Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
Set 1: BagAC/DC Bag > MomaThe Moma Dance > Possum, Corinna, Sand, Halley'sHalley's Comet > Funky Bitch, SampleSample in a Jar, RosesRoses Are Free -> My FriendMy Friend, My Friend, SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light
Encore: First Tube
 Brief Wading in the Velvet Sea tease from Trey.
Notes: This was the first of three pay per view performances. DWD was unfinished. Shine a Light contained a brief Wading in the Velvet Sea tease from Trey. At the beginning of the encore, Page thanked the crowd and mentioned how happy they were to be playing in San Francisco and "this room."
This show was part of the "2012 Late Summer Tour."
Take a good look at it. Or if you're a braver man than I, relisten to it. This is a segment that will go down in history. That's right boys and girls, the second half of this second set just reached up with authority and grabbed the end of the first night of Superball's "Least Cohesive Setlist Imaginable By Man" crown and placed it on it's own head, and then walked around swinging it's stick with a mean look on it's face.
I'm not sure if I'm in the kind of headspace where I can pretend this impossible to latch onto 7 song segment was supposed to be a joke poking holes in Phish's psychedelic sky-pilot mystique, like something from 93 where a jam starts sounding a little bit too much like Zeppelin on their best day and they immediately scrap it in favor of atonal plodding and interpretive dance.
Or the ->|.. ->|? |||! segues of earlier 3.0 days that got so comically awful following brief glimpses of such spectacularly brilliant improvisation that it became easier to accept if you'd only admit that they were fucking with you.
Or the one that other people besides myself apparently believe: That on the day they finally decide to nail the Ghost breakdown, they're going to do so, then stop and apologize for fucking that part up and say they're going to try it again, and then go back and trainwreck that shit so hard that you're looking over your shoulder hoping that Denzel has some words of wisdom that can prevent the destruction of a burnt out Rust Belt husk of a city.
Hard to argue with a DWD & Tweezer totaling over half an hour of interesting improvisation. I GUESS we could focus on that. Not quite as historic as the hilarity that ensues afterwards though.
Being at the BGCA, with the band's volume dial turned up to 20, the energy in this place was absolutely EXPLOSIVE. When they dropped in and out of jams (the Antelope intro, specifically) the place would explode to the point of a deafening roar of grooves, funk, and full on euphoric non sensical sound explosions. Unlike anything I have ever heard at a Phish show. The sound was a bit muddled, but it brought a sound and energy to the building like anything I have seen at indoor and outdoor venues.
As someone who was on the floor of BGCA 100 feet from the stage, I can absolutely say they TORE THE ROOF off of that venue. The only down point in the first set as far as I'm concerned was Sample, only because it's not one of my favorites. Corinna always puts me in a good mood, Sand ebbed and flowed really well, Halley's Comet could have been longer and spacier but was solid, and then Funky Bitch just absolutely RAGED. They may have botched a number of jams and transitions, but Halley's > Funky Bitch caught me and everyone I was with by complete surprise. And even when they botched transitions and jams, it still sounded like a noise orgy in your ears.
Then the second set, yes, they played 2 "pace" songs, and could have done without Joy, but I have a soft spot for Velvet Sea. The rest of it, DWD > BOTF, Tweezer > Twist > Velvet Sea > Chalk Dust was something special in person and clearly the venue's energy didn't translate to the webcast.
I hated on this venue all the way up until the lights went down, and my tune completely changed once they hit the drop into Moma. Even after Starlake this year which is widely considered one of their best shows of first leg, this one was just flat out more FUN to be at. Jaded fans will be jaded, but most fan knows a webcast is NOT the same as actually being there, especially at this ghetto old high school gym auditorium that absolutely explodes with energy.
Can't wait for tonight! See you out there!
If you were unable to enjoy this show then it's time for you to find another band. I normally only start laughing during sick jams like DWD and Tweezer when at the show and feel the vibe and am in on the joke. I actually got that feeling last night at around 2am in the comfort of my home. These guys are unreal. I was disappointed with a lot of the 1st part of summer tour, but the jamming at both Long Beach and San Francisco are at another level of conscienceness that most of you are not even aware exists. Instead of waiting for the next great thing to happen during the show, just allow yourself to live in the now and enjoy the vibe that these 5 guys (Chris is part of the band) provide. It's such a great ride.
Disagree with HighNote- the show was definitely above average, high energy, some great moments (DWD>BOAF, Tweezer, and Chalk all had great jams). Shine a Light was like a cherry on top of a well-put together, solid show (nothing primal or super focused/deep jams), but you could tell they were having a great time. I was very pleased with the little delicious moments, and on many occasions I was blown away by a few little things trey was doing (since you can watch his hands up close). If you are wondering, I would recommend downloading this show. Highs from Set 1: Corinna, Roses, My Friend, Slave. Highs from Set 2: The Jams mentioned above and shine a light. It's an excellent first night show if you look at it from that perspective.
