Blister in the SPAC

Official SPAC Print (Kelly)

A night after Phish showcased their sinister and creative side, the came out Saturday with a far more playful affair, weaving Violent Femme’s “Blister in the Sun” throughout a second set that lacked back-end flow—a problem that has plagued more than a few shows this tour. Despite the momentum-stalling, mid-set selections of “Number Line” and “Scent of a Mule,” the band never allowed any second-half jam to breathe other than the opening “Disease.” With a far more fun than serious night of music, the band has left quite a bit hanging for their tour finale.

While crafting a smoking opening frame, Phish largely left the bust out stone unturned in favor of a modern-shaped setlist. Though the guys sounded tight from the jump, the set picked up considerable steam as with the drop into “Cities.” Steering the piece into Plinksville, the band let things grow for the first time of the night as the liquid grooves enveloped the pavilion. Seamlessly moving into a maniacal “Maze,” Page destroyed the place with his organ solo, bringing the audience to its most energetic point thus far by leaps and bounds.

The second standout pairing of the set began with the second appearance of Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia” this summer. Using the short instrumental to launch into “Bathtub Gin,” here would come the undeniable highlight of the opening frame. Within the slow cadence of the jam’s onset, Trey took hold of the jam and never let go. Spouting one creative melody after another, he led the band and audience on a super-charged joyride. Though the guys supported his soulful outpouring with proficiency, there was no question who the spotlight was on in this jam. And to finalize the set, Trey picked another song that would showcase his chops with a rare first-set appearance of “Good Time, Bad Times.”

7.7.2012 (Dan Lewis)

When a second half opens with “Disease” it always feels that the band could be on the precipice of writing an epic set-long tale, as so many have started with the improvisational go-to. But this set would follow a different path. Weaving the melody of “Blister in the Sun” early into the “Disease” jam, the entire band hopped on the idea and segued smoothly into the timeless song for the first time since Barcelona ’98. Moving just as smoothly back into the “Disease” jam it seemed that this was but a fun stop along the way, but little did we know it would soon turn into the theme of the set. Within the dark and groovy “Disease” jam, if I’m not mistaken, the guys toyed around with the “Moby Dick” theme, referencing their classic Deer Creek show in 2000 where every jam wound up in the Led Zeppelin cover—some tongue-in-cheek foreshadowing as to what was coming? Playing this heavy  jaunt—and highlight of the night—to its natural conclusion, Mike introduced the envelope filter, and within measures made the switch into “Boogie On.” Trey added some engaging loops behind the latter part of the jam, and it seemed that the band was going to bring the cover into uncharted waters. But, instead, Red kept the setlist moving with “Golden Age.”

One had to think that tour’s final “Golden Age—a song that has been an improvisational revelation this summer—placed in the middle of the second set at SPAC was primed for take off. But before the jam got a chance to sprout baby wings, the band bailed out into “2001.” The funk instrumental set up was certainly setting up the rest of the set, and what came out of its peak would determine quite about bit the show’s contour. And Troy chose “Number Line.” With this set-deflating move, the guys moved into a conventional jam in which they would weave in teases of “Blister in the Sun.” And that was the script for the rest of the night—except for “Prince Caspian.”

7.7.2012 (D.Lewis)

Floating through the jam of the mellow anthem, the guys created something wholly beautiful out of “Caspian.” Coming together in a stunning three-part conversation, Page, Mike, and Trey sculpted a minimalist and cerebral musical portrait that evoked the sound of the Grateful Dead. Easily one of the highlights of the night, Trey laid back amidst the band’s rolling textures, playing with a soulful sensibility. But what happened next was a bit confusing. As the guys bled into a tranquil soundscape, Trey hinted at the beginning of “Piper,” and everyone I’ve talked to since the show ended was sure that’s where we were headed. But when Trey countered his own idea with “Scent of a Mule,” the word “deflating” would be a colossal understatement. Killing any sense of set flow or coherency, even his own band members—according to friends in the front row—looked perplexed at the call.

Deer Creek (Crowe Light Photography)

The invigorated speed-grass passed through another verse of “Blister in the Sun” within a more engaging than usual “Muel Duel.” And when the band cranked up “Mike’s Song,” everyone knew how the show would end. Lacing teases of “Blister” into both “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug” the guys concluded one of the those sets that many will look back on fondly, and others, not so much. And that’s just the nature of the beast.

Always best when viewed as a whole, the middle night of SPAC’s three-pack provided light hearted entertainment with three quality excursions in “Gin,” “Disease,” and “Caspian.” And when the band balances the scales with an in-depth journey to end their tour tonight, all will feel right in the world of Phish. But that’s another story for another time.

