Summer Segues

SPAC 2012 (SammyC via Crowdseye)

Seamless segues haven’t exactly been Phish’s strong point this era. In fact, between ripcords and rushed changes, this facet may have been the weakest of their game—until this summer. Though every transition wasn’t perfect, some were jaw-dropping, and the overall movement between songs became more fluid than at anytime since their ’09 return. Instead of one band member switching gears, segues were allowed to develop over time and—often—nailed at full speed, creating immediate adrenaline boosts in their sets. Below are a handful of my favorite transitions from tour.

“Sand -> Nellie Kane” 6.8 II, Worcester

Worcester 2012 (Masthay)

Nailed at full speed amidst a funk throwdown, this segue—though feeling at the time as if it came out of the blue—was set up perfectly by Trey. As he not-so-covertly teased the lead line of “Nellie Kane” amidst a furious, melody-laced, full-band groove, the last thing anyone in the venue was thinking about was bluegrass. Powering forth like a soul train, the band kicked it into overdrive as Trey morphed into other guitar leads, but the groundwork had been laid. The guys continued cranking on their next-level dance session, but when they hit a change, Trey wove “Nellie Kane’s” beginning, in earnest, right into the music. With negligible reaction time, Fish switched into the bluegrass cadence and the intergalactic groove morphed into a country shuffle. Flawlessly executed and fully bizarre, “Sandy Kane” stands out as the most dynamic segue of summer—thus far.

“Birds -> Back On the Train” 6.15 II, AC

After re-listeing to this sequence last night, I’m not sure that anything from summer is better. Fierce, exploratory and transcendent, this “Birds” has it all wrapped up in one locked and loaded package. The guys had taken the piece light-years from song-structure into free-form jamming, and when they seeped into an ambient realm, it seemed as if they might wind down. But Trey picked the tempo right back up with his solo, and as he diced the minimalist canvas with short rhythm chops, Fishman changed from an abstract rhythm into a shuffle beat, and—on a dime—the band switched into “Back on the Train.” Following an astounding fifteen-minute jam, the guys could have faded into silence and received a huge ovation, but by pushing their creativity, they crafted another masterful transition.

“Light -> Manteca -> Light” 6.16 II, AC

6/16 Print (DKNG)

Several times this summer, Trey suggested a change before going for it, making the ultimate shift far more cohesive. This is seamless sequence, in which Trey laid the groundwork well in advance of the actual transition, is a perfect example. As soon as the band splashed into “Light’s” jam, Red—very noticeably—teased “Manteca,” a move that got the rest of the band thinking in that direction. About a minute later, when Trey continued to hint at the song, the guys were totally with him. The rhythm section switched over smoothly and the band landed in the jazz cover without a hitch. After moving through the theme and verse, Fishman altered the beat and they were right back in “Light” as if it never happened.

“Tube -> Psycho Killer -> Tube” 7.6 I, SPAC

Amidst an explosive first set “Tube,” Phish pumped up the pavilion by gradually building their crack-groove into the elusive Talking Heads cover, “Psycho Killer!” Closing one’s eyes and listening to the tracks off the Live Phish soundboard, there is no discernible switch or hesitation, whatsoever, throughout the entire, two-segue sequence. Perhaps planned from the get go, this shocker was pulled off with Jedi-like precision and provided an adrenaline-filled memory from one of the nights of tour.

“Disease -> Blister In the Sun” 7.7 II, SPAC

SPAC 2012 Mini (Masthay)

While soling during the opening section of “Disease,” Trey found himself in a melody that closely resembled the Violent Femmes hit. As if he caught himself by surprise, he moved into a full quote of the song—and just like the rest of the summer, Fishman was right there. And so were Mike and Page. Facilitating the segue, Fish smoothly shifted rhythms as Trey stepped to the mic, and Phish brought out the song for the first time since Barcelona ’98. Though the set fizzled from the “Disease,” this initial segue spoke to the spontaneity the band felt all tour long.

“Light > Ghost” 7.1 II, Alpine Valley

Moving away from full speed transitions, Alpine’s “Light -> Ghost” provides an example of a patient and well-executed ambient migration. Too often the band seeps into an murky realm only to have Trey layer a new song over the sound collage. But this segue is different. Phish brought “Light,” one of their most collaborative and cerebral jams of tour, into a new-age, synth’d out denouement. Page took the helm and directed this retro-futuristic segment as Trey and Mike picked along. As Page concluded his solo with a final, pitch-bent chord, Trey laid the opening of “Ghost” into the empty space like an artisan. The band let him vamp solo for a few measures before oozing into the groove and completing the patient and slick maneuver.


Jam of the Day:

Sand -> Nellie Kane” 6.8 II, Worcester

The most acrobatic segue of tour.



Summer 2012 (SammyC via Crowdseye)

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257 Responses to “Summer Segues”

  1. GhostPhunk Says:

    or hold him down and play the bouncin coda jam for 36 hours straight

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    dirty south mini run on! Flight booked. Hotlanta>Charlotte., First time seeing Phish in the south. Yee-haw! only $213 total for the r/t flight. Layup central.

    told myself no shows leg 2….the power of phish and cheap flights. Wife was cool with it.

