Thursday 08/16/2012 by pzerbo

LONG BEACH RECAP

Welcome back to the second leg of summer tour, Phish fans! This will be a necessarily abbreviated recap so that the recapper may make tracks up the coast of California (“must be somewhere over here”). Let’s get right to it.

Long Beach Arena was far less than full last night as the band took the stage just after 8:15. A rare opening “Suzy Greenberg” starts us off, the first time it had opened a shows since the famous 12/14/95 show immortalized on Live Phish 1. The set then settles into a pleasant if uneventful segment featuring “Cities” > “Kill Devil Falls” and a well-executed “Guelah Papyrus.” “Cool it Down” seems to be easing its way into the rotation and featured an extended ending – not quite “type II” but definitely a little added spice; the band clearly loves this groove.

A mostly tight “Rift” is followed by a typically awesome if more-or-less standard “Stash.” “Bouncing” provides some breathing space before the first set highlight, “Bathtub Gin.” Patient and soaring in the climax, this version doesn’t stand out from others of recent vintage – as so many have been awesome – but nevertheless delivers the goods. “Quinn the Eskimo” sends this set home in fine fashion. A first set to write home about? Not so much, but the set improved as it progressed and was a great second-leg warm-up.

The second frame would be a rather different affair. Starting out innocently enough with “Rock and Roll,” little did we know we were about to jump off the cliff into the unknown. Dispensing with the main theme fairly quickly this jam – or, rather, the multitude of jams contained in this single segment – was patient, thoughtful, psychedelic, exploratory and just simply awesome. Every time a musical thought was completed and (as has so often been the case in 3.0) the next of a dozen songs was up on deck, instead another corner would be turned revealing a new layer. After one of the longest jams of 3.0 (sorry, our crack research team and/or our readers will help me on this in the comments, I’m sure), the fun doesn’t stop, with “Ghost.” Always pregnant with possibilities, this one does not disappoint. Like all good “Ghosts” this one ceased being “Ghost” and inherited the collective wisdom of the band and the room and the moment... it blew this listener’s mind, not an easily accomplished task. When the dust settled on this opening ~40-minute combo, what is left is one of the most impressive extended improvisational segments offered by Phish since their 2009 return to the stage. Hear it now. Don’t walk... run. Seriously.

Limb By Limb” grounds us back to “reality” but not in a jarring or disappointing manner at all. Paired with “Guyute” mid-set wouldn’t have been my call, but that shows what I know, as it actually turned out to offer an excellent flow in the set. While not for everyone, “Dirt” also seemed to be placed not just well, but brilliantly. The energy arc was set for one final climax, first through an exploratory (~14 min) “Harry Hood” that was a thrilling counter-point to so many 3.0 late second sets (or “fourth quarters”) that seem to go through the motions. Despite the improvisational behemoth of the “R&R” > “Ghost” there was still something left in the tank for “Harry.” “Good Times Bad Times” throws the hammer down on this spectacular set, and a “Julius” encore sends the fans home happy.

For those only here for the music, thanks for reading and be on with your day. While we at phish.net try to keep the focus on the stage, we’d be remiss not to mention a guest in the building, Justin Bieber. Curiously, he and his crew happened to land precisely where this reviewer and his crew were set up, directly to the right of Chris Kuroda’s light rig, where they remained for the majority of the show. During “Suzy” some security guys come barreling in and we're thinking and giving indications of “dude WTF this is our space" but the situation settled quickly. It was a kid out having fun with his girlfriend and some of his buddies, no big deal. They were totally chill and perfectly fine. They hung out and danced and tossed glow sticks and flirted like teenagers. My attention was fixed on the stage, but to the degree I noticed he seemed genuinely into the music. I give the kid props – just some dude at a Phish show having fun.

In sum – good times, Long Beach. Let’s mobilize this party on up the coast. We’ll see y’all in San Francisco tomorrow night!

