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. MiA Says:

    Psycho Killer does not fall into lame bustout territory.

  2. MiA Says:

    Fishman playing Weekapaug on his guitar though does seem lame. Like it’s the waste of a good Weekapaug. But I wasn’t there. I bet it was a laugh riot in the pav.

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    thanks for confirming MiA, i can’t tell anymore. i like em all.

  4. MiA Says:

    Ha. That was just like my opinion. I get how someone could say “Pyscho Killer” with what they were playing.

    Now that they play HYHU, i’m so disappointing. That would have been amazing.

    Dammit.

  5. MiA Says:

    Wait, the asshat that was screaming before AV’s Soul Shakedown “Hey Jonny, Whassup? Hi Mike! Play this for Mimi?!” is also doing that before the CDT at Jones Beach too.

    How does he get so close to the microphones each time?

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    @jtran – the DC Paug was awesome. loved the drum jam, in addition to what Mike and Page threw down during it.

  7. Jtran Says:

    telas, agree. No instrument exchanges since MPP10 (besides HYHU drumming) I think, right? That in itself was pretty cool for the custy in me.

  8. Jtran Says:

    DC1 and AV2 my favorites I saw that run.

    DC2 I liked more live than AV1 due to being in a horrible spot on the lawn with talkers, picture takers, white hats and chicks hitting a joint for their first time during the first set.

    Hadn’t been more in the zone recently than DC2 set 2 and AV2

  9. chris Says:

    where were the fireworks? they were going off all night, all over the place, up to and including shine a light. Your discounting this show because of the buzzkill that happened because of 2 songs! that’s not fair. This is called the recency effect in psychology where you remember the most and the things that happen at the end of a series, and tend to forget the things that happened in the middle. That’s a shame mr miner.

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    None of the recent bustouts have been lame.

  11. MiA Says:

    I humbly retract my “Waste of a Weekapaug” statement.

    My bad. Much more fun.

  12. snow Says:

    @MiA – it’s not the uncertainty of what’s been found. It’s the notion that they are in anyway deviating from their scientific training to make public results that they do not believe in to get more funding. That is the part that sounded like Rush Limbaugh.

    I’m pretty sure anyone who turns out to be wrong will be crushed like C was saying.

    I get the feeling that you just don’t get the way your original post read and that we are getting a different message than you intended.

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    This DC Waves is unreal. just as i remember. it also contains some similar ideas from Trey that he used in the Gorge RnR pre-mindf’in.

    me and Leo had moved up to the laws to hang with Luther and crew. during the Waves Phish once again worked their weather control tactics and brought us a much needed, but entirely isolated breeze. it felt very nice.

  14. snow Says:

    “IMO, they are scientists and want to study this thing forever, but need to show some sort of “accomplishment” other than a bunch of notebooks and chalkboards and arguing. I think the “accomplishment” is political right now, during a question of funding in the future.
    Like the DEA making a big drug bust right before they ask for more money for drones and wire taps and helicopters.”

    The reason this breaks down is that the drug bust can only be manufactured by placing drugs on people otherwise they have to produce bodies in handcuffs or body bags. You cannot manufacture scientific results that wan’t eventually get shredded. Hell, it’s hard to produce actual results that are not eventually supplanted.

    And I think you’re engineering consultancy example is terrible. The main difference between an engineer and physicist is that engineers produce useful things and physicists produce theory (either by developing hypothesis’s or testing existing ones). Their funding is coming from sources that are looking for results over decades, not months.

    I think this chaps my hide because it is so similar to other skepticism related to science that is really about people not wanting to pay taxes or change the economy to suit their needs.

  15. snow Says:

    ok last thing… finding any kind boson is a win. So I’m not sure why it matters if it the Higgs or not. They would probably get more attention and funding if it didn’t look like the Higgs.

    I just don’t see much correlation between this result and the future of the LHC to justify any kind of faking.

  16. MiA Says:

    Snow, I stick by that they are letting the public run with obfuscating information on what they have “discovered”, and I still 100% think it’s for funding purposes. I don’t think I’m being cynical. Just calling a spade a spade.

    What that has to do with Rush Limbaugh I have no idea. Rush is crazy (as are all those paid talking heads) I get that, but that statement is not. Nor is it “conspiracy theory” at all. It is (IMO) a non-naive view of this spectacle.

    Whether you agree that this release of a Boson has anything to do with next years continued funding for a project to evaluate what type of Boson it is, is up to your cynical or non-cynical perspective of this community.

