Summer’s Swan Song

8.30.13 (Graham Lucas)

8.30.13 (Graham Lucas)

Phish finalized their summer season on Sunday night in the Rockies with a well-played show, though the second set lacked coherency and flow. The highs of “Carini” and “Prince Caspian > Piper” were quite high, but the main event didn’t fully elevate as a whole. Although the band was on top of their game musically, the weekend’s final set didn’t have the punch we’ve come to expect from performances at Dick’s Sporting Goods pavilion. With some out of place singles breaking up the fluidity, the second set had a patchwork makeup. But coming at the end of a revolutionary summer tour, this show felt just fine.

9/1 Official (K.Taylor)

9/1 Official (K.Taylor)

The first set translated quite well as the band showcased their on point musicianship by tackling several of their most technical songs. Tearing through “Rift,” and then “It’s Ice,” “Guelah Papyrus” and a smoking “Divided Sky” in succession, the band was challenging itself and they passing with flying colors. Closing the first half with a classicly-shaped “David Bowie,” the band finalized their virtuoso display. The rarities, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” and “Meat,” the former of which opened the show for the first time since it’s Brooklyn debut in 2004, rounded out a solid opening frame, and when setbreak came, Phish seemed primed to tear apart their final set at Dick’s. But when the dust settled, the second set contained more of an up and down flow than we are used to in the Rockies of Colorado.

Most everyone I spoke to expected the band to open their final set with “Down with Disease” or “Energy,” but they threw a curveball in the form of “Carini.” And as soon as it started, everyone knew “Carini” was going huge. Spending only a brief time in darkness, the band moved into an uplifting, atmospheric jam that shied from an outright groove for quite some time. The jam carried a feeling of ascension—a communal floating into the heavens above after a summer tour that far surpassed everyone’s expectations. Trey tickled spiritual melodies and Fish backed the piece with delicate, complex rhythms as the cerebral music enveloped the audience. The band reached a cathartic plateau and remained their for a while, allowing their fans to revel in the blissed out music. Then—finally—deep into the excursion, the guys hit a change and Fish moved into a mid-tempo groove that spoke to the soul. This was one of those moments that resonated through your entire being—an arrival of the collective consciousness. The energies of the band and audience united in truly spiritual event, leaving souls purged and jaws on the floor. The coolest part of “Carini”—the outright highlight of Sunday night—was how different it was from Saturday’s “Chalk Dust” and Friday’s “Sand.” Show me another band on earth that can play three such diverse pieces of virtuoso improvisation and I’ll show you a liar.

8.30.13 (G.Lucas)

8.30.13 (G.Lucas)

As “Carini” floated in the stratosphere, steeped in reverie, Trey decided it was time for “Birds of a Feather.” Ouch. And there happened the first strike against the flow of this set. Trey seemed to be only stopping off in a rocking interlude when he started up “Golden Age,” one of this summer’s signature jams. But this time, the band decided not to jam it at all, carrying out the composed vibe of the song before dissolving into “Prince Caspian”—another bumpy migration. But the band absolutely slayed “Caspian” as Trey developed a three-chord theme that transformed into the focus of the whole-group improv. A tasteful exploration of the song evoked memories of 2012’s Denver “Caspian” before the band segued nicely into “Piper.”

The combination of “Caspian” and “Piper” became the second highlight of the show, as the band constructed an uptemo canvas that Fishman painted with lightening-quick breakbeats. This full-throttle version hinted, momentarily, at “Guy Forget” as the band sprinted towards the finish line of their last open jam of the summer. And as Trey would have it, this “Piper” wouldn’t be complete without a final set of “Woos.” As the audience responded to his stops and starts, he seemed quite happy with the late summer development, but will he bring the “Woos” to fall? We shall see.

8.30 (G.Lucas)

8.30 (G.Lucas)

An awkward combination of “Boogie On” and” Saw It Again” preceded a quick run through a “Mike’s Groove,” that filled the closing spot of the set—a five-song sequence that flowed like a pile of bricks. Summer’s closing “Groove” did, however, feature a comical nod to Colorado’s recent marijuana tolerance with the debut of Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.” After a stadium-wide smoke session, Trey dropped a final version of “Character Zero” and the summer came to a close. This year, however, the feeling wasn’t so bittersweet with fall tour sitting but six weeks away! For the first time, Dick’s will not be the last we see of Phish until the holidays at MSG. Nope, this year we’re on the road again.

I: A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Kill Devil Falls, Back on the Train, Rift, Meat, It’s Ice, Guelah Papyrus, Divided Sky, Funky Bitch, Cavern, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, David Bowie

II: Carini > Birds of a Feather, Golden Age > Prince Caspian > Piper, Boogie On Reggae Woman > Saw It Again, Mike’s Song > Legalize It* > Weekapaug Groove, Show of Life, Suzy Greenberg

E: Character Zero


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371 Responses to “Summer’s Swan Song”

  1. Angryjoggerz Says:

    I’m going auto all the way! Computer vs man…

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    @aj – definitely do not tank on purpose – you are ruining it for other people if you do that.

    you committed to doing it, now sack up and spend the few minutes a week to back it up is my advice – also take Fly up on his very kind repeated offer to help you! Really, you should do that.

