7.6.13—SPAC (Richard Lawless)

Phish has raised the bar again. On only the second night of Summer Tour, the band threw down a mind-boggling second labyrinth that blew anything they’ve played in this era straight out of the water. In fact, with a more macroscopic lens, the second set of SPAC was one of the finest musical statements that Phish has ever performed. Period. Playing with as much bravado and confidence as their mid-90s selves, while pulling sonic elements from all of their staple eras, the band wove the an incredibly fresh and unconventional musical odyssey that belongs in the loftiest of conversations.  This 30th Anniversary tour is a testament to Phish’s longevity, but the fact that they are playing music that is on par and /or surpasses just about anything in their career is a statement on who they are and how they’ve grown. This is what we’ve been waiting for. This is what Dick’s was foreshadowing—we are smack dab in the band’s newest peak era.


7/6 Official (Millward)

In only two shows, we’ve seen the band flip the script once again. They have opened up different jams, refreshed their setlist structure, debuted an original and a cover, executed several slinky segues and dropped the best jam and set of the modern era. Dick’s 2012 can take a back seat to SPAC 2013, and before long a hell of lot more. Phish has quite clearly come out this summer with something to prove, and I believe their goal is to drop the most monumental music of their career. Because if last night is any indication, we are in for quite a wild ride this summer—a ride like no fan has ever seen before.

So what the hell happened last night? I’m still asking myself that question over and over again. I have not relistened to the second set before writing this, but I’m not sure that I have to. The power and intricacy of the band’s playing from the first note of the set through the last was unprecedented, showcasing a mastery of their craft in full. Plunging a ludicrous musical depth in “Light’s” jam, alone, the band put on a display unlike any in memory, far outshining 9/1/12’s . This jam spanned mind-numbing amounts of musical territory in a piece that touched the very essence of who we are and why we are here. This was creation in its purest form; four men at the mountain top having the time of their lives while taking 20,000 of us along for the ride; a dream unfolding in real time. The SPAC “Light” is Phish’s newest magnum opus.

And in any standard modern era show, the story would have began and ended with “Light,” but this was no standard modern era show.  In fact, the band opened the second set with a new song! Well, a cover—but it sure seems that Apples In Stereo’s “Energy” is here to stay as a new jam vehicle—just what the motherfuckin’ docta’ ordered! A catchy song, that most all assumed was an original, immediately showed promise like no other debut in of this era. “Energy’s” jam segued into “Light,” which eventually segued seamlessly into “Mango Song.” Upon ending this triumvirate, the band started up “46 Days” which transformed from an arena rocker into a filthy groove session before seamlessly moving into “Steam.” Ressurected from the dead, the band brought their 2011 debut back in the swankiest of style—and this time it had the jam we had all envisioned from the get go!  So at this point, aside from the best jam of the era and beyond, the band had delivered us two fresh jam vehicles on a silver platter.

7.6.13 (R. MacNeill)

7.6.13 (R. MacNeill)

And just when nobody had any clue what was next, the band revved up “Drowned” in an unconventional late-set slot—and boy did it deliver. Deconstructing The Who’s anthem into a delicate groove refinery, the band—once again—created magic out of thin air. Quite clearly tapped into the source, the band could do no wrong on a night that will live forever, and once the guys concluded “Drowned’s” theatrics, they moved seamlessly into the most magnificent “Slave” they have played since some point in the ‘90s.

Yup—it was that good. All of it. Every. Single. Note. If I had to make an educated guess, Summer 2013 will go down as one of the best tours of the band’s prestigious career—and we are just at the beginning. Hop on for the ride of a lifetime!

First Set Notes: It was quite evident the band was on from the get go last night, filling the opening set with sharp playing a deft improvisation throughout. The band absolutely tore “Birds of a Feather” to shreds, while offering a upbeat, groovy take on “Bathtub Gin” just two songs later. In between these two selections, the band debuted “Yarmouth Road,” Mike’s song that was sound-checked in Bangor. A reggae vibe permeates this tune that comes to a head with overlapping lyrics and some gorgeous guitar work. The final couplet of the set—“Cities > Bowie” absolutely popped off. “Cities” moved into an infectious groove before ending a bit prematurely for “Bowie’s” intro. Building off of MSG’s above average version, this one showcased the band’s razor sharp chops while moving into some melodic jamming for an interlude.  All of this set the stage for what has to be considered the band’s best set since their return.

I: Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance, Sample in a Jar, Roses Are Free, Birds of a Feather,Yarmouth Road*, Bathtub Gin, Nellie Kane, Army of One, My Friend, My Friend > Cities -> David Bowie

II: Energy* > Light -> The Mango Song > 46 Days -> Steam > Drowned > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Character Zero

7.6.13 - SPAC (R. Lawless)

7.6.13 – SPAC (R. Lawless)

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373 Responses to “Umm…”

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  1. Greg Says:

    Miner I am generally with you 99.9% of all reviews, and feel like you are writing whats in my own head sometimes, but you are dead wrong about last night. Last night was a train wreck. Whale Call has got to go. Bass tone was shite on the webcast, fishman was lacking, Trey was off. Obviously my opinion, im just surprised to see our accounts are so different.