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Comments

, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy I though Phillip was awfully charitable with that first set. ; )

But yeah, terrific second set for sure! I too felt the Dirt was perfectly placed (anyone else notice Dirt teases in Ghost - say starting around 9:00?)

And the Rock & Roll was a treat...just. kept. going.

, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose As if the expectations weren't high enough San Fransisco, they come out and drop a bomb of a Rock n Roll> Ghost combo to open Set II in Long Beach. Amen to the return of the 25 minute second set opener. Maybe not on the same level as the Albany 09 Seven Below> Ghost in terms of the jam quality, but there isn't any filler in there, either. Mike sounds downright hungry. Here's hoping they push it even further.
, comment by Bulletproof
Bulletproof After a very non jammy show at The Hollywood Bowl just over a year ago, I was totally blown away with the quality of the jams during this show. Great energy from the band all night and some very intense mind blowing moments.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown The Bathtub Gin and the Quinn were both really, really good, and under-recognized here, imo. Agree that much of the first set was otherwise disposable, though.

The R&R > Ghost was like peeling back an eternal onion. I couldn't believe how many different permutations they explored. At the time I was thinking that as a single "suite" of jams it was on par with the Waves soundcheck. Not sure if that will hold up when I give it a second listen today.
, comment by enigs
enigs last night was a rager, especially the second set. i was page side right by the speakers, so every one of Gordo's bombs rocked us to the core.

as tour openers go, i'm very pleased with how last night went. wish I could follow the boys up to the Bay.
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod Agree w @bertoletdown that the first set was highly unremarkable other than the closing pair (and it was nice to get "Cool it Down" ;) . Second set was among the best start to finish sets of 3.0. As good as the R&R was, I think I preferred both the Ghost and Hood. Regardless, an embarrassment of riches. Let's hope they keep it up...
, comment by PhishMarketStew
PhishMarketStew 1st set was great for dancing. 2nd set was great for melting minds/faces.
, comment by LightsWentOut
LightsWentOut The KDF in the 1st set is pretty rockin'. I actually think this first set will be better regarded (not that it's poorly regarded now) when the smoke clears from that bomb of a second set. Compared to the bustout fests that defined Set One in Leg I of this summer, I can understand how folks may have been underwhelmed as they saw the set list develop over the evening, but musically, it's a great, up-beat, super solid set. I am not a huge Suzy fan, so having it open this leg was not what I would have dreamed of, but I still appreciate the energy that song imparts and still would have given my left nut to be at the show in person.
, comment by PhishPhan_CT
PhishPhan_CT good show, great start to leg 2...but lookin for more PHUNKKKKKK!!! like a island tour 98 cavern jam hahaha
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose I think my favourite part of the big Set II opening sequence was the spacey finale of the Rock n Roll jam. Fukuoka-esque at times, similar to the vibes coming out the 7/3 Golden Age. Haven't gotten to Set I yet but checking out the Bathtub next.
, comment by HenryHolland
HenryHolland I've seen some amazing shows at the Long Beach Arena, so it was nice that Phish added it to their list of places not played before. Less than full, but the sound was fantastic and the lights were incredible, plus the smaller crowd = not taking an hour to get out of the parking structure.

I was in front of the soundboard, great group of people around me. Didn't know Justin Bieber was there, after seeing all the celebrities at the Hollywood Bowl --they sure as hell aren't going to Long Beach on a Wednesday-- funny he'd show up in the LB.

My impression of the show matches pretty much with pzerbo's. I was expecting kinda ragged "first show of tour" playing but they all played well. Trey was consistently good all night --he even played the Mr. Miner part in Hood correctly!-- a virtuoso at the top of his game. Loved his solos in Stash, Gin, Ghost and LxL.

One thing I was a bit disappointed about was that the RnR jam, while very interesting and containing some very cool jamming, kind of hummed along at the same spacey pace. There were a couple of points where Trey locked in to a cool riff and looked over at Fish, as if to say, "OK, 4/4 rock out" and Fish just kept playing fast fills on the toms and cymbals.