  3. snow Says:

    I thought 2 ints in the first 23 minutes was damn close to my original statement. I did use the word few but I wasn’t trying to be precise.

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    “But those are rare. A set doesn’t need that to be a great set.”

    Word. Elements set another obvious candidate from the modern era.

    They do exist and I’m all for it.

    I’m just saying that’s not really a part of what determines whether a Phish show is great or not, as you describe. It’s an optional bonus.

    Still bugs me when Troy chops a jam for a random song placement as much as it does most people.

  5. MiA Says:

    I guess in Iowa a few is 2. What is a couple there? 1?

    Ill take it. Ill send you my PayPal address. 😉

  6. Angryjoggerz Says:

    I sort of get it but what I don’t really get is how it is actually ruining it for others? When I signed up I was told all I had to do was make a login and it would do all auto everything, I even double checked. Now I am told I have to other things or it is not fun for others. I also was told by my coworkers I should not let other people do it for me because that is not fun for them. Seems no matter what I am gonna not fair well on this, right? I guess I could just do 5 minutes and just randomly select people but even that I don’t really understand. Again, Should have listened to Mr C on this one! I’ll think it over and try to do right while not compromising my lifetime commitment to spending zero minutes in football. There’s otta be an angle!

  7. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Thanks guys, appreciate you all tryin to steer me right.

  8. dorn76 Says:

    Shipyard XXXX IPA. 9.5% boozy bomber. Pretty damn good but not the hop bomb you’d expect.

    Was one of the first “big” IPA’s I ever tried, in a bar in St. John of all places. Apparently Shipyard brews for “St. John Brewing” who has some decent (for the Carib) brews. Pretty standard practice for these bigger breweries but misleading as all hell when the bottle says St. John Brewing in big letters.

    Better than Dos Equis by a country mile though.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    No, AJ

    your out is: Let Fly help you

    that’s it

    the thing is, if you lose all the time via neglect, you help the people you lose to, and therefore hurt everyone else

    so just get in with Fly and he can set you right with just a little effort

    very kind offer on his part really

  10. snow Says:

    no, a few is 3. I’m saying I wasn’t being precise. it was an offhand comment made during a teleconference. I was describing the general pattern I thought the game would take.


  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Probably already invested more energy here talkin about it then it would have been to spend the five minutes doin the thing.

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    New post eh….

  13. bobby weird Says:

    @aj, i hear you. they needed you to have a full, round number in the league, but the expectation was — and always is — that you will perform to an average level, at least put in an effort of good faith (yes, truly less than 5 mins per week), just so the remaining teams don’t have to live with the knowledge one team is throwing off the otherwise-anticipated competitive balance. Both things are true: you can meet this duty in under 5 mins per week, and the team is right to expect at least this minimilist effort from you. IMHO at least.

    Worse comes to worse, why not let the BB inform you? (Although technically, this is impermissible b/c you are getting outside advice.)…

    Best o luck laddy.

  14. dorn76 Says:

    Shipyard xxxx is by Shipyard, obv…the other stuff by “St. John Brewing” was called Islander IPA I believe.


  15. BingosBrother Says:

    I picked my own team and drafted for my brother by picking the next best available player. Yahoo ranker gave his draft a B+ and mine a C. AJ will prolly contend.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    why did trey decide to get trey-dd at dicks

    ^cause we all assumed he wouldn’t. contrarian to the core!

  17. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    only 111 here today.

  18. Dorn76 Says:

    Where my badminton playin’ homies at?

  19. ren Says:

    AJ would make a great addition to the cast of The League…love that show.

    Agreed on set flow and not necessarily needing it. Also think that a show with great flow doesn’t have to be super exploratory (1-1-11) spin that shit often

  20. kevin Says:

    @Miner, @all – Im a little confused about this lack of flow thing making a show bad. I have seen a lot of good shows. 37 total. My first being Cypress. I have listened to lots of old shows from all eras of Phish.

    But why does everything have to have a theme or a flow from one song to the next to be considered good. Why is everything about the migration throughout the set and not about the music itself. For me, as soon as Carini ended and Birds started I wasnt thinking about set flow. Rather I was getting myself into Birds mode.

    And when Golden Age “disolved” into Caspian, I wasnt thinking “man I think that Golden Age was cut short”. Rather I was ready for another slaying of one of my favorite songs at Dicks.

    I just dont understand the criticism. To me Phish isnt about what Im gonna get or should have gotten at any given show. Its about leaving expectations at the gate, and living in and enjoying the moment for what it is. To me, thats what Phish has always been about, even when I listen to shows before my time.

    Whats really changed? Except peoples expectations.

  21. SOAM Says:

    2 20 82….Let it Grow (18 mins-monster) fyi


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