Maple Leaf Lovin’

7.7.13 (Jake Silco)

7.7.13 (Jake Silco)

On a hotly anticipated night north of the border, Phish added a monumental piece to their Pantheon of Summer 2013 jams in Toronto’s “Down With Disease,” while supporting the centerpiece with a thrilling “David Bowie” and two fun and energetic sets of music. Finally playing a dry show in a truly summer environment, the band and crowd rejoiced amidst a cool Canadian evening at Molson Amphitheatre. With the band playing a rescheduled date from July 9’s postponement, even some of the most hardcore and familiar faces on tour were absent from the scene as Phish bombarded Toronto with their most complete show of the weekend.

7/22 Official (P.Hamou)

7/22 Official (P.Hamou)

The guys got right to business with a one-two punch of “Moma Dance” and “Chalk Dust,” reversing the usual order of the show opening couplet. Then out came “Undermind” for the first time since Dick’s. Though the band remained within the musical confines of the song, it sounded so damn good to hear one of the their countless amazing songs that have been left for dead this tour. Even in an out-of-the-way show in Toronto, the band stuck to their minuscule summer rotation that has quickly become a bit of a joke. But song choices aside, the energy exchanged between the band and their undersized audience was off the charts for the duration of both sets—and that a crucial aspect to an amazing night with Phish.

The highlight of the opening half came in a sunset rendition of “Stash.” Trey’s chops are so on point right now that every jam sounds interesting, whether contained or open. His uber-proficient chops graced so many ferocious “type I” jams over the rain-soaked Chicago weekend, and they took over this “Stash” as well. When Trey fires out creative melodies and licks, it raises the game of his bandmates as they must match their own creativity to jive with him—and vice versa. But never has this rang so true in the modern era as Summer 2013, where contained jams like “Stash” “Mike’s Song” “Bathtub Gin” and “David Bowie” pop with psychedelic contours. This is an element of the Phish of old that has rejuvenated considerably this tour.

7.14.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

7.14.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

But as fierce as the band’s structured jams are right now, when they let loose and unabashedly dive into the abyss this tour, they have created jams that stand up to anything in their career. Examples are SPAC’s “Light,” PNC’s “Crosseyed,” Jones Beach’s second set, and now Toronto’s “Down With Disease.” In this refined conversation of the most virtuosic degree, the band showcased why there is no possibility of comparing them to any act in the history of live music. No band manipulates music as if Play-Doh like Phish, and this set opening “Disease” is a case in point. Soaring into the most uplifting music of tour, the band reached a holy plane—and stayed there for what seemed like an eternity, spinning into a cyclone of bliss. This is the real deal, folks. This “Disease” reaches a place we dream of jam’s attaining, and the band didn’t rush out—in fact, quite the opposite. As if they had discovered a new planet, the guys extensively explored this sacred ground, one graceful note at a time, and the result was staggering.

When the band finally reached the end of this incredible peak, the crowd roared but the band kept chugging. Slipping out of this heavenly realm and into a filthy section of groove, the band completely switched gears on the fly, and this wasn’t just a casual denouement. Instead of ending the jam at their earliest natural chance, they took the piece smoothly into a darkening ambiance. Without jumping the gun, the band wove their set-opening masterpiece seamlessly into “2001.” Though this version remained succinct, it served as furious exclamation point to Phish’s newest adventure.

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

At this point, the second set—and show—seemed primed for all-time status, but then things got both songy and choppy. After a standard “Free,” the band tore into “Piper” with all sorts of urgency. Springing to improvisational action, the band locked into a jam that felt destined for greatness. The guys were very clearly keyed into each other’s ideas and were crushing it hand over fist when Trey jumped ship and started “Tweezer” with no warning whatsoever. Though as abrupt they come, who’s gonna argue a drop into a second set “Tweezer?” Not this guy. But the “Tweezer” that had been looming so large in the Midway over the weekend didn’t really elevate. Settling into a slow, quasi-routine “Tweezer” groove, the band played around the song’s theme for the duration of the jam, but this time the creativity wasn’t really there. Used as a song rather than a launchpad last night, the “Tweezer” that had Canadian fans buzzing in the lot before the show wound up being less than powerful.

Though the songs continued with “Silent In the Morning,” “Number Line,” and “Cavern”—three that have taken the beating of a red-headed stepchild this summer—there was still a closer left. As the band played “Cavern,” one might have anticipated the subsequent “David Bowie,” as the two songs often pair up to close sets. And this one straight exploded. Another jam that didn’t leave its road map but enthralled to the fullest, this “Bowie” featured a major key flip that anchored its direction while the band’s crazy chops took care of the rest. Toronto’s “Bowie” truly touched its set-closing essence with a fluid fifteen-minute exercise that rolled like a steam engine through the living room of your mind.

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

Treating their Canadian fans to a triple encore, Phish came back on stage with “Loving Cup,” the summer’s first “Squirming Coil” and a final good-bye in “Tweezer Reprise.” It’s safe to say that all who made it back to Molson Amphitheatre for the Phish show last night left home smiling, as the band dropped a real party show featuring a marquee setlist, a “lifer” in “Disease,” and plenty of supporting meat throughout. A northern fan base deprived of a home turf show since 2000 in the same shed, was kicked down a winner on Monday night, and I am blessed to have been there to share in the groove, eh?

