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:

    Lol @ lumpyhead! Stoney on a roll. I also don’t care what anyone else is doing, but I ain’t about to say some typer or talker is fully engrossed in the music. There’s a reason people crash while texting. The brain can do many things at once, but each one suffers as a result.

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    so a lot of people who dont normally comment have been coming out of the wood work to talk smack because of Miner’s glowing reviews.

  3. DavidSilver Says:

    Counting Crows currently ruining my dance floor aj. To stubhub or not to stubhub? Think I may just bribe the usher. Thinking about bribing cpd to make the Whale disappear.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    I havent listened to any of it yet, but has it really been ultra whammy’d?

  5. voopa Says:

    Please allow me to amend my last statement.

    Twitter is great for me during shows, as long as I’m not at the show.

    Did not mean to speak for everyone.

    Back lawn done, time for laundry + beer + water + beer.

  6. tela'smuff Says:

    46 Days>Steam

    nice highlight list so far. hoping/guessing that Bowie and Hood get replaced.

  7. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    That Bowie was pretty dynamic from where I was standing.

    The only twit I’ve sent out during a show was last night at set break. It was something like this: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA #melt

    I didn’t know if it actually sent or not because my face was a puddle on the lawn.

  8. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    Time to go. Grand finale tonight!

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    phoam, yeah. you’re caught up!

    thumbs down on Architect in set two. Swap with Bug from last night if I was given the task of crafting setlists.

    Nothing I’ve heard from the first three nights touch most of my favorite highlights from ’12. I will just have to agree to disagree with Mr. Miner, and dream of the vehicle he’s been driving to these shows.

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    Tasty Vehicles

  11. butter Says:

    i learned to multitask from having a pale ale, joint dangling from mouth, while hackysacking …yes, all at the same time

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    bw, the bangor stream is a bit boomy and muffled on phishtracks, but I can get the gist. what a great site.

    little umb, it’s been ‘Slide Whistle Tour’ so far. You either enjoy the ‘Doc being played out of tune most of the time, or you don’t. It’s kind of the lightning rod so far….

    Trey used the wah pedal to great effect in the GA from Bangor. Funny, the wah pedal is long, looks like a normal guitar pedal, the whistle is really small, looks like a foot control for a sewing machine.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    butter, drop some tweets whilst doing all of the above, and you can rest your case 😛

  14. DavidSilver Says:

    Miners driving the Delorean. Posting in 2013 from 1998.

  15. DavidSilver Says:

    If you’d said Sammy Smiths I’d have been sold butter.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    again, around 4:20 in the Bangher Mike’s, Trey uses the slide whistle, with a sustain effect. bending a long note, that’s some cool use.

    watching him work the whistle with his foot in time with his fingers, on the Steam outro jam, is exactly what I don’t dig. it just takes the guitar out of tune on the fast runs. In Jim, Bug, Architect, pretty much every time a clean run is appropriate.

    It’s almost Twilight zoney for me that we’re in such disagreement here.


  17. Stoney Case Says:

    Like the Bangor Mike’s, if only for the lack of slide overall

  18. butter Says:

    i’ll be chewing gum AND watching the webcast later

    Sunday SPAC bitches

  19. butter Says:

    damn Stoney that digitech sewing pedal owns you

  20. Cal Says:

    To my ears, throughout these first three shows of 2013, Page is way more imaginative and energetic than he’s been previously in 3.0, piano, clav, organ, you name it. It is a joy to hear him play like this. I can hardly wait for Phishfork.

    Let’s see, I guess that’s about it.

  21. butter Says:

    Sammy’s has a pale ale, (old brewery pale ale)

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    funny things is i could hold a beer, puff, kick some sack, and probably tweet (spelling would be suspect), AND completely feel a jam that i’d be listening to, live, or on a boombox. holla.

  23. Stoney Case Says:

    anyone know what’s up with cell phones, going from US to Canada? Have Verizon plan.

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    Butter, it’s 1/4 of the mix. hard to avoid. we’re not talking Donna Jean with some off rhythm shakers and shit.

  25. little umbrellas Says:


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