Miner’s Picks: Denver’s Finale

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 29th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Official Denver Print (LandLand!)

Two weeks after one of their best stands of the year at UIC, Phish traveled to Denver to put a cherry on top of an already amazing summer. But when the three nights in the Rocky Mountains were over, the band had rearranged the highlights of summer, pushing quite a few more jams onto the top shelf. The momentum started on Memorial Day at Bethel Woods in upstate New York had wound its way through two legs of tour and a mid-summer festival, taboot. And on Labor Day weekend, Phish gave us one more unforgettable experience to celebrate everything that had transpired over the season. What resulted in Denver was the strongest top-to-bottom stand of the year and some of the summer’s hottest musical talking points. Phish hadn’t played six consecutive sets this strong in ages, and they provided the perfect exclamation point to a summer or glory. Below are my favorite jams from Denver and one final sequence from the benefit show in Vermont.

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9.2.11

“Stash” I

After a slow start to the opening night in Denver, “Stash” provided the spark to the “S” show and Phish never looked back.

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“Sneakin’ Sally > Sparks” I

An awesome combination of old-school covers provided the standout sequence of the opening set. A funked out “Sally” turned dirty before winding its way into “Sparks”—the first version since The Cow Palace in Fall ’96

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“Sand” II

A perfect example of how “Sand” has evolved into a full-band jam. In this version, Mike leads much of the way as the band builds to a collective peak.

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9.4.11 - Denver (Michael Stein)

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“Simple > Steam” II

An ambient “Simple” jam bled into the most powerful version of “Steam” to date.

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“Seven Below” II

The most impressive jam of the opening night, Phish moved from an sparkling conversation in groove to the depths of psychedelia.

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“Scents > Slave to the Traffic Light” II

This uplifting combination punctuated the show. Trey reached for the heavens in the peak of “Scents” and with a sublime note that he held for quite some time in “Slave.” The “Slave” is below.

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9.3.11

“Llama” I

The perfect example of Phish’s on-point playing across the board, “Llama” hasn’t sounded like this since last decade.

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9.2.11 (G. Lucas / webcast)

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“Wolfman’s Brother” I

A rousing, set-closing version that moved away from center before returning to the theme.

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“Down with Disease > Tweezer” II

A hot “Disease” built towards “Tweezer” in what seemed to be an epic transition in the making, But the rug was pulled out from underneath and the band started “Tweezer” from the top. And when they did they dropped one of the defining jams of the summer. This version of “Tweezer” featured the most cathartic build in memory before Trey spiraled out of the groove and began an exercise in looping. Dropping a unforgettable melody atop two looped phrases, Trey takes this version to the bank—one of those jams in which Phish achieve musical perfection.

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“Light -> Disease Reprise” II

Deep into the second set, out of the peak of “2001,” Phish unexpectedly dropped into “Light.” Shying from the avant garde, bass led excursions that peppered the second leg, this version favored a melodic canvas in and Trey, and then the band, brought back “Disease” in, perhaps, the most artistic moment of the weekend.

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“Run Like an Antelope” II

One of few “Antelopes” of summer that brought some real fire to the table, this time including “Disease” teases within the jam.

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9.4.11

“Bathtub Gin” I

In this explosive version that bookended summer with Bethel’s standout, Trey put on an absolute guitar clinic. Moving from rhythm lick to rhythm lick, this one is as dirty and as swanky as they come.

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9.3.11 (Michael Stein)

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“Tube” I

It’s great that “Tube” is a highlight again. This compact, yet fully developed, jam is an example of Phish’s modern musical marksmanship.

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“Twist -> Piper > Hood” II

Perhaps my favorite sequence from the entire weekend, the segues are fluid, “Piper” stands out as one of the jams of the weekend, and the “Hood” is the most spectacular version of the summer. Blending modern stacatto soundscapes with an old-school assault on the song’s theme, Phish crafted a hybrid version of “Hood” that oozed victory.

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“Roggae” II

And as a come down from the previous triumvirate, the band played “Roggae.” They opened up the slower piece in the wake of the Gorge’s version, channeling the musical feel of the “Hood” jam that came before.

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“Ghost -> Guy Forget -> Ghost” II

Amidst a high-speed and dancy jam, Trey hit an fierce lick bringing the band into the second-ever appearance of the soundcheck legend “Guy Forget.” A smoking sequence put a perfect cap to a weekend that produced in ways nobody could have expected.

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9.14.2011

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“Carini -> Down with Disease -> Slave” - 9.14, Essex Junction, VT

The standout chunk of the benefit show in Vermont was anchored by the stellar combo of “Carini -> Disease.” “Carini” built into something far more significant than we’d seen since last fall, and “Slave” brought a light to the darkening “Disease jam.

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The Philler: Denver and Vermont Wrap (interview starts at 50:07)

The Philler – Episode Six – The Phlood by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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Miner’s Picks: Summer Leg II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 27th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

"Rock and Roll" - 8.5.11 - The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

Phish was riding high from a standout June tour and phenomenal festival when the hit the road for their second leg of summer. Beginning at the West Coast musical shrine of the Gorge, things started on an incredibly high note. From night one of tour we saw Phish integrate their newest abstract style of “storage jamming” into their live shows. Throwing down a seminal piece of modern-generation Phish on the first night of tour in “Rock and Roll -> Meatstick” things were off and running in a hurry. Pushing forward in their stylistic reinvention, the band incorporated this new-style psychedelia into all of their shows, even if only in small spots. The band was moving forward again, and there was no looking back. Following the night of insanity at the Gorge came the LA “Piper,” Tahoe’s “Light” and “Ghost,” UIC’s “Elements Set” of 8.15 and the next night’s “Down With Disease.” The band was comfortable taking massive musical risks again, and more often than not they were succeeding with flying colors. On a tour that lasted only two weeks, Phish still managed to crank out quite a few highlights. Capped at UIC by the only indoor stand of the summer, Phish’s second leg like it passed in a blink…but the music remains. My favorite pieces from Leg Two are below.

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“Roggae” - 8.5 I, Quincy, WA

The laid-back, West Coast psychedelic vibe took hold right away at the Gorge, sinking in deeply with this surreal sunset version of “Roggae.”

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“Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On” - 8.5 II

The jam of the year and, perhaps, the defining musical sequence of the modern era. Page’s Theremin was re-introduced in the live setting after the band’s groundbreaking Storage Jam, bringing new sounds into the mix while facilitating a new style of abstract jamming.

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“Farmhouse” - 8.5 II

“Oh snap! Did Miner just drop a “Farmhouse” on his picks?!” Indeed, I did. The cosmic energy from the previous 50 minutes spilled over into a beautifully reflective version of Phish’s ballad.

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“Wolfman’s -> Maze” - 8.6 I, Quincy, WA

Passing through a “Heartbreaker” tease within the monstrous rhythms of the jam, Phish built from this groove-based outing into “Maze,” a combo that cranked up the intensity of the first set.

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8.6.11 (G.Lucas)

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Tweezer > Caspian -> Sand -> Tweezer” - 8.6 II

If wide-open Phish grooves are your thing, this sequence is for you. Featuring an underrated “Tweezer” and my favorite “Sand” from the second leg, this is a can’t miss sequence of dance floor Phish. The “Sand -> Tweezer” is below.

