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. Cal Says:

    Trey has improved with each show. I enjoy that fact. Also the facts of the slightly extended “Tube”, the unusual “Antelope” and “Steam”, some spectacular segues and some great moments in “Light”, “Split” and “Carini”, all very promising things. I’m not feeling pessimistic about the tour, more mystified than anything.

  2. mayhem Says:

    Carini! That’s the shit that I like

  3. gavinsdad Says:

    I’d say I’m more phi-curious than mystified. Will be happy to make this all somewhat tangible Wednesday nite.

  4. Cal Says:

    gd, I’ll have to take your word for it. Never been much of a Dead fan. Only comparing Phish to Phish, or really Trey to Trey. I can’t help debating it; it’s a huge part of why this band inspires so much joy in me on so many levels. Internet is part of Phish now. I have few opportunities to geek out this specifically. Sometimes I gotta do it.

    I don’t think it needs to be fractious; nobody’s trying to ruin anybody’s enjoyment of shows. Being at the show is all that really matters. This is just killing time and being nerds. Right?

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    Toronto 1st set:
    Ghost>Waves>Frankie Says>Ashitos.

    Day off from tour in Venice.
    Found a Sculpin six pack, Evil Cousin by Heretic and Alesmith Ipa.

  6. Foul_Domain Says:

    ^ Yes, please!

  7. Foul_Domain Says:

    Couldn’t have penned that better myself

  8. Foul_Domain Says:

    Golgi opener tonight.

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    Done talking about the slide whistle. Will focus on #ShitIdoLike

    Can’t wait to be in the building. This place doesn’t even seem fractitious to me. Just doin what we do on the days between. Even AW is feelin the love! Mostly positive stuff out of that cat! More than balances the few of us in the Twilight Zone!

  10. Stoney Case Says:

    Who the fucks gonna be at tOKC?

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    @cal – my opinion of course. Trey add’ing and trying new stuff out. Makes me wonder if they talk about morphing styles in the off season and actually map out what that will be OR if they are just so fucking gifted they just do it on the fly since they started practicing for this tour. Whatever it is I think the new experimentation phase(s) come with some prompting from trey and some all band convos. Again, my speculative take on things.

    Wasn’t taking potshots…I’m here in the future too.

  12. Cal Says:

    One more thing: Am I the only one who hopes they’ll some day replace “step into the freezer” with “snap into a slim jim”, just once?

  13. gavinsdad Says:

    Fractious was a comment on the interwebs as a whole…

  14. butter Says:

    ride captain’d in Toronto for Stoney Case. mark it.

  15. Cal Says:

    I like that perspective, gd. I know I’m being hard on Trey, but I also have all the faith in the world that it’s all gonna wind up in music I focking love. It always does.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

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

    ^ I didn’t exactly think last night was a great show. Did you not get that through my piece? But the two jams were out of this world.

  17. Stoney Case Says:

    Meatstick>Jennifer Dance’s>Ride Cap’n

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    Come to think of it! My last few ‘Sticks and Ride Caps have come at favorite shows! Bring it!

  19. DavidSilver Says:

    It was more the “How many HOF jams will phish induct tonight?” sentence. So far, none this tour imo. Also, the whole Best of 3.0 article about what, to my ears, was an extremely average and unspecial show. To each his own.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    SEE! As soon as I go huggiebear, no one posts! Want Grumpy Case instead?!?!?!

  21. Stoney Case Says:

    email or text me for phatty streemlink.


  22. MiA Says:

    butter Says: July 7th, 2013 at 2:01 pm i learned to multitask from having a pale ale, joint dangling from mouth,
    while hackysacking …yes, all at the same time

    Sounds like a Butter-olympics event at butterfest.

  23. butter Says:

    GD – classic back in my day post about how we didnt question it, we just dealt with it

  24. voopa Says:

    I am a positive geek.

  25. jerseyjim Says:

    Webcast tuned-in. Ready for some antics.

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