Taking Care of Business

10.13.2013 "Divided Sky" (Andrea Nusinov)

10.20.2013 “Divided Sky” (Andrea Nusinov)

In a display of musicianship rarely seen these days, Phish annihilated the Mothership proper on Sunday night, gracing the historic venue with the throwdown it’s been begging for since November 22, 1997. This was the real deal folks. This was Phish at Hampton Coliseum in all their fury and wonder. This was the stuff of legend. This was the stuff of dreams. The band hadn’t woven an indoor tale like this in quite some time, and—honestly—it was a sight to behold. Sunday’s show touched upon the very ethos of why we do what we do. The community now has a new date to go along with the many numbers we recite in our sleep—10.20.2013, welcome to our consciousness.

10/19 Official (J.Flames)

10/20 Official (J.Flames)

The band toned it down a bit from their audacious start of Saturday night, favoring standard rotation songs to which we’ve all grown accustomed. There were, however, a few talking points beyond the intense energy that the band brought to each and every selection. After the opening three songs, the guys kicked into “Roses Are Free” in what seemed like another ho-hum selection. But Trey had different ideas. Out of the ending of the song, the band moved into a dreamy, mid-tempo passage that pointed to the first “Roses” jam since Worcester last year. As the crowd’s anticipation built, however, the band couldn’t fully lock up, and but a minute or so into the jam, Trey aborted it for “Sample In a Jar.”

The show picked up in earnest with a savage version of “46 Days.” This rousing piece was the first to truly get the audience’s hearts to beat as one—a heartbeat that would pulsate throughout the intimate arena for the rest of the night. A precise “Divided Sky” gave way to an “Bold as Love” closer. The set was solid, if not a bit slow, but big things were on the horizon, and everyone in the building could feel it.

What happened after setbreak is the stuff of instant legend. Phish gave every single song in the second set the absolute full treatment, and as was said in the tale of King Midas, everything that they touched turned to gold. Spending the entire second set in improvisational space, Phish staged a musical drama for which they became famous. This was Phish—raw, unadulterated and without a net.

10.18.13 (A.Nusonov)

10.19.13 (A.Nusinov)

The set kicked off with a nod to a crew of up-fronters dressed like Waldo from the “Where’s Waldo?” books. Trey asked them before the set if they were dressed like Waldo or people from jail, and then promptly told them the band would play a “song about jail” before busting out “Paul and Silas.” But then, the moment we had all been waiting for unfolded as Trey unleashed the opening lick to “Tweezer.” This “Tweezer” was the filthiest piece of indoor arena Phish we’ve heard in this era. Hands down, bar none. Moving seamlessly from dark to sinister to outright disgusting, this jam provided the yang to the Tahoe version’s yin. A piece of music that incarnated all that is good and holy about fall Phish truly upped the bar of possibilities for the next week and a half. This is sacred ground, people—tread lightly and with no distractions. A textured voyage into groove and far beyond, this jam leapt from the stage directly into the Hall of Fame. This monumental jam ended in an stunning passage of melodic ambience that lifted us, ever so gradually, out of the deep abyss and into an uplifting conclusion. And upon the ending of the jam, Trey dropped into “Golden Age.”

10.18.13 (A.Nusinov)

10.19.13 (A.Nusinov)

Leaving jaws on the Coliseum floor from the floor up to the rafters, Phish moved into the second movement of a flowing and relentless musical stanza. The band took all of the energy they had put into “Tweezer’s” psychedelia and applied it to the funk paradigm in “Golden Age.” Launching into a groove fiesta, Trey played all sorts of choppy rhythms licks while his band mates churned out dance grooves as if it was 1997. Turning the party out like none other, the band stuck with this vibe for quite some time before bleeding into an spacey outro that highly suggested a move into “2001.” But unlike the handful of times they’ve executed that transition in the past couple years, the guys took a left turn into “Piper.”

Like several applications of “Piper” this summer, this version was utilized as a triumphant exclamation point on the opening half of the set. Trey’s guitar screamed in joy, and all could share in the exultation he expressed. This was group catharsis as it is defined in the dictionary. Energy coursed through the arena like tangible bolts of lightning as the band tore through their victory march. And then came the best moment of the night. Phish moved into a classic rock vamp, and it sounded as if they might segue into “Rock and Roll.” But out of nowhere, the band moved into an impromptu cover of Bachman, Turner, Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business!” The venue fucking exploded. One of the more clever musical moves we’ve seen Phish pull off in a hot minute, this transition sent the crowd over the top.

10.12.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

10.19.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

The band dissolved into an ambient outro, and it became clear that we would get the “2001” that had been dangled in front of us moments ago. And the band played it like they meant it! Digging into the chunky funk grooves, they spun the Mothership into another galaxy, and just when it seemed like “You Enjoy Myself” was a forgone conclusion, the band ripped into “Sand!” Taking the road less traveled at every juncture this fall, Phish threw yet another curveball to the delight of every person in the building. As if a band possessed, the guys crushed another primary jam vehicle with a purpose. Carving out layers of snarling sound, Trey led the troops in a climactic rendition of “Sand” that saw them keep on cranking where they have so often faltered late in the second set. And then the release.

10.18.13 (J.Silco)

10.18.13 (J.Silco)

As the band drifted into “Slave,” the final chapter of our musical fairy tale had been revealed. With one more push, Phish would reach the finish line of a championship race. And what a push it was. Unfurling a delicate jam, the band spent a good amount of time in a mellow, reflective space, allowing the events of the night to catch up to every soul in the house. The entire version felt very refined, ever so gradually building momentum, as the guys wove a graceful finale. They had made it. We had made it. And it was good.

