Photo courtesy of Peter Hoherd, used with permission

Debut Years (Average: 1996)

This show was part of the "2016 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by EdwardGRobinson

EdwardGRobinson I've seen every show at BGCA going back to 2012, and I thought last night was a very strong, if not absolutely transcendent show. I don't think it raised itself to the level 08/19/12 or 10/28/14 by any stretch of the imagination (few shows do) but there is lots of replay value here. (For me at least). This is also from a perspective of a person who drove home after the show to get up this morning at 6 a.m. to twin 3 year olds and a normal work day today.

On a personal note I was very happy to hear Daniel Saw the Stone. My dear friend Daniel passed away a few years ago and the Phish world hasn't been the same place for me since he's been gone.

Set 1 was solid, with strong versions and tight playing. Roggae, Divided & instrument switching Ya Mar stand out in my mind.

Set 2 highlight will obviously be massive 17 minute Sally, but don't sleep on a very good L x L > Slave combo that follows.

If I had any gripes, I would say that that Golden Age, Twist & Simple, while all fine versions with very nice moments in them, did seem to end rather abruptly. Those quick transitions got us to Sally and that is great, but the impeccable smoothness of a show like last year's Shoreline 07/24/15 show were nowhere to be found.

One other thing I see looking at the setlist is Ocelot, Possum & Antelope. See the zoo indeed!

Great night. Looking forward to tonight and Weds.
I'm rolling over the odometer tonight.
Never thought I would make 100 but here we are!

4 / 5 stars
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by Fondue

Fondue Tension and Release - BGCA Night 1

Before rambling on about the music, I thought I’d describe the joint a little for those who haven’t been. ...It’s basically a slightly larger version of your high school auditorium, with a large floor and one level of balcony. It’s also totally GA, and a good 1000 people lined up well before doors. Bill Graham is as intimate an indoor venue as you get with Phish outside of UIC, which officially holds exactly two less people.

After seeing 8 shows this summer, I can say that the lights are absolutely spectacular in this venue, so good that I found myself marveling at them repeatedly throughout the evening with incredibly happy, perfectly overzealous Phish fans, sound good and volume loud. At the Gorge, the sun might epically set behind the band and the moon come up behind the lawn, but this room is just as incredible in its own way and should go on your Phish in-person bucket list.

The music - tonight was all tension and release in just about every tune from 46 days on, where Trey builds and twists out a ripper of a solo. A long discussion leads to a tight Sugar Shack, respite for the messy clam bar version played in SPAC. Roggae, on a goddamn tear all last year, soars and peaks from a very quiet start, surely a set 1 highlight, to a great high energy Daniel which finds Trey looking to his watch as he holds out the first note. I had a brief moment of wanting this Divided Sky to find it’s way back in time to the Gorge, but the volume the crowd reaches as Trey keeps us hanging in the break was just crazy, even with 43 thousand people less than were at Wrigley. He clearly soaks it in and the band gives us a bluesy peaky jam in Ocelot that’s certainly worth a re-spin. The instrument switching gag appears again in Ya Mar. Though fun to watch, it’s sonically not nearly as interesting as the gag was in MM at Syracuse. Mike’s got a few good riffs, tho… Even good ol’ Possum brings the tension in a razor sharp Trey/Fish back and forth teetering on a SOAMelt-ish middle section. Certainly one of the best first sets of tour.

Golden Age gets us going a little after 10pm, and descends type 2 for a few brief moments until a tight, crunchy Twist emerges. It’s practically over before it began, and they rip thru an enjoyable My Sweet One. I like fast Phish… so let’s skip the awfully placed Line and move onto an uptempo Simple. I think I’m spoiled from seeing this tune so many times at MSG. I just expect there to be a euphorant sing-along huzzah at “We’ve got skyscrapers…” but I guess it doesn’t happen anywhere else. Simple falls into a few minutes of bliss and then Sally makes her first appearance in 2016, and she fucking sneaks the shit out of that alley. Sally rocks, rolls, builds, peaks, even gets a bit dissonant for your definite highlight of the night. If nothing else, pull up this and the churning Limb that follows. Slave was its usual peaky self, tho I prefer the Philly one over this. Another great encore follows, with the definitive tension and release tune in the catalog raging and kicking us out the door into the gentle, cool night.

