Page and His Piano

6.22.10 (Parker Harrington)

Along with Phish’s retro-sized Fall Tour came many strands of the band’s musical roots. Churning out tightly wound jams akin to years past, Phish honed their improvisational skills with precise interplay each and every show. The four band members often engaged in equitable excursions without a clear lead player, thus the entire quartet could shine in relation to one another. In this context, Page emerged from Trey’s eternal shadow and stepped up his game, specifically, on piano. Returning to his personal roots, Page left many of his sundry keyboards aside when Phish got into serious business. If the band dipped into psychedelic seas, odds were that Page had firmly planted himself at the piano and gushed melodic styles. This trend gave even the heaviest “Sands,” “Pipers,” “Stashes,” and “Bowies” a distinctly stripped down feel, infusing an old-school layer into this new-school mixture. The late ’90s and post-hiatus represented experimental eras for Phish, and especially for Page, as he surrounded himself with more and more instruments. In juxtaposition to those eras, The Chairman of the Boards took a step backwards down the number line during Fall 2010, as his prominent piano offerings became a defining feature of Phish jams all season long.

One example of Page’s full-throttle piano assault came in the midst of Amherst’s stellar “Stash.” Playing quietly at the onset of the jam, he dotted the background with delicate melodic runs. Page comped Trey’s leads out of the gate, providing plenty of space for Red’s audacious leads; but behind the guitar narrative, he began to loosen up by interlacing piano chords with Trey’s lines. The two locked into each other’s phrases and painted the top half with sinister co-leadership. Joining Trey in a melodic switch that reached for the heavens, Page offered lead piano lines that harmonized beautifully with Trey’s melodic geyser. Moving between block chords and dizzying melodies, Page painted the music with maniacally rolling patterns. Never stepping off the piano for a moment, Page brought creative offerings to this “Stash” from beginning to end, building the final peak step-in-step with Trey.

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

A second prime conversion of Page and his piano came in Manchester’s blistering tour-highlight, “Ghost.” The leadless quality of the band’s conversation defined this jam, as all four band members contributed equal parts for the duration. An example of an ego-less symbiosis, the band allowed plenty of room for all members other to speak, while complimenting each other’s ideas perfectly. Though Mike, Page, Trey and Fish were all at the top of their game during this segment, Page’s fluid piano leads stood out vibrantly. As the band settled into a groove, Page hopped right on piano adding sparse melodies to the burgeoning mixture. As Mike and Trey engaged in full, Page hung right with them – at first offering minimalist backing patterns and then flowing into complementary leads. For a short period he layered another keyboard atop his piano, lending a darker feel to the jam while still keeping the piano prominent in the upper-most layer of the music. As the jam picked up pace, so did Page’s offerings, and he stepped boldly into the thick of the band’s ascending path. He and Trey bounced melodic phrases off each other as they climbed into the most dramatic segment of the jam, and as they reached a furious peak, Mike, Trey, and Page rolled into a sonic ball of thunder far greater than the sum of their parts. Drifting into the ambient-groove, post-peak section, Page is the one that first hits the sublime melody that Trey echoes and turns into the theme of the jam’s denouement. Engaging in game of spiritual tag, Page wound his majestic piano phrases around his own melody that Trey hypnotically repeated, eventually blending into “Mango Song.” Contributing as much to the Manchester “Ghost” as anyone, Page, again, favored the piano for its entirety.

10.31.10 - Boardwalk Hall (Graham Lucas)

There can be no discussion of Page, piano, and Fall Tour without a mention of the band’s masterful cover of Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus. Page’s role in the musical costume was playing the parts of Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne, considered by many contemporaries to be one of the finest rock and blues pianists of all time. And Page certainly did him justice. Anchoring many segments of Waiting For Columbus with Payne’s piano leads, Page interpreted the Americana feel of the album with authenticity. One of his personal highlights came in the piano-drenched “Dixie Chicken,” a song designed to showcase Payne’s piano chops and with an extended solo. Page seized his moment and ran with it, playing the bluesy parts with a legitimate down-home feel. The rest of the band took a back seat between verses as Page ticked the ivories like the maestro he is – and the one he was impersonating. Taking center stage, Page’s piano parts lit up the room through the middle stages of the piece, as other instruments came in with gradual support. Building from his solo into the next verse, Page slaughtered the piano parts as if they were his own. Lending a credibility to the album’s most popular song, Page stood out as the star of “Dixie Chicken.” Following the final verse, Page never missed a beat, joining the band in a seamless segue into “Tripe Face Boogie.”

