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. butter Says:

    we know who the multitaskers are telas

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    “I broke my phone, my bike, and lost my glasses…….whilst drunken multi-tasking. Holla!”

  3. butter Says:

    should work fine Stoney, just check your roaming rates, and try not to tweet to much from the show and u should be fine

  4. DavidSilver Says:

    I just rear ended miners vehicle while posting on the bb. I suck at tucking.

  5. gavinsdad Says:

    LU – every single tour it’s the same. Stick around.

  6. butter Says:

    btw – pure comedy Miner in the “shoot me in the face” Re: Wilson, Boogie > Possum closer.

  7. Cal Says:

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


    I hate even doing this because I probably won’t have the time to chill here and debate. But…

    It can’t be that Trey doesn’t realize how discordant that shit is a lot of the time, right? He can’t be tone deaf, and he does this for a living. So I guess his intent is…to purposely make music that the human brain processes as “wrong”? Like he thinks he’s being “experimental”? Or could it be that Trey is so musically advanced that he has opened his mind to notions of pitch that the average human brain can’t fathom? Or is this technique so difficult that he’s still struggling to master it and doesn’t care that we have to listen to this shit as he’s failing to keep the bent notes in key?


  8. tela'smuff Says:

    hahah! well played Grumpy Case!!! well played.

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    Meh,.slow, beat to the punch…
    Also Sun Ra Arkestra lead by Marshall Allen is playing BGCA 2 this year. wish I could know that Sat will be the sleeper show. Arkestra put on one of the best shows ive ever seen. Much more rare than Phish. Might have an extra Sat availble .. Torn…

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Wow… Some of you really aren’t enjoying this?

    Serious question. Not trying to disvalue opinion.

  11. butter Says:

    Palmer – u were in da building the last two nights, right?

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    I pray for the Moog Tauras bass pedal. That’s when Alien ships bloom and land.
    Digitech< Theramin

  13. bobby weird Says:

    palmer i enjoyed all three nights, each night better than the last. my only real question is why trey’s guitar playing and vocals are subdued, quieter, less forceful. i prefer that to guitar god wank fest anyday, but less enthusiasm in vocals gives me some pause. someone said he had a cold?surely on purpose; just not sure why.

  14. mayhem Says:

    Don’t really dig the whale but I still have enjoyed the shows. I think each show has been better than the last.

    Best of 3.0? FUCKYOURFACE

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    telas! love ya’ man. takes talent to combine jokes from twitter and the bb, if I do say so myself


    Palmer, apparently the guitar sounds ‘less’ out of tune in the building.

    great speculation there Cal. really don’t know.

  16. PigSong Says:

    Great thoughts @cal! Intriguing perspective, as a non musician I haven’t the slightest.

    Bailed on a fly fishing expedition for the stream tonight. Been doing the first set with the kiddo, fully engrossed until near the end where she’s been passing the f out.

  17. Iriewalton Says:

    Just getting back to civilization from a memorable night staying at 6,000 ft at Timberline lodge on Mt. Hood with the missus and her folks. Insane hikes, meals, and pax’ing under the stars. Sick. Sick. Sick.

    Looks like I have some quality music to catchup on and look forward to it.

    Stoney: re, Verizon/Canada, definitely check as I was on biz in Toronto, last year, and Verizon wanted to charge me $1/minute to talk, don’t know about data rates.

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Well that sucks

  19. sumodie Says:

    Yematt, i have a balcony pav for u. Email sent

    Will check back here if no reply

  20. VTBowie89 Says:

    @butter still lmfao at your earlier comments… just finished a pre-show french toast extravaganza at dennys about 30 min S of spac and my boy and i are gonna need an ARK to get to the lot….holy fucking schnikes. guess we’ll spin the SOAM again otw and see what happens- stoked for night 3, lots of great tunes still on the table.

  21. DavidSilver Says:

    Sumo ftw. Birfday miracle.

    Someone sneak the whale onto the ark.

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    @vtbowie – something about Pregame French Toast buffet. I remember our stop at Shoneys before GD Greensboro ’89 like it was yesterday. First time brushing teeth in a restaurant bathroom taboot.

    Enjoy tonite.

    I don’t want a fractious fanbase but hell, whatever it takes. When this comes together for everyone lookout.

    At the same time I fear that Miner review…you know the one..”in a complete turnaround from last nites blah blah”. Cause I don’t want that to happen at PNC! #sorrytoronto

  23. alf Says:

    @sumo text me if you need yematt’s number

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    @cal – let’s stick with 89 here…when I was a scrub and not online discussing the minutiae of a bandleaders tone. When Garcia stunk up many of my shows with shittymidi, or even later when he lopped the balls off his tone altogether (fuck you acoustic-y 94 JG tone) we didn’t debate it, we dealt with it.

    Because they are the bandleaders and they get to experiment on our dime.

    FF to 2013 summer Phish. Same deal. But this time the improv, even whilst sullied with whale tone, is way better than the improv per show in a pretty hot year of GD (89)

    In sum: trey knows exactly what he’s doing and why.

  25. DavidSilver Says:

    I shudder to think how bad a show could be for miner to give it a bad review.

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