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. stapes Says:

    Besides the HYHU…..

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    LB arena is approximately 2000 ft from the sand.

    the dream felt SoCal complete with train tracks

  3. Multibeast Says:


    Congrats on the new dog my man! To be able to bring him/her to work every day is huge, one of the reasons why me and the wife have thought twice about getting a dog (we both work, and wanna make sure the dog would get the proper attention).
    Cheers, hope our paths cross soon.

  4. thedayman Says:

    Was going to say the same thing @stapes, deer creek 1 is dope!

    Just got a kick ass receiver and jbl speakers yesterday on the
    cheap and am currently blasting 8/1/98 tweez. Fuck. Yeah

    Hope everyone has a phenomenal day

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    Decided to throw in the Ac 1 Birds>Bott. Then i was like, “oh yeah, that Heavy Things ripped, lets listen to that too”. Next thing i know I have the entire set loaded into the player. That’s the sign of a great set!

    ^ Yup!

  6. alf Says:

    @south/west CT peeps

    MMW 10/10 Ridgefield?

    tix are reserved, probly going to pick one up soon, if anyone wants to get in the same section let me know

  7. alf Says:

    might hit the albany show also but won’t decide that until its actually october

  8. sumodie Says:

    Got my sights on that fall MMW tour, tho likely boston’s gorgeous Jordan Hall over CT. but ya never know…I’ve never been to that ridgefield venue, always gets lotsa great artists

    AC Birding! Have yet to fall hard for this one. Too many other distracting jams to obsess over

  9. Mr. Palmer Says:

    A bit confused about those MMW dates. Are some shows acoustic? Does that even matter? Only saw them once and left halfway through. They played in an old church in nyc and everyone was sitting down and miserable. I couldn’t take it. We had been partying prior and walking into that was like hitting a brick wall. This was also probably 10 years ago.

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Bergen Pac is 20 minutes from me, so i got my eye on that date .

  11. stapes Says:

    Nice! Got MMW in Boulder in December

  12. alf Says:

    the tour is acoustic… in a small theater, i’d expect people sitting down

    will probly cook up some edibles, snag a balcony ticket….. & dance in the aisle upstairs

  13. alf Says:

    though there are front row tix available medeski side – tempting

  14. kayatosh Says:

    hot porter show:

    never went to 7 walkers last night. not a papa mali fan.

  15. kayatosh Says:

    shit, mmw playinga small theater not too far from me. sick.

  16. alf Says:

    boulder show with scofield, nice

  17. dusty Says:

    balcony….views of John’s hands are where its at.

  18. Jtran Says:

    you’d assume they’ll add more dates in December out west, right?

    Would love to catch MMW soon

  19. IrieWalton Says:

    I agree with Dusty that the best vantage point for MMW is from above. I used to seem them from the side balcony at the 930 club in DC.

    John’s hand waving is second only to Page’s and on some nights he takes it to the next level.

  20. stapes Says:

    Even better with Sco!

  21. voopa Says:

    Yeah acoustic MMW is quite a different scene…if you’re looking for club-style funk jazz, you’ll be disappointed.

    But if you want to see 3 of the most talented musicians in the world shredding the fuck out of their original instruments, it’s a can’t miss.

  22. Multibeast Says:

    “boulder show with scofield, nice”

    ^Planning on going to this one.

  23. sumodie Says:

    Hit Cooperstown NY last Sat. Our first time there, town was packed! Affer parking, dr G asks a local cop what the fuss was all about

    that was my cue to pretend not to know G, as I knew what would happen

    Cop says it’s Induction day. G is thinking military…or…? G says we’re off to the Glimmerglass opera. Cop is clueless.

    Like watching two aliens from different planets. G finally gave up and moved on. Cop had that wtf look too

    Yup, it’s. true. Saw another early baroque opera by Lully, Armide. Loved it. Awesome venue, gorgeous lake, wow.

    Pretty soon I’ll be able to translate opera to baseball & vice versa (i can speak decent baseball already, not so much opera )

    Induction Day…for the baseball HOF. Saw Roberto Alamar, only player I’d heard of. Ok, maybe my baseball is a lil rusty

    And off to another opera in two weeka, at zzyzx’s alma mater, Bard. Stop watch already packed!

  24. kayatosh Says:

    just grabbed MMW tix. thanks for the heads up, BB.

  25. alf Says:

    definitely a can’t miss

    from the 2007 acoustic tour:

    only 1 seeder, i’ll be hopping on tonight. a handful of 06 acoustic shows on etree also

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