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.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/2.02-Sand-1.mp3,http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/2.03-Nellie-Cane.mp3]

*****

Summer 2012 (SammyC via Crowdseye)

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257 Responses to “Summer Segues”

  1. DryIceFactory Says:

    If you didn’t like SPAC 2001 you werent listening. And that Numberline wasn’t terrible either.

    By the way, Miner, the PsychoTube was planned. Before Funky B*tch, Trey is talking to the guys and says “Should we do the 2-shot?”. It became apparent rather quickly what “the 2 shot” was.

  2. sumodie Says:

    Disease > blister doesn’t count as a transition in my book

    Troy just fell into it ala Dick’s Come

  3. Robear Says:

    Okay Sumo, TMI

  4. sumodie Says:

    maybe i shouldn’t have omitted Together

    long day ahead, lol

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Okay Sumo, TMI

    for some reason, that reminds me of this clip

  6. sumodie Says:

    In the moment i assumed tube > psycho was planned

    and i still love it immensely

  7. Robear Says:

    Tube + Psycho Killer + Tube = 3 shot

    @DiF is out of it.

  8. Robear Says:

    Had a Phish dream. Small indoor venue. Got to talk with Trey afterwards. All is well. He’s going to give us all he’s got out west.

  9. MiA Says:

    When going into HYHU at DC, sounded like psycho killer. Probably talked and said “I’m up for it”

    Seemed very planned. What do I know.

  10. poop goblin Says:

    wasn’t listening to sPAC 2001

    too bad listening to the killer versions from DCU and AC

  11. poop goblin Says:

    not a huge fan of the tube > psycho killer. not enough funk.

    now AC Tube. shit is the bizness.

  12. tela'smuff Says:

    Sand>Roggae!!

    Carini>Taste
    C&P>No Quarter

  13. RoosterPizza Says:

    How does KDF->Twist not make the list?

  14. RoosterPizza Says:

    ACtube is. For keeps

  15. DryIceFactory Says:

    AC Tube is definitely for keeps. There’s 4 solid minutes of unfamiliar Tube territory in there.

  16. DryIceFactory Says:

    @pg

    well put, but in any event, it was a great summer for 2001.

  17. bob dylan Says:

    Need to revisit dicks. I was all like “come together was at dicks?”
    Need to revisit AC tube also.

    Been to busy spinning MSG run.

    Agreed re: carini > taste

  18. bob dylan Says:

    *too

  19. DryIceFactory Says:

    If we dont get a 20+ minute version of one of these songs, then I’m chopping leg II up as a loss.

    -Light Up or Leave Me Alone
    -2001
    -Sand

    All had wild bouts of improv in small packages, stretch em out already!

  20. poop goblin Says:

    no doubt man. not to be a timer but 2001 really benefited from those extra 4 or so minutes in DCU

    nice to say Trey take a crisp solo at the end

    I believe AC had a few extra minutes also just not quite as many as DCU. great rhythm work by prancer on that one.

    def love the new JB’s groove style 2001 feel of recent versions.

    maybe open up one here in the old school set II opener slot soon.

  21. kazmatty Says:

    What about c&p>slave from AC2! That shit was hot!

  22. DryIceFactory Says:

    Light Up would really thrive with the extendo treatment. That Dancehall funk->fierce shreddellry at SPAC had me freaking like it was a 2nd set Glory Tweezer or something.

  23. DryIceFactory Says:

    The AC one had me doing laps around the dance floor. The breakdowns were just so filthy.

  24. DryIceFactory Says:

    ^2001

  25. kayatosh Says:

    “Need to revisit dicks.” – bobby dylan

    ^^^ great shows and critical part of the male anatomy. not sure which you meant.

    ghee on the stove top
    phish on the stereo

    I’m in a dam fine condition now, boy, cuz I’m a low down dirty . .

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