The Magic of Ten Minutes

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

10.12.10 - Broomfield (S. Short)

Once upon a time, Phish jams routinely stretched past the fifteen minute mark, exploring funk textures and various other musical realms before coming to rest. Beginning in 1994 with “Bowies” and “Tweezers,” but more earnestly developing during the groove era of 1997-2000, the long jam became a fixture at Phish shows. Four-song sets, dance marathons, loose ambient experiments, meandering psychedelia; all of these were parts and parcels of bygone eras in Phish history. These days, while the band still drops jams that push fifteen minutes every now and again, highlights of fall shows have most often been their more compact ten to twelve minute excursions. A growing trend of musical density that was born last fall is now coming to fruition with directed, collaborative playing that continues to hit the sweet spot.

One of the most interesting parts of these compact jaunts is how much longer they feel in concert. Bombarding the audience with layers of musical ideas, these living pieces of improvisation create a time warp, stretching a ten-minute period to something that feels much longer. With seemingly effortless collaboration, and without over-thinking, the band is diving into their pieces with urgency, making good things happen right away. This is not to say Phish is being impatient – they are not – they have honed their improvisational conversations and are simply taking less time into the meat of jams. Playing with a precision and tightness unseen since in eras, the newest Phish music has a distinctly retro vibe while simultaneously pushing themselves into the future.

Fall 2010

There have only been two (non-“YEM”) jams that have reached fifteen minutes thus far – Broomfield’s “Ghost” and Charleston’s “Crosseyed and Painless” – and the latter only got there with two lyrical reprises and three segments of improv. More than ever, with current Phish, time is nothing and music is everything. The most intense and impressive jams of the last five shows have landed smack dab in the nine to twelve minute range, something that is always a surprise upon download. There is no need to list all of the highlights that fit this framework, for they are plentiful and everyone has the tapes. But the point is that, now, Phish can be both exploratory and concise in one jam. Some obvious examples are Broomfield’s “Twist,” “Split,” and “Carini,” and Charleston’s “Disease,” “Sand,” and “Tweezer.” The band has made powerful musical statements in far shorter times, increasing the impact of each individual jam on the psyche.

8.5.10 (W. Rogell)

Trust me, I would still love to see the band drop twenty minute jams a la The Greek’s “Light” or Alpine’s “Disease > What’s the Use?” and I’m sure that they will; it just doesn’t matter any more. Phish can just as easily play outstanding shows laced with ten to twelve minute jams a la Broomfield’s second and third nights. With the intensity of their communication better than it has been since their return, these dense pieces are only becoming more interesting. With five down and nine to go, it will be interesting to track to watch the course Phish jams over the second two-thirds of tour and to see if this trend continues.

***

Notes From the Road: As the scene shifts from South to North tonight, so does the mode of transport from plane to car. Tonight’s show in Augusta, Maine is followed by an all-night cannonball run to Utica, hence, I’m not sure when my review will be posted.

Recent Halloween Rumors:

Frank Zappa – “We’re Only In It For the Money

King Crimson – “Lark’s Tongue In Aspic(w/ Robert Fripp on second guitar)


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Chucktown Throwdown

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

12.29.09 (Wendy Rogell)

On a Saturday night in North Charleston, Phish dropped their finest two-set effort of this young tour, blowing out each frame with fresh jams colored with unparalleled musicianship and communication by all four members. Juxtaposed to their endless setlists of Friday, the band crafted a show that flowed like liquid from start to finish, and almost felt like we saw two second sets worth of music. Throwing down the gauntlet from moment one, this show had IT from the get go, never moving through a single lull on the way to churning out a venue full of beaming fans. Just before a two-day break prior to entering their home turf of New England, Phish has raised the bar for the rest of tour with a show that simply never stopped.

Official Charleston Poster

Opening with an appetizer of “Kill Devil Falls” and “Guelah Papyrus” – both played for the first time this fall – the set got rolling in earnest with the only “Curtain (With)” of 2010. Boasting a gorgeous “With” jam this sparked a set of serious music as the tour debuts continued with an energetic “Mango Song” and a filthy “Sand.” When the band kicked into “Sand” midway through the first set, they delivered a message loud and clear – this night would be special. Shredding apart a dynamic groove Trey set the tone for his own playing for the evening – a night he annihilated from start to finish in, arguably, his best outing of fall thus far. “Sand” provided the first outright showcase for his chops, and he took liberty in leading the band through a version to be reckoned with. Flowing with lead melodies over a outstanding and changing groove, this version possessed far more passion, direction and urgency than any of this era (with Camden ’09 being the only counterargument) as the whole band interplay transcended the norm for the song. Fishman altered his beats, Mike molded diverse bass lines and the entire band shifted through connected segments of jamming in an indelible psychedelic excursion. Musical Density x Phish crack = really enjoyable times. (Or MD x PhC = $$$)

