Gee, It’s Good to be Back Home

10.22.13 Rochester (Jake Silco)

10.22.13 Rochester (Jake Silco)

Phish stepped into a room of legend on Wednesday night in Glens Falls, New York, and bounced back from their Tuesday night clunker with a fiery two-set performance. Leaving their rust in western New York, the band was on point from the get go on Wednesday, hitting Glens Falls in stride and treating the intimate 7,000 person audience to a high-octane mid-week performance.

10/23 Official (R.Kelly)

10/23 Official (R.Kelly)

When the band stepped foot in Glens Falls Civic Center—a room whose lone Phish show spawned their most popular holiday tradition—it was only appropriate to start right where they left of in 1994, with The Beatles “White Album.” Opening the show with the third-ever “Back in the USSR,” a song debuted in the same building 19 years ago (the other was 12.6.94), Phish quickly gave a nod to their seminal Halloween concert. Right away, one could tell Phish was a different band from the sluggish quartet that took the stage in Rochester. The guys sounded sharp, focused and enthusiastic from the jump, attacking their opening run of songs—including a popping version of “Undermind”—before truly igniting the show with a scorching, fifth-song “David Bowie.” Within the “Bowie” jam, the band illustrated a clear command over the music, displaying tight, full-band, tension-and-release jamming that was strewn with nuances and mini-peaks. Their willingness to take such a deep dive early in the show fully showcased the band’s confidence on this night in New York state.

The entire first set was comprised of tour debuts, less “Stealing Time,” and the fresh setlist got the crowd going early. One point of note—if only for a blazing set of blue balls—came in “Gumbo,” when Page took his final piano solo on clav and began to push it! Trey was even feeling it and hit a couple rhythms chords as accompaniment, but Fishman slowed down the backbeat and thus dissolved any shot of a jam. Also in the first set, the guys played a blazing version of “Limb by Limb,” featuring a wildy passionate solo by Trey.

10.22.13 (Jake Silco)

10.22.13 (Jake Silco)

Come the end of the set, the obvious choice seemed like “Antelope,” thus the band veered the other way and dropped an intense rendition of “Split Open and Melt.” So many times in this era, the band has gotten discombobulated during “Split,” often losing direction all together. But not last night as the guys remained notably coherent throughout this version. Even when the jam elevated to a space cloud and Captain Treyhab went on an intergalactic whaling mission, the band was able to return to earth and hit the ground running, tearing through the peak of “Split” with a fury and ending a very high quality, opening frame.

10.19.13 (J.Silco)

10.19.13 (J.Silco)

Tour’s first “Rock and Roll” opened Glens Falls’ main event, but things didn’t exactly go as one might expect. For the first time since tour’s first show, the band didn’t go huge on their second set opener, this time electing for a concise jam that seemed to end prematurely. As Fishman dropped into half-time, “Rock and Roll” seemed primed for take off, but before anyone could get their bearings straight, Trey strummed a signal to wind things down, and up came “Seven Below.” Phish allowed this second jam in the set to breathe considerably more than the first, as Trey took center stage with precise, six-string theatrics. Though this piece never moved too far from its theme, “Seven Below” gave the band the confidence they needed as a unit to dive into the centerpiece of the set—“Twist.”

On most nights, Phish places their largest improvisational effort on the second set opener, giving shows in which they do not, completely different contours. This show was weighted towards the back of the second set, as the two most impressive jams of the night were the final two—”Twist” and “Harry Hood.” During “Twist’s” contained jam, Trey bucked convention and set his sights much higher, speeding up the piece into wide-open territory. Where so many “Twists” have gone dark before, this one turned towards the heavens as the band opened the magic door to some awe-inspiring music. Locked in and playing as a single unit, the guys navigated a cathartic, uptempo jam for some time before hitting a change with which things turned ethereal and majestic. A extended down tempo segment in which the band played some truly sacred music provided the final piece of this melody-driven “Twist”—the shining gem of the night.

“Velvet Sea” bridged us to the second-place highlight of the show—“Harry Hood.” The throwback environs must have evoked something in Trey, because it had been quite a while since he laid into a “Hood” jam—and peak—like he did on this one. Moving from a plinko-esque beginning to a staggering end, this “Hood” is a must hear for any Phish purist. Trey’s exquisite playing throughout this version is enough to send shivers down any fan’s spine.

10.22.13 (Jake Silco)

10.22.13 (Jake Silco)

Following a surprise “Chalk Dust” closer, Phish brought things full circle, playing for an encore, the one song from the “White Album” that remained in Phish’s repertoire—”While My Guitar Gently Weeps”—a move, in and of itself, that spawned a tradition. As we move to Worcester, and tour’s halfway point, we have begun to see the development of a legitimate Fall run of shows. The band has been on fire every night less one, and each of those shows has produced a timeless piece of creative Phish—“Carini,” “Ghost,” “Tweezer” and “Twist.” What will come next is anybody’s guess, but if I were in a few hundred mile radius of New England this weekend, I’d make it a point to get to Worcester and Hartford to find out.

I: Back in the U.S.S.R., Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Water in the Sky, Undermind, David Bowie, Golgi Apparatus, Gumbo, Yarmouth Road, Camel Walk, Horn, Limb By Limb, I Didn’t Know, Split Open and Melt

II: Rock and Roll > Seven Below, Alaska, Twist > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Harry Hood, Chalk Dust Torture

E: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

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1,299 Responses to “Gee, It’s Good to be Back Home”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    Snow Crash has possibly the best opening chapter in science fiction history and coasts a bit from there on pure panache and momentum. But then I’m a Stephenson skeptic.

