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. voopa Says:

    The time has come for changes.

  2. tela'smuff Says:

    that Spilt!! Can’t believe that Carini is only 12mins. wizardry at it’s finest.
    I think Sand deserves a little more mention. love how Page led the jam. the highlight list continues to grow.

  3. voopa Says:

    Get to a show or two, if you can. Everyone.

  4. P.S.H.S Says:

    I’m not a guitar player or musician so I have no tech. knowledge of what treys trying to do with his old axe. But here’s my theory: he just wants to hear some of his new material on old faithful. I’m sure that he’s played light once or twice on all of his guitars, but maybe he wants us to hear light on his old axe. I think the old doc has a better funk sound than the ocedoc, maybe he wants to be funkier. Maybe the ocedoc can only handle 4 mins of dirty tube funk, who knows, it is mysterious magical creature.

  5. phoammhead Says:

    Wow … phish is killin’ it … miner’s killin’ it … the time is now … I’m thoroughly enjoyin’ it … from the couch … can’t wait for more … and then Chicago …

  6. phoammhead Says:

    the old doc will do just fine for me … yeah pshs, i’m thinking old doc is funkier.

    I’ve got no problems with trey’s playin’ … no problems with whale usage … really quite likin’ it … all of it. did I mention IT!

    I’m a bit sad about this 3 show run ending … kinda like i am at the shows … thank you phish

  7. PigSong Says:

    Spun the Split (missed that part of stream) and Carini (twice) this morning. I’d give bonus points to Tweez>Sand, but haven’t listened back to those. While Type I – seems i remember Trza annihilating the jam, also seems like Sand broke form for a few minutes.

    Great time to be a fan, indeed.

  8. Mdawg Says:

    Phish wins again!

  9. Todd Says:

    Mr miner, how about that 30 min + split from Coventry? I would say it ventured into open waters…

  10. Alexander Grosby Says:

    Sand had I believe Fishman push the tempo up and the entire band went with him effortlessly that was pretty impressive.

  11. Mdawg Says:

    Not mentioned in the review is the fact that Kuroda is on point. Saw a couple new looks during the jamz last night and he keeps getting better. New rig and new tricks from Bieber tour are paying off. I agree if you can get to a show or two or all of em… DO IT!

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Great review Miner. Spot on.

  13. phoammhead Says:

    loved hearing architect … really pleased that song got called up to the big leagues.

    possum in that spot and to close second set … while a head scratcher … was all good after all that came before it.

    show of life is a fav of mine

    i was thinking at the end of SOAM whether they’ve left a split reprise open and available for a future drop … hmmmm

  14. phoammhead Says:

    I agree, dawg, CK5’s rig looks really cool from couch … can’t wait to see if live … seems more psychedelic …

  15. DavidSilver Says:

    Beginning of Carini jam sounds like I Know You Rider. Sick. Glad they tried on SOAM, but did nothing for me. YMMV.

  16. Whalereturns Says:

    It’s almost like the storage lighting a little. It’s really cool.

    Liked last nights show a lot. I don’t get it either with all the songs in their rotation they could keep everything a lot more fresh.

    Carini did have fishman crushing the beats again…love that guy on carini. Have to listen to the split again. These two shows have massive difference of opinions with a lot of people.

  17. Mdawg Says:

    Everything is different and imo awesome

  18. Dorn76 Says:

    Thanks Miner.

    The four headed monster is crushing skulls. Nightly.

  19. Monsterpus Says:

    Is the Live Phish App on the iPhone completely useless for anyone else? It can’t make it through a song without crashing. We’re a pretty geeky fan base, they should be able to find a good developer.

  20. Moby Dick Says:


    Whoa Whoa Whoa

    you think theres room for more than enough whale around here?

  21. punkmug Says:

    Moby Dick is back right on time! LOL. I love the BB!

    SPAC 3!? Yes Please!

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    caught the split on the stream last night

    then my stream cut out but came back for the carini

    im pretty excited about the band right now

  23. butter Says:

    sweet piece Miner

    here’s a few of my thoughts from my seat on the couch! my sat internet out here in the sticks is now fast enuf to run without a blip, so i’m actually able to use my bomb ass man cave i built to stream the dream.

    while i agree Melt was transcendent 1 million percent; i feel they’ve been building up to this version thru the exploring they’ve been trying in other versions of the Melt jam. (see Raleigh for a space jam, but with no real tension or precision leaving the song, OR coming back)

    one of the badass things about this version as Miner writes:

    “The initial part of the jam saw Trey shredding with extraordinary phrasing and precision—unlike any other recent version.” > it fused that old school feel of Melt on the way out to open waters

    i’m surprised no mention of them being so far off in the great abyss, they basically had to stop playing and start playing the return theme at 1/2 speed. ( it doesn’t matter, it was all gravy) but, it was almost like a joke how far out they’d gone and knew they had zero chance at crashing back into the theme like they used too. the stream was cool for this as Fish was just laughing looking at Trey like “u want me to play the split theme now?” and Trey was laughing too at attempting to wrap the song up from scratch.

    def the Melt we’ve waiting for, but lets see them fuse the jam back with the Split theme for heads to really pop.. but i’ve said before i don’t even think thats the point of Split anymore, and it now has a space jam in it.

    in the end as different from 3.0 versions as this Melt is, its similar in the fact they couldn’t return to the theme. and i find that a fascinating sub-plot of 3.0. @plord typed last night “they could have left themselves a trail of bread crumbs”

    Split Open and Melt = i just may be able to call my favorite Phish song again for the first time in over 13 years.

    Fuck yes on Tube and Carini. i think i take a bit more of the other highlights away from this show than Miner’s review suggests. you put that Tweez in the 1st set and its a solid Tweezer, and Sand was stock agreed, but thats is still a pretty hot dance party these days. also, Trey took a massive solo in Bug in the 1st set and Page was doing work in the 1st set as well.

    anyway, bring it if this is the new Saturday night special.

    def an autopilot ending to the second set. don’t know if it was the drink Trey got thrown in his face or if they had just shown us enough of their sick sick hand their holding this summer.

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    That Sand got my keyboard ears percolated right up.

  25. punkmug Says:

    @Tela’s. Totally with you on that Sand. Total phish dance crack for my ears. Page kills in that solo. I’ve only seen the webcast and heard the sbds. I bet he shines in the AUD.

    That whole Tweezer>Sand>Carini>Architect grouping worked for me. I’m totally on board with Architect as a landing pad too. The band seemed to nail it pretty good for a first time out.

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