12.30.09 (W.Rogell)

Trey’s infectious playing spilled right into “Limb By Limb” where his solo took added life, and into slammin’ “Sneakin Sally” that went without any real exploration in a first set go-round. In his only the southern stop and while having a particularly hot night, Trey pulled out the intricate Bill Monroe cover “Uncle Pen” to the delight of the Saturday night South Carolina crowd, and proceeded to lead the band through a rousing rendition. The dark-horse jam of the set came in from another 2010 premiere – “Pebbles and Marbles.” Bursting at the seams with energy, Fishman guided the jam with a hard, driving beat, urging Trey and Mike into uncharacteristically fast playing that resulted in some absolutely sublime moments. This version sprinted its way into the first set highlight reel with daring improv and blistering whole band communication that juiced more from the song than usual. Upon dropping a perfectly placed “Cavern,” Phish was ostensibly closing a smoking first set, but when the song ended, the band didn’t leave stage, and after a brief moment, revved up a bonus “David Bowie” that punctuated the opening frame far more dramatically.

But as hot as the opening half was Phish came out for set two and promptly dropped a musical statement that is among their best of the year – no bones about it. Boasting a non-stop flow and jams aplenty, the band blazed a fiery trail of music that never relented. Blindsiding everyone with “Crosseyed and Painless,” Phish came out with a multi-tiered exploration of the Talking Head’s cover. Cranking through a fiery initial expedition, Trey once again took front and center with his warp-speed soloing as the band crushed a liner, yet scorching jaunt through Crosseyed’s melodic themes. When the band pulled back into the lyrics, however, they weren’t close to done. Oozing into a space-aged ambient experiment, Trey painted eerie singular notes over a drone landscape, pushing the piece far into avant-garde abstraction. Thinking this segment would develop into the next song, Phish instead refrained “Still Waiting” once again and proceeded to move into a third section of jamming. Growing into a mid-tempo groove with a slick melodic tone, it seemed like the band wasn’t stopping. But the jam came to an natural end as they resolved the section fairly quickly to a massive ovation.

12.4.09 (Graham Lucas)

“Dirt” provided an introspective moment before Phish leapt into a mid-set “Fluffhead.” But unlike the many  modern-era versions that break up flow of the second set, this one worked perfectly as the band crushed a nearly note-perfect rendition of their collegiate composition. Building a full head of steam through the five-part piece, Phish exploded at “The Arrival,” imploding the Coliseum with a colossal peak. But when “Fluff” came to a close, the best sequence of the show was ready to unfold.

Dropping immediately into the ambient built of  “2001,” Phish wasted little time getting to business in a scorching version that is rivaled only by (but, in my opinion, smokes) Camden’s Michael Jackson-laced escapade for tops of the era. Whereas the band has generally played generic versions all over 2009 and 2010, this one contained additional octane, activity and interplay that set it far apart. Torching the building with a relentless mid-set dance session, Trey teased the opening lick of the first theme multiple times during the furious funk before taking the song to into its intial peak. And after surfing a rhythmic tsunami to its subsequent one, the band slipped into the my personal highlight of the night – a ginormous second set “Tweezer.”

10.12.10 (S. Short)

Taking a divergent path than versions we’ve heard of late, Phish infused this “Tweezer” with belligerent creativity, creating an original mind-melter that left no jaw unhung. If you’re like me and get off on thick, raunchy Phish grooves, get your headphones and let this one rip, because you are in for a delectable treat! After a composed section that the band filled with all sorts of accents and enhancements, Trey came out of the gates in his raw, uncompressed, post-hiatus tone, throwing a surprising twist into things right off the bat. Getting downright menacing and swampy, the band’s rhythms complimented his ideas like a cosmic brontosaurus. Trey switched into out of his dissonant voice and began weaving strands of gold before before Fishman anchored a smooth change into a sparser groove – a move coaxed Page and Mike into prominent lead roles in this dense virtuosic journey. Dripping with crunching, forward-looking grooves, the band threw down the type of stuff that I dream about – a different monster than any 2010 incarnation and perhaps one of most indelible ten minute segments of music we’ll hear all tour. Layered with new ideas and uber-dynamic interplay between all four members – just get this one on as soon as possible!

