A Rock and Roll Adventure

6.5.11 - Riverbend (M.Shultz)

Following up a barn-burning weekend in the Midwest, Phish came back to New England and, in their return to Great Woods, dropped one of tour’s defining jams in “Rock and Roll.” A coherent, multi-faceted and exploratory odyssey anchored the show all by itself—it was that good. But aside for a standout first-set “Bowie,” Great Woods didn’t offer much else in the way of musical adventure, though sometimes that’s the way it goes. Throughout the history of Phish, Great Woods has been the site of so many classic shows, but in the 3.0 era, the venue seems to be a catalyst for mediocrity. This time around, Phish played a phenomenal piece of improvisation in “Rock and Roll,” but provided little support for their monster excursion. Yet in the interest of focusing on the sublime part of the show, lets get right to it.

Official Great Woods Print (Duval)

After an energetic and extended “Back on the Train” opener, Phish put “Rock and Roll” under the second set spotlight for the first time this tour, and boy did it shine—and fly right into the stratosphere. Exiting the song’s rock textures, the band began the journey in a four-part experiment that fused ambient jamming with abstract groove. The jam jumped outside the box quickly, as Phish morphed the piece into a beautiful and uplifting segment of creative music. Trey fluttered patterns into the heavens as the band collectively sculpted one of the most surreal passages of tour. But the piece didn’t stay pretty for long. As the band organically migrated through a melodic ambient realm into a much harder-edged jam, Trey left the heavens for Lucifer’s pit, switching into seething guitar-work amidst a subconsciously-connected jam. Phish continued to push themselves into new ground as “Rock and Roll” completely changed course—in very natural fashion—into an evil, psychedelic monstrosity. Whole-band annihilation underlined this exploratory jaunt, a piece that continued moving into more experimental—and darker—realms by the second, until we were were neck deep in musical dementia. When the band finally settled out of this sinister sound sculpture, they jammed down into a summer-appropriate “Mango Song.”

Page shone on piano throughout a very clean version of “Mango Song,” and upon its ending, the band hit a crossroads of the second set. They had dropped one of tour’s defining jams in “Rock and Roll” and had resolved it perfectly with “Mango.” It seemed like an ideal slot to drop another jam vehicle, but, instead, the band chose to follow up the highlight combination with an innocuous string of songs that took the set to its end. “Pebbles and Marbles” was the one rarity contained within and the band played it well, though they still have yet to infuse any creativity into its rock-based jam (less Vegas ’04). The set-closing “Antelope” was better than many of this era and featured playful “Meatstick” teases, but it did little to salvage the set as a total experience.

Bethel Woods (Michael Mesenbourg

The band had one other crossroads within this final portion of the show—“Halley’s Comet.” After Bethel’s breakout version—one of the highlights of tour’s opening weekend—when the band dropped into the song in the middle of the second set, one could only imagine what they were about to do to the jam. But in a move that left the audience with an 8th grade case of blue-balls, the band chopped off any possibilities as they took a turn into “Meatstick,” deflating the show beyond resuscitation.

The first set amounted to legitimate opening half, kicking off with “Llama” and peaking with a surprise, mid-set “David Bowie” that was played with a whole-band tenacity. An intricate and collaborative version provided the other true highlight of the show in addition to “Rock and Roll.” The band’s second-ever performance of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” was particularly sloppy, though “Divided Sky” popped with extra zest later in the frame. The debut of the Al Green’s cover “Rhymes”—a loafing blues-rock-type groove—hit me as a “take-it-or-leave-it” type of song with some potential; we’ll see if anything develops out of it.

6.5.11 (M.Stein)

Phish’s Tuesday night stop in Massachusetts, despite “Rock and Roll’s” outlandish adventure, felt like a bit of an exhale after a mind-numbing weekend run. But even within an exhale in Summer 2011, the band dropped one of the most sublime passages of music we’ve heard this tour; it all depends on the way you look at it. Let’s put “Rock and Roll > Mango” in a powerful slot on our ever-growing Summer 2011 mix-tape and move on to Darien! See you under the white tents tonight…

I: Llama, The Moma Dance, Possum, Cities, Instant Karma!, David Bowie, Rhymes*, The Divided Sky, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Back on the Train, Rock and Roll > The Mango Song, Bug, Pebbles and Marbles, Halley’s Comet > Meatstick, Run Like an Antelope

E Suzy Greenberg

*debut, Al Green

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1,411 Responses to “A Rock and Roll Adventure”

  1. marcoesq Says:

    ^ha

  2. joe Says:

    one thing is certain, and that is that the festival is going to be the most excellent thing 3.0 has seen yet.

  3. Kaveh Says:

    Camden/MPP

    ^ I thought and think this will be the run of summer Leg 1.

