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. Frankie Says:

    Any Jones Beach extras floating around?

  2. poop goblin Says:

    I used to collect baseball cards

  3. kayatosh Says:

    random chime ins:

    $$$ DarkStar alert — 7-25-74 DS>slipknot jam>stella blue

    There have been some sweet wolfman’s this summer — heard 7/2 today and it really stood out. 6/26 and 6/11 also great.

    Light has also been a winner throughout leg 1. tough to pick a fav.

    re. 6/20 — some good tunes in the first set. drowned>swept away>steep in set II. carini>mango sucked balls.

  4. zzyzx Says:

    I’m not saying anyone is wrong, just trying to translate what a different experience is.

    I like to love the vast majority of Phish’s songs. That’s why I’ve traveled around the country to see them so many times. So when I get a song that perfectly compliments the moment (9/21/99’s Vultures) or is what I should have known I wanted to hear in that moment (all of 9/14/99 had that effect on me, even stuff like Farmhouse) or that I hadn’t been able to enjoy in ages, that can make a great moment by itself.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I hear that aspect of it @zyz

    for me the unique ensemble jams have both the “unique moment” aspect similar to a bustout or rarity, but even more so – here is something that no one has ever heard before including the musicians! – as well as a kind of magical aethetic quality that is unique to improvised music….

    however I 100% recognize the subjective nature of these value judgments

    people like what they like

    for me it’s more about other things anyway, like, if they play a show with a setlist that doesn’t appeal to you in abstract, but is really awesome in the moment, can you still have fun at a show like that?

    I think I can…I know @goblin can ’cause he basically always has a good time, even at shows that don’t hold up as well when you listen back…

    preferences are what they are, hopefully folks don’t let them get in the way of experiencing something a little different than what they were hoping for….

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    ’74 Slipknot jams are fun shit

    my favorite is the first one, 2-23-74, where clearly he has worked it out ahead of time and not told anyone, he just throws down this sick intricate riff in the middle of a wide open Other One jam and you can hear the rest of the band trying to figure out WTF

    very funny

    Jerry pranked ’em onstage

  7. Frankie Says:

    Mr. Miner wants a life-changing experience through the music of Phish… I would too if I had seen the ’99 Boise Bag!

  8. poop goblin Says:

    Crossed destiny off my pretty short list in Atlanta

    And loved it

    So I’m just bitchin. Was played well and had a nice syncopated jam in it

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    actually supports the argument that it’s not just the bustout-ness but the quality

    that Destiny was very sharply played

    I caught the Gorge one which was weak IMO and it did nothing for me

  10. poop goblin Says:

    I loved corina too xyz

    My only 2 are cypress and Miami and they both hit me heavy

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    I enjoyed it indirectly by watching people trying to figure out what it was, and/or freak out about it if they knew

    so that was fun

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    Miami Corinna is just a majestic and heartfelt performance in a style that’s not historically their strong suit

    big moment for sure

  13. poop goblin Says:

    I get nervous that they will forbin or rift the bustouts cuz they haven’t played them enough

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @completely, do yourself a favour and have your mind blown by this – you were asking about zappa full band improv a while ago, here you go

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    roger that @f0ol

  16. hoedown Says:

    Summer of 89 will be huge I think. Its ones of those songs that people hate on and then eventually the band makes you love it. Happened with 46 Days and Heavy Things. I remeber so much hate regarding 46 Days, and I kept saying the band is going to blow it up. Then IT version happened and people didn’t like that. But the matter of fact is Phish has stuck with the song and now in 2010 we’re still getting great versions. Same with Heavy Things. Mark IT dude, Summer of 89 is here for the long haul.

  17. Omni1 Says:

    I enjoyed Kung at PNC Bank Holmdel NJ in 99. I say screw the rarities and start pushing out those smoking Mazes, SOAMs, Sally’s and Timbers, My souls and dogs stole. Hearing a smoking Maze is a rarity these days for sure…..

  18. poop goblin Says:

    Laterz bitches

    Orchestre poly rhythmo tomorrow. Night

    Have a good one

  19. sneven Says:

    okay all, finall read back the last 5 pages or so… y’all are getting waaaay to funky in this discussion, comparing apples to oranges and such.
    I, for one, am euphoric that the boys are back, and sound healthy and fresh. This ain’t 2003! My attempt to diffuse the situation with sophomoric humor:

    One time, back in 98 or 99, my roommate and I decided to eat nothing but Taco Bell for about three days straight. Stuff was cheap, you could get full, and we had better things to spend our nickels on. Then, that fateful third day came up… Wednesday morning, post bane, 10 minutes before I had to leave for work… bubble gut cramps!

    I went in to take a dump… 25 minutes of work, no joke… I got up, and it looked like one of the port-o-pottys at DC! Seriously! 4 inches above the water line? WTF!!!

  20. Omni1 Says:

    Summer of 89 = Jennifer Dances

  21. Mr.Palmer Says:

    OH NO !!!!!!!'s

  22. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Is Timberlake a jam chaser or a bust out guy?

  23. ChefBradford Says:

    We may be in trouble if he sports a Stealie or Phish tat next

  24. sneven Says:

    I dunno Mr. P, but he plays some mean ping-pong…

  25. Omni1 Says:

    That ” Timbers” gotta Roll !

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