With less than a week to go until both Austin and Broomfield, we have entered the final countdown for Phish’s highly-anticipated fall tour of mid-size venues and secondary markets. In the name of prognostication, here are five likely and unlikely scenarios for fall tour, as well as five scenarios that I’d like to see. Feel free to add your own in Comments below.
It is likely that…
1. Trey will only become more dexterous and dynamic with The Ocedoc, returning to a level of skill and creativity many thought he would never reach again.
2. Phish will play several of their best shows since returning in ’09 during this tour. Since they’re comeback, they have been on a consistent upswing and this fall looks to be the first tour in which all band members are up to speed from day one. With the return of Fishman and Trey during August, October holds endless possibilities.
3. This tour will be the most fun since the return – not only for the predicted best music of the modern era, but for the intimate, GA environs each night. Every show has a GA floor – every show will be a communal throwdown without worrying about being in aisles or seats.
4. “Light” will remain the band’s most exploratory vehicle and continue pushing the boundaries of Phish music. At the same time, “Disease” will always be a classic lens into the band’s future direction.
5. The Mullins Center stand will become one of the central talking points of fall tour. The site of several mid-’90s Phish shows of lore, and located smack dab in the middle of New England, these shows have the recipe for explosion. Circle them on your calendar and get there.
It’s pretty unlikely that…
1. Phish’s jamming will stagnate – much like Fall ’09 – and they will fall back on “energy shows” again.
2. Phish will play “Summer of ’89” during the Fall. Just not gonna work.
3. “Mike’s” will get the old-school, two-jam treatment again. Though with the retro-venues, the band just might dive bomb back in time, and drop into the real segment of creativity formerly known as “Mike’s Song.”
4. The Atlantic City run will suck. Set up as a three-night, end-of-tour Halloween blow-out, these shows will punctuate the tour with force. Look for the 29th or 30th to be one of the more intense evenings of the fall. And with everyone staying within a mile or two of each other, this will be the perfect end of tour party.
5. Phish will play Gamehendge for Halloween. While anything is fair game this time around, I don’t see it happening. But if they really did up the stage and made it a Halloween production with Trey narrating, I think the saga could be great. There are six other sets on the shore to get loose, so no one would need to worry about a thing. It could actually be the perfect context for a last visit to the mystical land. But, again, this is filed under “unlikely,” and its probability is slim to none.
I would like to see...
1. Phish to let loose on a more-than-groove “Tweezer” in the ballpark of thirty minutes.
2. “Free,” “Tube,” “Gumbo,”…we’ve been over this.
3. Everyone relish the joy of every show. It sure seems like Phish is here to stay, but only moment is now.
4. The band to cover something other than Led Zeppelin for Halloween. Though I love and respect the British rockers, I’d like to see something more psychedelic and less guitar-centric. Then again, last year I lobbied against “Exile” and loved it. But two classic rock albums from England in two years? Let’s try something else.
5. “Number Line” remain a jam vehicle that reaches diverse musical places. Whether exploring the dark side (Blossom) or upbeat jamming (Jones Beach), this song has been the springboard to a couple of the year’s most outstanding jams. But after seeing where the song can go, standard, guitar-solo versions, in my opinion, fall flat every time.
Jam of the Day:
There’s nothing like kicking off the week with a blissful “Reba.” And just when you get deep into your daydream, “Carini” will, undoubtedly, wake you up.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
12.31.1996 Fleet Center, Boston, MA < Megaupload
I’m not sure how this New Year’s extravaganza has slipped the archives, but somehow it’s not in there. So here is the finale of 1996 in which the band referenced their former style of arena rock as opposed to their emerging style of groove. This three-set show delivered from start to finish on a frigid night in Boston that few will ever forget. The first set carried a great flow, the second set brought a sublime sequence of “Simple > Swept > Steep >Hood,” and the third set featured a stellar “2001 > Auld Lang Syne,” a crushing “Antelope,” and a surprise cover that just about blew my mind.
As a side note, my wife, at age 19, snuck into this tough ticketed-affair after first getting booted for flagrantly trying to slide in under someone’s dress. Then, she convinced a cop that someone had ran by and ripped her ticket while posturing with an already-used stub. The policeman had her escorted to “her” VIP seat by the head of security in plenty of time for note one.
I: Axilla, Peaches en Regalia, Punch You In the Eye, Cars Trucks Buses, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar, Tweezer Reprise
II: Chalk Dust Torture, Wilson, Sparkle, Simple > Swept Away > Steep > Harry Hood > Prince Caspian, Character Zero
III: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease, Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope, Bohemian Rhapsody*, Julius**
E: Amazing Grace**
*Phish debut; w/ Boston Community Choir.
** w/ Boston Community Choir.
Source: FM SBD
(Torrent site has been acting up the last few days…)