If you do listen to the show, point your ears at Fishman. All night he nudged tempos and lockstepped with Trey into some interesting territory, especially in tunes where I don’t feel like I usually hear it - Ocelot, Possum, and Sally’s Limb in particular. It’s texture we haven’t heard much of this summer. I think @n00b100 has aptly noted a few of this year’s shows seem like ‘93 throwbacks, and I think he’s right on the money. This show will stick with me much like my favorites from that era, when I first started seeing the band, and for many of the same reasons. Last night was tight. I'm glad there's two more.
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by User_35223_

User_35223_ Might as well review this 'un.

First Set:
A Martian Monster opener, a beautiful and serene Roggae jam, an above average Divided Sky and a Ya Mar with a it's-getting-old-fast-and-accomplishing-nothing-at-all-so-please-stop-it-Phish rotation jam.

Second Set:
Golden Age kicked things off and got off to a good start, with great and melodic playing to Trey, not too unlike the fantastic Lakeview Simple, but more anthemic, freewheeling and joyous, then skidding into Type II territory with nervy Rhodes work by Page and Fishman speeding up the tempo a bit to complement it,.

After some great Trey and Mike interplay, Trey started laying down some tension with Page manning the grand; going from twinkling to laying down the chord structure, then Trey kept things tension-filled with some machine gun work, before the jam quickly fizzeld out before heading into an unusually short Twist, then My Sweet One and then, the Line (DEAR GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO).

The thing is, I actually like the Line, the studio version that is, but when performed live with it's harmonies sounding like a choir of teenager's voices crackling, thus losing much of it's power. But most of all, it is the harbinger of Le Fourth Quarter, and Simple following didn't seem to be much of a savior either, despite the fact that the aforementioned Lakeview version was fantastic, and this one did feature some nice Trey and Page interplay, but then...

Sneakin' Sally kicked in the door, and it's jam section began like my beloved 12/30/15 Gin, with the band members scatting along to a steady Fish beat, before beginning the jam section with great funky Trey and Page interplay, before Trey hits on a melodic riff, then Fish goes over to the ride cymbal, loosening up the jam, with Trey slowly shredding alongside him, with Page providing the tarmac for him to shred on.

It seems that Trey is heading for a finish line before he brings himself back before sprinting at 100MPH towards a glorious peak, before going at it again like the Worcester Boogie On, before cooling down and then, with Fish picking up the tempo and Page twinkling on the grand, Trey heads back into tension land under a psychedelic sky painted by Page's grand work and his own effects, before Fish speeds up the tempo even more, and Trey begins going for an astronomical peak, before heading up the fretboard for some quiet and fast soloing.

Then Fish speeds up the tempo to a ridiculous speed, and Trey gets more forceful and frantic before going for the peak in earnest and then he just fucking shreds it, and it's just so over the top and glorious, before heading back to earth and regular tempo to finish off Sally.

I really need to use full stops more, eh?

Anyway, after that whiplash-inducing awesomeness, it's Limb by Limb with a brief discordant jam which then turns melodic before Slave creeps in beautifully. This version is a little slower than most, and a little more quiet and unassuming, before it explods in the almost parody-level of grandeur like most Slave's do, and overall is a good version.

For the encore, it's When the Circus comes to Town and Antelope.

And uh... that's that.

The best show of the tour so far, especially in terms of consistency. It's a captivating listen and can't wait to see what other fruits the BGCA run bares.

