PHISH Summer 2012 at BONNAROO
- By Brandon Chiat
- Published on June 12, 2012
|Phish in Worcester - Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor|
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.
Though not technically a tour date, we thought Phish's four-hour closing slot at Bonnaroo 2012 was worthy of its own post. With some rainy weather and weary phans in the audience, Phish raced through a bevy of oft-played tunes, culminating in a Tweeprise that opened the skies.
For a complete list of tour dates, check out Phish's official website.
June 10 – Bonnaroo 2012 – Manchester, TN
Set I: Down With Disease, Funky Bitch, The Moma Dance, Sample In A Jar, Axilla I, The Gambler*, Possum, Wilson, Tweezer > Free, Backwards Down The Number Line, Cavern
Set II: Golden Age > 2001 > Chalkdust Torture, Carini > Shafty > Rock and Roll > Alaska, Harry Hood > Light, Character Zero > Rocky Top
Encore: Show of Life, Julius, Tweezer Reprise
* with Kenny Rogers
Crowd Atmosphere: After 96-hours of sleep deprivation, the adrenaline-fueled crowd was ready for the godfathers of jam to grace the Bonnaroo stage. The people behind the festival have publically credited Phish’s homegrown festivals as the blueprint for their own mega-event. Nevertheless, Bonnaroo fails to exude the heady sense of community it was founded on, creating a clear divide between phans and everyone else throughout the crowd.
Best Song: Tweezer
Best Jam: Tweezer
Best Segue: Golden Age > 2001
Best Lights: Light
Sloppiest Moment: Sloppy show altogether. The Phantastic Phour had a hard time syncing up on jams and the transitions were not smooth.
Twitter Recap: As the final show of Bonnaroo, Phish's set was satisfactory, but as a standalone tour date, it was sub-par.
Rating out of 5: 2.5
Buy/download/pass: Pass. Go stream it live off Bonnaroo's website if you really want to see it.
Other Notes: There is a damn good reason Phish rarely plays festivals other than their own. Those who don’t understand Phish’s expressive jams and spontaneous creativity probably never will. That being said, Phish wasn’t about to alienate a large cross-section of the Bonnaroo crowd who fall into that aforementioned category.
The first set was a product of that and it seemed as if the boys were speaking to those individuals saying, “Here are some songs we think you might like.”
Clearly holding back, Trey failed to unleash anything that would send the phaithful to the lost and found in search of their faces, however, the “Tweezer” jam was solid. Sloppy transitions and lack of cohesion might have been due to a little early-tour rust, however, the Worcester shows were fire.
It was a nice surprise to have Kenny Rogers on stage. Trey couldn’t break his appreciative gaze off the gambler, who led 80,000+ people in a sing along of his namesake classic.In the secondd half, Phish was more focused on delivering some quality jams. If the first set said, “Here are some bangers that we think you could get down to,” the second set said, “But this is what we really came here to do.”
Still, Phish struggled with transitions. An abrupt launch into “Rock and Roll” cut short a “Shafty” jam that was just starting to get thick. To be fair, the segue from “Golden Age” into “2001” was silky, but the latter itself was uncharacteristically short.
The “Rocky Top” closer was a surprise, not because they played it, but because of its position in the show. The encore was the true highlight of the show. Despite ending 15 minutes earlier than their scheduled 12:00 a.m. departure, Phish powered through an epic, high-energy “Tweeprise” that literally cracked the sky.
The first note of the “Tweezer Reprise” signaled the return of heavy rains that soaked tens of thousands of exhausted but ecstatic Bonnaroovians. A first-class fireworks display added to the triumphant conclusion of the biggest festival in the country.
Had you simply seen the setlist and not heard the show, you would have thought it the stuff of legendary bangers. Unfortunately, the delivery was not there. Whether the boys were holding back for the sake of the Bonnaroo crowd (unlikely), or were simply shaking off some early-tour rust (more likely), they just did not bring it.
- Brandon Chiat
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 Bonnaroo show/stream?