Monday 06/25/2012 by lumpblockclod

AFC NORTH RECAP

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."

Mr. “Wilson” showed up next and then we reached the "Alaska" portion of the set, which unfortunately did little other than kill eleven minutes that could have been put to better use. They tried to do just that with "Stash," but the jam never really got off the ground. After a couple of alleged Fishman miscues, Trey called for "Llama" (another 2012 first) since it was a song that required a drum intro. The bustouts continued with "Buffalo Bill" and "Saw it Again." Chris Kuroda's favorite Phish song, "David Bowie" closed the set that was light on the improv but nevertheless entertaining as hell.

"Down with Disease" started off the second frame and led into a fairly typical, but fun groove with some really nice playing by Trey. When things got a bit spacey, Trey somewhat puzzlingly started up a rare second set "Guelah Papyrus." "Guelah" killed the momentum a bit, but thankfully a well-above average "Kill Devil Falls" picked it back up. "Twist" followed and provided the clear improvisational highlight of the night. The jam built up very patiently, with all four band members obviously listening to each other and playing off each other... just a beautiful, airy, subtle jam that we don't get enough of these days.

A typically (for 3.0) short "Halley's" was up next before "Sand" -> "Roggae" provided the next highlight. While still not as interesting as the short but powerful Worcester version, "Sand" still provided a solid start to the so-called "fourth quarter" of the show and "Roggae" was a typically great 3.0 version. The "Carini" > "Chalk Dust" > "Golgi" trio that closed the set was good, clean fun, but nothing more. A very loose (but in a good way) "Fluffhead" encore sent us home. Much like last year's Bengals team, this was a playoff caliber affair but decidedly not Super Bowl level. Onto the home of the Steelers.

We arrived at the show in style courtesy of a well-appointed party bus and an astounding selection of beers (draft and cans) courtesy of the good people at D's Six Pax and Dogz in Pittsburgh. As enjoyable as the pre-game festivities were, the music would be even better. "Funky Bitch" is a welcome opener and gets everyone moving from the outset. After perfunctory versions of "Number Line" and "Gumbo," "Maze" provided the first serious jam of the night. As they did during the previous night's "Twist," Page and Trey played around a bit with the "Eleanor Rigby" theme before going to more typical "Maze" places. "Torn and Frayed" was a personal highlight but was an otherwise typical version. After a by-the-book "Moma," "Scent of a Mule" brought the most interesting jam of the set, including Page going to his theremin during the "Mule Duel." The straight-ahead arena rock of "46 Days" followed the relative weirdness of "Mule," and the set culminated with the well-placed "YEM" mini-bustout (the twelve show gap matched the longest gap since its debut).

The first set was a good time, but the second set was the best set of the summer (so far). "Jibboo" kicked things off and even though this version was not too far out there, it was clear that Trey had brought his "A" game, laying down one creative run after another. I was a little disappointed upon hearing the opening chords of "Mike's." The band just hasn't seemed to show any interest in pushing the limits of "Mike's" or "Weekapaug" in the 3.0 era, so I wasn't expecting much. I was wrong. "Mike's" did stay pretty much in the box, though again, Trey just sounded great and it's an energetic version. "Simple" dissolved into a heavy, bass-led jam and "Light" emerged. My first thought was that it would have a hard time living up to the AC version from a week earlier. Wrong again. Moving quickly through several themes, this version of "Light" represents the ruthlessly efficient jamming of 3.0 at its best. Not a single note is wasted as the band quickly moves from one idea to another.

The greatness continued into a "Plinko"-infused "Weekapaug" that is an easy best-of-3.0 version. The band essentially reprised the "Light" jam throughout the "Weekapag" to great effect. "Seven Below" triumphantly rose from the ashes of the "'Paug." The transition was a little bizarre, but gave the band another opportunity create on the fly. "Bouncing" allowed everyone to catch their breath before nice "Julius" > "Slave" combo closed the set. The "Lizards" encore couldn't have been more perfect (well, other than the lyrical flub). The happy coda jam had everyone smiling on the way out of the venue.

