[Phish.net thanks volunteer recapper Brad Strode (user @c_wallob) for this recap. -Ed.]
Hello everyone. Long time reader, first time recapper here. I’ve always enjoyed reading these recaps for every show, and I’m thrilled to be able to help out on Summer Tour 2022.
Bethel Woods Music Center for the Arts (corporate sponsorship hopefully not pending) in many ways is not so different from your typical summer shed; the parking lots are expansive and mostly devoid of shade, there is a single entrance point with sometimes long security lines, and the amphitheater itself is a standard pavilion & lawn, with an unremarkable roof covering those lucky enough to have reserved seats close to the band. With all that said, Bethel Woods Music Center is nothing like the typical summer stop on Phish tour. The fields and forests surrounding the venue are steeped in nostalgia.
As you approach the venue from either 17B or Shore Road, you find yourself wondering what it might have been like to be there 53 years ago. Upon approaching the venue on foot from the seemingly endless expanse of gravel and pavement, the signage, beautiful museum, and even the bricks under your feet make you keenly aware that the purpose of this place is the celebration of music. No other venue on the Phish rotation serves that singular purpose in quite the way that Bethel Woods Music Center for the Arts does.
Adding to the special physical space represented by the venue is its remote location. Although only two hours from Trey’s home, by car, Bethel Woods and surrounding towns and hamlets offer little in the way of lodging. The result is that phans who made the trek to this venue for the band’s second appearance at Bethel Woods – and first since 2011 – have carefully planned their lodging, camping, or just place to park their van for the weekend. As I looked around the lawn throughout this show, I saw the faces of beautiful, happy fans engaged in the music we all love so much. There was very little of the drunken tomfoolery (at least that I saw) that can usually accompany a Friday night show at a more accessible shed. The fantastic crowd, coupled with the setting and amazing friendly venue security and staff, provided a backdrop against which literally any show would be significantly enhanced.
Phish approached the stage shortly after 8:00pm, leading off with “Golgi Apparatus” in a rare opening position. About five minutes in, Trey breaks into a solo that goes outside the boundaries of the typical “Golgi” composition. I couldn’t tell whether he was teasing something (if anyone can identify this, please add to comments), as the melody seemed quite specific, but have not been able to place it. Just the fact that the band was willing to go outside the box on the classic composition had the crowd (including yours truly) giddy with the anticipation of what was to come. What came next was a version of “Sample in a Jar” that exceeded the Jam-Filled version by over five minutes. Instead of proceeding to the ruckus outro, Mike and Page (on his Wurlitzer) slipped into almost a “Reba” jam vibe, supported by staccato vamping from Trey. At the 9-minute mark, Trey changed tones and ripped off some descending arpeggios that announced his entry to the melodic fold. From that point on, Trey and Fish pushed the pace of the jam as Page made his way back to the grand piano for some really fun interplay with Trey. Trey again adjusted the tone, electing to go towards a heavily distorted effect, which brought everyone back perfectly to the well-earned “Sample” outro. While maybe not the most ground-breaking jam in-and-of itself, we will certainly be talking about the 7/22/2022 “Sample” for years to come.
While my neighbors on the lawn buzzed about the new territory we all just explored together, Trey returned the band back to safe Set 1 territory with “My Soul”. Always an enjoyable dance-a-thon, “My Soul” provided a funky – if safe – segue into the slow-funk portion of the set. While I will refrain from using the “Cow Funk” moniker at the risk of not being invited back to recap again by the 1.0 fans, the “Gumbo” and “Timber” that followed seemed to take a slower, funkier trip than usual (with a very brief “Saw it Again” filling, marking the first repeat of 2022 Summer Tour). After some quality work from Page on the clavinet (he has really improved on that instrument over the last five years in my estimation), “Gumbo” descended into evil jam territory and had @mrs_wallob and I looking at each other and simultaneously saying “saw it again.” Sure enough, we were provided with a Set 1 “->” segue into the repository for Fishman antics before Trey steered back into the unmistakable “Timber” intro. “Timber” quickly sinks into a dark, but funky Type 1.5 jam before Trey hits the relay effect and Page leads the band back into the “(Jerry)” portion of the tune. “Meat” continues the slow-funk portion of the set and, although no longer really a rarity, is always fun to hear.