    I know they shut down Fermi and those people moved to HLC to continue work on finding Bosons. Particularly an interesting one that moves science forward (i.e. Higgs).

    I doubt anybody will be “crushed” by anything if this turns out to be a Boson that is consistent with the belief of what any Boson might weigh.

    If media start saying “Oh, but we printed that it was the God Particle” they are going to say, “If you listened closely, we never even came close to saying that. We didn’t even say it was the Higgs-Boson. You guys came up with that yourselves. We let you come to your own conclusions. We said we found a particle that is the same weight as what we predict could be a Higgs-Boson.”

    We said we are very excited by the discovery of a large mass atomic particle, that with 5 sigma confidence is a Boson particle. Whether that is the elusive Higgs, we aren’t going to say, but people should be congratulated for what they found. This is great stuff. More research must be done.

  17. sumodie Says:

    Still say that supposed psycho killer ‘tease’ is wishful thinking

    most bustouts this tour have been played very well, and psycho killer would def require some rehearsal (hartford09 version was fun but not well played). dont wanna hear another messy accidental song, rather wait for the intentioned one

    i favor the killer mindfuck turn into hyhu

  18. MiA Says:

    “They would probably get more attention and funding if it didn’t look like the Higgs.”

    I don’t think so at all. Quite the opposite. This is the thing they are looking for. Justification to keep going. Nobody wants to run the same experiments they ran 10 years ago before the HCL was built and see the same things. This was designed to be special to find new things.

    “I think this chaps my hide because it is so similar to other skepticism related to science that is really about people not wanting to pay taxes or change the economy to suit their needs.”

    It has nothing to do with not wanting to pay taxes. Don’t turn this into a Krugman discussion.

    Read a great book. http://www.amazon.com/Scientific-Watergate-Dyslexia-Countless-Breakthrough/dp/0963930303

    It’s about science and how people in science want to formulate the solution to a problem by what THEY study. Science isn’t about a bunch of guys that want to solve a long problem over decades. Well, the time frame may be right, but “solve” the problem is something completely different.

    It’s not a “nutty” right wing conspiracy book about cutting the Department of Health. It’s a book about people in power, wanting to stay in power.

  19. MiA Says:

    BTW, I don’t agree with Levinson’s conclusions. But I do think he’s right about the indictment of the scientific community to some extent.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    “Crosseyed > GBOTT is such a great run of music.”

    I see what you mean, but Farmhouse is legit, and 46 Days is some of the best Type 1 I’ve ever heard them do. Hose as all get out.

    I dug AV 1’s 1st set more than AV 2. Obviously, Fee is an unbelievable jam and that alone could sway people, but I just had more fun during AV1’s 1st set. Daniel was fun, Moma was ridiculously Swanky Danky, little plinko in Jim, Let IT Loose(raw), sunny Reba, hate KDF but the jam was super, love Circus as a breather, Timber was tight, and Suzy should be in the discussion as a best ever version. It is that good.

  21. Dr Pronoia Says:

    In my experience in experimental, probabilistic science, all too often funding and publication credit have tremendous influence on what gets studied, by whom, how, and to what end. And journalists barely ever know anything about what they’re reporting on in a deep way so I disregard that completely unless the OG pubs or drafts are way too over my head.

    Then again my experience is in neuroscience and psychology and the latter is definitely only a pseudoscience or art IMO, nothing akin to what these uber geeks are doing with their big molecular bumper cars

  22. thnkfstpal Says:

    If the media say’s they found the God particle they didn’t and vice versa.

  23. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Curious who out there has lived by the publication/grant/tenure track grind?

    It’s brutal and very, very political. Why i bailed. Power prestige and money are the spoils whether searching for the truth or maximizing profits

  24. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Oh guess that convo is over

    Yay skin it back!

  25. MiA Says:

    Dr. P, I worked for 3 years at the Department of Epidemiology at the University of MN as a Research Lab asst (rat), for Dr. Myron Gross when I originally working to get a degree in Biochemistry. Work Study stuff.

    He was studying the effects of the role of dietary and genetic factors in cancer. Smoking-related cancers, biomarker developments, antioxidants, molecular etiology etc.

    Spent a lot of time talking to him and he was a great mentor. I came to much of what you said about statements about publication/grant/tenure track.

    I chickened out and went into ChemE and Computer Science. Seemed a much easier way to get a job.

    I do not have the tenacious ability to get a PhD it seems. Nor the impressive photographic memory that most of the PhD’s had. But I was pretty decent at solving problems none-the-less.

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