  2. [Not Tom] Says:

    Ummm … Is a a good title for this piece.

  3. JanxSpirit Says:

    Wow that’s some huge praise – I did enjoy it…relistening now. Miner and I generally agree, but surpassing Dicks is a tall order for me. Still I was on couch tour last night and at Dicks in person natch because you don’t miss Dicks. Nice write up as always sir.

  4. Foul_Domain Says:

    One man’s trash…

  5. a.j. Says:

    are we getting trolled by miner?

  6. JD Says:

    What Not Tom said. Perhaps you should have relistened first. Certainly some nice playing there but in sum it is not worthy of this lofty review. The BGCA Light blows this one away, imo. Appreciate the passion and the timely review but I think you’ve missed the mark this time.

  7. Berzerkerthefamilyjezmund Says:

    Maybe it was one of those ‘had to be there shows’ because it doesn’t sound overly spectacular on the livephish app. Did you take some killer molly or something?

  8. Barry Says:

    I often agree with a lot of Miner’s reviews but come on. I was there last night and yes it was good. But better than 2012 dicks? 3rd night of bill graham? Gorge rock and roll? I can think of many 3.0 sets that surpass last night. I think the long wait for some phresh phish is coming into play here a bit!

  9. btb Says:

    Some bold statements…Haven’t spun this show yet, really looking forward to it now.

    Real life struck yesterday, had to buy a car…2013 Honda Civic. I’m part of the “Ecoboost’er” movement now I guess. Great gas mileage.

    Rock on and out everybody!!

  10. Doh Says:

    Light->46 Days->Steam was good, but the band certainly wasn’t turning water into wine, as this review more or less claims they were.

    Thank GOD Trey didn’t write Energy.

  11. TimberHo! Says:

    Oh the joy of phish. How awesome is it that we get to debate shit like this? Best of 3.0 or not …it was a great show. Really enjoyed the Steam and 46 Days….loved the intro to both.

  12. joe Says:

    glad for Miner and everyone in attendance. Sounds like I need to get to PNC on Wednesday.

  13. Whalereturns Says:

    Wow. I guess I was at a different show. Light and steam were cool.

  14. DavidSilver Says:

    @cow : Fishs new toy is part of the imaginary orchestra. It’s part of the new sound only some of us can hear.

  15. Doh Says:

    Oops… 46 Days->Steam was good.

    The Light was good, but the transition into Mango… not so much.

  16. spf Says:

    First Set: Fun, like the Yarmouth Road, average Phish

    Second Set: Above average Phish, great fun. NOTHING that even APPROACHES legendary or “Best Of” or will be remembered in ten years.

    If you need hyperbole to validate this show: it was BEST Apples in Stereo cover the band has EVER done.

  17. joe Says:

    can we call it 3.4 or something besides 3.0 now?

  18. albert walker Says:

    good show with great flow and def intent to shake it up

    comparing to that locked as fuck late tour dicks light can’t say I agree with but it’s his blog

    this set doesn’t quite have the massive connected centerpiece jam to say best of return

    but loved the show intent and direction this is heading

    no dicks IMO . but fully respect miners and a great show

    can’t wait for Chicago

  19. bearito Says:

    I find nothing wrong with any part of that Light.

    Those curious need to just lay back and let that beast consume you

    slides so nicely into mango

  20. albert walker Says:

    like I said my opinion doesn’t mean shit

    will respin with miners best since return theme in mind. couch tour may not have hit me as heavy .

    great write up man
    rage it out tonight

  21. 20 Minute Halleys Says:

    I had my first show sitting directly next to Chris Kuroda’s work station. I gotta tell you, it was awesome, almost like having a quick glimpse into the future, through Chris’s lense. It was awesome! Miner, I agree, except that the show was solid in spite of the new songs. I am all about “new” but these quasi worked for me…anyway, I can feel the pre show jitters ensuing. (PS Kuroda tossed me a Justin Beiber Guitar pick right before set two?!)

  22. albert walker Says:

    nothin wrong with light at all

    I’m just a dicks light dick rider
    that jam was fuckin massive imo

  23. Overphlowtank Says:

    Great Light, great set. Not a Dicks light though…

  24. 20 Minute Halleys Says:

    Light always has a way of lulling me in, and before I know it, we are off into hyperspace! No song does that for me…I mean, I kinda of cringe at first, but know ultimately my respect and patience will be rewarded.

  25. daherse Says:

    I consider your opinion pretty high in my book, but these are some bold statements. Lights jam is amazing, whole second set is a heater really, but I don’t think it even kinda holds a torch to set 2 from BGCC#3. Much better segues, and I personally think that is the bar for light jams.

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