TreyDHD and The Forced Segue

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

Communication is the key to any group endeavor. Whether competing in athletics, working within a company, or playing in a band, one must understand what their teammates are doing to best perform their own task. This is a basic tenet learned at the ground level of any cooperative organization, and one that is essential to the success of any group task. It wouldn’t work if two receivers ran the same route, or if two infielders tried to catch the same pop-up, just as it wouldn’t work if a running back didn’t follow his blocking scheme or several people tried to run a meeting. Anyone who has ever worked within a team structure understands the value of communication.

For a band that communicates so proficiently within their improvisational playing, the question after the first leg of summer has to be “Why doesn’t Phish make fluid segues between their songs?” With a handful of exceptions, the band’s attempts at legitimate transitions have ranged from rocky to complete train wrecks. More often than not, Trey directly causes these indecisive changes by not communicating his intentions to his band mates before impatiently pushing through the music with a new song. There were more than a few times last month where the band was fully engaged in a jam, and Trey busted into the piece like a bully scratching the needle over the record, forcing his choice upon everyone.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

Some of these transitions came within the context of  jams that were still moving and others came when pieces were largely resolved. But timing is hardly the point here; I completely accept that jams are over when Trey says they are – for better or worse – all I’m saying is take one minute to morph from “Meatstick” to ” Saw It Again.” And for God’s sake, let the band know the plan! Too often, Trey took his own cohorts by surprise, let alone jolting the audience, with his sudden musical u-turns. The reason why this choppy trend is so ridiculous, is that in their hey-day, and throughout most of their career, Phish was a band that could get from any musical place to another with stunning fluidity and quickness! Everyone knows they can do it, the question is, “Why is Trey being so impulsive?”

6.24.10 (G.Lucas)

Let’s say we are at Great Wood’s amidst a deep “Light” jam, a centerpiece of the second set. Even though the band is immersed in a soupy, psychedelic groove, Trey decides it’s time to move on for whatever reason – fine. But instead of crassly coming in with the intro to “46 Days” over full-band improv, why not turn around and inform the band of his intent, allowing them to tactfully bridge songs? In the past, Trey has done this both verbally and non-verbally, sometimes using musical cues, but this summer he has simply sliced off jams, changing directions without any notice. Sometimes these changes seemed premature, as if the band was on the brink of something bigger, but even when improv had run its course, there was no need for such harsh changes. The band usually resisted Trey’s idea at first, as they did during Great Woods’ “Light,” continuing to jam, while creating an awkward onstage moment. But inevitably they relented to their leader in a series of JV transitions. My only question is, ” Why must this trend continue?”

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

For a band that has forever made fluid segues between completely different musical planes, why, at the most mature point of their career are they ditching a major aspect of their onstage communication? Phish doesn’t have to make segues to craft successful shows, but if they are going to attempt them, they might as well make them work. To their credit, the band did execute some smooth transitions during tour, but there is no reason that these rough moments should be taking place at Phish shows in 2010. For someone who once poured over Phish setlists as if their craftsmanship was a matter of life and death, Trey’s concern for musical flow has certainly dissipated in favor of keeping shows rocking without any interpretable lulls.

The irony behind these abrupt changes is that it could take less than one minute for the band to cooperatively shift into a new song. Using only the skill of communication, Phish could have turned many herky-jerky, guitar-led mash-ups into seamless, flowing segments. Even though Trey’s sudden shifts didn’t always ruin the overall contours of sets, there were more than a few times that eyes were jolted open by out-of-context guitar intrusions. Though Phish is still on an upwards learning curve since their comeback last year, these speed bumps could easily be smoothed out. So as we quickly dial down the days to The Greek, let’s hope Trey realizes the jarring nature of these musical collisions, and consciously exercises patience and communication during Leg II.


For examples of these less than fluid moments from Leg I, check out the following sequences…

6.17 – “Sand > Horse,” 6.19 – “Halfway to the Moon > Caspian,” 6.22 – “Sally > Light > 46 Days,” 6.24 – “Crosseyed > Nothing,” 6.27 – “Meatstick > Saw It Again,” 7.3 – “Rock and Roll > Caspian,” 7.4 – “Disease > Piper.


Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Free” 6.19 II

SPAC’s second set opening sequence is a perfect example of a jam played to fruition and a patient segue into the next song.




6.17.2010 Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT < Torrent

6.17.2010 Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT < Megaupload

Official Hartford Poster

The first night of Hartford contained a tour highlight in the blistering “Disease” jam that smoothly sailed into “Sand.” Then, Trey provided a prime example of today’s topic by relentlessly forcing “The Horse” into the groove without warning. Strong versions of “Ocelot,” “Stash,” and “Walk Away” stood out in a somewhat sloppy first set. This show had peak moments, but lost all momentum after “Forced > Silent.”

I: Punch You In the Eye, Ocelot, Dinner and a Movie, Stash, Esther, Walk Away, The Divided Sky, When the Circus Comes, Sugar Shack, Alaska, Golgi Apparatus

II: Party Time, Down with Disease > Sand > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Guyute, Farmhouse, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

E: Shine a Light

Source: DPA 4023 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Sound Devices 722 (24/96)

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928 Responses to “TreyDHD and The Forced Segue”

  1. joe Says:

    TAB didn’t really jam either…

    that’s actually when his theory started to develop

  2. poop goblin Says:

    Mpp tweez is the shit

    You can’t fluff nasty jams
    Only shit ones

  3. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Hartford Tweezer and Hartford Wolfman’s were both groove monsters

  4. hoedown Says:

    I too believe they are trying to dismember the “touring” crowd. They are playing each venue like its a stand alone performance imo. I don’t think the give a shit how many Drowned’s, R&R’s and Lights touring heads have to sit through. I don’t care either, play whatever you want is my attitude…

  5. poop goblin Says:

    Do tour kids really care about bustouts?