After how great that 2nd set started and after how lovingly well put together the previous night's show was, I thought some people would appreciate the humor.
First set had a good selection of songs in pretty odd places but it was enjoyable and a very solid set.
Thought that the second set was above average. DWD and Tweezer were tremendous jams but the Tweezer did get a ripcord as well as the Roses and the DWD (in the sense that it failed to transition cleanly into BOAF).
The show didn't have much flow but the jams were above average.
I arrived on Thursday the night before the shows and explored the local bar scene and downtown. My brother took me along highway one along the coast and into the lush rolling hills of Marin county. The city was already starting to come alive for me but this really was the lull before the fierce Phish monsoon would crash into the bay.
The pre-game festivities would start a couple of hours before tip-off and I had a good sense this would be a psychedelic undertaking. The streets were packed with Phish phans from all over. Shakedown street found its self perfectly placed right across the venue in the civic center park. We got into the venue with just about 30 minutes to kill. Before we knew it...lights.
Out of the gates the AC/DC->Moma->Possum combo would provide a early warmup period with a funk undertone. My first reaction was how powerful and the quality of the sound in such a small venue. Corinna was a nice early bustout only being played twice all tour. A quality version I must say. Then Mike launched his weapon into Sand where we got the first improvisational attack. The typical second setter found away in set one to bring just enough ammo to get the party going. A darker take on the song, Trey kept a slower darker tone while we heard Fishman take more of a quicker tempo lead to finish out the jam. Rolling into Halley's seemed like an odd choice coming out Sand and it didn't provide any additional improve but always a fan favorite. Funky Bitch and Sample in a Jar gave the the band a chance to flex their jazz and blues moxie. Roses->My Friend let everyone cool off after the previously played high tempo tandem. Slave would close out the set and it definitely delivered. At this point all four members fell right into synch. A splendid sweet sounding calm early segment would take us to the highest plateau of the set. Any awareness of time had been lost. Abruptly Trey's heart wrenching guitar licks would soon grab my attention and aviate me back to sensibility.
The second set began with Mike's typical early bass rift to lead us into DWD. Only minutes in did we begin the excursion into the land of enchantment. Some of the most inventive and prominent improve would be sprinkled on to everyone in attendance. The somber onset of the song would be propelled by Mike's dark and meticulously played longer held notes. Fishman would soon take the lead and we went for a ride with what sounded like a horse galloping. Fishman's ride would soon segue into Trey's magical wand of tranquility. A peacefulness and great awareness of the depth this jam was taking began to reverberate throughout the audience. Page held soft penetrating notes that also took on the the more tranquil theme of this version. Soon the transition into Birds would bring everyone back to reality for a brief few minutes. When Tweezer started the place erupted. It would be a healthy 15 minutes later that we were treated to the best Tweezer I've heard live. Hard straight funk from Mike and Fish took the early lead. Trey really began heating up and would blast us off to a spellbinding array of monster licks. Page would soon chime in with a more electronic constant beat while Mike began to absolutely dazzle and toy with our mental focus. Some of the more imaginative and inspired playing I've heard of cactus this year. Twist perfectly navigated me on my voyage further into psychedelic paradise. It capped off 45 minutes of some of the most dominant and unified improve of the summer tour. Velvet Sea showed its typical softer side to once again cool things down. A ferocious Chalk Dust would follow along with an ill timed Joy. Antelope took on more of the theme of the early part of the set which saw the crowd noticeably lifted by quality improve and risk taking. Stones tune Shine A Light closed out the set with much of the crowd singing along in high spirits. First Tube a huge personal favorite sent us home for the night.
If this second set was any indication on how the weekend would continue we were in for a treat.
It's pretty clear that we got Diseezered on this night. Such a incredible segment of mind blowing musical prowess during the DWD->Birds->Tweezer that I will never forget my first Phish show in the bay.
Second set Disease and Tweezer are surely the highlights of this night. I'll go ahead and agree with what most people have already said; the second set seemed to lack a real good flow and energy level. The Wading>CDT>Joy segment kinda deflated the energy levels, and I'm not totally sold on a Shine A Light set closer. Even though the set really slowed down with those songs, I really enjoyed Wading, it was performed well and was very pretty. Joy is an emotional song and has a lot of meaning for a lot of people, including the band. I can never be upset about hearing them play it, although like I said it kind of deflated the energy. All in all, this is probably the weakest of the 3 night run in SF. First Tube encore was fun fun fun!