PHISH Summer 2012 in LONG BEACH
- By Andy Magnes and Shelly Siegel
- Published on August 17, 2012
|Photo Credit: Shelly Siegel|
As the preeminent jam band in the country ventures off on their 2012 Summer Tour, various fans, Headstash staff writers and even some random, first-time Phish-goers will submit reviews of each night. They'll tell you their favorite songs and segues, how the crowd reacted and whether this show is worth buying, downloading or skipping altogether.
After closing leg one at SPAC in New York, Phish took a month off and then head out to the West Coast to treat California to a second set that rivals any of the tour thus far. Even Justin Bieber and his girlfriend were in attendance. Spoiler alert so you're not disappointed: no sit-in.
Read out previous Phish tour reviews below:
June 7 and 8 – DCU Center – Worcester, MA
June 10 – Bonnaroo 2012 – Manchester, TN
June 15 – Bader Field – Atlantic City, NJ
June 16 – Bader Field – Atlantic City, NJ
June 17 – Bader Field – Atlantic City, NJ
June 19 and 20 – nTelos Pavilion – Portsmouth, VA
June 22 and 23 – Riverbend Music Center/First Niagara Pavilion – Cincinnati, OH/Burgettstown, PA
June 28 and 29 – Klipsch Music Center – Noblesville, IN
June 30 and July 1 – Klipsch Music Center – East Troy, WI
July 6-8 – Saratoga Performance Arts Center– Saratoga Springs, NY
For a complete list of tour dates, check out Phish's official website.
August 15 – Long Beach Arena – Long Beach, CA
Set I: Suzy Greenburg, Cities > Kill Devil Falls, Guelah Papyrus, Cool It Down, Rift, Stash, Bouncing Around The Room > Bathtub Gin, Quinn The Eskimo
Set II: Rock and Roll > Ghost > Limb By Limb, Guyute, Dirt, Harry Hood > Good Times Bad Times
Crowd Atmosphere: It’s Southern California so you’re not going to get the raucous crowds that fill Northeast venues like MSG or SPAC. However, compared to the lifeless crowd that filled the assigned-seat Hollywood Bowl last year, the considerably smaller (but not sold-out) crowd of 8,000 came to have fun and the band obliged.
Best Song: Harry Hood - Usually a poignant and beautiful jam, “Hood” got into some dissonant and ethereal territory for the first time in years and stands as one of the best versions of 3.0.
Best Jam: Rock and Roll > Ghost - It’s impossible to ignore the gigantic 25-minute elephant in the room that was “Rock and Roll” – the first 20+ minute jam of the summer. As they settled into the ambiance that concludes most versions, Mike wasn’t ready to pull the plug just yet. The bassist started punching in “Light”-esque bombs as the jam turned the corner before settling into another spacey soundscape, eventually segueing into an equally impressive “Ghost.”
The band took things to another plane with this incredible pairing, digging deep with their improvisational acumen and pulling out a nearly 40-minute sequence that stands up to – or surpasses – anything they’ve played in 3.0. A must-hear beginning to an incredible second set.
Best Segue: Rock and Roll > Ghost > Limb By Limb - It’s tough not to be redundant, but that’s how fantastic this sequence was. In a show that was light on clean segues, this triplet takes the cake. The segue from “Rock and Roll” to “Ghost” was the best of the night, as the band settled into the second ambient passage, reaching for the abstract without ever full losing its sense of rhythm before gliding into the fan-favorite.
Phish took things up a notch once again in a “Ghost” that had a serious major-key peak for several minutes before settling into an abstract and dissonant groove. Trey brought things back to the light with the opening licks of “Limb By Limb” and the rest of the band quickly followed suit.
Sloppiest Moment: Though not necessarily sloppy, the “Suzy Greenberg” opening felt completely out of place, kicking off a first set that lacked energy or any sort of cohesive flow.
Other Notes: In the first set, a “Cool It Down” appropriately provided the only relief from the sweltering heat on the packed floor. Up until “Stash” and subsequently “Bathtub Gin,” it looked like So-Cal was in for another jamless night of “Festival Phish” a la Hollywood Bowl last year.
However, any concerns were put to rest as Phish blew the roof off in a transcendent second set that flowed from start to finish. Apparently, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were also in the house, hanging behind the soundboard near Kuroda, who will be designing Bieber’s lights on his upcoming tour.
Rating out of 5: 4.5 - While the first set was average at best, the second is about as good as you will ever hear Phish play.
Buy/Download/Pass: Buy. Although the first set was mostly run-of-the-mill (albeit tight) Phish, the second set’s improvisational mettle alone makes it a must-own. The band was patient, locked in and willing to explore uncharted territory every chance they got. If this is any indication, leg two might even surpass the already legendary “Tuck Tour” that was leg one.
- Andy Magnes
Stay tuned as we continue to publish quick-hit fan reviews from each night of Phish's Summer Tour 2012.
What did you think of the Long Beach show? Let us know in the comments below . . .