Tahoe Revisited

8.9.11 J.Crouch)

When comparing stands of summer’s second leg, Tahoe hasn’t felt the type of love that the Gorge or UIC has received. And while that analysis is completely justified, and the second night left much to be desired, let’s not sweep Tahoe under the rug just yet. Overshadowed by the bookends of Leg Two, the first night of Tahoe stands humbly in the wings; a dark-horse, two-set effort that can hold its own against the stronger shows of summer. Were it not for the wooked-out cocktail party that was popping off throughout the venue all night long (a result of the casino vibe bleeding right into the show) and an undersized sound system that couldn’t compensate for said wooks, the first night would be getting more props for what it was—another stellar night along summer’s second leg.

8.9.11 J.Crouch)

While some shows over this last run were defined exclusively by their second set theatrics, Tahoe’s opening frame carried some significant weight. “Party Time” provided a surprise opening and the rare combination of “Oh Kee Pah > Bag” got the party started in earnest. “Mellow Mood” in the mountain sunshine matched perfectly, as everyone began feeling the set before the band had dropped into any jams at all. Stretching out the intro to “Punch” into an infectious series of grooves, the momentum of the set began to grow. And following a bust out of the ’98 relic “Meat,” the band got serious with a mid-set “David Bowie.” Quite the odd placement for the jam made it all the more enticing as Phish dipped their ladle into melodic-infused darkness early on in the show. A blistering “46 Days” brought one of August’s better first sets to a close.

But—as usual—very few people would walk out of Harvey’s glorified parking lot buzzing about the first set. Enthusiastic conversations centered on the colossal, bass-led excursion that grew out of “Light,” and how it traveled through intergalactic wormholes dripping with harrowing textures and futuristic, beat-driven soundscapes. The band locked into another forward-looking adventure out West—one of those jams that rendered the rest of the set gravy. But this gravy was was quite good.

As “Light” meandered into nothing—as so many of its outlandish journeys tend to—Trey slowly wound up the into to “Chalk Dust” in a complete juxtaposition of styles. From the outer rings of Saturn to slamming white lights, the band jumped right back into a rock concert with little buffer zone. But as a dynamic “Chalk Dust” flew through multiple teases, the band all of a sudden had the crowd on its knees with a delicate breakdown of the classic rock anthem, efficiently deconstructing the song with a melodic bridge to a mid-set “Slave.” And per usual, when Phish centers “Slave” in the second set, a highlight rendition was sure to follow. Slowly building through blissful textures to match the mountain locale, the band unfurled a cathartic centerpiece that resolved “Light’s” journey into the center of the Earth.

8.9.10 (John Crouch)

A concise but cathartic “Jibboo” had opened the set, and after a seemingly random “Free” came out after “Slave,” the show’s delicate feel continued. Apparently spurred on by a legion of fans in some sort of on-going campaign, Phish broke out Elton John’s “Rocket Man: late in the second set, a cover which Page did far more justice than the thousands of bellowing drunkards ever could. And closing upon a similar note, the band dropped into “Harry Hood.” Though “Hood” was tight, it remained a relatively vanilla version. But Phish had one last gasp left—“Walls of the Cave.” And while I can’t say that the song seemed to fit in the set, I can vouch for the fact that Phish tore it to pieces. Ballooning the end jam into a set-closing exclamation point, the guys punctuated a rather delicate show with a bang.

Returning to the mellower feel for the double encore of “Bug, Squirming Coil,” Phish whispered their goodbyes into the cool mountain evening. And though the debauchery would grow from there, Phish left stage with a very mood-matching performance that greeted their fans to the gorgeous locale of Lake Tahoe. And with all the deserved hoopla over UIC and the Gorge, this gem—with a distinct flow from beginning to end—has gotten lost in the mix. Give it a re-spin, you won’t be disappointed.

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Jam of the Day:

Light” 8.9.11 II

One of the standout jams of 2011; a dark trek into progressive bass-led mania.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/ph2011-08-09t14.mp3]

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1,022 Responses to “Tahoe Revisited”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    did I mention that vimeo is really psychedelic?

    ok srsly out

  2. lawrencewelk Says:

    I think some of the jams in all era were pre rehearsed to some extent. I don’t see how this takes anything away from the music though. Most of the time I just think they’ve played with these ideas behind the curtain so when somebody brings one of those ideas out they know how to fall in place.

    There are other instances though were it seems that they knew they were going to drop a certain melody in a certain song…

  3. bouncin fan Says:

    we’ve also discussed in the past that rehearsed jam segments are par for the course and were very prevalent in my era 93-99

    for tours there would be licks and themes they would pick up in the jamming practices and drop them throughout the tour. most tweezers or mike’s on a specific tour would be similar and play off similar themes and styles

    to me that’s the most interesting part of 3.0

    the progression of a jam style throughout the tour doesn’t seem to be there. I mean the UIC Waves didn’t take the Bethel Waves and push similar ideas forward it created a totally different 360 degree feel. like two totally different songs.

    3.0 is probably the least black and white era of this band. hard to really pinpoint what is going on. kinda all over the place.

    but I dig it.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @mRc
    yeah, I watched that one earlier this morning. pretty cool effects with the magnetic tugging

  5. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I just think they’ve played with these ideas behind the curtain so when somebody brings one of those ideas out they know how to fall in place.

    Isn’t this be true of any era, though? Actually, probably even more so of past eras, due to the fact that they presumably practiced so much more back then?

  6. willowed Says:

    I think the Woosta Hood is an example of that lawrence.

    As soon as they hit the jam, Trza jumps right on the plinko deal and everyone latched on. At the time, I felt it was something that was prerehearsed/practiced.

    I don’t mind one bit.

