The State of the Game

8.30.13 (Jake Silco)

8.30.13 (Jake Silco)

Phish came out on Saturday night at Dick’s and played their most impressive show of 2013. Rivaled only by the Gorge’s second night, Saturday featured the most innovative, forward looking music of the season as the band tore part the second set with jaw dropping improvisation. Anchored by Jon Fishman—the unquestionable star of the show and the weekend—and his inhuman breakbeats Phish carved brand new sonic pathways in the year’s most creative jam—a 23-minute odyssey out of “Chalk Dust Torture.” And then the train just kept chugging along. Blasting into “Light” and, later, a surprise, late-set “Tweezer” that popped with aural ambrosia, Phish never relented throughout the second set, leaving a wake of fire in their trail. I had the feeling one of Dick’s s performances would wind up in the top slot of summer, and Saturday night was most definitely that show.

8/31 Official (K.Taylor)

8/31 Official (K.Taylor)

Before getting to the otherworldly second half, the first deserves some discussion. Relatively thin on jamming, Saturday’s opening frame was, nonetheless, high on energy, favoring uptempo selections throughout. Songs that shined included “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Bathtub Gin” and “Antelope,” while the rarities of “Buried Alive” and “Fee” surfaced as well, together forming a very solid 90-minute opening set. The band must have been feeling good, because after setbreak, they would throw down their defining jam of the year.

A “Chalk Dust” second set opener can go it two ways: a short rocker to kick things off or a monumental open jam. This version was the latter. Steeped in virtuoso improv, “Chalk Dust” flowed through at least four different mini-jams with notable fluidity, crafting an unparalleled modern epic. Moving from a blissful, melody-based opening to the darkest, fastest drum and bass music we’ve heard since the post-hiatus era, Phish showcased the full spectrum of their abilities—and that was just the first half of the jam! The communication between the band members was shockingly tight and precise given the jam’s breakneck tempo, and—boy—did Jon Fishman shine throughout. Giving his best performance in a year where he has routinely stood out, Fish upped the level of the entire band within this jam and throughout this entire show. After exploring a futuristic, quasi-electronic realm, the band migrated into a chord progression that strongly suggested a segue into “Light.” However, after dancing around the song’s chords for a period of time, they, instead, slipped into a mini-“Manteca” jam before ending “Chalk Dust” with some intentional stops and starts that induced some enthusiastic crowd “Woos.” Honestly, I think this is the jam of the year. While Tahoe’s “Tweezer” was far longer, this jam contains the most original and innovative music dropped by Phish this season. Tahoe’s “Tweezer” consists of many themes pieced together, all which sound like Phish. Denver’s “Chalk Dust” contains a more vicious flow from start to finish while containing groundbreaking music that pushes the boundaries of Phish universe. In the end, there is no need to compare the two, but I felt I needed to if I was claiming “Chalk Dust” to be the jam of the year. In the end, this “Chalk Dust” raised the state of the game to an entirely new level, foreshadowing mind-bending possibilities for fall tour.

8.30.13 (Jake Silco)

8.30.13 (Jake Silco)

One might think after such an extended exercise, the band would follow with a breather. But on this night, they moved directly into their most prolific modern jam vehicle, “Light.” The intense, laser-focused interplay of “Chalk Dust” spilled right into “Light” as the band crafted a short, but densely packed piece. Fishman stayed behind the wheel as the band followed his lead en route to a fast paced, immensely creative passage.

All summer Trey has used “46 Days” as a landing point for profound voyages, and he made the same decision on Saturday by settling the set’s initial 30 minutes of jamming into the blues rock anthem. Shying from a funked out ending like the other versions of summer, Trey, instead, elected to use both “Steam” and “Free” as a slow funk release valve for the raucous intensity that defined the opening half of the set. “Steam” entered some slithery textures before the band moved into “Free,” which got a little extra loving of its own. These two songs paired to form a mid-set groove session before the final third of the frame unfolded.

8.30.13 (Graham Lucas)

8.30.13 (Graham Lucas)

When Phish revved up “2001” late in the set, I felt a “You Enjoy Myself” coming out of it to end the set on a celebratory note. But much to my surprise, Trey kept his delay loop going at the peak of the jam and he laid down the opening lick to “Tweezer!”  Hello!! With a move that took most everyone by surprise, this set was about to get a hell of a lot better—and boy did it! Once again following the infectious rhythms of the Greasy Troll, the band threw down a cathartic version of “Tweezer” that absolutely brought the house down. Moving with an urgency through several different feels from the uplifting to the thick groove, the band absolutely slayed the song’s first rendition since Tahoe, peaking the show with absolute ferocity. When I re-spun this “Tweezer,” it was even more impressive than I remembered live—a certain keeper and the perfect way to cap this set.

The band ended with a relatively conventional run through “Number Line,” allowing everyone a moment to catch their breaths and find their marbles after quite the night of music. When Trey came out for his encore, he spoke of how much fun they had this summer and how much they are looking forward to their first fall tour in three years. The band then played Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” a move that conveyed ultimate enthusiasm for their current endeavors. And when they ended with “Tweezer Reprise” everything felt perfect in the world. Apparently Phish loves the last day of August, as each of the last two shows on that date have elevated in full. When this night ended, one got the sense that this performance was what we came for. Sunday would undoubtedly be great, but Saturday was IT. And damn, was it good.

