The Phish We Grew Up With

7.7.13 (Jake Silco)

7.7.13 (Jake Silco)

Another night, another phenomenal show from to start to finish—Phish tour hasn’t been this good in ages. The band stepped onto their home turf in central New Jersey and played the show of the summer on Wednesday night at PNC. Sculpting another masterpiece of a second set—their third in four shows—the band spent almost all of the time after the break in an improvisational space. Centered around a staggering “Crosseyed and Painless”—far and away the jam of the summer—the second half of the show was chock full of audacious jamming spread over two central sequences of “Crosseyed > Harry Hood” and “Sand > Light.” Though the second segue could have been a tad more patient, five-star improv was present throughout all four jams, lighting up the mud-thick Jersey air with musical fireworks all night long.

PNC Official (M.Davis)

PNC Official (M.Davis)

It is quite apparent that Phish is making a deliberate decision to bring their jams into fresh places at every opportunity. No longer are they falling back on the improvisational clichés that grew prevalent in the years since ‘09—’12. Two-thousand-thirteen Phish simply sounds different than ever before. Absolutely at the top of their game and peaking like they haven’t since the late-‘90s, the band is not only back to churning out innovative music, on a nightly basis, but they are once again, piecing their sets—and shows—together like no time since their glory years. I have thrown the term “Golden Age” a bit too loosely in the past couple years—I just didn’t realize the arc that we were on. But it’s safe to say that 2013—with Dick’s 2012 as the gateway—represents the bona fide “Golden Age” of the Phish from Vermont.

Not since Dick’s “Light” have we heard Phish develop a jam so throughly and thematically as they did with the “Crosseyed” that opened PNC’s second set. Fresh musical sounds and ideas rained down on Holmdel’s legendary pavilion in a jam that absolutely stole the show despite plenty of other highlights. Talking to a friend last night, we were trying to remember the last time the band had played five shows in a row with the quality of jamming that they have displayed thus far this summer. We couldn’t remember. Once again, as in the times of lore, the band is besting themselves nightly and willingly diving into the abyss each and every show, and this “Crosseyed” is but the current mantle holder. I would wager zero dollars that it will be in the same top slot after Jones Beach. This is the Phish we grew up with, the band committed to bringing us to new galaxies every.single.night. Deep into this “Crosseyed” jam, listen for echoes of the Vegas ’03 “Piper” in the rhythmic chord progression that Trey develops, it’s unmistakable. The PNC “Crosseyed” is the type of protean jam that absolutely elevates a show to another level immediately and brings every ounce of your soul right along. Pure Phish magic of the highest degree, and one of the most awe inspiring conversation I’ve heard the band have in memory, I present exhibit A for the argument that Phish is playing better than at any point in their career.

7.7.13 (J.Silco)

7.7.13 (J.Silco)

Capping this heroic journey, the band dropped into “Harry Hood”—another move that bucks setlist convention—and placed their spiritual piece in the spotlight of the second set. And damn did they deliver. Constructing an incredibly well-phrased solo with non-stop licks of glory, Trey continually brought back a gorgeous phrase that came to define the jam. Giving “Hood” the full treatment in a must-hear version, the band capped a thirty-minute song pairing that provided a microcosm of the psychedelic experience.

Taking a heavy-handed breather in “Axilla,” the guys dropped right back into action with the second “Sand” of summer. This version was night and day from the lackluster SPAC version, as Trey leapt into action immediately, slicing and dicing the night with slinky rhythm chops that coaxed the rest of the band into active participation. This jam totally exploded, bringing a sweltering dance session into an equally sweltering evening. Unlike the guitar solo wankery that Trey can easily fall into, he kept it super fresh in this version focusing on rhythm licks for the duration. And just when it seemed like they might blow “Sand” out of structure, instead Trey elected for “Light.”