Rating: 4.5-5/5

Roggae, Golden Age and Sneaking Sally through the Alley (if Satan himself offers an SBD of the latter for your scrotum and/or your first born child, TAKE IT YOU HEATHEN)

For the love of god and for the millionth time, turn Mike up on the SBD!!!
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by znmick

znmick My two cents on night one of the Bill Graham run…

I was standing Page side, four or five rows back this evening, and whenever that’s your situation, it’s pretty damned hard not to enjoy yourself, and I had a GREAT time tonight! While not the single best show I’ve ever seen, I felt this show was really straight heat… especially for a *Monday* night in San Francisco following a two night Gorge run!

Highlights -
Opening the first set, Martian Monster brought great energy and punch, and while Halley’s felt abridged, the segue into 46 Days was fire! Reggae and Ocelot both had some really standout moments too. With that said… that second set… Sally is simply a must hear. It was just huge, featuring cresting sonic apex after cresting sonic apex after cresting sonic apex… just a monster! The Golden Age got very dark and is worth your attention, and the same can be said of LxL. And speaking personally, When the Circus Comes is just a very special song in my life… finding it placed in this encore slot was touching and quite welcome.

As for “cons”… I don’t know - I always feel like these are pretty subjective… to each his or her own, really. That said - *for me* - I find myself getting a touch bored with the instrument swapping, so when they went that route in Ya Mar, it didn’t thrill me. My litmus test is in how interested I am on the relisten, and that’s typically pretty low with this type of thing. That said, if that’s what gets the boys feeling good and allows them to enjoy the groove that they are gracious enough to share with us… then by all means!

Great show. Can’t wait for night 2!
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by JMart

JMart This was a strange show for me.
The Bill Graham runs are usually highly anticipated, but this year only two days after a monster Gorge run, and starting on a Monday, I'll admit they almost feel like an afterthought. That was certainly the case as I put on my game face and got on MUNI for the brief ride to Bill Graham.

The place was packed and fairly rowdy and things got off to a good start with MM and then Halley's. The first set featured what I thought was excellent song selection, and solid if mediocre execution. I was happy to see the tour debut of Ya Mar, but I will echo the reviews above when I write that, while the instrument switching is about as cool as HYHU is, there's a reason why HYHU is rare and the instrument switching should be as well.

Golden Age is not my favorite, but it is a great set opener and the crowd really dug it. Fantastic lights the entire show. Really digging the new setup. The Sally is going to get a lot of press and rightfully so. Clearly the highlight of the night and where you should go if you're going to listen to anything from this show. Fairly straightforward jam gives the peaks you came to hear.

Overall, a pretty decent show, especially, as above, being placed where it is on the tour and on a Monday. Three thoughts:

1. it sure is nice for them to be playing cover tunes again. I love Phish originals obviously, but I like to live in a world where I can hear Ya Mar, Sally, Golden Age, and Circus on any given night.

2. One of my bigger complaints over the past 4 years has been the direction the songs take, with many of them ending plodding, mid-tempo pentatonic scale runs by Trey with a few isolated peaks that are telegraphed from way far away. This was certainly the case with more than a few songs last night. Like someone said earlier about 7/15/16, when you hear so many so-so shows, the nights where they step out and play with energy and creativity sound so fresh. This band *can* do the ear bending, out there music from earlier days, but have settled into being a more straight-ahead ROCK band the past few years, and seem content to stay there.

3. I really don't like ending reviews negatively, but I have to say this: sometimes their song's like they're consciously trying to ruin the energy. At this point in their career, they've *earned* the right to play My Sweet One >The Line as the third and fourth songs in the second set or to peel out of a vicious Mike's jam only to grind into Farmhouse, but WHY? Why would you make that choice? I do not understand it.

Focusing on mindfulness and enjoying the music as we head to the fourth show in five days...
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by funkbeard

funkbeard the whole run was fantastic. the first sets all three nights gave the second sets a hard run for their money.

at 2:37 into limb by limb, trey mocks donald t with a bunch of repeated china china china references. pretty funny.

the band were nailing the compositions all three nights!
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by mattybweston

mattybweston Hey all,

I'm sure Philbombs77 will probably get torched so I'll jump onto that pyre with him. First- my bona fides. First show- the Mrs. Pizza Face gig at Trax in Charlottesville, 11/15/91. Show count- hundreds all across the country. Time spent on tour- hundreds and hundreds of days. Treasure spent with this band- untold dollars.

