Wow!

BCGA (Dave Canny)

BCGA (Dave Canny)

What the hell just happened? In a five-week whirlwind, Phish just tore apart the nation like they haven’t in at least a decade. When the band came back in ’09 few expected them to reach any level of skill beyond nostalgia. And even when they crushed 2012—a year that has firmly been filed under “Yesterday’s News”—few expected the band to redefine itself one year later. In retrospect, the years of ’09 through ’12 were all related to their past, a sort of getting up to speed on what they had accomplished in their career while showing flashes of innovation and brilliance. This past tour, however, Phish opened the floodgates of creativity, presenting us with a forward-looking tour that was plucked from our wildest fantasies. This summer, Phish started to forge a new path again with jams that sound different from any other time in their career and an energy purer than ever. Don’t look now, but with Dick’s as a stepping stone, Fall Tour is just around the corner! 2013 is shaping up to be a year musically on par with any in Phish history.

BGCA (G.Lucas)

BGCA (Graham Lucas)

When I listened to several of my ’97 and ’98 favorites since tour ended, the jams sound far less dynamic than they do right now. I love that shit to death—trust me—but Phish is absolutely reached another level this summer. The efficiency and proficiency of their jamming is unparalleled to any point in history. The band needs exactly zero searching to find where they are going these days—as soon as they entered a jam this summer, with few exceptions, they were locked in directional, purposeful, whole-band improv. The quickness in which ideas were exchanged and built upon set a new standard for Phish, and consequently, the band was able to get far more out of their jams. This musical density had been building since Miami ’09, and has now reached a mind-boggling level. For example, go listen to the Alpharetta “Chalk Dust,” one of the best east coast jams of summer, and then try to wrap your head around the fact that it is under ten minutes long! Phish of 2013 is another beast all together. Their entire thirty-year career has led them to this point—a place where they draw on their illustrious past to create music that moves beyond their previous accomplishments.

BGCA (Graham Lucas)

BGCA (Graham Lucas)

The number of highlights from Summer Tour is nothing short of staggering. Trying to sum up this tour in writing is a task unseen in this era. Very little 3.0 Phish compares to what just went down over the past month. With only a slight dip in Chicago due to non-stop weather delays, the band launched off the “Harpua”-laced third night of the stand and never looked back, crafting two of the most memorable weeks in Phish history. Toronto’s majestic “Down With Disease” gave us a glimpse of the holy realms that we would frolic in we hit the west coast. Tour—undoubtedly—peaked at the Gorge and Lake Tahoe with several elite sets of Phish including the Tahoe “Tweezer”—in my opinion, the best jam of all-time. Finishing things with an outstanding four night run in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the guys dropped jams on the level with the previous weekend, but only sculpted one monster show in Bill Graham’s finale. At last, the band played a legit west coast run, and—go figure—it produced the best Phish we’ve seen in over a decade.

I’ll get down to analysis, but right now I’m still in awe of what we just experienced. I still have yet to spin three of the west coast shows—it was just different this time. As in the days of lore, we knew that after setbreak things would absolutely get crazy—a feeling that just hasn’t been prevalent over the past four years. But now, it’s full steam ahead! The entire community is more mature and everyone can appreciate what is transpiring quite a bit more, and I reckon the band feels the same. Nobody expected to be where we are right now, making this year of 2013 all the more magical. Hot damn, it’s good to be alive.

BGCA (Jeremy Renda)

BGCA (Jeremy Renda)

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4,964 Responses to “Wow!”

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  1. RoosterPizza Says:

    RoosterPizza Says:
    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:01 pm
    After listening to set 2, all I knowis that this summer is bringing a much different approach. 2012 was the peak of the first three years of 3.0, and it sure seems to me we are on a different, dare I say, 2.0 type path. Really bummed that RnR got cut off.

    Not correct with th 2.0 prediction, but the other one turned out o be pretty spot on. Can’t wait for Denver.

  2. RoosterPizza Says:

    Miner

    You making it to Denver?

  3. Al Says:

    I obviously need more spinning time to see that higher level compared to 2011 and 2012. Judging only from headphone listening (couldn’t attend any show) I heard some painfully botched written parts (Fluffheads 7below, etc..), forgotten notes by Mike (which is unusual) and rythmic problems in some beginnings and turns of jams. I know it is a completely different experience to be at the show (I’ve travelled to the US to see some), but a show like Hollywood Bowl would have been torn into pieces without ck5’s work. The Hood is great, but the rest musically utterly boring. The first shows of the tour were dominated by Trey’s whammy which is highly polarizing. In addition to that Trey’s guitar sound doesn’t f..ck my f..ce anymore. It got better towards the end of the tour, but its attack and dynamics never reached the former Level. Furthermore, the peaks they were building the jam up to were almost never released to full extent either because Trey didn’t turn up to Full volume, or the Band didn’t find it in sync, except ck5 who blew up the white lights to a semi-reached peak. Nevertheless the tour had absolute Highlights like the Tahoeezer, Hood and a handful more. The last point I thought was sometimes surprising was the unusually small repertoire of songs. Maybe the break between tours was a bit too long this time, but as we all know that won’t happen again this year.

