Lazy Sunday

6.17.12 (Jesse Herzog)

And sometimes there are strange nights at the Phish concert, and Sunday would most definitely qualify. Despite a quality opening to the second set in “Drowned > 2001 > Reba,” the band played songs as if they were on “shuffle” mode all night long and somehow, their iPod missed any true launch pads and—for much of the second set—even rock songs. In a series of head-scratching decisions, the band unveiled a string of ballads in the middle of the second set, totally dousing any fire the set had going, while leaving the night with little to no musical adventure. Phish, to their credit, played every song in both sets quite well, but whoever was calling songs was in a particularly mellow mood and allowed the show—as a whole—to fall flat. Before breaking down the questionable calls in this one, let’s turn to the centerpiece of the show.

6/17 Official Print (DKNG)

Bursting out of the second-set gates with The Who’s “Drowned,” the guys crafted an engaging jam, but it never veered far enough from the song for long enough to qualify for an “Atlantic City Jam,” and for a second-set opening cover, that says a lot. Trey slinked into the background once it started, allowing Page to lead much of the way on piano. But just as the piece dropped into half-time and it felt like things might pop off, the band, instead, turned for a quick, ambient transition into “2001.” And here is where the action of the show truly took place. Opening up the funk instrumental with slowed and chunky, open-air grooves, all four members coalesced in the most exalting “2001” of this summer. Stretching out the first verse with James Brown teases, and then the second verse with slow and swaggering rhythm patterns that evoked the vibe of many past festival monsters, Trey shared the spotlight with Gordon. The wide open grooves continued as the band followed the peak of  “2001” with a divine “Reba.” Remaining true to its classic contour throughout, the band delicately eased into the groove and slowly built a remarkable rendition. But aside from this phenomenal chunk of summer dance music, the show was quite thin and there’s no other way to put it.

After “Reba” came to a conclusion, Phish dropped into a second-set “Roses” and my heart nearly stopped. Were they really shifting “Roses” into rotation as a jam vehicle?! After Worcester’s first set revelation, this move seemed to signify exactly that. But when the juncture came to elevate, the band fizzled out into “Chalk Dust?!” Really? And the blows just kept, inexplicably, coming—“Prince Caspian -> “Silent In the Morning” (a pairing that worked well, though ill-placed), “Bug,” and an anticlimactic ending of “A Day in a Life” and a standard “Down With Disease?!” The setlist oddities continued right through a double encore of “Jibboo” and “Quinn The Eskimo.”

6.17.2012 (Jesse Herzog)

In a Sunday show that seemed bound to blow up on a half-empty Bader Field, Phish took things in the polar opposite direction with virtually zero out-of-the-box jamming in either set. The random song generator was at work for an harmless first half as well. The unquestionable highlight of a solid opening half was a torrid “Timber” and surprisingly energetic version of “Fluffhead.” And I rarely point out “Fluffhead.”

In summation, Atlantic City’s final night left many, dare I say most, in the crowd incredibly underwhelmed. Though each song was played well individually—Phish is at the top of their game after all— their setlist made no coherent sense whatsoever. When the band never even attempts to jump into adventurous jamming, we are left with last night—Singlestown, USA.

On to Portsmouth…

I: Brother, Runaway Jim, Dogs Stole Things, Boogie On Reggae Woman, NICU, Foam, Wilson, Timber, Fluffhead, Walls of the Cave, Character Zero

II: Drowned > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Reba > Roses Are Free > Chalk Dust Torture, Prince Caspian ->Silent in the Morning, Bug, A Day in the Life, Down with Disease

E: Gotta Jibboo, Quinn the Eskimo

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318 Responses to “Lazy Sunday”

  1. IrieWalton Says:

    Sounds good, C.

    Also, you should consider adding on the Chihuly exhibit that’s currently at the Space Needle. I caught the same exhibit when it hit Boston, last year. His glass work is truly phenomenal.

  2. robear Says:

    Main problem spinning tunes thru iPhone: fothermuckers keep calling mid jam!

  3. gratefulcub Says:

    Can’t do it Luther. I have a 5 week old and a 2 1/2 year old.

    The wife and I compromised (although it has already occured to me that heading to the Creek, leaving her with the new itty bitty and sleepless nights…..well, that was going to be a dick move on my part), I’m headed to ATL>Charlotte in Leg 2.

  4. hoedown Says:

    I am surprised by this review. I thought from Timber on last night every song was slayed. Fluffhead was serious stuff IMO. Maybe it was my head space but AC3 held up to the 1st 2 nights. Either way it was a crazy good 3 nights and a great sign of things to come.

