In Touch With Their Roots

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

If Phish had played a show with the contour of Merriweather’s Saturday night’s song-based performance at any time over the past several years, it would fallen completely flat. But with the band’s revitalized interplay in their contained jamming—something glaringly missing from their modern arsenal until this tour—a show like last night’s was fantastic. Sticking to the program and breaking song structure only twice in “Disease” and “Simple,” the guys, nonetheless, threw down another high quality performance from top to bottom. The energy in the pavilion last night was both palpable and electric, and the band rode that wave all night long, dropping their second stellar “Split Open and Melt” in a row, a scorching “Birds of a Feather,” magnificent “Harry Hood” and a heavy-handed, 28-minute “Mike’s > Simple > Groove” to close things out. Filled with active jamming all night long Merriweather night one popped off in a different way than a Phish show has in quite a while.

7/13 Official (Doe Eyed)

7/13 Official (Doe Eyed)

The first set featured an array of tour debuts, including a bustout of “Destiny Unbound” for the first time since Super Ball, “Taste,” Page’s “Halfway of the Moon” and “Twenty Years Later.” The improvisational crest of the set, however, came in its final three-song segment featuring an absurdly intense and well-executed “Maze” and a version of “Split” that illustrated—to the delight of all—that song has truly returned as a juggernaut in the Phish catalog. A opening frame that contained no open improv still held everyone’s attention for the duration, and that is the mark of a band firing on all cylinders.

The highlights of the second set were all absolutely classic-sounding pieces of Phish in “Disease,” “Hood” and “Mike’s Groove.” All three pieces evoked the essence of the songs as they were employed in the hey day. Here’s how. Appearing in its hallmark slot as a second set opener, “Disease” kicked things off after setbreak for the second time this summer, and for the second consecutive time it became a creative peak of its of the show. Moving deep into a groovy space, the band swam into open waters for the first and only real time of the night and succeeded with flying colors. Resolving the exploration with a melodic coda, the band proceeded to sew the song together with its final verse in a move seldom seen in with a second set “Disease.”

7.13.13 (R.MacNeill)

7.13.13 (R.MacNeill)

Following a few-song interlude, including a “Birds of a Feather” that carried an urgency and full-band attack unseen since ’99, Phish dropped into the second mid-set “Hood” in three shows—and once again they absolutely slayed it. This time, however, the tone Trey used along with the way he built the jam to a larger peak than we’ve heard in modern “Hoods” all reeked of classic Phish. Soloing with passion and a purpose, Trey orchestrated a grandiose version that needs to be heard by any die-hard fan of the song. You might even question what year to which you’re listening. And the same might be true for the final highlight of the show—“Mike’s Groove.”

Having laid off their suite since Bangor’s opening set, this time Phish placed it as the closer of the night—and for the first time in this era, the band gave true love to each and every part of the triumvirate. “Mike’s” built to an outlandish peak with all sorts of dissonant guitar fury, but when the band transitioned to “Simple” the second open jam of the set unfolded. Moving out of song without slowing down into any sort of ethereal or noodly space, the band trucked into yet another classicly-shaped jam, hearkening back to the days when “Simple” was but an extension of the “Mike’s’ jam. And then came the glory, as Trey peaked the piece with subtle, slow and methodical reprise of the “Disease melody. While Trey never outright played the lick  note-for-note, he danced around it for long enough to make a clear nod to the set’s opening jam—a bit of Phishiness slipped into the fold. The guys blew out “Weekapaug” with creative, rhythmic calisthenics, caressing the jam like they haven’t in so damn long. This is the first 3.0 “Mike’s Groove” that deserves a place on any tour highlight reel, and it came at Merriweather Post, the same venue at which the band dropped a monumental “Mike’s > Twist > Weekapaug” in ’99 that Kevin Shapiro just dropped on Live Bait 9. Coincidence? Probably.

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

When Phish dropped a pinner-sized “Free” and “Bouncin” as the second and third songs in the second set, it was hard to imagine everyone in the venue would walk out ecstatic, but that is exactly what happened last night. In show that got in touch with the Phish’s musical roots of the mid-Nineties, the band delivered a memorable feel-good performance with all sorts of replay value. 2013—the summer it all came back together again.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Destiny Unbound, Taste, Halfway to the Moon, Twenty Years Later, Maze, Yarmouth Road, Split Open and Melt

II: Down with Disease > Free, Bouncing Around the Room, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood*, Architect, Mike’s Song* > Simple > Weekapaug Groove

E: Waste, Good Times Bad Times

*Birds teases

 

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391 Responses to “In Touch With Their Roots”

  1. Stoney Case Says:

    Dialed in much better each night. Crushing with this Antelope.

  2. sumodie Says:

    Run Like an Oral B! Love ads in my antelope…..awesome stream tho, can’t complain

  3. bobby weird Says:

    sumo use google chrome and install free adblock. works like a charm

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    Fucking spoiled tonight on #CouchTour

    Thanks and praises

  5. sumodie Says:

    Is MF actually mkdevo or telephish…?

  6. angryjoggerz Says:

    Smokin set. Thats how its done.

  7. xpun Says:

    Fuck yeah. Pavilion is electric. Great set. Final got fishmans new toy.

  8. bobby weird Says:

    yeah, dare i say a ‘classic’ first set?!!!

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    That was quite the set

  10. bobby weird Says:

    what is it xpun? couldn’t make out what was said on stage bout toy…

  11. sumodie Says:

    Fishman’s new toy? The large looking keyboard that sat unused behind him at SPAC….?

  12. phlorida phan Says:

    Phish.net saying marimba luminary or something.

  13. bobby weird Says:

    o that! yeah been wondering about that. when did he bust it out? i cam in v late. (Besides I asked about that here at spac and there was radio silence)

  14. xpun Says:

    What sumo said. During mule duel. Didn’t catch its name

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    xpun, the electric is coming through to couchtour my man! that’s the set stoney has been waiting for. Best set of the year for Red to my ears.

    when I say coming through to couchtour, I mean fucking video and bass crunchy audio!

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    I can still remember before Sunday night MPP 2010, I was talking to some folks about really rare tunes I’d hoped they would play, and I mentioned Tela. Sure enough…

    That was a really awesome weekend of shows.

  17. phishm Says:

    Man, that set knocked me for a loop. Awesome energy coming out of the speakers. I wonder if the roof almost flew off during that Antelope. Much better then last night IMHO. And the streams are perfect.

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Roughly 17% of Phish’s entire career has been during 3.0. That’s really interesting to me.

  19. phlorida phan Says:

    Marimba lumina

  20. voopa Says:

    My name is voopa
    I live on the second flo-or

  21. Iriewalton Says:

    Golden Age is gonna go huuuuge

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    IrieW, Respect.
    I got that one from a seemingly ancient chinese man. Tai Chi and shit on the dance floor.

  23. plord Says:

    If that’s a Marimba Lumina, it’s a super-rare Don Buchla designed mallet controller for a sampler or synth. You can count the number that exist on a very small number of hands.

    Buchla, of course, also provided all of the experimental audio hardware the Pranksters used to route conversations into other rooms during the Acid Tests.

    And so the cycle of trippy shit continues…

  24. plord Says:

    Sounds like I am really sorry I missed that first set 🙁

  25. Iriewalton Says:

    Me, too, plord. But it’ll be up on the LP app in two hours. Plus, second set just started, stream is clear and strong, and it seems like the guys are ready for liftoff. Plus the missus is pulling a polenta artichoke pot pie out of the oven in a few (tryin a new recipe). Life is good.

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