My commitment to this music and our scene (coming out of the unraveling Dead scene) has never waivered, even to the detriment of my education, career and family. And yet until this tour (and for a spell in 2004) it seems that it has all been worth it. It seemed that the band understood and respected the amount of commitment and sacrifice that their fans make in creating the gift of an attentive, intelligent, forgiving, travelling audience. And in return all we asked was that they brought it hard and tried something daring. If it failed we were there to pick 'em up, dust 'em off, slap their backs and head out to the next show. It seemed a symbiotic relationship.

And then the first half of Summer 2016..... I've got a new family but thanks to technology I can listen to every show the day after (which I do religiously at least twice each), watch selected shows and then poach a few each year in person. The first half of Summer '16 was shocking, particularly with spectacular Magnaball and the fun-if-not-spectacular La Playa so close in the rearview mirror.

How shocking?- The flubs for the composed sections were obvious to all. Seemingly unnoticed was a certain member who seemed incapable of remembering chords in a majority of songs. With Mike turned down so low in the mix the result was an enormous hole in the sound. I was on tour when Mr. Garcia had the same problem but with a rhythm guitarist and two drummers there were others to step up and fill the void. My kids even commented while watching SPAC on the webcast- "Why is he just holding the neck of his guitar?" Good question.

To continue Philbombs77's baseball analogy, most of this tour seems like Spring Training and some of the players are woefully out of shape. Fair enough- but to hop on a tour that thousands of fans have planned their lives around in such shape feels more than a little like a giant middle finger to our whole collective endeavor.

The "play yourself into shape" plan appears to finally be working but it took well over half of the tour to get there. Last night's Halley's finally hit the outro jam running, Roggae felt like we got several small peaks in there and Sally was fantastically inspired. Add the Gin of 7/16/16 and the Ghostlight of Great Woods 7/8 (it will always be Great Woods) and those are the highlights of the Summer. Four songs in 15 performances? WTF?

I will forever love this band, this scene and you freaks and my skin is thick enough to handle your daggers. I do/will take umbrage to the "you had to be there" and "no reviews from the couch" crowd. Isn't the entire point of this community that it's amazing if you are there, but if not we can share the next best thing? My favorite relistens are not exclusively from shows that I've attended- does that mean I'm not allowed to scream out loud in traffic when things turn epic (10 years after it was recorded)? I'm hopeful that this tour takes the momentum of portions of the Gorge and BCCA1 and shifts into a higher gear- one that we (especially those on tour) are more accustom to and quite frankly deserve.

I hope everyone on the road stays safe and that this tour, while taking far to long to get there, finishes like last summer.

Oh yeah- I find anonymity on the internet to be bullshit and a recipe for acerbic abuse so I'll put my name on it-

Matty Weston in Austin
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by Campster

Campster My first show of 2016 - and a "hometown" show as well. Coming off of 2015's monster tour, I think 2016 has suffered from being in the shadow of the previous year (which has been compounded by some less than inspiring performances).

That said, it's Phish - and it's always fun - so here goes.

The first set kicked in with a really great triumvirate of tunes. Martian Monster is really welcome in the one spot (of set I or II for my money) as I think it gives the band a nice groove to get loose and the crowd (read me) a chance to limber up after a Monday at the office. As a bonus, I thought it was also a great way for me to get introduced to the new lighting rig, lots of opportunity for CK5 to shine alongside some space age sounds. As an aside, the lighting rig looked pretty stellar in BCGA, which was a pleasant surprise since I wasn't really digging the look via webcasts.