Overall, I had a great time and I wish I had the money to go to the Bill Graham or Dick's Sporting Goods shows. Oh well, 'til the 2013 summer tour........
, comment by papafluffy
papafluffy @ tmwsly good call on the subtle dirt tease that was present
, comment by docgonzo1972
docgonzo1972 "smaller crowd = not taking an hour to get out of the parking structure"

Yeah, but it did take that long to get a slice of nasty, overpriced pizza.

Anyway, that Gin smoked. Wished it went a little deeper, though. Quinn was especially energetic. Stash felt a little discordant - not in a good way. Like the boys couldn't fully link up. Will have to confirm on a re-listen. Cool It Down was fun.

Second set was tits start to finish.
, comment by HenryHolland
HenryHolland Yeah, but it did take that long to get a slice of nasty, overpriced pizza

I was talking to one of the security guys at the setbreak and I said "You guys aren't really used to this are you?". "No, since the Ice Dogs left, there's not much going on here". What was annoying is that before the show, I got in a long-ass line to get in, go through the ticket check and pat down and I hand the ticket to a woman at the door and she says "Oh, you're on the floor, that line is on the other side of the building". Grrrrrrrrr.......
, comment by cjfphan21
cjfphan21 @pzerbo You're correct that the RnR is the longest 3.0 jam to date. Seconded by DTE's Disease. Followed closely by the Gorge '09 RnR (the 3 are each separated by +/-1min), and some other Diseases after that falling between ~20-22mins. Then of course just about every YEM, but that doesn't really count.
, comment by HARRYHOOD213
HARRYHOOD213 Phish said "We read .net and you punks say we don't jam". "Jam on this puppy, RnR".
, comment by HenryHolland
HenryHolland Fan shot RnR from Long Beach video up at YEMBlog:

Rock n Roll Long Beach 8/15/12

, comment by nichobert
nichobert Eh who says they don't jam? Leg 1 packed more ideas into 30 seconds of improv than your average 2000 Sand did in 10 minutes.

I get that we're all size queens at heart, but Phish has been doing a pretty great job reminding everybody why they got into this band in the early 90s before they started taking such singular huge jams. Ive been comparing leg 1 to a latter day august93 and coming out the gates like this could be a hint that we're shifting into a 94 analogue, with random monoliths spotting the landscape.
, comment by davidgiven
davidgiven Agreed. The KDF Jam echoed through out this show--as did the continuing Zepplin No Quarter 'sound'--a very well connected show, I think.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten could not be more pleased with this show. Just like the first night of leg 1 proved, Phish is here to play. I'm so excited to see what the next 12 shows will bring. See you on Trey tour in the fall.
, comment by RunawayJim4180
RunawayJim4180 The contrasts between this and the last SoCal show at the Hollywood Bowl couldn't be more stark. I'll admit my strong bias towards indoor shows (after all, I cut my Phish teeth at the Worcester Centrum), but the energy level was higher, crowd more focused, and the music soared progressively higher with each song. After hanging towards the back of the floor for the first set, we made our way toward for the front just in time for the opening licks of RNR.

I can't add much more than what's already been said, but I'm not sure I've seen a jam with more textures than this one in a live setting. There were some pretty funny exchanges going on all around me about what they were going to segue into, as everyone anticipated a more standard 10 minute jam into something else. I kept mental notes, and as I re-listen it went something like this:
-6 minutes in, a girl in front of me says "Tweezer, yeah!". Just kidding.
-around 12 mins in, I hear calls of "Makisupa". Then, nope!
-at 19 minutes in, the guy behind me says "2001, for sure". Two minutes later he looks on, confused.
-21 minutes in, I call out "Kung!" to a few smiles. No dice
-at 24 minutes in, I was certain of "Frankenstein". Still nothing!

