Where Were The Fireworks?

7.4.2012 (Dan Lewis)

Traditionally a band who steps up to big occasions and knocks it out of the park, Phish, instead, plowed through 33 songs, most in painfully standard fashion, in what amounted to one long first set for the 4th of July. A centerpiece sequence of “Tweezer -> Twist” provided the single chunk of undeniably timeless music for the night, but other than a scorching jam out of “Susskind Hotel” in the first set and a few notable bust outs, there was little meat to a show that looked primed to blow up on a holiday known for explosives. When I saw signs on the highway that declared “No fireworks display at Jones Beach” driving in, I didn’t realize they were referring to the concert too. Though everything was played with energy and all that, in comparison to the many shows of summer, Phish’s holiday installment couldn’t hold a candle.

A marathon opening set contained yet another Velvet Undergound cut off Loaded—the fifth in six shows—this time “Head Held High.” Unplayed since Vegas ’98, the references to the band’s illustrious Halloween legacy continued with an enthusiastic take on the upbeat tune. Then, a real treat came in a clean version of the incredibly rare “Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday -> Avenu Malkenu -> TMWSIY.” A quality “Bowie” felt like the set closer, but the band still had a while to go, including the jam of the first half in Mike’s “Susskind Hotel.” Bursting into a chugging groove, the band redefined the possibilities for the piece with a torrid conversation that popped from the stage. The band brought out The Greasy Troll for an early-show slot, taking “Purple Rain” off the shelf complete with “tucking” antics to the delight of most fans. Closing the 18-song opening half with the “Star Spangled Banner” the band has set the stage for a more improvisationaly based second set—but it never happened.

7.4.2012 (D.Lewis)

To Phish’s credit, they really had something going through “Taste,” but the set really just fell to shambles after that. To say it fizzled would be a gargantuan understatement. But first, let’s get to the centerpiece of the show—“Tweezer > Twist.” Upon splashdown in “Tweezer’s” jam, Trey stepped right into a guitar solo, leading the band through a fairly generic build, and it looked like we might get hit with a straight rocker. After peaking the build, however, the band settled into a darkening, minimalist soundscape. Trey unleashed growls behind Page’s laser synths and a delicate, ethereal pocket. Trey then began to drop the sounds of the universe behind this experiment, as Page comped this witches brew with juxtaposed keyboard melodies of beauty. Transforming into a storage-esque sequence, the band seemed primed to go deeper when Trey turned into “Twist.” And here would unfold the true gem of the show.

7.4.2012 (D.Lewis)

If the demonic “Twist” from Riverbend had an angelic, twin brother, this jam would most definitely be his other half. Diametrically different than Cincinnati;s descent into Hades, this jam would liken an ascent into heaven. Blending into a four-headed melodic mind-meld, the band spun a stunning tale of majesty. Defining an “amoeba” jam, where nobody is necessarily leading but all are collectively pushing the music, this “Twist” reached hugely cathartic realms of sound and harmony, spinning the audience—gently—into far off galaxies. This music felt like it could have continued with its own motion for an eternity, but at some point Trey decided to move on to “Taste.” Using the polyrhythmic composition as a landing pad for the “Tweezer > Twist,” “Taste” was a fine rendition in its own right, and I was right there with them at this juncture of the set. But when Trey decided to next play “Quinn the Eskimo” in the middle of frame, it wasn’t a good sign.

The following hour plus of music would contain only several interesting minutes in “Harry Hood,” where a delicate and thrilling take on the song passed through the calypso chord progression of the famous Gorge “Light” of ’09.  But sandwiched in the midst a bunch of standard—not to mention unthinkably mellow—songs, the effect of a gorgeous “Hood” was somewhat lost in the fray. After straightforward takes on “Julius” and “Rock and Roll,” the band seemed to be recording a Phish lullaby album.  As the band strung together “Horse -> Silent,” “Hood,” Shine a Light,” “Show of Life,” and “Slave,” watching the three teenage kids next to me try to stay awake through the show was just as entertaining as any of its music. Honestly, I’m not sure what the band was thinking by combining four mellow set closers in a row, because each of them became less and less powerful as they unfolded to the point where it felt like a bad Phish-based SNL skit.

