IT can take you by surprise, changing your entire worldview in moments, making you a true believer. Music with transcendent power is addictive and bliss-inducing, and those obsessive enough to listen to every note of Phish CRAVE IT. Sometimes a show is so breathtakingly excellent that it literally drops your jaw in silent awe as you stumble, in an enthralled daze, back out to the lots. But even if the show you just caught didn’t do IT for you, part of the attraction of highly improvisational music, like Phish’s music, is that it was likely just such a show for someone. And Phish’s shows on Leg One of this Summer tour have done IT for quite a lot of folks.
Phish's “Leg One” this Summer has so excited fans, given its consistently strong performances and its remarkable setlists, from Worcester through SPAC, that many, myself included, have been hyperbolically glowing about it. Ecstatic, even. But while Phish's Summer tour to date has been the most consistently impressive tour of the 2009-2012 era, it is nevertheless historically misguided, in my opinion, to suggest that this tour somehow marks a "new beginning" for Phish, or that an original breakthrough of some sort occurred within the last few months.
Improvisationally, Phish has not entered a “new age.” If you are inclined to disagree, please revisit Hampton's "Down with Disease," performed only three shows into this era, and then check out other masterworks of recent improvisation, e.g., Gorge's "Sneakin' Sally" (8/7/09), SPAC's "BDTNL" (8/16/09), the Albany "Seven Below" -> "Ghost" (11/28/09), Miami's "Back on the Train" (12/30/09), Camden's "Chalk Dust" and "2001" (6/25/10), the Greek "Cities" (8/6/10), Augusta's "Reba" (10/19/10), MSG's "Tweezer" (12/30/10), the Bethel "Gin" (5/28/11), Detroit's "Down with Disease" (6/3/11), the Gorge "Rock and Roll" (8/5/11), the UIC "Waves" -> "Undermind" (8/15/11), and the Dick's "Tweezer" (9/3/11). This music speaks for itself, and in the context of those versions, this tour's must-hear highlights, discussed below (including, for example, Worcester's "Carini," AC's "Birds," Cincy's "Twist," Alpine’s “Fee,” JB's "Golden Age," SPAC's "Sneakin Sally" and “Piper”), fit snugly within Phish's current era, albeit in the midst of eye-catching, largely unpredictable setlists, sprinkled here and there with bustouts.
Although Phish fans talk as good a game as any hardcore music fans, and Phish always steps up to the plate with their game faces on, ready to play hardball, Phish does not always knock a show out of the park. This tour has nevertheless featured a number of shows with excellent plays made on both sides of the setbreak. Indeed, given the caliber of their high-flying improvisational skills, Phish is arguably in a league of their own, tending to play at least something worthy of glowing coverage on any given Sunday, or other day... even to those Monday Morning Quarterbacks with mud in their ears, grass in their asses, and far too many stats in their brains.
Regardless of how you feel about seven “Possums” in twenty shows, Phish likely will keep their drive alive into the Second Leg of Summer Tour. So if you're on the fence about catching any Leg Two shows this Summer, get off of it, and get back on the train. Enjoy the blessing that is Phish while you can. See you in SF. $0.02.
DISCLAIMER: The individual show blurbs below are just that. BLURBS. They are simply my TWO CENTS on each Leg One show. I was in attendance at only three of the shows on this tour (Portsmouth I, Cincy, and SPAC 3). I do NOT review the “shows” below. I simply offer my two cents on, and review, SOME of the music of each show, ignoring much of the music simply because I did not find it to be remarkable, and I don’t want to be any more boring than I already am. Your musical opinions may and hopefully do differ in some or all respects, and all that matters are YOUR OWN OPINIONS. Please add them to the “comments.” Thank you for reading any part of this post!
6/7/12 Worcester: Who doesn’t like “Torn and Frayed?” Very pleased to get it in the first set, along with an unusually good “Ocelot.” While I love “Beauty of a Broken Heart” and was thrilled that they played it, this was not an inspired version, which is a shame, because it is among my favorite new songs. (Check out the Indio version if you haven’t yet... I also love Page’s “Halfway to the Moon” and hope we get it on Leg Two.) The second-set-opening “Carini” is must-hear and fantastic, as you’ve likely already heard. It is a highlight of this tour-opening show, and no doubt made many in attendance wonder if 2012 would be THE YEAR. “Carini” is atypically melodic, with Trey soloing quite well for awhile with gorgeous accompaniment from Mike and Page. It’s among the strongest jams of this tour, and Trey repeats some very cool riffs for a bit off and on in the final few minutes of the version as well. Just lovely interplay between him and Mike, Page and Fish. The segue into “Taste” is also excellent. While the “Ghost” is fine, “Boogie On” smokes and is an above-average version for sure. The “Buried Alive Reprise” out of “Cavern” to close the second set was quite a surprise, and helps place this show squarely among the top tier of Leg One shows.
