Wednesday 06/01/2022 by phishnet


[We would like to thank user @Jmart, Josh Martin, for recapping last night's show. -Ed.]

Here’s the thing: You like Phish. And if you’re reading this, chances are you actually love Phish with a chunk of your heart so large as to baffle most of your family and other acquaintances.

From your love of Phish, we can deduce something further: You love to dance. You have a repertoire of moves to fit any occasion. Imitating someone else’s moves in your crew is valuable social currency.

How do your dance choices reflect your show experience? Let’s discuss.

(For sake of reference, all dancing was observed from the floor, halfway back on Mike’s side)

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

“The Two-Step Shuffle”--- one of the most versatile Phish dances incorporates a side-to-side sway with accompanying foot movement. Speed and arc vary with user enthusiasm. The “Set Your Soul Free” opener was met with 80% strength, indicative of crowd appreciation of both placement and hope for the accompanying jam.

And jam they did, jamming hard out of the opening slot for 23 minutes. In fact, of the eight openers in 2022, only 4/22 “Suzy Greenberg,” “Twist,” and “Character Zero” were below 17 minutes, and the latter two were 13!

The music itself was dancy and reaching, with Fish and Mike accessorizing Trey’s stabs at the future, and Page almost silent at the keys. During the second major modulation of the jam, back to phish dominant tone happy place, groups of people in two or three began to almost stop dancing entirely with their legs, preferring instead to dance with their mouths. This move is known to all as

“The Chomp” --- and those who use it as “Chompers.” What’s great about this is that the dancer gets to let everyone know how he or she feels about Ukraine right when Page and Trey lock onto some interesting harmony. Your reviewer has found that hugging the defender and pointing to the stage most often diffuses the situation. For a while. Unfortunately the chomp was to be seen and heard again during sections of “Leaves” and “The Squirming Coil,” described below.

“The Sway” --- Friends, the Phish fan base has a few subgenres of characters. The Jaded Vet has seen some shit and he’ll gladly tell you about how phish started off as a quasi-prog rock band. And it wasn’t until '93 or '94 that they started making an effort to jam. What no jaded vet has truly ever figured out, however, is how to dance appropriately to some of the knottier parts of Phish’s early catalog (e.g. “Divided Sky,” “David Bowie,” “Fluffhead”), so they divert to a simple sway attached to whatever rhythm they might find in the music. “My Friend, My Friend” gets the sway going early before being completely abandoned for the simultaneous fist pump/head band that accompanied the outro, which notably powerful this time around. This last combination was also prominently featured during the outro to “Walls of the Cave,” which, again subverted expectations by showing up in the two-slot of the first set.

“Steam” gave the crowd its first opportunity to flash two winners: “the deep knee calisthenics,” in which the dancer bounces side to side with some deep dips,” AND “the drinking chicken,” in which the dancer bends at the hips with his back straight. These moves dovetail nicely with Steam’s bounce and slink, but had to be speeded up a bit or abandoned altogether for something much more profane when Trey poured out several minutes of the nastiest shredding of 2022 thus far. Against all odds, “Ocelot” also got the crowd almost tearing their clothes off over Trey’s vicious minor key solo in what is normally a pleasantly forgettable song.

The set-closing “Squirming Coil” got a lot more straight bouncing during the meat of the song than one might expect, particularly given the fierce bouncing on display in the “Sparkle” earlier in the set and during “Golgi Apparatus” later in the second. A huge ovation for Page was cut short by a collective groan when the lights turned on.

© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)
© 2022 PHISH (Rene Huemer)

“The Chop” --- Everyone has his or her signature move and longs for the song that requires it. With “Sand” and “Mike’s Song” off the table, your reviewer was a bit concerned he would never get to break out the palm flat double slicer reserved for the sickest, thickest funk jams in the Phish catalog. “Never fear,” the band said, and delivered the piece for which chopping was invented: “2001.” Phish delivered a fantastic version replete with the hard riffing, sparkling organ, and gooey Mike bombs we’ve come to love.

“The Squinter” --- For some, the "2001" or the "SYSF" was the jam of the night and one can’t rightly argue with that, but the “Light” deserves special mention. Every show we wait for that single moment when the band has left the song and no one, not even the people on stage, know what’s going to happen next. This moment elicits "the squinter" ---an almost-motionless bending forward at the waist and a strong stare directly at the stage, as if trying to peer in the future. That quiet moment happened around 10 minutes into the "Light" jam, followed by one of the more impressive melodic builds on this song in recent years. Trey and Page took time to wind together a harmony before Fishman corralled them back into the fold. Each member’s contribution was evident here --- the sound drifting towards 12/29/18’s “Tweezer,” which, in turn, flirted with “I Know You Rider,” a traditional song played so well by that other band.

