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…”

  1. bouncin fan Says:

    but one thing I do know. this was a great phish show and bodes well for the summer progression towards Dick’s.

  2. tela's_muff Says:

    Wow. I loved that second set but this review raises eyebrows with these type of bold statements. Regardless, glad Miner feels it and all the other friends there feel really good after that show.

  3. 20 Minute Halleys Says:

    I almost wish they would stop playing roses, such a mind f@#&!

  4. nate Says:

    freaking awesome show.. Miner may be overstating his case a little. Set II easily holds its own with the best of 2012, but ‘blows Dick’s out of the water’ it does not.

    Or maybe it does. Who cares? I am all smiles after last night’s webcast. When they jam like this, it is so rich and so deep that time slows down and 10 minute jams feel like 15 minutes and 15 minute jams feel like 30. Whatever they’re doing.. let’s hope they keep doing it. Hooray for summer!

  5. 20 Minute Halleys Says:

    second night of tour, they could have followed suit and jammed the mother out like last year.

  6. bearito Says:

    I can’t compare this Light to the Dick’s either

    Two different behemoth’s

  7. Boris Says:

    Sloppy Trey needs to sharpen up. I need to watch that Character Zero video, I heard sniffling. Maybe Trey has a cold.

  8. 20 Minute Halleys Says:

    Remember we are all naturally a mile “high” in Colorado, so everything feels great. PLus the Rocky’s back drop, who isn’t happily lapping it up; though it was no aural micturation. Just good ole fashion Phishy goodness.

  9. GoingSouth Says:

    Seems to me that the two Lights (Dicks 12 and SPAC 13) are two entirely different beasts. Dicks leans towards a more percussive and rhythmic improv, while SPAC delves quickly and fully into Storage space. The comparison is a lot like that between the New Years and Bill Graham Carinis. The former is fully deconstructed, while the latter is much more ‘melodic’.

  10. stupendous Says:

    agree fully with AW

    didnt hit hard from home at all, in fact most of the jams felt dull to me

    way too much whale from red…..

  11. verno329 Says:

    Loved the show on webcast, really liked what I’ve heard on re-listen so far. Wouldn’t go as far as Miner in praise for this show but I don’t get the surprise that Miner made bold statements about a show. That’s kind of his thing (not bagging on it cause I like to hear his opinions). It’s like going to see a Jerry Bruckheimer movie and complaining that there were too many explosions.

  12. 20 Minute Halleys Says:

    Must have been my whalers shirt! Though I am all about the whale tone, and drawn out Trey, just as long as it is coupled with that funk that bridged 46 days and Steam, unbelievable segue!

  13. stupendous Says:

    there were def moments, but its gonna get way better imo….

    PH3.0 the age of sound! not whale calls!

  14. Dlp Says:

    Decent show but come on….no way was it great

  15. tela's_muff Says:

    As much as I loved it via webcast maybe live I’d be saying the same. Csnt wait for tonight

  16. chris Says:

    Ummm….. c’mon Miner. It’s good but not that good. In some aspects they’ve clearly taken a step back. Like the constant use of the digitech whammy pedal. And Drowned started out embarassingly bad.

  17. YborCity Says:

    So very glad tour’s back in swing again… Nothing better than new Phish shows to spin!

    I thought the highs of Bangor were very high, and truthfully, I’d echo a lot of Miner’s sentiments about SPAC last night. That said, this review reminds me SO much of his review of Alpine N1 last summer… I think his phrasing was something like, “WOW! That was a perfect set of Phish!” Now, was it perfect? No, in hindsight it wasn’t. Much much like that night, however, the band was firing on all cylinders in set two last night and put out a seamless display of both new school and old school, type 11 and type 1.. Interestingly enough, Alpine N1 was the last time they played Steam (correct me if I’m wrong). And that Light jam is the tits, so if anyone is surprised by Miner’s words, read the man’s work… Last night’s set was crafted with him in mind! Cheers, Mr. Miner!

    Either way, we’re two shows in to a summer where the pressure is on… The energy and joy felt from the stage (even on couch tour) is palpable, and that bodes well. Happy summer!

  18. GoingSouth Says:

    Man, that Light…

    From the 9:00 mark onward, that is something. Incredible the places they go.

  19. MinersOnCrack Says:

    What in god’s name are you thinking with this review Miner? I enjoyed the show but to call it one of the best ever? Even best of 3.0? You have to be kidding me.

    Your credibility is at an all time low.

  20. xpun Says:

    I’m glad energy is a cover. Really glad.

    Actually I was hoping to read a AW rant about 4 grown ass men writing those lyrics.

    They tore up everything last night, glad to see steam finally get there and slave was amazing. Thought gin was extremely linear but very well played and showed great things to come.

    I was listening on crunchygroove in the car and each song takes a second to load between songs so I couldn’t tell if the segues were pulled off.

    But massive start to a huge weekend.

  21. puppies in my pants Says:

    HA! HA1 HAAAAA! this review is just so laughable/ridiculous
    Mr. fluffer

  22. Mdawg Says:

    2013 Phish!!!!!!!

  23. Rickr Says:

    I’m with Minor on that 2nd set. Sure there was some slop and a few dead ends along the way but the new ground they covered – the soundscapes and blissful ambient passages the birthed throughout the set were monumental and exactly why some us go. Steam, Drowned …the band was one with the crowd last night. Date night dance party tonight though and I love that too!

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    Miner may have wanted to respin before calling best ofs. One mans opinion. Here’s mine:

    Light was laughable compared to Dicks, or even Alpine or BGCA

  25. voopa Says:

    Seems to me that Trey has almost figured out the pedal. You can’t just bend notes up like that, and he manages to do it in almost every song. It became clear to me while listening to Rift from Bangor. Has he mastered it? Fuck no! But I’m not hearing the cringefest of say, 2010 leg one.

    Sure they’re not clicking all the time. I’m a pretty positive guy, but even I was having doubts last night until Gin. The show was pretty solid after that, once they got inside each tune.

    The only expectation I have for tonight is that it’s going to top last night. Time for a preroll.

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