Right At Home Again

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

In one of the most symbolic moments in recent years, Trey came out for the second set of Sunday night’s show at Merriweather wearing a t-shirt! In leaving his button down in the green room, Trey conveyed the comfort that he once again feels on stage at a Phish show. In the days of lore—days that may not remain as unmatched legend for much longer—Trey had a rotation of t-shirts, but ever since the comeback, it’s been collars and blazers for Big Red. The comfort Trey is feeling is clearly shared by his bandmates as well as they annihilated Merriweather Post Pavilion to close out the Northeast portion of their summer tour. Playing a ballistic show from start to finish, the band showcased why so many of our lives have changed for this band. The excitement that is swirling between the crowd and audience at shows these days is unprecedented for the modern era. For the past few years Phish has played shows using the sounds and jamming styles from their past, but starting in 2013, and exemplified by last night’s “Light” jam,” Phish has reinvented themselves and their sound once again—a hallmark of their career—while taking all their jams in new and innovative directions. I shudder to think what the Gorge and San Francisco will be like, let alone fall tour! Hide the women and children folks, this is getting serious.

7/14 Official (Doe Eyed)

7/14 Official (Doe Eyed)

Aside from “Light’s” monumental excursion, the greatest take away from last night’s show was the first set. Playing, hands down, their best opening frame of summer, the band threw down some unexpected twists taboot. After moving sharply through the first third of the set, the show elevated to another level when the guys dropped the most impressive “Stash” since post-hiatus. Taking the piece into blissful realms and then into a wah-laced segment a la Worcester ‘97, the band packed an incredible amount of action into the now-resurrected piece, and damn what a great development. “Stash” had been left for dead as nothing but first-set filler, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the song makes it into the second set before tour’s end.

Phish followed “Stash” with a “Scent of a Mule” in which the band actually used the Mule Duel to showcase their musicianship and create something different. One feature of this jam was Fishman on marimba, a new stage feature as of tonight, and—wow— it made some abstract sounds. My personal favorite surprise of the set, however, came next in “It’s Ice.” Launching from the ambient jam into a filthy dose of disco funk, this one came like a left hook from Sugar Ray Leonard as he distracted you with his rope-a-dope on the right. Check this piece out for a vivid illustration of just how damn nasty Phish is right now. Capping the opening half with scorching versions of “Tube” and “Antelope,” the band received an extended standing ovation after the first set! The addition of a throw down first set completely changes the contour of an evening with Phish, providing an incredible boost to any show.

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

With an interesting move that I didn’t realize until later, the band kicked off the second frame of Sunday night’s set with the exact triumvirate as they started Bangor’s—“Golden Age > Twist” and “Number Line.” And in retrospect, the sequence had a very similar flow. “Golden Age” exploded into a furious groove jam that saw Trey favor his wah pedal once again, a move that causes every Phish fan to giggle with delight. Though “Golden’s” jam stayed within normal territory, it, nonetheless, enthralled any Phish groove junkie in the audience. Bleeding into “Twist,” the band once again seemed on the verge of popping out of  structure as they turned toward home. “Number Line” provided an unwelcome second-set interlude before Phish turned the pavilion upside down with the Merriweather “Light.”

7.13.13 (R.MacNeill)

7.13.13 (R.MacNeill)

When “Light” started up last night, one could only imagine the places it would take us after witnessing the SPAC and PNC versions. The opening chords of the song are now enough to make any psychonaut drool in a pavlovian response. Continuing to push the envelope with their modern launchpad, last night the band came up with music that verges on indescribable. Some amalgam of free jazz and hard groove sprinkled with calypso and topped with an avant-garde stop-start cadence is about the best I can do. But let me tell you—this shit brought the house down. There is something incredibly awe-inspiring about witnessing greatness and being completely cognizant of it while it is going down, and that was exactly the feeling I had last night. Phish was inventing music that only they could make right there on the spot, and people were freaking the fuck out—and that’s where this whole experiment got started thirty years ago. Segueing seamlessly into “Boogie On,” the band’s unstoppable momentum spilled into the cover and spiced up the version quite a bit.

As the band tore through a hot “Julius,” there was about 45 minutes left on the clock and everyone could see the “You Enjoy Myself” from a mile away. But what nobody could see was the infectious and active jam that would spring from yet another classic that had lost its luster. Sticking to the groove paradigm last night, I don’t think it will be long before we see the band take a “YEM” into open waters—the Gorge perhaps?

As tour follows the lines going South for two shows and then takes a quick right turn out to Chicago, the trajectory of this run is mind boggling. After the show tonight I thought of all the west coast friends who will see the band at The Gorge for the first time this year and what an awakening they are in for. 2013 is the moment we’ve been waiting for since 2009. 2013 is what I thought was possible when Trey stepped in stage in Brooklyn in 2008. Now it’s all happening right before our eyes.

Is the south ready for Hurricane Phish?

I: First Tube, The Moma Dance, NICU, Roses Are Free, Chalk Dust Torture, Stash, Scent of a Mule, It’s Ice, Tube*, Run Like an Antelope

II: Golden Age > Twist, Backwards Down the Number Line, Light -> Boogie On Reggae Woman, Julius, You Enjoy Myself

E: Loving Cup

* “Ice” tease

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1,426 Responses to “Right At Home Again”

  1. Snigglebeach Says:

    I thought the YEM jam/improv part was def next level from what we heard last week. I loved the Spac version at the time but last nite was exceptional.

    First couch tour show this season and someone def has it right. 2 good streams last night.

