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. JMelby Says:

    Back to back Antelopes happen, thank God. See 2000, Alpine Creek. Only difference was Alpine first set closer and Creek was Encore

  2. Stupendous Says:

    “you dont need to be high to look up at the sky”

    u dont have to be high to get lost in the abyss of sound

    get high with music yo

  3. HarryHood Says:

    @ Stup

    You apparently don’t suffer from ADD.

  4. Stupendous Says:

    i get distracted easily but as a musician, getting lost in the pocket gets me higher than any drug can.
    my conclusion on the whole matter is that trey is afraid to go down that tunnel
    just because of the repercussions that might bring….

  5. jay Says:

    Even when he is not slamming the jam into another song they are still cutting the songs short. Just a few more minutes for that AC/DC Bag to fully realize and resolve itself, just a tad more time in those Gin’s and Jim’s to complete the release. Just some more length in Moma Dance and Free to full immerse yourself in the thick funk.

    They don’t even have to stretch every time out for these songs. Just enough times that they don’t all start running together. When are we going to have expressions like these again? “The Chicago Possum” or “The Blossom Ocelot” or “The Hershey Chalkdust”

    That’s all I am saying.

  6. Stupendous Says:

    ya my complaint exactly jay
    everything is sounding generic at this point

  7. HarryHood Says:

    @ Stup


  8. JMelby Says:

    From a good friend who is friends with the Dude of Life. He posted this on the Green board earlier.

    “Just wanted to clear a few things up.

    Dr. Gabel is a Dude of Life / Trey collaboration. It was written about a year and a half ago, maybe two.

    Yesterday, at around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, Trey texted the DoL and asked him to email the Dr. Gabel stuff that they had worked on. The DoL sent him the music, the band worked on it during sound check and then played it at the show.

    Personally speaking, I like the song. The lyrics are very cool and the “silentesque” outro jam that Trey does is great. It reminds me of a classic rock song, I have heard a couple people compare it to a Who song, I see that.

    Lastly, IMO, the coolest part about them playing the tune is that it’s a sign that they are still taking risks.

    Get the lyrics, sound check, play. That is awesome. That is Phish. It may have been rough around the edges, but they were having a good time. I think it’s awesome.”

    He called me with more info last night right after it went down. He was actually talking to the Dude and making plans with him for Camden so he could see/hear the debut. My friend checked his Blackberry for a set update as they were playing Dr. Gabel. Mutual freakouts ensued. Thought some might enjoy this.

  9. SOAM Says:

    Good one-I say last night was the best of the northeast run…thought it started slowly from Possom on it was hot…

    Trey not using drugs has alot to do with the music but he’s got to be smokin weed…I mean staying sober on tour is like -unfathomable-the diggity in those lots..tasty brews -cookies shiiiiiit-boomerronis…..

    He has to burning a little hooch-imo

  10. El Duderino Says:

    @ Stup


    Your saying it’s a connection from his drug abuse to the open ended improvisation?

  11. Robear Says:

    slick jam out of ‘Light’

    i dunno, seemed like the song was winding way down before seguing into ’46 Days’.

    seems like Trey’s taking the jam to the next song, instead of pushing from a low point back up.

  12. HarryHood Says:

    Trey sober = A need for perfection and unwillingness to take a chance at making a mistake.

    Trey not-sober = Not giving a shit and living in the moment

    ^ Neither situation is ideal if you like the long dark jams…..

  13. butter Says:

    i just have a problem with the

    “so many people are bummed by Trey’s playing.”

    they are playing at a really high level, 99% of the people i see at the shows are having a blast

    this is were Phish is at, i’m just baffled with people that want it to be something different

    i guess this is just what people do on the internet

    the greatest band in the land is well and thriving

  14. El Duderino Says:

    How about everybody stop freakin’ out and leave fucking Trey alone?!?!?!

    He’s fine, The band is fine, everybody is fine. This is 3.0 get over it. Sounds great to my ears!

  15. HarryHood Says:

    @ EL Dude

    You don’t think the drugs had anything to do with the exploration of songs?

  16. butter Says:

    @ Little Buddy – have a great time with your boy at Furthur 🙂

  17. BingosBrother Says:

    @Jay : sweet story. Love the last lyric in Dr. Gabel
    “But it sure is good…to be back in the game”

  18. butter Says:

    what Dude said

  19. lastwaltzer Says:

    @stup and jay

    while there haven’t been a ton of stand outs there have been unqiue verisons that don’t sound generic to these ears. To me there promising. Examples:

    Hartford Ocelot and Alaska: both got slowed down and funk got laid on a little thicker, esp mike on ocelot and trey on alaska

    Blossom #line – the horse has been beaten to death

    and thats just newer songs, were only what 8 or 9 shows in, plus there have been classics that have had some good work outs. Again just my opinion but the biggest thing for me is trey just cranking it and disrupting the song period jam or no jam.

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    El Dude dropping the truth there…this southern heat hasn’t gotten to him too bad yet.

  21. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Amen @ Dude and Butter.

  22. HarryHood Says:

    @ El Dude

    I love the new sound. I’m not saying that I don’t like it. It’s just not why I got into the band so it’s hard to adjust my feelings. I fell in love with the music because I would get so lost in a 20 minute DWD that I would forget about my troubles and excape real life for a while. It left me feeling cleansed and carefree. Now it’s like just when I’m getting back to that point, I’m yanked back to reality by a pre-mature 46 days.

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    “Hartford Ocelot and Alaska: both got slowed down and funk got laid on a little thicker, esp mike on ocelot and trey on alaska”

    Be(a)st versions of these songs IMO…

  24. El Duderino Says:

    @ HH

    I do in two respects. Trey was and the rest of the band for that matter was to zoned out. Jams were a crutch in the 2.0 era. Much easier to jam than run through composed sections with execution. And the other is maybe just maybe it reminds Trey over a horrible time in his life and the wounds are not healed enough. It may be just too soon to look into that dark room right now for him, more so on an emotional level.

  25. Mitch Says:

    here’s part two of the hershey tweezer or as i like to call it, the good part

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