The Overall Experience

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 19th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

7.4.10 - Alpharetta, GA (Wendy Rogell)

The perfect Phish show experience is a combination of music, space, sound, and people. While any combination of these can produce the show of one’s life, the more ingredients that are present on any given night enhances he experiential quality of that show. In venues like Merriweather and Jones Beach, one must sacrifice everything for a small sliver of dance space, while at some GA shows, people can situate themselves  in any spot they desire. While the music makes up the vast majority of any show experience, these other intangibles can make or break an absolute throwdown. During Leg I, the following five venues combined the most of these facets, providing the highest quality show experiences of tour.

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1. Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA – 6.13

Hersheypark Stadium (M.Ladd)

With a revamped sound system and a rubberized cover for the field, this intimate stadium that once drew the scorn of fans has been reborn as the ultimate Phish venue. With a total GA policy, large groups of friends congregated in prime real estate to rage the show together. With no barriers to space, spontaneous dance pits emerged all over the field as Mike’s larger-than-life bass lines cut the air like thunder. With easy access to wherever one had to go, Hershey Park takes home the award for The Best Venue of Leg I. Phish responded to the positive vibrations with a greatest-hits dance party in a liquid second set

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2. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA – 7.3 &4

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

A massive GA dance floor sprawled out in front of the stage for the tour’s final weekend. Completely flat concrete made dancing desirable, while a wristband policy kept, at least, the most timid fans from getting down to the floor. One section of seating provided direct sight lines to the stage before a small lawn dotted the back. The copious dance space and free-for-all floor more than made up for somewhat compromised sound that resulted from the super-high roof, designed for air circulation. Nonetheless, I’d be happy to see a return to Alpharetta scheduled next summer.

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3. nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth,VA – 6.15

nTelos - 6.15 (ctankcycle)

With a complete GA policy like its next-door neighbor, Hampton Coliseum, nTelos Pavilion was the smallest venue of tour with a capacity of only 6,500. And you couldn’t give tickets away. The GA policy caused the seat-less floor to grow over-crowed by setbreak, pushing many fans into the seats. But with no one caring where you were at anytime, this venue on the water provided a most enjoyable experience and a unique setting for Phish. The undersized tented pavilion felt crowded, though the lawn was sparsely populated. A random stop to say the least, a great time was had by all.

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4. Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ – 6.24 & 25

6.24.10 (J.Thomas)

Sure, the “Susquehanna Bank Center,” as its been called the for the past few years, is part of the cookie-cutter amphitheatre series, but it is one of the best. Boasting ample nooks of space and a notably lax security force, one can pretty much wind up wherever he wants in Camden and it’s gonna’ sound great. A far less regulated scene than most east coast sheds, everyone finds space to blow it up in one of Phish’s most eventful east-coast stops.

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5. CMAC Pavilion. Canadaigua, NY – 6.29

This undersized and uniquely designed amphitheatre got a face-lift since Phish’s last visit in 1995. With an up-close and personal pavilion that placed a lot of fans close to the stage, security remained notably non chalant. VIP boxes turned into mini GA dance clubs, and the stairs and aisles were fair game for ballistic raging. The sound was loud and clear inside, though I can’t speak for the lawn. All in all, the way this venue integrated into the surrounding natural landscape made it one of the most enjoyable stops of tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Split Open and Melt” 6.25 I

A first-set walk on the wild side in Camden.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.12.2010 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH < Torrent

6.12.2010 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH < Megaupload

Official Blossom Poster

One of the dark-horse shows of tour, Blossom offered a strong sequence to open the second set, including one of the jams of tour in “Number Line.” The first set featured, perhaps, the finest “Mike’s Groove” of the summer.

I: Look Out Cleveland*, Ocelot, Water in the Sky, Stash, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Sample in a Jar, Time Turns Elastic, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Rock and Roll > Harry Hood, Backwards Down the Number Line > Twenty Years Later, Instant Karma!**, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Waste, Character Zero

E: The Squirming Coil

*debut, The Band, **debut, John Lennon

Source: Schoeps mk4v> KCY> Sonosax SX-M2/LS> SD 744t (@24bit/96kHz)

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The Light Is Growing Brighter Now

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on July 18th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

7.4.10 - Atlanta (Wendy Rogell)

Viewing Phish tour as a quest for the transcendental unknown through improvisational portals, “Light” emerged as the unquestionable centerpiece of summer’s opening leg. The only song that routinely pushed the band into unique, uncharted realms, with each summer version came another risk into lush, textured psychedelia. During a month that didn’t focus on musical abstraction, “Light” routinely provided an experimental lens through which Phish explored the newest frontiers of their sound. On the heels of a stellar fall tour for the song, Phish’s philosophical anthem quickly became the springboard for the most profound jamming of summer. Each excursion surfed an emotional wave into an ever-darkening mystery, but what took place once the band got there depended on the evening.

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6.11 II – Toyota Park, Chicago, IL

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

Making no bones about their where their focus lay, Phish opened up the summer’s initial second set with an expansive and abstract version of “Light.” Showcasing a fluid style of experimentation, Phish introduced their new sound of 2010. As Trey faded from soloing into his whammy-induced whale tone, the music transformed into an impressionistic canvas, and Phish became a musical Monet. As Mike and Fish locked into a groove, Trey abandoned his lead to become a part of this textured painting. He and Page continued to push the jam outwards, and soon Phish sat amidst a full-band exploration of the deepest variety. Moving into experimental waters to kick-start the tour, this version reached the essence of the “Light,” which, ironically, is quite dark. Chicago’s version passed through several gorgeous segments on the way to a summer-opening mind-fuck .

