Debut Years (Average: 2001)

This show was part of the "2022 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2022-08-10

Review by andrewrose

andrewrose My official recap for the show, edited slightly and reposted after a chance to listen back.

“Toronto From the Top”

Welcome to Canada y’all. Been a while. Has it? Time sure feels messy these days, and this band just keeps on plugging away blowing our minds despite it all. In any case, I feel like there’s a lot of ways to set the context for last night’s show in Toronto. We could call back to the band’s recent history at the venue in 2019 (a show I thought was unfairly maligned), or whether or not they’d bust out Misty Mountain Hop which they debuted here in 1999. And then there’s the context of this unique tour, which has at times been brilliant and at other moments feeling like maybe the momentum of their revived post-Covid identity has been waning a bit, Trey especially. I said to a new friend before the show that really the biggest knock on 2022 is that it’s sitting right next to 2021, a year in which the band performed to a level they really had no business doing this late in the game. So what would this tour’s Canadian stop add to the story? Would it be a throwaway gig between AC and Alpine, or a can’t miss, out of the way gem? Where do we stand? Let’s find out…

Like they have been for the most part on this tour, the show opened strong, with a beautiful jam out of “Sigma Oasis” that was interesting from the outset. Trey seemed rested, looser, and Page seemed energized as well in a way I haven’t quite heard him yet this tour. After the two shows I saw in Bethel where Mike and Fish really stood out, I was really feeling and hearing more balance in the sound, Trey taking his time, deliberate, but then very much nailing those licks and highs when he went for them, and Page feeding on that. I’m getting ahead of myself, as much of that became more apparent later, but in the meantime, a soulful “Sigma Oasis” blended seamlessly via a slick segue into -> “Blaze On.” It worked great in the two spot, made the quick nod to the Canadian cannabis vibe and packed a lot of punch in the limited run time. So a twenty minute pairing of Phish’s more anthemic modern-day originals bound by a beauty segue opens the show, and we’re in very good shape already.

Of course after you blaze, you “Steam.” I really appreciated the space here—it did the band good and was a great call to shift the vibe, just oozing with ‘we only just got going’ energy. Again, you could tell there was looseness and energy and good choices being made sonically. There weren’t many throw away notes tonight, and nothing I’d really recommend skipping because the band was putting polish every moment.

“My Sweet One” is the only breather of the set really, if you can call the old bluegrass original a breather. We all hopped for two minutes and no longer then Trey struck up “Theme from the Bottom.”

You know, one week shy of exactly twenty five years ago I saw another really good Theme. It wasn’t in Canada but it was close; it was way up in a little town called Limestone, in Maine, and festival numero deux, aka The Great Went. That, to up this show was probably the best Theme I had seen, unless maybe you count 2/25/03. Well either way, this Theme and its mesmerizing jam shot immediately up to contend and I dare say surpasses them both easily. Trey only stumbled slightly in the composed climb (which has been more the rule than the exception in recent years let’s be honest), and quickly makes up for it. The centre piece of an already great set, that also finished really strong. Must hear, as they say, and not merely for the novelty of the full type II jam emerging from it just before the five minute mark, but also for its beauty and execution, and the sheer power and confidence with which it came back around to Theme to end. I suspect this one is going to get a lot of replay.

Maybe Phish was listening to Phish Radio the day of the show like me as I drove over from Montreal, and caught the 8/10/2018 Wombat and figured why not bring it out to dance. Again, this had, in addition to the funky dance party, a little bit of excited playfulness. Like the Steamx don’t let the run time deter you from a listen; the final few minutes are full of interest effects and enthusiasm. Cuddly, yet muscular, if you will? After the Theme they just oozed with confidence for the rest of the night and it’s on full display with this Wombat.

“Stash” shows up too, a Toronto-staple by now for obvious reasons, and like its predecessor here in 2019 has a beautiful ethereal jam woven in. Trey had command of this Stash from the get go, very sharp in the composed section, confidence growing, and the jam is beautiful. Not only that, but like the Theme the return to Stash was punctuated with so much energy and extra licks that if you blinker you might have easily thought it was 1994. In a show this populated with gems it might be easy to overlook this Stash if your listening time is limited. Don’t. Thank me later.

And then “Sand” washes everyone down with its own powerful punch that carries through the momentum. It’s a tough jam to describe in that it doesn’t really go fully out of the box, but still somehow swells organically, echoing some of these quick, big glow-up finales they’ve been pulling off, not unlike the
“Ghost” that closed the first set on 7/22. This had similar energy, but also was woven delicately somehow too, and like the “Stash” Trey seemed to be at ease with the machine gun calling back to “Sand.” Listen for the extra fills from Trey as they’re closing it out. He was *feeling it*. There’s been a trend the last year or so of diverging into interesting type II territory and then kind of clumsily returning to or reprising the end of the song quite suddenly, which sometimes works but you could argue was maybe happening a little too much at times. Tonight saw the band with a lot more patience, returning to themes more organically to close things out, which was very satisfying.