I: The Moma Dance, Chalk Dust Torture, Undermind, Army of One, Halley’s Comet > Twist, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Yarmouth Road, Tube, Ocelot, Suzy Greenberg

II: Down with Disease > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Free > Piper > Tweezer > Silent in the Morning, Backwards Down the Number Line, Cavern > David Bowie

E: Loving Cup, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer Reprise


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655 Responses to “Maple Leaf Lovin’”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    um wow.. just got this invite from my buddy who is the bass player who plays with the old blue rags piano player (jake hollifield, his band now is called the screaming Jays and he’s amazing, ragtime style). Blue Rags will be playing hte part of the band

    “WATKINS GLEN / SUMMER JAM 40 Year Re-Creation Anniversary Tour”

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    lol @ bluegrass bbfcfm reprise

  3. Jtran Says:


    FTR, I am VTer/UVMer (and prob 60+er soon too). Hope we can still get along.

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    BB comment section the last couple days:

    “Look Jimmy, the storm is gone”


  5. roberto luongo Says:

    in my defense GP

    I’m goin no spoilers so for me to talk about last night’s DWD I’d have to just be guessing or have ESP

    everything I’ve heard from the ground shouts epic DWD and Bowie though.

    how’d Trey sound?
    strugglin early or on all night.

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Herring is also playing 60-70 shows a year to Trey’s 25-35. Plus he talks about practicing all the time in their downtime. Dude is also pretty reclusive and doesn’t have a ton of hobbies so on tour he’s just playing a lot.

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    from what I know of herring, I bet he does indeed practice his jazz modes every day. In the end, though, I know nothing.

  8. marcoesq Says:

    yeah kaya I’m with you. The last 2-3min is pretty unique stuff but nothing else relaly jumps out at me

  9. marcoesq Says:

    I’ll spin again..appreciate the effort to push it out there…I bet there’s more to be had

  10. bhizzle Says:

    RL – Amen on the Herring call….respect the dude as a musician, but WSP and him seem like oil and water to me….

  11. roberto luongo Says:

    ya cow that’s pure 94 phish

    mind fuck psych jam with several very different opposing even themes. a quiet section you could hear a pin drop in the crowd was so locked in

    a crushed classic staple like curtain

    2 great Phish style crushed one time other than 10/31 beatles cover

    some crazy bluegrass with BBFCFM just when you were peaking

    and a gorgeous solo in Hood requested by a sister trey pulled up from the front row

    then blew our ears off since they had the same speaker set up for UIC in that little lecture hall with Highway to Hell. one of the loudest I’ve ever heard them play in any room.

  12. c0wfunk Says:

    werd marco – fairly straight forward dwd, even til the end, to my ear. In the flesh I imagine the vibe was thick and that’s the important thing.

  13. Jtran Says:

    marco/kaya – I think the most noteworthy part of that jam is the melodic trey themes that are of the “sounds composed but aren’t” variety, as well as Page comping him on the grand

  14. marcoesq Says:

    Plus Herring had to learn a whole catalog in the last 6-7yrs. Not like dude’s been playing this shit for 3 decades. He always said he would just sit there on tour and listen to tapes and practice while everyone else was out doing some touristy shit. Dude’s a consummate pro.

    But yeah, he probably doesn’t belong in Panic. They need someone like me who should barely be heard over the pa cranking out generic soloey stuff.

  15. snow Says:

    I had to re-read your morning posts RL…
    “like I said all kinds of fans and none are right. just glad I finally found a space where everything bout seeing the shows again is fun.”

    Very pleased to see you say this @RL. Mostly for you but I think it benefits us all via group consciousness.

  16. marcoesq Says:

    Yeah I bet last night’s Disease was a scorcher in the room…good Disease’s usually are. I’m also typing a shitload while ilstening

  17. GhostPhunk Says:

    @rl – he was a bit low in the mix early to be honest, so much so that the wife and I tried every corner of the venue and just went back to our spacious dance section. the kid was firing right from the start though, no complaints on performance. set 2 i could hear him loud and clear and it was on.

    love being in the room man.

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    Ghost, not much discussion of last night on accounta:

    Everyone agrees it was a smoker

    Peeps not in attendance had a weak stream and crunchygroove is down.

    I think we all take your, Miners and Foul D’s word for it.

    I’m taking a listening break so as to enjoy unjammed Its Ices and the Possum>Numberline> Cancel show looming over my next outing.

  19. marcoesq Says:

    TIII posted Dusty’s link on the last page or 2 on how to adjust your browser to play crunchy groove. It still works if you work it.

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    friends are psyched for the 2 nights in avl coming up for wsp. Too bad it’s looking like the phishy return rumour is off the list.

  21. marcoesq Says:

    I’m a big fan of Asheville and the civic center. and no vagrancy laws if you want to just crash on the street after hitting up the thirsty monk

  22. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    Bowie from last night on par with SPAC1’s version. Maybe better.

    Trey’s new tone really getting it done. Love it.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    chin up, stoney.

    been spinning the 7.22 LP sbd today in btw. love making and such. Great $$+ show (through piper) w/ the minor exception of ocelot which didn’t do it for me in that slot.

    On Piper now — more santana styling. super slick trey lines w/ page hanging tough on baby G. shades of yesteryear. wow! this jam more interesting than the DWD. again disease needs another spin. piper jam seems to fizzle mid sentence and then trey slams into the tweezer chords. interesting. love this band; the way they interrelate musically is hypnotic. on the fly brilliance.

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    Df spouts nonsense so it’s basically on you to jump start the convo!

    Was anyone on the lawn last night?

    Jtran, somehow despite your UVM card, and your HOAHB, TAB, and Justin Timberlake pimping, you somehow remain on the A Team in the hearts and minds of me and RL. Probably due to that group conscious thing we all shared at SBIX 3. Or it could be your cool lady, or the potential for surf trips in SD. Either way, you’re good. We discussed it in Chicago.

  25. kayatosh Says:

    skyballs: don’t forget the JB bowie. i recall tnat one going big.

    trey’s tone in toronto dramatically changed from earlier in tour.

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