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“Run Like an Antelope” - 8.6 II

Musically recapping most of the set within the song’s intro, Phish finished the job with a “Golden Age” jam in the “Antelope.” A supercharged version in a season that wasn’t necessarily full of them.

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“Tube” - 8.8 I, Hollywood, CA

A powerhouse few minutes from the first set of Hollywood.

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“Piper” - 8.8 II

This standout “Piper” capped a fierce (and underrated) set-opening sequence of “Carini > Crosseyed > Twist” at the Hollywood Bowl, and became the improvisational highlight of the show.

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“David Bowie” - 8.9 I

This rarely-placed, mid-first set “Bowie” anchored a strong opening set in Tahoe with a dark and intricate excursion.

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8.10.11 - Lake Tahoe (John Crouch)

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“Light” - 8.9 II, Stateline, NV

An exploratory, bass led epic that—like the Gorge’s “Rock and Roll”—reached musical places never before touched in the band’s career.

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“Chalk Dust -> Slave” – 8.9 II

Two ripping renditions of classic songs that were tactfully bridged by an delicate breakdown of “Chalk Dust.”

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“Runaway Jim > Ghost” - 8.10 II, Stateline, NV

In my mind, Phish should have rode out the magical plane they found in “Runaway Jim,” but they didn’t. Cutting a potentially stellar jaunt short with “Ghost,” the band took the second piece from rock to storage psychedelia in a version that takes the cake for the best of a weak second leg for the song.

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“Wolfman’s Brother” - 8.15 I, Chicago, IL

With a completely original jam all together, this version gets my vote for “Wolfman’s” of the year.

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“Reba” - 8.15 I

Riding the cresting momentum of the first set, this “Reba” hit the spot at UIC.

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UIC Pavilion (Chad Smith)

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“Sand > Light > Dirt” - 8.15 II

The beginning combo of the “Elements Set,” a standout segment that has been overshadowed by the latter par of the frame. Phish took another dive into original, abstract, and intergalactic realms in “Light.”

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“Waves -> Undermind > Steam” - 8.15 II

One of the most compelling jam sequences of the second leg, Page broke out his Theremin again for a spiritual soiree at towards the end of “Undermind.”

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“Harry Hood” - 8.15 E

The exalting exclamation point on a remarkble night in Chicago, and the best “Hood” of the summer that wasn’t played in Colorado.

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“Chalk Dust Torture” - 8.16 I, Chicago, IL

A third-song scorcher from UIC’s second show.

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“Limb by Limb” - 8.16 I

Taken into plinkofied planes, this first set “Limb” came as a surprise and delightful highlight of its set.

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8.9.10 - Lake Tahoe (John Crouch)

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“Down with Disease -> Twist” - 8.16 II

This exploratory “Disease” touches on countless places, though settles in few; a post-hiatus style jam without the opiates. A smooth transition into “Twist” capped a wild ride.

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“Bathtub Gin” - 8.17 I, Chicago , IL

A cathartic musical farewell, albeit for only a couple weeks.

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“Crosseyed > No Quarter” - 8.17 II

The only sequence really worth including from a fun, but musically anti-climactic final set of tour.

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Miner’s Picks: Super Ball

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on September 26th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

As fans populated Watkins Glen International in central New York for July 4th weekend, something significant was coming back together. Though Festival 8 on the West Coast was blissful in 2009, Super Ball—two years later—represented the true return of the Phish festival. With art installations of the like we hadn’t seen since IT in 2003, the look and feel of Super Ball brought us back to the carefree memories crafted so many years ago. Though smaller in scope, the Northeastern “home turf” feel was back and an intimate feel permeated the weekend. With a spectacular late-night set (a facet of the Phish festival absent at Indio) and concert grounds that were open virtually all day long, an event like this had been waiting in the wings since the band’s return.

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With the return of such a classic atmosphere, Phish played marathon sets all weekend long, cranking out all sorts of standout music. After the psychedelic high point of the festival in Saturday’s late-night “Storage Jam,” Phish concluded the weekend with one of its strongest two-set efforts of the entire summer on Sunday. All in all, Super Ball brought back a tradition that had been absent for eight years, and featured highlights galore. My favorite jams of the festival are below, most with audio accompaniment.

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“The Moma Dance” – 7.1 I

This standout version from Super Ball illustrates the renewed swagger that “The Moma Dance” discovered this summer.

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“Wolfman’s Brother” - 7.1 I

While many “Wolfman’s” veered off the funked-up course this summer, this version in Super Ball’s opening set got the dance floor hopping with ferocious set of gooey grooves.

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“Crosseyed -> Chalk Dust” - 7.1 II

With an ambient focus on both its intro and outro, “Crosseyed” offered far more than vicious textures in a first-night highlight.

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“Sand” - 7.1 II

There’s nothing like a festi-sized groove-fest with the summer’s hottest rhythmic juggernaut.

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7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

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“Simple > Bug” - 7.1 II

“Simple” provided the most exploratory and impressive piece on the festival’s first night, and one of the more psychedelic passages of the entire weekend.

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“Monkey Man” - 7.2 I

This out-of-left-field Stones cover that capped a miserably hot and uneventful afternoon set is far more fun to listen to without the sweltering temperatures.

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“Stash” - 7.2 II

This hard-edged and rhythmically divergent rendition provided one of the few engaging pieces of its set.

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“Golden Age > Caspian -> Piper > Tweezer” - 7.2 III

Here is the stellar third-set sequence that pushed Super Ball to the next level for the duration. The most developed “Golden Age” jam to date gave way to an unconventional “Caspian,” creative “Piper,” and a crunchy, festival-sized “Tweezer”—quality Phish through and though.

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"The Storage Jam" (Graham Lucas)

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“The Storage Jam” – 7.2 IV

A transformational, all-improv extravaganza that stole the weekend at Super Ball; this is the stuff of which Phish dreams are made. This innovative experiment sparked a new style of abstract jamming on display throughout leg II. I wrote about the innovative jam session here.

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“Destiny Unbound” – 7.3 I

A super-charged version of “Destiny” in a first set that absolutely killed.

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“Wilson” - 7.3 I

You know Phish is feeling it when they get creative with “Wilson!” A scorching mini-jam featuring a Mind Left Body tease puts this version into the discussion of “best ever.”

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“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” - 7.3 I

The long-awaited return of this post-hiatus vehicle provided a storage-infused, sunset standout on Super Ball’s final day.

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7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

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“Reba -> David Bowie” - 7.3 I

This old-school combo—one of the most sparkling sequences of the weekend—has become a personal favorite. An absolutely glorious “Reba” bleeds into to an intricate, uptempo and underrated “David Bowie” through an ambient, post-song extension.

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“Down with Disease -> No Quarter” - 7.3 II

An inspiring “Disease” gradually works its way into Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” a version that trumped PNC’s debut.

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“Light” - 7.3 II

One of the most creative jams of the weekend that set up “Light” for a prime-time second half of summer.

