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. ChefBradford Says:

    Crap, where else will you see fucking razors compared to Ferraris and V-Dubs?

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    That Onion article is hilarious @Completely. Five blades, not unlike the internet, is SRZBNZ

  3. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Fusions rule!

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    if Phish are so awesome how come they got no songs about 5 bladed razors?

    OH SHIT is that what that Dire Straits song “Six Blade Knife” is about?

    SIX BLADES!!!!


  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    (great song BTW, first Straits album is a must-own item)

  6. Mr.Palmer Says:

    “…but these go to 11…..”


  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    my amp goes to 12… seriously….

  8. poop goblin Says:

    Razor wars are serious bizness

    ENER and PG are in a new razor product cycle war right now

    Read a bunch of shit about the new launches lately

    Only in America

  9. Mr.Palmer Says:

    What the consensus with Walls of the Cave? Is it ever coming back? I think it should. Perfect for the new guitar sound.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    zzyzx? any major songs they haven’t busted out in 3.0 yet?

  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    miner, my left toe!

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    I am all for more Scents and Subtle Sounds BTW

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    not a big fan of Walls…

    left toe is cool but not a “major” song that miner asked about


    Razor biz is hilarious

    the height of marketing improvements you don’t need to upsell people who already own perfectly good products

  14. Robear Says:

    But I met a kid that’s seen 350 shows and fyf was his favorite moment

    It kept him from jumping off

    That shits crazy to me

    40 year old cat chasing rarities

    ^poo g, it sounded weird at the time, but you prolly missed his point. That kid sees every phrickin’ show. So he has seen the crazy improv, the gorge, albany, camden, mpp, miami

    he was ready to be surprised by the rarest of rare bust outs.

  15. Robear Says:

    trust me. ole’ jimmy loves getting his face melted with the best of ’em. he’s pretty objectively critical, from what i gather.

  16. ChefBradford Says:

    What Robear said

    and yeah, I love My Left Toe, and would love to see it played (in the right context and form [said form being basically formless]), but it isn’t a “major” jam

  17. ChefBradford Says:

    and speaking of My Left Toe

    I feel the urge, every couple/three months, to HIGHLY recommend Miner’s “A Trip Through The Late 90s” DJ mix to anyone remotely interested in that kind of thing. Not only is it awesome on its own, with no context (y’know, it blends various late 90s jams for a fuck of a good time), but the literal centerpiece, intentionally or not, is the “My Left Toe” from 7/21/99, one of my favorite pieces of late-90s Phish

    get it

    it’s…not good,..somewhere beyond great

  18. ChefBradford Says:

    Fuck that, it’s one of my favorite Phish pieces ever, along with about 537 others…

  19. Robear Says:

    my other phriend, she goes to every show of 3.0. always goes on about the big improv jams, you can see it on her face, after albany or MPP.

    she carries a ‘Spock’s Brain’ sign. sez she’ll cut down on shows when they play it again….

    crazy kidz!!

  20. poop goblin Says:

    Maybe Robear

    But that kid still creeps me out

    Cats that drop their show tally within 30 seconds of meeting you weird me out

    If you did that whole tour and that’s your fav moment I don’t get it
    Whatever wouldn’t be the first time a alright cat rubbed me the wrong way on first impressions

  21. poop goblin Says:


    I don’t even know how many I’ve seen

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    I saw me some Spock’s Brain at shoreline

    pretty legit little rarity

    I liked it

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Cats that drop their show tally within 30 seconds of meeting you weird me out”

    yeah, that’s pretty off-putting

    who fucking cares

    pretty much the least interesting thing about a person

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    but as you say, can’t judge someone by how they come across right at first, esp if it’s around a show where who knows whats goin on in their head

  25. poop goblin Says:

    I usually say too many

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