Short and sweet Halley's jumped into 46 days. Not much to say about the former, but the latter was full of some really good guitar work (let's be honest - 46 days always whips up into a frenzy). I, along with the rest of the room, was moving pretty well during the opening sequence.

Sugar shack gave me the opportunity to purchase an SF priced beverage. I guess beer prices have to keep up with rents in this city? I actually caught the debut of this tune and most of this version - and I didn't really mind it here.

Roggae was absolutely sublime. Most recent versions have been good, and this one kept pace. The set I highlight - give it a spin if you like this tune.

Daniel was a nice rare treat - brought me back to my days in Virginia.

Divided Sky was well played - although I have to say - why didn't they play this in the Gorge setting? Indoor versions just aren't the same (Hampton 2013 aside with all those lighters in the air).

Ocelot meandered to a good peak and fit well with the mellow vibe that seemed to emerge after the 46 days fireworks.

Ya Mar is a fun tune - although like Divided Sky - I like it on a warm breezy outdoor summer day. They pulled out the instrument switch trick, which I would call a gimmick except for the fact that Gordo threw out a couple pretty tasty flurries from the Languedoc. Hopefully they won't be rotating anymore this run.

Possum to close? Yes please. After a pretty mellow run of songs from Sugar Shack to Ya Mar I was ready to kick things back up. Possum was a great way to send everyone scampering off to setbreak feeling good.

Overview of Set I: I wouldn't have picked a single song they played to be on my dream set I setlist (they ignored my Reba t-shirt) - that being said, I enjoyed it that much more because I was so pleasantly surprised by the playing throughout and the flow of tunes. Really good first set.
Highlights: Roggae

On to the second set. I was calling a predictable DWD, so Golden Age was another nice curveball and leading off the second set you know it's going to be a fun one. Good Trey solo and damn if they didn't get down and dirty in a very 2001esque groove. Pretty strong version although not enough to unseat my top 2 SBIX & Hampton 2013...Bronze medal ain't bad.

Twist emerged and I had high hopes that were not fulfilled. Still a fun tune.

My Sweet One in kind of an odd placement, but I always like this tune.

The Line. Bad call guys.

Simple...a life preserver for a slowly sinking set? Yup, this one triggered the turnaround, although not delivering the full goods. Crowd was back into it, and the interplay at the end was really solid between Trey and McConnell.

Sneakin' Sally completes the resuscitation. By this time you know this is the highlight of the show (and will cement itself as an All-Star selection from this tour). Go grab it, have a listen, and if you like hearing Fishman propel the band into the stratosphere (and Trey keeping up with him) this one will have you raising a fist or two in celebration.

A nice and interesting Limb by Limb follows up and is also worthy of a listen. This is an interesting version that deviates a bit from the norm and managed to sound a bit dissonant at times, which made the melodic playing that much more beautiful.

Slave to the Traffic Light reminds us of the heights we can hit through the spirit of communication, cooperation and open-mindedness. This song always restores my faith in humanity and this is a nice version (is there a bad version?).


Circus is a perfect choice. Always.

Antelope sits in the house money slot of a double encore and packs a typical punch without breaking any new ground. Now how am I supposed to go home and sleep and get up for work?

Overall Set II: Really good set with a minor hiccup in the middle (I don't need to utter it's name...). Like the first set no songs that I would have in my dream setlist aside from Slave, but made all the more enjoyable by strong playing, some good jams, one very good jam, and a good mix of interesting tunes. Double encore with two great songs doesn't hurt either.
Highlights: Golden Age, Sneakin' Sally, Limb by Limb

Final Opinion: This one will hold replay value for me as it had interesting song choices that made for a really flowing and cohesive show, not to mention a really good jam on a really good song in set II and plenty of other noteworthy moments sprinkled throughout.
4/5 - a better than your average Phish show
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by dpwilljr

dpwilljr My third Sally and the best I've heard. Each one had something memorable, but this one surpasses previous versions I've seen.
Pushing a song like Sally into a great jam requires so many things. The city, the mood of the audience & the band....
Miami 12/31/14 set two comes to mind as to when I last witnessed a jam this great.
I think all of this converged in a '16 way.
, attached to 2016-07-18

Review by Philbombs77

Philbombs77 I wasn't at BGCA last night, nor have I been to any shows this summer. I will be getting my rocks off at Dick's in about 6 weeks - at least, that's the plan for the time being.....

