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:

    one was the julius’d alpharetta tweez though so Mr. Miner probably wouldn’t count it. Since I need his opinion to validate mine, I won’t count it either


  2. kayatosh Says:

    toronto #line — tight and palatable. one of the better ones from tour.

    i like the cut of your jib as well, RL. I like how someone said that parenthood has mellowed you. ha, you’re not a parent yet. That’s when the baby comes out and you have to deal. right now you’re just a successful sperm donor and support for a rapidly expanding (and super cool) wife.

  3. jtran Says:

    Where are dfs photos?

  4. roberto luongo Says:

    neemor I don’t know shit. I didn’t go to UVM. but I did go to U o Iowa for 2 weeks and I believe the campus was designed by the same cat so maybe that helps.

    but to my custy ass ears that is def not hip that entire set II that night was absolutely destroyed by Trey. no way he was letting any ambient breakdowns or synthy wash fadeouts go down. he was feeling the doc and he was crushin it.

    and that shit def continued into the Light and Hood segment. very band leading upfront swagger Trey. 3.0 Hood’s used to pain me. finally getting that melodic playing where he can hit fast runs while keeping the chord structure ringing through the tone centers he hits. awesome.

    call me a OG GD kid but I still like to watch the bandleader shred a run or two on the guitar. and he was all over that fuckin doc that set.

    don’t want to discuss phish here. it’s just silly. but the solo in that Mike’s and some of the breaks (in a song they’ve had terrible trouble with at times) in Week were fuckin fire and very creative little hits.

    still think that Piper is one of the best jams of the return but that’s subjective. I like watching Fish and Trey push each other into a frantic rush of psychedelic insanity as page and mike try to catch up. shit was just massive.

    I love that peeps called that show 3 one sets when that set II flows exactly like any typical set II right down to the slave. weird.

  5. marcoesq Says:

    Hey remember when it rained at that show this year?

  6. kayatosh Says:

    any alien og fans? stuff is delish and zuper mel.

  7. roberto luongo Says:


    did you hear someone trying to get -7below out of ghost

    could have sworn I heard that live but haven’t respun and never will so could use your thoughts.

    seemed like Mike was teasing it but he always does. maybe I was overreaching.

    another example though of Trey just pushing everyone aside and going “fuck off bitches. shred time.”

    great fuckin ghost. hard and powerful.

  8. kayatosh Says:

    That sat. chicago set II was $$$.

    This toronto Bowie is also $$$. holy shit this is old school intense and crisp. wow.

  9. neemor Says:

    “3.0 Hood’s used to pain me. finally getting that melodic playing where he can hit fast runs while keeping the chord structure ringing through the tone centers he hits. awesome.”
    ^ agreeance

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    was the chi weekapaug super slow like Bangor and Alpharetta?

    Alpharetta was a little strange.. The fungus + grief has my whole trip pretty mixed up so it’s hard to remember exactly, but it seemed it had that same lope as we heard in those two. Haven’t heard MPP yet.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    2013 — yr. of the Hood

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    Joggerz, I’m phucked. I apparently ruin the webcasts as well.

    Panic dates again?

    Neemor, man I think that was the Hood of the return for me. Saturday Chicago. That was just off the stream. Haven’t listened back.

  13. kayatosh Says:

    so was sat chicago set three. $$+ if you wanna be stingy.

  14. bhizzle Says:

    I like posters Stoney

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Yikes, stoney. Maybe get into Furthur? The rain will wake up Bobby.

    too soon?

  16. roberto luongo Says:

    nah pretty upbeat cow. I think you’ll dig it. crisp and rippin with trey doing some cool rhythm hits at the end of every couple bars mixing up the typical flat pick wanking of 3.0.

    def in the 92 style groove they’ve been playing. but much tighter rhythm section and Trey gets it moving with him.

    I swear the key to this band is they need Trey on that level where he starts making those quick as turns pulling the rest of the boys in a quick turn that opens up unexpected creativity.

    bad flow, rain or not that Trey was all over that Chicago run and in the end besides no spoilers was just happy to hear that after the Bangor tapes where it seemed like the doc was shocking him or something everytime he tried to play it.

    damn lack of sleep has me chatty
    no spoilers is backin me up. need some outlook to discuss Troy I guess.
    train and dog walk time.
    been trying to get off this site for hours

  17. marcoesq Says:

    Fish casually starts up the -7 beat and then Mike follows suit.

    Would’ve been a sure fire ->-7 but Trey started playing some rocker ass rhythm chops with the wah…pretty slick. Then he starts up that at the Raceway type jam and Mike still keeps the -7 beat underneath. Great playing

  18. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    @cowfunk- thanks for the brent heads up. my girl and i are both fans of his playing and voice. the man had soul. he brought a rainbow full of sound to the gd. my girl rocks a t shirt with a young brent on the front and it reads, “just a little sweetness, just a little light”. also, i, too, am a fan of ocelot.

    leaving for tour in 5 days!

  19. roberto luongo Says:

    I felt the same live marco

    it seemed like they were just given subtle tastes and were gonna ease it real patient like a classic MIke’s > Simple from the ball slow and buttery note but note segue

    def seemed like Trey was the only one not on bored

    having to much time beating on the doc. love the energy though and the mike drops fit in perfectly with the groove

    Ghost > 7 below though would have put that Energy > Ghost > 7 below segment off the charts. would have been a great little 3pack.

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    Please oh please let them name this royal baby Caspian

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Trey’s never on board when someone else wants to get a segue going. Fish’s JB Wedge, Chi -7…def type A you’re not gonna fuck with my jam complex.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    slightly ipa’d and vaped, but L.cup is sounding good. trey pulling out the stops.

  23. Stoney Case Says:

    I’d pick a bad GD bootleg over live Further.

    Think ill jump into the festy scene and dress ironically. So as not to spoil Phish.

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    werd hb .. the Brent era has evolved into my favorite gd. Some real gems in that early 80s (80-83) era that are frequently overlooked. The polish and energy of the post coma years I also return to time and time again.

  25. Stoney Case Says:

    Df drops in to bitch about TM bit not comment on his show. Can we make this the last trip to Toronto?

    Chicago Piper = legendary. Really inside out guitar / drum interplay.

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