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

As the “Tweezer” bust through its denouement, Trey wound up “Show of Life,” combining the two songs for the first time. Using the fall debut of his new song tactfully as a late-set bridge, the emotional anthem fit like a glove between “Tweezer” and the set’s closing “You Enjoy Myself.” Many had buzzed about the “Brickhouse YEM” from ’95 in the same building, and when the band dropped into the song’s opening arpeggios, one couldn’t help wonder the band was giving a subtle nod to the epic half-hour version. But one way or another, “YEM” – unplayed since Austin – was due up to close the show in style. And with an extremely laid-back rendition, Phish did exactly that, putting an exclamation point on a night of stellar jamming. A nuanced, whole-band conversation shied from any guitar heroics and brought all four members into collective focus in a series of swanky grooves.

As Phish set down their instruments, they knew as well as we did what just went down. They all sported shit-eating grins and stayed onstage longer than usual to soak in the raucous approval. And when they returned they capped the evening with a triple encore of “I’ve Been Around,” “Quinn the Eskimo,” and “Tweezer Reprise,” finishing off the show like they started it – on fire. With the first leg of tour now behind us, Phish prepares for the Northeast and beyond with a top-notch show under their belts and ready to drop a whole lot more.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Guelah Papyrus, The Curtain (With), The Mango Song, Sand, Limb By Limb, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, Uncle Pen, Pebbles and Marbles, Cavern, David Bowie

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Dirt, Fluffhead, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Tweezer > Show of Life, You Enjoy Myself

E: I Been Around, Quinn the Eskimo, Tweezer Reprise

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Jukebox Phish

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

Official Charleston Poster

Phish greeted the South with a song driven affair totalling 28 selections and little improvisation to note in a disjointed show that never achieved liftoff. The band played sharply but with little creativity as they delighted the noticeably-drunken audience with a show reminiscent of their Hampton recitals of ’09. Featuring quasi-bustouts in “Destiny Unbound,” “Buffalo Bill,” “Dog-Faced Boy,” “Roses Are Free,” and “Mexican Cousin,” Phish dotted the show with some rarities along the way; and though not playing anything poorly, they didn’t do anything particularly special in a show that will unquestionably be eclipsed by Saturday night.

Opening with a scalding combo of “Punch,” “Possum,” and “Bathtub Gin,” things looked promising as Page’s dad, Dr. Jack McConnell joined the band for his famed spot “Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home?” But after Phish front-loaded the set, things took a turn for the generic for the rest of the frame. Only “Stash” and “Antlelope” provided notable structured improv, each boasting legitimate first set high points. An old-school “Stash” reached a supremely psychedelic peak without ever leaving its build, and featured some nasty guitar wizardry by Big Red. And when Antelope ended the set with a bang, anything seemed possible in set two.

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

The second half started in blistering fashion, as Phish unveiled the “Disease” that eluded Broomfield; though it would provide the only significant jamming of the second set. The band moved from high speed rock and roll into an uptempo rhythmic section that bridged the way to a legitimate ambient experiment. Drifting into “Prince Caspian” to resolve the opener, Phish slayed the anthem favoring a heavier guitar solo than the summer versions, though the song came at a time that slowed the opening vibe of the set. As the band started up the subsequent “Twist,” the show felt like it could be restoked – especially after Broomfield’s stellar rendition. But a meandering jam that noodled around the theme for its duration never developed into anything to write home about. With the onset of “Roses Are Free” amidst the second set, Phish held the fate of the show in their hands. It sure felt like they were stepping to the song for the third time of their career, as this was an unprecedented slot for the coveted cover. But just as the jam prepared to launch, Trey called for “My Friend, My Friend,” killing the possibility of a improv-based show and initiating a string of songs that would take us to the end of the set.

10.12.10 (S.Short)

“My Problem Right There” featured a new bridge between verses, possibly signifying more to come from the Trey’s clever new song. And though “Tube,” “Mike’s,” “Weekapaug,” and “Slave” all look good on paper, none of these crowd favorites blossomed significantly last night, all bringing standard fare to the table in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was about it for night one. A fitting encore of “Character Zero” ended this relentless escapade of songs that will likely be balanced by a Saturday night show strewn with improv. Ya’ gotta figure, right?