  5. gratefulcub Says:

    Luther, I said Creek, but the same answer applies to both Cincy and DC.

  6. Luther T. Justice Says:

    @cub

    I totally understand that. Belated congrats on your new addition!

    Plus, the southern swing is gonna kill!

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Yeah, C.

    Perspective is something we may well use a little be it more of.

    We all get lost a little after so many trips to the well.

    Mrs. B was on her bike ride this AM listening to the S Show and she was actively trying to envision what it would have been like for someone seeing the band for their first time at that show. I wonder what a n00b was thinking about last night’s show? Hoo-FUCKIN-ray, I bet.

    I remember the wonder and bliss of the first few seasons of phish for myself back in the early 90s. I wanted to share that so much with my friends and family, that I did.

    I suppose that may be one justification I was like many others, seeking to get lifted as fast and hard as I could for a show. To get back to that space. I have learned I can get there whenever I want. I could be there now.

    Grateful they are back and by all most accounts the playing is where it is.

  8. gratefulcub Says:

    “Plus, the southern swing is gonna kill!”

    The southern August humidity might kill me

  9. tela'smuff Says:

    damn, was looking forward to meeting ya at DC @Gcub. next time.

    me, Luther and Leo will hold it down for ya.

  10. gratefulcub Says:

    I trust you will Tela’s.

    It’s a bit sad. Since my first show at Rupp in 96, I have never missed a note at my adopted home town shed.

    We don’t sacrifice things for our kids, we trade in some exeriences for, hopefully, more rewarding experiences. But sometimes it stings 😉

  11. Luther T. Justice Says:

    “The southern August humidity might kill me”

    Leo’s a native Georgian, so I’m sure he’ll keep you alive. I think the secret is wings and peaches or something like that.

  12. meltyourface Says:

    perhaps the mellow / fun tunes were requests from the kids on daddy’s day?!? oh well.

  13. DryIceFactory Says:

    Home from Boston. Spirit Airlines sucks. Last night was a waste of money, today was a waste of a vacation. Should have come back yesterday.

    23 show gap with no YEM.

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    And why the fuck was their no ASIHTOS or Waves? Like… really?

  15. Yalta Balt Says:

    TREY HATES YEM.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Truth is he already gave his left nut…

  17. willowed Says:

    ** Jones Beach Tickets **

    Hey boys. I can not make it to Jones Beach. I have one ticket for each night.
    I offered them to Sumo first since he took care of me in AC. But if he doesn’t need them, they are all yours. Send me an e-mail.

    7/3 Section 4L row HH
    7/4 Section Orchestra Row UU

    Face and fees obviously.

    jonathan dot bailey at Quinnipiac dot edu

  18. willowed Says:

    It’s Orchestra H. Sorry – forgot to list that

  19. JB Says:

    Webcast should come with a replay code that livephish will send out a few days later…so if you can’t watch it live you can still have access to it. Still have all 4 of my replay codes from december. Once to open it, you have 48 hours to enjoy.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    ” I wonder what a n00b was thinking about last night’s show? Hoo-FUCKIN-ray, I bet.”

    Truth. My Dad turned to me after the 1st set of UIC3 and said “Was that the greatest 1st set they ever played? “Yep.” I said. Who the fuck am I to crush my old mans heart? And who’s to say he was wrong. As much as it is communal, Phish is as personal experience as it gets.

  21. MiA Says:

    Home from Boston. Spirit Airlines sucks. Last night was a waste of money, today was a waste of a vacation. Should have come back yesterday.

    I spent 4 days in Vegas in ’04. You only lost 1 day. I lost 4+ days, and had to babysit a guy who was up 96 hours straight on powder and sit through the worst light show I’ve ever seen.

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    pfft.

    I had to listen to Vince Welnick sing.

    y’all got nothin’ on that

  23. MiA Says:

    I like Caspian. Seen some great ones. But playing one 3:56 didn’t work. Even if people weren’t diggin’ on it and crossed their arms, just run with it. Run them over or push it down their throats. I’m o.k. with that.

    ’98 Ventura’s Caspian clocked in around 12 mins. People started muttering “Fuckerpants” during the show before it really started. I was like “shut up fool and wait until the song is over to decide if you liked it or not.”

    I enjoyed every minute of it. Even in Set II in the 5 spot. I think a lot of people were eating crow afterwards.

    If you haven’t heard it, check it out.

    Bring on the HEAT!

  24. Kaveh Says:

    I had to listen to Vince Welnick sing.

    ^ Best post of the day! EASY.

  25. Yalta Balt Says:

    MiA…lay off the stuff bro.

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