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“Waves -> What’s the Use?” - 7.3 II

Phish tacked a jam onto “Waves” in three out of the song’s four appearances this summer, and each time the band moved in a very different direction. In Super Ball’s version, they guys drop into deep space before oozing into “What’s the Use?.”

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Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 Leg I

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 23rd, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Bethel Woods - (Michael Mesenbourg)

As I sat at my computer yesterday, I pondered how in the world I would come up with “Miner’s Picks” for such an extensive Summer that was strewn with so much spectacular music. Summer 2011 was the first tour of Phish’s Golden Age that truly held up to tours of old. The creativity was back, new jamming styles developed, and Phish pushed the improvisational envelope like never before since their return. Back in 2009, many fans doubted if the band would ever achieve the heights reached this very summer. In 2011, the band wove timeless music again—music that not only brought us back to a place we once knew, but also brought us forward into spaces yet discovered.

Summer 2011 brought all that and then some. Beginning with the very first show in Bethel on May 27th, things felt different. The band’s confidence and risk-taking was front and center  in a way we had rarely seen through 2009 and 2010. After catching up to speed in the first two years of their return, Bethel began a summer of reinvention—a process we’d been waiting two-plus years to witness and left us with a trail of amazing highlights. Today I will focus on the opening leg of summer tour and list my favorite jams of June in chronological order. (Many selections have audio accompaniment, as it is Friday and all…)

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“Kill Devil Falls” - 5.27 I, Bethel, NY

In the very first set of tour, one of my least favorite Phish songs blew up into, perhaps, the best version ever. Putting an improvisational focus on the usually rock-based piece illustrated the band’s willingness to take their music to unconventional places.

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“Boogie On -> Waves > Caspian > Crosseyed” - 5.27 II

With this segment of unwavering psychedelia, Phish officially announced “Game on!” for Summer 2011.”Waves” remains one of  my favorite jams of summer.

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“Cities” – 5.28 I, Bethel, NY

In this first-set version, Trey layers a well-phrased and snarlng solo over the whole-band funk—the spark of a standout show.

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“Halley’s Comet > Runaway Jim” - 5.28 I

The jam that everyone had been waiting for—the return of “Halley’s Comet”—rolled out in dramatic fashion, as the band crafted one of my top jams of summer with a prowess and focus applied to the song unseen in ages. This “Halley’s” stands on the top-shelf of summer offerings, and then bled into the reinvention of “Runaway Jim” with the debut of its new “plinko” section. This combo left fans wide-eyed and wondering what type of musical steroids the band was on.

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“Bathtub Gin -> Manteca -> Gin” - 5.28 I

Official Bethel Print (Stout)

And just when this first set couldn’t get any better, the band dropped a jam that stood out as brightly as any in the entire show. Closing the frame with a groove-centric “Bathtub Gin” that built into a full-blown “Manteca” and then back into the “Gin’s,” Phish absolutely tore the summer wide open with a version that had the venue buzzing at setbreak.

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“Backwards Down the Number Line” - 5.28 II

Though the entire second set stood out in context, as we moved through the entire summer, this is the piece that deserves the most attention. In a summer where “Number Line” didn’t entail much adventure, this morphing version (that still doesn’t totally depart from the theme) contains a meditative musical conversation that shines above most other summer versions.

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“After Midnight” -5.31 II, Holmdel, NJ

To open the main event of the first post-Bethel show, Phish employed “After Midnight” as a jam vehicle for the first time since Big Cypress’ sacred reprise of the song in the wee hours of the morning. And when they did, they spun a groove-based-then-melodic gem that showed us Bethel’s jams were no anomaly

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“Drowned” - 5.31 II

If “After Midnight” set the improvisational tone for the second set, Phish used “Drowned” to take it much further. Passing through gorgeous and abstract realms of sound, the only version of summer was a highlight for the season.

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“Down with Disease -> Fluffhead > Bowie” - 6.3 II, Clarkston, MI

One of the most compelling segments of music in the entire summer. the opening leg, I think we’ve been here before.

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“Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley” - 6.4 II, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Hyper-funk turned-dissonant psychedelia—the standout jam in a very popular show.

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“Tweezer” - 6.5 II, Cincinatti, OH

Though Phish wasn’t too kind to “Tweezer” this summer, they still eked out two stellar versions, and this is the first. Focusing on whole-band groove, the band locks into an infectious jam that seems to have flown way under the radar this summer. The antithesis of Denver’s melodic mind-meld, this version gets downright dirty on the dance floor.

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6.18.10 - Raleigh, NC (John Crouch)

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“You Enjoy Myself” – 6.5 II

This summer “YEM” became a “rarity.” Appearing only 4 times over 34 shows, this version from Cincinnati is the unquestionable champion. Departing from generic “YEM”-funk, the band closed a dark-horse two-setter with a sparkling rendition of their classic.

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“Rock and Roll” - 6.7 II, Mansfield, MA

An improvisational monster—one of the most impressive pieces of June. I wrote about it here.

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“Golden Age > Mike’s > Fast Enough > Weekapaug” – 6.8 II, Darien Lake, NY

The opening sequence of Darien Lake deserves a place on this list. The first quasi-jammed out “Golden Age” was backed by one of the strongest “Weekapaugs” of the summer. “Mike’s” is still missing in action, a nostalgic shell of its former self.

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“2001 > Harry Hood” - 6.8 II

In a show focused on groove for most of the second set, this combo fit this theme quite well. The most impressive “2001” of the season included prominent “Golden Age” and “What’s the Use?” sections, creating a mash-up of aural delight. The “Hood” departed from its normally intricate rhythms as Fishman caught a groove and band went with it in a divergent and interesting rendition.

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“Stash” - 6.10 I, Camden, NJ

This mid-first set version stood out as one of the strongest pieces from Phish’s 2011 visit to Camden. Though never veering far from the theme, the band, nonetheless, engaged in an intricate and extensive exploration through the song’s darkness.

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“The Curtain With” - 6.10 I, Camden, NJ

Phish closed the set with this cathartic masterpiece. Playing as a single entity, the band reached mind-bending realms of musical cooperation, resulting in a piece a version that needs to be heard to be believed. Truly awesome.

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***

“Down with Disease > Free” - 6.10 II

This two-song combination seemed to be a single song for the beginning part of the summer, but I’m not sure any of the early-tour “Diseases” that weren’t played in Michigan plunged the depths of this one—a huge momentum builder to kick off the second set. Growling and uncompressed Trey came out to play as the band got serious in New Jersey.

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***

6.11.11 - Columbia, MD (Brian Ferguson)

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“Piper -> Velvet Sea” - 6.11 II, Columbia, MD

This “Piper” brought the most intriguing jam in a set that traveled a little bit of everywhere. Within an improvisationally-light two night stand, this excursion stands out as one of the most impressive at Merriweather.

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“Wolfman’s -> Boogie On” - 6.12 I, Columbia, MD

Getting creative in both halves of this funkified combo, Phish would place its most significant jam sequence of the night in the opening set on this evening.

***

“Light Up or Leave Me Alone” - 6.14 I, Alpharetta, GA

Page and Trey absolutely tear it up in this always welcome bust-out and no-brainer highlight of Alpharetta.

