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. joe Says:

    now night lost to official videos. cool scent video of fishman’s new toy

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    I don’t know if I could’ve handled a Timber. May have spontaneously combusted. Top level live experience for me. A dream. May never listen back. Was that fulfilled Saturday night. Thanks again phish.

  3. joe Says:

    bought a common piece of fruit at the store today. 60 year old lady at the register had no clue what it was. I told her:

    lady was truly baffled by the answer. strange day

  4. IrieWalton Says:

    Greensky Fall Dates with a double dip in PDX.
    Love it.

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    That LSD + architecture article posted a few pages back is great. Thanks for posting!

  6. bouncin fan Says:

    kinda not funny but lost my voice really bad during set II Sunday.

    tryin to get Troy to hear you screamin “play fuckin tweezer” over the theater douches over a 5 minute skit can maybe do permanent damage

    75 spliffs and 4 grams of wax over the weekend didn’t help either but I can’t say a word.

    fuckin Harpua.

    they’re lucky they had me at Lizards with a great first set of the frame. had a blast pissin off the youngins that were all stoked.


  7. Absher Says:

    The lyric in backwards down the # line
    Write it down, just don’t miss it here is so bad ass.
    It’s in reference to a rolling stone article written years ago. Love it!

  8. punkmug Says:

    Count me in the Timber “May have spontaneously combusted” camp. I was hearing that and freaking out. That Hood was pretty mind blowing so its hard to complain.

    @Bingo’s. Thanks! Correction though, its MSG 2011 Cities>Storage Jam. That MSG version was sweet but just not long enough for my tastes. That jam was so sweet but was odd how it just ended. It made for an easy candidate for a mash up. I souped it up for ya.

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    Pretty sure it’s”just don’t miss a year”.

    Would’ve heard you aw, but I was in a k hole. Energy Ghost Lizards was the shit. Fuck harpua and the rest. I’ll only remember the floating spaceship of bliss that Mikes Song put in the air sailing all the way to Shine a Light. One of the best experiences of my life. A music dream come true.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Oops. I suck at bootlegs. Damned if that didn’t sound like the Greek version. Plinking for dollars. Thanks again. Dope ass cd. Storage Set proves this band can do what they want, when they want. Saturday was dessert, Sunday was vegetables. Fuckin Trey. Stingy mofo.

  11. GhostPhunk Says:

    My top list as of this moment:
    Tor dwd
    JB RnR
    MPP Light
    PNC xeyed

    Need to hear energy>ghost sequence. Saddened that there’s not a tweezer jumping out at me. JB is all I can think of. That set 2 is tops

  12. PT ADDICT Says:





  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Watching video on youtube of 12/3/97. $$$ show.

    I just realized recently the crazy vocal ranges that Trey/Mike/Page all have – they seem to all be able to sing high B’s on demand. That’s nuts.

    This Drowned is sick.

  14. punkmug Says:

    No worries Bingos. Thanks for the kudos!

    It really sounds like you and I are on the same page with last weekends events. Sat was pretty damn epic.

  15. punkmug Says:

    I still need to hear Toronto. My head is still spinning from what just went down in Chicago and I need a moment to regroup. I should be up back and running at 100% by tomorrow.

    I should take a moment to thank everyone I did get to catch up with from the BB last weekend. I’m always blown away by the genuine people I’ve met because of this place. See you all at Dicks! Can’t wait.

  16. Frankie Says:

    Last night’s Bowie! Wow! Favorite one I caught live…

    Amazing 4-way musical conversation 30 years in the making…
    Glad I got to see that!

    “nobody plays music like that” is the thing I say the most when introducing friends to Phish…

    And it’s true… Nobody but these 4 guys can have this musical conversation the way they do when they improvise… I think about that sometimes and I’m really lucky I get to witness them make this magic a couple times a year…

    When it’s over, it’s gonna be over…

  17. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I really like the JB tweez. Kind of a grower, but I think there a lot of fresh ideas being thrown around. Definitely the best tweez so far.


  18. butter Says:

    Listening to Chi 3 set 2: holy smokes Energy > Ghost is siiiiicccckkkk

    My buddy whose a 92-94 vinatge tour kid, is just loving this Hapua

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    December 97′ was serious stuff. Just finished set I of 12/3/97 – great jams on Drowned/Gumbo/2001/YEM, an extended Punch/My Soul and a Old Home Place taboot.

    Great set.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    An Old Home Place*

  21. sumodie Says:

    Someday I’ll get a proper night’s sleep before a trip. But not just yet.

    Flower Power’d chill down, up at 4am. Seattle’s sassiest phish mamas await us later this morn. Phish & friends, nothing better imo

    Toronto DWD!!!!

  22. Unit Monster Says:

    Timber Hoooo, Timber, whoa this Timbers got to roll out at the Gorge.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    Almost back home for a day

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Just watched My Dinner With Andre. Really incredible movie – a lot of heavy philosophical dialogue – the entire movie is two people talking over dinner. I recommend it if you’re into movies that make you think. It’s 30 years old now but still very relevant, IMO.

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    I prefer My Night With Maude.

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