Mid-Tour Momentum

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Building off of an extensive Summer and Indio, and stepping indoors at just the right time, Phish is clearly getting their groove back. Their playing has oozed confidence and comfort, while characterized by precision and fire. When the band chooses to jam, they are doing it with a determined and patient creativity, and as we move on to the second two-thirds of tour, I’d imagine we’d begin to hear more open jamming. It would be nice to see the band focus on grooves and psychedelia a bit more than shredding rock and roll, but beggars can’t be choosers. Phish are definitely playing what they feel and playing it quite well. The most profound change in their dynamic since this fall tour started has been Mr. Trey Anastasio. While he may have been the slowest member of the band to regain his unbridled confidence, he has recently transformed into an absolute monster. Allowing his inhibitions to fall by the wayside, he has been shredding with an abandon unseen in years. Using meticulous lyrical phrasing amounting to guitar narratives, his sense of thematic jamming has returned in force, and it has effected the entire band.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

The most compelling second-set improv thus far has stemmed from Detroit’s “Disease,” and Cincy’s “Rock n Roll” and Syracuse’s “Drowned”- the three vehicles they featured the most this summer. It seems like time to switch it up a bit from the rock-only set openers; time to drop in some darker and slower type-II springboards to open set two. How about opening up “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” or dropping another “Sand?” In the end, it doesn’t matter what songs they play, as long as they continue to evolve into more frequent psychedelia…Three of the central second set jams over the last two shows – “Rock and Roll,” “Drowned” and “Piper” have held a great similarity to each other – percussive grooves turned ambient space…The two dirtiest pieces of music thus far have ironically come in first sets – Detroit’s filthy, dripping “46 Days,” and Cincy’s evil “Split.” Now let’s see some of that type of improv stretched out under the spotlight of set two! As we turn the corner towards Philadelphia and Albany, two cities that have historically played host to legendary Phish, the band looks to build on the momentum from their opening leg as everyone moves towards Thanksgiving. And this year, we have a lot to be thankful for.

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833 Responses to “Mid-Tour Momentum”

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  1. Leo Says:

    Where has the Sand gone?

  2. brother Says:

    I’ll add sneakin sally at the gorge to the list of jamming I’d like to see more of….but whatever…. keep up the energy and flow of those second sets in cincy and it’s all goooood!!!!!

  3. brother Says:

    relistening to this slave>YEM from cincy i was reminded of the last time i caught that combo, fall 98 chicago. night 3 to end that set as well i believe? would like to compare. I remember that YEM as being funky as all get out, but so is this one!!

  4. Mitch Says:

    I’d like to point out our idea that Phish reads this site since all that we talk about gets addressed the next show after we mention it.

    Bring on the mind bending, face melting psychedelia in Philadelphia. I’m ready for them to blow my mind.

    As miner says tho. Whatever they play is gonna be gravy train as long as it’s not piss in my ears. From what I’ve heard so far, it’s far from it. And yeah, I could handle a Gorge Sally or something like it every show. Converted into indoor style of course. See you fools in Philly. I’ll be the one with the Phish thoughts tshirt on.

  5. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i would say that some people working for red light PR are reading this site and the comments on it, which if something important comes up might reach phish. i bet thats why Trey doesn’t do the whale much anymore. thank god word got back to him.

  6. famousmockingbird tim Says:

    filthy, dripping

  7. zippyhybrid Says:

    On that note….

    I’m a little surprised then, that TTE is still in the mix. Maybe a little less frequented than summer….but geez, I can’t think of too many Phish songs that have been hated on as much, from what I’ve read here and from tweets…

    I suppose its not the type of music that most Phish fans have come to expect and want to hear at a Phish show….which I agree with, for the most part, although I do kinda like the song. It’s great on the album, and probably was a unique treat at the Trey Carnegie Hall show, and maybe would be appropriate at a select few Phish shows, but to hear it every other show is not so great.

    I guess maybe they just really like playing it and so don’t really care what the people say…

    On another note….if Phish really does read this board, or anyone that can get a word in with Trey at some point……please please please tell him to bring out some of the old-school tone more! Like the way his guitar sounded through most of the mid-90s. I feel like I’ve heard bits and pieces of it here and there…..but most of the time, it’s just a little different….not sure how to describe it, but it’s different.