A Sunday trip to Browns country wrapped up the AFC North tour. Let's first focus on Blossom Music Center: the place has one of the more entertaining parking lot scenes on tour and, much more importantly, is probably my favorite pavilion to see a show in. Unfortunately, on this night, the band, likely as tired as some fans by three cities in three days, could not match the majesty of the surroundings.

The first set frankly came off as uninspired as it probably looks on paper. They did the bare minimum with the "Gin" jam and the only thing that may warrant a relistening aside from the closing quartet is the "Limb by Limb" (which, as an aside, I was shocked to find I had gone 35 shows without seeing). "Possum," though it is undeniably overplayed was played well, with many in the crowd shouting "Blossom!" "The Wedge" seemed like it may have had the tiniest of drops of extra mustard thrown on it and "Corinna" is always a treat to hear. Perhaps sensing the lack of energy, the band did what they could to generate some during a set closing "Meatstick" where they brought several audience members onstage to dance the "Meatstick." It all led to a raucous closing jam, but it was also perhaps a bit too contrived.

The second set started on a positive note with one of my favorite covers, "Golden Age." Unfortunately, the ensuing jam came off as a bit aimless. I'll always applaud Phish for taking risks and I was glad to see them take one here, but it just didn't grab me. My high hopes for the "Ghost" were similarly met with disappointment. Well, relative disappointment – I was still at a Phish show, having a blast, but again, the jam didn't seem to go anywhere, despite some nice stuff from Page. That said, "Sweet Virginia" put a huge smile on the face of this Exile junkie.

"Tweezer" was next and continued the trend from the "Meatstick" of the band trying to dial up the energy level. This version went straight to eleven, incorporating jams based on "Tweezer Reprise," "Under Pressure" and, ultimately the "Meatstick" (after Trey conceded that the "Under Presssure" jam "was going nowhere" because no one knew the words). "Walk Away" was next and was a thrilling version, as this segment of the show, while a bit ragged, provided the highlight of the night. Unfortunately, "The Horse" > "Silent" brought the energy back down and the band was never quite able to get it back. "Piper" was a bare bones version and, while the "Antelope" brought the factor back with more "Under Pressure" and "Meatstick" teases and other silliness, the version was otherwise typical. "Loving Cup" (the third Exile song in two nights) and "Tweeprise" sent everyone home happy, if not awestruck.

But that's okay. It wasn't for lack of effort (the first set aside). You win some, you lose some. Well, unless you're a Browns fan, in which case you lose a lot more than you win. And that, unfortunately for Cleveland fans, was the story of the last two nights of AFC North tour: Art imitates Life and Pittsburgh beats Cleveland. Lucky for Phish fans, there were no losers on the AFC North Tour. We were all Cincinnati fans on Friday, Pittsburgh fans on Saturday and Cleveland fans on Sunday and there were no losers, only various degrees of winning.

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Comments

, comment by finch460
finch460 GO STEELERS! lol

Dead-On review! I missed Cincy, but made it to Burg and Blossom. That 2nd set at Burg was KILLER! Absolutely killer. Loved it SO much! Blossom was a lot of fun, but musically it didn't match the energy of Burg. But that's okay! Blossom is ALWAYS a fantastic experience. The lot scene is unmatched by any other place I've ever been. Just so good.

Keep up the great work everyone!
, comment by grevart
grevart Bahah. Blossom Set 2 they finally jam and you bitch. Unreal.
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect
"...the ruthlessly efficient jamming of 3.0 at its best. Not a single note is wasted as the band quickly moves from one idea to another."
Well said! Thanks for the package recap.