And then the mighty Ghost. Just fantastic, I put this one up there with 12.31.10 when considering how it all evolved. The flow of the second set was just brilliant from there on, culminating in a blistering GTBT. As well played as the Phish standards were tonight, you have to tip your hat to the covers as they really shined on 8/15.
, comment by Midcoaster
Midcoaster Just listened to set II via spreadsheets. Nice. The RxR is all it's cracked up to be, yet it has a contained energy rather than an explosive one. It is thoughtful. I appreciate that these days. Unlike the type II hose fests, this finds Trey in a restrained mood and the entire band is audible with their own additions. (read: Mike's funked bass.) Just when I thought it would go plinko, it morphed into a plinko-esque sound that went ambient. Juicy stuff. The Ghost has phrasings which are inimitably type III, and yet they hinted at earlier sounds. LxL was thoroughly jammed in such a way that it just keeps the wave flowing. Guyute? Heck ya! What a nice suite, capped by a lovely Dirt. I've always loved that song. Hood is good, and it warms the cockles of this New England heart to hear leg 1 being taken to the next level. Only wish I could see it ALL. Sigh. Guess I have to leave that to the professionals.
, comment by Scott
Scott Just when I thought Harry Hood had become a bit predictable, wow. I can't think of a better Hood in 3.0.
, comment by Scott
Scott Just when I thought Harry Hood had become a bit predictable, wow. I can't think of a better Hood in 3.0.
, comment by Frizz
Frizz Zerbosaurus Rex.
, comment by cuddlyandmuscular
cuddlyandmuscular i was thoroughly entertained and happy throughout the first set... with the high points being getting a cool it down as well as a scorcher of a bathtub gin.. thought the stash was a little odd but all in all as far as first sets go it was really good while not containing anything crazy cray cray

the second set was basically this fans best set of phish he's seen.. it contained basically a taste of everything they do

familiar high energy cover blasting into unfamiliar territory, incredible multi-movement filled improvisation and exploration with abundant artistry = rock n roll

funk fused bluesy rocknroll with soaring peaks, wonderful chemistry, and flashy musicianship = ghost

rhythmically textured jamming with great band chemistry = limb by limb

elaborate composed and technically difficult song executed very well = guyute

beautiful ballad placed perfectly right after a energy high ripper = dirt

beautifully unique version of a fan favorite = harry hood

killer cover to end a set of a revered classic rock band = good times bad times

top it off with a fun julius encore to keep folks dancing and you've got a stellar start to the second leg.. easily one of the favorite phish nights for this guy. the rock n roll jam contained amazing amazing stuff and so much of it.. loved fishmans playing in it particularly was just great
, comment by WaxBrain
WaxBrain Waiting to check this out once it hits The Spreadsheet....
But tell me: is it greater 2nd set than Albany 11-28-09??
...Which also had Ghost 2nd song, and was about the same opening length (they say 40+)...
Just wondering....
Cant wait to stream Fridays show......Carry on good peoples...Enjoy the 2nd Leg!
, comment by Aiken
Aiken Best show of 2012 so far, possibly 3.0. Generous exploratory jams. Some very weird Spock's Brain type shit at the end of Ghost, with Fish singing his line from Roggae, listen carefully, it's hard to hear but it's there!! I was certain they were going into Spock's. Should be coming soon. Welcome to SF Netters!!
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @WaxBrain said:
Waiting to check this out once it hits The Spreadsheet....
But tell me: is it greater 2nd set than Albany 11-28-09??
*divine* username there, boss.

the long beach r&r is more fluid and multifarious than the albany seven below -- the build that starts around 22 minutes into r&r has a unique texture, and when the bottom falls out of the jam and fish starts getting abstract the jam only *deepens*, which can't always be said of the band's 2009 stuff. i'm really impressed by how responsive and egoless this jam is!

the 11/28/09 seven below does have that unbelievable moment early on, about 11 minutes in, when mike starts playing this quick upper-register pattern over a jibboo drumbeat and trey folds in from whale calls to a robot-cry minor chord, page starts bashing out primary coloured piano lines and the whole goddamn building seems to lift off into space. (that's how it felt to me on the night, as i rapidly acquired lingering tinnitus up in the cheap seats.)