6/8/12 Worcester II: Good first set "KDF" (though no SPAC3), a decent “type II” jam out of “Roses” (recommended), and an above-average version of “Julius” (seriously -- it really is), but the first set is otherwise through the motions, despite closing well with “Gin.” The second set is a typically great set of Phish to be sure, with emphasis on the word “typically.” The “DWD” opener is good (like “two stars” good), and there’s certainly a strong “Sand” (like “two stars” strong). The “Sand” -- to be fair -- is a recommended Phish version, but it’s below-average when compared with an average TAB version (if you haven’t listened to a TAB version of “Sand” recently, just randomly listen to a few for comparison). The “Makisupa Mike’sGroove” is fine, and I’m sure it was hugely entertaining at the show (I love getting “Mike’s Groove,” period, of course), and “Weekapaug” overall isn’t bad despite Trey’s flubs. And hey, there’s a pretty good “Zero.” All this said, this show -- as good as it obviously is -- nevertheless is in the bottom tier of shows on Leg One, as I hear it.
6/10/12 Roo. Lots of kind-hearted folks have referred to Roo simply as a “festival show” (see also, e.g., Outside Lands last year), in order to explain the spectacular meh-ness of this gig. I’ll go a step further and just rate Roo a 1/10, which is to say that at least 90% of the shows performed in Phish history are more musically impressive than this show. (In other words, if this is among your favorite Phish shows, you’re in luck, because you have hundreds and hundreds of shows to look forward to listening to!) This show isn’t simply in the bottom tier of Leg One shows, it’s sucking on the slimiest of turds that procreate only in the darkest and filthiest places of the bottom tier. Thank God for Kenny Rogers! HUGE of him to guest in this gig! “The Gambler” was a treat, of course, particularly Page’s backup vocals, even if this cover was, uh, loose. Then there was that interesting jam in “Carini” (didn’t they just play that?). And the “Shafty” bustout was entertaining, particularly for fans of Olivia’s pool. But the “Hood” was going somewhere awesome when it was aborted … into the land of meh meh “Light” meh flub meh. I try to listen to shows more than once before offering my two cents on them anywhere publicly, if only so I don’t embarrass myself more than necessary (as I do here). But I haven’t been able to stomach much of this show on a second listening. I swear I tried. Check out Roo if you want to hear what a POS Phish show sounds like, which is to say that it’s still pretty cool -- we are talking about PHISH, after all! But when compared with other Phish shows? 1/10.
6/15/12 AC. After Roo, and several days off, fans were hungry for something more along the lines of Worcester I. And this show doesn’t really come close. The first set is an ordinary and customary first set, well-played but without anything above-average. The “Tube” is long, but it’s meek. And as much as I love “Stash,” this is what a demonstrably below-average version sounds like. The second set, however, features a must-hear “Birds” (among this tour’s highlights) with some gloriously soaring improv; a brief but tight “BOTT;” and an excellent “type I” version of “Twist” that floats into a light-and-bouncy “Heavy Things.” Although the “Piper” contains quite a few “woo’s” from the band (and fans) in the intro, this is its only original feature. Trey cannot seem to focus in it, and eventually the meandering jam dissolves into space. Trey tends to drive “Piper,” and if he can’t find the controls or see through the windshield, or both, the song may eventually careen off the road into a weedy swamp that, at best, smells like decomposing manure-fish. If you find this version impressive, I BEG YOU to check out the "Piper" jam chart and listen to every version within it. Thankfully, the tens of thousands of folks at this gig got a funky “Sally” and ok “Bowie” before being “First Tube’d” back to the tables.