, comment by NigelTufnel
NigelTufnel Yeah, I'm surprised at how much you're downplaying these last three shows. I'm as nit-picky and demanding as they come, but I love these last three outings and can easily say it's the best (and most consistent) playing they've showcased in 3.0. Star Lake set two features some of the tightest jamming of all time. No joke. It doesn't get ANY better than Simple through -7. The band was at the top of their game. 20 minute jam or 10. Doesn't matter. That Weekapaugh is one of the best jams of the modern era. They entered a bouncy house of ideas but everyone was on the same page at every turn. Fresh, inventive, tight, nasty, diverse...that sequence has it all. I'm not fluffing. They don't get tighter than that. They transcended what it means to be a band, just like they did in the nineties. They moved past that....into the nether realms of subconscious and, quite frankly, alien musicianship. To deny this claim is to deny Truth. And if you don't hear it like how I just described, it's time to find a new band. Because the past three shows have represented a new peak of this band. Like it or not....here they come.

(not bashing @lumpblockclod ...just using his lack of enthusiasm and replacing it with my own and sending a message to the h8ers, if any exist)
, comment by pauly
pauly Cinci 2nd set seemed like one rushed set..
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Good review. I think I agree with your ranking of these shows.

If it doesn't come off as glowing enough for everybody, I think that people need to take a step back. This tour started off sputtering, with some big highlights emerging from otherwise uneven shows. Worcester was collectively about "average awesome Phish". Bonnaroo was, imo, awful. AC was about at Worcester's level, with lower lows. And so, the last three nights of Phish most certainly feel like a welcome development. Everything is moving in the right direction, as compared with this point last summer when the middle of the tour sagged.

In particular, Trey's playing at Burgettstown was outstanding, and let's face it, that variable a big part of Phish's ability to deliver the goods. They are also obviously a lot looser on stage now, having fun, and looking for opportunities to mindfuck the fans. More please.
, comment by funkbeard
funkbeard Just a note to point out my opinion that the reviewer was clearly tired for night 3. The Antelope was clearly te best of 2012, the first to rise above and beyond the ordinary. Very subjective review. Hope he gets the objective perspective into balance here. Maybe he'll listen in and realize that he doesn't fully agree with what he wrote. Maybe not?
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray I'm first a phan of extended jamming, and antics come 2nd, but Blossom Set II was certainly a raging show from my spot in the Pit. The jam in Walk Away (I song I don't really like) blew me off my feet. Antelope built to a thrilling peak after the jam started very lamely, IMO. And The Golden Ghost had a whole lot of the "unwasted notes" referred to in the article, and very few that weren't.

Was the Meatstick Dance Party "a little contrived"? Perhaps. But Phish is certainly taking chances, and while they don't always work out, I applaud their renewed adventurousness and cherish these last two shows Ive seen and the two coming at Deer Creek.

Having driven solo almost 20 hours already for the last two shows, I more than feel like I got my money's worth. These shows ruled.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @funkbeard said:
Just a note to point out my opinion that the reviewer was clearly tired for night 3. The Antelope was clearly te best of 2012, the first to rise above and beyond the ordinary. Very subjective review. Hope he gets the objective perspective into balance here. Maybe he'll listen in and realize that he doesn't fully agree with what he wrote. Maybe not?
ERMAHGERD
PHERSH NERT
, comment by flimflamfloo
flimflamfloo Totally agree with a few of you! The original poster MUST have been a little spent on night three of the run because Blossom was definitely the winner here!!!

Star Lake was really good, and quite honestly had a chance to be freakin phenomenal, however, it never quite found it.

Blossom set one was fun, and even a little silly, but what you expect/can enjoy from a first set.

But set 2, set 2 was best of the AFC North, hands down!! No more to say.
, comment by RobesPierre
RobesPierre @funkbeard said:
Just a note to point out my opinion that the reviewer was clearly tired for night 3. The Antelope was clearly te best of 2012, the first to rise above and beyond the ordinary. Very subjective review. Hope he gets the objective perspective into balance here. Maybe he'll listen in and realize that he doesn't fully agree with what he wrote. Maybe not?
Maybe he wasn't tired... Maybe he's just more critical than you. Or maybe he was on less drugs than you.
It was a great antelope for 3.0... But best of 2012 isn't saying much. There have only been three this year.
I think his review is spot on. Things are falling into place. But they haven't yet hit their stride on this tour. I think they'll be bringing the funk real hard by the time they get to spac.
, comment by RobesPierre
RobesPierre @Dressed_In_Gray said:
The jam in Walk Away (I song I don't really like) blew me off my feet.
That jam is actually part of the song now. Since hartford 2010 they've been doing that tweeprise-esque jam at the end based on the chords from the drum breakdown section.

