A Utica Preview

10.20.2010 - Utica (Michael Stein)

On May 24th, on the brink of Summer Tour’s kick-off in Bethel, Phish will drop the DVD/CD Box set “Live in Utica,” commemorating what many fans, including myself, selected as the show of 2010. As the release gets closer, the band will likely release several previews of the DVDs, and the first snippet came today—footage of the show’s first set “David Bowie.” Below is my description of the jam, excerpted from last year and the video clip.

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While Fishman’s cymbals danced into the intro to “Bowie,” Trey continued to play “Guyute’s” triumphant lick with increasingly distorted phrasing, a seemingly innocent move at the time. But these teases sparked a theme for the rest of the set – self-referential integration of one song into another in with the spontaneity of lore. As “Bowie’s” jam dropped, Trey used the same “Guyute” line, phrased differently, to initiate the improvisation. Almost immediately, the band landed in the opening hits of “Wilson” and the crowd caught on just as quickly. In a call and response exercise, the crowd chanted “Wilson” to which Trey answered in Guyute-speak, “He’s bouncing like a new born elf.” Instead of dropping into “Wilson,” in earnest, the band made the far shrewder call of melting back into a delicate, full-on “Bowie” jam. Page’s piano leads wove with Trey’s melodies, pushing the piece in an ominous direction. Mike supported with harmonizing rhythm offerings that catalyzed a darker feel, and the band took off running in a powerful version of their revitalized classic. Passing through an additional “Wilson” tease on the way to a smashing final section, Phish had dropped a twisting tour highlight smack dab in the middle of the first set. And that wouldn’t even be their most impressive excursion of the half!

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Read the rest of my Utica two-part retrospective…

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Jam of the Day:

Run Like an Antelope” 10.20.2010 I

The peak of Utica’s opening set.

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426 Responses to “A Utica Preview”

  1. Mike in Austin Says:

    Joakin Noah keeps it trashy? I had wondered if anybody else noticed. I do really like the Bulls. But I did laugh at this… (from Deadspin)

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