    I like the slew of effects that came into play towards the late-90s funk era as well, and even the whale may have its place (which Trey’s 2009 tone is most perfectly suited to) but for the type of jams they’ve been playing a lot of lately….the shredding rock and roll stuff….the Languedoc sound circa 93-95 just can’t be topped….imho.

  8. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    zippyhybrid, i believe the word youre looking for is its Whinier. (Whineyer?)

  9. Mugician Says:

    Zippy, not gonna happen with his current rig. I’ve thought about his tone a lot since I saw them at RR this year. At first I missed the old-school tone, but now I absolutely love it. It’s much more (this word just seems right to me) mature. It’s sharp and unforgiving, and it fits perfectly (to my ears) to the band’s new sound.

  10. YborCity Says:

    How about a jammed out Halley’s? I’d love to see that!

  11. butter Says:

    great write up Miner. posting at super odd times over here in Maui. i’m with your call outs and requests, would love to see them have come to fruition when we meet up at msg

  12. butter Says:

    sand will come, and when they play it, its on

    probably msg or nye

  13. Holger Dansk Says:

    I don’t understand the negative vibe about TTE. I like it. It adds more color and flavor to the whole palate of their music. My hearing of it changed when I viewed the online solo acoustic version; and the orchestral version helped me get inside it as well; let it wrap around you, get inside it; it has its own unique comfort zone.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    I’m not sure the band is reading the site and taking our advice – I think it’s more likely that we are just that sharp with our commentary that we are anticipating the band’s next moves…

    that said I for one am glad they are ignoring all the tte bashing, to me this is the best phish composition in a really long time. Guyute may be the last fully realized complex composition in this vein.

  15. McG Says:

    Halley’s !!!! with a big jam
    A monsterous Mikes Groove with maybe something really out of the ordinary in the middle.
    and unleash the full fury of the Faulty Plan!

    A feel a new cover coming on….
    The lyrics refer to a situation where kindness and cooperation are universal, joy and good fortune abound, and psychological burdens are lifted:

    Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
    With the rain in Shambala
    Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
    With the rain in Shambala […]
    Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
    On the road to Shambala
    Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
    On the road to Shambala […]
    How does your light shine, in the halls of Shambala?

    While the lyrics include the refrain “in the halls of Shambala”, much of the song actually refers to “the road to Shambala”, perhaps alluding to the idea of Shambala not as a physical place but as a metaphor for the spiritual path one might follow

    If that somehow happens, you heard it here first.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    mug I’m with you on trey’s tone evolution too – his mid 90s tone was a little hair rock for me, and one of the reasons it took me a year or two to “get” phish.. while it fit great for the band at that point it wouldn’t work nearly as well with the current sound, where Trey plays a lot more rhythm licks and more regularly is looking for distortion and whacked out noises. I enjoy watching / hearing him find new colors for his palette and the process of discovery just as much as I enjoy the Wow moment when he finally uses that effect in just the right spot (the little digi loop he throws out during the twist lyrics sunday night is an example of one of those moments for me)

    The one thing I would love to have back is the leslie cabinet – I loved when he would kick into that watery tone at the slow down of a slave or in the middle of a crazy tweezer or something.

  17. Al Says:

    How about checking if the band reads this site. Can they give us a hint if they really do.

    This is how we check it:
    Let’s ALL call/write down one show opener on this bloq. If we all agree and make it clear, the band can answer our question by opening the next show with this song.

  18. david given Says:

    I love the phocus on “grooves and psychedelia”, but I am not sure I have seen any clear indication on how to get there from the rock and roll highland on which we currently find ourselves. TTE is one path, but I share the concerns of many that it is not the best route. Sand is of course a fantastic path that is not that well tread and may lead to much higher things. I think that the recent Waste> Taste points to another way up the mountain–there are all sorts of random movements between those two songs that could be capitilzied on in a very psychedelic way.

    However, I think that these are all predictable paths–and what I need now is something very unpredictable. A reason the band got back together, if you will. Something like the Rolling Stones going disco. Or Zappa making a doo-wop record. Something that has been there all the time + that I have just not noticed (which is a hallmark of all my favorite psychedelia).

