Windows to the Soul

7.5.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.5.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

Phish continued their musical tour de force in Saratoga Springs last night with two incredibly innovative jams—“Split” and “Carini—that stand up to anything they ever produced from either song. Though unable to construct a single set as magical as Friday night’s second frame—or really a single set at all—both Saturday’s first and second contained all-time improvisations. It seems like we have stumbled upon an embarrassment of riches in the Phish community in the summer of 2013, as even on a night, when the band played two sets that amounted to no more than one extended first, they still managed to drop two Herculean doses of transcendence.

7/6 Official (Millward)

7/6 Official (Millward)

First, let’s look at the “Split.” Let’s be honest, 3.0 “Splits” have absolutely sucked. Not only has the band been technically unable to manage the song, but any sort of improvisational creativity has been absent from it since post-hiatus, less Utica’s broken up version. But god damn, did that change last night as they took “Split” right off the deep end. The initial part of the jam saw Trey shredding with extraordinary phrasing and precision—unlike any other recent version. But then, the band started to stray from structure! They were using “Split” as a launch pad into open waters! Not since Deer Creek ’03 had the band showcased such audacity, and this time they created a whole ‘nother monster altogether. An excursion that was as soulful as it was demented, put a spotlight on the band’s superior creative flow of the current moment. Words fail me to covey the sort of spiritual event that that took place in the first set’s final twenty minutes. This jam absolutely needs to be heard with your undivided attention to be believed. Phish, honestly, dropped a piece of music of the likes we haven’t heard in ages, resulting in—easily—the most outrageous “Split Open and Melt” since Big Cypress. Embodying supreme confidence by taking one of their most difficult songs into open waters, the band came back with a tale of jaw-dropping magnificence. And then there was the “Carini.”


7.5.13 (R.MacNeill)

In, yet, another of their most pristine escapades in a hot minute, the band continued to rewrite the record book for “Carini.” Juxtaposed against the sinister abstraction of it’s last outing at MSG on 12/30, SPAC’s “Carini” traveled in the absolute opposite direction into a soaring piece of melodic triumph. Intricate ideas spewed forth in an Olympic exposé of musical communication, as it took only about a minute for the band to flip the switch and head for the stratosphere. Locked and loaded and moving a mile a minute, this jam is nothing short of the soundtrack to paradise. Though “Carini” has been a consistent 3.0 spring board, none of the jams come close to resembling this jaunt which broke from structure and never looked back. The efficiency of this tale is absolutely mind-bogglingly, as it clocks in at twelve minutes! The amount of themes and ideas built, developed and realized within such a short amount of time takes nothing short of divine intervention. But these days, that is exactly the power that Phish possesses. And they continue to put forth music that is on par with or surpasses anything in their 30-year career, a feat unparalleled by any live music act alive or deceased.

And what about the rest of the show? Well, it was solid but uninteresting less the first “Tube” jam of the modern era and another new song! It seems at just about every corner, Phish had pressed the “reset” button this summer, and the result is our delight. The feeling of really letting loose to “Tube” for the first time in nine years (Deer Creek 6/24/04) was an undeniable sensation that lit the crowd’s collective consciousness afire. A speed groove in which all three members crushed with authority set the table for “Split’s” journey to the outer reaches of the universe two songs later. Secondly, out of “Carini,” the band seamlessly debuted their third song in three shows, “Architect” off of Trey’s most recent solo album Traveler. Though the song is lyrically over the top and cheeseball, I dig it musically (though I’m not gonna’ hold my breath to see what everyone else thinks about it.) It will be quite interesting to watch the fan base reception of this one.

7.3.13 (R.MacNeill)

7.3.13 (R.MacNeill)

On a slightly more critical note, set two never really elevated other than “Carini.” A standard “Number Line” opener gave way to the most laymen versions of “Tweezer” and “Sand” one will ever hear. In neither jam did the band develop anything original or of note, and the combo came up absolutely zero once taken off of paper. “Wilson,” “Boogie > Possum” to end the set? Shoot me in the face. But it was all fun and games after hearing two of the most magnificent excursions we’ve heard in years.