I: Punch You In the Eye, Possum, Bathtub Gin, Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home?*, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Destiny Unbound, Backwards Down the Number Line, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Joy, Buffalo Bill, Dog Faced Boy, Run Like an Antelope

II: Down with Disease > Prince Caspian > Twist, Roses Are Free > My Friend, My Friend, My Problem Right There, Tube, Mike’s Song > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Mexican Cousin, Weekapaug Groove, Suzy Greenberg, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Character Zero

*w/ Page’s dad

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An Invite By Mike

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on October 14th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

"The Mossery" Invite

Ever the iconoclast, Mike Gordon has announced an out-of-the-ordinary mid-tour event coming up next Monday, October 18, in New York City. While Phish takes two days off between Charleston and Augusta, Mike will celebrate the release of his new album, Moss, with a participatory party in New York. Mike won’t be playing a usual show, but hosting a free event asking audience members to join him on stage jam for jam sessions with intruments to be provided. If you are driving from South Carolina to Maine, this might be the perfect pit stop, or if you’re in New York, head down to Bleeker Street and share this special night with Mike. Details from his website are below:
You’re invited to “The Mossery,” a free-form musical event on the eve of the release of Mike Gordon’s new studio album, Moss. The event will take place at a fully transformed Kenny’s Castaway on Monday, October 18th in New York City. There’s no cost to get in and you can come, explore and leave as you please. Guests will have the chance to pick up Mike’s new album which hits stores on Tuesday.
Attendees will have the opportunity to play along, with Mike on bass. We supply the instruments and mikes and you show up. We can’t guarantee that everyone will get to (it’s first come, first served), but we’ll rotate as many willing participants through as possible, because a rolling stone gathers no moss.
The first half of the event will start at 7:30pm and continue through 9:00pm, at which point we’ll rotate out all folks, making room for the next flock of people. The second half of the event, with all new participants, will begin at 9:30pm and continue through 11:00pm.

"Moss"

For more information, please visit mike-gordon.com.

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The Real Deal In Broomfield

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

10.12.10 - Broomfield (Spencer Short)

When Phish tour is rolling well, each successive show builds on the one before in an ever-increasing musical drama. So far, this is the path that has begun to unfold along the road of Fall 2010. Last night, in a classic case of one-upping themselves, Phish finished their Colorado crusade with the most impressive show of their young tour, placing their improvisational lens on the dark side in a second set filled with consistent mind-fucking creativity. Stringing together multiple pieces of top-notch jamming, Phish molded the defining stanza of Broomfield’s three-night stand in their finale – an incredibly encouraging omen as the scene shifts to the Southeast this weekend.

When the lights dropped for the last time in the Rocky mountains, odds makers had “Disease” as the 2 to 1 favorite to open the second set and “You Enjoy Myself” with similar odds to close. “Harry Hood” also had all sorts of wagers in its favor, but instead of going with the house favorites, Phish bucked the trends and side-stepped their feel-good anthems, weaving an ominous frame of music with an original setlist while giving each and every selection the full treatment.

10.12.10 (S.Short)

As many prepared for the fuzzy bass intro of “Disease,” Trey came crashing down with the heavy-metal guitar of “Carini.” Smashing the window of the second set wide open, the band took a swan dive into the growling favorite. But what made this version so unique wasn’t the hardcore rhythms and searing effects, but the uplifting jam that stemmed from the evil canvas. Layering a dramatic solo over the band’s heavy groove, Trey led his mates in a soul-tugging segment of improv that one would never expect to hear from the aggressive song. Kicking off the frame with staggering passion, the band would never look back. Without returning to the “Carini,” Phish descended from this cathartic peak with a carefully crafted space-ambient segue that merged masterfully into the intro to “David Bowie.”

Growing from a sublime “Carini” and placed in the second slot of the second set, this “Bowie” was bound for glory. And Phish responded to this potential with – easily – the best version they have played since coming back onstage last year. Infused with the intricacy and furious communication that fueled “Bowies” of lore, this centerpiece version featured the type of full-band interplay that made the song an institution in the mid-’90s. Trey’s subconscious guitar work stood out as he filled each and every measure with unparalleled activity, and the word “dynamic” would be a massive understatement in describing the full-on narrative that resulted. Check this one out as soon as possible, and while you’re at it, let the tape spin right into the third consecutive mind-numbing jam of the set – “Light.”