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***

6.18 II - Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

This version, springing from a set-opening “Halley’s Comet,” remained a bit more contained than most “Lights” of summer. Page began to bring the composed jam outwards by alternating his piano leads with growling synthesizers. Trey kept this one anchored to structure with his insistent leads, before finally breaking form to join the band’s already developing patterns. Over a sustained effect by Page, Phish swam into a forward-looking milieu. Trey soon exchanged searing leads for choppier rhythm licks, while Mike and Fish formed an eclectic pocket. With Trey’s shorter offerings, the band briefly locked into a unique groove before pushing into an effect-laden outro and gently sliding into “Billy Breathes.”

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6.22.II - Great Woods, Mansfield, MA

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

The third “Light” of summer came on a Tuesday night at Great Woods, and reached some serious full-band theatrics before Trey pulled the plug for “46 Days.” Coming out of “Sneaking Sally” via an abrupt segue, Phish launched into the jam with fury. Carrying a slightly faster pace than usual, Trey led the band’s composed jam with notably impassioned soloing. The band exited the shreddy section together, somersaulting into a “Timber-esque” palette. Page hopped on his Rhodes and Mike turned on his envelope filter, while Fishman’s beat became sparse and percussive. Trey began accenting the music from behind the scenes, and in front of our eyes, the band splashed into a completely new-sounding pond. Page took the melodic lead, as this version became subtly demonic, reaching more exploratory places by the minute. When the band settled in a mellow psychedelia, a point where they could have taken the jam to the next level, Trey disengaged, awkwardly cutting off the captivating excursion with “46 Days.”

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***

6.25 II - Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Carrying colossal momentum from Camden’s Jackson-laced “2001,” the band launched into one of the more exploratory “Lights” of summer. A gorgeous composed jam, with notably less in-your-face guitar, descended into a secondary section of improv without compromising fluidity. Trey took his solo into calmer waters while the band molded a percussive backdrop. The music turned more abstract as Trey relinquished the lead and Mike stepped up to direct traffic. Turning in some slick leads over this increasingly ambient texture, Trey then began playing staccato, “Pong-esque” notes (reference 8.14.09), as he, Page, and Fishman locked into a rhythmic interchange. Over this texture, Mike unleashed resounding bass leads, spicing the groove with spontaneous dashes of melody. This version reached a deeper-than-usual psychedelia before releasing into “Possum.”

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***

7.1. II - Walnut Creek, Raleigh, NC

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

In Raleigh, Phish unveiled “Light’s” defining performance of summer, weaving an intricate tale that flowed naturally from beginning to end. As the band entered the final four nights of tour, their finest musical trek of the south would transpire in their opening show. Whereas Trey had a propensity to layer his opening solos of “Light” atop the band’s groove, in this version he played very much within the music, giving the composed jam an enhanced feel of beauty. Fusing impressive lines into the musical fabric, Trey’s melodies carried more tasteful and creative phrasing, differentiating the onset of this rendition. As Trey began stretching his notes into sheets of sound – signifying a break from structure – the band was fully locked and moved together into the abyss. Page’s piano lines led a march into a mysterious, blackening brew, as Trey turned from Jedi to Sith, intertwining sinister sounds in this devilish trek. A stunning example of what Phish can accomplish with patience, this version represents the most cohesive jamming to stem from “Light” this year and certainly deserves consideration among the top jams of tour. Within this darkening context, Trey initiated a composed-sounding solo over a complex, thickening pocket, entering the most engaging musical plane of night – and, arguably, the most exquisite place reached by “Light” all summer. Trey’s soulful notes continued amidst an emerging ambience from the rest of the band. Finally, as his solo bled into the ominous soundscape, Trey brought back the song’s theme, coming full-circle in a mind-melting epic.

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Theme” 6.18 II

This clinic in groove has been unduly overshadowed by Merriweather’s diabolical depths and the holiday version’s sublime partnership with “Slave.”  Nonetheless, Hartford’s “Tweezer” presents the Yin to Merriweather’s Yang.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.22.2010 Great Woods, Mansfield MA < Torrent

6.22.2010 Great Woods, Mansfield MA < Megaupload

Official Great Woods Poster

Following the theme of Weekend Nuggets, here is the third Tuesday show from tour. “Sneakin’ Sally > Light” highlighted a second set that was book-ended by Phish classics, “Mike’s Groove” and “Slave.” The first set contained one of summer’s stronger versions of “Kill Devil Falls as well as the debuts of Rita Clarke’s “Lit O Bit” and the now-infamous “Dr. Gabel.” Enjoy looking back, because in a couple weeks we’ll be looking forward again.

I: Lit O Bit*, Camel Walk, Possum, The Divided Sky, Dirt, Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls, Dr. Gabel**, Run Like an Antelope

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Light > 46 Days, Limb By Limb, Golgi Apparatus, Slave to the Traffic Light, Loving Cup

E: First Tube

*debut, Rita Clarke, **debut

Source: Schoeps MK41>KC5>CMC6>Sonosax SX-M2>Apogee Mini-me (aes out@24 bit/96khz)>COAX>Edirol R-44

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Weekend Nuggets: Two Tuesdays In June

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 17th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Official Portsmouth Poster

Although the Tuesday night shows of tour didn’t explode like many expected, they still produced some legitimate highlights. Stellar versions of “Bathtub Gin” and “Slave” came out of Portsmouth, Virginia’s first set, while an engaging sequence of “46 Days > Idea > 2001 > Simple” provided the meat of of the second. Canandaigua saw the most significant, non-traditional “Mike’s Groove” of tour, underlined by “I Am the Walrus > Weekapaug,” and also featured a laid-back, jam-filled first set that fit the cool New York evening like a glove.

