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. Phred Says:

    Best SOAM since Cypress?! At a minimum, Fukuoka and Coventry disagree with you.

    Surely the best in 3.0, but let us try to stop with the uber hyperbole, no?

  2. sumodie Says:

    That tweez is dirty nice if short. Carini of course peaks me!

    8 mile bike ride complete, jacuzzi next. I’ll be primed for tonight

  3. alf Says:

    when two sevens clash

  4. Marcoesq Says:

    The melt last night was so important because to this point, the biggest apparent thing trey has been scared of was getting lost and not being able to fuse some type of segue into whatever they were playing. They finally let themselves go and found that its okay, you will always come back home.

  5. voopa Says:

    Find ourselves right here

  6. ElJefe Says:

    I thought they were going someplace different than the end of Split… Catapult or Kung or something… The end was completely botched but it didn’t matter… Everyone was laughing and having fun…

  7. jp Says:

    obv a huge seven below coming tonight, right?

  8. little umbrellas Says:

    Different stage set up huh…. Havent seen any mention of this factor… Mike on the right, Fish facing out..

  9. voopa Says:

    No more hand signals. Trey can talk to Fish all he wants now, and he does.

  10. Gavinsdad Says:

    It’s what the kids are asking for @JP

  11. DavidSilver Says:

    You’ll get Nothing and like it.

  12. ElJefe Says:

    DS- ha ha ha awesome!! But it looks good on you….

  13. ElJefe Says:

    I want a Clean! Waves and ASTOS… No Whales allowed! Is that irony?

  14. DavidSilver Says:

    No more hand signals?

    What about random arm waving?

  15. kayatosh Says:

    ditto what foul D has said about last night. there was whale but it was more tastefully used and trey was on as opposed to sporadic. tube! liked the tweezer despite its brevity. great show. need to respin. fairly distracted on the couch. talking to wife during SOAM had volume down. will find that one today.

    one more SPACast. pumped.

  16. DavidSilver Says:

    I shudder to think of water based songs. How about an earth shattering Timber Ho?

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    spinning spac 1 from the top, haven’t heard anything yet. gotta catch up before tonight’s webcast.

  18. ElJefe Says:

    I’ll accept the Whammy if they band agrees to go Deep Storage…complete w extra hand waving..

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    I’m changing the name ‘whale pedal’ to ‘slide whistle’. Out of respect for our sentient mammal brothers and sisters of the sea.

    Early in Split had the slide whistle I don’t dig. Around 11 min he uses a sustain and whistle together. That’s the slide I do like.

    The end was sad/silly and you all are in ‘Free Pass Mode’. So it goes.

  20. ElJefe Says:

    Kaya I don’t mind it. But Trey needs to control it not the other way around…

  21. kayatosh Says:

    yall are the best. BB forever.

    with love anything can be worked out

  22. Joe Says:

    Grumpy case the poster formerly known as Robear.

  23. Joe Says:

    Count me in the liked tweezer sand combo. Some nice rhythm work by trey.

  24. sumodie Says:

    Heavy rain & t-storms here in amherst ma, two hours SE if spac. Any heavy weather out there? Weather man predicts 50% chance

  25. kayatosh Says:

    df: spac 1, set II — $$$.

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