I: Buried Alive, AC/DC Bag, Wolfman’s Brother, Yarmouth Road, Fee, Halfway to the Moon, The Wedge, Halley’s Comet > Bathtub Gin, Bouncing Around the Room, Mound, Gumbo, Run Like an Antelope

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Light -> 46 Days > Steam -> Free, Joy, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Tweezer > Backwards Down the Number Line

E: On the Road Again* > Tweezer Reprise


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527 Responses to “The State of the Game”

  1. MiA Says:

    Go about being funny and stuff, but live life while you’re young

  2. btb Says:

    To be clear, the ex-ND QB’s were eating lunch and not serving lunch

    Everytime I run into a ND grad they make sure to tell me they went to ND within the first 5 minutes of talking to them. Everytime.

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    And Glowbanks is correct. java download only with Firefox on a Mac.


  4. bob dylan Says:


  5. plord Says:

    Stoney, grab the DownThemAll add-on/extension for Firefox on your mac. Give it a sane download directory and tell it to filter on .mp3, then pull up your stash and when it gives you the java download option, use dTa to fire off another window and grab the lot with one click.

    Ok, I guess the setup takes a minute, but once you’ve got it set up, it makes bulk downloads super super easy. On my slow rural connection, if I had to babysit and download tracks one or three at a time I’d never make it through a whole show. Recommended.

  6. plord Says:

    or, uh, filter on .aac or .m4a or whatever. You get the gist.

  7. bob dylan Says:

    if you just download the java app you can tell it to use the bulk downloader.

    shouldn’t have to do 15 steps for a simple task.

    its the same as it ever was, java just needed an update to play with the nugs site this past weekend. had to do it myself.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    @Fly – I agree that individual stats are more useful and relevant to the actual game in both baseball and basketball. I also know that some people who have deep FF knowledge also have deep understanding of the actual game.

    My issue is never with an analytic or statistical approach to sports as one aspect of understanding the game, but with reductive reasoning that elevates statistical analysis beyond its proper (important) place.

    I have a lot of respect for advanced stat work, but due to the combinatorial complexity of football it’s still in kind of an infant stage. Gets better every season though.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    also, once you have DownThemAll set up you can use it to scoop the fuck out of Archive mp3s

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    sorry about that shit @MiA. Sucks. Life can be rough.

  11. phlorida phan Says:

    As a Canes’ fan, all ND hate seems appropriate, OSU gets a lot, and most important, the Gators, FUCK. THE. GATORS.

    12.28.03 Suzy, that is all!

  12. plord Says:

    Yeah bd but the livePhish java app doesn’t work for or other download sites and dTa totes does.

  13. bob dylan Says:

    touché plord. just try and use firefox as a last resort. i like the company and the pro-bono apps and what not. but safari and chrome get everything done that I need.

    the hack tho does make it seem worth the trouble.

  14. phlorida phan Says:

    Also…..FUCK CANCER, cuntbitchwhorecunt cancer is.

  15. plord Says:

    Gotcha BD. I bailed on Chrome when the news about the plain text password storage dropped. Then today Youtube offered to “upgrade” my account and make me a mandatory G+ profile to go with it. Not too happy with the Google for anything but search these days. Went back to FF and it uses way less memory than Chrome taboot.

  16. snow Says:

    So what’s everybody up to this weekend?

  17. bob dylan Says:

    i hear ya plord. google runs my email for my domain. not quite sure where i fall with the trust/antitrust and all that.

    i use wickr app for anything that needs to stay private. i figure the prisms have all my info anyway.

    just a heads up – safari and chrome are speed tested as being faster so if you’re doing an on-sale, make sure you use one of those instead.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    i use safari as my main browser anyway. i’m in the minority here. when i say backup browser i typically mean “private browsing” for one reason or another.

    or if i run across a website from 1998 that doesn’t play nice with safari.

  19. MiA Says:

    Thanks C. I know you have had a lot of stuff cone your way too but closer yet. Although my friend is real family to me too. Best to you and yours.


    The best part of Fantasy is having a friends hometown team get crushed (leys say your friend is stupid enough to be a Bears fan in real life f’instance)

    Then you will be able to say on Monday “Why the fuck do I have Smokin’ Jay Cutler for. The guy throws more interceptions than anyone and has zero offensive protection! I hope he gets fired!”

    That sort of stuff. Used to do it with Rodgers all the time.

    I won my work FF league due to Bears Defense. They killed it last year. Who’dovthunk?

  20. snow Says:

    +1 for fuck cancer.

    @C – right, the advanced football stats are starting to be useful because:
    1) they show the seahawks defense is the best
    2) they are attempting to take into account the context of a play and are more focused on Units than players.
    Individual stats just don’t tell you much about a football game.
    It’s why I don’t enjoy the red channel. Just seeing big plays is like peaking in on the peak of a jam at a show. context is everything.

  21. snow Says:

    All about chrome. Google is killing it ATM… maps, gmail, chrome… all better than apple’s apps IMHO.
    Firefox is installed to download livephish.

  22. snow Says:

    So did you get livephish to work with safari @BobbyD?

  23. phlorida phan Says:

    NFL bad lip reading. good stuff

  24. MiA Says:

    LivePhish has always worked with Safari for me.

  25. bob dylan Says:

    i streamed/downloaded the whole weekend with safari

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