6.15.2010 nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA < Torrent

6.15.2010 nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA < Megaupload

I: Tube, Kill Devil Falls, Slave to the Traffic Light, Lawn Boy, Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, The Moma Dance > My Friend, My Friend, Cold Water*, Bathtub Gin, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Wilson, Seven Below, 46 Days > Idea** > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Simple > Joy, Taste, Theme From the Bottom, A Day in the Life

E: Heavy Things, First Tube

*debut, Tom Waits, **debut

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v’s (DINa)>kc5>m222> nt222>744t

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6.29.2010 CMAC Pavilion, Canandaigua, NY < Torrent

6.29.2010 CMAC Pavilion, Canandaigua, NY < Megaupload

CMAC Official Poster (Welker)

I: The Connection, Down with Disease,  Sample in a Jar, Ocelot, Reba, Horn, Funky Bitch, Undermind, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, David Bowie

II: Possum, Mike’s Song > Simple > I Am the Walrus* > Weekapaug Groove, Limb By Limb, Joy, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus

E: First Tube

*debut, The Beatles

Source: Schoeps MK41> KC5> CMC6> Sonosax SX-M2> Apogee Mini-me (aes out@24 bit/96khz)>COAX>Edirol R-44

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Jams of the Weekend: 1st Setters

Bathtub Gin” 6.15 I

“GinTelos” gets my vote for the first-set jam of Leg I.

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Timber Ho” 6.24 I

And this isn’t far behind…

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

“Chalk Dust Torture” – 6.25 II Camden (official release)

***

“Light Up Or Leave Me Alone” – 7.1.10 II Raleigh

Tags: , ,

First Set Jamming

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 16th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

The first sets of Phish shows have developed a retro-shape during this era, consisting mostly of compositions and one or two structured jams. A renewed focus on the artistry of each individual song has brought a sense of care to these opening frames, maintaining energy if sometimes lacking adventure. The most exciting parts of these first halves inevitably came with old-school jam vehicles and the band’s revitalized structured (‘type I‘) jamming. Injecting doses of creativity into their sets, pieces that that remained anchored to song structure burst with life for the first time in years. A facet of the band’s playing that had grown stale in the waning years of 1.0 and post-hiatus, has come back in force during 2010, illustrating the renewed focus and intent of Phish.

“Bathtub Gin” is, perhaps, the best example of this progression of summer, as each version provided a first set standout. Beginning with nTelos’ version that broke into a unique groove before Trey annihilated the peak, the song brought blasts of fresh jamming to the four first sets in which it appeared. While all four versions remained tied to the song’s theme, they each stood alone as unique highlights of Virginia, SPAC, Merriweather, and Atlanta.

6.25.10(G. Lucas)

Similar patterns followed for other  first set rotation songs, “Reba,” “Wolfman’s,” and “David Bowie.” Between differing guitar and bass tones, varying rhythms, and depending who led each jam, versions became distinct within structure. Because each version presented a distinct course to the same ending, the vehicles in rotation remained fresh and differentiating versions more often became a matter of musical taste rather than quality. Now, the same songs provided similar, but variant adventures. If one compares the Chicago and Charlotte “Wolfman’s ,” the SPAC and Atlanta’s ” Gins,” or the Hartford and Canandaigua “Reba,” and they will find different playing styles amidst similar themes, another aspect that spiced up this past tour.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Aside from songs  in rotation, Phish also used the first set to drop a couple one-time jams, including one of the tour’s most compelling  first set moment in Camden’s “Timber Ho!” Musical density at its finest, these seven-minutes of psychedelia featured more intricate interplay that many jams twice its length. In another first-half offering, Phish stretched out Atlanta’s “Destiny Unbound” into a smooth, welcome-to-the-weekend dance session. The band dropped only two “Splits,” each coming in the first set, providing divergent dips into dissonance at Hershey and Camden.

While first sets have been largely reserved for songs and longer compositions, when Phish decided to jam they did so with re found focus, exchanging ideas and thematic variants efficiency. Whether attacking “Ocelot” or “Antelope,” they did so in the moment, churning out fresh music like a meat grinder. In an evolution that can only point to greener pastures, Phish can once again spurn excitement with ten-minute jams that don’t veer from their roots. A minor frustration developed among some fans this summer when this type of playing seeped too much into second sets, leaving some shows with little exploration. All of a sudden, for those not on tour, catching a significant open jam seemed like landing a prize winning fish. But hopefully Phish’s structured proficiency will serve as a foundation for more frequent risk-taking as we head into the next phase of tour.

Ten Must-Hear First Set Jams of Summer (in no particular order)

“Timber Ho” – 6.25 Camden

“Bathtub Gin” – 6.15 Portsmouth

“Reba” –  6.18 Hartford

“Wolfman’s” – 6.11 Chicago

“Mikes’s > H2 > Weekapaug” – 6.12 Blossom

“Slave” – 6.15 Portsmouth

“Split Open and Melt” – 6.25 Camden

“Stash” - 6.17 Hartford

“Jibboo” – 7.4 Atlanta

“Antelope” – 7.4 Atlanta

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Jam of the Day:

Number Line > 20 Years Later” 6.12.II

This “Numberline” makes a complete transformation from noodly happiness into a menacing encounter with the dark side. Nominated for jam of he tour, this is one of those segments that is so coherent it sounds composed. Top-notch Phish, through and through.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.2.2010 Verizon Wireless Amp., Charlotte, NC < Torrent

7.2.2010 Verizon Wireless Amp., Charlotte, NC < Megaupload

Official Charlotte Poster

A two-set effort that sparked the holiday weekend. The second set came in acts, with “Drowned > 46 Days > 20 Years Later” forming the first; “Lizards” as an intermission, and “Carini > Fuck Your Face > 2001 > YEM” as the thrilling Act II.