Check out the 1/1/11 version. Killin'est of the killin'.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Sounds like a fair assessment to me. Agree with @bertoletdown as well, especially re. Trey. His clean energy and vision at DCU II certainly made the difference there. After catching the opening set of shows in Worcester I've only been paying cursory attention, for various reasons. I like the Birds-> Train from AC2 but haven't checked anything out from this recent trio of shows yet. Starlake II certainly sounds promising, indeed; I'll be headed there next.

This may be an obvious question, but I just *don't get* why the band, and Trey in particular, chooses to play so many songs every night ... the result being that lots of songs lose a bit of their tour-mythology lustre, and there's less room for jamming. If the jams weren't interesting and well executed, I'd almost care less, because I wouldn't be paying attention. But goddamnit they ARE great. They just make up such a small portion of the show. I was thinking about this the other day listening to the 6/8 Sand, which is a great little piece of work. And at the time-- or in the days following -- I was spewing the same "i don't care if it's 8 minutes or 20" line. But you know what? It does matter. If the band takes that chance and goes for it, those 20 minutes might not all be the same caliber of jamming, but they also might (look at the 5/26 Waves last year, or the 6/3 Disease). And moreover it's more of an adventure, more unknown. And I'd gladly take a bit more experimentation that may or may no go somewhere than another Horse> Silent, Cavern. Plus, do you know how much more fun a Possum is when it's coming off twenty minutes of jamming, and has been played only two or three fewer times on tour?

Sorry to rant, but I do it out of love, and because quite frankly because it seems like it would be so easy for the band to do this, and that it would make a huge difference in the overall caliber of the shows..
, comment by nichobert
nichobert IMO the Twist and Simple through Paug are the real takeaways from this run. Really nice antelope, walk away, sand into roggae and the end of ghost was kinda thrilling if you ask me.

IMO the first night of DCU's Carini through If i could and first night of AC's Birds through Bikly Breathes are still the long segments to beat although the Mikes Light segment is right on their heels.

Also, that Tweezer from the Roo is enough to elevate the other couple hours above 'terrible' by itself. Simply stipunning how patiently they work that thing up. The other Tweezers this tour have nothing on it, even this super fun one.

Don't sleepon this Ghost. Starts off kinda typical but that Arabian vibe they enter is freaking awesome.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Also this is one of my favorite twists ever now. God they made that thing interesting in a hurry.

Strong contender for the singular jam of tour so far, along with the DCU ghost, ac light and star lake light. That simple found the wormhole for awhile too.

Some typical head scratching song calls, but I'm more into the band than I have been in 15 years
, comment by nuttercenter
nuttercenter Solid review. I like the AFC north ref- you'll have to re-post after Indy and Alpine for the conclusion of the BIG TEN run.

Cincy- Weekend run starts from home but damn I dislike Riverbend. Lawn only got worse with the astro-turf plus the sound is a bit rough, another disappointment from Cincy but oh well. Really liked the first set bust outs. Was hoping for Llama, Saw it Again and Wedge this run and got two of the three within an extended jam! The energy was really high and the playing matched but perhaps a bit sloppy at times. 2nd Set was pretty solid but could have been better had Big Red not cut down some jams and songs. No one saw that Fluff coming for the encore so a good start to hit the road- definitely looking forward to moving on to the next one.

