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. angryjoggerz Says:

    I think Saturday was overall pretty legendary – great playing, last minuted added third set after weather clusterfuck, amazing venue. I’ll take it.

  2. roberto luongo Says:

    “Really inside out guitar / drum interplay” – stoney case

    that’s my phish

    pretty sure it took me 3 tours before I even noticed there were 2 other players in this band

  3. roberto luongo Says:

    me and dancin had an epic 20 minute so what guitar jam Friday night at the crib with our extra electricity where the phish set II should have been


  4. c0wfunk Says:

    yeah man that’s what it’s always been about is the dynamic between troy and his drummer .. with the other two adding a supporting tapestry.

    great wasting a workday with you fools again, makes me all misty and nostalgic. 6 more workdays left here..

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    recently transcribed / learned on piano the miles so what solo from kind of blue. Heady shit, that. Amazing the way he is able to create such flowing ideas out of small bursts of chord tones. The evolution of his line over the solo reminds me a lot of how Trey builds a solo.

  6. kayatosh Says:

    stop callin him troy. it’s trey motherfuckers. he’s back!

  7. marcoesq Says:

    Kaya, your tix will be fedex’d tomorrow morning. I’ll have em arrive by Friday

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    I love the occasional Kaya outburst.

    ::I hope this posts before he apologizes for the language::

  9. marcoesq Says:

    even better

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    lol my mistake. I was just trying to be cool.

  11. TheSloth Says:

    @c0w wild that was brent’s last verse.

  12. phishm Says:

    You said it Stoney. I was just about to say the same thing. Best post by kaya in a while. And he’s right. It’s Trey people. That troy and tory shit always got to me.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    Thanks to this discussion, I’ve played 0 games of Solitaire, Hungry Shark, JetPack, or Montezumas on this flight. I did catch the latest KarelShow podcast though.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    damn I’m usually the hagiographer, keep it sacred dude around here. I quite enjoy all the nicknames Trey’s gotten over the last few years.

    I hate teh whole mentality, but the whole “rip cord troy” thing makes me laugh my ass off.

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    @thesloth – pretty cosmic for sure. Kind of mind blowing, really, considering all of the possible encore choices (4 ? 😉 ) and how few times the weight was played up til that point.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    im out *drops mic* peace ya’ll

  17. fat bastard Says:

    WSP is the best thing that ever happened to Jimmy herring. For him to be able to play the style he wants to up there and shred on some great songs is a blessing. hatfield

  18. marcoesq Says:

    3pm rail riders have a lot of time on their hands

  19. phlorida phan Says:

    No candy crush Stoney? All the hip kids are doing it.

  20. fat bastard Says:

    he always had the talent but not the right band

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    for the record, that was the 7th ‘the weight’ played and the 4th time it was an encore. now I”m out.

  22. roberto luongo Says:


    he’s a whore and a hired gun. even though he does the wicked slide and def has blues tendencies. he’s a really a blues/fusion/shredder at heart.

    he should be playing in a trio with a blistering bass player and drummer.

    I’ve never heard him play in WSP but I imagine he has to tone down how he plays in his solo stuff. way to complex and would probably overpower the more southern blues based sound.

    why he’s so versatile though even though I feel his jazz and shred chops are by far his best virtues he is a natural blues player and historian with pretty much tone perfection and nasty slide chops.

    def not a WSP diss at all. that cat is unworldly.

  23. roberto luongo Says:

    he’s always had the talent

    but not much audience these days for rippin ass guitar blues/fusion trios I imagine

    WSP pays them bills

  24. fat bastard Says:

    listening to the mikes>theme>weekapaug now. pretty crisp.

  25. phishm Says:

    I still think it’s funny how many times I’ve heard of a jam being horsed yet all tour the horse hasn’t been played. Just silent. Never cared for the Trey bashing and have stated several times. And mind you this isn’t directed at anyone, just a thought. Gotta bet he reads a lot of these Phish blogs and now is tired of the bashing too. To say that Trey was calling out Miner is insane. IMO he’s calling out all the negativity written about him and his band. Anyway, not trying to bring the convo down, but he’s an artist that really loves what he does. I’m sure his fans opinions mean a lot to him. Why wouldn’t they?

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