10.12.10 (Spencer Short)

In another fascinating illustration of musical density, Phish cranked out one of the more unique “Light” jams ever played with ludicrous efficiency. Instead of returning to the lyrical refrain and then moving into a section of open-ended improv, the band built the composed jam into a stunning section of innovative psychedelia. Entering a futuristic and atypical groove-based segment, the band shredded this piece to smithereens with a similar urgency that characterized the set’s opening combination. Showcasing a completely original jam that bore little resemblance to anything the band has played, “Light” provided another glimpse down the current rabbit hole of the Phish universe. Trey and Page sliced the musical textures with precision while Mike and Fish kept an abstract but driving beat that drove the song’s adventure. Tearing through the smoking piece, when Phish finished their compact journey, they moved into a welcome oasis of melody in “Theme From the Bottom.”

10.12.10 (S.Short)

Phish juiced every ounce of feeling from this version, providing the perfect aftermath for the extensive psychedelic jaunts that had just occurred, and while amidst the final note, the band nailed a series of collective hits that morphed into “Free.” Blowing up the Broom’ with sleek bass leads, Gordon worked the song over while Phish brought their onslaught of improv to a momentary landing pad. “Joy” worked well as a breather, and set up what seemed like an inevitable drop into “YEM” or “Hood.” Choosing to blindside the audience, however, the band unveiled the long-awaited second incarnation of Page’s “Halfway to the Moon” (debuted at SPAC this June). Rearranged with an altered ending, the band has clearly practiced the piece, and last night felt like their reintroduction of their finished product. Hopefully in rotation to stay, the song sounded polished and ready for exploration.

Official Broomfield Poster

When the band crushed “Bug” in a version that rivaled Alpine’s monster, it seemed as though the that set closer lurked around of the corner. But in a set that carried undeniable flow, when Trey decided to play “Summer of ‘89” late in this overtly-dark set, it made little sense at all. But none of that mattered when Phish threw a finishing uppercut with “Split Open an Melt.” Punctuating a set strewn with foreboding music with a proper closer, this “Split” was a brilliant highlight in a set chock full of them. Though Phish has dropped many several “Splits” this era, none have approached the caliber of last night’s musical exclamation point. Immediately taking the piece into a mystical, amorphous soundscape, this one had five stars written all over it from its inception. Formulating a devastating excursion, the band passed through an extensive period of beauty that served as a stylistic juxtaposition to the norm. Blossoming through multiple stages of bliss and a gradually building groove, Phish slowly infused the piece with edgier wizardry until they were fully locked in a relentless “Split jam. Peaking the show with one of its most spectacular segments, Phish left it all on stage last night – something the entire crowd recognized with a massive ovation.

“Meatstick” provided a funky come down to a hugely impressive frame of music, and concluded the band’s the three-night stand with a dose of self-effacing humor. When the time came to drop their instruments and perform, Mike and Trey made no bones about letting the audience know that they no longer knew the once-famous dance, though attempting just the same. A fun ending to an evening of serious music, Mike stomped his foot bell as the last note of the show, leaving the crowd singing”Meatstick’s” chorus long after the band left stage.

If last night proved one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt – this is going to be some fall tour! Drop out, Tune in, and Hop on.

See You in Charleston!

10.12.10 (Spencer Short)

First Set Notes: Phish composed a very impressive first set using a series of well-loved rarities – “Meat,” “Timber,” “On Your Way Down” and “Sugar Shack,” two extended compositions – “Time Turns Elastic” and a scintillating “Divided Sky,” and a final peak – “46 Days.” The closer transcended its form as Phish blew out the ending with a feel-good segment of climactic rock stylings; an out of the blue addition that led the band into setbreak with undeniable momentum.

I: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Time Turns Elastic, Meat, The Divided Sky, Timber, On Your Way Down, Heavy Things, Sugar Shack, 46 Days

II: Carini > David Bowie, Light > Theme From the Bottom > Free, Joy, Halfway to the Moon, Bug, Summer of ’89, Split Open and Melt

E: Meatstick

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Dust And Stars And There You Are

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

10.8.10 - (Graham Lucas)

Phish stepped to Broomfield’s undersized arena in over-sized fashion last night, torching the building with two scintillating sets of music. Beginning from note one, last night’s show boasted a polar opposite vibe of the tour opener, flowing unflappably through the most impressive first set in eons and winding an adventurous path through a second set filled with twists and turns. Compiling a setlist that could make eyes bleed, Phish got back to business in earnest on Monday night, foreshadowing a fall run that will bring the band further down the unforged wilderness of the modern era.

