear cuz I’m a firm believer WCU #1 edges out and I didn’t want to start the grudge match between the 2

    2 of the best sets of the return already this leg

  8. voopa Says:

    Underfluffling? Were you here last weekend?

  9. Robear Says:

    out for awhile. been fun.

    i even hear the orchestra on the mp3’s form AC.

    as you can tell from my /robias, i am itching to be in the building for a barn burner. my last stretch of shows and webcasts starting at the Hollywood Bowl is a how’s how to suck at phish, with the Dick’s webcast and Tahoe 1 being the exceptions.

  10. sumodie Says:

    T3, i suspect the voices told the sculptor what to carve & he freaked out over the design

    had no idea wtf peeps meant when the statue was mentioned on the bb post wooksta. i’d never really seen it up close tho i saw it from afar. def looks insinuating

  11. MiA Says:

    Oh my god. This is like the twilight zone in here.

    Yeah, I’m with ya Voopa. The cheerleading here last week was deafening.

  12. Robear Says:

    ::i wasn’t around to read last weekend::

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    DC and AV are about the closest you’re gonna get to a sure thing in the phish universe robear. Come out and meet me bro.

  14. GhostPhunk Says:

    that’s user error Rob, not our fault. deal.

  15. poop goblin Says:

    you missed my post leaving the venue stoney

    Sick. Troy slaying.
    Birds ) bott must hear
    Monster piper
    Great stash
    This summer is killin.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I was too busy watching a full-on swinger couple girl-on-girl makeout session at a wedding reception this past weekend to be here fluffing. totally serious. it was pretty bizarre watching their two dudes (amongst other wedding attendees) watch these two girls go at it fierce on the deck of the Salty Dog in Hull while the reception went on inside.

  17. Yalta Balt Says:

    Thank you mRRRRRRRR hOOoooooddddddd…

    MAN ITS F’N HOT IN THE CITY!!!

    Gots to listen to that tweezer again….Was it good? Was it hood? Can I feel good about that Tweezer??

  18. Yalta Balt Says:

    I miss AC night one….Now that show slayed the dragon!! BOAFFFFFF IN YOUR EYE.

  19. marcoesq Says:

    Billy Breathes is such a solid tune

  20. Yalta Balt Says:

    better show AC1 or Wooosta 1…..IM CALLING AC!!!

  21. poop goblin Says:

    not that I was checkin but Cinci flights are $1000. lame.

  22. Yalta Balt Says:

    WKRP in CINCINNNNNATI

  23. sumodie Says:

    Feels weird that I’ve watched all 8 phish shows live, tho 3 via webcast (roo & ports). Already have that maxxed out feeling when spinning the shows at home. so what the hell, here’s my show ranking, in order but clustered:

    Dcu1, dcu2, ac1 >> ac2 >> ac3, port1, port2 > roo

    Cant say i have an absolute fav within the first 3 shows

    ***
    Yup, was bummed to hear the opening notes of ac’s my soul, then i raged it hard & loved it

  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    If Troy didnt think BoTT jam sounded like Heavy Things, I would say AC. But just for that, Woosta1 for the win.

  25. Yalta Balt Says:

    que es tu problemo con My Soul?

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