But I listened to last night's show. In fact, I've listened to every show this summer except Portland and Great Woods. And with the exception of Hartford and Gorge I, the shows have lacked a coherent sense of purpose (sonic, thematic, and creative), are poorly executed, and are mostly forgettable. I want to forgive the missteps of the past month, especially when the band in question has delivered time and again in the past. But I can't. Any great artist, no matter what the medium, is a risk taker and the byproduct of taking risks can be failure, even for the creme de la creme of one's field. Picasso, Stravinsky, Kubrick, & Nabokov all swung and missed - however infrequently. But the point is: they all SWUNG the metaphorical fucking bat! It feels like half the time, Phish (or at least one member of the band) is standing at the plate and taking strikes one, two, and three without even a hint of moving the lumber off his shoulders. Another quarter or third of the time, he (they) will act like a National League pitcher and take one or two perfunctory swings for show (except you, Madison Bumgarner - a Giant among lesser pitchers who can't be bothered to take BP like it mattered).

I'm getting off course here. What I'm trying to say is this: if Phish decided to jam something else besides CDT, DwD, Carini, Tweezer, Light, and the other 2-3 songs that have been their third quarter crutch for awhile and fell flat on their faces, I would applaud it. Because I would at least know the effort was made. Hell - they DID do that...see Moma at SPAC and SSTTA last night. No pancaked faces though - both jams were sizzling. Sadly, they were rare exceptions. The much larger problem, though, is the fact that we're not even really getting the effort on the known quantities anymore. Hell - I would feel lucky if I went to a show this tour and they decided to take ANY song out for a real Type I or Type II spin. They've decided to play (nearly every night) 12-13 song first sets, derailing all chance for exploration and, really, even the remote possibility of tiny excursions off the beaten path. The Dead used to do this in the late '80s and '90s, but they made very little pretense about it. Instead, they played 7-8 pieces, sometimes wrapping things up in 45-50 minutes, took a nice long setbreak, and then went to town for a 1.5-2 hour second set that almost never wanted for jamming and imagination. It didn't always work - and for the last four years the results were pretty piss poor - but at least they fucking tried. Phish doesn't seem to be trying anymore. They can decide, ahead of time, to go ahead with a five or six song set and let the chips fall where they may. They can decide, ahead of time, to not play "The Line" or "My Sweet One" or "Devotion to a Dream" or "Farmhouse" which are salient and predictable momentum killers. They can decide, ahead of time, to commit to a Ghost or a Jim or a NMINML and take swing after swing, even if it results in screwing themselves into the ground. But they at least have to SWING the FUCKING BAT! If you love baseball (which I realize most of you don't), you wouldn't go to Fenway or Wrigley Field to watch almost the entire lineup walk or strike out looking. Whether you plunked down $50 or were gifted the tickets - it wouldn't be worth your time. Unless Phish starts putting in the effort and going into each show with a mentality of aggression, risk-taking, and, yes, winning the mf'ing game, I find it harder and harder to justify spending a couple of minutes, let alone a couple of hours, listening to them. For the first time ever, I'm actually pondering selling my Dick's tickets and doing something else over Labor Day weekend. It makes me both sad as well as angry. I've been committed to this band since the late '90s and I'm worried that they're starting to give up. I know it's selfish - I don't have any delusions that my motives for wanting them to try harder are altruistic in nature. But I can't help it.

I welcome the inevitable criticism to these comments, but, please, I beg of you, if you're the "an-average-Phish-show-is-better-than-almost-any-fillintheblank" pull your head out of your rectum before you respond to this post. Thank you.
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