by Mockingbird Foundation Contributor Chris Glushko
A few weeks ago, I took a look back at leg one and ranked all 20 second sets from worst to first. In addition, Charlie Dirksen also took a fantastic deep dive into the first half of summer. Now that we’ve all had some time to over-analyze leg one in painstaking detail, it’s time to get our Phish nerd on for leg two. With seemingly anything and everything on the table this Summer, what could/should the band do to take it up another level?
As always, if you enjoy this piece or other content on phish.net, please consider donating to The Mockingbird Foundation, where more than 98% of the money raised is given directly to music education programs. Now on to the list -
Last played in 1998 for the tenth and final time, many wondered if the band had forgotten that this explosive Hendrix cover was once a powerful part of Phish’s arsenal. Then on July 3 in Jones Beach, Trey played the famous lick during “Sand,” prompting fans to speculate “Izabella’s” appearance before summer’s end.
2) “Bathtub Gin” that goes deep
“Bathtub Gin” was a source of deep exploratory improvisation from the mid-90s through 2004. Since the band returned in 2009, “Gin” has become a powerful, yet predictable, rocker. Only 2.5 versions in the 3.0 era have received the type 2 treatment – the brilliant Gorge 2009 “Gin” and the Bethel 2011 “Ginteca.” The .5 goes to the rare second set appearance at Deer Creek on 6/29/2012 where the jam seemed destined for greatness before being abruptly cut off at the eight minute mark.
3) Second jam in “Mike’s Song”
It’s safe to say that “Mike’s Song” in the 3.0 era has gone about as far as it can go in it’s current retro format. At some point you have to imagine it will open up again or be shelved. Let’s hope for the former. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, read up.
4) Halloween love to Quadrophenia and Remain in Light
We’ve seen a lot of love to Loaded so far this Summer. We’ve even saw a little love to The White Album. Yet sadly, no breakout songs from Quadrophenia or Remain in Light appeared on leg one. Maybe Remain in Light songs are too difficult to pull off as a four-piece? Maybe Phish no longer have the intestinal fortitude to unleash the fury of something like “The Real Me?” Still, I’d wager that Page can still sing a fantastic “Sea & Sand.” After fans predicted its return at nearly every oceanside venue for the last three years only to be let down, someplace like Oklahoma City seems perfect for this prized bustout.
5) “Spock’s Brain”
This neglected fan favorite has only been played eight times. Six occurrences were in 1995, its debut year. Given that it was soundchecked at Jones Beach, it can’t be too long before it appears again.
6) New original debut
On June 4, 2011, Phish debuted a new original in “Steam.” There has not been a new original since. The desire of fans to complain about new songs is strong. Give the people what they want.
7) 20-minute jam(s)
In all the fantastic music that came out of leg one, there was one thing missing – a 20-minute polarizing jam so half the fans can declare it the best of tour, and half the fans can say it’s overrated. Maybe we’ll have that pleasure in leg two.
8) Exploratory “Halley’s Comet”
“Halley’s Comet” has been played 27 times since Phish’s return in 2009. Of those 27, only two have opened up – 6/16/2009 Fox Theater and 5/28/2011 Bethel. Every time they played it in leg one, you can practically taste the improvisational glory of the past trying to bubble to the surface. Let’s hope they blow one open in leg two.
9) “Sweet Jane” do-over
If you didn’t make it to Deer Creek, you most likely felt the equivalent of a swift kick to the groin after hearing that “Sweet Jane” made its first appearance since 10/31/98. However, that pain quickly went away upon hearing the very rough and jam-free breakout. Let’s hope they do this one over in leg two, giving it the justice it deserves.
10) Grateful Dead cover
It’s hard to argue that any band influenced Phish more than The Grateful Dead. Constant comparisons early in their career obviously got inside Phish’s collective head as the band avoided any Grateful Dead covers from 1986 until the “Terrapin Station” encore on 8/9/98 – the third anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. Besides the shared cover of “Quinn the Eskimo,” only on two occasions since has Phish approached the Dead’s vast catalogue – “Cold Rain & Snow” and “Viola Lee Blues” with Phil Lesh at Shoreline 99, and “West L.A. Fadeaway” and “El Paso” with Bob Weir at Shoreline 2000. With Phish playing their first run in San Francisco since 1994, now would be as good a time as any to dust off a Grateful Dead original just one more time. After all, Trey plays a mean “Shakedown Street” and Page sings a fantastic “Franklin’s Tower.”