“Love Beams” --- In truth, when good jams leave good and reach great, our bodies may react of their own accord. Towards the end of "Light," just before Mike’s botched attempt to segue into “Passing Through” (which would have been amazing, Mike!) the joy got so great that the dancer has to gather it up in the space in front of his heart and then throw it back and the crowd. We can only keep what we have by giving it away.

“The Disappointed Dad” --- Hopefully the team isn’t breaking out this one too often, the one in which the dancer stands motionless with arms crossed, possibly glaring at the floor or Trey. The DD represents just that- disappointment in an abrupt transition from Light to “Mountains in the Mist” or following that song with the next. “Meat has its fans for sure, but this placement seriously dampened the flow of the set.

It would be hard to rightly ask for more from Phish in the nascent 4.0 era, especially after the summer and fall tours with so many dazzling moments, scrapping their NYE plans and playing anyway, and then really delivering a great April MSG makeup run. But if one HAD to find fault, it would be that the back halves of the second sets can sometimes come apart in terms of execution and song selection. They played “Slave to the Traffic Light” and “Cavern,” both in perfunctory fashion.

“The Lighthouse” --- what better time to talk about this man and his dance than this really juicy “46 Days” / “Tube” double encore? Come skull-crushing “Antelope,” come slicked-back “Cities,” come tear-jerking “Wading in the Velvet Sea,” this guy never moves. Ever. And this serves an incredibly important service when you (hypothetically) took way too much the last night of Dick’s 2017 and had to go to the bathroom through a sea of people, fearing for your safety and sanity. And another friend (again hypothetically) said, “hey look for that guy on the way back. He’s literally the only person not moving.” A lifesaver. A real hero.

What happened was Phish played a thoroughly competent and enjoyable concert, the best of the four shows on this tour. The band got in its own way with some weird song placements. More importantly, a lot of beautiful people got together to do some really fantastic dancing. You looked great out there. Let’s do it again tonight.

[Editor's Note: Josh's recap reminded me of an article published in the San Francisco Guardian in 1999. I'm going to see if I can dig it up and publish it on the blog in a couple days. It's hilarious in its descriptions of dances at Phish shows. -charlie]

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, comment by Wombat_en_Fuego
Wombat_en_Fuego Boy do I love new approaches to reviews and this one had me nodding my head in agreement, mostly to my dance moves and what they mean. But I love this review and although the show was both good and meh, it does a great job of illustrating the highlights. And wow do I love Meat, but couldn't agree with you more about the strange placement. However, if this band didn't take risks and change things up once in a while, we wouldn't still be listening.
, comment by jonnylips
jonnylips Holy sh** @JMart, this is review gold. I was crying laughing. There is so much truth here, and I saw everything you saw in a similar location Page side.
, comment by JMart
JMart For the sake of accuracy, I forgot to replace “defender” with “offender.”
Glad you enjoyed. I had fun writing it.
, comment by 46Blaze
46Blaze During the second set of my first show, a guy to my right began grooving hard with what I can only describe as Deejay Ears. He folded his ears over with his fingers and held them there, as if wearing headphones.

Some members of my crew, myself included, have one which I lovingly call The Band Director. It consists of tossing your hands in the air at key moments, as if giving actual cues to the band, and pulling other indescribable gestures which reflect a sense of rhythm, yet a general inability to dance. I’ve also been known to throw the Gimme Gimme Hands during builds to a peak, but that’s just part of the Band Director’s trick bag.

Thanks Jmart for one of the most fun recaps I’ve read
, comment by leachface
leachface This might be my favorite review I've ever read on .net. Thanks for your creativity and humor. The Lighthouse guy is a true hero.
, comment by Jaimoe
Jaimoe Great recap! Love the dance move analogies.

We came up with some good ones this weekend as well…‘the preaching surfer’ or ‘the man on the mountain’ (mimics surfing with jazz hands), the ‘man in a box’ and the ‘rolling juggler’, to name a few.

