TTFF: Ten From ’10

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 12th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

 

12.31.2010 (Ryan Gilbertie)

With only two weeks separating us from the kick-off of Phish’s massive Summer 2011, let’s take a moment to revisit some of last year’s finest moments, in no particular order. For anyone who thinks Phish doesn’t jam anymore, take a run through this playlist…enjoy….

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2001 > David Bowie” 10.30 II

10.30.10 (D.Lavery)

The smoking conclusion—and finest segment—of a wild, pre-Halloween night.

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Reba” 10.19 E

The divine creation that came out of nowhere in Augusta’s encore.

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Ghost” 12.31 II

12.30.10 G.Lucas)

The Holy “Ghost.”

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Seven Below -> What’s the Use?” 12.27 II

A delicate, introspective journey from Worcester’s snow-covered opening night.

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Rock and Roll -> Carini” 10.22 II

10.23.10 (R. Gilbertie)

Providence’s exploratory set-opening combo; from an avant-garde “Rock and Roll” into a blissful “Carini.”

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Light” 8.7. II

The band’s magnum opus from the Greek—one of the year’s improvisational peaks.

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Harry Hood” 12.28 II

12.30.2010 (G.Lucas)

An impeccable, four-part musical conversation that, in my opinion, represents musical perfection.

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Backwards Down the Number Line” 6.12 II

One of very few jams from June’s tour with staying power. Phish came together in an instant amidst a noodly jam and crafted a soundtrack for secret-agent.

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Simple” 8.6 II

8.5.10 (W. Rogell)

One of the most engaging jams from, arguably, the most creative three-night stand of the year at the Greek.

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Disease -> What’s the Use?” 8.14 II

Face melting rock and roll morphs into sublime territory, landing perfectly in “What’s the Use?.”

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Where Is Phish Heading?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on May 11th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Hampton '09 (J.Volkhausen)

From the Hampton reunion through Fall 2010, I saw Phish clearly immersed in a growth process. In 2009, their improvisational formula remained high-speed rock into sparser percussive grooves and, eventually, morphing into an ambient outro. Obviously this was not a rule and the band’s best jams of the year veered from this pre-set path. But most did not. New Year’s Run in Miami provided a creative breakthrough for the band, and their jams grew more creative with dense musical interplay. As the band members’ skillsets continued to improve over June ’10, Trey’s whale calls provided the musical trend of a solid, but unspectacular, month that was sparsely speckled with serious jamming. The Greek and Alpine Valley provided peaks of August—a tour filled with far more creative improv than June—largely due to Trey’s new Ocedoc. Showing diversity and mastery in their best jams, these passages also went in several directions. From the Greek’s “Light” and “Simple” to Telluride’s “Piper,” and from Alpine’s “Disease -> What’s the Use” to Jones Beach’s “Number Line,” the band illustrated a propensity for taking their primetime explorations to various places. And by the end of August, all members were up to speed on their instruments. Thus when Fall Tour 2010 started, fans were eager to hear what would develop.

10.30.10 (D. Lavery)

Fall Tour was, in many fans’ opinions, the band’s most accomplished run of shows in the modern era. Catching fire in South Carolina, Phish tore through the remainder of the short tour (less Amherst), and featured many revitalized and creative jams. Some examples of fall standouts include South Carolina’s “Crosseyed;” Augusta’s “Reba, a version that sits among all-timers; Providence’s “Rock and Roll -> Carini;” Manchester and Augusta’s “Lights;” Utica’s entire show; Manchester’s “Ghost -> Mango,” Amherst and Atlantic City’s “Stashes;” Atlantic City’s “Sand -> Carini.” and the awesome Halloween costume, Waiting For Columbus. But more than individual jams, a super-charged consistency returned to Phish shows, a sense that every single night meant an adventure, and we didn’t know where it would go; a feeling that had yet to grip a stretch of performances this era. And as the band concluded Fall Tour, fans—at least my friends and I—were genuinely excited about the future.

1.1.11 (A. Seper)

Though New Year’s run didn’t include too much jamming, when the band went deep, they arrived at some golden pastures in “Seven Below -> What’s the Use?,” “Harry Hood,” “Ghost,” and “Simple.” The matter at hand no longer seemed to be if Phish’s jams would be successful—this group was arguably the best of the year—but rather how frequently the band would take risks. When they did over New Year’s Run, they generally garnered positive results. And even when the band didn’t magically gel as in the aforementioned pieces, we were still left with something as awesome as the “Tweezer” from the 30th.

So Phish can jam again. I think we call can agree on that, though the frequency of such excursions leaves something to be desired. But further than that, what I’d like to see develop this summer is a new style of jamming—a new context in which to take risks. Now that things are back to where they need to be, its high time the band hone in on a style and begin to explore it.

