10 Highlights from Phish’s 2012 Summer Tour (Leg One)
Photo by Frank Lanza
6. Mikes Groove – 6/23/12 – Burgettstown, PA
Burgettstown’s “Mike’s Groove” featured the tasty combination of “Simple” and “Light” placed in between “Mike’s Song” and “Weekapaug Groove.” But it’s during “Simple” that the segment really started to heat up. Trey and Page start the jam with some blissful guitar and piano interplay, which eventually grows in an atmospheric manner, culminating in a resonant drone. The drone, which consists of sustained notes and sparse cymbal hits, allows for Trey to start “Light”, a fitting song for the stirring sounds of the “Simple” jam. The energy during this segment reachs a high during “Weekapaug Groove,” which remains in standard form for the most part. Page works away at his Moog synth while Mike holds down a solid rhythm and Trey adds his digital delay loop to bring the jam to an even heavier funk. Fishman gladly brings things down to a puddle of sound before quickly kicking back into the final refrain of the song. The impeccable energy and creative diversity to each of these jams makes this “Mike’s Groove” stand out amongst the others played this tour.
7. Sneakin’ Sally Though the Alley – 7/6/12 – Saratoga Springs, NY
In a set full of heavy jams, this version of Robert Palmer’s “Sneakin’ Sally” stands out as a perfect example of Phish taking their playing to the next level. After a quick vocal jam, the band comes in at full force with Trey taking the reigns of the jam early-on. There is a mutual back-off as they let the jam establish, before the playing takes a more patient turn, letting Page and Fishman layer funk onto Trey’s focused playing. Trey carries the relaxed jam along by strumming a few chords while Fishman and Mike catch up to his pace. From there, the band is able to let loose for a while, playing with energy and direction and, of course, taking breaks to re-establish the rhythm when necessary. The jam sinks out after the band has said all they want to, leading the captivated crowd into “Ghost”.
8. Waves – 6/28/12 – Noblesville, IN
“Waves” has raised eyebrows recently, especially after the version soundchecked at Bethel Woods last year earned a reputation as the holy grail of 3.0 jams. The version at Deer Creek is a clear indication of the tune’s capability. This is ear candy Phish. From soaring solos to ambient joy, this jam is a wholly impressive nugget from the first leg.
9. Birds of a Feather – 6/15/12 – Atlantic City, NJ
Appearing more regularly on this tour, “Birds of a Feather” made an early impact at Bader Field. The band enters the jam with an eager mentality. This attitude is apparent in Trey’s dense soloing, which he uses to guide the band to climaxes and then back down to more melodic places. From here, the band plays around with the simple themes and explores the less established structure.
10. Piper – 7/8/12 – Saratoga Springs, NY
With the variations on both blissful and dark jams over the course of the tour, many were wondering which direction “Piper” would take on the last night of the run. The song had a lot to live up to, considering the historic version of the song which was performed at the same venue in 2004 (6/19/04). The jam, though initially lackluster, did not disappoint. While the intro lacks evident direction, the band eventually settles on a musical path. The result is a mingling of the different flavors, including Trey’s quick guitar loops, effect pedals, drawn out chords, and vocal noise. But in all the chaos, there was an undeniable euphoria. A perfect way to close out a run of diverse jamming styles.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
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