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 ofย  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)

Tags: , ,

928 Responses to “TreyDHD and The Forced Segue”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’m going to pretend I didn’t read that @sneven post

    we’re all glad they’re back too, yo

    Timberlake’s the new Fake Jerry, haven’t you heard?

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    plus, it’s not comparing apples and oranges

    it’s asking, which do you like better? apples or oranges?

    I prefer apples unless they’re Indian River oranges fresh picked that morning.

    a good Fuji after a couple hours in the fridge…? Man!

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    I think I saw Justin Timberlake wearing a Fake Fake Jerry shirt the other day. Pretty legit if you ask me.

  4. fee4zy Says:

    I love JT even more now. The cute curly hair. The amazing falsetto. And now a Deadhead. Swoon.

  5. sneven Says:

    Mr. C… too much fruit gives me the trots…

    HoneyGold apples are where it’s at! Only get them in OH from mid-SEPT thru mid-OCT.

    I could sell ’em on tour, $6, two for $10!

  6. sneven Says:

    side-note – growers should put as much effort into breeding apple strains as the kind folks in Humbolt do… world would be a better place ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Unless the apple is styled into a bowl and comes with a prepared stash, $6 is way too much

    heady applestand

  8. sneven Says:

    ramble on… lets do business… let me give you my card…

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    $6 apples?

  10. sneven Says:

    then again, you may not have ever had a HoneyGold apple.

    “May not have ever…” giant word stumble if there ever was one.

  11. sneven Says:

    $6 apples?

    Nah, two for $10 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. sneven Says:

    just googled “heady applestand.” Nada. I’m gonna be rich!

    Patent pending! Patent pending!

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i’m stealing that from you sneven, better hurry up

  14. sneven Says:

    I SAID patent pending! geesh!

  15. sneven Says:

    I am punishing myself for my previous rembling…

  16. sneven Says:

    dammit rembling=rambling…

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    ok wait a minute. i read that onion bob dylan article and assumed it was just a joke, but did it actually happen????!!!!????!!!!

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    everything in the Onion is real

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    it’s always fun reading onion articles before you know what the onion is… just like jonathan swift

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    mmmmm dead babies

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yeah, i’m cool

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yeah that’s right, i teased watermelon in easter hay alright^

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    even better is when life imitates the Onion. favorite example:

    Feb 2004, The Onion:,11056/

    Sept 2005, in real life:

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    hahahahah completely, i have just spent the last 30 minutes trying to find the charger for my electric shaver (which just died), how relevant

  25. Mr. Completely Says:




Leave a Reply