12.31.10 (G.Estreich)

In yesteryear, this is what.Phish.did. From 1992 though 2003, one can argue (fairly easily) that there were significant stylistic differences from year to year, if not tour to tour! In a nutshell…1992 brought their first truly great year of jamming, in my opinion. 1993 saw the wildly creative and tightly connected “speedjazz” era. In 1994, the band took this type of aggressive communication and began to apply it to more exploratory jams, discovering the improvisational abyss by Fall Tour. Summer ’95 saw extended, abstract explorations of the dark side brought to the forefront of the stage, as Phish challenged its audience nightly with improvisational cliff dives. Fall ’95 saw a peak—and synthesis— of all that came before it, and the band climaxed the year in a fierce December that many agree to be one of its most creative— and accomplished—months of all time.

Allstate 2000 (Pollock)

The style of ‘95 spilled over through Summer ’96, while the beginning of Fall saw the band endure a transition to larger arenas. Though once Halloween occurred in Atlanta, Phish had found their new direction and began a transition to groove. 1997 brought The Cowfunk Revolution, progressing from the raw unpasteurized summer variety to the more refined disco-funk of fall. In 1998, Phish added ambient jamming to the mix—four-part equitable and abstract conversations—often of the melodic variety; and the funk became laden with spacier musical landscapes. In 1999, Phish honed in on its “millennial” sound sculpting with dissonant, layered and textured jamming. Their improvisation moved in two new directions, aggressive and abstract, as Phish crafted hard-edged, dark music rooted in groove as they edged toward 2000. After Big Cypress, the “millennial” sound spilled into the following year, though the band began to lose steam, in earnest, once Fall Tour came. Whether you love it or hate it, the post-hiatus sound needs no introduction, and that brings us to now.

Summer 2011

What will Phish become next? What is their intent? With the skills to go, virtually, wherever they want in terms of musical direction, will they choose to focus on a particular style? Will they continue to pump out dense, high-quality jams that don’t necessarily focus on one type of music? With so many shows scheduled for this summer (and Colorado on the brink of announcement) the band has plenty of stage time to go down any wormhole the choose. Upon the band’s return at Hampton, Mike spoke of their intention to reinvent themselves in this modern era, and though they have played their last six months quite well, this transformation has yet to occur. If it is going to happen, it would seem that this summer is the time. With their consistency back in tow, and their skills gleaming, it only comes down to what the guys want out of their concerts. Trey has traditionally said that it is boring to be musically safe, and much more fun to take risks. Well…2011 is upon us…we can only hope that he still feels the same.

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Weekend Nuggets: Catching Up

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on May 6th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

FROM THE MOCKINGBIRD FOUNDATION:

The time to shuffle up and deal is nearly here again!

We are extremely happy to announce the Phamily Poker Classic 2!

The Phamily Poker Classic 2 is once again a Texas Hold Em Event and will take place on August 10th at Harvey’s casino in Lake Tahoe. This is the same casino that is hosting Phish’s August 9th & 10th shows. This installment of The Phamily Poker Classic will be limited to 10 tables including bounties as the whole tournament will be played during the afternoon of the 10th. The blinds and chip stacks will be structured so that nobody will miss a note of Phish.

This tournament will once again benefit our favorite charity The Mockingbird Foundation. The entry fee will once again be $120 and at least half of that amount will go directly into the prize pool along with a slew of great non-cash prizes that will be raffled off throughout the tournament. We anticipate a large number of exciting non-cash prizes to give away! The remainder of the buy in will go to the expenses for the tournament and for the donation to the Mockingbird Foundation.

And, as an added bonus, we are very happy to announce that every tournament participant will receive a special event poster that has been custom-designed by Jon Lamb (Like Minded Productions)! Twenty (20) of these posters will be printed on archival quality paper that will be signed and numbered by Jon Lamb. The top 10 players will receive the numbered poster in the edition that corresponds to where they were knocked out (e.g., the tenth finisher will receive number ten). Posters numbered 11-20 will be auctioned off by The Mockingbird Foundation after the tournament. Poster tubes will be available for purchase at this event.

Tickets for this event will be limited to 100 players and will sell out very quickly. Tickets will be available to the general public beginning Monday May 9th at 9am pacific time. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the “buy your seat” link on the left of the page.

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Utica DVD Giveaway

NEW PHISH VIDEO BLOG STARTED:

Fan Greg Doucette has recently started a Phish video blog where he is compiling footage from throughout the band’s career. To celebrate the launch of his site, Greg is holding a giveaway of the soon-to-be-released “Live In Utica” DVD/CD box set. All you have to do to qualify is “like” his Facebook page, and by 5/23/11 at 11:59 Eastern no matter how many likes there are, Greg will select one lucky winner at random!

