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. snow Says:

    hA! Nice one stoney. this slide whistle business is funny.

    @DS- yeah, miner’s review caused all hell to reign down on him on twitter. Mostly the “best of 3.0” award that he gave the show. He responds and the tweets start to fly…. something about electronic communication that is even more limited than regular electronic communication just makes everything seem much nastier than it really is. Thanks Twitter!

    That toob is super fun.

    The livephish app has been killer for me lately.

    My condolences @Voopa. I hope restraint now pays off later!

    My ’13 phish thoughts: it seems the band is trying to do something intentional based on the fact that they are bringing a new approach to songs. I think a big part of that is to break habits so jams don’t head down the same road. When you change habits, you have to be a bit reserved. It obviously doesn’t stop all creativity but makes things awkward. As this new intention settles in and becomes the new habit… watch the fuck out.

  2. snow Says:

    Miner doesn’t comment on lights because by all accounts he rarely has his eyes open when the band plays.

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Another funny Phish trend:

    Cats posting play by play style on Twitter from INSIDE the show. Then claiming they are engrossed in the music as well.

  4. yematt Says:

    ayo! awesome time up here in saratoga

    birthday show tonight for me!
    any pavillion tickets out there?
    would love to be in there tonight.
    yematt at gmails

  5. voopa Says:

    Thanks snow. Great analysis.

    Twitter is awesome during a show…if you’re not in the building.
    Stoney, you doing TorontOKC?

  6. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    Weather report from the general vicinity:
    seems like a few tiny isolated showers are popping up. Other than that nothing in the immediate future, though a blowup storm is not out of the question. Just means you’ll get get hosed by Phish AND mother nature.

  7. DavidSilver Says:

    People twit inside shows? KMS.

  8. butter Says:

    the human brain is a powerful device

    not far fetched to me at all to me that one can tweet and be engrossed in the music

    to each their own

    slippery slope to think u may enjoy the show more than the next guy by doing it your way

  9. butter Says:

    bummer Voops, hope u can catch some Fall or somethin

  10. Gavinsdad Says:


  11. butter Says:

    get out your stop watch, pen & note pad to really enjoy the concert

  12. Drew Says:

    Anyone know of any bars streaming the show tonight in the cape cod area of the country? Do bars do that back East? Portland Or usually has a few values streaming. Couch tour becomes bar stool tour.

  13. DavidSilver Says:

    Kinda like thinking other people wouldn’t know a hot show if it walloped them over the head?

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    what uuuuuup.

  15. guf Says:

    had to do my first phishthoughts post seeing my buds, butter and gavinsdad talking about twitter and show posting…. well said butter, yes it is very possible to multitask: tweet be engrossed in the music.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    no way did I suggest I enjoy a show more doing it my way. fuckin’ eh! I spend 20% of the time covering the WW booth. FML, but it’s my trade off. I promise, the guys in the seats are getting more than I am at the booth. Very similar comparison, IMO.

    literally impossible to have your hands, eyes, and brain splitting time between Twitter and the music, and claim to be as engrossed as YOU would be without Tweeting.

    Joe! Grumpy Case FTW! Not grumpy at all, man. Still almost as excited about tour as I was before it started.

    I will not go quietly into the night, with the slide whistle issue. I think it will retreat to the bag, and be used more sparingly, before they hit Atlanta. It would be like golfing a round with the pitching wedge only, the way it’s been.

  17. harryhood Says:

    Lets hope the boys decide to wax nostalgic tonight and unleash the monster Asihtos that’s been lurking around SPAC for nearly a decade now.

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    searching for One Direction tickets for TorontOKC as we speak. Wonder if any of the bands kids will be going…….

  19. bobby weird Says:

    new stage set up is cool. page is tucked in much closer to trey and much more front-facing than before. fish’s rig is also tucked in close but looks absolutely massive. and what the hell is that giant xylephone-keyboard-looking thing behind fish?

    it also appeared to me trey’s guitar was either turned down or he was purposely laying back so as not to dominant (except for the whale of course).

    great run of shows. each better than the last imo

  20. bobby weird Says:

    new stage set up is cool. page is tucked in much closer to trey and much more front-facing than before. fish’s rig is also tucked in close but looks absolutely massive. and what the hell is that giant xylephone-keyboard-looking thing behind fish?
    it also appeared to me trey’s guitar was either turned down or he was purposely laying back so as not to dominant (except for the whale of course).
    great run of shows. each better than the last imo

  21. butter Says:

    making want to dl the too short “blow the whistle” tune Stoney Bear

    morning Miner!!

  22. Stoney Case Says:

    Second time through ‘Tube’ and really enjoying.

    Anywhere to stream Bangor and Night 1 of SPAC? Crunchyville seems to only have the most current show.

  23. bobby weird Says: stoney

  24. butter Says:

    awesome moment at Jazzfest this year at the conga square stage a dj played the “blow the whistle” or “blow your whistle” or whatever that is by too short, and all the Nola gansta G’s in there dress clothes proceeded to pull up the whistle on their necklace and – blow the whistle

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    literally zero to no slide whistle in this sick ass ‘Tube’. Probably eclipsing MSG as my favorite since return. Really unique take on the tune!

    Slide Whistle bugged me in Bug. Agree with Miner that Sand has had such a great 3.0 run, that last night’s will be forgotten with the next version.

    Wondering if PNC gets the Ghost, to finish the 2010 run through…

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