Moments In Mansfield

Official Mansfield Poster

I left Great Woods scratching my head last night with a question that has grown significant in the flow of recent Phish sets – “Why does Trey keep cutting off jams?” In a very good show at Great Woods that could have been great, Phish got into two sections of improvisation, out of “Sneakin’ Sally” and “Light” that reached points of greatness when Trey singularly decided to lop them off before they came to an organic endings. The flow of a potentially awesome second set became compromised, and we were left with some stellar, relatively disconnected, moments of Phish.

Within each individual jam, Phish is clearly listening to each other very proficiently, jamming as a unit quite well. But any time a piece seems to be progressing into something bigger, the band continues to push ahead in the musical concept, while Trey simply starts a new song. For examples, look no further than the two most significant pieces of last night’s show – “Sneaking Sally” and, more particularly, “Light.” Each jam brought original ideas to the table, connected in cohesive improvisation. But in both cases, (much more flagrantly in “Light”) Trey ended the piece awkwardly, suddenly starting the next song while the rest of the band was clearly still engaged. Food for thought.

6.12.10 (PEEK)

Nonetheless, the highest points in the evening came in “Sally > Light,” and a phenomenal “Slave” that deserved a more complete set to punctuate. “Sally” brought a bulbous funk excursion that had the amphitheatre bumpin’ like a pinball machine. Trey, with short, high-pitched licks and searing leads, and Mike, with thumping bass lines, engaged in creative interplay, leading the band through dance realms without ever falling prey to cliche grooves. Trey briefly previewed the upcoming “Light” by changing tones within the “Sally” jam, but then prematurely chopped in with the song’s initial chords. The band adjusted quickly, resulting in only a slightly rocky transition, but why isn’t Trey allowing jams to reach their natural conclusions?

“Light” entered sublime territory, leaving the song’s build for a darker exploratory realm. Page and Mike stepped up to co-lead this forward-looking experiment while Trey accented the jam from the behind the scenes. This section was amazing, but this section lasted only two and half minutes. As the band jammed on, Trey decided it was time for “Forcety-Six Days,” inexplicably starting the blues-rock number amidst a serious groove. Once the band had left the build of “Light,” they arrived at a plane that seemed destined for greatness along the lines of Blossom’s “Number Line,” but it wasn’t given the chance to grow.

6.15.10 (B.Riley)

Though “46 Days” didn’t go too far, it did include an clever improvised vocal ending before the band played standard versions of “Limb” and “Golgi.” When this dip in the road ended, Phish came back with a gorgeous version of “Slave.” Incredibly patient throughout, the jam featured a quiet initial section without a beat, as the band combined gentle offerings. Listening and responding to each other meticulously, the band built a summer highlight with the apparent set closer. Then throwing the audience a bone, the band tacked on “Loving Cup” to end the summer night.

There were encouraging sections in last night’s second set, but when the dust settled, the whole wasn’t necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. The opening “Mike’s Groove” contained high energy, but straight-forward playing in both halves, as the band has yet to match the creativity of Blossom’s “Groove.” An encore of “First Tube” closed the night on a high note just before the rains came.

At this point, Camden is set up to be a complete blowout with all sorts of big guns due up in the rotation. And Phish destroys Camden as a matter of fact throughout their career. Every.Single.Year. There’s no place like Southern Jersey to get the second-half of tour underway! See you there.

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

First Set Notes: The jam of the first set came via “Kill Devil Falls.” A stretched out rock improvisation smoked anything in the frame with one of its best outings yet (though not in the same league as Bonnaroos’s versions from last June.) Shredding versions of “Divided Sky” and “Antelope” also dotted an opening frame that saw the debut of another original, “Dr. Gable.” This piece carries a distinctly non-Phishy sound, presenting the potential for something original to grow. Now that Phish has debuted so many new songs, the question remains – why aren’t they playing them? In the past, the band frequently repeated new material to improve it, but this summer we’ve heard a bunch of new pieces only once. Hopefully, along the second half of tour will see the development of  the new side of Phish alongside their classic jams. The band opened with a song called “Lit O Bit,” but as of right now, I do not know if its a Phish song or cover.