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NEW SHARING FUNCTION ON PHISH THOUGHTS:

Share Away...

This week, a sharing function was added to the bottom of every post on this site. With a couple clicks of the mouse, you can now share your favorite articles, reviews, and playlists on over 300 social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. The button is located at the bottom right of the page of each individual post (you won’t see them on the home page. So when you read or hear something that tickles your fancy, click away and share it with all your friends. Stay tuned for more site updates in the weeks to come!

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Jams of the Weekend:

During post-hiatus, “Harry Hood” began to develop into an exploratory jam vehicle.  But after these two versions from Charlotte and Camden’s, the song would never reached similar heights.

Charlotte 7.25.03 II

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Camden 7.31.03 II

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND: “YEMteca” 12.31.2010 II

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Many Sides of Simple

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 4th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

12.30.2010 (Graham Lucas)

Last week, we looked at one of Phish’s most diverse jams, “Twist.” And while considering songs for that post, whose jams can move in any musical direction, my final choices were “Twist” and “Simple.” Not a jam that immediately pops to the forefront of my mind when thinking of psychedelic adventures, throughout the years “Simple” has, in fact, provided these journeys in droves. Though the song, traditionally, provided a bridge within “Mike’s Groove” while also appearing as a standalone piece, its jam truly came-of-age in 1996, transforming “Simple” into a legitimate vehicle for improvisation. And throughout the band’s career, “Simple” jams have veered every sort of sonic pathways. From mellifluous to sinister and from rocking to ambient, “Simple” is a song that has spanned the band’s musical spectrum.

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Though the song continues to serve its dual role in current Phish shows, two modern versions blossomed into 3.0 highlights. The rendition played at The Greek (8.6.10) is among the most exploratory, successful, and psychedelic musical conversations of the era. Moving through multiple segments of locked in jamming, Phish wove a delicate experiment that stood out as an instant classic. The second came in the last show, on January 1st at Madison Square Garden. In the second set, Phish took the composed jam to virtual silence before emerging with one of the most soulful and poignant passages of the Holiday Run, featuring an ending so gorgeous and connected it sounded composed. And now—as we sit only a bit more than three weeks away from Summer Tour 2011—if were a betting man, I would wager that we will see a few more creative excursions out of the anthem before this season is out. But for the time being, let’s take a look back of some of the diverse jams that have carved “Simple’s” legacy.

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11.21.1995 LJVM Coliseum, II

This set opener from Winston-Salem gets into some ’95 style percussive grooves, moving with urgency and segueing into “David Bowie” via an abstract rhythmic ending.

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10.31.1996 The Omni, III

A classic version from the third set of Halloween ’96, that moves through experimental territory into some laid-back and buttery grooves. Best heard on LivePhish’s soundboard remaster, this intricate version, assisted by Karl Perazzo on percussion, was one of the early, show-stopping versions.

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11.18.1996 Mid-South Coliseum, II

This full-band conversation from Memphis was underlined by cathartic guitar work from Trey in the latter part of the jam.

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(Pollock)

8.16.97 Limestone, II

The Great Went; Trey’s iconic guitar solo; big-time, emotional, festival-sized Phish.

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12.9.97 State College, II

This under-the-radar odyssey from Stage College, Pennsylvania, is as exploratory as any “Simple” ever played. This extended version provided the centerpiece of a show that went largely under-appreciated due to its alternate nature within a tour known for its nightly, funk-based dance parties. Check this one out if you’re not familiar, you may be surprised.

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Hampton Coliseum

11.21.1998 Hampton, II

A gorgeous example of the band’s Fall ’98 melodic and ambient “amoeba” jamming where no one member led the jam more than any other, pushing and pulling like a single-celled organism. This version is also a perfect illustration of how “Simple” can migrate into blissful pastures.

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11.29.98 The Centrum, II

And this version, from Fall ’98’s tour-closer in Worcester, highlights the evil and menacing side of Phish with one of the more full-throttle, aggressive abstractions heard in years. Pushing the envelope by filling The Centrum with the intense sounds of a deranged reality, Phish sculpted a distinctly “other” style of jam on this night.

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8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

8.6.10 The Greek Theatre, II

The Greek’s wildly creative and laid-back experiment from just last summer is one of the defining jams of the modern era. Intricate, delicate, and connected, this jam was one of the band’s defining moments of its three-night Berkeley stand.

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A Utica Preview

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 2nd, 2011 by Mr.Miner

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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