The opening frame read like a page from the Phish canon, from the “Runaway Jim, “Foam” opening combo to the late-set “Halley’s > Tweezer” and everything in between. Following the clean and crisp beginning, “Wolfman’s” got the meat of the first frame underway with snapping, collaborative dance rhythms that stoked a fire of groove in the band which continued for the duration of the show. Piggybacking on the swank excursion, Phish went right ahead and dropped a divine “Reba” that brought the show to a colossal peak very early on. A dynamic version that sprinted right past the several”Rebas” of summer, its likeness in this era may not be found. Treating the piece with utmost delicacy, the band came out incredibly gently, worked cohesively from the start to create an intricate ocean of bliss. As the piece gained momentum, so did Trey, leading the band with an emotional solo that carried them to monumental heights, pushing through the song’s apparent peak to yet a higher plane of sonic sorcery.

Jones Beach (M. Ladd)

And just when it seemed Phish might insert a breather into the set, instead they dropped into the hallowed combo of “Halley’s > Tweezer.” The short launch pad carried a certain tempo and energy that spilled directly into the next massive peak of the opening half – “Tweezer.” Surprising everyone with its first set appearance, “Tweezer” delivered the message that nobody would be waking us from this first-set dream. As Phish splashed into the jam with a laid-back rain forest of funk, Mike grabbed the lead while Trey came in with a set of low-key rhythm licks before stepping to the forefront with a pimped-out, bluesy solo that Page comped masterfully. Clicking with the same semblance of groove that drenched the entire first frame, Trey gradually led this “Tweezer” into more climactic territory with the entire band locked at his hip. Taking the classic version through charted but highly dramatic waters, Phish built an intense, old-school incarnation of their seminal launchpad, all the way down to the gradual “wind-down” ending. Fitting perfectly with the theme of the set, “Tweezer” brought a darker counterpoint to “Reba’s” lucid dream.

And after a sluggish Gordon debut – “What Things Seem” – that combined the sounds of “Spock’s Brain” and “Fikus,” Phish got right back to the their catalog of greatest hits, punctuating the set with the combination of “Squirming Coil,” and “Antelope,” with a hearty emphasis placed on the intense and jazzy set closer. Phew! And that was only the end of the first half? That’s what the clock said, so everyone hunkered down for a whole ‘nother set of Phish. Sometimes after the band drops such a crushing opening frame, the second set becomes an afterthought. But that was not the case last night in Colorado, as the band came out to play another set that continued to light up the 1st Bank Center, including a to-die-for “Twist” that provided the unquestionable highlight of the show.

10.8.10 (G.Lucas)

10.8.10 (G.Lucas)

As Trey began strumming the to open the set, one could barely make out the beginning of…”Golden Age?!” Out of the blue the Phish’s one-time cover of the indie, electro-pop outfit, TV On the Radio, came soaring back into play, kicking off the second set with a celebratory vibe. Playing the piece far more crisply than last fall in Albany, the band shot everyone with 1000 cc’s of adrenaline to the dome while initiating a three-piece musical puzzle. Riding on and the cathartic melodies the song, Phish extended their take this time around, providing a gorgeous structured jam and then continuing the piece after the lyrical refrain. Deconstructing the jam into a percussive canvas that continued to move further away from “Golden Age,” Phish morphed into a shimmering, ambient outro and moved seamlessly into “Piper.”

Bursting with energy as soon as the lyrics subsided, the band tore into this piece with passion, moving as a single entity through a multiverse of musical density. Blazing an aggressive path of one-minded music that featured a subtle, high-speed nod to “Guy Forget,” Phish packed a wallop within a succinct piece, proving again that the length of their jams are meaningless at this point in their career. Soon after the band peaked the blistering affair and broke it down into an alternate canvas, Trey coyly slid in the opening lick to “Camel Walk” and the band was right on top of it, converging to form a seamless surprise segue. The musical molasses of “Camel Walk” brought the set’s opening sequence to a close, but the night’s best music was yet to come.

8.7.2010 (W.Rogell)

Phish inserted “Alaska” as a mid-set cool down before re-upping the show’s proclivity to groove with “Jibboo.” More of a showcase for Trey than anything else, “Jibboo” fit within the feel of the show and got the crowd moving again with a lengthy stretch of straight-ahead rhythmic calisthenics. As the jam moved forth, Trey grew more creative with his offerings, bringing some melodic diversity to the largely, one-dimensional song. Taking “Jibboo” to the top with relentless guitar leads, Trey brought the band from the dance crescendo into a “Velvet Sea” that he laced with particularly soulful playing, transcending any standard version of the ballad. With a slot set up perfectly for “You Enjoy Myself,” the band made a far wiser choice, dropping into the hands-down highlight of the show – and this young fall tour – in a masterful “Twist.”

