At least in theory, this was a night when things were poised to go sideways.
Temperatures in Noblesville, Indiana, peaked near 110° F today as the entire Midwestern United States roasted. Phish issued a sober advisory to fans, warning them to seek shelter, hydrate, and SPF themselves liberally. In contrast with the scorching temps, the decision to interrupt leg one of summer tour with a four day break after three strong consecutive performances led some to wonder whether Phish might come back cold, and give back some of those hard-won gains.
When Phish announced their 2012 summer tour, the weekend trifecta in (approximately) Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland jumped out for a couple of reasons. For one, it was the only three night run of the tour in different cities. Probably more obvious – to football fans anyway – was the fact that the three cities are inextricably linked by their (sadly one-sided) rivalry in the AFC North division. And thus it was settled: AFC North tour was on.
First up was Cincy's Riverbend Music Center, a throwback venue right down to the AstroTurf "lawn" that recalls the multi-purpose stadiums of the ‘70s and '80s. "Wolfman's Brother" kicked off the festivities, but the ensuing, and well played, "Peaches" would establish the theme of this set: bustouts. Six songs would make their 2012 debuts in this set, and none was more surprising than the first "Shaggy Dog" since 10/29/95, or 574 shows. "Runaway Jim" marched in next and gave way to the next bustout, a fairly short but fiery "Light Up or Leave Me Alone."
By Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)
Phish hit the stage on their second night at nTelos approximately 50 minutes after the sun’s direct light caressed the Tropic of Cancer, thereby ushering in the true northern hemisphere Summer of 2012 and triggering the final 6-month countdown to the conclusion of the 13th Baktun of the Mayan calendar. The summer solstice would therefore serve as the ampersand uniting the first and second nights of the Portsmouth run in a grand cosmic joke that paid presumably unintentionally homage to George Lucas. The “Tijuana Tuck & Roll” in the long run may prove to be a pair of shows that at first glance (on paper) look great but after continued sittings may be found to be stuffed with nothing more than hay and cow shit. Put another way, much like the protagonist in the ZZ Top song “Zipper Job,” you should not judge a tranny by its cover... unless you are into that kind of thing. Before you get irate... I assure you that I AM into transformation...of any kind. Phish, much like the rest of humanity, is trying to make the change. Although transformation allows growth, it is sometimes painful.