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***

“Down with Disease > Maze” - 6.14 II

This sequence opened Alpharetta’s second set in style, as “Disease” found ambient musical textures and “Maze” brought the experimentation to a blistering head.

***

“Rock and Roll > Ghost” – 6.17 II, Charlotte, NC

One of the most enduring sequences of the opening leg featured two exploratory excursions in a row, and—by far—the “Ghost” of the summer.

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***

6.12.11 - Columbia, MD (Moshe Cohen)

***

“Reba” - 6.17 II

Out of nowhere, the band dropped into this second-set “Reba.” Feeling the flow following the set-opening “Rock and Roll > Ghost,” the band slayed a jaw-dropping rendition that peaked for what seemed like ten minutes.

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***

“Split Open and Melt” - 6.18 I, Raleigh, NC

Phish got deep in this late-second setter, descending into a sinister sonic dungeon and saving a piece-meal set that had started to fizzle.

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***

“Slave to the Traffic Light” - 6.19 II, Portsmouth, VA

The resolution of a set-opening combo of “Crosseyed > Walls,” this version of “Slave” bled a purity and a majesty that I’m not sure was touched by any other outing this summer. On the closing night of June, Phish left us with an nugget of soulful magic for the break.

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***

“Sand” - 6.19 II

Though Phish crushed every single “Sand” of summer, this version brought leg one’s jazzier versions to a head. Standing out from the pack, this jam moves away from its traditional contours into some unadulterated funkscapes. The band is locked into some experimental and next-level grooves that just might put this version over the edge as the “Sand”of summer. Add some addictive stop/start jamming and a “Sand” reprise to the mix and we just might have a winner.

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***

“Light > Number Line” - 6.19 II

This compact versions of “Light” that came late in tour’s final show, reached some musical depth for one of few times in leg one. With this version, however, the band warmed up the gears of the traditionally intergalactic vehicle for a monstrous second half of summer. The band even displays some musical forethought before moving into “Number Line,” making the always-choppy transition far less so than usual.

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Summer Memories

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 21st, 2011 by Mr.Miner

“Steam” 8.15.11 – UIC Pavilion

This version of “Steam” came at the tail end of the “Elements Set” on the first night of UIC. Serving as a landing point for the other-worldly excursion of “Waves -> Undermind,” Phish didn’t let up as they tore through a growling, indoor version. The song choice, while fitting in with the theme of the set, also fit in with the theme of the show—sweltering heat and humidity due to air conditioner malfunctions. This was the final piece of Phish before a quick cover of “Fire” capped one of the sets of the summer. (by The Qunnski)

****
“Carini” 9.14.11 – Essex Junction, VT

This officially-released clip of “Carini” highlights the unquestionable highlight of the Vermont benefit in Essex Junction. After a transformation into a jam vehicle last fall, “Carini” took a back seat to several other centerpiece jams this summer, but when they kicked off the final set of summer with the crowd favorite, they crafted a seasonal highlight. Moving through heavy darkness into spiritual, guitar-led transcendence, and then onto a whole-band melodic mind meld, this piece (combined with “Disease” and “Slave”) provided the final top-shelf jam sequence of the summer.

****
“Disease jam -> Twist” 8.15.11 – UIC Pavilion

This clip picks up the band as they are in the final stages of an uber-exploratory “Down with Disease,” kicking off the fourth set at UIC. The band is still hitting at full throttle at the beginning of this video, and gradually slow down into ambient pastures, eventually crafting a mellow, but artistic, segue into “Twist.” A lively conversation in this “Twist” jam sees the entire band cooperate by leaving plenty of space for each other to respond. Each band member shines at different points in this thematic jam that punctuated the opening segment of the set.

****
“Drowned” 5.31.11 – PNC

This is a throwback to the first week of summer, and PNC’s first show after Bethel’s three-night blowout. In this dark-horse summer highlight, the band moves far beyond the traditional rock textures of “Drowned” into a deranged and ambient spacescape—a brick in the musical path that led the band into the late-night storage shed experiment at Super Ball. Drifting into more abstract realms, first harnessed by melody and then totally devoid of it, Phish dipped deep into the cosmic sea of sound on this night in Holmdel. Launching into the spiritual stratosphere with the only “Drowned” of summer, this version is a psychedelic diamond in the rough.

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Portraits of Vermont

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 17th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

9.14.11 - Essex Junction, VT (Michael Stein)

*****

9.14.11 (Michael Stein)

*****

9.14.11 (Michael Stein)

*****

9.14.11 (Michael Stein)

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Bonus Phish

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 15th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

9.14.11 - Essex Junction, VT (Graham Lucas / webcast)

And then Phish came home to Vermont. The prodigal band of The Green Mountain State put its best foot forward on Wednesday night to help in a statewide relief effort in the wake Hurricane Irene. Or if looking at the show from a Phish-centric perspective, Summer 2011 was so phenomenal that it needed an encore. And in their home state, the band delivered a high-powered performance with portions of stellar improv in a fun-filled summer finale. Legions of fans descended upon Burlington for the quickly-planned benefit—a bonus round of Phish tacked on to a marathon touring season that has finally come to a close.

Essex Junction Official Print (J.Helton)

An unpatrolled and peaceful free-for-all at Champlain Valley Expo was highlighted by the opening sequence of the second set, “Carini > Down with Disease > Slave.” Only the second appearance since August, the set-opening “Carini” (dedicated to Pete Carini, himself) built into a summer highlight—a refreshing rendition after several innocuous outings (less Hollywood Bowl’s). Diving deep into the song’s menacing sound for some quality time, just when many recent versions have ended, this one took off. Following a tremendous hard rock peak, Trey took a step back and the band settled into melodic three-man canvas. On top of this uplifting plane, Trey began to narrate universal tales of splendor. Dripping soulful melodies over an increasingly abstract backdrop, Trey garnered the spotlight as the band came together in a gorgeous mélange of harmony and melody. Traveling a blissful path of convergence between the spiritual realms of music and consciousness, Phish brought this jam to the Promise Land before coyly steered the ending into the murky, bass-laden intro of “Down with Disease.”

9.14.11 (Michael Stein)

The entrance into another guaranteed launch-pad had the show in an elevated state and the audience raging right along. Sailing into the high-energy jaunt, Phish took this “Disease” in an exploratory direction without ever losing speed. Trey exited the shredding composed jam using hard-edged rhythm chops to bridge a very dirty solo with all sorts of rhythmic features as well as lead qualities. Mike stood head to head with Trey, crushing bass line after bass line while the band locked in for the long haul. Gradually peeling away layers, the guys entered a more percussive realm anchored by break-beat action from Fishman and larger than life offerings from Gordeaux. Page tickled his organ while Trey comped the exercise with a series of rhythm chords that offered a new progression into the mix. Passing through a constantly morphing groove, the band, collectively, migrated into a more ambient plane that was getting particularly heavy when the band resolved the jam rather quickly and entered “Slave.” A unique version, this “Disease” packs a heavy punch while exploring new ground. Combining with “Carini,” this set-opening combo formed a particularly meaty sequence.

