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. kayatosh Says:

    ghee already dark. strictly shaving ghee, cuz you don’t want to melt into the world.

  2. MiA Says:

    Dick’s Gin FTW.

  3. butter Says:

    i feel Light Up is the ultimate set 1 closer

  4. butter Says:

    Golden Age > 2001. Didn’t they do that like 3x this tour?
    It’s becoming like … predictable. -mia

    so is peanut butter and jelly but it works 🙂

  5. sumodie Says:

    Sand>Nellie and Sand>Roggae are my yin-yang of summer segues

    and I’ll never say no to Golden Age > 2001

  6. kayatosh Says:

    12.29.2011 weekapaug — $$$. this thing is locked in tight and poppin with plinko. original version. Simple and week shining stars in an otherwise flat set II.

  7. voopa Says:

    crappy phone stream > yasu wizardry > taper420
    ^^segue of leg 1

  8. butter Says:

    just as long as they go

    GA > phishknot > 2001

  9. verno329 Says:

    Speaks highly of this tour that we have so many things that were left off Miner’s list. The Hood>WTU? should be in consideration too, particularly if they done the right thing and gone back into Hood instead of Velvet Sea. They do that and that whole set becomes a lot better.

  10. butter Says:

    great -> article Miner

  11. PigSong Says:

    Definitely a leg up from Segues of 3.0s past. Wish I had my Summer Compilation computer with me to go and cherry pick the goodz this morning.

  12. DryIceFactory Says:

    Miner nailed all the right ones. I in house for all but Light->Ghost. I might have ommited Psycho TubeO for SPAC GA->2001, KDF>Twist or Hood->WTU but that’s just me.

  13. stapes Says:



  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    good call @stapes

  15. PigSong Says:

    wait, so if they don’t go 20 minutes on three random songs – leg II is a failure? @DryIce?


  16. verno329 Says:

    The Psycho Tube is nice and all, and I find it hard to complain about a Psycho Killer, but basically they just replaced the Tube jam with Psycho. The whole thing is about 6 min long. Looks better on paper than on listen, to my ears at least

  17. Guyute711 Says:

    I like the Golden Age 2001 combo but I prefer it to be stretched out a little. Something like this.

    Golden Age > Mike’s Song > Fast Enough for You > Weekapaug Groove[1], What’s the Use? > Theme From the Bottom > Backwards Down the Number Line > Also Sprach Zarathustra[2] > Harry Hood

    [1] Golden Age teases.
    [2] Golden Age, Happy Birthday, and What’s the Use? teases.

    That’s right, Darien Lake 2011. For my money still one of the best sets in 3.0

  18. DryIceFactory Says:


    Its a joke. But I’d really like to see one of those go the distance. Sand will somewhere along the line. Atleast a nice extra 4 or 5 mins at one of those leg II venues. Possibly on the beach in South Bay?

  19. PigSong Says:

    I’m on board with a 20 minute LUOLMA fo sho. They pack so much into 5-6 minutes, another 15 and our collective heads might explode.

  20. sumodie Says:

    Huh? Phish is playing on the beach in August? Is that the top secret Canadians only show?

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    How do you not recognize the KDF > Twist or the Sand Roggae? The light > groove?

    ^ didnt think any of these were particularly impressive.

  22. DryIceFactory Says:

    Long Beach, not exactly on the beach, but you get the idea.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    Also, after closely listening to cross -> slave, the band wasn’t really together at all. Could have been great…

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    Lots of great segues this summer!! I forgot that several mentioned existed…

  25. highhighhand Says:

    Cities->Maze on 7/7 was real nice I thought.

    20th anniversary of 7/25/92 my first show!

    It’s arguable that I never saw better versions of all these songs but not really true. But close. Hot shit. Carlos and the percussion take it over the edge. I had 5th row and was 12 years old. Watching the master and the disciple trade musical ideas in real time influenced me beyond my own understanding at the time.

    Was anyone else at this show? I remember this crazed toothless late 40’s chick right in front of me, all kinds of fucked up, who would only look away from the stage in a green bikini , laughing out of control to the Laughing Laughing Fall Apart part of Sparkle. Phish with Santana was cool too, Fishman played talking drum. Is there a recording of the Santana set circulating?

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