The look Page’s face as he thanked the crowd said it all. Sincerity, humility and pride spilled from his aura as he turned to each side of the arena and thanked them earnestly. It was a special night of Phish and we all knew it. The classic Beatles cover “A Day in a Life”—a track heralded for its groundbreaking nature at the time—felt incredibly appropriate for an encore. While “Tweezer Reprise” stamped the night complete and the chorus of “Step into the Freezer” echoed throughout Hampton Coliseum, I thought back over the last 18 years, and thanked the good Lord that I took that step.

I: Julius, Funky Bitch, Back on the Train, Roses Are Free > Sample in a Jar, Ginseng Sullivan, 46 Days, Divided Sky, Bold As Love

II: Paul and Silas, Tweezer > Golden Age > Piper -> Takin’ Care of Business > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Sand, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: A Day in the Life, Tweezer Reprise

Hampton 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

Hampton 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

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1,027 Responses to “Taking Care of Business”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    “man tweezer is more underwhelming on 2nd listen. nobody seems to want to lead them anywhere”

    “solid beginnings and sick endings, with Trey whaling around a bit in the middle.”

    there’s definitely a stuck/searching segment in the middle of Tweezer but look if we want them to do more open jamming in strange tonalities (which I do) then you have to have some patience…@stoney, I think sometimes the whaling is when trey is laying out a bit to see if anyone else has some ideas

    I also just like spending a few minutes in stasis/limbo when the jam is out of the box like that. unlike a groove vamp or major key rock jam (which get boring without any changes pretty quickly) these kinds of weirdo jams absolutely require long-ish stretches of low kinetic energy to really blossom

    I do think it’s best viewed as a single long jam with the real peak/payoff coming in GA, the full realization of the ideas from Tweezer

  2. bob dylan Says:

    DAMN! good one last night. just getting to work and theres 7 pages already.

    buddy from back home is on his own tour and was able to stop by last night and burn and kick it. “hello old friend, its really good to see you once again”

    see also: COLTS!

  3. jdub Says:

    I heard it too MiA. Posted it as well. Right after the 2001 esque type jam. Sounded like a group of prehistorics pounding on monolith and chanting.

  4. dorn76 Says:

    I worry about all of you.

  5. Applenoose Says:

    Wondering how the Hampton clean up crew was able to deal with all of the jaws left on the floor?

    Thanks Miner for a stellar review of just a filthy, dirty, face melter 2nd half. Thank you Phish for one helluva a weekend.

  6. bob dylan Says:

    id rather they get muddy and try and find a way to go rather than rip cord and i think the majority here agree. so lay off when the band meanders.

    see also: 2.0

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    that unresolved, floating, directionless thing is a big part of the point of that kind of music

    it’s a feature, not a bug

    doesn’t mean everyone has to like it, but that kind of jam has different proper criteria than other modes

  8. jdub Says:

    BB flowing like butter. Phish has us wrapped around their finger. Look at us drooling over ourselves.

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    agree, C. What’s funny is, at first in Tweezer, he was playing really simple chord comps. i say, stay there till an idea pops.

    got a funny text from a BB’er in the house when Trey stepped on the digi during Tweezer. He recanted pretty quick.

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    “anybody else notice the Shine On You Crazy Diamond teases from Trey around 9:15 min into the Friday Twist?”

    not per se but I did hear a fair amount of mid-era Floydian sounds in general over the course of the weekend. Agree this lacks costume implications.

  11. sumodie Says:

    Insane bass bomb moment deep in last night’s Tweezer

    Thought the roof was gonna blow

    Havent heard sth like that at phish…maybe never before. Massive hair raising moment

  12. jdub Says:

    The searching jam is so important in my book. Page comments on IT DVD about how that searching leads to some of the most amazing music they never would’ve found had they abandoned the search.

    A sign of confidence and intent to explore. I hope that trend continues.

  13. tela's_muff Says:

    that unresolved, floating, directionless thing is a big part of the point of that kind of music

    ^spot on C. i like that moment where i’m on the cliff with them. too many times that cliff ended up being a 6 inch drop into a puddle of water, aka Horse’d. last night that cliff drop was into the Atlantic.

  14. btb Says:

    Just spun last night

    Melted my noodle for sure. Great phish. Bravo!

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    @bob d, no doubt!

    the colts have now beaten SF, SEA and DEN…

    that was really something!

  16. jdub Says:

    One of these days at the end of GA. It’s in there.

    Now I’m distracted. Have to buckle down the today and tomorrow. Then I’m on tour. Wow. Trying not to get too high on expectations.

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    ISO : any Worcester floors

  18. butter Says:

    complete sonic exploration in set 2 last night

    Tweez and Golden Age especially.. look for a fierce storage segment at end of GA

  19. Spasm Waiter Says:

    So if anyone has a spare code, would be greatly appreciated.
    derrbot at ghee

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I know you are holding out, but it is up on phishtracks already if you need a quick fix

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    fierce is right, @butter

    I fucking love that part

    made to order for the Completely house

  22. revise your despise Says:

    Def heard it @MiA. Meddle is my fav PF

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah @MiA I know those jams are right up your alley too. great experimental stuff

  24. butter Says:

    agreed Sumodie

    just earth shattering bass bomb during Tweeze that let you know how tame the volume is really set on the entire PA rig most of the time

    they can really screw with us if they choose to

  25. jtran Says:

    forgot the siket disc jam was coming at the end of this tweezer!!!

    $$$ shit I like

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