6/16/12 AC. Finally. Made two pair on the river! Very fun first set, with a “Mike’s Groove” opener followed promptly by “Gumbo” and “Halley’s” and “My Friend” (a set of six opening tunes that even the most jaded fan can appreciate). Plus a very good “Wolfman’s” and the longest “Possum” of the seven versions on Leg One (this version isn’t all that great, as Trey noodles about and it isn’t very tight, but whatever). The “PYITE” in this set is not very well-played, but the crowd participation in this version makes it must-hear. Please, if you haven't heard it, check it out for yourself -- I don’t want to ruin it for you by explaining what happens. This crowd participation in “PYITE” is the highlight of the set in my view, just a remarkably cool version for this reason. Second set opens with a “Crosseyed” that goes spacey too fast, but it segues beautifully into “Slave” (which proves to be too short). The “Lighteca” that follows is the musical highlight of the show, with intricate jamming and “Manteca” overtones in part. It is among this tour’s highlights. The “Sand” in this set is also good, with some “Still Waiting” vocal quotes taboot. This gig ends well with “Antelope” and “GTBT.”
6/17/12 AC. This show is a fine example of a consistently strong, “somewhat above average-great” gig start to finish. Trey digs into “Wilson” in the first, shredding, and “Timber” is also tight, concluding with the ending of “Brother” at its end. Trey also plays quite well in “FLUFFHEAD!” (note the “fluffHEN?” at 3:22), and it ends with a vocalization, albeit not quite the same as “Brother’s” ending. “Walls” is quite good and “Zero” concludes the first set fiercely. Second set opens with a good “Drowned,” and “2001” is super, with some dirty funk from Page. This set’s “Reba” is recommended, and even “CDT” (drawn-out ending) and “Bug” are good. And to close a show with “DWD,” “Jibboo” and “Quinn”!? While there may be nothing “must hear” about this show’s versions, it is nevertheless a very well-played gig overall.
6/19/12 Portsmouth. A quaint, sold-out, GA venue in a beautiful city produces a fun gig. Carl “Geerz” Gerhard, a great trumpet player and a greater guy, makes the “Party Time” shine. First set features good playing overall, but the “tuck” jokes (concerning Fishman’s purported tucking of his dress/smock into his manties) are the real highlight. If you’re a fan of onstage antics/banter, or anything even vaguely resembling mischievous wookery, you’ll want to check this out. I have always been a fan of the goofiness that Phish shows often used to involve, when a vacuum tune was nearly guaranteed, and full frontal nudity (particularly for those with front row views) a true and present danger. In any event, musically, this show is below-average, but it’s highly entertaining (“YOU SUCK AT TUCKING!”) and worth a listen for its banter, moreso than the vast majority of recent (2009-2012) shows. But I suck at tucking, so don't take it from me.
6/20/12 Portsmouth. What more is there to say about this show than that it begins with the first “Sparkle” opener ever, followed by “Ha Ha Ha”? I LOVE THIS BAND. Great setlist (a mid-first-set “Mike’s Groove”!?), and what a segue from “Cities” into “Ya Mar” in the first. While the “Rock and Roll” second set opener aborts into several minutes of space, the “Tweezer” that follows is quite good, with a repetitious but sick groove in it for several measures. It is not what I’d call “must hear” but it’s still above-average. What’s remarkably nuts about this set is that while it contains some good playing in a variety of tunes, the “Hood” appeared to be going somewhere amazing, even “type II,” when Trey ripcorded the damn thing into “What’s the Use?” This show is nevertheless a good one on the whole, in my view, even though it doesn’t get much love because it ended so meekly, what with a “Wadingpossummonkeyprise.” In any event, the “Monkey” is amusing ("one final tuck... the final tuck..."), during which Trey makes a “Star Wars” reference about being Fish’s father. Banter fan? Or a fan of Trey_Talks? Check out Portsmouth.
