Tucked away amidst a two-hour first set on Saturday at Hampton was one of the dark horse jams of the weekend. With marathon setlists each night, some moments were inevitably lost in the extended fray- especially “Split Open and Melt.” Representing the first real jam of the evening, the band took a daring ride down an abstract ally, creating a seething piece of music that was reminiscent of the band’s full on experimentation in ’94. Leaving groove behind, the band attacked this jam vigorously, previewing the more open-ended excursions of the second set.
Contributing to the early ’90s vibe that defined this first set- and the entire weekend- “Split Open” was the first piece of the night that really got the show going. Immediately firing up the crowd, the band sat into the introductory grooves of the song. As they approached the pre-jam break, that rush of anticipation grew tangible, knowing we were about to live the first “Split” in five years. As we plunged below the water line, between beams to the gloom room, we were soon covered with seaweed and slime- and then it was time to melt.
Starting the jam at a brisk pace, the band wasted no time getting into the thick of things, characteristic of most all the shorter jams at Hampton. Delving into the dense musical canvas, the band almost immediately guided the jam out into more abstract territory. With Fishman playing a complex and grooveless beat, the other members began adding their interpretations of this experimental plane. Trey focused primarily on wailing tonality and searing walls of sound, bringing the improv ever deeper with his work. Mike played a continuous bassline that followed the jagged contours of the jam, while Page added blocked piano chords that anchored the far off jam to the song.
As the band got involved in twisting improv, one could have been fooled into thinking they were listening to a version from the mid-nineties. Trey progressed into his dirtiest tone, playing more distinct phrases, as Fish worked over his cymbals like it was the last time he would ever play them. Following this maddening path, the band came to a dissonant peak before pushing onwards through the sonic sludge. At this point, Mike began pounding out a heavier, repetitive line, inviting the band to return to the song’s structure. Within a minute, they had congealed and completed “Split,” but the brevity of the jam certainly took nothing away from its quality. A menacing portrait of the band’s 3.Old-school sound that painted the Hampton shows, this jam was a quick reminder of Phish’s ability to take a jam very far out in no time, and speed back to earth like a fiery comet.
As illustrated by this “Split,” the beauty of Hampton was that it was only the beginning. Primarily, the band played concise, to the point jams as they got their sea legs back again. Come mid-summer, shows will assume quite a different landscape. And by the time summer ends, Hampton will exist as a mystical memory of the weekend when it all started to come back together again.
LISTEN TO 3.7’s “SPLIT” NOW!
PHISH TO RECORD IN APRIL:
In a very candid Rolling Stone article, Phish gave writer, David Fricke, further insight into their upcoming studio plans. Very exciting was the fact that Phish already has 20 new songs and is prepared to start work on their next album in April. Teaming up with Steve Lillywhite (Billy Breathes) again, look for a cohesive effort that moves beyond their previous albums. Trey supported this assertion, saying, “I’m not convinced we’ve made a great record yet.” Yes, the passion is back! The article also gives you a look into the band’s dynamic during the break up and over the Hampton weekend. Although the article is not online, someone scanned it in. The three pages are below, click on the links and then click on the page to zoom in. It’s a great read!Rolling Stone: Page 1 < LINKS Rolling Stone: Page 2
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
8.13.93 The Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN SBD < LINKS BACK SOON
8.13.93 The Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN SBD < TORRENT LINK
Continuing our week of ’93 downloads, they don’t come much more classic than this. A second set of segue-mania features the fan favorite “Murat Gin” as well as incredibly dynamic playing throughout. A definitive piece of August ’93, this SBD is a must for all collectors.
I: Lengthwise > Llama, Makisupa Policeman > Foam, Stash, Ginseng Sullivan > Fluffhead, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Horn, David Bowie
II: Buried Alive > Rift, Bathtub Gin > Ya Mar, Mike’s Song > Lifeboy, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg
E: Amazing Grace, Highway to Hell*
“Mexican Cousin” 3.7.09 – Photo: Spencer Short