I: Buried Alive > AC/DC Bag, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother, Back on the Train, The Wedge, Mexican Cousin, Stash, Sparkle, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Drowned > 46 Days > Twenty Years Later, The Lizards, Carini > Fuck Your Face > Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself*

E: A Day in the Life

* w/ “Proud Mary” and “Get Back” vocal jam

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v> KCY> Schoeps VMS02IB> SD 744t

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Big-Time Bustouts

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 15th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

6.25.10 - Camden (Graham Lucas)

Summer’s opening leg included something for all parts of Phish’s fan base. Combining just enough open jamming with revitalized structured improv, the band’s exploratory adventure returned in spurts throughout the month. Precise playing and non-stop energy produced a new-found sense of urgency, lighting a fire under Phish from the tour’s opening “Disease.” Then there were the covers; ten new songs from various artists and genres that added spice to many setlists. And finally, the last element comprising a catch-all Phish tour were the many bust-outs that dotted the run. Not only did the band kick down once-in-a-while songs like “Forbin’s > Mockingbird,” “Roses Are Free,” “Sanity,” “Harpua” and “McGrupp,” they added more elusive songs such as “Destiny Unbound,” “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” and “Saw It Again.” But all these rarities took a back seat to a showcase of songs Phish hadn’t played in well over a hundred shows, one dating all the way back to the ’80s. The following six selections represent the headline-grabbing bust-outs of the early summer.

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1. “Fuck Your Face” 7.2 II – last believed to be played on 4.29.1987 (1,413 shows)

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

In the bust-out to end all bust-outs, Phish finally played Mike’s iconic piece of Zappa-esque humor, best known from its place on The White Tape. The Mockingbird Foundation believes the band played the song on April, 29, 1987, but that cannot be confirmed. Unless a rather eclectic old-school head found their way to Charlotte, this was the first time anyone had ever witnessed the song. Coming out of a ten-ton “Carini,” Trey began the guitar lick, sounding like something unique. As the band transitioned and Mike began singing, an incredibly small portion of the crowd actually knew they were witnessing history. “Carini > Fuck Your Face” sounds like something a student might scribble in the margin during lecture in a Phishy daydream. But lo and behold, it unfolded in a moment that will be remembered forever.

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2. “Alumni Blues > A Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni” 6.25 I

“Alumni” last played 7.24.99 (222 shows), “Letter” last played 7.15.94 (587 shows)

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Phish came onstage the second night of Camden and didn’t hesitate, busting into the old-school classic “Alumni Blues.” The funky ditty became all-the-more interesting as the band bridged the halves of the song with Trey’s hard-rock homage, “Letter to Jimmy Page,” for the first time since 7.15.94. With most versions played in the ’80s and early ’90s, this resurfaced another piece of the band';s legacy. Phish dug deep into their past this tour, and this segment - officially released by the band on video – exhumed another relic from the history books.

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3. “Have Mercy” 7.1 II – last played 12.10.99 II  (189 shows)

One of Phish’s most precious covers, the band usually gives The Mighty Diamonds’ song special treatment by placing it after an exploratory mind-fuck; there are few more gentle landing pads in Phish’s repertoire. But when the band dropped the song after a sloppy “Fluffhead” in Raleigh, it hardly made sense. Always nice to hear, regardless of placement, Phish could have bumped this one up a few slots and made a gorgeous segment out of “Light > Have Mercy.” Unheard from since December ’99 in Philadelphia, this served as an out-of-context re-introduction to the song.

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4. “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” 7.1 II – last played 12.30.99 I (181 shows)

Walnut Creek "Merit Badge"

Only the second time this song has been played since the ’80s, we last saw this Traffic cover during the opening, afternoon set of Big Cypress. When Phish let loose on the song late in Raleigh’s second set, it brought one of two improvisational highlights of the evening. Spearheaded by Trey’s shredding leads, the band destroyed an explosive groove-rock jaunt that contrasted to the laid-back version everyone heard in The Everglades. This bust-out carried more musical weight than any other of tour.

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5. “Walfredo” 6.27 I – last played 9.30.00 (131 Shows)

Unseen since Vegas 2000, Phish opened the second night of Merriweather with “Walfredo,” their instrument-switching gimmick that includes the venue’s name in its lyrics. A clever move, this rather benign opener foreshadowed the second set theatrics that were to come. Though fun to see the guys in different spots to start the show, the set got started in earnest with another rarity that followed, Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood.” Nonetheless, if you were there, scratch “Walfredo” off your list.

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6. “Time Loves A Hero” 7.1 I – last played 12.31.02 (127 shows)

Little Feat - Times Loves a Hero

Phish played this Little Feat cover for the third time since the ’80s, and 2010’s incarnation was the of three to stand alone. Coming out of a funky “Wolfman’s” at Star Lake ’98, and creatively morphing from “Runaway Jim” in one of the few highlights of Phish’s first comeback show in ’02, this is another song that deserves better improvisational context. And sandwiched between “Kill Devil Falls” and “Alaska” in the first set isn’t exactly the context I’m talking about. Nonetheless, the groovy song was played well, adding to the set.