I: Lit O Bit*, Camel Walk, Possum, The Divided Sky, Dirt, Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls, Dr. Gabel*, Run Like an Antelope

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley > Light > 46 Days, Limb By Limb, Golgi Apparatus, Slave to the Traffic Light, Loving Cup

E: First Tube


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1,342 Responses to “Moments In Mansfield”

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  1. m00nshake Says:

    Looks like a hot show to me, can’t wait to hear it. Thanks for the review, Miner. I don’t know why Trey is cutting the jams off early, but he is playing with an intensity that I haven’t seen in a long time, and the entire band is following suit. I’m sure that there will be some big, uninterrupted jams ahead. I am very excited for what lies around the corner.

  2. pages_sandwich Says:

    Perhaps because it is not 03′ and this isn’t Bisco. Just Sayin’.

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    is 03 the only time Phish jammed to fruition? I think not my friend. They have done it this tour…SPAC Rock and Roll is a great example of a jam that comes to a natural ending…

  4. pages_sandwich Says:

    Of course not, in fact we have seen some very “complete” jams in 3.0, especially last fal(ie Albany2 II). I just feel like to much attention is being paid to the importance of long jams. Perhaps the endings are far too abrupt, but I feel like SPAC II was a surgical use of energy, which just maybe is the direction Trey is trying to go right now as opposed to sending us all to the nether regions w/ dark drawn out jams. As to how the rest of the band feels about this, obviously I cannot say. They all sure look happy on stage. Anyway the great thing about this age of Phish is that they are present and so are we, and hopefully they keep bringing something for everyone. Here’s to the 20 minute type II Ghost I hope we get at Camden1:)

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    I’m not talking about jam length. I’m talking about jam completeness. very different things. I don’t care how long jams are if they are complete.

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    cheers to the ghost. no doubt. 😉

  7. mister Says:

    2 thursday camden sec 202 for 2 friday camden pavillions

  8. sethf Says:

    At least they seem happy and are playing well! We can all feel the new energy and I for one am thrilled by it. Should be an interesting rest of the summer.

  9. Paul Says:

    I agree with mister miner.. Especially with light.. That jam had serious potential and Trey carried out a back alley coat hanger abortion that made me want to cry. I did enjoy the show thought, but…

  10. Capt. Obvious Says:

    I can see Halfway to the Moon entering the rotation somewhat a la Beauty of a Broken Heart. Looks like Show of Life is well on its way to finding a place.

    And I wouldnt be surprised to see Summer of ’89 or Gable again, but I hope they dont find a permanent place. Maybe played a few times and then gone like Spread it Round.

  11. Phil Says:

    I tend to agree Miner. We all love these songs, but if i wanna hear a 5 minute 46 Days, I’ll put on Round Room. Wish they’d open it up, but we’ve been saying that since Hampton ’09. First three shows of tour were teases. Still unmatched.

  12. Matso Says:

    Somehow I was relieved to see that there wasn’t a Ghost on last night’s setlist. It hurts less to have missed it by more than just one show.

    After a full night’s rest, the flow of thoughts and feelings about this past weekend are starting to settle a bit for me. Whenever I think about my trip now, I get a nice warm feeling. As Miner has pointed out many times in the past, we can draw inspiration, strength and comfort from the memories we collect at Phish shows. The experiences shine a light on the mundane and quotidien.

    I also started my review of the shows I saw last night with a little 6/19/10 Bathtub Gin (thanks KP for the links!). Damn that’s a nice little jam. More focused and direct than Portsmouth, imho. Mike plays this awesome little bass riff that punctuates the whole thing, filling in around Trey and then pushing the whole thing forward like

  13. WALSH Says:

    I definitely hear you on the “completeness of jams Miner. I am fine with 4 guys being tight and concise, and jams not being long as long as it doesn’t take away from what could have been …this is the feeling I have been left with all too much since 3.0 has been around.

    Last year, I couldn’t tell if it was Trey or Fish that did it more, but this year, with Fish back in the saddle…it is clearly Trey that has seemingly killed any chance for certain jams to reach some other worldly heights. Even if it were only another minute or two, it would give the band a chance to creatively find themselves in another song, or place to jam.