the albany ghost essentially folds in a swell piper jam and blows itself out spectacularly at the close; it's a 'type ii' ghost, in the threadbare local parlance. the long beach ghost is a lot more linear, after an opening bit of sass -- lots of NYE 2010 ghost echoes in there, and a dose of weekapaug too. after settling in, this latest ghost is pure momentum -- they're bombing downhill on skis instead of scaling some tricky cliff face. but there's so much tension built in that r&r jam that the ghost feels *necessary*. same thing as the ghost > boogie from worcester in june, actually: after a more cerebral exploration it's nice to just get everybody off.

nice little transition in to L*L though, and some hair-raising work from fish in that tune. raise your hand if you treasure the languid 13-minute pre-y2k versions of that song but still love the rhythmic zest of the new limbs!

anyhow the point here is that in this weird misguided hopeless head-to-head comparison of the -7> ghost and rock> ghost suites, long beach has the stronger opener, successfully experimental and cohesive, and a very pure focused green-means-go ghost climax; albany's got that surprising cloudburst feeling to -7 and a more wide-ranging take on ghost.

the hood decisively tips any such comparison in long beach's favour, i think. but why compare? hard drives are cheap, broadband is cheap.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Leg one had the return of the textured treatment of songs (STFTFP comes to mind) and the attention to detail on the build jams (how many bowies were worth the listen compared to previous 3.0's?). Lots of complaining about not dropping the "big" jams. (At which point I now feel like I have to pre-empt the attack and say DISCLAIMER: this is the main reason I listen to phish, no one has hundreds of shows so they can listen to the progression of bouncing from 91-94.)

But it seemed like they were crafting in all the senses of the word: they developed -> 's instead of > 's, they dropped teases that actually made sense in where they were at that point in a song/jam, with the exception of the jedi show the antics were for spice and not the main attraction, they felt the flow of the setlists and said no to the jukebox, they could always count on one (alpine fee!) if not two or even three first set mini jams (stash goes somewhere again?!), the *quality* of the jamming was on par with '11, and last (and least to me) they dropped many many bustouts that added to the overall good feelings about first sets.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something here, but there is an absolute plethora of crafting involved in which the whole is greater than the parts. Just that feeling you might have remembered like every song and definitely every jam always had the potential to go somewhere; that elusive extraness that causes us all to listen to shows from start to finish (at least some of the time...) to simply bask in the wonder and glory that is phish going for it. Finally, just about everyone I've heard from agrees Leg One saw the band totally enjoying the shit out of playing music for us all. Like the ghosts of Coventry have finally been exorcised from the collective psyche and the swagger is back opening up play. Between phish and the crowd, between themselves musically, and as a general outlook to life as lived in the moment.

And yes, I was secretly jaded asshole-style cognitively dissonant just seeing how *loose* they were and enjoying things, BUT where is my disease supreme, where is my element set, where is my (fill in the '11 moment)?? I am greedy. Lots of us are. But at the time I was saying in posts that this is the bedrock of craft that allows moments of transcendence to become a regular thing instead of a hallowed anomaly. Sure '11 had those moments, but the overall night in and out quality of Leg One bar none hands down blows that shit away no contest. But, like a needy girlfriend, I was feeling panicky about the 20-MINUTER.