7.4.2012 (D.Lewis)

The encore of “Sleeping Monkey > Reprise” is the quintessential encore to follow a mind-expanding set of music, but when the band rolled into their classic pairing, it seemed wholly out of place last night. Interestingly, most of my friends really liked this show, and after listening back, I’m still trying to figure out what, exactly, I missed. “Tweezer -> Twist” and “Susskind” were certainly on the level, but everything else, less “Hood,” was completely standard in every way, and in a three plus hour show, that’s a lot of dead time. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, I guess.

In the context of a spectacular tour, these past two Jones Beach shows felt a bit underwhelming. Coming off seven Midwest shows of magic, of which only two trailed off significantly, these spotty shows on Long Island didn’t feel up to snuff. When playing 30 songs, there is only so much room to jam, and while Phish definitely took advantage of a couple opportunities, the show felt incredibly thin, especially considering the occasion. As we head up to SPAC for the final three shows of Leg One, I’d expect a bit more to go down in the woods of Saratoga than we saw on the beach of Long Island.

I: Alumni Blues* > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Head Held High, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Kill Devil Falls, Bittersweet Motel, The Moma Dance, Gumbo, David Bowie, Alaska, Susskind Hotel, Hold Your Head Up > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, The Star Spangled Banner

II: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Tweezer > Twist > Taste, Quinn the Eskimo,  Julius, Rock and Roll > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Harry Hood, Shine a Light, Show of Life, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

* w/ Dave’s Energy Guide tease to open the show
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508 Responses to “Where Were The Fireworks?”

  1. Angryjoggerz Says:

    I only strewed the sound the last two nights and I much prefer it to the video. They should make this an option. I streamed on my iPhone, plopped it into my stereo and it filled the house. With video I usually end up on my computer in headphones, so way more demanding. I liked just hearing it. I also think they sounded tight as fuck last night, though the second set had a bit of a drop off. What a band!

  2. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Streamed, that is

  3. snow Says:

    right @AJ. they sounded really tight last night.

    Every night can’t be magic. Or it wouldn’t be magic, right?

  4. sumodie Says:

    Plenty of lesser phish shows (2010> present) have not been webcast:


  5. Phishrabbi Says:

    here’s my pull from last night

    16 Bit: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=556512
    24 Bit http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=556511


  6. sumodie Says:

    SPAC attack tmrw!

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    i was working on that same list earlier today @Sumo. didn’t know about a MPP webcast.

    you could include Bonnaroo, and other fests no? also, they did a webcast for the Vermont Flood Benefit. did they webcast Telluride?

    but i think that breakdown proves a point that you really can’t say either way.

  8. Mr palmer Says:

    If they went psychedelic circus on us every single night the chase wouldn’t be as much fun. When you do catch the big one, makes it that much more special.

  9. snow Says:

    So MrP did you think at all about the fact that the show was being webcast when you were there?

  10. Mr palmer Says:

    Doc P- bath salts dude was classic. For a minute I thought maybe he was dead. That would have sucked.

  11. MiA Says:

    I’m not saying it’s a stunt. Or that it is bogus. I’m saying that people don’t want to talk about the uncertainty that the people who have seen such an instance of something happening, are actually sharing.

    I’m not attacking this like it’s cold fusion. Although that fake incident took a decade to unravel.

    Here is what they know (from my understanding) They have discovered a Boson. Possibly a Higgs Boson, but they are not sure. They are not sure, as it’s unidentified. They don’t know. That they stand behind it. But the spotlights are blaring with “God Particle Discovered” and they are now being very coy.


    This is a good press conference that I listened to completely. I highly recommend it for those interested.

    I mean, at least there are two independent teams that have come to a coordinated understanding.

    Quoted from the webcast (from a direct question from Nature Magazine on “How do we report this” “As a Layman, I would say we have it. As a Scientist, What do we have? I would say we have a Boson. Now we have to determine what kind of Boson it is.”