Pitts- First time at Star Lake and was very impressed with the facility and surroundings. Perfect night for a Phish show and sat on the spacious yet inviting lawn with great friends and melted the night away. Really liked the first set and am a bit surprised it hasn't received more acclaim. MULE and YEM were full of sound and light shenanigans which closed out a very solid first set. 2nd set for me is why we keep coming back. Not your standard Sat night Mike's Groove, very creative and tons of jamming. Super fun set that sent us on our way with a stellar Slave and encore Lizards- seriously. Great Sat night phish show at a very impressive facility- one of those nights.

Clv- Who doesn't like Blossom? One of my favorite venues but like many of us, the boys felt a bit tired and perhaps a little uninspired with not much connecting- perhaps brought out the Meatstick. Second set was decidedly different and smoked from start to finish. The Golden Age song and following jam was damn good and jammy and it brought out the Ghost. Classic phish song played with refreshing ideas and direction. Blossom seems to release some fun covers and the Teaser Tweezer did not disappoint with Under pressure/ice ice baby teases plus Seems to Me cover all after the pre-reprise. Nice landing with The Horse -> Silent in the Morning but the Piper, Waste, Antelope really closed out the night and weekend nicely.

All and all a very fun run with excellent weather and about 1000 miles of travel. Looks like next weekend is gonna be STEAMY from the stage thru the lot. Gonna be a nasty, hot and humid, midwestern weekend- calling for high 90's temps with no chance of rain. Ugh. Bring plenty of water. Anyone camping at Sleeping Baer?

, comment by Land2reform
Land2reform Still waiting on my first limb. Hopefully @ dicks! Only shows I can make. Blossom version was outstanding!
, comment by gamehenger
gamehenger Im also thinking the band is on fire right now. These shows coming up are gonna be huge,and they are gonna phuck this summer tour a new one.Im hoping on at the first Mo, and im gonna finish up through Dicks.They are gonna bring the funk in Alabam for sure.My money also says Pelham is gonna be one of the best this year @NigelTufnel said:
Yeah, I'm surprised at how much you're downplaying these last three shows. I'm as nit-picky and demanding as they come, but I love these last three outings and can easily say it's the best (and most consistent) playing they've showcased in 3.0. Star Lake set two features some of the tightest jamming of all time. No joke. It doesn't get ANY better than Simple through -7. The band was at the top of their game. 20 minute jam or 10. Doesn't matter. That Weekapaugh is one of the best jams of the modern era. They entered a bouncy house of ideas but everyone was on the same page at every turn. Fresh, inventive, tight, nasty, diverse...that sequence has it all. I'm not fluffing. They don't get tighter than that. They transcended what it means to be a band, just like they did in the nineties. They moved past that....into the nether realms of subconscious and, quite frankly, alien musicianship. To deny this claim is to deny Truth. And if you don't hear it like how I just described, it's time to find a new band. Because the past three shows have represented a new peak of this band. Like it or not....here they come.

