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. marcoesq Says:

    Where are the rumored Philly dates??

  2. sumodie Says:

    Philly rumor fled to AC

  3. marcoesq Says:


  4. xpun Says:

    Parenthood is already chillin RL out. Great post. Glad you had fun.

    I don’t mind the repeats I’ve realized because I do try to spin most shows and that can be time consuming. The repeats allow me to just focus on the highlights of each show.

    I do feel that the straight ahead type 1 stuff is popping and peaking better this year. I just don’t really need to hear it over and over from the couch. Loved being there for it at mpp though.

  5. Stoney Case Says:

    Harpua ate the Philly dates in Chicago.

  6. marcoesq Says:

    End of this Disease is spectacular

  7. plord Says:

    Whoah Pronoia, twin girls?! Congrats!

    You are now owned for life tho. Ain’t no man can handle that much new baby girl awesomeness at once.

  8. butter Says:

    never miss a north of the border monday make up show

    nice piece Miner, can’t wait to wrap my ears around that DWD. their fluidity of shifts between jam styles is breath taking right now, and their type 1 sounds as wound tight as ever. oh, and i’m on tour now for the rest of Summer13 woot woot, and not worried about repeats over here…just keep the music fresh sounding por fa vore

    nice post on pg 1 RL

  9. dorn76 Says:

    I know where MiA is this morning.


    Middle School’d.

  10. dorn76 Says:

    Seriously amazing bit of music. Piper too.

    Wow, Phish. Thanks.

  11. xpun Says:

    Congrats dr pro

    A return to glen falls. Has over hyped written all over it. Unless they play Harpua.

  12. neemor Says:

    Not sure it’s up to me to dig this up, but a well-crafted post that I happen to disagree with but found interesting and well written that I somehow missed can be found on comment pg.40 under the ‘Incredibly Ordinary’ post from the other day.
    I hesitate to mention it because it’s extremely derogatory in a lot of ways, but it makes some interesting points and comes from someone who claims to have some decent insight. The author also falls prey to some of the behaviors and attitudes that he is mocking but knows it.
    Also, I love snark….
    I’m pretty sure it got the newbie-post delay so many may have missed it.
    Guys name is “The Right Way”.
    I guess i’m curious if you guys think that any of his points make legitimate sense.

  13. plord Says:

    Just checked this Stash. Trey is working on a sick melodic idea before they even got through the “Maybe so, Maybe not” sequence, but he dropped it a short while later. Decent Stash, not a jaw dropper.

    On to the Disease.

  14. marcoesq Says:

    West coast Phish is about to get real

  15. ren Says:

    Congrats Dr.P!!! I see that stork coming for me…but still way out on the horizon

  16. roberto luongo Says:

    although it works for me def not dissing the phish historians, jam chart makers, pod casters, and debaters. whatever works for you.

    they all bring a crazy love to this band the scene needs and they enjoy goin bout it in that manner.

    I was just never that into it. finally spun that 97 ventura show I always loved being there for. had no problem waiting 16 years for it. my memories of that tour with my 3 youngin days crew of that show are still vivid as all hell.

    I like to get spun and get down and like I said me and my crew are total prankster ball busters when trippin at shows but have never been a need to hear every note to reach some spiritual plane of more nirvana and experience this perfectly weaved story that flows first note to last.

    we just got high. puff shit tons of thc. bust balls and get down. can’t say we enjoy the top level shows that much more than the shitty one’s or the decent one’s when we’re all together on top of our game.

    now I’m done

    like I said all kinds of fans and none are right. just glad I finally found a space where everything bout seeing the shows again is fun. not negative. I don’t do well in large groups of anything and getting sucked into the community and the discussions that follow just doesn’t bring out the best parts of my already terrible personality.

    anyway that’s it. had a few thoughts to clear after the weekend
    2 hours of sleep finally last night. first in a couple days.
    back to babylon comrades
    keep tour raging for me

  17. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Holy cow. Congrats Doc P! Great news. Reba and Sparkle?

  18. ren Says:

    Nice RL! Glad you’ve found your sweet spot! Hope to see you out there

  19. marcoesq Says:

    Dude sounded like he has some hurt feelings. I’m sure he’s well educated in music theory and acoustics, etc but I don’t think he’s taking the blog with the grain of salt that most do.

    Chicago was the weekend where a lot of kids saw their first shows of tour and to have a music critic sound disappointed in the shows is bound to create some sore egos…as we saw all over the internet this weekend.

    Sure, a lot of it makes sense but he sounds like he is caring way too much…just like his criticism of the host.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    cheers, RL. Great attitude. Look fwd to enjoying the good times w/ you in SF. 3 (indoor) shows, baby!

    dr. P: twin girls. holy moses! you must have super sperm. Best of luck. We’re going to have to get you out to a show when things settle downa bit. peace

    just dl’ed toronto sbd and plan to spin it and assign some $’s. i guess that makes me one of the obsessed phish nerds that help the phish world spin round.

  21. Foul_Domain Says:

    Did anyone else feel like the crowd sucked? Attendance aside, I couldn’t believe how many full blown conversations were happening all around me all throughout the 1st set.

    This was my first show since SBIX and it felt like the talkers were at least 100% worse than at any show I can remember.

  22. Stoney Case Says:

    Neemor, good find.

    Can’t believe he didn’t comment on the rail riders. Pretty disappointed.

    Also, there are several hubs of negativity on the web re: Phish. OPT, PT, maybe others. IDK

    I think the ‘play it the right way’ was directed at ZZYZX but what do I know.

    Miner is who he is. He wears his emotions an opinions on his sleeve. Like the humans on stage, he too is human with his own challenges.

    I think the band would be better working on their Phish music than worrying about blogs. But again, who am I to say?

    Miner gets kids to shows. Period. His enthusiasm fosters FOMO in the minds of many fans.

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    @neemor – Went back and read the post – definitely missed it in the mod delay.

    As you say, some of the tact was a little harsh (though no harsher than miner himself, quite often), but the main points echo a lot of what I feel about this blog and the reason I come more for the discussion and often just skim the lead in post. It is frequently clear that Miner knows little about actual musicianship, show production, and logistics, as laid out by Right Way. I’d stop short of some of the personal jabs, out of general respect, and the personal interpretation of the harpua may be or may be not accurate, but most of that post is spot on, imo.

    I recall alpharetta II flood show a few years back, Miner had “dared” trey to do something or other with a jam. The next night he got a Julius’d Tweezer – and in the moment it seemed to me a prank in the same vein. With all of the “trey’s reading the blogs” talk the other day I wouldn’t be surprised if he sent out a personal message. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s more reacting to an overall vibe that has nothing to do with any one personality and more to do with our overall culture.


  24. marcoesq Says:

    Tweezer time

  25. marcoesq Says:

    I seriously hope Trey isn’t sitting there on his iPad reading this site everyday. Would probably make me lose a lot of respect for him. And then furthermore to do “the opposite” of whatever the fan base is requesting, sounds like an enormous waster of time and energy. That’s why I think most of that comment was horse shit.

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