  4. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Thanks for the review Miner!
    I find it hard to believe that one could not hear the improvement from 2009-2012 to this latest tour, even on headphones. Point well made on tight song rotation though.

  5. the Baker Says:

    HALLMARK’s 30th Year Anniversary “gifts” are: pearls(traditional); diamond(modern)…perhaps the “Musical Genius” from Minnesota, ‘eh?

  6. neemor Says:

    “When I listened to several of my ’97 and ’98 favorites since tour ended, the jams sound far less dynamic than they do right now.”
    ^ I feel this

  7. neemor Says:

    “The entire community is more mature and everyone can appreciate what is transpiring quite a bit more”
    For the most part…

    Good stuff, Miner.
    Looking forward to recaps

  8. neemor Says:

    Al:
    Some good points, some bad points.
    Forgotten notes by Mike? Not sure I would ever notice. I also know that Mike is playing exactly the note I didn’t expect every time.
    Trey’s polarizing whammy was discussed to death, but to watch it subside and his classic tone to emerge like a 17-year cicada has been a real treat.
    Hoping that continues. I think that more than anything that comes from less touring than the past. Also lends itself to the smaller catalog.
    Your mention of peaks not reaching full potential is somewhat hogwash to these ears. I heard more natural and ecstatic full-band peaks this tour than any other time in 3.0.
    I agree with you in your love for Chris, but not sure he makes or breaks a show. If I close my eyes, magic still comes through in full color. He, like any other member, is integral but a part to a greater whole.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Got me up and thinking this morning.

  9. neemor Says:

    As far as botched composition, there is a yin and yang.
    I noticed also the distinct ability to nail composed parts with zeal in 2013.
    That makes a big difference to me.
    Especially in Set One.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Tahose!

  11. neemor Says:

    Nice.

    Looking back at Miner’s titles, I think a pretty good summation of the way 2013 Summer went:
    Wow!
    A Final Bow
    Boom! Pow!
    A Bundle of Joy
    Where Dreams Can Take Flight
    Phish, Almighty
    A Mountain Groove
    Glory at the Gorge
    The Great Northwest
    Recalibration
    Look, The Storm’s Gone!
    Maple Leaf Lovin’
    Incredibly Ordinary
    Really?

  12. Uakari Says:

    Al you suck at this.
    Why be such a hater?
    No shows, come to complain?
    Noob in you?
    Stay in 1995.

  13. MiA Says:

    After Gorge I kinda agree with Miner. Maybe.

    I almost 100% agree with everything Al wrote though.

    After talking to Matso I now read Al’s posts in a German accent. It helps.

    Miner’s whole writeup is almost always opinion laced and I find this tour I just don’t agree with 90% of it. So it is.

  14. MiA Says:

    Happy birthday Joggerz!

  15. MiA Says:

    And Tahweezer really is fantastic on many levels.

  16. Spasm Waiter Says:

    “I heard some painfully botched written parts (Fluffheads 7below, etc..), forgotten notes by Mike (which is unusual) and rythmic problems in some beginnings and turns of jams. ”
    I am not hearing this.

  17. Selector J Says:

    @aj Happy birthday to WOO!

  18. RicksFork Says:

    I admittedly do not have the trained ear that many of you do. I don’t comment much because I cannot analyze the music in that way (or have trouble putting into words), but I have been seeing this band for almost 20 years now and even without a musical background I know that something special is going on. It is apparent and tangible that this band is firing on all cylinders as one cohesive unit. I am honored to be at any show that I can and cant wait to wake up the morning after and listen to every show that I cannot attend. I enjoy this forum when I stop by because people are open minded and welcome all opinions. That being said, I have to disagree @al with the use of “painfully botched” and “utterly boring”. I may be missing something, but I cant think of any music I have listened to this summer that could be classified in that way. Terms like “beautifully played” and “utterly captivating” are what come to mind for me. Just my two cents, but things are so good right now and I cant wait for fall. So happy for (and jealous of) all who are headed to Dicks. More Phish please!

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    1) Happy b-day, joggerz!
    2) RIP, Mr. Garcia. 18 years gone but seems longer.
    3) Hartford Civic Center has quite the weekend going in late October.
    10/25 Pearl Jam
    10/26 Drake
    10/27 Phish

  20. MiA Says:

    7 below was a little rough. You didn’t hear that?

    Jam was great.

  21. dorn76 Says:

    Can you still have fun, Al? Spin that Alpharetta CDT, 9 minutes of fleet fingered fire, your band of yore ripping it up on all levels.

  22. RicksFork Says:

    I can hear it @MiA, but I guess to me its not “painful” or something that I focus on with all of the other highlights that are happening.

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Neemor, maybe switch to Sanka?

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    Thanks guys. Took the day off work and going to hang with my ladies, then block party tomorrow! I love block parties!

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Feliz Cumpleaños, AJ!

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