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. willowed Says:

    2022
    Here we go

  2. willowed Says:

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    honestly, not surprised qatar got it

  4. halcyon Says:

    Qatar?!?!?

    Clearly FIFA did not listen to the vast minority of Americans that are World Cup fans.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    also not surprisingly, no hot chicks on the stage with the qatar delegation
    “that’s a man, baby”

  6. Calpain Says:

    Yeah Page!

    Morning all, I see that I missed change your avatar day..

    I know this was brought up a few weeks back but anyone have any good rec’s for baby books, my brother and wife are expecting in the upcoming months, figured it would be a nice gift for the holidays.
    Thanks.

    World Cup USA 2022?

  7. willowed Says:

    unfreakin’ real

    Oh well.

    Good for them!!

    average temp in Qatar they are saying….130 degrees

  8. willowed Says:

    Later boys

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    but it’s a dry heat, willowed 😉

  10. halcyon Says:

    Just like Dubai builds indoor ski areas, Qatar will build 80000 seat air conditioned stadiums.

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I blame morgan freeman*

    the big gaffe is around the 7 minute mark

    *not really, but it sure didn’t help things

  12. ReadChina (formerly butterflyeffect) Says:

    @joggerz sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday man. I am a PhD candidate in Chinese lit, workin on the reception of two women poets from the Southern Song (Li Qingzhao and Zhu Shuzhen). I speak Mandarin as well. What kind of Chinese instruction does your company do, and where?

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    It is a time for giving thanks so I would like to send a personal thanks to FIFA for not bringing your god awful sport to my country. Tip of my hat.

  14. Calpain Says:

    D. P if you are out there I think you were the one with the baby rec’s. If so please shout a holler if you have a chance.

  15. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I have no problem with EITHER Russia getting 2018 OR Qatar getting 2022… but that combination…

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    start your day out right http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbeJ1G7lImo

  17. lbs Says:

    After popular demand for more Phish bracelets from Wear Your Music, Mike Gordon will offer limited edition bracelets this Friday, tomorrow at Noon. Only $50…great gift for the phan this holiday season.http://wearyourmusic.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=772

  18. dyda Says:

    haven’t heard hardly any mention anywhere of page’s new board in his arsenal, the wurlitzer. it faces the monitor mix (opposite the hammond & between the rhodes & piano). now he’s surrounded on all four sides by boards.

    supposedly the wurlitzer was extracted from a set of 5 that were all connected because they were manufactured for students in music class for teaching/practice purposes. (easier to just have a couple rows of connected boards rather than a bunch of individuals).

    he seems to favor it now over the rhodes when given the option of going for an electric piano tone. they do sound simliar, but are distinguishable from one another. listen/look for it next show.

  19. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @Guyute

    Watch it…

  20. Chuck D Says:

    ‘merica doesn’t deserve the world cup till like 2040. we had it in ’96. its every 4 years, and there are at least 10 deserving regions that are ahead of us. for me, its that simple.

    as much as i personally want it in ‘merica… i dont think that its the “right” for it to come here every 5th cycle. its everyone else’s (read: the world’s) game much more than it is ours.

    we got the super bowl: its twice as good and happens 4 times as often. who wins?

  21. Chuck D Says:

    alright, i take back that the super bowl is twice as good, its not. how can one over hyped game (minus giants/pats) be better than 64 countries battling it out for 4 years of bragging rights. sigh. at least we got the every year thing going for us.

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    woah live bait vol 3!!!!!

  23. Chuck D Says:

    or 32, which ever.

    i’ll be quiet for a while.

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    OMG the runaway jim, amazing, eve if you guys call it boring, i wanna hear this SBD

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    Ha ha Duke. I know there are some soccer fans on here so I have to shoot out a couple digs here and there. Soccer to me is like the Jimmy Buffet of sports. I know there a lot of die hard fans but can’t for the life of me figure out why.

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