Depending on Sunday night’s affair, SPAC 2013 is quickly becoming the new birthplace of modern jams. But somehow, I don’t think it’s gonna be a regional thing this time around, as Phish has dropped “lifers” (jams you’ll listen to for the rest of your life) in the first three shows of tour. Wait ‘til we compile a Best of Summer 2013 playlist at the end of August—good Lord, have mercy! The only burning question going into any show right now is, “How many Hall of Fame jams Phish induct tonight?” Damn, it’s a good time to be a Phish fan.

I: Crowd Control, Chalk Dust Torture, The Wedge, Funky Bitch, Heavy Things, Bug, Bouncing, Tube, Julius, Split Open and Melt

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Tweezer > Sand > Carini -> Architect*, Wilson > Boogie On Reggae Woman > Possum

E: Show of Life > Tweezer Reprise


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429 Responses to “Windows to the Soul”

  1. DavidSilver Says:

    I want a Highway to Hell encore so bad right now.

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  3. Stoney Case Says:

    peace out y’all.

  4. phishm Says:

    Best set of the run and probably best show too. And I loved the first 2. I liked GA from Bangor, but not much else. Phish is on and everyone should be thrilled about that. I know I am. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the summer.

  5. DavidSilver Says:

    If Miner wants to say that was the best set of the return, I can’t argue with him. Been waiting for Trey to come home. Most ripping Antelope of the return imo. Whole set had mad flow, even velvet cheese. All is right in my world.

  6. Gavinsdad Says:

    Flowy foshowy

    Nite kids. Hot sauce tonite.

  7. punkmug Says:

    Great show. Wow.

  8. jerseyjim Says:

    piper was hot

  9. voopa Says:


  10. voopa Says:

    Seriously, nice show eh?

  11. meerkelot Says:

    Miner’s going to have to reattach his tongue, flush the blood out of his eyes, scrape up his brains and shove them back into the gaping hole that was his head if he ever wants to review tonight’s show. Good times, great oldies!

  12. MiA Says:

    Wish it was west coast time here

  13. joemeg Says:

    Yes! The Phish! Good shit! 30th anniversary summer tour and I can’t hit a show, it’ll be the best tour ever!

    I still think this is all just practice for what’s to come. Hold on to your hats!

  14. mayhem Says:

    Oops, too many devices. The new me agrees. Good shit!

  15. mayhem Says:

    Wish it was Friday here. Whatever time that is

  16. Willowed Says:

    Best night ever. DWD Ghost Piper……what?

  17. Willowed Says:

    Flow fo sho.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    Spinning split from spac 2. Wow! Psychedelic to the max. gordon rings the bell. Tessed out coda. $$$

  19. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    wow. tour is up and running quickly. very, very good music so far. stoked. colorado folks/mountaineers- if you want a full day of scrambling/climbing i highly recommend the ellingwood ridge on la plata peak. very fun, difficult, and beautiful. to those doing full tour, enjoy. see you in tahoe and beyond.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    Spac carini — masterful melodic improv . Vibe shifts dark in last 2 minutes. Song finidhed in a blissful space. $$$

  21. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    So much win! Everybody wins.
    Great show, great weekend. Can’t wait to hear this one again.
    The seal is wide open, everyone. Get ready to be hosed.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    Spac run turned out better than we ever did expect despite trey’s whale love.

  23. voopa Says:

    The Golden Age of The Whale.

    Get ready for the big Toronto Energy.

    Best band!

  24. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    i am finally getting caught up on music this tour (thank you mkdevo). i really enjoyed the 7.5 second set. i don’t agree with everything miner stated in his review (especially the light hype), but it was a mind blowing set, nonetheless. i love the 46>steam>drowned in particular. the carini and split from 7.6 are both wonderful. i can’t wait to hear tonight’s show. it looks wonderful on paper…

  25. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    best band in the galaxy

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