One of the many great things about Phish is that the band constantly develops and brings their fans along for the ride. As Phish has redefined themselves time and time again, fans have quickly grown accustomed to the bands style. While some jaded vets might prefer the jamming styles of their favorite years or tours, fans are generally open and encouraging of new Phish styles. Although Phish’s current “3.0” style has been in the works since 2009, summer 2012 has been the defining tour that has cemented this era’s current style.
Over the course of Phish’s greatest tour in a long time, the band flirted with a variety of identities. Some fans enjoyed the song chasing while some fans wanted the music to have more freedom and more jammed out shows. Although Leg I produced some substantial moments, but Leg II shines brighter. Throughout August the band dropped jams pushing 15-plus minutes almost every show. Barring one or two shows, one could argue that every Leg II show was truly great. Everything seemed to be going Phish’s way leading up to Denver and expectations continued to build.
Ultimately, you knew Dicks would be special. I knew. It made too much sense. They killed it last year. They had been playing their best this Leg since coming back and were giving the music space to breath. Of course a three night stand at Phish’s new summer Mecca would be a complete blowout. And it was. I can’t say enough about Denver so I’ll dive in deeper another time, but to me, there is no question that Denver was the best three night stand of 3.0 and probably the best three straight shows of this era. Maybe even the first, second, and third best show since reuniting.
I hope the band continues down this path because they are definitely on to something. Setlists are fresh, quality jams are aplenty and the band is having fun. There has been a lot of talk around the community about “best of” ranging from the St. Louis Limb to Dicks Light. Whether or not this is factual, or even be proven, is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that Phish is gracing the stage with fresh takes on old and new jams; this was more evident at Dicks than during any other stop this summer. If this is what we will be getting from here on out, it truly is a great time to be a fan.