A Mountain Groove

7.26.13 (Eric Batuello)

7.26.13 (Eric Batuello)

Damn, that was fun! On an idyllic afternoon in Lake Tahoe, Phish greeted their California-based crowd to a dance throwdown unlike any other on tour. From the opening couplet of “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Gotta Jibboo” through the encore of “Weekapaug,” “Character Zero,” every note seemed scripted to the dancer in all of us, as one groove after another emanated from Harvey’s stage. On a tour filled with inclement weather, a sun-drenched California dance party on a flat asphalt parking lot really hit the spot. Rarely does Phish play a show that carries a single vibe all the way through, but Tuesday in Tahoe, that’s exactly what happened, and it was grand.

7/30 Official (J.Soto)

7/30 Official (J.Soto)

Both “Wolfman’s,” and the first “Jibboo” of tour extended into standout versions, an early sign that this was gonna’ be a groove-laced afternoon. A cleverly placed “Cavern” and a ripping “Birds” both provided first set surprises that kept the energy high. “Cities,” though not leaving its form, burst with a fresh feel courtesy of Jon Fishman. His rhythm brought an urgency and a snap to this version that made it standout immediately.

The highlight of a non-stop opening set, however, came in “Bathtub Gin.” Phish has infused “Gin” with a newfound energy this summer, and this version grew in a unique direction as the band totally deconstructed the jam before building it back into a glorious peak. Shying from a groove until the jam’s arrival, this “Gin” stylistically diverged from other versions of tour and absolutely shone. Phish took all of this energy and channeled it into the final pairing of the set—“Tube” and “Walk Away.” The band had not closed a set with “Walk Away” since 1991, so it certainly felt a bit odd as they took their bows following the James Gang cover. The first set had smoked from start to finish while channeling an infectious vibe—a vibe that would be picked up upon with the first notes of set two.

7.27.13 (E.Batuello)

7.27.13 (E.Batuello)

Without having respun the show, my narrative process is somewhat compromised, but my overall memory of that second set is an absolute fucking explosion. Every single piece of the set popped with extra zest, forming an incredible whole—another monstrous frame of music from our beloved Vermont quartet. “Golden Age”—likely the jam of the show—opened the main event with a smorgasbord of grooves and then promptly transcended them in a sublime segment free form music. The guys brought this one deep, finally attaining the caliber of jam we all knew could stem from this new era cover. It’s taken them a few years to really get comfortable with “Golden Age’s” jam, as they had seldom moved beyond a standard groove, but Tahoe’s version provided the type of soul-quenching journey for which I’d been waiting.

When the band blended into “46 Days,” a song that can get real generic real quick, I thought we were in for a rocking interlude. I was wrong. Going absolutely buck wild on an additional jam segment, Mike Gordon led a disgustingly crunchy funk session that brought the house to its knees. This was real-deal molasses thickness, the music that envelops you from every side as your superhuman self spins through eternity. Jiving completely with the contour of the night, the opening sequence of Golden Age > 46 Days” blossomed into an instant classic. And that was only the beginning.

7.26.13 (E.Batuello)

7.26.13 (Eric Batuello)

They say all good things come in threes, and—honestly—the trifecta of “Ghost > Carini > Piper” was nothing short of exhilarating. Forming a dynamic contour over three jams, each also popped with a creativity all their own. Though the band connected pieces with less than precise transitions throughout the set, that’s about the only persnickety gripe one can poke at an inspiring night of music. Laying into a groove-based “Ghost” jam like they haven’t this tour, the band let things hang out on their elusive vehicle in version that I can’t wait to hear again. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, this set possessed a torrid flow and an energy that gripped the audience and simply never let go. So naturally, the next song was “Carini.” Blowing out the jam into an uplifting triumph, the band gave their sinister anthem the treatment—like just about every piece they touched last night.

7.20.13 (WCProductions)

7.20.13 (WCProductions)

The hits just kept coming as the band capped their three-jam sequence with a full-throttle, melody-driven “Piper” that brought things to a rolling boil. This set really, truly had it all.  “Ghost > Carini > Piper” provided a magnificent centerpiece to the main event, especially considering the caliber of jamming we had already heard in “Golden > 46.” I can only imagine the replay value of this entire set, let alone the show as there never was a single lull.

Exhaling, momentarily, with “Wading in a Velvet Sea”—again placed impeccably—the band played the only slow song of the night before igniting once more in an awesome closing couplet of “Mike’s Song” and “Slave.” I couldn’t put my finger on what song would close things out last night, and “Mike’s” provided a welcome surprise, not to mention the out of nowhere move into “Slave” when it felt like a “Hydrogen > Weekapaug” was already in the books. Dramatically closing the set with “Slave,” a move we hadn’t seen since Chicago, the band added a final curveball to the night as they left “Weekapaug” hanging for the first time in ages. But not for long.

