Phish Dusts Off “Quadraphonic Reversal” At Alabama Tour Opener [Photos/Videos]
Every year, at some point before Phishing hit the road, I find myself asking the same rhetorical question: “Is it the summer tour already?! But I feel like the New Year’s race was only last month! This year, that notion was not an illusion but a reality as the band embarked on a brief tour in early summer (Memorial Day weekend is summer, don’t @ me) at The wharf amphitheater in Orange Beach, AL on Friday, just over a month after celebrating a belated New Year’s Eve on Earth Day in Madison Square Garden.
Trey Anastasio, McConnell Page, mike gordonand Jon Fishman took the stage at 8 p.m. local time and greeted the orange glow of the sunset with the first opening show “Twist”. Not in an apparent rush, Phish worked on measured segments of melodic improvisation, reconnecting with each other and their ever-expanding palette of sounds as they breathed in the Gulf Coast air.
Phishing – “Twist” [Pro-Shot] – 05/27/22
A brief “Halley’s Comet” set up an early “Sand” show brimming with dark, humid late-night energy. Some gracious acknowledgments (“Nice to see you, nice to see you there. You’re all so handsome and beautiful,” smiles Trey) and intra-group deliberation (“It’s my friend Page McConnell coming over to give me a hug”, he added as the pianist listened) The Dillards‘The Old Home Place’, a strong Southern selection smothered by a tasty Page solo.
A short trip through a funky, layered “Monster Martian” gave way to an even shorter anecdote about less exotic beasts, “Dogs Stole Things,” the cheery blues chestnut serving as a launch pad for McConnell’s. Fuego ballad “Halfway to the Moon”.
— Phish: Off the road (@Phish_FTR) May 28, 2022
As the conversation in our living room drifted to the fact that Southern Road Warriors Widespread panic also played in Alabama At this exact moment, I have to admit that Phish briefly got the mute button in favor of the Panic stream. When your wife is a card-carrying Phish fan, but a Georgia girl through and through, sometimes it’s best to play along. Jimmy Herring tearing up a solo on “Worry” is never a bad way to pass a few minutes. The joys of couch tour…
A contemplative, slow-building “Stash” brought us back to the south coast. Driven by Gordon’s labored low-end bounce and Fishman’s light touch on the cymbals, this rendition of the A picture of nectar favorite prowled in the darkness before launching into a frantic sprint towards the light.
— Phish: Off the road (@Phish_FTR) May 28, 2022
From there, a charming “Shade” and a rocking “I Never Needed You Like This Before” finally landed in a “Bathtub Gin” that closed the set. As the jam turned to a climactic conclusion and sound waves pulsed through the cracks of the Fishman Dam, both the sprawling light rig (more than usual?) and some nifty new camera angles gave the viewers at home a new eye candy to enjoy.
After a break, the band returned for set two with a fast “Llama” of the “slow” variety, taking Orange Beach for a funky ride over Turquoise Mountain. The second image quickly escalated from there as the group flew off to “Soul Planet.” Always good for a cosmic improvisation, this rendition quickly turned dark and spooky thanks to the dissonant interplay between Trey and Mike and Page’s entropic synth swells.
Phish – “Llama” (slow) [Pro-Shot] – 05/27/22
As the gears connected and the jam turned into a mechanical scrum, a muted vocal sample began to float through the mix. Even listening after the show, it was difficult to understand exactly what the recorded voice was saying (Mrs. Cleaveris that you?) or where he came from – although some familiar Fishman “ha ha” samples have assured that he has at least some skin in the game (and if so, he there’s probably a tongue-in-cheek joke attached).
Things got even weirder from there. As the band percolated on an aerial progression and Fishman continued his laugh samples, Trey slipped into the first rendition of The Siket Disc‘s”Quadraphonic reversal” from the Long Set to Big Cypress at 12/31/99, a difference of 603 shows…
Well, that’s the short version. A slightly longer but more informative version: not quite a “song” by conventional standards, “Quadropphonic Toppling” appeared on The Siket Disc as a sub-two-minute bass vampire with an occasional snippet of Mike uttering the words “quadrophonic reversal” laid over the top. At Big Cypress, coming off a now-legendary “Sand” jam, Mike played a recording of himself saying “quadraphonic flipping” his phone into the mic to announce the first-ever live rendition of the free-form piece… somehow kind; aside from the pre-recorded words and open feel, nothing about this 14-minute interlude felt much like what’s going on The Siket Disc. The “Quadropphonic Toppling” that arose during Orange Beach 22’s “Soul Planet” maneuvered similarly, with the words serving more as a call to cultivate a certain soundscape than to play a specific composition.
After the show, the detail-oriented online Phish community pondered how to tag it: Was it a true interpretation of “Quadropphonic Toppling”? Was it just a “quote”, as we marked it when Mike said the words during “Axilla Part II” on the fake New Year last month? Box any performing a song that has no real musical parameters really be a true interpretation? Do we need to have a life and stop obsessing over Phish data? [Note: Never. We love you, Phish nerds. Never change].
As of press time, it looks like the Phish stat-erati collective has decided to call it a real “Toppling,” and that’s all well and good, but its implications are bigger: to the number one campaign show , a night often bogged down by clearing cobwebs and that “smell of new touring”, Phish was creating, inventing and renewing in peak form halfway through.
The set only got better as it went: a brooding “ghost” ballooned and contracted to hair-raising effect. Ethereal “Scents and Subtle Sounds” cast a dark haze of film noir over the amphitheater. On “Chalk Dust Torture”, undoubtedly a highlight of the evening, the band quickly discarded composed tracks and embarked on a journey of rapid improvisation, traversing distinct melodic and textural concepts with intention. deliberate. While it may not be the longest or greatest “Chalk Dust” of all time, this one covered a ton of interesting ground with curiosity and a touch of good taste.
With time for one more, the band broke up The rolling stones‘ ‘Loving Cup’, just a sip from a glass that looks set to overflow all summer. A two-song encore of “Waste” and “Say It To Me SANTOS” finally closed the book on the first night.
Lots of fun, and we’re just getting started. Phish returns to The Wharf amphitheater in Orange Beach, AL tonight for the second of three nights. For a full list of upcoming Phish tour dates, head over to here.
Stream a soundboard recording of the full show via LivePhish here. Order your Phish Spring Tour 2022 webcasts here.
set list [via phish.net]: Phishing | The wharf amphitheater | Orange Beach, AL | 05/27/22
SET 1: Twist > Halley’s Comet > Sand, The Old Home Place, Martian Monster, Dogs Stole Things, Halfway to the Moon, Stash, Shade, I Never Needed You Like This Before, Bathtub Gin
SET 2: LlamaSoul Planet -> Quadrophonic Reversal -> Soul Planet > Ghost -> Subtle Scents and Sounds -> Chalk Dust Torture, Loving Cup
AGAIN: Trash, tell me SANTOS
 Performed in a slow funk style.
Llama was played in a slow funk style. This show featured the first Quadrophonic Toppling since December 31, 1999 (604 shows). During the soundcheck, Mike quoted Got My Mojo Working in the jam and Trey quoted My Shot after The Final Hurray as well as Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 in Gumbo.