10.23.10 (M. Wagner)

These are but three examples of Page’s return to piano prominence throughout the past season, and the list could continue for quite a while. As Phish moved backwards into the future, their keyboard player did the same. Playing strong piano parts in the context of heavy improvisation, Page shied from textural backing as he jumped into the fray with his bandmates on the instrument that brought him there. Though Page certainly didn’t forget his other keyboards, the resurgence of his piano mastery provided his most significant development of a transformative tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Light” 10.22.10 II

Another piano-centric fall highlight from Providence.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ph2010-10-22t20.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.8.1999 Virginia Beach Ampitheatre, Virginia Beach, VA

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

VA. Beach Amphitheatre

Somehow this Summer ’99 gem slipped by the archive. Coming hot out of the box with a twenty-plus minute “Fee” jam, this show got going early. But Phish’s most impressive playing came in the second set sequence of “Birds > If I Only Had a Brain > Caspian.” This transcendent section of music held up as a summer highlight, and a closing combo of “Tube” and “Simple” came as a pleasant and energetic surprise. Fishman’s “Terrapin” encore gave a tongue-in-cheek nod to the stunning “Terrapin Station” encore from the previous year, and everybody went home laughing. In the midst of a great summer, this show often slips through the cracks, but it has plenty to offer. This one goes out as a reader request for Luke. Enjoy!

I: Julius, Fee > Guyute, Dirt, Nellie Kane, Stash, Cavern

II: Birds of a Feather > If I Only Had a Brain > Prince Caspian, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Saw It Again, Sleep, Meatstick, Tube, Simple

E: Terrapin > Hold Your Head Up, Character Zero

Source: Unknown

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520 Responses to “Page and His Piano”

  1. halcyon Says:

    Thanks T3, the add in seems to work.

    @ Chuck D…..I couldn’t get it to load on Itunes at first, but will try next week!

  2. halcyon Says:

    Thanks Selector! Will do that as well.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    Big Changes on the way for the internet, from democracy now:

    FCC Chair Backs Two-Tiered Internet Fees

    The Federal Communications Commission is being accused of abandoning “net neutrality” rules that would ensure a free and open internet. On Wednesday, FCC chair Julius Genachowski unveiled proposals that would allow internet service providers to charge higher fees for faster access to online content.

    Julius Genachowski: “Reasonable network management is an important part of the proposal, recognizing that what is reasonable will take account of the network technology and architecture involved. Our work has also demonstrated the importance of business innovation to promote network investment and efficient use of networks, including measures to match price to cost such as usage-based pricing.”

    Major firms like Verizon and Google have pushed for a two-tiered system that would allow them to charge fees. In a statement, the media reform group Free Press said: “It is deeply disappointing that a Chairman who has placed wireless at the center of his entire broadband agenda would seek to adopt rules that give [telecoms] a free hand to engage in economic discrimination.”

  4. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I’ve heard Qatar’s presentation was mildly stunning.

    I can’t get any of the live feeds at work by the way, so it’s on you guys to let me know.

  5. willowed Says:

    as soon as I get it….you will know!

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    No such thing as a national title in D1, for ND or anyone else.

    “There are two kinds of people in the world, Notre Dame lovers and Notre Dame haters. And, quite frankly, they’re both a pain in the ass.”-Dan Devine, former Notre Dame football coach

  7. halcyon Says:

    I wonder how yesterday’s riots in Birmingham (UK) will affect any World Cup outcomes for England.

  8. willowed Says:

    No cup for England being reported

  9. halcyon Says:

    Just an intro speech right now

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    c’mon blatter! stop blathering!

  11. willowed Says:

    This fucking guy is killing me.

    Spit it out already!

  12. willowed Says:

    2018…….

  13. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Sepp Blatter is an absolute clown. I can only imagine what he’s saying right now.

  14. DukeOfLizards Says:

    It would also be nice if FIFA didn’t rival the Vatican in terms of opaqueness.

  15. willowed Says:

    here we go

  16. halcyon Says:

    All this talking and he doesn’t know….spit it out!

  17. willowed Says:

    Russia

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    wow. Russia for 2018. that could be cool

  19. willowed Says:

    Russia Russia Rusia

  20. halcyon Says:

    Putin’s tirades worked!

  21. DukeOfLizards Says:

    No. Shit. Russia? Really?

  22. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Don’t think they’d give back-to-back Cups to Russia and Qatar… that would basically give Asia two in a row.

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    of course the russians brought a hot chick in a leopard print dress up on stage with them. would’ve seemed weird if they hadn’t

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    Wait, how are either Russia or Qatar in Asia?

  25. willowed Says:

    TIII we had Landon Donovan though. He’s kind of cute. Ha

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