    Is it being a douche to mention how similar song selection is so far? Bangor 2nd set copied then Spac Sunday closing copied. I guess as long as they top the previous version ok, but if they fall short it seems lame.

  2. DocGanz Says:

    Some bad points…
    Haven’t caught the band yet this summer.

    Some good points…
    Holdin tix to over half the remaining shows.

    It all works out

  3. Arthur Says:

    Trey’s t-shirt said “phearless”. No joke.

  4. ColonelJoy Says:

    Ahab Found Merriweather And Slayed Our Nemesis….Red Abandoned The Whale! Thank Jesus!

  5. marcoesq Says:

    I was front row RC right behind pit last night, usage of the whale was minimal to non existent. tis a beautiful thing

  6. Stoney Case Says:

    The air is a little fresher.

    Outside of the Twilight Zone.

  7. marcoesq Says:

    Where are the bar codes from ticket fly tix? They tore the stub part off and now I don’t have one. who can I email about this

  8. MiA Says:

    Minnesota looking gorgeous. Great show last night.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    so what’s the moneyline on what non-mule song will be the first to get some marimba lumina jam texturing?

  10. Stoney Case Says:


  11. Leo Weaver Says:

    My money’s on a Twist in the second set @t3. I’m gonna have to get some bonus $$ for that call though. 😎

    A good friend who only manages to catch 2-3/year now was there last night…right by you Marco, from the sounds of it. I’ve been pampin’ this tour to him since SPAC, he was kinda dismissive. I got a text at setbreak: “Ho Lee Fuck!” I got another after the show: “Face hasn’t been melted like that since W-S ’97.”

    OK…time to get work done so I can get to Chicago. Y’all be good now.

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    honestly need to listen back to hear what i heard. only because there is so much going on in certain songs that one has to go dig into the subtleties via respin.

    cant say i’m mad at the MPP venue. the rain first nite made the security loosen up considerably from my viewpoint…last nite they were tighter so i struggled to find a zone…they let one person dance in the aisle in center pav so i did that for the most part. good people around me. sat two rows behind the tapers…fun to see them all at work and folks were pretty respectful chattiness-wise.

    nice to see T in a tee…noticed it on the screens…didn’t think about the significance but i can say you could have cooked a turkey in the pav it was so damn hot.

    on twitter miner mentioned trey having a tone that sounded like a fiddle and that’s wild because i was hearing that too. wanna track down what song that was in.

    standouts last nite beyond a great first set outing were that light and the yem. because of the high level playing i cant really bash the #line and Hoolius too much but for the rest of you

    nice 4 shows i got. really grateful to have had the opportunity. i also had my own mountains to climb with weather and headspace etc across these shows. i am now cognizant of the bands power again and really look forward to time with my family thru the Summer and a regroup with the fanbase out at Dicks.

    for everyone seeing shows thru the Bowl…keep your ears and mind open. they are really crafting some new ish and it can sneak right by you if you’re not paying attention (or if you’re hoping for some other song at the time).

  13. gavinsdad Says:

    serious electricity, real and chemically induced, down in the MPP pit, and on the lawn for that matter over the wknd…fanbase is pummmmped up.

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    too-shay, as they say, leo :mrgreen:

  15. gavinsdad Says:

    was texting with @treasurereprise yesterday morning and he said the MPP Hood beat the Wooster Hood in a cage match…think he posted about that here…but i’m gonna do the same cage match this am.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    It seems it is a good time to be a phish fan.

  17. BillyCampbell Says:

    Buncha Phishogynists.

    Hide the women…I don’t wanna like it, but I do.

  18. sumodie Says:

    Miner, thank you!

    The opening chords of the song are now enough to make any psychonaut drool in a pavlovian response.

    yes, yes & YES

    First spin awaits

  19. Leo Weaver Says:

    Ha. Finally, I’ve got someone else hearing the fiddle/violin! I mentioned that to the guys at the custy crib at SPAC. There are times that axe sounds EXACTLY like a violin or fiddle. Such a wider tone than a typical guitar tone. Wasn’t sure if it was me, my swimming head, or what…good to hear someone else mention it gdad.

    MPP has to be the hottest venue out there…in large part due to those damn tarps over the loge sections.

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    BC, kangfirmed reports of a whole pack of Phish ladies on the rail via Twitter, including photographer AZ.

    Spurned by our discussion here. Once again, someone on the wrong side of history. Still much love from me.

  21. marcoesq Says:

    My vantage point last night

    Ended up sitting with a birthday boy last night, we were quite the birthday pair from this weekend.

    MPP convinced wife that Dick’s is a go! Wasn’t sure how she’d handle being pregnant and around a bunch of numbskulls but she had a great time and got IT completely sober. Might skip Sat Dick’s and have dinner with fam in Colorado springs but 2 nights of Dicks is better than none.

  22. Leo Weaver Says:

    Yep, my buddy was probably a row or two behind you. Glad you got a good birthday pair marco. And congrats on Dick’s. Hope to finally meet you out there.

  23. 20 Minute Halley's Says:

    I dont know if I just noticed last night, or if Kuroda highlighted his multi tiered light showcase beyond a a very sheer curtain behind stage. Has that been used more times this tour? Have I been too “head down groovin” to even notice?

  24. marcoesq Says:

    awesome leo, let’s definitely do that.

  25. Kaveh Says:

    Minnesota looking gorgeous.

    ^ Typical hot, humid summer days are here. If that is gorgeous then you betcha!

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