9.14.11 (Michael Stein)

I always like it when the band places songs like “Slave” or “Hood” in the middle of the second set rather than as closers. It is in these slots that they get the full treatment. And last night’s mid-set “Slave” was another perfect example of this scenario. Taking all the time in the world to float amidst the jam’s ethereal opening, it took a bit before Fishman even slid into a subtle groove. A patient and intricate rendition brought the audience through a mid-set catharsis, as the band juiced each note for full emotion. Picking up a powerful solo late into the collaborative piece, Trey tactfully picked his spot and struck, initiating the “Slave’s” final build.

And as soon as the first segment set concluded, the band kicked out a mid-set “Rock and Roll.” Sticking to high-energy rock for the duration of the jam, the band seemed to be building into more substantial music when Trey came in with the out of place beginning of “Twist.” The band adjusted quickly and the move came off quasi-smoothly, but any potential of a deeper excursion was quickly erased. On the back end of this one-two punch came a version of “Twist” that didn’t veer from its theme, but still managed to get into impressive interplay. The band’s well-honed communication skills shone in this succinct version that wrapped up the second mini-segment of the set.

9.14.11 (Michael Stein)

Up through this point, the band had the audience in the palm of their handsand the high-quality set deserved a more emphatic closing sequence than it received. Following a spirited, guitar-led “Number Line” that Trey peaked with a geyser of emotive licks, and a soaring “Theme From the Bottom” that paired odes to friendship, instead of choosing a larger set closer like “David Bowie” or “You Enjoy Myself” that would have really punctuated this set with a “complete” feel, Phish took the  “Suzy,” “Character Zero” route. And while each song’s individual performance was noteworthy in its own right, the combination fell a bit flat. A “Loving Cup” encore, though common this year, was a fitting end to a summer filled with so many beautiful buzzes.

And thus the night of bonus Phish— a pair of musical extra innings—came to a close. In a summer of thrills, the band scripted one more night for the benefit of its birthplace. Returning to the Vermont for the first time since Coventry’s 2004 debacle, the vibe could not have been more polar opposite at Essex Junction last night. And when Phish took their final bow in the cool New England air, concluding the special evening, joy was the pervading feeling—a far cry from the bittersweet farewell in Vermont seven years ago. Summer 2011 had finally ended. From Bethel to Denver and then to Vermont, Phish blazed a trail of fire throughout the country from late-May to mid-September, and did so in style as the undisputed pimps of the galaxy.

First Set Thoughts:

9.14.11 (G.Lucas / webcast)

Vermont’s first set carried a very song-heavy feeling right from the start, and most of the songs were common first-set fare. “Moma Dance” featured the energetic funk that has fueled a summer revival of the recently-stale piece. Impressive versions of “Bathtub Gin” and “Wolfman’s Brother” bookended an “Alaska,” “Possum” sandwich before “Julius” closed the set. And coming from someone who has no love for “Julius” whatsoever, this version actually had something to it. Featuring more creative full-band interplay than normal, the set ended with a highlight version of the song. But the gem of the set lied in “Wolfman’s.” Taking the piece into growling, uncompressed realms, Trey directed the funk in a dirty direction right out of the gates. Page added his own layer of dissonance and Fish and Mike churned out a gooey pocket. Concluding a summer that has seen “Wolfman’s” transcend its straightforward funk of the last two years, the band infused the grooves of this version with aggressive textures. While never totally departing from the theme, the band crafted a heavy-handed highlight late in the opening set.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance, NICU, Funky Bitch, Sample in a Jar, Cavern, Bathtub Gin, Alaska, Possum, Wolfman’s Brother, Julius

II: Carini > Down with Disease > Slave to the Traffic Light, Rock and Roll > Twist, Backwards Down the Number Line, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg, Character Zero

E: Loving Cup

9.14.11 (Graham Lucas / webcast)

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Fruitful First Sets

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 13th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

One of the aspects that made the Denver shows so powerful and stand out from so many others this summer was their first sets. While first sets have been fairly routine this summer with highlights here and there, the three in Denver popped with energy and inspired playing throughout, while including some of the standout moments of the weekend. In their end-of-summer showcase in the Rockies, Phish crushed six straight sets—and below is a glance at the three that came before setbreak.

***

9.2.11 I

9.2.11 (M.Stein)

This first set was the only one that took a little bit to get going, but it was also felt like a marathon, clocking in a 14 songs. As Phish set the ‘S’ theme, an early-show combination of “Sloth,” “Sweet Virginia”—though seemingly random at the time—came as welcome additions to the setlist. But this first set truly took off with “Stash,” a song whose appearances have waned this summer. Delving into an intricate, guitar-led conversation, Phish sparked this frame with a classically-shaped rendition defined by intensity and vigor. Splashing into “Sneakin’ Sally’s” post-vocal jam section, the grooves commenced, but they weren’t typical rhythms. Trey danced around a prominent pocket with short rhythms licks before gradually oozing into a solo. Hitting as a band whole-band, the guys slammed into big-time dance grooves before Trey moved into a seething solo alongside Mike’s envelope-filtered dementia. Getting far from “Sally” into a dark and dungeon-esque realm, the band brought the piece down to almost nothing before the dramatic return of “Sparks.” Having clearly practiced the piece, the band tore The Who cover to shreds, highlighted by the precision drum work of Jon Fishman. Thus concluded the most improvisationally significant portion of the set, but Phish went on for a fair bit longer. Breaking out “Shine a Light” and “Split Open and Melt” as the standouts of the set’s final portion, Phish took “Split” into groovier places than recent versions before building out into more abstract and dissonant interplay. A dark horse jam of this show, this “Split” was a more solid. start-to-finish version than we’ve heard in a while. The darkness of “Split” set the table for a lighter closer of “Squirming Coil,” and the first set of the ‘S’ show was complete.

Sample in a Jar, Sparkle, The Sloth, Sweet Virginia, Suskind Hotel, Strange Design, Stash, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley > Sparks > Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Shine a Light, Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil

*****

9.3.11 I

9.3.11 I

This first set, though featuring only “Wolfman’s Brother” as a legitimate jam vehicle, kept my full engagement the entire time. Powerhouse versions of every song, even “Possum,” kept this set on track from beginning to end. Particularly stellar versions of “Moma” “Ocelot” and “Divided Sky” had the show moving at full speed before the band pushed things in into overdrive. Slaughtering “Funky Bitch” and “Axilla,” the potential highlight of the set came next in “Llama!” Huh? Yeah. Exactly. Phish hadn’t played a “Llama” in memory that harnessed the fury of the song’s glory years. But this one most definitely did. A perfect example of the energy and passion that underlined the band’s playing all weekend long, “Llama” practically burst at the seams as Phish tore through the first noteworthy rendition in ages. Juxtaposing a dripping “Fast Enough For You” against the manic backdrop, the stage was set for a show-stopping “Wolfman’s” closer. While several versions of summer have built away from the funk into another song altogether, this creative excursion returned to the song’s theme in a rousing set-closer.