  2. jdub Says:

    Great show from the perspective that you got 2 full sets of energized playing and a centerpiece mid set 2 Twist that was some of the coolest musuc I have ever heard and a strong finish in Hood. Could’ve been epic if one or more of the following were let loose: Undermind, Gumbo, RnR, or 7Below. It felt like the band was locked in enough to go for glory. Very well played show IMO.

  3. vapebraham Says:

    i enjoyed last night from the couch. $$ first set w/ $$+ undermind, gumbo, and bowie. liked the way gumbo ended w/ page. good playing w/ the exception of trey being lost early in water in the sky (but he always seems to redeem himself). second set also $$ w/ $$$ twist and HH. would have like more of what i was hearing develop in RnR. seven below composed sec. was botched and the jam seemed like template rock to me, although well done. twist was a real treat w/ trey’s bobby weir impression and the multiple and shifting themes/moods. solid, rousing CDT closer and WMGGW was aced and seemed perfectly placed and timed.

    still making my way through 7.15.84. enjoyed playing>UJB>don’t need>love>space>china doll> throwing stones (i cut out drums). the space is especially trippy and pleasantly disorienting. $$+ set II.

  4. bob dylan Says:

    i need to read back to catch these huey lewis references. love me some huey lewis.

    starting my day off with some robert palmer. remedied my lack of his music last night. just had a dance session in my office.

    work work work to make it work

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    word @vape. Don’t Need Love is one of the few Brent originals I really like. Some super sick space segments in 83 thru 85, I’ve started to notice

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    my friend and i were talking right before tour about albums and he said huey lewis would be awesome and we talked about it for a few mins. he went home and saw on their facebook that it’s the 30th anni of sports and they’re doing special stuff for it. he totally heard the teases in carini.

    still hoping for something modern though!

  7. Nagarjuna Says:

    Hold up C. – did you just use “Brent original” and “really like” in the same sentence? I mean I don’t hate on the guy but that seems a step too far

  8. jtran Says:

    morning comrades

    glens falls!!

    spinning from the top with more full attention than I had last night. Red Sox made the cardinals look silly. Actually, cards made themselves look silly.

  9. aj Says:

    I love a good mystery, sent to me from a great friend. Very interesting:

    Seeing heavy rumors for Elton John’s Good Bye Yellow Brick Road
    I have also heard if you look at the mail order tickets it sort of looks like scenes from the movie wizard of oz

    1. Page confirmed taking vocal lessons for this years album

    2. On the the 11/1) the balloon is in “Kansas” for that one day. (Back In Kansas after the Yellow Brick Road) It has been reported all over and has been there for months, they specifically aren’t changing it.

    3. The posters for tour have all seem to be “Yellow” with Wizard of Oz similarities, most notably Hampton and Glens Falls.

    4. Mike has tweeted various Lime Green (Emerald) pictures since Fall tour started…

    5. Double Album

    6. Page confirmed he wanted to play the Organ in Boardwalk Hall this time around (would be perfect for Funeral for a Friend Intro)

    7. The ticket for Halloween is basically the Wizard of Oz theme as well

  10. btb Says:

    That’s the kind of Hood Jam that can bring you to tears. Religious.

    Wow. That’s all I got.

  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


    the band was on last night. crisp, tight playing, minimal use of the whale. expected set 2 to be much more creative, but the playing was great. twist was awesome. set 1 was one of the best of the year, a legit first set.

    but mostly, that venue was fucking unreal. perfect. so much space on that floor. tiny. vintage. fun. and the energy was right up there.

  12. bob dylan Says:

    spinning hood again. last night was fun.

    i like the goodbye yellow brick road themes aj

  13. bob dylan Says:

    i wonder how much music they learn in the off season if they were practicing diff music for halloween. could lead to so many influences that we are hearing now. is that floyd? huey lewis?

    do they do it to throw us off like thriller?

    these guys sure know how to keep things interesting after 30 years.

  14. aj Says:

    I agree, BD

  15. ClownBaby Says:

    Re Yellow Brick Road, don’t forget about the flying house in the Hampton poster

  16. jtran Says:

    so aj you are saying you think they may cover elton john not the wizard of oz soundtrack right?

    if they did wizard of oz though, obv they’d just jam on “if I only had a brain” like it was 1999, and they’d do somewhere over the rainbow on theremin. Right?

  17. jdub Says:

    Loved the venue as well. One of the better east coast crowds too. The intangibles give this show an extra edge.

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    Df, sounds like Dicks this year …

  19. aj Says:

    Mike’s new Dunks are total Oz.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Great post AJ. Cool stuff. I dig Elton. Rock on

  21. ElJefe Says:

    mrC- next you’ll be telling us you like Vince’s Casio sound and Samba in the Way to go Home… 🙂

  22. Joe Says:

    Or the wiz. Ease on down the road

  23. aj Says:

    Not too late to get your flying monkey costume together.

  24. btb Says:

    Dorothy Wookette gonna drop a turd on that Boardwalk Floor

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    for a Brent original, me “liking” it means I don’t usually skip it. pretty much the only one. don’t need love is a pretty decent song, I stand by that. Exception, rule, proven etc

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