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. roberto luongo Says:

    ya marco. herring is the kind of dude could probably just follow along through a WSP panic set and be fine.

    my jazz teacher transcribes wes montgomery solos while listening to real time with just a pen and a pencil. guitar in lap.

    especially given how blues based so much of WSP is. sure Herring is sleeping half the time on stage and still smoking everything else anyone in that band can bring.

    not dissing WSP at all. it’s like saying Page sucks cuz he isn’t Medeski or Corea.

  2. snow Says:

    @GP -Are you saying that “the Right way” should not be worried about Miner or that the BB should not be worried about “The right way’?

    I haven’t spun last night’s show. Enjoyed reading your comments.

    It would really help if we had at some point in the past five years established some manner of protocol for dealing with troll posts. I hate to let them slide cause it seems to give them credence. I also hate having shitty discussions with people that don’t get the BB or Miner’s approach to reviews… but do it cause I hope everyone once in awhile a troll will get IT and possibly contribute.

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    lol marco I know a few homeless camps you can squat if you need it 😉 Definitely wouldn’t sleep too long in that park near the monk, though!

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    Jtran, forgot to add symphony lover to the list. Damn. Jtran is the perfect Phish fan. I’m an ass. You even dig Harpua from the other night.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    jtran = also A team in my book. However, my seal approval is worth very little.

    free IPA’s for everyone, on the house.

  6. roberto luongo Says:

    I hate protocol.

    only thing worse is discussion of protocols.

    glad you got some fire GP.

    last attempt at babylon and real work.
    laterz kids.

    love that my new key to pure phish enjoyment is to never listen to it.
    strange but true. damn I had fun in Chicago. KYS.

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    “not dissing WSP at all. it’s like saying Page sucks cuz he isn’t Medeski or Corea.”

    or saying you don’t like SCI because you hate newgrass and electric mandolins :p

  8. kayatosh Says:

    Wow, this tweezer (7.22) is the swanky danky double daddy — $$$.

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    Anyone want a TorontNo poster? Genuinely purchased the date of the original show.

    Second set Reba looming for Gorge?

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    back to something we agree on… this hood is gorgeous. No way this delicateness could come out now, the crowd is obviously rapt in a way modern crowds cannot achieve.

  11. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    Kaya, I will have to relisten, didn’t grab me the way both of these did at the moment. JB feels like it was years ago. What is time?

    I have moments in this one where I’m locking onto Page, tickling the ivories with a precision sledgehammer.

  12. c0wfunk Says:

    hmmm kind of miss the old school “I feel good” ending to hood. Somehow more effective than the big rock show fade

  13. sumodie Says:

    8 more couch tours await, nice!
    (counting Dick’s too)

  14. kayatosh Says:

    skyballs: i haven’t spun last night’s bowie yet.

    i’m in the tweezer now. groove clinic. single themed w/ trey leaning into the bluesy licks. builds to a firey peak. have to disagree w/ miner on this one being uncreative. not an out version, more oldschool, but definitely $$$.

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    As “the right way” seeps into our conversations I like that Harpua more and more.

    Just not when I am cold and wet.

    Hell, at least they didnt sing!

  16. marcoesq Says:

    Not sure how I feel about the new Metropolitan Division in the NHL. Oh yeah I do, it sounds awful. Seems to make more geographic sense though.

  17. snow Says:

    that’s weird RL, I was going to ask if you wanted to chair an ad hoc committee to discuss discussion protocols. Seemed like since you were too smart to go to college, you’d be perfect for the job. Oh well, we have a couple UVM’ers around…

  18. kayatosh Says:

    ^^^ see that? i disagreed w/ miner and i didn’t have to impugn his character. saul goodman.

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    Stoney – you gotta stay away from the rest of this run, ok? Your weather karma is a bitch. I kid, I kid. Good to see you Friday, doing your thing.

  20. dorn76 Says:

    Guess I just need to spin it again (3rd time) and see if I’m #fluffing.

    Had a kid tell me in the lot after Night 1 at Hampton in ’09 than Phish (not WSP) sucked horribly, and that JB was talking to him through his guitar.

    Panic has some schwilled out fans that make our kids look time by comparison.

  21. dorn76 Says:


  22. c0wfunk Says:

    can’t wait to vote on our charter.

  23. GhostPhunk Says:

    For me snow, All I’m saying is putting so much stock into one persons opinion, no matter who, is just nuts and laughable. have your own experience and if it differs… so what? I’ve never met miner, never gone out of my to do so, been in the same room with him so many times now certainly could have.

    I love reading his takes on the band, they definitely don’t always jive with my own experience but I don’t get bent about it. I respect the guy a ton. I’m also thankful for meeting all you cats out there which would have been so much more difficult without this place.

    All that said, healthy debate and discussion is always welcome and what makes this place sweet.

    now go spin last night 😉

  24. marcoesq Says:

    Panic does have some talent lurking around the lot though.

    for the kids

  25. Jtran Says:

    what I dug with that tweezer was that while it was contained it was totally fresh with cool ideas throughout. And dinosaur/whale calls for @df.

    They definitely played it like that because he was there, right?

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