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. Foul_Domain Says:

    My thoughts exactly @GP. Trey was kind of laughing through the outro lyrics and it felt like Fish was trying to push it, but to no avail.

    Shame because everything up to that was working very nicely for me. Really kicked the set into gear.

    ^ Also, a few people around me decided to finally shut up for a couple of straight minutes and actually give the song a listen. That helped

  2. snow Says:

    It’s just so weird that phish dedicates Squirming Coil to the prince. What’s up with that?

  3. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Great piece, Miner. I listened to this show no-spoilers-style today and thought it was an extremely well played, awesome listen from front to back with great flow (aside from the 2nd set #line). Love that Disease and the Bowie is stellar. Put me in the camp that has been on the fence about the quality of what we’ve been hearing this tour. More reminiscent of 2011 than 2012 to my ears. Some great jams and a few stunning sets- Jones Beach II, but not a lot I’ll probably be going back to 5 years from now. I felt like this Toronto show saw the band bringing their A+ game and believe the rest of tour will elevate from here. Excited to finally get a taste live this weekend. Hoping to put some faces to handles. Waterwheel meetup?

  4. Jtran Says:

    df, just email me one. jeez

  5. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Tunes heard on the ride home:

    JB 2012 Golden Age – Easily a top tier version, for the downshift into minor key and half-tempo exploration through the shadows. Powerful version that deserves more love.

    And the SBIX Simple (some of it) – Fifteen minutes? Felt like ten at the show… I swear this song can either stretch or compact time on a whim. Effect fest best taken with headphones, or through a dense forest at 1 am.

  6. snow Says:

    @vegas – dude, somebody from like new york is going to end up introducing us at the WW table. and yes, I’m gonna go by there at least pre and post show.

  7. Foul_Domain Says:

    This Tweezer is really growing on me

  8. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I know, snow. Hilarious. See you out there.

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i think that was the last one jtran

  10. snow Says:

    Architecture and LSD

    Well written. Fairly interesting. Rare subject.

  11. buddysmyles Says:

    Drive-by pimping for F8 Acoustic Set… Excellent making dinner soundtrack on a beautiful summer evening…

  12. GhostPhunk Says:

    @jtran – teberwine ghee male I got you.

  13. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Hmm, the JB’13 AUDs sound a bit underwater.

  14. Jtran Says:

    aw – want new music?

    check out fuck buttons – slow focus

    digging it so far

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    jtran, just spun that today, pretty good

  16. Jtran Says:

    haven’t spun anything else new since tour started. what’d I miss (that’s on spotify)

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    alright guys, can’t afford dick’s unless i have somewhere either free or extremely cheap (ie hotel floor) to stay. any takers???

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    not much i don’t think

  19. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Kaya, you’re spot on about the JB’13 Bowie. Not as manic, more focused. Fishman makes one little change and it all clicks.

  20. Albert walker Says:

    same page

    spun fuck buttons on way to work. hip stuff .

  21. BingosBrother Says:

    Punkmug makes the chron cd. Spliced 2011 songs with jams seguing into pieces of the Storage Set. Starts with Greek Cities and ends with Storage Monkey. Flawless execution.So ill I got phish vd.

  22. joe Says:

    ocelot>light video released by phish. why no timber there?

  23. bhizzle Says:

    any one start booking hotels in glens falls?

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    I wish joe. Isn’t that Chi 2?

  25. joe Says:

    yes sir. they were right there full into it and bailed. it’s one of the only tunes that I really want to hear specifically.

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