Official Broomfield Poster

Setting sail into an improvisational matrix, Phish slid into an emphatically slowed down groove in which all four members connected in the type of virtuoso improvisation we dream about. Oozing into a fully locked and ultra-patient groove, the band converged in a dripping psychedelic fantasy that evoked true magic for the first time this tour. Playing off each others’ ideas as if reading minds, Trey and Page formed a melodic pairing that combined with Fishman and Gordon’s slicker-than-ever pocket, forming the standout moment of Colorado thus far. Taking a deep dive late in the set, not only was “Twist’s” placement a surprise, the jam shocked and persuaded souls to ignite throughout the intimate venue. Skillfully steering the murky improv to back to the end of the song, minds were left in puddles on the floor after the final note.

Albeit a somewhat sloppy version, “Fluffhead” brought a boisterous final peak to the set before an randomly placed “Number Line” provided an afterthought to a redonkulous evening of Phish. And to close the show, another nugget of classic lore – “Monkey,” “Reprise” – and all was good for the night. Some evenings of Phish just pop more than others, and the second show of fall did just that. Taking giant steps forward from night one, and leaving night three hanging on the brink, fall tour is just getting underway. Hop on for the ride…

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Back on the Train, Wolfman’s Brother, Reba, Halley’s Comet > Tweezer, What Things Seem*, The Squirming Coil, Run Like an Antelope

II: Golden Age > Piper > Camel Walk, Alaska, Gotta Jibboo, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Twist, Fluffhead, Backwards Down the Number Line

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

*debut

Tags: ,

A First Course of Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with the on October 11th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.8.10 - Austin, TX - (Graham Lucas)

Phish stepped off the grand stage of Texas and into the cozy confines of the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado last night, kicking off their undersized Fall Tour of 2010. Coming out of the gates with a solid effort featuring a lengthy setlist and a couple stellar moments, the band opened tour with a show that will likely be long forgotten by the end of this three-night run. Punctuating the night with a knee-buckling “Slave to the Traffic Light,” the band’s finale brought their most cohesive and triumphant playing of an evening that often seemed like was about to take that next step, but never did. Also blossoming during “Ghost,” Phish wound their way through several diverse feels en route to a space-aged oasis that bridged the gap to “Weekapaug, completing another highlight “Mike’s Sandwich.” The remainder of the set suffered a bit from a lack of flow, though the band did squeeze in a clever debut in the roots, Americana piece – “My Problem Right There.” All in all, the first night of Broomfield provided a solid opening act for a three-night circus that is bound to get far crazier.

10.8.10 - (G.Lucas)

After a sluggish opening frame, Phish lit up the start of the second half with the fiery flames of “Mike’s Song.” Jumping into the heavy and ominous fray, when the band segued into “Simple,” rushes of summer memories returned and it seemed that the “Mike’s Groove” interlude would transform into a show highlight. But just as the band began to get slightly ambient, they passed into “Ghost.”

Coming at a time in  when the show desperately needed a shot in the arm, the audience noticeably reacted when Phish slid into “Ghost.” Starting in a laid-back soundscape that had the makings of a stellar piece of organic improv, Trey used minimalist offerings to color the natural groove. Passing through a segment of gorgeous collaboration moving naturally at this slower pace, Trey gradually infused more forceful guitar leads into the mix, slowly pushing the band towards a peak but costing them some cohesion along the way. After playing with one wheel loose for a part of the jam, the band reconvened in the post-peak section for a more earnest experiment. Entering effect laden sequence of percussive sound, the band pieced together a psychedelic portal into a creative “Weekapaug” that favored more delicate contributions rather than its cliched, all-out, rock and roll sprint.

10.8.10 (G.Lucas)

But when “Weekapaug” ended, so did the flow to the set. While “Fee” presented the distinct possibility of psychedelic drama with its trails of musical ambrosia, the band ixnayed any of extended mid-set revelries with a turn into “Makisupa Policeman.” For the first time in ages, Trey actually made a weed reference in the song, as he passed comically passed the officer “the dank” and proceeded to crack up along the way. Abruptly ending the reggae rhythms soon after, Trey informed the crowd of a new song they had that was also about a police man, introducing the band’s newest piece, “My Problem Right There.” A humorous, lyrically-driven nod to everything that matters, Trey pokes fun his overactive mind, suggesting that we, ourselves, are are our only obstacle to our own happiness. While not necessarily jiving in in the middle of a second set, its message was delivered with a tongue-in cheek honesty that speaks to all of our paths on earth.

