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”



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


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”

  1. ren Says:

    bad his conneat

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

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

    c’mon, stoney, turn in the cool kid card and join the theater crowd. broadway trey came to town and partied down. that shit was fantastic, real time and on playback.

  3. marcoesq Says:

    What an amazing time last night. 2nd set was blowing minds. Took my buddy to his first show and he loved it.

    sound seemed a little off at first from 302 but after getting down in the 100’s was much better. mpp y’all

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    those echo washes by trey at the start of the c&p jam are goose-pimple-inducingly-good

  5. GhostPhunk Says:

    Stoney is too k00l 4 sk00l

  6. ClownBaby Says:

    Just FYI to anyone with lawn seats for Northerly island. The grass has been ripped up and concrete has been laid down.

  7. neemor Says:

    Real-timed those Maria teases as well as the Manteca. Good time, Sand flirted with magic and sauerbraten versions of Gin, Hood, Wolfman’s…lots of gems. Nice show for newcomers and vets alike. Great to run into Mango and gdad.
    Picked up the Mashtay Cobra print and the coin. Very synchronisitous eve in the dirty Jerz. Knew I was surrounded by good people. Super vibe last night.

  8. jdub Says:

    Great to have such a dynamic start to summer. Jumped in the deep end this morning with Crosseyed and Hood for breakfast. Holy mother of Ghost. This is a band on fire. 5 shows in and the playlist of jams is filled with top grade sashimi. So far we have

    Bangor Golden Age
    SPAC 1 Light,
    SPAC 2 SOAM, Carini
    SPAC 3 Ghost, Piper
    PNC Xeyed, Light

    Hella 5 show run indeed

  9. Shred Says:

    Shred Says:
    July 11th, 2013 at 6:42 am
    Show was good.
    They have reinvented themselves. Playing with determination.
    First set llama wolf gin and haileys was solid. After gin set fell apart.
    X eyed hood sand light good xwas sick. I was 101 row L and right there. It was an hour of rip. days are gone of lots of pressure release. Just good x had it. But they were honed in on a sick blissful jam. After cross eyed they played an amazing jam that is def worth listening too.
    Look go see phish. They sound great. But don’t think it’ll compare to the 90s. It doesn’t. But that’s not important. We all have changed and evolved and what they are now is still better than anything out there. I will add that wsp w herring is the bomb. Love herring.
    Mike was the biggest let down. He was off his game the whole show. Why? Kuroda Doesnt know how to work the lights yet. Troy fish and page were all over it.

  10. Stoney Case Says:

    Fantastic? Yes

    Could I tell it was West Side Story? No

    BK gets a longer leash due to his background. T3 knows everything. What’s the rest of y’all excuse!?

  11. neemor Says:

    Sauerbraten? Llfa! Using a phone with active spell check for the first time! Typed ‘super’ versions.
    Although I love sauerbraten.

  12. Kaveh Says:

    @Miner: thanks for the review.

    Morning y’all…can’t wait to dive into this show this morning.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    pickled roast jams.

    I like it.

  14. ren Says:

    Was wonder what you were trying to say there LOL!! too much artistic interpretation granted on the BB

  15. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Original and transcendent soundscapes galore this tour. Psyched to hear this one, now. JB awaits. Fired up. BB meet up?

  16. kayatosh Says:

    great pre-show and show. chillin in the shade paxin and chattin. saw no arrests, no No2, no one out of hand. scene seems to have matured and the youngins seem to have their shit together.

    first set was well-played and energized w/ stand out versions of gin, yamar and theme. enjoyed the placement of lawn boy and even STFTFP, a song that can be grating, sounded $$. old school llama opener always welcome.

    the second set went deep. That crosseyed opener was locked in, forceful, and inspiring — $$$. heard the glory jam/holy ghost style. hood was a blur. got groovin w/ sand until trey slammed the Light intro chords right over page’s plinko gymnastics. not every segue can be buttery, and the move felt bold and original in its rawness. Light built upon the spac version and went further — $$$. all gravy after that, including the obligatory NJ led zeppelin blast. my memories of slave are hazy to none.

    was steadily ingesting herbal coconut oil throughout the day and by set II things got heady. was even taking strategic sitting breaks. had only half a pre-roll during yamar. and that’s all that was needed once the waves of coco oil starting lapping against the cranial shores.

    time to spin this puppy.

    thanks again to capain and gdad for being capable traveling companions and great friends. and cheers to everyone who hung out — palmer, gcub, xpun w/ kids (how’d that work out, buddy?), the duke boys, gdad’s myriad friends– and attended a $$$ show.


  17. neemor Says:

    Sound was super bass-y in 302. Could not gather what Page was saying about Jersey early on for example. Mike struggled most of the first set, making gestures and his tech coming out every other song. Meatball effect is apparently gone. Hard to pick a champ last night, good sign of a band letting each other shine.

  18. ren Says:

    @Spasm-hope to see you at JB…party bussing it up and won’t be on the lot super early if early at all.

    WW Booth pre-show?

  19. Spasm Waiter Says:

    “had only half a pre-roll during yamar. and that’s all that was needed once the waves of coco oil starting lapping against the cranial shores.”

  20. SOAM Says:

    Like trey said on Sat…..”time has come for changes, do something or we will”

  21. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Sounds about right Ren. I am at two one two four nine five nine zero six two

  22. kayatosh Says:

    listen to crosseyed and light. this band has found a new sound.

    still oiled; having bean burrito for breakfast.

    marco and bobby d: sorry i missed you guys. couldn’t have found waterwheel even w/ a guide dog. spent halftime propped up against a wall. ownworld’d

  23. DavidSilver Says:

    Best news ever Clown. I love concrete. Hope the sound is dialed in.

    Started from the bottom, now da whole gangs here.

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    The Maria was not particularly hard to pull out and he played it for a while. I assumed it was a nod to our resident thespian BK who appeared in West Side Story previously, as well as a tongue in cheek nod to Trey’s fling on Broadway.

    It’s all happening.

  25. kayatosh Says:

    i knew the maria tease right off the bat. isn’t that shit common knowledge? it’s west side story, dog.

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