(not bashing @lumpblockclod ...just using his lack of enthusiasm and replacing it with my own and sending a message to the h8ers, if any exist)
, comment by PhishMarketStew
PhishMarketStew Of course everyones entitled to their opinion but i just dont get the negativity that seems to STILL be surrounding almost everything, both good and bad, that these guys are doing right now. we're getting some of the most cohesively structured sets of 3.0 and some of the most patient, loving and dark jams in quite some time. the band is obviously riding a massive creative wave that this 3 night run through the 'afc north' captures so well. their getting more done in 14 minute jams now than they could've in longer jams from years past. nothing is being wasted. and i'm getting SICK TO DEATH of people saying that the on stage antics and verbal play are barely anything more than novelty that phish is using to mask some sort of musical inadequacy. Seriously? that stuff is bare bones phish 101 for godsake. thats phish having more fun as a unit and bonding more with the croweds than I've seen them do in forever. we're getting amazingly well crafted encores, super fun on stage interactive antics, and a real attempt at finding new niches within old songs and new ones. I hope I don't sound to much like an alarmist but I am becoming completely dumbfounded with the underlying cynicism that is running rampant through parts of the scene right now. I have no idea when so many of us began to expect perfection from phish. even in the midst of shows packed with fun and new sounding jamming from the guys, people still seem more focused on pointing out small flubs or some other form of inconsequential minutiae that completely sucks the joy out of the room. Phish, in 2012, as they did in smaller doses in 2011, is creating some of the most thoroughly modern music you are likely to find anywhere these days. And its coming from dudes pushing old age. and its coming from songs that they've taken to space and back hundreds of times. we DONT have to love everything that phish does. not every nights a total barn burner. but as phans, I know you know that shows that are top to bottom awesome, are the exception and not the rule. anyway, this all comes from a place of love, not just for the band and the music but for the community as well. phish phans are some of the most awesome and musically literate people on the planet. we don't have to dial our expectations back. this is Phish. this is what they do. its what they've done since forever. and mark my words, by the end of 2012 (if we're all still alive) , phans will be praising this as one of the best and most complete years of phish ever. the future is so bright, lets just enjoy the ride. Vote Phish 2012. peace.
, comment by Mr_Incompletely
Mr_Incompletely All three shows were excellent.1st set night 3 may be the worst set of the first leg thus far.the tweezer is funky.i enjoyed the stash from night one very much.twist was the big winner if the weekend for me.lizards encore was a huge surprise and very welcomed.the only part of the weekend I did not enjoy was the people on stage during meatstick.put your energy toward extended jams not trying to get a bunch of people to do a stupid dance on stage.just wish the dance party on the stage didn't happen.great 3 nights enjoyed all three but the first was my favorite of the three.star lake is a close second.
, comment by TUBEular89
TUBEular89 The fact that the Phish inspire this kind of conversation is exactly what makes them special. If you don't like what they did this show or this string of shows, wait until the next one. I prefer listening to their old stuff where they jam for 20-30 minutes, but i recognize they don't need to anymore because they can pack the same punch into 10-15 minutes now. If you don't grin ear to ear listening to the Blossom Tweezer you may want to look for a new band.
, comment by cletus22
cletus22 "i'm getting SICK TO DEATH of people saying that the on stage antics and verbal play are barely anything more than novelty that phish is using to mask some sort of musical inadequacy. Seriously? that stuff is bare bones phish 101 for godsake."-HarryHerring

Right on Harry! The fun and silly stuff is a BIG part of the Phish-perience for me. More importantly though, I'm glad they are putting out the mind fucking jams on a more frequent basis like they did in the pre-2000 or 99 or thereabouts era which is also a integral part of my enjoyment of Phish.
, comment by Shukky
Shukky Who-Dey!!! Great AFC North run and looking forward to the great AFC North run starting in September!!! Bring on the CREEK and ALPINE RUN now!!!!!
, comment by rhopping5
rhopping5 This is the worst review of the tour.
, comment by phootyjon
phootyjon good god I love these conversations that are happening; just listened ot 2nd set Star Lake and omg that was tight....considering nights 1 and 2 of AC and both Portsmouth shows and now the Rust Belt / AFC North stretch.....I am elated. I hope the boys hit the gas pedal at Deer Creek and blow the doors off SPAC.....damn it feels good to be a gangster!
, comment by ADAWGWYO
ADAWGWYO Blossom set 1 was so stale and the 2nd wasn't much better. On paper looks like FIRE but alas. Star lake set 2 might be strongest set of the three nights but Cinci took the overall category IMO.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor Dude gives his opinion on the shows and you all cry because it's different than yours. Seriously who cares? As usual it comes down to did you or did you not enjoy the show? The words of the reviewer should not have any sort of negative affect on you views of the past three nights.

