10 Highlights from Phish’s 2012 Summer Tour (Leg Two)
Photo by Frank Lanza
Back in July, Isaac Slone presented 10 highlights from the first leg Phish’s summer tour. Here’s part two…
After an incredibly successful first leg of their tour, fans wondered what Phish had in store for the second half of the summer. The band did not disappoint, delivering highlights left and right. Here’s a list of ten of the best moments that the tour’s second leg delivered.
1. Tweezer – 8/26/12 – Charlotte, NC
Even casual Phish fans are aware that “Tweezer” is one of the band’s essential jam vehicles. The version that occurred during the group’s second set in Charlotte, NC immediately stood out as one to revisit. The improvisation takes off with a Trey and Page passing riffs back and forth. This allows for a tight rhythm to be established. As the jam rolls along, things become more laid back. Trey lets a bit of the overdrive off his guitar and the band relaxes into some of the more blissful playing it has done recently. Phish simply builds and dissolves the sonic feel they built rather than delivering a cluttered ending to the jam. This is one of the prettier versions of “Tweezer” out there.
2. Crosseyed and Painless > Light -> Sneaking Sally Through The Alley -> Crosseyed and Painless – 8/19/12 – San Francisco, CA
Those who believed that webcast shows are cursed were proven wrong by this Sunday night scorcher. Kicking off the last set of the three-night San Francisco run with “Crosseyed and Painless,” Phish launched into one of the more impressive segments of the tour. “Crosseyed” took off with inspired soloing on the part of all band members before exploring experimental territory. Fishman and Mike led the quartet to relaxed and creative improvisation, surprising fans at every turn before seguing into “Light.” “Light” took on a similar improvisational manner but showcased a more playful Phish. The most impressive moment of this jam comes towards the end when Trey leads Mike in a build up which Fishman quickly catches on to helps take this to a peak. With a smooth transition into “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley,” the band digs further into the impressive set. The “Sally” jam is less on the experimental side but effectively showcases patience in the playing. The intense segment closes out with a quick reprise of “Crosseyed,” much to the audience’s delight.
3. Limb by Limb – 8/28/12 – St. Louis, MO
Accidently leaving his distortion on at the start of this “Limb by Limb,” Trey unknowingly hinted at the madness that would ensue. As “Limb” moved into the solo, the band took on a classic tone in their playing. Page shines in this version, helping the other two members bring the jam down to a place at which Trey could introduce a new riff that would serve as the basis for the rest of the improv. Trey intricately weaves the riff into the playing as to sound natural and Fishman helps the band restore “Limb’s” refrain before ending the song.
4. Rock and Roll > Ghost – 8/15/12 – Long Beach, CA
Phish came out blasting during both of the tour openers this summer. The second set of the night at California’s Long Beach Arena opened with an extended take on the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll.” The jam coming out of the feel-good sing-along started with Trey providing a high-energy solo before cuing the band to slow down the tempo. Page quickly set the theme for the rest of the jam, implementing sharp piano chords that the quartet could play over. The jam slowed into a drone, which was slowly built upon by Mike and Fishman. The cohesive playing moved into stranger territory as the song moved into into “Ghost.” Trey showed off his thematic soloing qualities from the start of the jam, taking the lead with riff after riff. Both Page and Mike followed along before Fishman took the lead, noting the build to the jam’s peak. One can only wonder what Justin Bieber thought of the 38-minute segment.
5. Chalk Dust Torture – 8/31/12 – Commerce City, CO
Providing the second letter “C” to the setlist, “Chalk Dust Torture” was played late in the band’s first night at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, an evening in which the first letter of each song the band played would spell out “fuck your face.” With the way the night had been going (see the first set “Carini” below, for another highlight), fans were curious as to what the band would do with “Chalk Dust.” Many were confused when the song’s final chorus was delivered without much of a room for improvisation. Confusion was lifted when the band dove straight back into a high energy jam. Led by Trey, it started high in energy before dropping to a softer groove provided by Mike. Trey stepped aside for a bit, only flirting with the rhythm from time to time before adjusting his tone and laying down compact riffs. The jam proved to be a great outlet for such concise playing because of how well Mike and Fishman worked to switch up rhythms.
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