So what are your hopes and predictions for leg two? Let us know in the comments section below. To get you started, here are the wish lists of other Mockingbird Foundation volunteers.
1) "Lushington": it's time to restore this, even though it lives in "Fluffhead"
2) "Glide II": Yes, I know parts of it were transplanted into "Guyute." But it's beautiful and should be played again anyway.
3) New originals: we need a new injection of songs, akin to the Bearsville era.
4) Jam, just... jam. Don't be afraid to let the music find its voice. The Bethel "Waves" was gorgeous. I wonder how the MSG "Cities" might've evolved, given the chance.
5) The controversial: Shelve "DwD," "Moma," "Possum," "Number Line," "Piper," and "Divided Sky." I'm sure this will anger some people, but let some of the most common songs breathe a little, and people will welcome them with open arms when they return. Remember how "Roggae" become a fan fave when it disappeared? Let some classics sit on the shelve for a tour and let's see how fans respond.
1) Phil Lesh sit-in for “Shakedown Street”
2) “Spocks Brain”
3) “The Great Curve”
4) “The Real Me”
1) “The Great Curve”
2) Return of the smoke machine
3) Breakout debut of “Buckingham Green”
4) Jammed “AC/DC Bag”
1) New original tune(s).
2) Go for 300 songs! (We are sure to get "In a Hole" if they do this)
3) At least one 20 minute jam, preferably out of “Halley's”.
1) Special guest (Phil would be great)
2) Narration of some sort
3) A 5-song second set with meaningful and patient jamming
4) “The Punk Meets the Godfather”
6) “In a Hole”
1) Second jam in “Mike's”
2) New Originals
3) Exploratory “Tweezer”
1) New Phish Original
2) “Scents and Subtle Sounds” ala 7/30/03
3) “Spock's Brain”
4) “Sweet Jane”
5) “Heavy Rotation”
6) “Back in the Basement”
7) “Beltless Buckler”
8) An additional show to raise money for all the fire victims and or the Aurora shootings
1) Type 2 “Wading”
2) 45 min “Harry”
3) “Ride Captain Ride”
1) Brand new songs!
2) Any song that is yet to be played off the Party Time CD, particularly "If I Told You"
3) Proper "Hood" peak
1) “Cities” as jam vehicle, preferably second set
2) “Runaway Jim” as jam vehicle, preferably second set
3) Another surprise “Curtain” > “Forbin”
4) Shelf “Rock and Roll”
1) A proper “Vibration of Life”
2) A little more play for some of the 2.0 big guns (“Pebbles,” “Scents & Subtle Sounds,” “Waves,” “WotC”...)
3) Take "If I Told You" out for a spin
1) “Shakedown” in SF
2) 12/2/95 “Tweezer”
3) Announce 12/21/12 Fest X in Indio
1) “Avalanche Peach”
2) "Halfway to the Moon"
3) Set 1 opener: Jam ->
4) "Who By Fire"
5) "I Know A Little"
1) San Francisco guest(s)
3) A jammed-out "Dear Prudence" or "Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad?"
1) “David Bowie” version on par with jammed versions from 1995 and earlier;
2) Type II “Stash”
3) Jammed out version of “Free” (i.e. not the same boiler plate version they've played since '09)
1) More material from Mike's solo band ("Another Door," "Dig Further Down," "Soulfood Man!")
2) "Liquid Time!"
3) "Icculus" (one of these days...)
1) Cover Pink Floyd's Animals at OKC Zoo
2) Play more material from Round Room and Undermind regularly
3) More Page led jams ala “Sand” and “Golden Age” from Jones Beach
1) New, non-classic rock cover to enter the rotation
2) New Anastasio/Marshall song(s)
3) “Halfway to the Moon”