10.8.08 (G.Lucas)

Briefly stopping back in “Makisupa,” the band gradually built into a show-stopping “Slave” that peaked so profoundly that its notes seemed to jump from the animated pages of a Phish comic book. Setting a melodic theme early on, Trey carried his thoughts to the mountaintop in a glorious exclamation that led one of the most poignant versions in recent memory. Providing the only “no-brainer” take away from the opener, “Slave” was the brightest star in last night’s sky, standing head and shoulders above anything else played. Phish closed the set with a denouement of “Strange” Design” and “Julius” before finalizing the first night of tour with “Loving Cup.”

Starting with a show that carried less weight than previous tour openers of 2010, Phish will surely be back in hours to obliterate night one, turning the show into distant memory by this time tomorrow. That much is money in the bank. And when all three nights of Colorado conclude, “Slave” will remain the lone pillar from a fun opening night of fall.

First Set Notes: A late-set “Stash” provided the improvisational highlight of a slow-moving opening frame that read like a script of a generic first set of tour.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Ocelot, It’s Ice, Bouncing Around the Room, Funky Bitch, AC/DC Bag, NICU, The Moma Dance, Horn, Stash, Golgi Apparatus

II: Mike’s Song > Simple > Ghost > Weekapaug Groove, Fee > Makisupa Policeman, My Problem Right There* > Makisupa Policeman > Slave to the Traffic Light, Strange Design, Julius

E: Loving Cup

*debut

A Festi Set

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

Amounting to an extended warm up for fall tour, Phish played the ultimate festival set in Austin last night that featured a smattering of songs and little creative improv. Staying wholly within the box for the indie festival, the only surprise came in the middle of “Harry Hood’s” jam when the band smoothly segued into “Light” – the biggest and brightest piece in their repertoire right now. But for the first time in memory, Phish didn’t jam the song, ending with its lyrical refrain. This represented the unifying theme of the band’s Austin appearance – no jams. Sounding perfectly proficient the entire night, particularly strong playing came in “Chalk Dust,” “Rock and Roll > 2001,” and “Harry Hood,” but all in all, this was a big pay day for the band and not much else. While I’m sure they had fun headlining a major festival, Phish played the most straight forward show possible with no risks whatsoever, making the night a non-factor for the many fans who didn’t attend – including myself. Even Phish didn’t list Austin City Limits as part of their Fall Tour on their website, because tour starts for real on Sunday. Broomfield awaits…

Down with Disease, Cities, Possum, Wolfman’s Brother, Chalk Dust Torture, Rock and Roll > Also Sprach Zarathustra, Backwards Down the Number Line, Harry Hood > Light,Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself

E: Cavern, First Tube

Tags: ,

Fall Funk For Friday

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on October 8th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

Ghost” 11.28.97 II – Worcester

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ph1997.11.28_d2t04_Ghost.mp3]

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11.20.09 (C.Garber)

Funky Bitch” 11.30.97 I – Worcester

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ph1997-11-30d1t03.mp3]

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Tweezer > Moma” 11.14.98 I – Cincy

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ph98-11-14d1t5.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ph98-11-14d1t6.mp3]

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11.09 (J.Tortorice)

Tube” 9.18.99 I – Chula Vista

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ph1999-09-18d1t06.mp3]

***

2001 > Cities” 11.26.97 II – Hartford

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Also-Sprach-Zarathustra.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Cities.mp3]

***

Sneakin Sally” 9.28.99 I – Pelham, AL

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ph99-09-28d1t02.mp3]

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Sand > Misty Mountain Hop” 9.24.99 II – Austin

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ph1999-09-24d3t01.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ph1999-09-24d3t02.mp3]
Tags:

Ready…Set…

Posted in Uncategorized with the on October 7th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

What more is there to say when Phish tour starts in but a day…

***

Check out a timely piece from last year: The Starting Nine.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper > 2001” 11.4.98 II

A piece of Denver history of which Phish is about to write a little bit more.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ph1998-11-04d2t03.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/ph1998-11-04d2t04.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.29.2000 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ < Torrent

6.29.2000 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ < Megaupload

The second show of a smoking two-night stand in New Jersey during Phish’s final summer of Chapter One.

I: Funky Bitch, Wilson, Limb By Limb, Drowned > Rock and Roll

II: Birds of a Feather > Catapult > Heavy Things, Sand, Meatstick, Cities > Walk Away, Run Like an Antelope, Frankenstein, Wading in the Velvet Sea

E: Character Zero

Source: Unknown