Burgettstown set 2 for the cerebral fan
Blossum set 2 for the emotional fan

my review--

PS Walk Away

, comment by UbiquitousSmokey
UbiquitousSmokey lots of comments here that i did not read but i just have to say i COMPLETELY disagree that the blossom ghost 'went nowhere'
That was my favorite jam of the night, it really wrapped up nicely towards the end.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose More importantly, are we getting an MJM this week?
, comment by 9Lungs
9Lungs Indeed - art imitates life. On this AFC North run, the band did seem to be having more fun than I've ever seen them have but that doesn't necessarily translate into their best work. Night 2 had less banter - more business...and I like that. A fun 3 nights and I can't wait to string together another run!
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @andrewrose said:
More importantly, are we getting an MJM this week?
Sorry, way too spent for the MJM this week. Was too busy writing the worst recap of the tour LOL.

But, seriously, thanks for all the comments, both agreeing and disagreeing. My opinions are just my opinions and shouldn't effect yours except to the extent they may stir discussion. Which has always been the whole point of these recaps: not to create some sort of "official Phish.net position" on the merits of a show, but to stimulate discussion and friendly debate in the comments.

Also, to address one comment that came up a few times, I was probably a little careless in writing about the "Ghost." It was a nice jam, especially the end, but just not on the level of the best playing from Cincy or Star Lake. IMO.
, comment by phisherman
phisherman F### THE STEELERS GO BROWNS
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten the recaps rule! keep it up. They surely do stimulate discussion
, comment by backwardsdowntheocelot
backwardsdowntheocelot Its cool phisherman, maybe you will win 6 superbowls....one ...day...bwahahaha, well maybe you will make the playoffs at least, bwahahaha, well at least you have a team...right?

Anyway, cincy was awesome, sorry to the fans I puked on or next to, didnt eat much food that day...sucks I missed the sand but thats what I deserve for forgetting to eat...blossom I thought the first 3 songs were played well and soundly, but didn't really get me going, only until the roses did I really start getting down.

And yea, I have seen walk away at least 3 or 4 times and this one def blew the rest away, was top notch I thought!
, comment by djjakec
djjakec Good attempt at a a review, but Blossom was the peak of the run. Yes Pitt had some great moments. Couldn't help to think the boys were playing with some of the same intensity akin to '94/'95 era. The Tweezer> Walk> Horse> SITM> > > was incredible. Lots of Exile over 2 days!! Can't lose. Oh and go Brownies!!!
, comment by Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe Blossom set II had great song placement/choice. There wasn't a single moment where I felt even vague disappointment. Cohesive stuff if you ask me. Considering the OH> PA> OH as a 3 night run, and Blossom as a sort of final statement before pushing on, I think was a great closer to that narrative. It was a beautiful, emotive and thoughtful set to conclude 3 shows with many of the same fans in attendance.
, comment by phishtastcivoyage
phishtastcivoyage @grevart said:
Bahah. Blossom Set 2 they finally jam and you bitch. Unreal.
agreed. I listened to that second set of blossom today, sober, and thought it raged.
, comment by scottmmoore
scottmmoore "because it seems like it would be so easy for the band to do this"

Dude, don't say that, unless you really think anything that they do is "easy". Its just poor form. I say this with total respect for your comment and the one's you've made previously, and I agree with most of what you said, but let me propose a reason for the multitude of short songs in their sets.

They just don't tour like they used to... they spoiled us back in 97 when they could play pretty much their entire catalog and also extend pretty much any song for as long as their curiosity (and chops) allowed it to. That was a perfect combo of over a decade of dedication to their craft and a new-found interest in (and ability to play) funk, trance, and other infuences. With an abbreviated tour schedule (these guys do have families), they are trying to balance actual live experience with their catalog (which is vast) with improvisation. Their simply aren't enough tour-hours available anymore for them to play a 50 min Jim, except for every once in a while... maybe... hopefully
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten After listening to all three shows, I would say that 6/24 Blossom was the least interesting to me, a fun sounding show but the jamming on 6/23 was really liquid in the second set and 6/22 had an all over "classic" feel to me, even though there were 10+ minute "Joy" tunes in each set. All in all, this is the best 3 consecutive nights of the tour. This tour is great!
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose @scottmmoore said:
"because it seems like it would be so easy for the band to do this"

Dude, don't say that, unless you really think anything that they do is "easy". Its just poor form. I say this with total respect for your comment and the one's you've made previously, and I agree with most of what you said, but let me propose a reason for the multitude of short songs in their sets.

