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. Mr. Completely Says:

    at one point not long ago I tried to figure out approx how many shows I have seen

    not just Dead, Jerry, Phish etc but ALL shows

    I had made some progress but then I had to try to figure out how to count festivals, and if shows I worked but didn’t really get to listen to should count, and it got complicated and then I remembered I didn’t care so I gave up

  2. poop goblin Says:

    I have an Atlanta custie badge

    How Cool is that

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    will you bring it to the Greek so I can behold its glory?

    if anyone ever asks me how many phish shows I have seen I’ll say “more than Trey”

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    and do you count shows that suck?

    really cuts down on the count from the primary jamband era if not

  5. poop goblin Says:

    First Orchestre show

    How bad ass

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    stop rubbing it in

    so fucking jealous of that

    gonna be the sickness

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    sorry, I mean:

    I have seen the Orchestre 217 times.

  8. halcyon Says:

    shit got real earlier today… say hi to loved ones, friends, and family. Give your pets extra treats.


    Chuck D….and KWL if you are out here…Yampa or the Front Range is a no go, but disc golf the CMC in Leadville (at perhaps the best course in CO) tomorrow around mid day.

    Be Good everyone.

    I don’t understand why people drop stats, or go to shows to pad their stats. If that is why you are going to shows, why are you going to shows?

  9. poop goblin Says:

    I don’t want to name names but I know a kid that has the whole southern run he’s about to sew onto a tie dyed sash he whipped up

  10. poop goblin Says:

    I Was on that western Africa summer 72 tour

    They do have a fake jerry now which sucks

    The guitarist was so good
    What made em great

  11. poop goblin Says:


  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    “I don’t want to name names ”

    Bouncin’ Fan, right?

    @hal – say what? solid words regardless, but if something happened earlier I missed it

    pretty busy during the days

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    yah I did the Lagos to Cotonou leg

    can’t beleive both the guitarist and the drummer are dead, which does cut down on the Holy Shit factor since they were the #1 and #2 guys, but I’m sure it will still rip

  14. ChefBradford Says:

    uh, not really sure what tangent, if any, you guys went on, but the 537 or whatever I said was an unreal, made-up number of just really well-loved song/jam/versions that I like, whether witnessed or heard on tape/cd/mp3/flac/ogg/whatever

  15. snowbank Says:

    There’s been a late surge of responses to the survey… is everybody out?

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    HAHAHAHA we weren’t talking about you Chef!

    I actually don’t even know who we were talking about.

    Some dude who likes to tell people how many shows he has seen.

  17. ChefBradford Says:


    I don’t know what we were talking about! Okay, I do, but I don’t!

    Seriously, everytime I refresh, or go back to a page, or up to a different one, there’s either an old post that wasn’t there before, or a post missing, or….fuck, I need a new computer, and…leave it at that, I need a new PC

    I say that. The real problem is most likely the fact that I’m teckfuckingstupid

    but whatever

    somebody motorboated my brain, dude, and it may have been me

  18. voopa Says:

    Dude I’ve seen so many shows brah

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    just for you Chef

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    me too brah

    seen all that h3tty shit

    we should totally kick it sometime since we’ve both seen so many shows and shit

  21. ChefBradford Says:

    Ha, thanks, Mr C, looking at that link was an actual LOL moment

    I usually tend to avoid the abbreviations unless they’re genuine

    that one was


  22. halcyon Says:


    Didn’t post anything earlier, but earlier today prompted me to leave a psa for the greater good.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    I heart Towelie

    still can’t believe I didn’t pick up the talking Towelie beach towel when it was available…a full size beach towel with his face on it that you push a button and it says shit like “wanna get high?”

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh I just have no idea what you’re talking about @hal

    something that happened here or in your life or what?

    I haven’t been keeping up til after work

    did a brief driveby midday

  25. snowbank Says:

    ::Drum Roll::

    BB Community survey results are in:

    Survey Results

    Thanks to everyone who submitted to my questions. These are just the raw results. More analysis to come.

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