    Seemls like all the smokin’ shows come off of long breaks so the more they rehearse the bigger the reward for us.

  7. Mike in Austin Says:

    Gotta agree about the Gins. Alpine ’09 Gin was a disappointment to me with how predictable it was. Trey was really wringing out a towel in that jam.

    They need to RnR a Gin.

  8. lawrencewelk Says:

    “the progression of a jam style throughout the tour doesn’t seem to be there. I mean the UIC Waves didn’t take the Bethel Waves and push similar ideas forward it created a totally different 360 degree feel. like two totally different songs.”bf

    true but the jamming style displayed in the boogie>waves did pop up quite a bit elsewhere. I think they’ve been developing ideas across different songs which help keeps it more interesting.

  9. lawrencewelk Says:

    “Isn’t this be true of any era, though? Actually, probably even more so of past eras, due to the fact that they presumably practiced so much more back then?”duke

    thats why i said “I think some of the jams in all era were pre rehearsed to some extent.”

  10. alf Says:

    jibboo, light, chalkdust, slave

    what a great segment of music. couldn’t be more contrasting feels to those 4 songs – love the juxtaposition of styles

    the way trey slides in & out of the minor & major in jibboo. smooth & danceable. storage freakout in light. dark, driving, bass-led, beautifully accented by page & really progressive work by trey. so many new textures and tones. a masterpiece of improv that gets better with each spin.

    hard rock shot of energy in chalkdust with an engaging type 1 jam that dissolves into more abstract territory, just a touch of psychedelia, then melting into a delicate slave. great shit.

  11. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Yeah, my bad, misread that.

  12. lawrencewelk Says:

    “As soon as they hit the jam, Trza jumps right on the plinko deal and everyone latched on. At the time, I felt it was something that was prerehearsed/practiced.

    I don’t mind one bit.”willowed

    Exactly, its not like plinko just turned up one night. They’ve been wood shedding this stuff. While i love improv to me it doesn’t matter if the theme wasn’t improvised. Its all new to us.

  13. bouncin fan Says:

    I got a bit of expectationed night 1 Tahoe other than the Light

    on respin though def one of the stronger 2 set shows of 3.0. really nice night of music.

    that Light was so sick it just kinda gave me a skewed judgment on the rest of the set but a really nice performance throughout.

  14. Mike in Austin Says:

    The end of ’98 Woodlands Wolfmans surely has a lot of jam/phrasing that went into the ’98 Riverport Gin.

    If you listen to most of that summer ’98 (incl. Europe) you could probably cut and paste much of the components of the Riverport Gin jam together.

    But as a stand alone piece, it was executed perfectly. That Gin is quite spectacular. Encompasses a lot of Euro and early summer 98 without just being “funk”

    That’s what I like so much about Gorge RnR.

  15. bouncin fan Says:

    Also when you play with the same musicians patterns and comfort zones are the norm. I have one friend I jam with occasionally and there are def moments in a so what where if he plays the rhythm like this, I know I like to do this or this. You may def at times try to push it into new boundaries but you def fall into patterns you know have fit or gelled in the past. Kind of a crude take on phish and their improve but I imagine it’s just natural that your brain goes back and forth between comfort and pushing boundaries in the improve setting. A bit of both. That push and pull seems to create the most coherent and interesting jams.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    indeed C, that Vimeo is sweet

    should be on kidZ should see this.

  17. bouncin fan Says:

    out for lunch kids. tour work drag setting in.
    laterz.

  18. aphishfan4life Says:

    Good discussion!

    Seems we are all sort of on the same page.

    And while I believe overall the style of play is so intense, so all over the place, and so awesome.

    There are MANY moments where it just comes off as canned goods. YUCK!

    But when they do pull it off, it’s interplanetary indeed.

    A good example of sounding ‘packaged’ is the UIC Wolfmans. While it is clearly a stellar version of the tune by all members, there is a point where it just gets ‘commercialized’ and for me, is a huge turn off.

    $.02

  19. DukeOfLizards Says:

    A good example of sounding ‘packaged’ is the UIC Wolfmans. While it is clearly a stellar version of the tune by all members, there is a point where it just gets ‘commercialized’ and for me, is a huge turn off.

    Now would be a good time to duck.

  20. lawrencewelk Says:

    “There are MANY moments where it just comes off as canned goods. YUCK!

    But when they do pull it off, it’s interplanetary indeed.

    A good example of sounding ‘packaged’ is the UIC Wolfmans. While it is clearly a stellar version of the tune by all members, there is a point where it just gets ‘commercialized’ and for me, is a huge turn off. “phishfan

    now I’m lost. No idea wtf your referring too.

  21. lastwaltzer Says:

    “now I’m lost. No idea wtf your referring too.”lw

    me too

  22. bouncin fan Says:

    know you lost me kid

    that Wolfman’s is pure phish gold. one of my fav wolfman’s of all time

    in fact to me it is one of the better examples of pure open jamming.

    towards the end Trey just falls out and let’s Mike take the lead before coming back with some interesting coloring.

    def not hearing it in that Wolfman’s. such an amazing jam. may want to give it a few more spins on tape.

  23. lastwaltzer Says:

    oh and lawrence its “you’re” not “your.

  24. bouncin fan Says:

    made me come back and post on my way off the desk for lunch.
    now I’m back out.

    like I said hundreds of examples I would agree with you but that Wolfman’s I would actually use to disprove that statement.

    now I’m really out kids
    laterz

  25. lastwaltzer Says:

    While some stuff may be rehearsed I never hear anything that I’m like “oh they packaged that and its a generic phish jam they’re just throwing it out there to sell tickets”.

    If anything they have strived to go out of there way to NOT do this.

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