  4. marcoesq Says:

    Miner’s FB post: “Early travel day…Darien review coming soon”

  5. multibeast Says:

    What a whacky setlist.
    Where’s Miner’s review? Part of the morning regimen is coffee/miner’s thoughts.

  6. TreasureReprise Says:

    @Butter, doing Alpharetta? I’m considering it, if flights are reasonable. Give me a shout.

  7. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Saw It Again opener at MPP1, mark it.

    Speaking of which:

    Guy I was allegedly buying MPP1 pavs from flaked. Any and all leads are much appreciated.

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    i’m thinking the same you are butter, just a little. at the same time, Detroit is my favorite 3.0 show. and Bethel 1 & 2, as well as Blossum, are close behind. So the heat is being brought. Crossing my fingers the Gorge delivers.

    Besides the Disease Supreme, the DET Bowie is my fav jam of the tour so far.

  9. marcoesq Says:

    Miner’s post on facebook: “Early travel day…Darien review coming soon”

  10. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I don’t know @Tela, I heard the first set at the Gorge was going to be solo Trey on the acoustic.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    Gorge could be good, too bad there is nothing there to inspire them 😉

  12. butter Says:

    Yep Treas, bigjig, mrs b, and a few other fools

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    golden age, bitches

    it’s officicial, trey fucking loves me. gave me a farewell gift, nothing left for me to chase but jams. been trying to catch that one hard since albany. happy.

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    seems like no one knows what to think of the show. it was better than it looks. fun manteca/golden age quotes all night. probably not as good as i thought at the time (even though i was 100 percent sober, i was just so fucking happy about golden age)

  15. multibeast Says:

    @marco – thanks.
    I haven’t looked back on the board. What are/were people’s thought on last night’s show?

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    Thats bullshit.

    Could nobody get the canuck high? Dude crosses borders to see this band 🙂

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    interesting post on p42 no one picked up by @tba on whether there are top shelf tunes still to come, like major jam vehicles.

    I’d put Waves up there with anything in the Phish canon. Steam has potential. Light has proven itself as a jam launchpad at this point I think. Ocean Sing and Stealing Time easily could be regular jam-launchers if Trey wanted to use them that way. etc…

    hopefully they won’t abandon Steam

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    camden obv is getting the huge ghost

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    what I heard of the second set seemed fiery and well played. clearly no massive centerpiece jam. review from @plord on p42 I think

  20. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @everyone

    For the love of Icculus and all that is Phishy:

    Stop jinxing the fucking Ghost!

    ;), kind of.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Back for the fourth time, and better than ever, the air conditioned hi-tech chill-out pad will be filled with Macs courtesy of our friends at Small Dog Electronics in Vermont. Half the machines will be set up as download stations – bring your iPod, USB drive, etc. – and fill it with both audio and video from Phish’s June tour as well as selections from the archives chosen by Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro. Each station will also feature MP3s of each day’s festival performance – no need to wait until you get home; grab your free downloads right from the House of Live Phish.

    Want to get your head inside the mixes from LivePhish.com? Sidle up to our Pro Tools re-mix stations, furnished by our friends at Dale Pro Audio and Avid, to remix stems from the LivePhish.com mixes. Final mixes will be uploaded to a blog at livephish.com for everyone’s listening pleasure.

    this is the coolest fucking thing ever. stems available to be mixed on protools. now that sounds like fun.

  22. lastwaltzer Says:

    New jam vehicles to come, I see no reason they wouldn’t. The band is just in a different place right now. I mean look at RR, ton of jamming vehicles.

    We got Light and BDTNL from Joy as well as KDF and Ocelot which frequently goto good places.

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    Good morning peeps. Sounded like a pretty hot show from my spot on couch tour. And guyute’s spunion reporting backs it up 😉

    MPP…I’ve seen folks asking about it the past couple of days. Beautiful setting, terrible lot. I’ve been in the loge the past two years (both right and left) and the sound is pretty crappy out there. It gets MUCH better as you move toward the inside of the loges. The big issue is the shed structure doesn’t cover the loge seats and they’ve draped big tarps over the seats…IT’s A TRAP! All those trarps do is deaden the sound and block the breeze. Middle areas of the pav sound pretty good, lawn is spotty (and the spots are small). One other thing to note…there’s a concrete wall running down the ailses between the loges and center section so it’s pretty tough to move between loge sections and center sections…practice up on your jedi mind tricks! There have been plenty of extras on lot the past two years. I sold my extra lawn night 2 last year for $25 an hour before start.

    Yes, the ’09 show was pretty terrible, but dayum the 46 Days was a monster.

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    grantland.com didn’t really launch in a blaze of glory content-wise yesterday, but holy crap, some good stuff on there this morning – more than I have time for

  25. lastwaltzer Says:

    @DF

    so i take your gonna take on the responisbilty of burning these stems all by there lonesomes for kids to play with for years to come…..right…..right?

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