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. kenny powers Says:

    Mmm…fish tacos…gimme some tilapia or red snapper up in that bitch.

  2. poop goblin Says:

    Take that back bott jam great. How sick is that 5 min

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    No argument from me. Splitting hairs for me with those two sets. Both great. Both had great transitions into beautiful cool down tunes, If I could and Billy Breathes.

    Gonna spin that DCU set Now. Both actually have really hot set I’s also. DCu with the Buried>Jim , Torn and Frayed? Come on! . Swanky Ocelot also.

    AC had funky Tube, It’s Ice and then the money Shot… Stash, Simple Wedge, Stealing Time..

    Very grateful to have hit the three hottest shows, IMO, so far. Dcu 1, Ac 1 and 2. Need to give DCU 2 another proper spin.

    Miss being on the road with all you crazy fucks. Need more peeps to hit Jones Beach!

  4. poop goblin Says:

    nice loud spin AC1 set II

    band just smoking. such a killer set. you know when a rippin heavy things is the mid night cool down you’re in good shape.

    remember the BOTT being short but hot live but shit was hot as hell on that first spin through. great little mini jam.

  5. poop goblin Says:

    WCU just seemed more intense cuz all that sick shit was just packed up front

    AC 1 you had the heavy things separating the birds from the piper which were the two beasts of the set

    that juts nutso out of the blue boogie puts that WCU shit over the top too. energy during that was wild.

    prancer crushes this heavy things

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Nice to see Taste in a meaty set. That song used to rip. hasn’t done much in 3.0. Great placement in Worcester.

    The Ghost>Boogie is some of the best stuff we’ll see all year from the band. The Boogie had that MSG Ghost jam feel to it. Dicks Tweezer also. That uplifting building jam where it just keeps getting more and more intense.. What a fun night.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    So hot the dog doesn’t even want to go out. Little fucker chewed up my coffee table to. Tried to be nice and let her have a little free reign in a section of the house while we are out. Damn!

  8. poop goblin Says:

    Fuckin twist yo! Sick is hot

    Spinning this AC show makes me want to rag on prancers performance last night some more

    First tube was pretty hot actually

  9. PigSong Says:

    fish tacs – real vacation starts in two and half days and I’m grilling out every single day for three weeks.

    You guys are way to quick today. Everytime I loaded up a page I ten more had been added. I fell asleep for the webcast, that was either a good move or a terrible one depending who you talk to I guess. What do you think Robear? 😉

  10. PigSong Says:

    been alternating between W1 and AC1 all week. Love when hotels have the HQ iHome setup.

  11. PigSong Says:

    ^Twist! no shit.

    where the fck is SOAM? Woooo!

  12. sumodie Says:

    JB1 or JB2..?

    July 3 or 4, which day will have the worst Long Island/JB traffic?

    Wanna hit one down & back from western MA, can’t decide on a day

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sumo- Not sure the answer to your question. I would guess the 3rd would be lighter. Ever look into the Ferry? You can bring your car .

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Best airport to fly into for JB?

    Need to steal a car or bum a ride?

  15. bob dylan Says:

    Robear,

    Sounds like you gotta get back in with Mitch’s Phishing tours and consider it Jeff-I. We won’t steer you wrong.

    DC1. Be there.

  16. thedayman Says:

    wow ac1 is hot. set II is relentless. i dunno @poo g, this might have uic I beat. i mean, just non stop. sally->bowie to end the set??? wtf. although, i agree with your assessment that i like second sets that jump right outta the gate, and uic I certainly did with sand.

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Republic Airport would be ideal, but its small. May not work for you. Your coming? That would be sweet PB. Make it happen captain…

    Laguardia

    JFK

  18. robear Says:

    Any of you cats driving from Iowa to Cincy?

    GP you driving fr Indy to Cincy?

    I know a young lady looking for a ride.

  19. GhostPhunk Says:

    Rob, if you have spac plans I have your place to stay.

  20. PigSong Says:

    If you’re going to Republic Airport pick me up in Michigan on the way plz.

    Islip might be an option, but I know Delta pulled out of there a few years back.

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    That was shaping up to be an epic Hood. Unfortunate imo.

  22. robear Says:

    Shapiro said there would be jamming at SPAC….. Dead sessions after show party.

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    Seven deadly sins
    Seven ways to win
    Seven holy paths to hell and your trip begins

  24. GhostPhunk Says:

    Rob, teberwine at gmail, regardless of spac hit me

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Have fun tonight G$$

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