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. Robear Says:

    dave is a good player. Melvin Seals is the man. Enjoy, PB. Dave plays with my buddy, Steve Watts up in Humboldt every now and again.

    The Steve Watts Band. see them if they are in your area.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Such a classic , oldskool. I may need to dust that bad boy off myself in the near future.

    For now i popped on Live Phish 1, or 12/14/95 set II. Fucking planes of gnar to the max!

    Set 2: The Curtain > Tweezer[1] -> Timber (Jerry) -> Tweezer -> Keyboard Army, Halley’s Comet -> NICU -> Slave to the Traffic Light
    Encore: Bold As Love

  3. Robear Says:

    conway would be the close by spot. know anyone that wants to house me for a couple days?

  4. snow Says:

    Wanted: A home for ROllingStoneyBEAR. Guaranteed moss free.

    Peace out BB.

    May the Fake Jer be with you.

  5. viola Says:

    no doubt…. watching fake jer = what not to become as a player.

    i can respect anyone who picks up any instrument and puts the time in. whether that’d be piano, a horn, geetar, the fuking triangle…. but you’re spot on about establishing your own identity as a player. we were all told that its all in our fingers. everyone has their own tone inside themselves and to approach music by trying to sound like someone else is too bad. or thinking that you can play the same song just cause you know where to put your fingers.

    anyone can learn the guitar…. not everyone can play

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    you guys are just jealous of fake Jer.

  7. albert walker Says:

    imagine though Palmer

    growing up rippin on him in hairball willie in high school
    in college rippin on him in Uncle John’s Band
    post college rippin on him in Dorkstar Orchestra

    know he’s playing with Phil. very fuckin weird to say the least. imagine your suburban bar band guy getting the call to the show. weird.

  8. vegas wolfmans Says:

    What about Carini->Shafty from the roo? (sorry if this omission has already been pointed out)

    fake fake jerry wearing a t-shirt of fake jerry wearing a t-shirt of jerry is still the funniest thing I have ever read on the bb. Mr. C. ftw.

  9. dusty Says:

    I saw some kid at spac using his cell for setlists. What the fuck is that about?

  10. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Two Trains is a great Lowell George song that Phish would crush!!!

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’m just bustin chops.

    I’ve enjoyed my few Further shows. I just close the eyes and try and enjoy it. Bobby pisses me off as much as fake Jer. Never a bobby guy. Jerry and Phil and Brent/Bruce were my guys. New found appreciation for Keith of late. Some great playing when he wasn’t nodding off in the the chair.

  12. albert walker Says:

    me too palmer. he’s actually a really nice dude (with terrible fashion sense but what can you do)

    it’s just funny to hear the young kids ride his dick and some oldtimers pimpin him when he’s obviously pedestrian player at best.

    I hear peeps say furthur is hotter than late era real GD and it makes me go on these anti jer rants.

    good release of negative energy.

  13. Oldskool Says:

    @Palmer, how did it go at the Fan?

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    It was great @ oldskool. Think i have a real shot. $$ will suck, but i was prepared for that. Seeing all the people you listen to was cool. Too bad Mike was on vacation. Was in his studio though.

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    plan on finally booking my flight to Charlotte. hotlanta>charlotte.. can’t wait.

  16. Oldskool Says:

    Too cool Palmer!! Seems like a great place to cut your teeth.

  17. voopa Says:

    snow- got your mail, will reply after I calm down a bit…

    16 y.o. who’s “staying” with the neighbors broke into our place today. Took my PC (tower, monitor and mouse), my wife’s tenor sax, our safe, two bass guitars, a mobile PA, my GD backpack filled with everything from our top dresser drawer (jewelry, spare keys, watches, coins), a case full of FLACs backed up to DVDs (good luck with those) and all our weed & pipes.

    Fortunately some other people staying there figured it out (after my wife discovered this and went right to their door) and we eventually recovered everything, except for some of the weed. Took a while to get him to surrender one of the basses, the bong & weed, and the key to my Aunt’s Prius, but he eventually relented (the rest of the stuff was stuck in a shed in their backyard).

    What dumbfuck didn’t take: PC keyboard, printer, modem, router, monitor power cable, 2 other PCs, cases with actual playable discs, my vintage Roland Juno-106, 2 amps, tools, hash, bikes, stereo, tv. Wonder if he ran out of time, or just space to stash shit.

    We’ve been assured that he will longer be staying there, but it’s clear that we have to get some form of home security now regardless. Oh well, it was nice to be oblivious for a while I guess. These shows can’t come soon enough now.

  18. albert walker Says:

    I hate pigs voopa but I’d get rid of all the THC products unless your carded up of course and throw that fucker in jail.

    no one steals my herbs and gets away with it

    either that or just kill the kid

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    That’s fucked Voops. We were burglarized 5 years ago. I know the feeling of being violated. It really sucks. Our guys were never caught. They stole every piece of jewelry they could find. Sorry that happened to you guys.

    I would definitely call the cops on his ass.

  20. voopa Says:

    Ya, I may kill him. Came close a couple times already.

  21. ThePigSong Says:

    Finally finished Dance with Dragons this morning. Really love that series now. Down to three books on the currently reading list, wolves of te calla, The World Undone and Keith Richards life. I’m thinking change of pace with the autobio.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Spin him and put fake jer vids on repeat. he’ll kill himself.

    Anywho, pins?

  23. voopa Says:

    When mrs. v called me, I said “Hide the stuff and call the cops, I’m on my way.” I knew who it was, the fucker who hopped the fence and stole my cigar ashtray out of my backyard last Thursday WHILE WE WERE HOME. Had to be him. And sure enough…

    We decided not to press charges…yet. It will probably only result in retaliation. They don’t know that she teaches HS in motherfucking Stockton and knows a few bangers, so this could get really ugly. The adults over there give a shit about the neighborhood so I’m sure that kid will get some sort of punishment.

    It’s frustrating though, because there’s always a million people over there, and we never know who’s supposed to be there, who’s trouble, etc…time to tighten the bond with the dad over there I guess.

  24. ThePigSong Says:

    Damn voopa, sorry to hear that! I’ve been slacking on our own security system. Need to get on that.

    and I’m with AW, def kill him.

  25. GhostPhunk Says:

    pedestrian at best, indeed.

    lock up the thief.

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