    I am not sure what it is, but I am pretty sure that I will feel it when it happens. And I think it is coming soon–the last four shows all sound very very good to me.

  19. frankie Says:

    see you all tonight in philly

    i’ll be the one drunk on black and tans, smoking an L and hoping for a peaches

    drive safe everyone

    Hey Al (and trey if you’re reading): Peaches opener. Please

  20. Afroskully Says:

    Cowfunk…I couldn’t agree more about the Leslie effect. Certain spots in solos where he kicks that in can make you sob a little (see very end of clifford ball Slave)

    One more comment on Trey effects: The dying whale pedal (whammy pedal) has started to turn into the HOLY SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME pedal! Listen to the climax of Syracuse Bowie!! That’s what that pedal was intended for! I hope this is a pattern that will continue… whale be gone, descending and ascending riffs of fury…Welcome!

  21. randomreader Says:

    had a dream about phish last night. not necessarily the first i’ve had, but the first i can remember having, and/or could still remember vividly upon waking.

    dreamed i was in the basement of a house, chatting with mike. only, he looked like he was about 20, and in a really weird way he looked a lot like michael cera… anyway, we were chatting about their tunes and i asked if he ever got tired of playing certain songs all the time, like DWD, and he got really fired up about it – “yes, the other guys just love that tune but sometimes i just get so sick of it, and that intro which used to be cool…” etc. etc. to which i responded “even so, it must be really satisfying that something magical seems to happen every time you guys play that song…” and i went on to describe my experience of seeing disease at shoreline this summer. speaking of the last 2 minutes or so of the song (check your copy so you know what i mean), i said “it was like this celestial being was hovering above the stage, and beams of energy were radiating from its head, and when those beams penetrated my head it was like being consumed by the universe, and melting away to nothing…”

    i think i woke up at this point. needless to say, i was apparently as stoned in my dream as i was at shoreline.

  22. Litteringand Says:

    Hey everyone, i know i’m a couple of days behind with these comments but I must. Went to Cincy and because I saw deer creek, alpine and Chicago this summer I had no expectations. I hate to do this but gives you guys perspective on where I’m coming from……I started seeing these guys in 95 and know shit that was some of the best energy I’ve ever seen on both sides of the rail. If your a hater keep hatin cause it’s your warped way of showing love but for the rest of us, my sombrero is officially back in the ring. East Coast look the fuck out, these guys are melting faces and taking names. Finally I must shower this site with love for the positive vibes and outlet for my addiction. PAGE SIDE/RAGE SIDE

  23. Litteringand Says:

    Know=no ha

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    just ran through the joy dvd tte again – this one may be a little rough around the edges but seeing it happen makes all the difference. The lyrics to this get more poignant each time I hear it, the sections have such a nice flow to them, and the peak at the end gives me a wash like the best of hoods and slaves, but more extended. The middle part is no less danceable than the off kilter machinations of fluff or divided sky or even yem.

    Seeing the recent clamor for sand is ironic to me because when the song first came around and took over the better part of many a set it was ridiculed to no end by this fickle fan base. The whole batch of one bassline riff grooves (first tube, jibboo, sand) were looked upon by many as orphans from trey’s side project that had no place in the complex compositional world of phish.

    As you likely know, I like them all, so it’s very interesting to me watching the attitudes evolve over time, and as I said the other day I am sure tte will become loved as people get used to its changes and start to know it.

    I can’t help but imagine that when phish was playing yem to half empty bar rooms in the mid 80s they got more than one confused stare…

  25. BTB Says:

    I’m loving all these new posters. Thanks guys! Me need more 2 cents!

    RE: Does the band read the site.

    I think people around them read the site. Someone mentioned Pollock has checked out the board (i think). To me, I believe Trey when he says he doesn’t look at the internet anymore, but I also believe people have told him/them that there is a really good blog site out there where people are positive and supportive of the band.

    Most (if not all) of the people on here have passion and are there for the music. There is a great thing going on this site. Thank you Mr. Miner – you do a kick-ass job.

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