Well now we have it. And how awesome it is. I really feel like Leg One was a return to roots, let's get it really tightly together for the overall show, era that will allow the band to consistently feel comfortable playing better 20- minuter's and these lengthier jams more often. Like consummate musicians, they honed the shit out of their playing and shows last tour. And we will reap the benefits this tour. And I do mean reap.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten "lengthier jams more often," I certainly hope so
, comment by BigBertha
BigBertha I personally think that phish could do a lovely cover of Standing on the Moon, and this weekend would be the place to do it at.
, comment by horpsnark
horpsnark I thought the show rocked. ecxept when i spilled my full beer on the floor where my girl and others where sitting before the opener. i ran to the bathroom and got a load of paper towels and came back out to clean my mess up. that was totally embarassing sorry page side. my beer was the first on the floor though i can call that honor. Great second set had a blast.
, comment by deadphishpanthers
deadphishpanthers During last night's webcast, what artist's music were they playing during intermission? Thanks for any help you may have to offer.
, comment by BuddyBrown
BuddyBrown Death Knell Suzy in LBC for actual artist Suzy Greenberg of MN http://bit.ly/PziYtR
Rare opener now weirder...
, comment by Midcoaster
Midcoaster DEFINITELY some similar phrasings to the Bethel '11 sound check in that RxR jam. Sweet, sweet, stuff.
, comment by WaxBrain
WaxBrain @waxbanks said:
@WaxBrain said:
Waiting to check this out once it hits The Spreadsheet....
But tell me: is it greater 2nd set than Albany 11-28-09??
*divine* username there, boss.

the long beach r&r is more fluid and multifarious than the albany seven below -- the build that starts around 22 minutes into r&r has a unique texture, and when the bottom falls out of the jam and fish starts getting abstract the jam only *deepens*, which can't always be said of the band's 2009 stuff. i'm really impressed by how responsive and egoless this jam is!

the 11/28/09 seven below does have that unbelievable moment early on, about 11 minutes in, when mike starts playing this quick upper-register pattern over a jibboo drumbeat and trey folds in from whale calls to a robot-cry minor chord, page starts bashing out primary coloured piano lines and the whole goddamn building seems to lift off into space. (that's how it felt to me on the night, as i rapidly acquired lingering tinnitus up in the cheap seats.)

the albany ghost essentially folds in a swell piper jam and blows itself out spectacularly at the close; it's a 'type ii' ghost, in the threadbare local parlance. the long beach ghost is a lot more linear, after an opening bit of sass -- lots of NYE 2010 ghost echoes in there, and a dose of weekapaug too. after settling in, this latest ghost is pure momentum -- they're bombing downhill on skis instead of scaling some tricky cliff face. but there's so much tension built in that r&r jam that the ghost feels *necessary*. same thing as the ghost > boogie from worcester in june, actually: after a more cerebral exploration it's nice to just get everybody off.

nice little transition in to L*L though, and some hair-raising work from fish in that tune. raise your hand if you treasure the languid 13-minute pre-y2k versions of that song but still love the rhythmic zest of the new limbs!

anyhow the point here is that in this weird misguided hopeless head-to-head comparison of the -7> ghost and rock> ghost suites, long beach has the stronger opener, successfully experimental and cohesive, and a very pure focused green-means-go ghost climax; albany's got that surprising cloudburst feeling to -7 and a more wide-ranging take on ghost.

the hood decisively tips any such comparison in long beach's favour, i think. but why compare? hard drives are cheap, broadband is cheap.
Ermmm.....I was just wondering how this set stacked up to another ripper? Comparing Phish sets and jams....is.....the whole point of these reviews and these blurbs, yeah?
It's the whole point of going to shows, yeah? Of listening intently all day to some random show in 94 you didnt even knew existed, yeah?
Otherwise....what the hell are we doing here ???? (By here I mean the Earth.)

Anyway, yeah....the R&R here at LB is fucking DOPE. Easily one of best jams of 3.0.

My name....yeah....that's from years an years collecting vinyl and DJ'ing. I wasnt trying to steal your thunder. There's much 'wax' in the world mate....lets melt it all.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @WaxBrain said:
Otherwise....what the hell are we doing here ???? (By here I mean the Earth.)
I'm perfectly content with the explanation that organic life is a thermodynamic convenience: "The purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide," as Mike Russell says. :)
, comment by ReeYees
ReeYees 2nd Leg 2 opening show in a row to have a monster 20+ min Rock And Roll (see Gorge Amp 8/5/11)
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