Thanks for the enjoyable read.
, comment by FourWolfMoon
FourWolfMoon At least one vet has been working out sick moves to their entire catalog since day one sometime in the late 80s, but then I consider myself far from jaded so perhaps you are not directing that comment at me. I am guilty of doing the disappointed dad on occasion, it must look awful to the band but we can only hope they learn a lesson.
, comment by Your_Trip_Is_Short
Your_Trip_Is_Short Best review I've read in a long time! Now I have to download this show and listen through the lens of "how would I be dancing to this portion of the show". I'm pretty sure I'm capable of all of the aforementioned moves at some point in any given show. Good stuff, man!!
, comment by PlottHound
PlottHound Best recap I have ever read here. I laughed, I cried. Well done!
, comment by richardm711
richardm711 Man, what a great write up! So much humor and truth and feeling. Choppers and Ukraine and the lighthouse, oh my!
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten I challenge OP to a dance off at the summer show if his choice
, comment by RTinVA
RTinVA I LOVED LOVED LOVED this review. I started out imagining the moves. Then figured I might as well do as described. Shoot, might even try this while listening to the show. = cardio.
, comment by annielaidherhairdown
annielaidherhairdown You forgot the flailers, of which I’m a member ????
, comment by JaMaRu
JaMaRu 46Blaze, my friend folds his hands around his ears at certain times also! We teased him at first but then we tried it and it really helped the sound resonate. We call them his "ear cups".
, comment by JMart
JMart The author has removed all text from this comment.
, comment by JMart
JMart @TwiceBitten said:
I challenge OP to a dance off at the summer show if his choice
Raleigh, baby. It’s on.
, comment by 11171997Tweezer
11171997Tweezer Backwards Down is responsible for several Disappointed Dads.
, comment by mgolia6
mgolia6 I wouldn’t expect anything less than a stellar review and unique perspective from Jmart on a process that is already challenging to begin with: trying to encapsulate what this band creates on a given night with something as fleeting as the English language. What he also accomplished, which was no small feat, was a series of responses that elicited positive conversation and implored the reader to engage in healthy conversation with the narrator and others. Success, my dear Jmart, success indeed.

Now I want to call out, and maybe it already has been noted but there is an evolutionary dance that exists that meshes two dance sequences together, similar to the way the band segues (whether expertly or not) from one song to the next and that is when the Disappointed dad becomes the all out rager ala songs like Bug or even, dare I say, Number Line. This is when the initial reaction to any given song is at first negative until about four minutes in and then you remember why you in fact you love this band for al their warts and pimples and sunny skies. And the song in fact starts raging.

Thanks for an amazing write up!!

Mahalo Nui
, comment by tensionland
tensionland At AC n1 last year (2021) we had a dude that looked like marc ribillet with a green hat right in front of us. My little brother was in a maroon silk bathrobe my Dad used to rock when we were just tensionboys. we were by the ocean page side. He was so entertaining to watch. We nicknamed him the Ribillet meter...cuz if he was moving every disjointed limb, the band was synced up and slaying. Kept an eye out after the show to thank him for the experience but like so many interactions at a show it was something perfect and hilarious that existed in that precise moment only... with the exception of our memories (which are notoriously unreliable). Really enjoyed the review
, comment by That_Naked_Dude
That_Naked_Dude I suppose I'm a "Disappointed Dad" seeing as how I'm a misanthropic father of two who thinks dancing is a waste of time and energy. I used to enjoy Phish crowds, but that was back in the days immediately before and after Jerry died when we had a shedload of old-school Deadheads intermingling, sharing their hippie wisdom, smelly hugs, homemade hacky sacks (also smelly), vials of liquid acid, and generous tokes from their thai sticks.

Since then, however, the frat boys have discovered that Widespread Panic suck, and they have infiltrated the ranks so much so that they're all I can see anymore. "Sure, Jackson Paddlington-Thistleworth, the Third, I'll take a hit of your joint, but you're gonna f*ck off immediately afterwards. And tell your girlfriend, the Queen of Vocal Fry and Uptalk, to quit touching my arm and telling me to 'dance and be happy'".

If you see a guy standing on the lawn (I can only go to lawn shows now), arms folded, eyes closed, and head bobbing ever so slightly to Mike chasing the back beat from behind, don't tell him to dance or smile. He's enjoying it in his own special, misanthropic way. Just pass him a bowl, tell him to enjoy his night of freedom, and go enjoy the show in whatever way you see fit.

Got carried away there. Excellent write-up, mate. I got a hearty chuckle from your description of "The Chomper".
, comment by Glitterbug
Glitterbug I feel seen! Love your approach to this review and as a halfway back Mike’s side dancer both nights, I have to say I witnessed it all. N2 chompers near me were real bad but my ear plugs helped.
, comment by landladyschosen1
landladyschosen1 Honestly, Phish N2 @MSG, the faithful were feeling the chomp of my dad and me at his first Phish show. But what am I gonna do, tell my 60 year old father who's having a blast to stop talking to me? maybe so, maybe not
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect Best RECAP in a long while. Thanks for bringing the bounce and the balance!
, comment by stashinthemist
stashinthemist I've never felt inclined to comment on a review until now.

The approach is phenomenal. I feel heard. This is the best review/recap I've ever read. It's fresh and made for a good read!! Hah. I found myself nodding along to most of this. Thank you!!
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