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Jam of the Day:

Ghost” 6.11 II

Hands down, the “Ghost” of 2010 thus far, and one of the most engaging jams of tour.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.11.2010 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL < Torrent

6.11.2010 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL < Megaupload

Official Bridgeview Poster

In one of the most exciting tour-openers ever, Phish came out firing on a sweltering Chicago evening, playing two sets worth of stellar music. Improvisational highlights abound in both sets, with the second-half sequence “Light > Maze, Ghost > Limb” providing the show’s centerpiece. After tour ended, Chicago’s opening night still sits among the band’s top-shelf offerings of the month.

I: Down with Disease, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Reba, Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie

II: Light > Maze, Ghost > Limb By Limb, Prince Caspian > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope, Show of Life*

E: Cavern, Julius

*Debut

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v > KC5 > M222> NT222 > Oade m148 > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

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TreyDHD and The Forced Segue

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 13th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

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.

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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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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: , ,

Cover Flow

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 13th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

6.26.10 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

In a clear effort to freshen up summer setlists, Phish unveiled no less than 10 one-time covers over the 18 shows the season’s opening leg. Placing some innocently within first sets, and others more dramatically within the depths of second halves, the effects of these songs varied from case to case. A process unseen since the Summer of ’98, it seemed that Phish brought a new cover to the setlist almost nightly. This summer brought a more eclectic bunch of songs than the popular anthems covered twelve years ago,  as several songs went unknown until after the show to most fans. Phish also included songs everyone knew, offering a melange of tracks from different genres and eras. It remains to be seen if anything will come of these covers, or if they were just dashes of spice in their respective shows. Regardless of their future, here are the ten covers the band debuted last tour, with a blurb about each. (Every selection has two audio tracks, Phish’s rendition and the original.)

***

1. “Look Out Cleveland” - The Band, debuted 6.12 I

The Band

Opening up the second night of tour, this song’s lyric, “Look Out Cleveland, there’s a storm coming through,” was appropriate on two levels. Not only was inclement weather predicted for the evening, the typhoon of Phish had spun off Chicago, about to devour Blossom Music Center. The song’s Americana feel completely fit Phish’s current vibe, and this opening cover seemed like it was heading much further when the band cut it off for the similarly-vibed, “Ocelot.” If any of these covers are actual candidates to stay in rotation, this one could work quite well.

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***

2. “Instant Karma” - John Lennon, debuted 6.12 II

John Lennon

Coming deep in Blossom’s second set, and completely out of left field, Phish’s cover of Lennon’s classic provided a jolt to an already stellar show. While the band didn’t nail the song, they certainly played it proficiently, as Page did a noble job on the iconic vocal track. One of the covers that provided more excitement exponentially than listening back, the mere inclusion of “Instant Karma” in this slot confirmed that Summer 2010 wouldn’t be the same old shtick.

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***

3. “Cold Water” - Tom Waits, debuted 6.15 I

In this benign addition to Portsmouth’s first set, Phish smoothed out a gritty song, losing something in translation. Adding a loafing groove to the song, the band put their own twist on “Cold Water.” This song neither added or detracted from Virginia’s first set, but I doubt we’ll hear this one again.

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***

4. “Lit O Bit” - Rita Clarke and The Naturals, debuted 6.22 I

Rita Clarke

Opening Great Woods, I’m not sure anyone knew this jazzy, Dixieland number. A piano-led ragtime feel exuded from this New Orleans-esque cover that got Tuesday night’s show started in fresh fashion. A harmless ditty, this one could come back to the first set rotation to replace a stale oldie, and I wouldn’t mind one bit. A more authentic “Party Time,” this cover provides the same musical feel as Phish’s original.

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***

5. “The Rover” - Led Zeppelin, debuted 6.24 I

Physical Graffiti

Closing one of the strongest first sets of tour, Phish busted out “The Rover” after a powerful “Reba” jam, putting an ripping exclamation point on Camden’s first frame. Collectively nailing the cover,  Page tackled the dynamic vocal once again; and if Phish were to keep a song around to polish, this one would work great. A perfect placement helped the debut of “The Rover,” creating a definite buzz going into setbreak. Anytime Phish plays Zeppelin, it seems to work out, and this was no exception.

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***

6. “A Free Man In Paris” - Joni Mitchell, debuted 6.25 I

Mike sang this mellow Joni Mitchell relic from 1974, that translated very well to the Phish stage. Featuring intricate, yet catchy, guitar lines, this tune carries a distinct likability. Again, if Phsh were to replace an over-played ballad with this cover, I’m all for it.

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***

7. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” - Neutral Milk Hotel, debuted 6.26 I

In The Aeroplane Over the Sea

Only after the show did someone inform me that this song comes from one of the most critically-acclaimed Indie albums ever recorded. Once I listened to the wistful original that carries a distinctly melancholy vibe, I thought Phish missed this one altogether. They played this song as if impersonating a house band for a 1950s prom, and the heartfelt emotion of the song didn’t translate. I think Phish is just too happy these days to authentically play music like this. Oh, and doesn’t Trey have an acoustic guitar? That would have been helpful as well.

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***

8. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”The Rolling Stones, debuted 6.27 II

Emerging seamlessly out of “Ghost” amidst the most adventurous set of tour, Phish never missed a beat in nailing this Stones favorite. Building directly into a “Saw It Again” reprise to close the sequence of summer, the band inserted this newbie in the most dramatic of places. Fitting congruently within the dark set, “Jack Flash” came as a complete surprise bringing the set to an unquestionable peak. There are many Stones songs from Exile I think we’d see before Phish played this one again, but on this night, there was none better.