They just don't tour like they used to... they spoiled us back in 97 when they could play pretty much their entire catalog and also extend pretty much any song for as long as their curiosity (and chops) allowed it to. That was a perfect combo of over a decade of dedication to their craft and a new-found interest in (and ability to play) funk, trance, and other infuences. With an abbreviated tour schedule (these guys do have families), they are trying to balance actual live experience with their catalog (which is vast) with improvisation. Their simply aren't enough tour-hours available anymore for them to play a 50 min Jim, except for every once in a while... maybe... hopefully
Well I hear you, there. That's entirely possible. I suppose I could have instead said "I believe that they could do this." Basically I'm saying, "I think they have it in them." Maybe that's wishful thinking. I'm not even comparing to the glory days, or saying they should be playing 4 song second sets every night again (though more shows like 11/28/09 would be nice). Let's take 2009 as an example ... I feel like they were crafting pretty interesting setlists by August that year, leaving room for more jams in both sets... and something fell off by 2011 in terms of playing way more songs (hence hearing lots of the same ones more often), and the jams getting shorter. Take a look at a show like 8/7/09.


Sure the first set ends with a Cavern, but the Sneaking Sally and ensuing jam eat up a huge chunk of time, and gloriously so (still one of the best jams of 3.0 imo). Moma to open set two unpredictably, a gorgeous long jam in Light in the second set than segues into Taset. A Bathtub Gin that puts all these watery 2011/12 vintages to shame. Hood closer, Slave encore. Ok, not every show is going to be a tour highlight. But let me reiterate: I believe it can be better.

Don't you?
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @andrewrose, I think your argument was better the first time (use of the word "easy" aside). That 8/7/09 show is a bit of an outlier. First set extended jams are pretty rare in '09 and there were plenty of song packed second sets that year, too, even post-June.

What's telling to me is that they really seem go on a lot of these longer excursions during soundchecks (Fest8, Bethel Waves, SBIX, etc.), which I interpret as they just, for whatever reason, don't want to have that as the focus of the actual shows. Usually. But it's not a matter (as far as I can tell) of them being unable to play that way or needing more practice. It seems that when they want to play that way, they can, and the results are as good as ever. They just don't want to on a night in and night out basis.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose @lumpblockclod said:
@andrewrose, I think your argument was better the first time (use of the word "easy" aside). That 8/7/09 show is a bit of an outlier. First set extended jams are pretty rare in '09 and there were plenty of song packed second sets that year, too, even post-June.

What's telling to me is that they really seem go on a lot of these longer excursions during soundchecks (Fest8, Bethel Waves, SBIX, etc.), which I interpret as they just, for whatever reason, don't want to have that as the focus of the actual shows. Usually. But it's not a matter (as far as I can tell) of them being unable to play that way or needing more practice. It seems that when they want to play that way, they can, and the results are as good as ever. They just don't want to on a night in and night out basis.
Fair enough. To which I say: why in Icculus' name not?
, comment by BouncingRoundMyself
BouncingRoundMyself Great review! Unfortunately, I had to miss cinci, but wow, what a show at Starlake! I was blown away! Not only was I fairly close Page Side, with an AMAZING view and sound, but they threw down something magnificent. I won't bother repeating all the spot on comments you made but will add this funny anecdote, after the "slave" 2nd set closer, my buddy leaned over and said, "here comes our "loving cup" or "GTBT"". I looked at him and said, "After this show there is NO WAY they are going to come out with something as routine as "Loving Cup"(great song, but not the most original)". Needless to say, the guys must have felt the energy as well, providing the first solo "lizards" since '94. And I have to say I think trey flubbing the lyrics and saying "fuck" was classic. It was completely different then the flub from "seven below". Anyway, great 3 show set! Can't wait for CO!
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