    Now i need to book a Hershey Park trip for the family. 🙂

  3. Robear Says:

    The Victoria Secret feed on Instagram =$$$$

  4. sumodie Says:

    Damn, voopa, that fuckin blows big time. But, glad you got most everything back. Hope you get some good resolution as soon as possible

  5. albert walker Says:

    I had a blast when I hit the Atlanta 2 pack. my only southern shows of 3.0.

    great mound/meatstick ratio for that run

  6. sumodie Says:

    Robear, I’m too far from the White Mtns

    But, depending on your mood/circumstances, there is a hostel in Conway

    Never stayed there myself but it appears to be right in town

  7. Cable Hogue Says:


    “this is as fucked as peeps that carry setlist books on phish ter.”

    whoa there!

    Who would you rather be next to at a show than someone with a setlist book???

    They tend to listen, be quiet, not hold up signs, not hold up iphones, and not crawl around under your feet collecting glowsticks.

    If you’re taking a stand against setlist-writer-downers, I may have to unsubscribe from your newsletter. That is a crowd type which I fully support. I’m not one of them but they are def my preferred show neighbors.

  8. albert walker Says:

    no man. that east coast. I need to hear every note to fulfill my religious experience that rolls with the setlist book crew freeks me out.

    I’m more of a backing band for a party west coast background.

    nothing ever happened at a phish show I need an official in house record of

    but agreed they’re harmless. just annoying as all shit.

  9. albert walker Says:

    I like being around fun spunions that like to get down and can’t see straight enough to write in a little book

  10. Bad Nirvana Cover Band Says:

    mounting evidence that it’s time for me to move. not sure what’s worse, the situation, or some of the comments.

    you’ll see, this isn’t the only place i stir the pot.

  11. Cable Hogue Says:

    There’s a scale of offensive show behavior and writing in a setlist book has to be at the very bottom IMO.

    At least a book isn’t illuminated!

    I’ve been at shows in the last three years next to people who did nothing but stare at their brightly lit phones and type furiously with their thumbs.

    Give those fools a notebook and let me get down.

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Guilty of snapping a photo or three through out the set. Ready to call it quits on that one.

    mostly, I rage!

  13. albert walker Says:

    makes sense. I’m just a dick. been ripping on eats coast setlist dorks since the mid 90’s and I’m slow to change.

    had a bad day. can’t figure out any trades to make money. the robots goin crazy everyday. hard to get any edge.

    so I resort to bitchin about odd things.

    like custy mango mitch and his setlist book. or bouncin jam coda.

    agree though I just think they’re are douchey. but like I said sometimes they get in this weird show space where they need to be all focused and can’t be interrupted. the hard core every note geeks rub me the wrong way too. relax dude. it’s just a rock show, ya know?

    but yes usually they are harmless and quiet. but I tend to talk over shitty songs. the ones I decide are shitty. I’ll talk the fuck over a horse > silent. I’ll talk loudly during summer of 89. I can annoy those kids sometimes.

  14. RoosterPizza Says:

    Mr Miner says about KDF->Twist:

    ^ didnt think any of these were particularly impressive.

    The same guy also said:
    “Hanging up their rock attire and donning their sorcerer’s cloaks, the guys slowly oozed into the intro to “Twist.” And when it was over, everyone there would be slightly altered from the bands sonic spells.”

    I like think the other guy described it best.

  15. RoosterPizza Says:

    *The other Mr. Miner

  16. albert walker Says:

    in defense of miner it was more of a psychedelic ambient meltdown into the Twist.

    Sand > Nellie is more of a traditional Ventura Bowie > Cities > Bowie style segue

    but ya that’s some classic miner prose right there. love that shit.

  17. albert walker Says:

    got the keyboard, bass, guitars and 8-track out

    time to work on some music that would make win butler and fake jer proud

    night kids.

  18. RoosterPizza Says:


    You bring my misunderstanding to the foreground. Here is a question, and I am open to all answers: What are the key components of a good segue?

    I was thinking along the lines of that territory where you aren’t in either song and the byproduct of that in between space takes on a life of its own. Perhaps I am missing out on the band interplay/communication part of teasing something, going back, and then heading into what was originally teased.

  19. Cable Hogue Says:

    Watching this:
    Start at 2:30 or so for the soul-healing goods.

    Stand by my choice of Light>Manteca>Light as the segue of summer. Seamless and swinging its ass off. Sand>Nellie Kane is amazing but still a little jarring. I recognized the amazingness of the segue at the time but still…ending a funky Sand jam for some bluegrass? Not my favorite move in a general sense.

    Lighteca did nothing but elevate…pedal to the metal phish.

  20. BingosBrother Says:

    I prefer segues I can’t see coming. Much more impressive to me. Sandy Kane is wicked.

  21. Robear Says:

    Jah No Dead.

    bingosbro, your feelings from AV2 really rubbed off on me. thanks. it almost feels like i was there.

  22. MiA Says:

    I didn’t see KDF going into Twist. I’m such a custy.

  23. MiA Says:

    I agree with Rooster 100% BTW.

  24. plord Says:

    Well ok then. Remaining work to create a winter-proof house out of all this construction looks like it will cost close to 5 figures more than we have. Looking for things to cut back; probably have a bunch of unfinished interior all through the winter :/

    And tragically, any wild hope of a kamikaze run to CA or even Dicks just evaporated in the freezing vacuum of finances.

    Couch Terr!

  25. albert walker Says:

    exactly rooster

    that Sand jams morphs into more of a major country feel before it hits Nellie

    when I listen to that Sand I hear the nellie all over it and it gets more and more major and shufflin until it slides into Nellie

    there is a lot of interplay going inbetween your typical sand and that nellie

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