7.7.13 (Jake SIlco)

7.7.13 (Jake SIlco)

When Phish plays “Light” right now, it’s like being launched out of a cannon into a original musical universe, and last’s night’s version was but our latest ride. Again, Trey sculpted an sharp and dialed solo in “Light” before the band even began to take it out.  And when they did, they once again tread on sacred ground. Providing a late-set stunner that balanced the second half of the show, the band locked into each other in yet another gospel according to Phish. And this time Trey used his wah pedal to proselytize, leading the band into staggering ground and absolutely owning it. And before we knew it, the guys had led us to the mountaintop, providing the show with a astonishing late-set peak. In the denouement, Trey extensively quotes “Maria” from “West Side Story” before bringing the piece through a seamless transition into “Good Times, Bad Times.” And the audience roared with approval. The band brought the set home with the second “Slave” of summer—a beautiful rendition that punctuated the evening with dramatic resolution.

7.7.13 (J.Silco)

7.7.13 (J.Silco)

Honestly, with Phish playing at the level they are right now, there are no lulls in the their show. At set break, a friend who was streaming at home texted me that he thought the set was kind of lame. But I had the opposite experience at the show. He asked why, and my answer was simply—“They are crushing it.” Only treading on jams with “Wolfman’s” and a ferocious “Bathtub Gin” that evoked the spirit of the all-time version in the same shed 13 years ago, the band’s playing was, nonetheless, enjoyable and entertaining from the jump. “Llama” provided a kick start to the night while “Julius” served as an injection of blues-rock shreddery. Trey finally took a solo in “Yamar” after leaving it hanging the past few times, and “Stealing Time” felt crunchier than usual. Even “Theme” seemed to have a bit more mustard than average. This is the Phish we grew up with—even a set of contained songs popped with energy and creativity.

2013 is becoming a whole ‘nother ball game, and at this rate, there is no telling how far IT will go. Once again, anything is possible on any given night and the band seems determined to remain a step ahead of the game, showering us with lightness every step of the way. It is now quite evident—whether they knew it or not—that the band’s comeback has all led up to 2013, the celebration of their 30th year together and a rejoicing of the hallowed spirit of the band. They have come out of the gates this tour as a revitalized force of nature, and when things are clicking like this in the Phish universe, there’s no place on Earth that I’d rather be.

I: Llama, Wolfman’s Brother, Sample in a Jar, Julius, Halley’s Comet > Bathtub Gin, Lawn Boy, Ya Mar, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Theme From the Bottom > Suzy Greenberg

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Harry Hood, Axilla > Sand > Light* > Good Times Bad Times, Slave to the Traffic Light, Rocky Top, Cavern*

E: Possum*

*teases of “Maria” from “West Side Story”

========

PHISH YOGA CLASSES ON TOUR 

Surrender to the Flow Yoga: The Music of Phish, The Practice of Yoga.

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Perhaps you’ve heard about my brother Chris’ Phish Yoga project. In 2010 he began teaching Phish themed yoga classes that connect the philosophy of the band to the teachings of yoga. After packed classes and lots of enthusiasm on and off tour throughout 2010 and 2011, Phish Yoga has expanded. Chris brought in five other huge Phish fans that are also certified yoga teachers and this past May held the first Phish Yoga Teacher Training in New York City. Check out the brand new website created by Michael Levin, here to learn more about this unique project, the teachers, events, and a lot more.

Phish Yoga is a 90 minute asana class set to immersive experience of live Phish. Each class is thematically constructed to draw parallells between Phish and yoga, describing how these practices are similar ways of accessing higher consciousness and transcending our rational, limited understanding of existence. All proceeds of Phish Yoga are donated to The Mockingbird Foundation and Street Yoga

merriweatherSummer 2013 will include pre-show classes in Chicago, New Jersey, and Washington, DC (as well as a class last weekend for the SPAC shows in Malta, NY.) This Saturday 7/13, for the Merriweather shows, STTFY will be hosting a class at Synergy Yoga and Pilates in Columbia Maryland. Kerry Contini and Michael Levin will be teaching. You can pre-register here.

Next Saturday 7/20, at Village Yoga Lincoln Park in Chicago. Class with Tracy Stonaker. Pre register here using the Pay Pal donation button. Later in tour, Chris will be teaching in San Francisco and in Denver. Check the website or like them on Facebook for up to date information.

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1,303 Responses to “The Phish We Grew Up With”

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  1. gavinsdad Says:

    Was hard to take it all in to be honest. Phish was knocking the rust off my brain and stoking me out simultaneously.