    MiA commentary – *that is to my cynical ears, not confirmation that it is a Higgs Boson. Just a Boson. But they think it could be, but they just don’t know

    Why the media wants to run with this as “Higgs Boson discovered after 40 years” is just premature and irresponsible. At least based on the people who actually work at CERN.)

    Q: They are shutting down temporarily at the end of this year. How much further do you think you will get to understanding.

    @4:40 – “This is quite early and we are just seeing things emerging. And it’s difficult with early measurements. we have done some early calculations. We don’t know if this is scalar, or if it is pseudo scalar, and we are hoping with additional running, with a combination of both experiments, we MIGHT reach a point where we might be able to discern that sort of information to see if they balance out. To say definitely that it is a standard model higgs would be very difficult.

    Now in terms of “scientific literature” I don’t think any really exists right now? You stated that they are basically quintuple checking calculations. That’s a pretty strong assessment. I wanted to know where you heard that.

    Not attacking C, just looking for data beyond assertions.

    If it is a Scalar, they are excited. They don’t know yet and won’t know for a long time. But the whole idea is that if it is something that they think they have found, then this could be very exciting.

    Just saying, that this all that is out there. Continue funding us. Let us calculate, and we will determine if this thing we pulled out is something of interest. At any time, it could turn out to be the same thing we’ve seen before.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    well, I’d be fine with the psychedelic circus throwdown every night really. the non magic nights could be the ones with no phish shows.

    I just am not in on the webcast causation theory for (relatively) off nights, I think it’s just normal variation from the mean

    the “average” phish show right now is very good and has a couple signature jams in it – that’s a great baseline

    some are better, and some are worse, than that mean

  13. Mr palmer Says:

    Snow – not really. I was curious to see if I noticed additional cameramen, etc around the band, but the answer was no. Didn’t give it a real thought though.

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “Just saying, that this all that is out there. Continue funding us. Let us calculate, and we will determine if this thing we pulled out is something of interest. At any time, it could turn out to be the same thing we’ve seen before.”

    Pandora said the same thing right?

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    right sure I said above that it isn’t for sure the Higgs boson, it’s *a* boson, and the Higgs is the only theoretically predicted one in that mass/energy range – that’s not your cynical ears at all, those are the actual facts of the matter to be sure

    anyone who cares enough to read closely will get that and I don’t think anyone is covering up the uncertainty that’s involved

    In fact my initial point was that the reason the coverage is so confusing is trying to parse all the caveats and such into meaningful “is” statements.

    if I read the pre-results discussion right, the more accurate statement would be that the two teams you mention were checking each others’ data and math, and making sure they match, since each is using different techniques. And keep in mind again these are rival groups. They are not really friends. Each was hoping to scoop the other. If they agree, that’s meaningful.

    With all the pressure on this experiment, the right time for an announcement is when a statistical 5-sigma result has been achieved, so they pretty much had to say something once they had that in hand & agreed on by both groups. I think this is the point really. What would be the thought process behind not making this announcement, with that being the case?

    to be honest, I think it would be amazing and awesome if it wasn’t the higgs, because I like chaos and the fact that it would force the development of new theories

  16. plord Says:

    MiA to put the comparison in context, this is like pretty much exactly like Mendeleev predicting an element with an atomic mass of around 68-ish based on the gap in the periodic table, and his peers discovering Gallium 4 years later (Atomic weight: 69).

    The Standard Model is good science and has been for decades. It explains a LOT. The SM requires a Higgs-like particle and the better the math has gotten, the closer we have been to setting the range where it ought to be. The SM as currently understood says there should be a Higgs like thing around 125GeV, which is where they found it. The model predicts no other particles at that mass.

