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)

Tags: ,

257 Responses to “Summer Segues”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    7.26.97 timber $$$. favorite version. this show is the bizness.

  2. alf Says:

    07 at the ridgefield playhouse

    SET ONE:

    01. [04:23] – Open Improv >
    02. [09:22] – Improv >
    03. [10:22] – What’d I Say
    04. [05:11] – Improv >
    05. [05:41] – Improv >
    06. [08:08] – Improv >
    07. [07:15] – Improv >
    08. [03:54] – Blues Improv >
    09. [07:17] – Lonely Avenue >
    10. [10:06] – Drum Solo
    11. [00:41] – ‘Billy Speaks’

    SET TWO:

    01. [13:16] – Pappy Check >
    02. [15:14] – You Haven’t Done Nothin’ >
    03. [10:59] – Waking Up
    04. [15:10] – Back & Forth
    05. [00:50] – ‘Billy Speaks’


    06. [10:49] – Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus

    ^yes please

  3. kayatosh Says:

    music heads def. check out the geo. porter and runnin partners show posted above. NO funk.

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Happy 15Yr Anniversary to GIN>Maki>Bag! and Set2 Throwdown!

  5. alf Says:

    (1 of 8) Medeski Martin & Wood Georgia Theatre February 2012

    ^great video…shot from above

  6. sumodie Says:

    Shite, just wanted some hot AC Birds > Bott jam action, now im stuck in the Piper vortex and can’t get out

  7. kayatosh Says:


  8. kayatosh Says:

    that AC1 setII was so good and intense. by sally i was dancin along the tarmac in the back and sportin a shit eatin grin during bowie.

  9. Dr Pronoia Says:

    AC1 was the best near-birthday show experience I could’ve had

    That it was a great top to bottom show was just a bonus

    Cheers to everyone who made that day a keeper!

  10. poop goblin Says:

    tough afternoon. my WIFE is proposing something between summer tours that sounds like a terrible idea.

    I lasted 3 months post marriage before this nonsense.

    fun stuff.

  11. Dr Pronoia Says:

    ^^^ ha poop, you’re done for

    Tho planning between tours sounds like the priorities are still in the right place

  12. TrippingBilly Says:

    the only medeski martin and wood stuff I am familiar with is from when they opened for dave matthews. I think the medeski guy played on dave’s solo album too maybe. are they worth seeing?

  13. kayatosh Says:

    ^^^ hilarious.

  14. kayatosh Says:

    great sounding tape w/ roller coaster of the mind 8.7.93

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    It gets better poop fan.

    Next thing she’ll be asking for a non-phish vacation on and around tour.

  16. Guyute711 Says:

    8.7.93 Fucking legendary first show!!!!!

  17. TrippingBilly Says:

    ^^^ hilarious.

    was that directed at me? I’m not sure what I wrote that was so funny.

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    Don’t you dare bitch about an electric phish loving wife poog. Unless she wants to go to Hands on a Hardbody. fuck that.

  19. sumodie Says:

    Crazy dead in here tday. Super late nite of bullshit work has me frazzle rock’d this afternoon

    Keef’s autobio has got me digging back into the Stones. A Bigger Bang is a purty darn good album from them. Skipped the last stones tour or two but will not miss their 50th anny tour coming up

    Not sure i can absorb any more of the PH today. miles? MMW?

    Oh yeah, can’t seem to get the airbnb’ers from SF to accept my non wook status, grrr

  20. sumodie Says:

    Jam > Ghost from spac

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    page has this awesome grin on his face at about 5:15 of that video… right before they drop into ghost. one might call it a hot pocket eating grin.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    That Light->Ghost, while not a classic segue, really gave me a few seconds to prance around and strut my stuff, knowing the awesomeness continued. Kinda like the Alpine Tweezer->Walk Away from years before. Same old strut. yeeahhh booiiiyyy….

  23. Chonz Says:

    “8.7.93 Fucking legendary first show!!!!!”

    Word @g711, I’ve never gotten off that roller coaster.

    Sick ‘Stairway to Heaven’ quote in that 8/7/93 Maze.

  24. poop goblin Says:

    Chicago kids. free RJD2 and El-P show at COngress theater tonight

  25. sumodie Says:

    Page appears to have gotten off the hot pocket gravy train, he looked thinner this tour

    Someday I may actually watch one of those vimeos instead of just stockpiling them

    AC Birds must induce amnesia in me. Just spun it again, found the jam to be terrifically cohesive & complex, then during the siiick gbott I revert to ambivalence about the Birds. Weird. Happened live, still happening

Leave a Reply