So a fantastic first frame, and I gotta give it to them to be keeping things so lively and interesting so early in the show. By now this isn’t news—that you sleep on the first set at your peril—but its easy to forgot for much of the last 13 years that rarely the case.

“Sample in a Jar” had also gotten some play from me earlier in the day on my drive over, and the song has been fresh in my mind since seeing its stand-out 15-minute version in Bethel recently. That jam has gotten a bunch of replay from me for its delicate exploration. But it was the in-the-box 2019 version from Toronto I was listening to, for its machine-gun punch (seriously that’s one of the better Type I Sample’s you’ll ever hear, if you’re into that thing…). So ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to your new favourite jam vehicle, Sample in a Jar. I thought for a minute it was unlikely they’d go for it the same way they did in Bethel and instead offer a shorter version to start the set before diving into the good stuff. Not so. We get another tasty 12 minute exploration that goes spacey before Page pulls out some very funky effects and sends the band on a swell that almost had a 2.0 like sound. Very different from the Bethel version, and you could argue some of the most interesting and innovative jamming of the night. This too is must hear, and descends fittingly into > “Down with Disease.”

For those keeping score, the highlight of the 2013 show here was also a “Down with Disease.” You had a sense this was coming and let me tell you, this one did not disappoint. Trey was full of fresh ideas and playing with confidence from the outset, more nimble than I’ve heard him since last year. They were having fun and it showed. It’s mostly in the Disease-box until bout the 8 minute mark until Page starts leading the band into more sparkly territory, and by around the 12 minute mark it has settled down and a lilting sonic soundscape emerges, with Trey pulling off lovely leads. The first half of this jam probably most closely resembles some of the jamming style we’ve seen a lot of this summer, but then takes soulful turn. I think it was around this moment that I leaned over to a new friend and mentioned it sounded like Jerry was in the building, what with this being the first day after the days between, those moments marked this year between what would have been his 80th birthday on the 1st, and the anniversary of his passing on the 9th. So the last five minutes of the Disease jam hit some absolutely gorgeous moments and then Trey leads the band through its second flawless segue of the night, fittingly, into “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long.” Nod to Jer, ‘up from the ground’? Either way, it was a perfect landing pad for another great start to a set.

“Twenty Years Later” plays a role similar to the Steam in the first set, stretching out and giving room, and features some great slower-tempo explorations of its own in the final four minutes. Exploratory, dark, menacing and engaging stuff, and again nothing to skip here. It settles nicely and then Trey brings “Light” out of the darkness. I thought the “Light” was a great call here, and a welcome addition to the set considering its airtime seems to have been reduced somewhat in recent years with all the other new material making its way into the setlist. “Light” too, featured nimble interplay, lightness, patience and fun effects towards the end, including brief Sand quotes, another highlight in a show full of them. They come around to seemingly composed-like phrases to end the jam which in retrospect sounds like an attempt at a full segue into “Bouncing Around the Room” but is more fittingly marked with a >. Good effect either way.

I was happy to hear Bouncing in what would have been the Trey ballad spot, but this was the only song where the band seemed to lack a little coordination, and were looking at each other with a smirk or two off-time. If this is your radio hit boys, you better practice it! ;)

A fourth-quarter one-two punch of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley” bring the dance party that very much livened up the place. Neither took off into jammy territory per se but both were pretty flawlessly executed with little extra touches here, the 2001 especially with Trey making good crunchy use of his effects in the middle section.

“Free” caps things off, fresh off of its 25 minute performance on 8/2, this one runs about half that time as a set closer but is very much worth your attention, not unlike the first set “Sand.” Mike steps up at the mid-way point and Trey is able to sit back and just riff before coming in with his own phrasing. To my ears by the end of this jam he’s sounding almost reborn as a guitarist, and by the sounds of the way he sang ‘I feel free’—with way more emphasis than I’ve ever heard him do before—maybe he felt the same.

“Thank you, we love you, we love coming here, that was just too much fun.” I like it too!

“Lawn Boy” in the encore spot was a nice unexpected touch, and gave Mike an opportunity to shine with some soulful playing before “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.” sent us home with smiles on our faces. I’m pretty sure I will remember where I was on 8/10/22.

Have fun in Alpine folks, that’s it for this canuck’s 2022 reporting. Unless we get some fall shows…?
, attached to 2022-08-10

Review by phishphan1984

phishphan1984 So as a Canadian this was my first Canadian phishing trip. I’ve been to some great shows in the States, and my buddies in Toronto had all told me that Phish hadn’t produced a solid show there since the early 90s.

Needless to say to those who attended, but I’m very glad I made the trip. For one, the company was great - my best bud and I have been trying to make a show together since high school so it was only fitting that 20 years later made an appearance. Took my bro for his 1st show. Venue was solid and I got to enjoy them both out on the small floor up front and on the lawn.

