Still Upside Down

10.20.13 (Jake SIlco)

10.20.13 (Jake SIlco)

Another day, another monster performance—this is getting just plain silly. Phish has hit a stride unseen since the late ‘90s, crushing shows night after night after night. Reading, Pennsylvania’s tour stop blew up with a second set that was nothing short of masterful. Totaling only six songs (plus “Grind), the main event was—again—served with no nonsense and almost all time spent in deep improvisational space. Jaw dropping jams out of “Down With Disease” and “Twenty Years Later” anchored a stacked up set of music that contained incredible flow from start to finish—another vintage frame of Phish.

10/29 Official (D. Welker)

10/29 Official (D. Welker)

The band opened Reading’s second set with “Down with Disease,” continuing their fall tour-long streak of new selections every night. And boy, did they make it count. Out of the jam’s wide open beginning, the guys drifted in an atmospheric direction, carving out a beautiful space in the piece’s first stage. But the story of this one would be how it ended. The final segment of this “Disease” was simply astounding, as Phish converged in an earth-shattering, bluesy peak in which Trey tore off championship melodies that sounded all but composed. If the Allman Brother’s Eat a Peach Halloween rumor has any weight, this jam could be an early indication of what is to come. Phish has been capping their jams with blues-based endings over the past year, and this “Disease” is perhaps their best. Pure hose and pure glory.

Tour’s first “Taste” served as a landing pad for “Disease’s” stratospheric excursion, and upon its ending, it seemed that Phish would take a breather with “Twenty Years Later.” What would transpire over the next fifteen minutes, however, was anything but mellow. For the first time in its five year lifespan, the band decided to jam on “Twenty Years Later,” and they went absolutely fucking ballistic. Trey began hitting rhythm licks over the song’s creeping, ominous texture, and before anyone knew it, we were neck deep in menacing dance floor fantasy. This jam provided a portal to the year 1997, as Trey got straight pornographic in this groove-centric revelation. And if this wasn’t enough to quench our thirst, the band moved out of the thick musical jungle into an uplifting final sequence that was also along the bluesy spectrum. And just like that—in less than a set—we had two more jams we’ll be listening to for the rest of our lives.

10.19.13 (J.Silco)

10.19.13 (J.Silco)

At this juncture, one might have figured that a ballad was inevitable, but instead, Phish kept plugging away and segued into “Piper.” The band exploded into the jam, as Trey let out cries of victory, unleashing furious guitar leads. And then he stepped back into a rhythmic role, slicing the music as the band chugged behind him, locked in relentless attack mode. Without even a tad of complacency, the guys tore this “Piper” to shreds as the third central jam of the set.

The band used an upbeat interlude of “Number Line,” a song whose performances have carried a fresh energy this tour, before closing the night with an old-school, groove-based take on “You Enjoy Myself.” Trey has been playing rhythm more during this tour more than at any time since the band’s ’09 return, and last night he applied these brushstrokes to the band’s classic funk vehicle. The building popped off with this dynamic “YEM,” as the night closed—or so we thought—with notable intensity.

10.27.13 (C.LaJaunie)

10.27.13 (C.LaJaunie)

When Phish came out with a “Bouncin” encore, one felt that they might finish up with “Antelope.” But no matter what was going through any fan’s mind, I am pretty sure that not single person in the arena predicted “Reba.” And that is exactly what came next. Unveiling the first—and, likely, only—“Reba” of tour in the encore slot, the band swept the crowd off their feet one last time for the night with a passionate, though succinct, rendition. And the band played on, choosing to stay for one more with Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.” Take that for an encore!

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and these past couple weeks have been the most fun that human beings can have on planet earth. Needless to say, it’s hard to believe we will be heading to Atlantic City tomorrow for our long-awaited Halloween extravaganza. Will it be the Allman’s Eat a Peach? Will it be The Band’s Rock of Ages? Those are the going theories. Regardless of what album is chosen, however, the more exciting part is that we still have six more sets of Phish before the fat lady sings for this season. Soak it in folks, because who knows when when we’ll be on fall tour again. These are special times.