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***

9.  “I Am the Walrus” - The Beatles, debuted 6.29 II

Segueing out of an ambient “Simple” jam in the middle of Canandaigua’s “Mike’s Groove,” “I Am the Walrus” made its own case for cover of the summer. Nailed precisely as if they’d been playing it for years, Phish masterfully incorporated the track from Magical Mystery Tour into their mid-week set. Building dissonant, psychedelic sheets of sound out of the song’s peak, Phish passed through a menacing metal jam on their way to “Weekapaug.” If used well, this song could have an impact should the band choose to keep it around. And with their well-documented affinity for The Beatles, who knows?

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***

10. “Killing In the Name” - Rage Against the Machine, debuted 7.4 II

.

Saving their last cover for the last set of tour, Phish used the controversial punk cover as a narrative device in “Harpua’s” story that comically retold our the history of America. Creating an immediate implosion, the crowd ate up the profane ’90s anthem, shooting fans back to specific points in their lives. Though clearly part of the show’s tongue-in cheek humor, playing a song about institutional racism in the south on July 4th carries some level of socio-political connotation, intended or not. Regardless of political allusions, this thrashing piece created an indelible highlight from the onslaught of early-summer covers.

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Jam of the Day:

2001 > Light” 6.25 II

An all-time experiential highlight, Phish’s tribute to Michael Jackson on the one-year anniversary of his death will go down as one of the most legendary dance sessions is history. Follow that up with one of the most exploratoty “Lights” of tour, and you’ve got a powerful late-set segment.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.18.2010 Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT < Torrent

6.18.2010 Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT < Megaupload

Hartfird 6.18 Poster

This show’s second set is one of the strongest of tour. Opening with “Halley’s > Light > Billy Breathes,” the band clicked early. Adding a groovealicious “Tweezer” and super-charged versions of “Theme” and “Hood” to follow, the flow of the second half couldn’t get much stronger. Coupled with a favorite-filled first set, and a double “Tweezer Reprise” encore, this Nutmeg State throwdown represents Phish’s strongest effort of their Northeast run.

I: Fee, Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Summer of ’89*, Foam, Possum, The Moma Dance, Julius, Reba, Cavern

II: Halley’s Comet > Light > Billy Breathes, Tweezer > Theme From the Bottom, Harry Hood, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise, Tweezer Reprise

*Debut

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

Tags: , ,

Boy. Man. I Saw It Again.

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on July 12th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

6.27.2010 - Merrriweather (Graham Lucas)

While Phish put together several flowing second sets during summer’s opening leg, one stood head and shoulders above the rest. In most frames of summer, even the better ones, Phish included slower segments, stops for air, and breaks from jamming. While these aspects don’t necessarily hurt sets, the lack of these factors can surely contribute to a top-notch offering. Concluding their tour’ s peak weekend, Phish stepped on stage at Merriweather for the eighth and final set, and spun the most impressive stanza of of 2010. Including choice bust-outs, exploratory improv, and impeccable craftsmanship, no other set of summer approaches the musical cohesion and flow of Merriweather’s Sunday night delight.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

While other halves may have brought higher peak moments, few maintained a similar molten flow, and none carried the thematic unity, non-stop action and utter Phishiness of the weekend’s closing showcase amidst the woods of Maryland. After playing the two most exciting shows of tour on the previous two-nights, Sunday could have gone either way – a reeled-in breather or a blowout that upstaged every other set of the weekend. And in move that resembled the Phish of lore, the band chose the latter.

As Phish stepped onto Merriweather’s deeply-recessed stage, dropping “Wilson” to spark their Mid-Atlantic finale, the Gamehendge opener didn’t indicate any particular direction, hiding the band’s intentions. But as they slipped into the first “Meatstick” of the year, and only the second of this era, the millennial anthem notably juiced the crowd, as Trey wrung emotion from his solo before leading the band into a murky bog of groove. Thickening by the moment, the rhythms began plotting their own liquid course into night, but Trey had other ideas. Coming in abruptly with the opening riff of “I Saw It Again,” he waved off his band mates who continued the bulbous groove, creating the only awkward moment of the set. Finally giving in to their front man, the band broke stride and began “Saw It Again,” a move that seemed odd at the time, but provided the creative impetus for the rest of the night. The elusive Phish-metal quest  became the dark thread, tying together the musical suite of the summer.

6.27.10 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

Digging into the piece’s sharp edge, Phish annihilated the rarity, tacking on a heavy and abstract, post-lyrical segment, where all band members continuously shrieked “I Saw It Again!” over evil textures. Indulging in their sinister brew, the band stretched out the piece, into a harrowing sculpture of dissonant psychedelia. Blending the song’s sonic residue and final screams  into the opening of “Piper,” the band stepped into one of the summer’s defining jams. As Trey sung the song’s initial round, he comically referenced the phrase “I Saw It Again” in rhythm with the climbing lyrics – a theme that would run throughout the set. But when Phish finally let loose, careening into “Piper’s” jam, a stunning piece of creativity was born.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Connected with crazy glue and firing musical ideas like a sawed-off shotgun, Phish locked into, perhaps, the summer’s most jaw-dropping sequence. Without a clear, linear path, the band collectively navigated this jam like a ship bouncing in the white-waters of the open sea. Combining their dense musical style with an improvisational abandon seldom seen these days, the band took the audience for a maniacal magic carpet ride. Just as one member relented, another would introduce a new idea, furthering the aggressive odyssey without losing any sense of union. All four members connected profoundly in this break-neck chase, confirming their lasting ability to rewrite the cosmos on any given night. The electrifying piece ended naturally, descending into a slow groove drenched in ambient effect and harmonies, that soon morphed into the molasses of the long-awaited, second “Ghost” of tour.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Within the composed breaks, Trey, congruently and comically, continued the set’s theme, fitting the lyrical quote “I Saw It Again” within the rhythm of other songs. Launching into the jam with multi-note runs over a deep pocket, Trey soon turned to the whale in some incredibly tasteful use of the summer tone. As the band  built a mountain of momentum, Red alternated tones, as the band wound up in shredding peak. With energy sky-high, Trey unleashed passionate leads over the driving foundation, carrying out the musical intensity. And in the surprise of the set, without letting on, Phish had built “Ghost” into The Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumping Jack Flash,” and all Trey did was step to the mic and begin to sing,  in as a segue that was as seamless as possible.