But the main event was excellent. Many highlights for a show that didn’t have a 20+ minute song but ventured into type II jams early and often. Tiptoeing in to 30+ straight minutes of Sigma, Blaze On, and Steam was a phenomenal set 1 opening. Theme from the Bottom was the standout of the set for me, beautifully led and flowing. Love that Fishman still gets Trey to crack up and come in late on his lines in Wombat. Stash and Sand are both worth a re-listen and closed out an excellent first set.

Set 2 kicked off with the longest Sample in a Jar ever, I believe, and in conjunction with DwD is another 30+ min gem. Really patient with a mellow DwD and just like Halloween, punctuated a sweet jam with a goofy Death Don’t Hurt Very Long. Don’t know if the title sequence of Down With Disease - Death Don’t Hurt Very Long - 20 Years Later - Light was meant to be poetic, but I appreciated it all the same. The latter 2 hit serenely with the changing views after sunset, and then they dialed up the energy with a funky 2001-Sally into an averagely excellent Free to close another set that is most definitely worth a listen.

Encore was solid but S.A.N.T.O.S was a bit of an odd choice to finish on, and I was wishing for a longer 2001, but those were my only old man grumblings about an amazing show. Proud to have a great Canadian show to look back on, come back soon!
, attached to 2022-08-10

Review by jaosnlikesphun

jaosnlikesphun Trey seemed genuinely excited to be back in Toronto. Fun small venue laid back people. Becoming my fave modern summer stop, coming up from Rochester NY. I feel like both sets flowed so well and the phellers took their time with each song. So much inspired exploration.

1st set: The Sigma Blaze to kick it all off was syrupy smooth. No filler in first set. We even get a funky patient Wombat. I’m leaving out so much here like that amazing Theme. The close out with a tasty Sand I mean come on. 1st set gold with a beautiful Toronto sunset.

2nd set opens with a Sample DWD and I have to say this Sample is a smidge more fantastic than Bethel. I love how it winds down into a spacey vibe only for Mike to kick our ass with his bass drop into DWD. Sweet Jesus. 20 years later and I picked my jaw off the ground as we shift gears later for one more piece: 2001 to Sally to Free. We have liftoff.

Thanks for the love Phish. And one final thing, someone commented about the missing lot pre game and no Shakedown, but I love how the Toronto shows have more laid back energy. There’s so much to do during the day and it feels great to slide into a mellow phish scene towards evening. O’ Canada
, attached to 2022-08-10

Review by Antel0pe

Antel0pe Strong show compared to recent stops in Toronto. Some good stuff packed in there for sure. Enjoyed quite a few moments in both sets but I'll stick to a few bullet points..

A long and exciting build in Theme fizzles into a gooey Wombat, and reminds us that Phish is not only crushing, but clearly having fun. Wombat is always a song I never expect, but when I hear it live.. I gotta get down!
Dwd > DDHVL is a cool segue and worked well.
Light covered some ground for 11 minutes, with a little Sand tease thrown in by Trey just for kicks. A surprising, yet welcome > into Bouncin' .. some might have feared the landing gear was being deployed... but what's that?? 2001 > Sally > Free to close S2. When fish starts up 2001 the audience reaction puts you right there. Summer 2022 baby.

See ya'll at Dicks!
, attached to 2022-08-10

Review by ccburke

ccburke Old vet returns, Blossom was my 1st show since 2013 after 137 others mainly 91-99 , i also must note I’ve listened live to every show since 09’ fluffhead minus a few west coast 2nd sets. Anyway love the band as much these days as back then but I’m not a fan of everything so here’s an honest review if the gig.

Let’s just start by saying in my history there was never such a lane lot scene , no shakedown what so ever, nought some pot at the dispensary, hoping to buy glass on lot but nooo , so if someone tells you they are on 22’ tour they more than likely are lying . Teo guys selling pins in all of Canada lol

Sigma Oasis open ended jam vehicle in 1st set is always welcome , Blaze on same response as opener only add that I saw this at blossom and in set two when sound gets turned up so this one wasn’t blossom, Steam was next , my 1st one live in person it didn’t disappoint it was great , mso , then a great Theme , honestly here is where I can tell you the band has progressed, songs like this , and later sample free are all jam vehicles. Wombat was next and honestly the only real creative song that hasn’t been played this tour they played in Toronto , mso yeah big deal, anyway Stash was next it made me cry it was beautiful buttery jam stuff, the sand closed and rocked straight from start to bottom .

Second set was ok but definitely not as good as one and set list was pretty uninspired if you ask me sample was the best one I’ve ever seen , at one point in the mid 90s I hated that song , i could see it every night if they play it opem like that. DWD was a repeat from the weekend, it was great but Mr Completely woild of been my call . The rest of the set was blah till Sally it wasn’t jammed out very long and I headed toward the door, lane boy had me at the gate. Santos came on and although I like this tune the ave set two had me on my way back to New York early. They had three days off a day off after and all we got was a my sweet one and wombat , i don’t blame them no one is on tour anymore that was evident on lot but this band now can jam sample and free like tweezer so it’s pretty good, only other complaint was talking around me was out of control . Go to the lawn and talk or at least whisper so you don’t ruin others concert
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