Set One Notes: Phish reeled in their first set considerably from their past four, playing a short set of standard rotation songs, less “Walk Away.” “Wolfman’s” delivered early, remaining one of the band’s most consistent first set songs, though “Split Open and Melt” provided the improvisational highlight of the opening half. The guys seemed to have another “Split” jam on lockdown, but before trying to remerge with the songs theme—the part of the song that traditionally gives them trouble—Trey bailed on the idea entirely, abruptly starting up “Julius” in the first head scratching move of tour.

I: Cars Trucks Buses, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Ginseng Sullivan, Wolfman’s Brother, Sparkle, Walk Away, Divided Sky, Split Open and Melt > Julius

II: Down with Disease > Taste, Twenty Years Later > Piper > Backwards Down the Number Line, You Enjoy Myself, Grind

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Reba, Good Times Bad Times

10.27.13 (Chris LaJaunie)

10.27.13 (Chris LaJaunie)

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1,864 Responses to “Still Upside Down”

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  1. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    There’s nothing quite like the band on fire

  2. phoammhead Says:

    very exciting … thank you mister miner!

  3. Dr Pronoia Says:

    I just feel bad for poor AC, having just put themselves back together after Sandy. They have no idea what force of nature is going to hit them tomorrow

  4. willowed Says:

    I jumped off the stream right after Disease. Stupid move I guess. 20 Years Later ans Steam have been my two favorite new tunes in the catalog and it looks like I missed a sweet one.

    I’ve been waiting for 20 Years Later to get the treatment for sometime. I guess it was last night. Need to spin that asap.

  5. tela's_muff Says:

    Via stream that show sounded very special to me. A couple of jams that will be on the forever spin list. Loved the placement of Taste and very few 3.0 YEMs worked as prefect as last nights. MIA and Stapes both called encore Reba and GTBT respectively.

  6. tela's_muff Says:

    20 year later had hints of the ending of Gorge RnR.

  7. Spencer Says:

    My husband called the Reba encore earlier in the day! When we thought he was just being undeniably hopeful – right before Halloween.

    Great review – the show was absolutely mind blowing.

  8. Ernie Says:

    7 sets remaining, right?

  9. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Anything left in therank for AC?

  10. Spasm Waiter Says:

    The tank

  11. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Thx miner! Sounds super fun. Cheers to the gang in attendance. Phish FTW!

  12. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Can’t wait to hear the 20 yrs! It seems most of those who don’t like it were still shitting in their diapers 20 yrs ago.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Set 2 sounded like a modern masterpiece.

    Best stream ever?

  14. Luther T. Justice Says:

    It did sound superb palmer

  15. shred Says:

    Anyone have the show for me? Shred @ hotmail of course.

  16. mmmhmm Says:

    Thanks for another solid write-up Miner. Split got pretty dirty for a few and then Trey hit the eject button. Just spun Disease and Reba again on the way to work. Band playing like a 4-headed hydra spitting napalm.

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    Holy guacamole.

    I like to talk about the band playing with power, force and might but I think it’s really more about “engagement” and “cohesion” or what we call “hooking up”. They were certainly hooked up in that disease thru 20yl sequence. Got to listen to it on the ride home via the LP app.

    I’m not one for mini reviews…wish I was better than that…but this was another intimate venue with a with-it crowd who threw down hard.

    The BB are solid people. Enjoyed traveling and seeing many at the “speckled hand” Not Tom, Marco, Billbonney, xpun, revise, Calpain, kaya, hoedown…hope everyone enjoyed themselves and see you in AC.

  18. Mr. Bull Twinkles Says:

    Also some I Know You Rider jamming in the end of 20YL. To these ears at least.

    Thought second set smoked. Energy seemed palpable through the stream.

  19. Gavinsdad Says:

    Turn it up loud please.

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    Many pointed out the “I know you rider” vibes for sure @bull.

  21. Dorn76 Says:

    Yet another town assisted in the Art of Partying Down.

    Lookin’ forward to the AC Roggae.

  22. MiA Says:

    So happy for everyone’s experience last night. Especially those in the room.

    Reading was an endorphin factory last night.

    Have a great day everyone

  23. MiA Says:

    April – Sun Kill Moon

  24. roberto luongo Says:

    so glad for all getting so much out of this fall tour. it’s why we go.

    this one had fire written all over it when I looked at the tour schedule. can’t fuck with old school indoor phish.

    spun a few jams last night. good stuff.
    have fun in AC kids. jealous.

  25. Nagarjuna Says:

    Taper 420 was last night’s MVP

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