    Need to Respin ASAP.

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    PNC has the best bass reverb of any outdoor shed I’ve been to. Bar none. Mike seems to know this as well

  3. kenny powers Says:

    Great to hear of another great show. The first set alone looks killer.

  4. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Very happy for those who got this hot show and for the trajectory the band is on. Chicago awaits.

  5. bob dylan Says:

    had a blast last night. good to see you all. wish i had more time to puff with you all. loved getting that crosseyed, still waiting…

    i def was hearing piper in that crosseyed last night. cant wait to listen back to this show. good one to catch if its my only one this summer.

    fragmented thoughts. wish i were seeing more is a recurring one tho. band is hot right now.

  6. bob dylan Says:

    thanks gdad as always. agreed re:tough to take it all in.

  7. PigSong Says:

    Nice read, miner. Have to give this second set a spin this morning. After perusing the comments for a minute last night, this review is most welcome.

    I believe it’s an off day before Jones Beach, time to catch back on some highlights while. Riding the lawn mower.

  8. PigSong Says:

    Glad to see a bunch of the BB got some last night. Did I read it was Palmers last? Fitting xeyed then.

  9. MiA Says:

    Spinning set II and there is even a bit of the MSG Holy Ghost in there.

    Fun show!

  10. RoosterPizza Says:

    This is the first time I’ve felt like Coral Sky Crosseyed has had some competition. That thing from last night is epic, and I’ve been blasting it over here. You know your staring at an epic jam when you listen to it 5+ times in one day and it only gets more enjoyable with each spin.

  11. Terrapin Station Says:

    Great show. Some incredible jams. I have to add that I think Mike’s recent setup puts his bass up in the mix with more clarity. Sounds great. Also sounds like the vocals are getting better. Some really nice harmonies througout, and hitting all of Plant’s high notes right in Good Times…

  12. The Great Quux Says:

    Great show last night. I thought the Theme had less mustard than average but it was the only song I can think of I wanted more from. Everything else was played in a fresh new way that proves Trey has finally learned how to use the whammy in the context of Phish jamming. Excited for Friday!

  13. bobby weird Says:

    Its ice background music just now on wbur (npr).

    #weareeverwhere

    Great set II last night!

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    show downloaded. C&P > Hood for the ride to work.

    as you know we have a nice community here. nice to see all the BBers pre and during etc. the Phone connectivity messed me up with quite a few people but it all works out in the end. Neemor, Gcub, Palmer, Mitch, Marco, Kaya, Calpain…sorry i missed you Stitch! and Xpun gets the Dad award…nice to meet your kids bud.

    2nd set was just relentless. Extremely glad i get the chance to absorb some more of this in MPP. i find myself studying the interesting new way they move into improv while also trying to take in the music as a whole. It’s like student and listener all at once.

  15. ren Says:

    Beautiful! Glad it happened for everyone who made it!!!

    BRING ON JB!!!

  16. ren Says:

    Japanese glory hole LOL!!!

  17. Stoney Case Says:

    MiA! Our guy Phism called out that Holy Ghost reference in real time on Hoodstream. I was hearing it but struggling to place.

  18. Whalereturns Says:

    Last night was killer. Crushed spac. From the opening Notes of llama it was clear Phish was going to destroy pnc. Haven’t listenend back to the hood but thinking its got to be number two next to Worcester for 3.0 best.

    Pumped for jones beach…hope they play possum. See ya!!!

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    Anyone that picked up the West Side Story ‘Maria’ teases in real time,

    1-step closer to being blocked or banished.

  20. Brian&Robert Says:

    That damn whammy pedal needs to go…thought we got passed that

  21. jerseyjim Says:

    nice write-up. wish i had been able to go. listening back now.

    @miner – check yoga link. getting error 404.

  22. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Wow. This tour is where its at. Welcome back Phish.

  23. GhostPhunk Says:

    just spinning now. always good to wake up and see the phamily happy.

  24. Luther T. Justice Says:

    @Stoney

    I think BK picked up those teases pronto. But he actually performed in a production of West Side Story, so he should get some slack 😉

  25. punkmug Says:

    Great review Miner. Thanks.

    Chicago soon come..

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