Possum, The Moma Dance, The Wedge, Ocelot, The Divided Sky, Funky Bitch, Axilla > Llama, Fast Enough for You, Wolfman’s Brother

*****

9.4.11 I

9.4.11 (M.Stein)

The final first set of Denver was super-charged from the get-go, as the band dropped a “Maze” opener for the first time since Albany on 12.9.95. Riding this adrenalized wave into spirited versions of “Back on the Train” and “Rift,” the centerpiece of the set came next in “Bathtub Gin.” Applying the full-throttle energy of the beginning of the show to a groove-centric version of “Gin,” Mike and, especially, Trey shone in what has to be considered one of the era’s top versions. As Trey ran through so many signature rhythm patterns, Mike punched holes in the spaces between, and the band immersed the audience in one of the weekend’s standout jams, regardless of set. Absolutely on fire, Phish was firing on all cylinders in the fifth of six sets. After the contemporary cover of Gillian Welch’s “The Way It Goes,” the band came back with one of the strongest versions of Page’s “Halfway to the Moon” to date, a song that is still begging for the second set spotlight. The subsequent sequence, whether intentional or not, carried quite a bit of irony. Phish powered through four of five songs for which fans have been begging jammier treatment—“Gumbo,” “Halley’s,” “Tube,” and “Roses Are Free.” Crafting an engaging “Tube,” the segment, nonetheless, felt a bit tongue in check from the band, thought each piece was nailed with high-powered playing. The fifth song in that run was “Timber,” a compact piece that favored screaming textures over rhythmic interplay, stood out as the late-set gem. “Chalk Dust” featured a creative though contained jam that punctuated the first set.

Maze, Back on the Train, Rift, Bathtub Gin, The Way It Goes*, Halfway to the Moon, Gumbo, Halley’s Comet > Tube, Timber, Roses Are Free > Chalk Dust Torture (*debut)

***

When Phish plays two sets of inspired music, their shows take on a whole different contour. Instead of everything building towards the second set, in the best first halves, one has to remind himself a time or two that set break has yet to come. In Denver, Phish didn’t just throw a couple jams into a longer run of songs, they actually sculpted legitimate sets with a beginning, a middle and an end. Contoured frames of music rather than the disconnected and liner song-fests that have plagued so many shows this summer, Denver’s first set delivered in full. Building momentum toward the main event while containing plenty of action on the under-card, Phish put together some heavy weight shows in Colorado. And their first sets—in a refreshing change of pace—contributed significant plotlines to the stories.

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Jams of the Day:

Stash” 9.2 I

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Llama” 9.3 I

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Timber” 9.4 I

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‘S’ Is For Scottie

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

Synchronicity. Serendipity. Surreal. Those are three more “S” words that can be applied to Phish’s Friday night performance in Denver. While the show was set to kick off the final run of summer—a season that had been nothing short of transformational for the band—there was a backdrop of tragedy for some of Phish’s extended family. Just the week before, tour mainstay since 1993 and the de facto “mayor of Phish lot,” Scott Ian Nowak, suddenly passed from our world. An original member of Phish’s Green Crew back in 1994, Scottie was a glowing spirit who brightened every situation he encountered—a true beacon of light in tour’s existential circus. Greeting anyone and everyone with a heartfelt “Good Morning!” (even if he first saw you at 7 pm) Scottie infused Phish tour with a purity of soul and luminosity that will sorely be missed.

Scottie Nowak (1975-2011)

Just before the final run, one of his closest friends wrote the band a letter explaining Scottie’s undying dedication to their music and culture, and what a painful loss so many in the community were going through. He also requested a dedication of “Esther” (Scottie’s favorite song) during the Denver weekend. And though “Esther” was never played, Phish—in delivering the “S” show—left us with a profound synchronicity for the ages. Had this show been planned for Scottie? Was it purely coincidence? How could it be? Interestingly, after talking to Scottie’s closest friends, the answer to this question just doesn’t matter—it happened. A powerful night of memories was helped along by a show that fit congruently into the cosmic life cycles of the moment.

Though Scottie had no direct connection to the band, some of his very close friends have intimate ties, and though Scottie was just a name in passing to the band members and a dancer to which they had connected to countless times over the years, he was a pivotal and influential person in the lives of so many in the Phish community. Instead of my telling Scottie’s story, I offered this space to some of his closest friends to do just that. Below are anecdotes and memories from Scottie’s friends—vibrant vignettes of an irreplaceable life lived. In honoring their words, I have barely edited these stories at all.

Remembering Scottie:

Scottie Nowak

Scott Nowak, aka “Scottie from Schenectady,” or “Scottie with Overalls” as he would come to be known on tour, started seeing one-off shows in 1993. While working in the IRS office after finishing high school in the spring of 1994, he decided to throw in the towel and took his savings and convinced his long time friend, Scarecrow, to drive the tour. Scarecrow was easily convinced, and the two set out on the epic spring ’94 tour. They attended every show on that legendary run, but the Bomb Factory was a near miss. Scottie and Scarecrow got locked into a vampire’s apartment in New Orleans and had jump out of a two story before spending hours trying to find where they had parked. But they made it to Houston for the second set and then on to the Bomb Factory. I met them two shows later at Paolo Soleri Amphitheater in New Mexico—my 10th show.

I rode with them the rest of that run (the first tour for all three of us) through Red Rocks, Phish’s first performance at the legendary venue. Our meeting was a matter of fate or destiny, as it was and is with most of the connections made on tour. And while I could write for hours about every adventure, you can look over the list of places and venues and only imagine what and how it all went down.

We camped every night, didn’t have to drive through the night to make to the show on time, and we slept under the stars briefly at rest areas. We had four tapes in the car: Phish-Nectars 1988, a random Dead show, Beck’s Mellow Gold and a mix tape made by a high school friend of Scottie and Scarecrow’s. That was the soundtrack to the beginning of our journey with The Phish. We drove through the Southwestern desert, for them, their first time out there, and continued up the west coast while bathing in the ocean and hot springs, dumpster diving and spare changing at gas stations to get from show to show, all the way from San Diego to Vancouver and back down to San Francisco.

The Warfield - Spring '94

At the Warfield shows on that spring run our trusty driver had disappeared and Scottie and I were bound by a bond at that point. We realized that our unity was in our deep love and appreciation of the band and the music, and that nothing would keep us from a show. So while Scarecrow missed the first two nights, Scottie and I held on to every sacred moment of music, clearly seeing for the first time that everyone who attends a Phish concert is there for an entirely different experience. And for us, it was the music. For others, the music allows an umbrella to gather under, to meet other people, for partying, for inspiration, for whatever it may be, the experience is up to the user. Scarecrow showed back up that third night and we were relived as we headed East from San Francisco to Colorado.

Upon arriving at Red Rocks, which was the first show that “Green Crew” had official leadership and actual tickets set aside by the band, we got to the lot and were told that we couldn’t park on-site without tickets. We Jedi’d  in and met for the first official G-Crew meeting, led by Jamie and Lisa. From that point on the deal was set for Scottie. He was like, “All I have to do is pick up garbage and I get a free ticket to see the magic circus? Sign me up! ”

_

Green Crew was where and when Scottie began to touch souls, his infectious laughter could be heard across the parking lots, his great insight into the songs made him someone that was sought out after particularly mind blowing shows to help sort out the mental mind-phuck that the band had presented that night. There was always a level of feeling that certain moments in the show or lines of the songs were very directed at YOU, the concert-goer. Sometimes Trey’s stories would incorporate a sign that we all passed on the drive, or reference a city that was passed along the way, or “Slave” would be dropped on a night that everyone was pressed to make it on time. Scottie was always there to sort out the meaning, decipher the reality from the myth. Between that spring and summer we caught, 40 shows together.