A fantastic night of Phish concluded with a swift run through “Weekapaug” and—of course—with “Character Zero,” Trey’s Summer 2013 nod to a smoking night of music. Being in the mountains of California for Phish is glorious on its own merit, but when the band is crushing like they are currently, everything gets turned up a notch—or ten. The difference between where the band was the last time we stood in Harvey’s parking lot and where they are now is astounding, and every part of Lake Tahoe looks a bit more beautiful given the current circumstances. Nature, Phish and friends…what could be better?

Nothing in the universe.

I: Wolfman’s Brother, Gotta Jibboo, Cavern, Birds of a Feather, Funky Bitch, Cities, Rift, Bathtub Gin, Tube, Walk Away

II: Golden Age > 46 Days > Boogie On Reggae Woman > Ghost > Carini > Piper > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Mike’s Song > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Weekapaug Groove, Character Zero

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771 Responses to “A Mountain Groove”

  1. BrandonKayda Says:

    @sumo

    Time doesn’t always equal quality, sure, but…most of the time it does, IMO.

    Other than the IT 46 Days and the Worcester Jim, I can’t think of many long jams that I don’t enjoy for one reason or another. Even the monster, 50min Tweezer from 95′ has its moments.

    And in 3.0, I would say length almost always leads to quality. All of the times they’ve gone big in 3.0 it has worked, IMO (and I may be forgetting a couple jams).

  2. btb Says:

    So 27, 30 min jams including tonights. Interesting. Tx

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    bk, i thought you changed your mind on the IT 46 days

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Repost just in case:

    @sumo

    Time doesn’t always equal quality, sure, but…most of the time it does, IMO.

    Other than the IT 46 Days and the Worcester Jim, I can’t think of many long jams that I don’t enjoy for one reason or another. Even the monster, 50min Tweezer from 95′ has its moments.

    And in 3.0, I would say length almost always leads to quality. All of the times they’ve gone big in 3.0 it has worked, IMO (and I may be forgetting a couple jams).

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    I tend to oscillate on that one, @df. I either love it or hate it. Sounds like I need to re-spin to gain some clarity.

  6. btb Says:

    Halloween 95 yem is epic. The first yem I ever heard!!

  7. Frankie Says:

    Funny I thought about the Mud Island Tweezer during the one tonight… It had all these distinct melodic sections… Can’t wait to hear it again!

  8. phishm Says:

    Hit a nerve. My bad. Wonder why you didn’t lash out at the last guy. Weird. don’t blame it on yourself.
    Great show. Nice call on the long jam. Hope this goes big too.

  9. btb Says:

    Had to be there for IT 46 days. Aliens.

  10. sumodie Says:

    another longest jam thread here:

    http://phantasytour.com/bands/1/topics/3015735/posts

    scroll down on this on to find the Mr Completely listed

    not gonna try & sort thru for accuracy or omissions

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    The first YEM I ever heard was NYE 95.

    The first YEM I ever heard that really grabbed me was Albany 95.

    I used to LOVE reading jam reviews on Phish dot net – would eat that shit up. I would read show reviews not knowing at the time most of the songs and just being excited by the descriptions alone. Possum was a song I looked for in shows to download, haha.

    There certainly is an abundance of those in 3.0

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    So, there was a 17min Antelope apparently.

  13. Dorn76 Says:

    30+ minutes of ear candy all the way. They wrote 4 or 5 tunes for Michelle in there.

    Gonna be fun around here leading up to BGCA.

  14. Boris Says:

    Was it all pretty and shit or did they actually get freaky? Or was it just a wanky 30 minutes of white boy funk?

  15. phishm Says:

    Have to re listen. A lot of themes that went all over the place. No filler from 1st listen. Not just long, but phishy in the finest form from beginning to end. A lot of hose was included.

  16. phishm Says:

    IMO

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    Wow, had no idea I caught the longest YEM ever. 95 so long ago.

  18. Frankie Says:

    Anybody still up for some LIVE music, there is a webcast of Marco Benevento in a duo with Stanton Moore in LA right now there

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN45AzZ6AQ8

    Enjoy!

  19. IrieWalton Says:

    Six song second set. Last remaining questions have been answered. Space ship takes off from the BGCA with Dick’s being an outpost on the moon. I’m almost afraid, in a good way, to step foot into BBCA on Friday for fear that Trey will lock the doors, as he’s said he has always wanted to do, and then melt our faces for 12 hours.

    #fuck

  20. Dorn76 Says:

    I think folks are gonna be bonkers when they hear it.

    Was nice to share it with you nuts in here.

    Nite all.

  21. Boris Says:

    Why the fuck can’t I listen to this yet!? Hurry the fuck up Phish!

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    I haven’t heard a note of anything yet. Looking forward to going on a nice, long walk tomorrow and taking in that set II.

  23. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    it is as good as you think it is.

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    Tweezer: The Right Way

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    I know that PT is lame and all, but those guys are fucking hysterical sometimes.

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