I: Grind, Possum > Golgi Apparatus, The Moma Dance, Torn and Frayed, Rift, Cities -> Maze, Lawn Boy,Peaches en Regalia > Bathtub Gin, Good Times Bad Times

II: Down with Disease -> Blister in the Sun -> Down with Disease > Boogie On Reggae Woman > Golden Age -> Also Sprach Zarathustra > Backwards Down the Number Line*, Prince Caspian -> Scent of a Mule -> Blister in the Sun > Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song* > Contact > Weekapaug Groove*

E: Sabotage

* w/ “Blister in the Sun” teases

7.7.2012 (Dan Lewis)

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1,310 Responses to “Blister in the SPAC”

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  1. MiA Says:

    Great write-up. I also think that caspians outro was a highlight.

    Great two-pack so far. Something for everyone.

  2. MiA Says:

    Crunchy groove is working again today.

  3. punkmug Says:

    Great review Miner. Was not paying super close attention during a lot of the stream, but Cities>Maze, Gin and DWD>Boogie were sounding pretty good and that Caspian had some really nice stuff going on. Glad others were picking up on that because it made me stop folding laundry it was sounding so hot. I look forward to revisiting the highlights. I’m personally not that into the Blister in the Sun bit so this show as a whole will not get much re-listens from me, but highlights abound. My Leg1 Highlight playlist is already severely overweight! It just put on another 5lbs after last night.

    SPAC is shaping up to be pretty nice. Hopefully they hit another one out of the park tonight. Leg 2…Holy lord Jebus! just the thought of what can and will go down is simply making me feel all giddy and stuff. First things first though, SPAC3.

  4. room10oh9 Says:

    number line was the highlight of the second set.
    seriously, you fail!

  5. Shred Says:

    When Caspian is a highlight G-d cries.

  6. MiA Says:

    Listening to the FTA replay this morning. They are almost done with Halley’s from FTA1 on Friday.

  7. Dorn76 Says:

    Fun Sat night show. definite drop off in creativity from night 1… But as has been the pattern this tour, even “down” shows have tons of highlights and great playing throughout.

    “Something for everyone” indeed.

    Some folks get off on #line… Who knew!

  8. RicksFork Says:

    Great write up Miner. Can’t wait to get to SPAC and see what happens tonight. Troy did choose #line, Trey wanted something else but was overruled

  9. MiA Says:

    They left Tweezer until tonight.

  10. RicksFork Says:

    Also left Bowie, YEM, Piper…

  11. Myhkel Says:

    I NEED a Piper tonight… don’t know why

  12. Al Says:

    Calls for tonight:

    bag, nicu, split, guelah, foam, RnR, 7-below, walls of the cave, yem.

  13. Oldskool Says:

    I need to re-listen but I felt like it was Fishman that killed the set. Trey had a sick groove going out of GA and Fishman totally dropped out on him. Then again in 2001 it sounded like Trey latched onto this very unique call and response groove but the band wasn’t matching him. There are plenty of instances when Trey ripcords but I felt like at the turning point last night it wasn’t him. I need to re-spin though.

  14. joe Says:

    can sirius broadcast tonight too? it’s only one more show, the equipment is already there, etc.

  15. Dogmattagram Says:

    You may want to relisten to that #line. There’s some extremely nice guitar work by trey in there. The mule duel was really nice too. I know they weren’t huge and exploratory but still good music

  16. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Feel better now that I rip-chorded myself when #line started up tho I want to hear that caspian

  17. Dorn76 Says:

    I think it is on satellite again..

  18. MiA Says:

    Weird. I can use the player to listen to Jam on, but it won’t let me log in with my same credentials.

    Then when I say I need “account help” is asks for my ID, etc. Kinda a catch 22 situation.

    Oh well. Seems my credentials work for this player.

    Listening to the Bowie FTA. Totally forgot I was in a Bowie, not a Tweezer.

  19. MiA Says:

    An orange and coffee this morning. So good.

  20. MiA Says:

    From The Archives – Volume 16 – Part Two – July 7, 2012

    Mike’s Song-> Low Rider-> Mike’s Song-> I Am Hydrogen-> Weekapaug Groove – Saratoga Performing Arts Center – July 10, 1994
    Boogie On Reggae Woman – Coors Amphitheatre – September 18, 1999
    Maze – Pittsburgh Civic Arena – October 18, 1996
    Flat Fee – Arrowhead Ranch – July 20, 1991
    Colonel Forbin’s Ascent-> Fly Famous Mockingbird – Darien Lake – August 7, 1993
    You Enjoy Myself – Saratoga Performing Arts Center – June 26, 1995
    In A Hole – Castleton State College – December 9, 1989
    Bug – Big Cypress – December 31, 1999


  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Mkdevo’s Psycho Tube

  22. punkmug Says:

    MIA, Thanks! Do you by chance have linkage for part 1?

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Dorn- you hitting the whole run? Nice.

  24. tela'smuff Says:

    damn. as i was 9 sheets to the wind last night, show sounded fun, but yeah, viewing this in the sober light, moving onto SPAC3.

  25. stapes Says:

    I am very hungover. Not fun right now

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