Scottie caught all the ’95,’96,’97,’98 shows, making it to Europe and one Japan run. He also hit the monumental Phil and Phriends shows also at the Warfield in ’99. All the debuts, moments like the Darien Show when the Pranksters came out, he was there. We drove the Island Tour together. It was in ’99 that he stepped away from doing full tours, as real life obligations took hold. Don’t get me wrong he still saw tons but as far as being “on tour,” that was where the parting began. Scottie was a dedicated member of G-crew and continued to pick up recyclables after the shows, even after he stopped getting official band tickets.

Scottie was a part of my life, from day 10 of my days on tour and for everyday since. He called me every year on my birthday, without fail, for the last 17 years. When there were times that I was at shows and he was not, we would either email, text or talk about the pivotal moments of the night for every show that I have been to since 1994. For me, Scottie has always been synonymous with Phish and my first experience with destiny. So when I found out about his passing on Saturday August 27th, I was destroyed. Though we had times of disconnect over the years of Phish’s breakup, we always had our annual catch-ups over our birthdays that were only a month apart. Once Phish reunited, he was unable to attend as many shows, and I was blessed enough to be able to catch a lot of them so we had fully reconnected over the last two years, and were in touch almost daily.

-Jen Chadbourne

***

Darien Lake 9-14-00

It is hard to put into words what Scottie meant to me and all of our friends. He was a source of constant light and positivity. Someone you could always count on to lighten the mood or make a rough situation better. In remembering Scottie, one of the things that keeps coming up is his ear to ear smile. Since his passing, people have been sharing all of their pictures of Scottie, and in each one, he is flashing that trademark grin. I remember at Darien Lake in 2000, I left my seat during “Suzy Greenberg” to use the bathroom. There was a crazy storm happening outside in the field area and as I walked back, I found Scottie back in the field, completely drenched. I went into the tent, borrowed a stub from somebody and stubbed him in. We walked back to my seats just as the song was winding down. Scottie sat up on two of the seatbacks so he could see over the standing people. As usual, that grin was ear to ear. We all thought the song was coming to an end but they kicked back in for an epic “Suzy Reprise.” Scottie was beaming and energy seemed to radiate from him and light up the whole tent as the band took the song to another level. I will always remember this image of him, sitting up, almost over the crowd and focusing this tremendous energy on the stage. A number of people will credit the energy of the “Suzy Reprise” to the fierce storm that was raging outside, but I will always attribute it to Scottie, because the instant HE entered that tent (looking like a drowned rat with glasses), then energy of the show skyrocketed.  It was intense and unforgettable.

-Todd

***

When souls connect there is just an understanding. In 1994 in Glens Falls, NY at my 6th Phish concert I met Scottie from Schenectady aka SchnectaScottie…from there our paths merged and for the next three-plus years as we were to “ride” together, dance together, laugh together, cry together, pick up recyclables together and live together in this alternate society and, often times, reality. As we grew together – sometimes further apart but mostly closer – we shared adventures on the Vermont snow and ice, raised wolves, watched our friends wed and give births, and saw our band take a break, come together, and then break up (eventually to come together again – hallelujah!!)! Things rearranged and many people, including Scottie (and I), migrated from the east to the west coast. I recall Red Rocks 2009 when I saw Scottie after what had definitely been at least four years. I was initially shocked to see him but ultimately delighted and comfortable. It felt as though not a minute had passed from our last encounter. Yet I realized I had no reason to be shocked to see him for this was our home  – where we go – and our common thread from the beginning…Our family. The last time I saw him was at Super Ball IX when I received a hug that I will never forget! A Scottie hug: fully lifting me off the ground enveloping me in a strong embrace that conveys true, pure love only to be given by the people who are our truest, brightest stars that follow each other for eternities… and that SMILE, oh that smile!!! I love you Scottie!

– Sally Greenberg, San Francisco, VT

***

August '11 (Scott Nowak)

Unlike a lot of my friends I do not remember the first time I met Scottie. Though I was around a lot during the early ’90’s, I wasn’t “on tour” until the summer of ’95. As someone who came frequently to the shows but was not immersed in the culture at that point, Scottie stands out in my memory as someone who just always was. You know those people, right? I’m sure we all have a few, who catch our eye from our first few shows and then again and again. There’s something about them. Well there was definitely something about Scottie. How do you quantify the light inside someone? We all have the light but Scottie knew how to make it shine. He never stopped shining he never stopped being Scottie.

When 3.0 came around I was thrilled. From my first Grateful Dead show in 1987, I had bought into the life and community, the f(ph)amily, hook, line and sinker—this was my real world. But 3.0 just wasn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, Phish is playing awesome, I mean, they are killing it! It’s just my community felt gone. So many familiar faces were there rarely or never, lots of brief hellos but very few genuine interactions, a distant cousin to the community I knew.

Everything seemed different, but not Scottie. Scottie was still the same. He was someone that people in our community try to be like but fell short because you just cannot fake the kind of generosity of spirit he had. His open arms and enthusiasm for people made a huge difference in my life. Seeing him again this summer made me remember what it was that had caused me to spend my entire 20’s and early 30’s on the road following a band. He was the embodiment of everything that was amazing about that time period. He was fun and funny. He was a dancer and free. He was a great friend but also a friendly stranger. Man, could he give a hug. I never heard him talk bad about people and he was also a deep thinker, a realist about what life could be. He had character in the way people used to talk about it; back bone, strength, honesty and kindness. He was a character. He adored his crazy dogs and music. He was cherished and loved.

-Erin Cadigan

***

One cannot talk about Scottie without bringing up Mataya and Lucas. They were his Shepard/Wolf dogs that he brought with him everywhere he went. Many a night as the lot emptied out we all cracked up laughing, hearing him calling them to “load up” so that he could leave. Scott spent a great deal of winters in the Burlington, VT, area snowboarding and of course ‘Taya’ and Lucas were there at his side. He was an avid outdoorsman and had hiked the majority of the Northern part of the Appalachian Trail with just his dogs, a backpack, and a Walkman. He bragged that he trained the dogs to carry their own food and bowls along the hikes. He collected gems and minerals, marbles, and was an avid reader; Bukowski, Thompson and Dostoevsky were some his favorites. He was always into the moment and feeling fulfilled within it. And if it was not feeling that way for him, he would do whatever he could to find that feeling.