6/22/12 Riverbend. FLUFFHEAD!! (E). You’ve likely already heard, or at least heard about, the “Twist” in this show, which contains a badass jam on the “Heaven On Their Minds” theme (or “39 Lashes,” if you prefer) from Jesus Christ Superstar. You must hear it, as it is among the favorite jams of many from leg one. This show as a whole is good, with a great “Wolfman’s” opener (it has a staccato-styled jam in it for a bit), the “Shaggy Dog” bustout in the first (THANK YOU TREY), a “KDF” that eventually soars into a long, spacey jam, and quite a bouncy, staccato-jammed “Sand.” But the “Stash” in the first never really got going, and the second set ended in a rather meh way, with perfunctory versions of songs -- even “Carini,” which has generally been a ferocious improvisational vehicle in recent years. Nevertheless, all things considered, this was at worst a paradigmatic, average-great Phish show. FLUFFHEAD!! (E)
6/23/12 Star Lake. This show has received much well-deserved praise, but in my view the praise should be directed fully at the second set. The first set is just fine, e.g., with Page on theremin for part of the “Mule duel,” and an always welcome “YEM" closer. But the second set is strong, with a good “Simple” and excellent “Light” in a “Mike’s Groove” sandwich, plus a short-but-rocking “-7” (that arguably contains a “Weekapaug” jam in it at one brief point -- listen closely to Page at 5:04) and a “Slave” closer. The “Weekapaug” is among the better versions of recent years to be sure, and it features a sweet “Divided Sky” tease from Trey. Plus, the jamming in “Light” is quite gorgeous for several minutes, even though, in my view, it ends in somewhat of a noisy, haphazard, unpleasant way (i.e., not good noise). And a “Lizards" (E)? Nice.
6/24/12 Blossom. The highlight of the first set doesn’t translate to tape, in that fans were invited to dance on stage during the set-closing “Meatstick.” Musically, this first set is remarkably average. The second set opens with a “Golden Age" -> "Ghost,” aka the “Golden Ghost,” which despite its moniker, is only somewhat golden. “Golden Age” contains some bedazzling improvisation, getting charmingly spacey towards and at its end, but a note of the theremin gets stuck during the transition (listen at 00:17 of “Ghost”) into “Ghost,” and that note is impossible to ignore for the next minute or two, unless you’re deaf. The “Ghost” is actually quite standard until there’s a very cool modulation into a minor key and then a brief, but still must-hear, theme develops, which the band blasts off on. (This albeit brief jam is why it’s still worth downloading and listening to EVERY Phish show, in my opinion, and why a track timing doesn’t always tell the full story.) “Tweezer” has a tweeprise-like jam with “how can you have any meat" ( Floyd) quotes from Trey. It’s also got some “Under Pressure” teasing and “Meatstick” teasing/quotes, so it’s a nonserious-but-entertaining version, that is promptly followed by an admirable “Walk Away.” This set’s “Piper,” albeit brief, is intense, as is the “Antelope” set closer. Like Star Lake, this show was all about the second set (assuming you’re interested in musical highlights alone, of course; obviously a “show” is always going to be about THE SHOW to most!).
6/28/12 DC. Of the five “Back on the Trains” on Leg One, this show’s version is the most improvisational one, as it goes “type II” and is jam chart worthy. It also comes out of an unusually strong “McGrupp,” which is equally must-hear. This show has a fun first set setlist, including a “Birdwatcher” opener, an “Old Home Place” bustout, as well as “Tela,” “Curtain With,” “FYF,” and “Cool It Down.” (Musically, the set is fine.) Second set “Mike’s Groove” not only sandwiches the must-hear “McGrupp" > "BOTT,” but “Bike,” as well, and the Fishman portion of the program is even more hysterical than usual if only because “Weekapaug” begins with Fish on guitar. (A must-hear for Fish fans!) “Waves” is beautiful, and the set ends well with “Bug” and “Bowie.” Even if the first set isn’t musically above-average and the show ends meekly with “Showprise,” this show’s setlist and second set highlights are enough to goose it into above-average territory overall, in my view .
6/29/12 DC. Another largely through-the-motions first set, but the set concludes with a version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that exemplifies why Trey is still among the world’s greatest guitarists. His solo is soulful and focused, and arguably as compelling as his soulful guitar artistry ever gets. This greatness continued through the second set, which is among the strongest sets of leg one. A superb “DWD” jam opens the set, which then proceeds into a very groovy “Sand” (a version that has even more of a “Jibboo”-like feel to it than usual). “Sand” goes weird at its end, with key modulations to get it into “Twist” territory. Although “Twist” doesn’t do much, and “Rift” follows,” the “Gin” features a "DEG"-like jam briefly, as well as an “On Broadway” tease from Trey, and is overall a marvelous version that’s absolutely worth a listen. This set proceeds to end well, with good performances in “Fluffhead,” “Ride Captain Ride” and “Antelope.” (This is among the better so-called “FOURTH QUARTERS” of leg one, for those of you who can tolerate the use of sports cliches when discussing music.) And a three song encore with “Sanity”!? This may be the most underrated show of leg one, assuming it is even possible for there to be an "underrated" show of leg one.