The band’s take on the Stones’ kept the set moving at a relentless pace, while providing a dark cover to go with an already menacing frame of music. Jamming off the song’s ending, Phish entered a distinct groove and began chanting ” I Saw It Again!”, returning to the song that started this tenacious summer marathon. Peaking the suite with a final gasp of guitar fury, the band calmly dripped into”Contact,” a piece inserted perfectly in its traditional post-psychedelia slot in the setlist. Gordon’s metaphorical, auto-comedy  also featured lyrical teases of “Saw It Again,” setting up a set-closer that could only be “You Enjoy Myself.”

"YEM" 6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Punctuating a night that touched the very essence of Phish, the band’s seminal opus presented the clear choice to end the night. And just as “Contact” ended, Trey counted off into “YEM.” As the band moved through the composed half with pristine playing, by the time “the note” hit, Phish had Merriweather on the verge of explosion. Jumping over the cliff and landing in the awaiting ocean of funk, Trey substituted his scream of “Boy!” with “I Saw It Again!”, threading the comedy through the entire second half. Then, as the band vamped over the “Wassha Uffizi” section, Trey stepped to the mic in one of the frozen, micro-moments of tour and sang, “Boy, man! I saw it agaaain!” Bringing an ear-to-ear grin to himself and every last person in the crowd,Trey’s last lyrical nod pumped  the show full of the type of energy only a set like this can; and the band and the crowd bounced upon the tramps together, preparing for the upcoming incineration. As Trey and Mike hit stage, the band inserted a crafty quote of “Jumping Jack Flash” into the onset of their infectious groove. Capping the night with a celebratory dance session, Phish moved from sparse funk into a rolling musical snowball, gathering force through a succinct, yet powerful, version. And they tactfully closed the jam with the same “Jumping Jack Flash” quote with which they had started, ending an evening that was soaked in spirit of Phish.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Weaving their clever brand of humor into a non-stop set of scintillating improv, the band threw down their strongest musical statement of the early-summer within the cozy confines of Merriweather Post. Leaving the woods of Columbia that night, five shows remained after Phish had redefined their summer tour over the past four. Interestingly enough, however, the final stretch never reached the level of Merriweather, as the band favored straight-forward, rocking affairs. Highlights certainly bubbled throughout the South, but never a set like the one the band unleashed on the Sunday of tour’s most eventful run. Combining all aspects of the Phish experience into a ceaseless adventure, June 27  – set II stands alone as the shining star of tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper” 6.27.10 II

The centerpiece of tour’s most exciting set.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.27.2010 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD < Torrent

6.27. 2010 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD < Megaupload

Official Merriweather Poster

I: Walfredo, Mellow Mood, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Tela, My Soul, Ginseng Sullivan, Sample in a Jar, Bathtub Gin, Brian and Robert, Run Like an Antelope

II: Wilson, Meatstick > Saw It Again > Piper* > Ghost* > Jumpin’ Jack Flash** > Saw It Again > Contact*, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Fire

*w/ “Saw It Again” lyrical teases

**Debut, The Rolling Stones

Source: Schoeps mk4v > KC5 > M222 > NT222 > Aeta PSP-3 > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

Tags: ,

Weekend Nuggets: The 4th of July

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on July 9th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Official Alpharetta Poster

Phish celebrated July 4th with to in Atlanta’s northern suburbs with the third patriotic weekend of their career. Finishing tour with four sets of energetic music, the band created an all-out party vibe for the tour finale. Within the two shows, improvisational highlights emerged in “Bathtub Gin,” “Antelope,” “Tweezer > Slave,” “Jibboo,” and “Piper > Ghost.” Finishing Independence Day with Rage Against the Machine’s ” Killing in the Name,” sandwiched within a comical, revisionist-history “Harpua” narrative,  Phish created their own pyrotechnics for the holiday.

7.3.2010 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA < Torrent

7.3.2010 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA < Megaupload

I: Character Zero, Destiny Unbound, Rift, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Bathtub Gin, Mountains in the Mist, NICU, Gumbo, My Sweet One, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Strange Design, Sanity, Run Like an Antelope

II: Rock and Roll > Prince Caspian > Tweezer > Slave to the Traffic Light, Bouncing Around the Room, Possum, Backwards Down the Number Line, Harry Hood, Loving Cup

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps mk41 (DINa) > kc5 > cmc6xt > Sonosax SX-M2 > Mytek Stereo 192 ADC > Tascam HD-P2 (24/96)

****

7.4.2010 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA < Torrent

7.4.2010 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA < Megaupload

7.4.10 II (W. Rogell)

I: The Star Spangled Banner, Punch You In the Eye, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Camel Walk, Ocelot, Heavy Things, My Friend, My Friend, Lawn Boy, David Bowie, Gotta Jibboo

II: Down with Disease > Piper > Ghost, Waste, Julius, Mike’s Song > Tela, Harpua > Killing in the Name* > Harpua > Weekapaug Groove