    It’s not a complaint, it is more of a feeling of confusion…he has let certain jams get to their zenith and crafted fantastic segues and sets, while others he seems afraid to let find their path. Hopefully we start to see Red truly let loose this 2nd half and start to really get to the heart of this thing. I have hope due to what’s been happening on occasion…to borrow a line from another fav of mine, Let the music play the band.

  14. Matso Says:

    opps – like a turbo charger. Page is also super responsive. I couldn’t hear him well on the lawn that night, but he’s right in there with Trey and Mike on this one. Beautiful stuff. I also reviewed the RnR, which I really enjoyed at the show. I love the textural, crunchy stuff and this hit the spot.

  15. pebbles Says:

    Tho’ Trey did wind the Light up earlier than he should have, that was my only gripe with last night’s show. In this guy’s humble opinion, that was one of the best shows, if not the best show, Phish has thrown down in 3.0. Everything seemed to belong right where they put it, none of the landing points (gabel, limb by limb) brought the energy down, and the playing was as cohesive and creative as it gets–even if the jams weren’t 20+ minutes, they were all new and…. well…. awesome. There have been some individual jams that were better than any one of last night’s, but you won’t find a better start-to-finish show. 9.5/10.

  16. Paul Says:

    It also seemed, to me at least that the other three members of the band really want to explore. At the end of Sally and light, it seemed as if page mike and fish were resistant to move to the next song, but gave in after a measure or two. I also thought the vocal jam at the end of 46 days was an attempt to go back into a jam, but alas, Trey wasn’t having it. I am curious if anything was said to Trey after the show about this tendency… If he ever jumps on board, watch out, it’s gonna be incredible. I really hope that Trey loosens up as the tour goes on because there have truly been some incredibly unique offerings and musical ideas put on the table, an there is potential for some legendary music this tour. Only time will tell, but I
    remain optimistic.

    Not trying to be negative, because last night was a very good show for sure.. Although short, I was impressed with the improv. For some reason, page really stood out to me last night.. He was feeling it! Slave was incredible.

    Looking forward to Camden.. Sorry for the long post.

  17. mmm hmm Says:

    Trey can be a musical asshole sometimes.

  18. ThePigSong Says:

    Didn’t robear call camel walk, sneakin’, “forcety” six days (lol) and maybe another yesterday afternoon?

    Did poster kid hack robear account?

  19. ReidIcculus Says:

    I wonder if Trey is holding back for a reason? I don’t think it’s due to him being afraid…it’s almost like he has ADD..

    as for the opener – Lit O Bit (Rita Clarke and The Naturals)

  20. bouncin fan Says:

    These shows are just practice for the west coast

    Jams have away of naturally opening up out there

    Anyone with ga or good pavs for Atlanta looking for tix

    Have a good one

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    cant wait to listen to this one and see how obvious Trey’s switches are.

    The good news about this is that its a fixable problem.

    Trey will figure it out. The jams are there. Once Trey commits to finishing out the jams check your face.

    I think TreyDHD is mostly to blame, but I have full confidence he will figure it out.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Miner, you know I love your blog and appreciate it all. One thing I am wondering, though, is if you are entering the shows with too many expectations (something we talk a lot about on here), hoping and expecting long jams that are not happening. From the reviews (not sure if you really feel this way) if seems like it is all about what happens in the second set, or does not happen in the second set. While I know the second sets are historically where the big things happen, this Phish seems to like the first set a lot too, and I have been feeling that the last few shows set 1 is where it is at.

    I love the reviews and they do make me listen to the shows with a different ear, but do hope that you enjoy what is coming up, with our without the jams. Have fun!

  23. Moby Dick Says:

    I do have to agree that they are constantly pulling the greatness out of shows. Meaning that they have all been good, but any hint of greatness is removed by Trey’s over eager need to play new songs smack in the middle of jams.

    I think he needs to come back down to the sea for a bit and go in to my wet lodge and take some psychedelic kelp, and remember how to let things grow naturally.

    That being said, there was some stellar improv where we got it.

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    Lets not hope that this turns into everyone hoping Trey does drugs again, because that would not be pretty. Not worth a few minutes extra of jams, haha. Or is it?

  25. Moby Dick Says:

    No no

    I am not for Trey getting back on the shit.

    Just saying that he needs to relearn patience.

    i only suggest the kelp because its natural and doesnt exist.

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