Every tour brings twists and developments to Phish’s catalog, often infusing new tunes into the mix and sometimes revamping old ones. But over the golden road of Fall 2010, no song went through a more holistic transformation than “Carini,” as Phish breathed new life into the crowd favorite.
Debuted in Europe ’97 as part of their winter progression towards groove, “Carini” rarely transformed into anything with improvisational significance over the years with a few notable exceptions. The song’s premiere in Amsterdam blossomed from slowed darkness into a sped up melodically-anchored experiment that eventually led into “Taste,” but after its European debut and a funked-out surprise encore at Madison Square Garden on 12.30.97, the song stayed firmly within its cage until December 28,1998. To jump start the New Year’s Run, Phish knocked down the doors of the second set with a menacing excursion that morphed into the song’s most significant exploration to date. Scouring the dark corners of the universe, Phish tore the roof off the elusive piece, combining it with “Wolfman’s” in a defining slice of MSG history. But ever since this ferocious plunge, “Carini” stagnated over the years. Always good for a crunching hard rock interlude, the band never built anything of note with the crowd favorite, giving it a simplistic role in setlists.
This pattern continued through the late ’90s, the post-hiatus years, and the beginning of this era (with Telluride’s extra-terrestrial ending as the sole aberration.) But when Phish broke out “Carini” in Broomfield – and then again in Providence and Atlantic City – the song’s paradigm changed forever.
In a complete 180 degree turn, Phish chose not to use “Carini” as path into darkness, instead transforming the song into a piece of sublime improvisation. No longer growling through evil jams, Trey elevated them with gorgeous leads that cut through heavy and unique full-band interplay. This uplifting direction, debuted in Broomfield, was expounded upon in Providence’s top-shelf version, and then abstracted upon in Atlantic City. All of fall’s “Carinis” deviated far from the song’s structure, transforming a one-dimensional piece into a full-blown portal to the divine. Within three unique and experimental excursions, Phish completely changed face of the game. “Carini” has now become an exploratory vehicle of the highest degree, and this has to be considered the single, most significant song evolution of Fall Tour.
Check out all three “Carinis” from fall with some context and a description of each.
10.12.10 II Broomfield, Colorado
This three-night run set the tone for fall as each night built upon the last. As Phish came to their final set in Colorado, they broke out “Carini” to open things up. Trey comically changed the lyrics to “Carini had bubonic plague!” referencing the reported cases among Broomfield’s prairie dog population. But there was no comedy once the lyrics ended. Initially riding the traditional “Carini” jam, as the band settled into a more mellow groove, Trey spontaneously unleashed a sublime solo over the heavy backdrop. Reaching for spiritual heights, Trey took a melodic sprint over the full-band groove that evolved out of “Carini’s” foundation. Fish and Mike hooked up behind Trey’s lead as Page built a wall of sound to color the conversation. Throughout this segment, Trey continued his cathartic playing, fitting right into the rhythmic pocket. The band eventually slowed into an ambient curtain of sound which descended over the arena as if preparing for an alien arrival. And Phish smoothly slid into “Bowie.”
10.22.10 II Providence, Rhode Island
With tour in full swing, Phish hit The Dunk on a Friday night coming off their two-set escapade in Utica, New York. After a solid opening frame, Phish opened the second with, in my opinion, the jam sequence of tour -“Rock and Roll > Carini.” Fall’s second version of the morphing song came out of, perhaps, the tour’s most innovative psychedelic trek in “Rock and Roll.” And as the band segued into “Carini,” they carried big-time energy and momentum, and were primed to explode. Once the lyrics ended, Fishman immediately launched into a hard-edged beat while Trey spit guitar fury. Very quickly, however, Mike and Page made a harmonic shift beneath the two devilish players, coaxing Trey to join in with transcendent guitar work. Beginning with beautiful leads, a switch to a soulful rhythm pattern brought the band into a four-piece experiment. Before long, Phish reached one of the most uplifting segments of music of the entire tour, as the whole band collectively crushed a jam that took on a soul-tugging life of its own. Perhaps my favorite segment of music from Fall, this piece reached a far more emotive plane than Broomfield’s introduction. Migrating to a sparser realm that had nothing at all to do with the song, the entire band continued their locked and original patterns while Trey flowed in a melodic river of dreams. Page brought some slick compliments to the mix which moved the band into a rhythmic texture that served as an infectious come down from the mountaintop. Meanwhile Trey continued to play to the heavens over this groovy canvas in a sequence of to-die-for Phish.
10.29.10 II Atlantic City, New Jersey
Phish pulled into AC for their three-night Fall finale as fans nationwide descended onto the Jersey Shore. After a mellow opening frame, Phish dropped bombs at the beginning of the second, combining two fall-standouts – “Sand” and “Carini” – into a single highlight reel. Phish took “Sand” on its most fluid and adventurous course of the tour as they entered a post-peak, mid-tempo, ensemble groove that had Little Featprints all over it. Thus when the band hit “Carini,” they, again, carried a colossal head of steam. Trey worked in the “Carini” line to the collective groove, signaling the change into another Fall Tour All-Star. Boardwalk Hall exploded with the opening chords of “Carini” and the band carried that energy through the composed section of the song, screaming the lyrics as they drifted into the jam. Trey’s guitar picked up where their voices left off, wailing over a nasty groove. Red began a lead with distinct attitude over the bass-led patterns, while the band crushed “Carini.” But once the guitar solo ended, everyone settled into a equitable plane. As this segment began, Trey almost went berserk with crack-like rhythm licks, seeming for a moment that shit was about to fly off the meat rack. But he pulled back into an equally creative solo that infused the still-heavy piece with supporting melodies. But the band shifted back into a funky canvas as Mike dropped one unique idea after another. The band’s rhythmic talk soon drifted far from the song and into a four-piece ambient collaboration. The future-sounding segment melted into “Prince Caspian,” thus ending the final “Carini”of fall.
Jam of the Day:
“Sand” 10.20.10 II
A scorching second-set rendition with a mini bonus jam on the way to “Theme.” A middle-man between South Carolina’s initial version and Atlantic City’s blowout.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
10.20.10 Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York
The virtual consensus “best show of tour.” Phish put together two twisting and turning old-school sets in a tiny venue, oozing energy of the past combined with music of the future. A standout Phish show for any era, the band was locked from moment one in this musical and experiential highlight of Fall.
I: My Soul, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother > Cities, Guyute, David Bowie*^, Wilson*, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Saw It Again* > Run Like an Antelope*
II: Drowned > Sand > Theme From the Bottom, Axilla, Birds of a Feather, Tela, Split Open and Melt > Have Mercy > Piper** > Split Open and Melt, Slave to the Traffic Light
E: Good Times Bad Times
* w/ Guyute Teases, ^ w/ Wilson Teases, **w/ Birds Reprise
Source: Edirol UA-5>Edirol R-09 HR>Nakamichi 300 Mics W/CP4 Shotguns (Taper – D.Boedicker)Tags: 2010, Fall '09, Jams, Songs