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:

    chase that paper poop,

    have a good one

  2. ReidIcculus Says:

    … is it possible that he is a little worried about “taking risks” at this point?

    “sometimes when you take risks, you’re gonna play shit.” – Trey

    does he think it’s too good to risk it?

  3. Dublin97 Says:

    Saw both Hartford shows. In general, enjoyed Friday Hartford much more.

    Loved the first, new song – I think it is a great way to start. But from there there wasn’t the flow of Friday’s show. To me, the debate about whether jams should be longer or go different places is really for the stay-at home listener (which I am frequently), when I’m at the venue, I want the show to flow, preferably to rock for the first 45 minutes, slow down, and then finish strong.

    Dirt and Dr. Gable (which I really did not get) just threw everything off for me. Not a hater, by any means, but just not my bag. Second set was much better – Sneaking > Light great. I think Trey is looking for unique launching pads. When it just grooves for about 3-5 minutes, he bags it. For home listening not so great, I agree, but at the show not unwelcome, at least not for me. It is better if it is done a little smoother (ala Light > BB from Friday’s show, which I’m listening now).

    Have to get back to work now, but thus far, I think the playing this tour is fabulous – love the new percussive sound.

  4. butter Says:

    the show was awesome last night

  5. Moby Dick Says:

    Poop goblins in babylon sounds like the bible’s missing plague

  6. ReidIcculus Says:


  7. lastwaltzer Says:

    So whats on the menu for Camden:


    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Poop goblins in babylon sounds like the bible’s missing plague”moby


  9. Robear Says:

    listening to set II from last night. Up on yawningdrone

    jumped in at Sally.

  10. JMelby Says:

    Question for zzyzx if you are still here.

    Has there been another song that saw it’s debut as the set II closer and it’s second shot in the same place. I’m talking Show of Life of course.

    Just curious and thought you’d be the one to ask.

  11. SOAM Says:



  12. William H. Bonney Says:

    @Willow 10 minutes till kick off…Uncle Sam time to dominate….USA USA

  13. SOAM Says:


  14. ThePigSong Says:

    Dang! I’m gonna be out of pocket 10:00-11:30


  15. SOAM Says:


  16. jay Says:

    “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.”

    ^exactly. It is just Trey forcefully cutting jams and slamming into the next song. The other 3 are in the pocket and left standing saying “where did he go?”

  17. Little Buddy Says:

    @ Butter

    So glad you had a blast with you daughter last night. I took my boy last year, but he was a little too young. Had a fun 1st set and slept through the second (which was fine with me). Time to wait a few more years until we bring him back. I am taking him to Further this weekend though because they start at around 6:30 so he won’t really hit the tired cranky stage until the end of the show.

    Lots of decent comments today but it is starting to feel like groundhog day around this place.

    Listening to last nights show now. Pretty nice up thru KDF. Nice little jam there in KDF.

    Have a great day, kids.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    This 6/22 Light really hits my jam spot. concludes with mike burbling away, seems like it could go on, and then it’s gone. highlight for sure.

  19. Chris Says:

    “whatever, this is Trey’s band”

    Of course. That’s why so many people are bummed by Trey’s playing.

    To Miner’s point: there’s no question that Phish are better when all four listen to each other than when they play as the Trey Anastasio Quartet. Good bandleaders know how to walk that line. That was my point.

    I thought last night was great, fwiw. I don’t think Trey’s mindset is where it used to be, so I’m not expecting teh buttery, democratic jams. I’m okay with the current approach. What I’m less okay with is the bad taste that Trey’s playing too often shows.

    But that’s getting better and better. Great Woods II was hot. I’m happy with the way things are going.


  20. Stupendous Says:

    Morning yall

    good show last night, the crowd sounded raw and full of energy…

    I too worry that trey wants to turn this into dmb, so far I think that is his intent, doing a vocal jam in three songs on the 2nd set, is not jamming.
    Get over it and hold ur fanbase’s interest before they just dont feel the need to see multiple shows…

  21. butter Says:

    kick ass show, right SOAM?

  22. El Duderino Says:

    @ Boucin’

    Why would you want to go to ATL when you know the best Phish is out west man!

  23. Moby Dick Says:

    Just to be clear

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the SBDs this morning.

    I only offer my criticisms of one aspect of Phish.

    The rest of it is firing on all cylinders and I have no doubt that those in attendance left with a grins bigger than my dork

  24. Robear Says:

    loving the Mansfield jam portion of Sally.

    teasing around the theme, but avoiding royalties.

    uh oh, head; here comes the windshield.

  25. HarryHood Says:

    I’m thinking the lack of exploration can be contributed to a number of things……

    1. Pre-determined Setlist: Trey’s got the setlist in his head and knows they have a limited amount of time to pull it off in order. They probably decide which songs they are going to jam out ahead of time in order to avoid chopping songs and it leads to things feeling “forced” instead of letting a song run it’s course

    2. Trey being sober with ADD: I have slight ADD myself and I find myself going through the same thing at a show when I’m sober. Five mintues in, even if I’m still dancing like crazy, I’m already starting to wonder what’s on deck. One quick puff though and I can relax and enjoy…… No one wants Trey to use this as a solution though so it’s a double edged sword.

    3. Too much material: Let’s face it…… With endless possibilites of cover songs and a rediculous amount of originals, not every set is gonna have heavy hitters and the band loves showing off their new tunes. I actually wish they would take a break from introducing new stuff for a couple years so that we can see the “newer” stuff develop more.

    4. More pressure to let the other members step forward: I think most jams develop out of Trey getting lost in a groove and pushing the music into new territory. When he is sitting back letting the other guys do their thing, I think he basically dives back in to wrap things up. Like Miner said the other day, “When Trey’s says a songs done, it’s done”

    5. Curfews: Something we forget about and this is huge when you have a setlist decided on ahead of time. We may not be thinking about what time it is during the middle of a nasty Mike’s Groove, but I’d bet a nug or two that Trey is.

    Just my 2 pennies.

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