6/30/12 Alpine. This is the paradigmatic “average-great” Phish show. It’s well-played throughout, but there are no standout versions as I hear it, except, of course, for the second set “Golden Age,” which is upbeat, funky for a bit, and pretty much terrific all-around (I love Page’s playing in particular, and the band’s interplay). Some hear Trey coming very, very close to teasing “I Know What Boys Like” in this “Golden Age” jam, which is amusing on several levels. But this show, as a whole, is otherwise what is ordinary and customary from Phish these days... which is to say that it’s great.
7/1/12 Alpine. I love it, LOVE IT, when a first set has a musical highlight (beyond its setlist) like the “Fee” at this gig! “Fee” has of course been extended in a gorgeous and stirring fashion in the past (see, e.g., the 7/5/98 Prague version, which is garbage until the extended coda). But this Alpine “Fee” is among the greatest versions in history, even though its composed section is awfully loose. The second set is a bit of a mixed bag, but like leg one in general, nevertheless proceeds to have several highlights that are worth your time to check out. While the “Crosseyed” opener is a bit inconsistent, the segue into “No Quarter” out of “Crosseyed’s” spacey conclusion (as Fish quotes “Still Waiting” a bunch), led largely by Page, is quite eerie. Phish does a great job with “No Quarter” and I hope we get another on Leg Two. The “Light” in this set meanders about for awhile before ajamakinto “Frankie Says” -- with perhaps a little “Crazy Fingers” from Trey sprinkled in -- develops. The “Frankie Says” teasing is heaviest from Mike, and there’s some stellar improvisation in this “Light” to be sure, including ajamakinto “Norwegian Wood” led by Trey. “Ghost” is fine, and “BOTT” has a TON of “Possum” (or “Swamp Music,” if you prefer) teases from Page. Page teases “Possum” in “BOTT” now and then, but his heavy “Possum” teasing in this short version is its highlight. Leg One’s only “Farmhouse” (every man returns to dust) is followed by an outstanding version of “46 Days” (really). The show ends with folks dancing on stage to “Meatstick,” and this Alpine show is what a clearly above-average Phish show is all about. A top version of a song (“Fee”), several above-average versions (“Light,” “46 Days”), all-around, consistently-good playing, and a more-creative-than-usual setlist (e.g., “Soul Shakedown," "Lonesome Cowboy Bill," "Vultures” trio of show openers and a “Meatstick (E)”).
7/3/12 Jones Beach. WOW! I must confess, the jaded vet in me was surprised they’d follow-up Alpine, after a day off, with yet another above-average effort. Opening the show with a funktastic “Skin It Back,” which is among my favorite Phish covers, was and is still a treat, and to follow that up old school with “Possum” made it even better. The first set also contains another mid-set “Mike’s Groove,” with an excellent, albeit short, “Weekapaug,” and good playing overall. The second set opens with a strong “CDT” that is followed by a fairly sick version of “Sand.” (Fwiw “Sand” was played six times on Leg One, including four times prior to this gig.) “Golden Age” is also quite good, jamming well and then going enchantingly spacey in the final few minutes, giving Chris time to work his magic behind the light board as the band accompanies him. (CHRIS KURODA IS AMAZING. I bet the band members often look forward to what Chris will do during improvisations as much as we do.) Although “Wolfman’s” is weak and “Walk Away” -- with an even more pronounced tweeprise-like build than usual -- and “Bug” are fine, there’s “FLUFFHEAD!” “Wedge” and an exhilarating “Antelope” to close the second set remarkably well. If you’re a vet and you haven’t heard a single note of Phish from 2012 and you refuse to download or otherwise listen to more than one show (and you’re a completist who only goes for shows and not individual versions of songs), then you should probably decide between this one or SPAC3. While this show doesn’t have any “top versions,” it is almost start-to-finish an above-average effort with some first-class improv.
7/4/12 Jones Beach. A “DEG” tease from Trey, and an “Alumni” opener - happy Fourth of July! Very unusual first set setlist, of course, what with “TMWSIY” and “Bittersweet Motel” and “Susskind Hotel” (pretty good jam in this one), “Purple Rain” and a “Star Spangled Banner” to close. Musically, it’s fine. Second set begins well with a nice enough “Boogie On” and a fairly good, short, “Tweezer,” but the set is musically hit-and-miss, even though it closes with an arguably stand-out “Slave.” Monkeyprise’d (E). Part of the reason I love Phish is that even their below-average shows are still GREAT ROCK CONCERTS!
