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. kayatosh Says:

    makisupa, mockingbird, mcgrupp, and lagrange were my faves from that 8.7.93 show spin.

    also got into 11.7.96 Gin while ghee walking. 27 min. odyssey. takes about 9-10 mins. before it starts getting interesting. a $$$ long form jam.

    TT?

  2. Robear Says:

    Any of u cats live in the White Lakes region of NH? Thinking of visiting my son after Bill Graham. Don’t want to stay with the ex. Just a couple days.

  3. joe Says:

    birds>back on the train is my favorite of the bunch. Also a big fan of the
    song A>song B>song A format.

    A little too far away from that part of New England, Rob, to be of any help. Nice place to visit that time of year though.

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    howdy, kids

    finished up plans for SF on Sunday.

    I’m all in. Even got the blessing from my boss at work.

    can’t wait.

    hope everyone is doing well.

    let me give a mad shout out to everyone who has a had a job and hasn’t started crying on a daily basis.

    I actually love my job, but I love complaining too.

    all my best.

  5. plord Says:

    Robear, about 4 hours away, not very helpful :/

  6. bob dylan Says:

    I wish this was a joke:

    http://gothamist.com/2012/07/25/mindy_meyer_pink-o_orthodox_diva_un.php

    What a dumb bitch. Get a real job.

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    ^does not compute. You can have a myspace page and a political career in NY?!

    Is that what happens when people eat snooki?

  8. snow Says:

    Am I not supposed to be crying on a daily basis?

    Can’t believe how many are hitting SF. BB crew will be like 1% of the audience.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    Didn’t know what bouncing coda jam was. Shouldn’t known poo was trolling and not clicked it. Looks like its filmed in fake jer’s basement. Where the hell did that come from? Too many wax hits so poog started youtubing fake jer solo shows?

  10. bob dylan Says:

    *shoulda

  11. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    http://badassdigest.com/2012/07/24/sherman-hemsley-had-an-lsd-lab-in-his-basement/

  12. sumodie Says:

    H/W-S Gin cranked to 11

    Hardly spun these shows since going ga-ga over them last Dec

    No matter, just knowing I’ve got this boxed set on hand is akin to having a gold bar stashed under the bed

  13. snow Says:

    WTF pB!?

    BobbyD, you are sooo young in fake jer years.

    Bham is hipster, people are robbing banks on bike. Take that Portland!
    “Bellingham police are searching for a man suspected of robbing Banner Bank in Fairhaven.

    Police spokesman Mark Young says the man is white, about 5’8” to 5’10”, wearing dark clothes, with long, dark, curly hair.

    He was also wearing a dark bandana across his face and left the bank on a newer red mountain bike.

    He was last seen riding towards Larabee Park.”

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    No matter, just knowing I’ve got this boxed set on hand is akin to having a gold bar stashed under the bed

    ^ i feel you. i stockpile DVD and official releases and—literally—never touch em. I should stop buying em…held off on Chicago ’94 thus far…

    …nobody has inquired about the Island Run pin set, eh? interesting…

  15. sumodie Says:

    Aaahh yes, now I know why I felt I should’ve not listened to H/W-S so much before NYE 😯

    ::stashes boxed set back under bed::

  16. joe Says:

    caught set 2 6/18/94 off the chicago box set on sirius last night. that is some hot, hot stuff. sounded great on the home system too.

    I had made a flippant comment when I noticed the new venture on Monday, Miner. That and the welcomed return of the countdown clock.

  17. joe Says:

    how many box sets do you think they sell? especially since they seem to be flooding their own market. not to mention the downloaders, etc.

  18. sumodie Says:

    Joe, I think Phish Inc is figuring out that peeps are more apt to pay for a ‘special’ boxed set than individual shows. Dunno about numbers tho

    Bummed I missed out on Bestbuy’s accidental UIC offer price of $11.99. Will def wait a while before I get that one

  19. Jtran Says:

    big cypress was completely pro shot, right?

    Big Cypress DVD!

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I have been on the fence about SF for some time.

    $$$, tkts, time of year, kids sitting, the list grows daily. Mrs. B has said she would opt out to save dough and we are already locked in for Denver(done, Done and DONE!), but SF just doesn’t make sense to her based upon the aforementioned concerns.

    Airfare just jumped, though I could probably boondoggle a trip out of the deal through work. Lodging is done. tickets are on hold..

    On the surface it looks like a no-brainer. It just doens’t feel that way though right now.

  21. snow Says:

    facebook just got weird…

    http://imgur.com/9yeKx

  22. garretc Says:

    Haha snow, looks like you’ve been visiting some incriminating, facebook-connected sites….

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I meant to ask about that yesterday @ Miner.

    Never been a pin guy. Got a nice NYC one from WW at the JB show and gave it to Neemor.

  24. Jtran Says:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/07/25/157356379/the-practical-side-of-the-great-american-jam-band?sc=tw&cc=twmp

    Kinda cool

  25. Robear Says:

    Miner,

    what’s with the pins?

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