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. neemor Says:

    10/27/13 Hartford

    I hope you guys have fun on the west coast this week.

    Then they’re all ours.

  2. fat bastard Says:

    people didn’t like tte because they didn’t know the song yet. when the crowd knows the twists and turns of the song it connects. bring that shit back.

  3. neemor Says:

    In other news:
    Secret Smile is still the worst encore ever.

  4. neemor Says:

    Pining for TTE

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    I think Time Turns Elastic would be pretty cool, honestly. Call me a hypocrite but that song hasn’t been aired out in about 3 years; it’d be nice to hear it again.

  6. fat bastard Says:

    aw congrats on the family front. i think you’ll be ready for it. we are expecting number two in a few months. they are gonna be 14 months apart and this one is a girl! so they will be brother and sister and maybe i’m done.

  7. SOAM Says:

    Also heard this:

    Albany Nov 26, 27

    Providence Nov 29, 30

  8. fat bastard Says:

    that’s a lot of east coast love. can’t they make it to pittsburgh at least?

  9. Frankie Says:

    See you all at Glens Falls!

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    Now perps are pining for tte? Am I in the wrong place? Knew it was only a matter of shelftime ..

  11. SOAM Says:

    and not for nothing but before you ask for freaking a 15 minute TTE, how about Timber, Old Home Place, Farmhouse, Jiboo, No Quarter, Torn and Frayed, Whats the use, seven below, Paul and Silas, Ginseng, Fee, Rocky Top etc….

  12. c0wfunk Says:

    Id have to say Friday neems

  13. fat bastard Says:

    how does trey get that sound @ 6:40 into piper?

  14. fat bastard Says:

    TTE is a baby ya gotta give it some love

  15. Bandito Says:

    ^yes please on the Timber! Pebbles & Marbles too.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    I was pretty much the only tte fluffed around when it was being played, I love that song. Aw and I about came to blows over that back in the day (internet style).. I’m still totally stunned by what I just read

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    how can i not do all of fall tour?

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sure, there are many songs I’d like to hear before TTE, no question. I just wouldn’t mind if they played it again – certainly not every 2-4 shows like in 2009, but I feel like with so much time away from the song it might become novel again…

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    Fairly certain almost every song on that list has been played more recently than tte

  20. fat bastard Says:

    i swear last word i say on that song. start it>jams>jams>end it.

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    Do it df. Change that question around!

  22. roberto luongo Says:

    yo I’ve always said TTE Is a brilliant composition

    just felt it has no place in a live phish set. just too static and composed. it’s not a YES concert.

    feel the same bout GUyute and even Divided and Fluff now that Trey forgot they are supposed to have massive soaring outro solos.

    maybe know that the shred is back he will start bringin Divided and Fluff home in style proper like back in the day.

  23. fat bastard Says:

    GTBT has a massive soaring outro

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    Thought guyute at alpha really caught the crowd. That was really cathartic. I was doing the aisle dance through that whole first set and it really let me let go of my personal shit and really just immerse in the flow. Divided sky usually catches the crowd too. What I remember from my only tte (MPP 09? 10?) The crowd was ridiculous and lame. I felt IT the whole time but it felt like swimming upstream. I thought u were in the antisubmarine crowd aw maybe i am mistaken.

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


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