7/6/12 SPAC. Good first set with a largely tight “Heavy Things,” thick “Tube” with “Psycho Killer,” the return of “Cracklin’ Rosie” (it’s been TOO DAMN LONG) with Rosie Friar Tuck, and an inspired “Light Up” set closer (even though its ending is rough). “CDT” again opens a second set and its followed by another very cool “Carini” as well as the sixth, and final, version of “Sand” on Leg One. This is a good “Sand” but I prefer most of the previous versions of the tour to this one. “PYITE” is somewhat spacily extended before a slow version of “Sneakin’ Sally” begins. “Sally” eventually picks up steam and soars, as the band locks into a thrilling, repetitive theme and rockets skyward. All of the band members are awesome in this version, just some electrifying “type II” action for several minutes in this “Sally!” The jam changed gears in a sensational way. This “Sally” jam is among the most profound jams of Leg One. Although the “Ghost” does nothing for awhile, a dazzlingly good jam develops in the final few minutes, driven largely by Fish and Mike as I hear it. “Antelope” is once again quite good (with both Tom Marshall AND Steve “Dude of Life” Pollak on the lyrics!), and is easily an above-average version for recent years.
7/7/12 SPAC. Sweeeet segue from “Cities” to “Maze” in the first (even if the short “Cities” took a plinko turn of sorts, meandering aimlessly). “Maze” features an ordinarily and customarily awesome Page solo. The “Peaches” is well done in this set as well, and I love the “Gin.” Yes, it’s short, but Trey’s soloing for quite awhile is MAGNIFICENT -- this “Gin” jam at its peak is what IT is all about. And while Trey is sadly a bit rough going into the coda, this is still an excellent version. “Good Times Bad Times” closes this easily above-average first set for the first time ever. The second set, as you’ve perhaps heard, features a lot of “Blister in the Sun” references, but this blister-themed set is a musically-mixed bag. The set-opening “DWD” with “Blister in the Sun” is quite good, arguably among the finest jams of Leg One, and worth a listen. But strangely, the “Boogie On > Golden Age -> 2001 > BDTNL” are kinda meh while the “Caspian,” of all things, contains an unusually serene, precious little jam, and “Mule” with “Blister in the Sun” is a blast. The set then closes well with a good “Mike’s > Contact > Groove.” The “Sabotage (E)” was dedicated to MCA (may he RIP), but unfortunately, it is not performed well. It is worse than even last year's version at Dick's. But hey, IT’S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL!
7/8/12 SPAC. I figured the tour closer would be a good show, but not that it would be among the best shows of the tour, and among my favorites since Hampton. The first set was largely weak, despite a powerful “Party Time” (best ever version, I believe, with Trey getting paid by the note), until its conclusion, when arguably the best “SOAM” of the modern era was followed-up by “La Grange,” a bustout that .net’s own Scott Marks (and many other folks) had been desperately chasing for many years. While it’s certainly not a top version, “La Grange” nevertheless was a bonus after the strong “SOAM” and redeemed the set.
If you still haven’t heard the second set of this show, please download it soon. It’s arguably the most improvisational second set of the tour, in a good way, despite the presence of Trey flubs here and there, and an OK version of “Free.” While the set opens with a perfunctory “Axilla,” the “Light” that follows is must-hear, with an extraordinary jam, smoothly transitioning through a variety of fascinating themes. It then segues masterfully into “Twist,” the jam of which has “Oye Como Va” overtones. The “Kill Devil Falls” that comes next is among the finest versions of the song performed to date, with a passionate, rousing jam. Then, after “My Friend > Swept Away > Steep” (“Steep” featured beguiling “ooouus” and “aaahhhs” in the final minute), there’s the “Piper.” And damn is this “Piper” worth hearing. While every note of this “Piper” ain’t perfect, it is still a masterpiece of Phish improvisation, where parts of it sound like melodious, composed music. It is arguably the finest “type II” improv of the tour, with a jam that peaks in a mighty, jaw-dropping, spine-tinglingly potent way. But, of course, the show didn’t end there. After a breather-of-a-”Free,” we then got the first ever “Kung > Hood,” which felt very good, and then a “Cavern > Bowie” to close, with a “YEM (E)” taboot. This show is why hundreds of thousands of fans, myself included, still inconvenience themselves to see Phish, even after several decades.
THANK YOU, PHISH, and thank you for reading! $0.02.