    That’s so crazy to me

    Couldn’t care less about how rare a song is

    Was at the philly unbroken though

  6. KWL Says:

    i don’t think they give a shit about who’s touring with them, just who is back stage

  7. poop goblin Says:

    Trey doesn’t care about touring kids

    Thinking he’s plotting against them is insane

    He needs ticket buyers of any kind these days

    No ones on anymore
    It’s very tame

  8. hoedown Says:

    Not to me RambleOn, I really enjoyed the MPP tweezer but for me it was way different than Hartford. MPP was way more abstract and trippy for me. Hartford was a dance fest…to each his own right.
    @ poop-I’m not saying it was bad, in fact I really enjoyed it, but folks were acting like it was the best thing since sliced bread. I’d take the ’09 RR tweezer over it any day…

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Of maybe who isn’t back stage…

  10. zzyzx Says:

    “Do tour kids really care about bustouts?

    That’s so crazy to me”

    Of course some do. It’s the same urge as for a jam; it’s seeing music that you’ve never seen before. With a song it might come complete with a bridge and vocals.

  11. barefootbob Says:

    The summer tours have always been like this. Trying out what works, what doesn’t…. gearing up for the Fall tour finally (halloween costume) and ultimately the MSG run for NYE. Some shows may have no direction at all – IMO they can feed off the vibe of the atmosphere and the crowd.

  12. hoedown Says:

    I’ll stop now cause obviously I am annoying everyone.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:



  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    actually @hoedown that’s a perfectly legit and non annoying opinion, stated as subjective preference….YMMV and all that right?

  15. poop goblin Says:

    I guess but to my ass fuck your face is no mpp chalkdust

    Different strokes

  16. zzyzx Says:

    But – like I say whenever this comes up – I hashed this out with Trey in 94. He doesn’t want to think about how long the jam was or if person A is enjoying it while person B is bored. Ultimately, he wants to be in his own happy world and playing what he feels. If it’s a long jam that night, they’ll play that. If it’s cracking him up to keep singing, “I Saw It Again,” that will be the plan. There’s nothing more going on than that.

  17. zzyzx Says:

    Well and my wife has listened to that FYF nonstop. She keeps saying, “I can’t believe I’m liking this stupid song as much as I do. I really hope they play it at the Greek.” So yeah, different strokes.

  18. hoedown Says:

    Thanks C. Sometimes I just feel as though peeps here always have to disagree, when clearing I reference my OWN experiences. Anywho, phish on bitches!

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    re: bustouts there is definitely a social-competitive aspect to it like all ingroups have

    your “life list” and all that

    I can understand it because I remember feeling that way 20 years ago when all of a sudden I got to add Dark Star, Help, Slip, Attics, Death Don’t, Loose Lucy, Black Throated, etc to my list…now a big part of it was that those are great songs and I was happy to see them in rotation but especially when you are young and the tour scene is your whole life, being able to say you were there for this or that bustout is a huge status thing

    it does seem silly looking back on it as a 40 year old guy but I actually do kind of respect it as just an outgrowth of people taking the thing seriously…

  20. poop goblin Says:

    I don’t know xyz

    West coast gets the musical excursions

    That bust out nonsense is for the south and east

    I ain’t flying to the Greek to cross some shit off my list

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah see @goblin, there’s also the “is the bustout awesome or just a bustout” question

    like @z’s lady, I just fucking love that Carini > FYF segment. LOVE IT. Can’t explain or defend it. Objectively, as @z said (approximately), it’s a “forgettable curiousity.”

    But to me, that’s a “Phishy moment” that really works

    totally, totally subjective

  22. zzyzx Says:

    “I can understand it because I remember feeling that way 20 years ago when all of a sudden I got to add Dark Star, Help, Slip, Attics, Death Don’t, Loose Lucy, Black Throated, etc to my list…now a big part of it was that those are great songs and I was happy to see them in rotation but especially when you are young and the tour scene is your whole life, being able to say you were there for this or that bustout is a huge status thing”

    The best example I saw of this was an article in Sassy Magazine about the 1989 Fall Tour where the woman reporter had to leave 10/16/89 at the set break but then – after a few shows made the dynamic apparent to her – she told a cute boy in Philly, “Yeah I was at that show.” She wouldn’t know Dark Star if it bit her but she knew she’d score points.

    It’s not just songs that do that, yeah Phish Stats makes it easier, but people also like to gloat about being at shows with a killer jam.

  23. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @hoedown – I wasn’t knocking the mpp Tweezer or even trying to compare it to Hartford’s. Actually my intent was really just to second whoever said that it was a great dancefest type version and to add the Hartford Wolfman’s in there just because I enjoyed the hell out of it when I was there.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    I appreciate the mindfuckery of it, basically

    now, which would I rather see: a bustout of a sick little super-rarity, or a beautiful, sophisticated open jam?

    the jam, of course

    but…and I know you’ve seen it before…don’t tell me you wouldn’t be happy to catch a Buffalo Bill in Berkeley….

  25. poop goblin Says:

    I saw visions , Alabama, and unbroken bust outs spring 95

    As a kid at the dead I guess it was fun

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