Following last Friday’s ten tunes that were focused on some of the outstanding improvisational passages from June, today let’s look at some other stellar jaunts from the month. With so much amazing music from June and Super Ball, some of the deeper cuts of leg one just might get lost in the shuffle. These selections, all coming from second sets, have other jams in the same frame that overshadow them (except “Steam”), so let’s take a moment to give these jams their propers.
“2001” 6.8 II, Darien Center, NY
When Phish dropped into this “2001” within a set of heavy grooves, nobody expected what was to follow. Though always fun to hear, despite a few select versions, “2001″ hasn’t exactly been the jump off during this era, but that all changed this time around. Weaving the rhythm of “Golden Age” throughout the opening segment, the band infused the space-funk with added zest while a palpable energy filled the pavilion. Following the first theme, the band continued to play with “Golden Age” within the grooves before Trey decided to throw a “What’s the Use?” tease into the mix. Picking up on this idea immediately, the entire band hopped onboard and got into some of one of the coolest segments of “2001” we’ve heard in a while.
“Reba” 6.17 II, Charlotte, NC
After dropping a tour-defining jam combo in “Rock and Roll > Ghost” at the beginning of this set, the band took a small exhale in “Free” before launching into the first second-set “Reba” since Knoxville ’09 (and before that, Allstate 2000). Obviously feeling it, the band attacked one of their most complex compositions and blissful jams with fury. And they absolutely slaughtered IT. Precisely cruising through the fugue, the band splashed into the cathartic groove with fierce intent. Standing out with superb full-band interplay and an unrelenting peak, this is one of the top-shelf versions of the modern era.
“Steam” 6.12 II, Columbia, MD
After debuting “Steam”—the only new song of tour—in Cleveland, the band broke it out for the only other time of June at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Slightly altered and more complete than it’s Blossom predecessor, this rendition featured lyrical refrains as the band drifted into the jam, and a hell of a lot of “steam!” Word has it that the band actually mic’ed Kuroda’s onstage smoke machines to get make the “steam” sound so authentic—a new level of particpation for CK5. Anyway you cut it, this sinister groove is going to be a monster, and to be honest, its hard to believe that the band didn’t throw down a festival-sized version at Watkins Glen. Leg two awaits…
“YEM” 6.5 II, Cincinatti, OH
All of a sudden, in 2011, “You Enjoy Myself” has become a rarity! Only appearing three times in 21 shows, this version that closed Cincy gets my nod for Leg One’s gold medal. Veering the band away from “YEM’s” classic theme, Trey infused divergent leads into the mix and the band followed his direction. One of the most creative renditions in recent memory, this “YEM” contains a whole lot more than a bit of funk.
Tags: 2011, Jams, Summer, Summer 2011