- Jen Chadbourne

*****

Reflections on the “S” show:

I was enjoying the first show of the Denver 2011 run from the start. It was bittersweet as we remembered our brother but I was stoked to be there. Obviously, everyone was pumped to get a “Sloth” and “Sweet Virginia” was a pleasant surprise. It was not until halfway through “Suskind Hotel” that someone came up and told me that every song so far had started with ‘S’.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I knew in an instant, along with all of my friends, that this show was for him (whether or not this was the band’s intention, we didn’t care). It added a whole other dimension to the show for me, and from that second on, each song took on extra weight. Serious extra weight. “Strange Design” and “Shine A Light” really hit home during the first set. When the lights came up, nobody could believe it and we were all amazed and grateful. When they opened up the second set with another ‘S’ song, I was in further disbelief. The set was an emotional roller coaster for me, personally, and I pretty much lost it during “Slave.”  Regardless of the band’s intent, the timing of this show, sublime playing, and song selection really hit home. I will always cherish the memory of this show and be forever thankful that I was able to witness it go down. RIP Scottie.

-Todd

***

"Steam" 9.2.11 (G.Lucas / webcast)

“Phish has always been a very personal journey for everyone involved. It is up to you to decide your experience on every level. “You decide what it contains how long it goes, but this remains.” So when the band was three songs into the 1st set of the Dick’s Sporting Goods show, I picked up the phone to call Scottie’s mom. As “The Sloth” ended and I tearfully left her a message letting her know that they were on the fourth ‘S’ song of the set and that it seemed to me that the ‘S’ theme was going to continue for the duration of the show, that ever burning question remained on everyone’s mind, was this for “Scottie” or a huge coincidence?

The “cosmic serendipity” (to quote a great friend) that occurred with the September Second Show is a full reflection of why I, Scottie, and our family, have dedicated so much time and energy to seeing Phish. Mike Gordon has talked a lot in in interviews about the Nirvana space that opens up when everything in a jam is in the perfect place, and the cosmic oneness that occurs in that time, be it a moment or 15. It is this idea that brings up the role that Scottie played both in my life, the band’s life, and touring reality. We are all connected through energy, and when we are elevated through the music, we are connecting on a yet to be understood dimensional level. It is through this connection that I believe the ‘S’ set, and really the grander vibe of the whole Colorado weekend took a hold of. With all of the connections that we have as family to the band and the band members, and to one another over this 20 year journey, it is ridiculous to think, that with as great a member of our phamily Scottie was, that it would not be felt through and through.”

– Jen Chadbourne

***

“Losing Scottie, for me, felt like the final death toll of a way of life I had cherished for so long. I have lost many a friend along the way but this felt different. Scottie meant something to me I’m having a hard time putting words to. He was my friend and I loved him. Scottie was the kind of friend you never doubted loved you back. To feel like somehow I, we, the world, let him down in returning that undoubted love is hard. To think that he was so alone in his final moments is heartbreaking. The whole thing was dragging me down to a very dark place.

I spent the night of September 2 in Schenectady, NY, sitting for three hours with Scottie to say my final good-byes. It was horrible. Driving home to Brooklyn that night with my two friends, it was very quiet in the car and then we got the text. “Four songs in, every song begins with ‘S’.” For the rest of the ride we streamed the show on my friend, Q’s, hand held smart phone. The service came in and out, we couldn’t connect it to the stereo system but we never put the phone down. More texts started pouring in to our other phones from Colorado and all over the country. And when Phish played “Shine A Light” it brought me to my knees. I knew, I just knew, that it was okay, that Scottie was okay, that I would be okay, the love was real, that that time was real, that things change and it is okay to move on. Thank you Phish.”

-Erin Cadigan

***

“Celebrating his life in his most recent residence of Colorado with a three-night run of Phish could not have been more fitting. The moon watched over us with the smile of the Cheshire Cat shining down upon us. Our family came together in ways I could not have imagined… People in all corners of the country gathered and showed support for each other. Many made special arrangements to come to Colorado. Those who couldn’t travel on short notice made plans to be with friends and family where they were. Some represented at the family’s services in New York and arranged a card for them extending our sincerest sympathy and support.

9.2.11 (G. Lucas / webcast)

I am thankful for the interconnectedness of it all. The story has been written and the adventures continue to unfold—I can’t put down the book that is this journey. While the lessons keep coming and the loss of our dear friend hurts dearly, I am beyond appreciative for the collective consciousness of the Phish community and our relationships to each other (but also with the band) no matter how close or long distance they may be. I am beyond proud of the Joy that has been manifested before this and will continue after. There is no way or reason to try to describe the “home” or “family” vibe that is ‘Phish tour’: who feels it, knows it. It is for this feeling that I keep returning. The music is what fuels it and our participation ignites it!

I had a lot of meanings for the show brought to you by the letter ‘S’. Life, death, birthdays, circles, cycles, September second, sevens… and sssssso on! For my family, the show was a tribute and a very beautiful one at that. But this is not the first time I have tried to relate a show or set list to the very events happening in my life. I’ve searched for meanings and common archetypes to make sense of it all at almost every show I have been to!

Personally, I would describe Friday night’s show like Déjà vu:

It seems familiar, holds meaning, but yet you just can’t put your finger on what the exact message is so you make it into something personal for you. A bookmark? A reminder we are on the right track? Or the wrong one? No one knows for sure…but you have an idea. A Feeling.”

-Sally Greenberg

***

“For those of us that were touched by Scottie’s light, and were suffering his loss this was the perfectly concocted dose of music and magic to ease the pain and process the loss. It was a beautiful memorial—purposeful or not—to someone who’s life was dedicated to the emotion and belief that we are all connected through this music, and that this connection is far more real than the paradigm of “real life.” But the loss of such a beautiful person, such an incredible artist and loving friend never comes at the right time. And while this weekend was cathartic, the rest of my LIFE, I will spend missing him. Sharing huge Phish moments, my birthday will have a “blank space where Scottie used to be,” from here on out. So in his honor, I beg of anyone reading this…Choose life. What ever it may be that brings you joy, clutch on it and treasure it, because the wake of loss felt by those that are left to live their lives out, will forever be changed without YOU in the picture. Even if we have never met, if we have danced at Phish we share a connection that, while unexplainable, is a very real force. And when a life is taken from that force, the ripples are felt by those left behind infinitely and that pain is very hard to process. We are a community and if you feel alone remember that you are not. A Phish phriend is a phriend for life, so reach out to your phamily, and be a active vibration in our world. Smile and dance like every song is your favorite, open your heart, and most of all LIVE…”

-Jen Chadbourne

*****

In Memorium

Dedicated to Scott Ian Nowak 2/9/75 – 8/27/11. Your laughter will ring on forever.

=====

Jam of the Day:

Slave to the Traffic Light” 9.2.11 II

The emotional peak to the ‘S’ set.

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Antelope Stickers For Flood Donations

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

Antelope Sticker Flood Relief:

Free Sticker w/ $5 Donation

Tour fixture, Antelope Greg, is offering Antelope stickers in exchange for Vermont flood relief donations. From Greg:

“If you donate money to Waterwheel flood relief, American Red Cross flood relief or another legit flood relief organization and forward me your receipt in an email dated between 9/10 and 10/10 (with anything Antelope related in the text) to greg@antelopegp.org, I will send you free Antelope stickers! Earn one free sticker for every $5 donated (up to 5 stickers). Or, if you donate over $50, I will send you one sticker for every $10 donated (up to 20 stickers). All stickers will be sent out on 10/10! Thank you for all your contributions!” (http://antelopegp.org)

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