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”

  1. butter Says:

    my daughter wakes up and says:

    “Dad, i had a really good time last night, I LOVED IT!”

  2. Moby Dick Says:

    I agree Poop Goblin

    it seems to be headed that way. I just hope they pull off step 3.

    and while I don’t agree that last nights > 46 days was as bad as the >HORSE!, I do agree with Tela’s desire to stop taking it in stride and start levelly critiquing the band.

    A huge majority of Phish fans are searching for the jam. That’s not to say that jamming is the ONLY aspect of Phish, but it IS a major one. And they have been disregarding it a bit too much.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    and by complete I meant complaint……

  4. butter Says:

    But Trey just doesn’t seem comfortable operating as a bandmember these days.

    ^ whatever, this is Trey’s band

  5. marcoesq Says:

    2 antelopes in 2 shows??

    For a guy that most likely will have to skip Camden in order to do the MPPx2 run I was kind of wishing on them to drop some stuff last night to be repeated sat and sun


  6. BTB Says:

    Tela – I agree with a lot of what you said.

  7. poop goblin Says:

    Sounds like fun Butter

    Very rarely does having little ones sound fun to my ass but ever reading your posts about taking your daughter to the show def made me smile

  8. BTB Says:

    Also, the Golgi’s, Suzy’s and Possum’s are getting a bit too much rotation.

    I’m usually not one to complain about the standard songs tho. Just kind of irritating I guess. I understand now why Suzy was benched for a while.

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    Don’t worry Marco. BK is gonna feed them enough energy to start a war.

  10. butter Says:

    good post poop

    all this jam vs no jam talk is giving me a head ache like when i read PT

    Phish is the best

    i’ll give a review later

    actually my head ache is from green bottled beer

    Cheesecake Factory delivers to the hotel I’m in

  11. The Little Mound Says:

    Miner, I have a specific question for you and for the rest of the community. I think its safe to say that Phish has been using the sugue more than usual (particularly in the second sets). I think this is definitely a step in the right direction, but Miner, you get so angry when Phish segues out of a jam into a new song. This vehicle is what has made Phish so great (and unpredictable) over the years. If they were ending every song and then starting a new song, you’d be complaining about their lack of improvisation. I guess what I’m saying is that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I would rather a tighter, cohesive set with segues than playing reminiscent of the early 2000s when they would play songs to their end and then go from there. Those are just my thoughts and I think that we need to step back and ENJOY what has been some of the tightest (quality) playing we’ve heard from this band in years.

  12. marcoesq Says:

    hellllllls yeah

    And also, my girl and I are taking her best friend (n00b) who’s first (and maybe 2nd) show will be this weekend!

    She always kind of gave my girl grief for dropping everything to see these guys but since she’s going to Africa in 3 weeks she decisded it might be time to see what the fuss is all about!

    She’s been texting me since 7:20am this mornign asking for song recommendations to bone up on her P-nowledge

  13. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Nice butter! Glad your little one had a blast. I got a few more years yet till i bring my 5 year old.

    I hear the headache part…..i gotta get away for a bit me thinks.

  14. Moby Dick Says:

    i been posting too serious this morning.

    i need to return to my jovial stream of ambergris.

    long live phish.

    still my favorite band.

    jelly or no jelly

  15. tela'smuff Says:

    @Palmer – i for one don’t think it’s too much to ask that boys explore the jam like they did 10-15 years ago. It appears to me Mike is better than he has ever been, and Page is more confident than I’ve ever heard him. I mean they are still 4 of the most talented musicians on the planet, why is is too much to expect that they use their backgrounds as improvisational wizards and create magic on a nightly basis? I was under the impression last year was getting the rust out, and this was the new era. Again, i love the energy these shows contain, they are built for the live experience more than “tape” playback, I get that.

  16. Robear Says:

    top of the mornin’ all!

    tone it down, expectations kill. so far the least hyped shows,

    Chicago, Blossom, Hershey. anyone sense a trend?

    Start talking about how Camden will suck eggs and MPP will be a shitshow.

    Walk in with a smile, prepared to be under-whelmed.

  17. empire01 Says:

    Hey everyone its been a while. I have been listening to some of the tour, blossom and hershey this morning while running, and I think that they sound really good, (sbd’s sound amazing) but I think that they are concentrating on just playing well and not taking it out there as of yet. Ever since their comeback I dont think they have gotten back to that place where the improvisation is the vehicle , songs intertwine and we ask the question what song were they playing. I have not seen many shows since their comeback, knox, and the miami nye run, but I still have not felt the hose as of yet. Hopefully they will bring it in ATL.

    anyone have extras for jones beach tickets either night.

  18. ReidIcculus Says:

    Remember last Fall, when we were having these discussions, and Miner was saying how he was wondering if they would ever jam again, and then…BAM 7 below > Ghost??

    I would LOVE to know if they actually said to one another, “hey, let’s take this bitch for a ride.”?

  19. GhostPhunk Says:

    Well I don’t go to shows to see the most improvisationally gifted band in the world not improv. It’s like looking at Monet works, except they were done with a graphite pencil on paper.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    “She’s been texting me since 7:20am this mornign asking for song recommendations to bone up on her P-nowledge”

    Sweet. Sounds like a promising rookie. No doubt her mind will be blown.

  21. Robear Says:

    also, agreed 200% with Miner.

    When a jam is cut off, forcefully by one band member, it’s head scratching and worthy of discussion on a PHish blog. It’s not about the length of the jam, or how trippy it sounds. It’s about tension and release, and natural progression / resolution.

    Phish has been about crazy deep explorations, sometimes one a night, sometimes more, since ’94 easily. Despite was dizzyzx tries to teach the youth.

  22. poop goblin Says:

    Yeah no point in discussing this to death

    The boys are improving and sounded tighter every tour. Everyone wants more exploration. Could probably go unsaid at this point.

    Probably best to just sit back and see where this journey takes us.

    Sure beats my ass workin in Babylon

    Have a good one

  23. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I would LOVE to know if they actually said to one another, “hey, let’s take this bitch for a ride.”?”ReidIcculus

    I think something to that effect definitely happened.

  24. Moby Dick Says:

    i am however very pleased to see a continued stream of new material being dropped.

  25. GhostPhunk Says:

    So far it looks like this ride is taking us to one standout exploration per year, wasn’t that a nightly thing once upon a time in a galaxy far far away?

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