The Chairman of the Boards leads us out of the swamp and into a 1960s Vegas lounge, serenading those of us up on the lawn with a standard run through “Lawn Boy.” Following a short-but-intense version of “MFMF,” the intrepid travelers in Bethel, NY were treated to the first “Guelah Papyrus” of 4.0 (or whatever we are calling it). We all have that tour buddy who won’t shut up about wanting to hear a particular song. Then that tour buddy commits to a large run of shows – over half the tour – excepting just one or two shows because his best friend is getting married in Maine. That tour buddy (let’s call him first_tube_screamer) inevitably misses the song that he won’t shut up about (let’s call it “Guelah Papyrus”) and we are inclined to spend the first part of set break trying to find the right sad emoji to send to him, while laughing with the rest of the crew about 'what are the odds.' Anyway, this “Guelah” was a much stronger pass than the last attempt of 12/9/2019, but did have a slight flub between the fugue section and the, “So maybe I could be a fly” verse. “Brian and Robert” and a lively “Walk Away” (one of my favorite classic rock songs Phish covers) bring this above-average first set to a close.
Set 2 kicks off with the Trey rocker “Mr. Completely” which seems destined for greatness after quickly diving into Type 2 territory. Trey, again, is utilizing the relay effect, and the entire band is driving in to a brisk – yet psychedelic – jam. The anticipation of an epic “Mr. Completely” gave way short of the 10-minute mark to disappointment, as it became clear that Trey was preparing the ripcord. The emotional roller coaster took a surprise hard bank when Trey gave us the rare “>” into “You Enjoy Myself.”
I personally love the trend of unusual “YEM” placement; continued in this show from the novel 6/4/2022 set 2 opening “YEM.” Almost as if hitting a 3-pointer off the dribble, the momentum from “Mr. Completely” seems to give the band a running start as they proceed with an impeccably played “YEM.” With such an early placement in the set, one wonders whether there will be a transition out of the vocal jam. Wonder no more – as the band seamlessly slips from the vocal jam into an instrumental jam, with the two overlapping for a minute or two. This second “YEM” jam initially sounds like a continuation of the “Mr. Completely” jam before wading into “NMINML” territory. If one were to just hear the last four minutes of this “YEM,” they would be surprised to find out it wasn’t a Type 1 “NMINML” jam. The “YEM” second jam is truly uncharted territory, and frankly there is nowhere I’d rather be than in uncharted territory at a Phish show!
Unfortunately, the momentum generated by a truly great “YEM” pitters out after quality – if unremarkable – passes through “Fuego” and “Joy.” “Boogie On” brings the dance party back into high gear for a short time, but instead of a typical seven or eight-minute version, there is a quick transition into “Scents and Subtle Sounds.” I’ve been chasing the “Scents” dragon since the absolutely stand-out version of 12/6/2019, but have yet to get a version that truly goes into the blissful Type 2 depths of that absolute monster from North Charleston. My notebook from this version is blank, somewhat because there wasn’t much meat on this jam, but mostly because the guy standing next to @mrs_wallob for most of the show fell out due to dehydration. While we really caught a break with the weather, and the temps barely were over 80 degrees for the show, it was muggy and everyone should remember to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re partaking in alcohol or other altering substances. Thankfully, after some water and a visit from the medics, our new friend was given a clean bill of health and the 'OK' to enjoy the rest of the show – with a big applause from all in our section of the lawn.
Trey attempted to “>” into Wilson, but it sounded almost like “Carini” and the rest of the band was clearly not on the same page. After the false start, the band whipped through Friday night rock show versions of Wilson, Possum, and Cavern to close out the night. I was entrusted by @mrs_wallob and @little_wallob to predict the encore, to which I reluctantly predicted “A Life Beyond a Dream.” “ALBAD” is really a special song that I love deeply. That said, I personally feel like I’ve seen it twenty times over the last four years between Phish and TAB and believe it would be more special if played with a longer gap between versions. That said, I support them “playing whatever the fuck they want,” so I leaned back and sang along. I’ll keep dreaming with hopes of an absolute barn burner for night 2 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. I could not be more thankful for the amazing venue staff, security, friends (both new and old), and my family for a truly special day in the sun amongst the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York State. Stay safe and blaze on for N2!
If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Phish.net. Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.