E: First Tube

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v > KCY > Schoeps VMS02IB > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

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Jams of the Weekend: Alpharetta 1st Sets

Bathtub Gin” 7.3.10 I

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***

Jibboo” 7.4.10 I

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND: Classic Summer Moments

“Fuck Your Face” 7.2.10 II (Team Hood)

****

“I Am the Walrus” 6.29.10 II (7-Cam shot)

***
“Killing In the Name” 7.4.10 II (dougcurling)

Tags: ,

The June Debuts

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 9th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Amidst a fury of covers last month, Phish also introduced five new original songs into the mix. Rumor had it that Trey and Tom were writing copious material before this summer, but if so, we have yet the hear fruits of their labor. Over the course of June, however, we heard three new Trey songs, one Page song, and one Mike song, and if we are looking at their potential for adding excitement to Phish shows, this is how I’d rank them.

***

1. “Halfway to the Moon” - debuted 6.19 @ SPAC

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Page’s newest contribution to the catalog boasts a thick groove, a Pink Floydian feel, and potential for dripping psychedelia. One of few recent dark additions to Phish’s repertoire, “Halfway to the Moon” will unquestionably go places if Trey gives it room in the setlist. With well-written lyrics, a monstrous bass line, and built-in whaling, this menacing launch pad leads the pack of 2010 offerings, and it was a shame that it only showed up once in 18 shows. In its only appearance at SPAC, the band started to descend into a sinister rhythmic dungeon before Trey pressed the eject button like a doomed pilot, heading for the calmer waters of “Prince Caspian.”

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***

2. “Idea” – debuted 6.15 @ Portsmouth, VA

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Similar to Page’s newest effort, Phish debuted Mike’s “Idea” in the middle of Portsmouth’s second set, never to be heard from again. Emerging out of a murky “46 Days,” the verses of Mike’s newest song sound like quintessential Gordeaux-rock, and the galloping track breaks for two separate jams. The first piece of improv features a fast-paced, straight-ahead groove similar to the TAB favorite “Mr. Completely,” while the second is more thicker disco-funk exploration with serious potential. After Phish unveiled this inviting launch pad in only their fourth show, it seems absurd that it never resurfaced, considering no new songs truly entered rotation this summer. Countless songs that Phish routinely pound into their setlists pose far less excitement than “Idea,” so why did we only hear it once?

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***

3. “Show of Life” – debuted 6.11 @ Chicago

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Trey’s emotional ballad highlights his newest offerings with a combination of simple melody and sublime guitar work. A perfect exclamation on a dark set, “Show of Life” appeared at the end of tour’s opening night in Chicago and SPAC’s first show. Used tactfully as it has been, this song brings phenomenal closure to evenings, with a build that – if unleashed – could provide limitless waterfalls of catharsis. Another in the line of latter-day, heartfelt Anastasio pieces, this collaboration with The Dude of Life shines brighter than most.

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4. “Summer of ’89” - debuted 6.18 @ Hartford

Oozing with pop sensibility and catchy melodies, Trey’s  well-crafted love song has grown on me with subsequent listens. However, its place in a Phish show still remains questionable. An intricate section of jamming takes a bit too long to reach through several repetitive, cheesy verses, and both appearances, in Hartford and Camden, did nothing for the flow of their sets. With a brief improvisational payoff, it will be interesting to see if this one sticks around as a first set song of summer. If nothing more, it’s a nice song to have on the iPod.

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5. “Dr. Gabel” - debuted 6.22 @ Great Woods

Dr. Gabel?

The most bizarre debut of summer, this retro Brit-pop imitation didn’t do it for me or for anyone else I talked to this summer. Another likely musical documentation of Trey’s road to recovery, this song doesn’t really sound like a Phish song at all. I’m all about new experiments, but the likelihood of this one going anywhere seems slim. Trey says “Dr. Gabel” approximately 789 times in the seven-minute song, which he, self-admittedly, botched in its only incarnation of June. Something tells me we won’t be hearing from this one too much more.

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Out of the five new songs debuted over  Leg I, Trey’s seem least significant for once; and I wonder if he will allow “Halfway to the Moon” and “Idea” to flourish as significant Phish jams. With more explosive potential in these two songs than Trey’s three, combined, one must hope that their debuts were mere introductions. But in an odd trend-reversal, Phish didn’t push their new material this summer, leaving us to wonder what role these songs will play in the future. “Show of Life” is a welcome addition to Phish’s live show and is certainly here to stay; but let’s also see some open-ended excursions in Page and Mike’s shiny new vehicles that are parked in the driveway begging for joy rides.

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Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Slave” 7.3.10 II

The transcendent high point of July 4th Weekend in Alpharetta, Georgia.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.24.10 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ < Megaupload

Official Camden Poster

The first night of Camden, featuring one of the strongest  first sets of tour, and the second set flows well despite a prematurely aborted “Crosseyed.” This show brought the first magnified version of “Twenty Years Later” that teamed up with “Hood” in a dark to light progression. But the dark horse jam of the show came in the opening set with a compact and experimental “Timber Ho.”

I: David Bowie, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Water in the Sky, Ocelot, Uncle Pen, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Gumbo, Timber Ho, I Didn’t Know, Birds of a Feather, Bouncing Around the Room, Reba, The Rover*

II. Down with Disease > Crosseyed and Painless > Nothing, Twenty Years Later > Harry Hood, Fluffhead, Julius, You Enjoy Myself

E: Bug

*Debut, Led Zeppelin

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222 > NT222 > Aeta PSP-3 > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz) (Taper: taylorc)

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