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. Stoney Case Says:

    whole place just riding a piano driven wave around 17, 18, 19 min

  2. snow Says:

    this is way better:

  3. MiA Says:

    Molly is not “the cure” for exhaustion. Kids these days.

    I dislike MDMA as a rave drug. Kids take too much, so they pound alcohol to take the heart racing off, grind their teeth, get tired, add more Molly.

    Use MDMA for couples and counseling. Dr. Leo Zeff style.

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    haha! the beginning of Light is kind of funny on playback. Hard to make out the wrong key and the little chuckle by Trey live.

  5. Stoney Case Says:

    Pinner Light

  6. angryjoggerz Says:

    dont take the white molly

    only the blue stuff is good


  7. MiA Says:

    Take the white Molly that melts at 149°

  8. sumodie Says:

    Anyone in the dark, I highly recommend getting an ecstasy testing kit. The kits work exactly as advertised and can identify a wide range of substances you may or may not want in your ecstasy/molly/mdma

  9. sumodie Says:

    MDMA is not the problem; people are

  10. sumodie Says:

    Trey’s chuckle near the beginning of Light was pretty darned loud here

    Clearly he just wants to keep pumping out the energy by leaving Light behind so soon in favor of 46 Days (a song I always love)

  11. Stoney Case Says:

    whilst it was quite fun and danceable live, the cut off ‘Light, 46 Days, Steamer’ kind of flat and uninteresting on playback.

  12. Stoney Case Says:

    sumo, the Tahoe 46 Days was the phatness. This one is too short even for the album. I reassert that Trey was searching for something to play, and didn’t figure it out until ‘Tweezer’. He doesn’t do much in the way of playing in ‘Free > 2001’. He was sort of coloring with chord strumming, waiting for that Tweezer to drop.

  13. lumpyhead Says:

    ^ I hear that.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    just met up and had lunch with occasional poster @oldskool

    non wook status confirmed!

  15. snow Says:

    fucked that up!

  16. MiA Says:

    100% agree Sumo.

  17. MiA Says:

    Taking my first “full” uninterrupted spin of Nt 2 Set II

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    testing kits are where it’s at. be smart. I know a few people that have ID’d very gross adulterants in what they were about to eat

  19. Jtran Says:

    not one to rank, just overpamp, but stoney’s above post is why I thnk miner’s “show of summer” statement is overblown.

  20. Jtran Says:

    i don’t really think show of summer this year was as cut and dry and years past. Too many great ones

  21. MiA Says:

    Bronco’ are -7.5 and the OU is 49.5

    Thoughts MrC?

  22. Stoney Case Says:

    Tweezer = the shit I like, Like! Such a growly wide open tone from Trey! Dance party tweeze. A little more like the Dick’s 11 Tweezer than the Tahoe. What a band!

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    Both well set lines I think @MiA, everyone’s gonna wanna ride the Broncs but 7.5 is a lot to give up against the super bowl champs. Seems like a bit of a sucker play.

    I hate trying to pick in the first 3-4 weeks though, esp with heavy lineup turnover teams like the Ravens

    what do you think?

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    shit me! Trey is one quick, soaring lead in the final minute of ‘Tweezer’ from taking that tune next level. Instead he winds it down with the big chord strums.

    Main difference between Dick’s 12 and Dicks 13:

    Trey DHD seemed completely absent from 2012. Def working in full force this year. Didn’t diminish the fun, yet it somehow kept me a bit more grounded.

    Again, had as much or maybe more fun this year.

  25. MiA Says:

    Actually anyone for thoughts on that line. Thought about buying it down to 7. Ravens did win a Superbowl didn’t they?

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