    If it walks like a Higgs, talks like a Higgs, occupies the mass/energy scale like a Higgs…

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    thats a key personal point btw

    I was rooting against the higgs:

    1) on general discordian principles

    2) out of long-nurtured spite for certain swinish dickwads in the string theory community who would have been incinerated by its nonexistence

    3) due to the fact that even with the Higgs the Standard Model is clearly flawed in some sense due to the remaining big open questions e.g. quantum gravity, dark energy etc – we’re clearly missing something huge and a negative Higgs result could have hastened the longterm development of whatever the explanations for those things will be

  18. alf Says:

    there definitely is a webcast effect

    …on the fan assessment of the show

    webcasts suck

  19. alf Says:

    also would love to see it be something other than the higgs

    if anything, *that* would be the real funding generator.

    we have a crisis in science! give us money! we have to find new answers! etc

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    “If it walks like a Higgs, talks like a Higgs, occupies the mass/energy scale like a Higgs…” – right, and if Occam’s Razor was a valid part of the scientific method, they’d just be saying “we found the damn Higgs.”

    But no one with a lick of sense has taken Occam’s Razor seriously since the development of quantum theory if not before.

    So they speak in probabilities couched in caveats

  21. tela'smuff Says:

    DC1 best first set of the summer?

  22. MiA Says:

    I watch a Cern broadcast for my info, and I’m being compared to Fox News? Jeez. I actually do have credibility.

    “scientists are human beings but most of them are after the truth above all….and those that aren’t are never the smartest ones.”

    I don’t agree with this (or at least what I think you were trying to say). Cold Fusion. Climatologists. Etc. Many scientific pursuits are very compromised. You can buy scientists quite easily. And I am a Scientist/Engineer by education and training.

    I’m a person looking for the truth, not the rhetoric from the media. That’s what I’m hearing reflected here.

    i haven’t heard of a single major funding dispute about continuing the LHC experiments at all, now that you mention it
    basically at this point it takes electricity, spare parts, cpu cycles and a bunch of nerd salaries

    They shut down FERMI lab in Chicago.


    So, yeah, they do shut down particle accelerators (old ones). Note this from the article (Dated Sept 30, 2011)

    The Tevatron uses magnets cooled to minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit to push the particles at nearly the speed of light. It has made major contributions to physics, including the discovery and precise measurement in 1995 of an essential building block of matter called the top quark, and the discoveries of five subatomic particles known as baryons and another called the tau neutrino.

    It’s also within a hair’s width — relatively speaking — of finding proof of the celebrated, mysterious Higgs boson that scientists call the God particle because, if it exists, it gives mass to all things. Tevatron also helped advance the use of “computer farms” — groups of computers that share the work of complex analysis and data storage — and provided research fodder for about 1,000 Ph.D.s, officials said.

    All that came through the Tevatron’s production of about 10 million proton-antiproton collisions per second. Each collision produces hundreds of particles. About 200 collisions per second are recorded at detectors for further analysis.

    But life in the fast lane can be fleeting. After something of a false start, a 17-mile accelerator under the Swiss-French border, a behemoth called the Large Hadron Collider, got going in November 2009. One month later, LHC produced a particle beam of 1.18 trillion electron volts — a bolt of lightning measures about 1 million electron volts — breaking the old record.

    The dethroned champ? Tevatron.

    At least 50 Fermilab scientists have moved to the LHC, and nearly 30 of the estimated 80 universities conducting research in this country — many at Fermi — also have switched. In June, Oddone asked for 100 employees to volunteer for severance packages.

    So there is some “political” pressure to “discover” something and continue investment in LHC with resources and for people to “discover” something now. They need a funded project to work on going forward.

    I am not anti-scientist or LHC. I am anti the media being used as chumps to propogate a headline that says “God Particle Discovered” in any way with all of the uncertainty everyone in the community is saying. This 5 sigma thing I think is irresponsible. In the entire Cern broadcast, they haven’t come close to saying “we are 99.999% certain.”

    And I think this is a great achievement, but listen at 21 minutes, when they are asking if they deserve a Noble Prize for this work. And it’s weasel words saying “Great achievement, but basically I don’t think we are there yet. We are very excited though.”

  23. Jtran Says:

    I think so telas

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah this is a pretty good experimental result really, compared with prediction. maybe it’s not quite Mendeleev or Einstein’s gravity lensing prediction or the CMBR spectrum prediction – historic masterpieces of theoretical prediction being matched by later experiment – but it’s a good start

  25. Jtran Says:

    or AV2

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