Put Your Wingsuit On!

10.31.13. Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

10.31.13. Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

Wow! Just wow. Just when you thought Phish had done everything a live quartet could do, they pull another trick out of their hat. Bucking tradition and quenching any Phish fan’s fantasy, the band came out for their coveted Halloween set and debuted twelve new songs—tentative tracks on their new album, “Wingsuit,” that they will start recording next week! And these weren’t just off the cuff Trey ditties, these were spectacularly crafted Phish songs. Ten songs jumped off the stage as instant hits that could be inserted into rotation as soon as possible, and we’ll see about two of the acoustic songs—but holy shit what a treat! The only events with any such precedence in Phish history are Lowell ’95 in which the band debuted six originals, and first night of Summer ’97 in Dublin, Ireland, in which they premiered seven new songs and 13 over two nights at the SFX Centre. But here we were on Halloween 2013, and Phish just dropped a dozen on our domes!

10/31 Official (D.Mumford)

10/31 Official (D.Mumford)

The decision to play Wingsuit was incredibly brave, daring and risky—characteristics that have defined the band throughout their career, and traits for which we adore them. And for that alone, they must be applauded. But god damn, these songs were amazing. I felt like I was floating on cloud nine for the duration of the second set as incredible compositions fell like rain. And there were some legitimate jam vehicles too, that will blow up—in my estimation—starting tonight! These songs spanned a spectrum of feels like so many classic Phish albums. The title track “Wingsuit,” evoked a Pink Floydian vibe, while the third track, “The Line,” sounded influenced by the band’s love of  Velvet Underground. But the opus of the set was “Fuego,” a song, that if I had to bet, was written after they listened to the drum and bass jam from Dick’s “ Chalk Dust” (as the band was quoted in the Phishbill as having listened to recent jams and picked out memorable parts to form songs around). “Fuego” features several parts, including a vicious drum and bass jam and overlaid lyrics. The song “Monica,” performed acoustically with a head of steam last night, will make for an incredible electric arrangement. “Waiting All Night,” a trippy and groovy number with drippy guitar work will fit great deep in second sets.

And the songs go on! “Wombat”—featuring a hip-hop dance routine with actor, Abe Vigoda—is a new funk vehicle that will provide some serious dance sessions in the near future. “Devotion to a Dream” carried an upbeat rhythm and a bluesy, Allman’s feel, with lyrics that sounded like an allegory for the band’s 30-year journey. “555” was a groove-based, Gordon-scribed piece that continues a recent trend of engaging Mike contributions to the catalog. “Winterqueen” is a gorgeous Trey and Tom ballad—played once (or more?) by TAB—that also featured some improv, taboot. “Amongst the Peals of Laughter” was a harmless acoustic folk song and “You Never Know,” the set’s finale, was an intricately written piece about the band being taken five million by a ponzi-esque schemer.

10.31 (J.Silco)

10.31 (J.Silco)

The feeling amongst my crew at setbreak was one of straight elation. We had just been hand served one of the—if not the greatest—batch of new songs ever dropped by Phish! And five long years after Joy, nothing could have come at a finer time. It’s hard to believe that tour is about to end with an entire universe of new material having just been unveiled. But, damn, we may very well be looking at their greatest record ever. Back in ’09, when Phish was interviewed by Rolling Stone, Trey said that he wasn’t sure the band had recorded their best album yet. Guess what, Trey? I think you were right.

And if an entire set of incredibly lush new Phish material wasn’t enough, the band came out and played, arguably, the best third set of their career, jamming their proverbial faces off. Kicking things off in true Halloween fashion, Phish opened the late-night frame with a seething version of “Ghost.” The band converged on a driving, inspired jam that evoked the feel of some memorable ’99 versions. But then the 3.0 twist came in, as the guys slipped into a gorgeous and uplifting second movement of the jam, bringing things into cathartic territory. The band was in total command of their craft in this third set—clearly feeling the weight of twelve debuts lifted off their shoulders—and were locked into sacred jamming. Equitable, lead-less, and totally awe-inspiring, this “Ghost” seemed like it would be the jam of the show. That is until they started “Carini.”

10.31 "Wombat" (Andrea Nusinov)

10.31 “Wombat” (Andrea Nusinov)

The band was taking no prisoners on this night, showcasing every element of what makes them the incomparable live act that they are. And so after a colossal version of “Ghost,” Phish stepped into their most prolific jam vehicle of the last two years—“Carini.” Having just spun this jam once in my buddy’s hotel room, I can—easily—say that this is on the level of anything from this tour, and likely beyond. For me, it was one of those out-of-body experiences in the live setting that when you go back to listen floors you twice as hard. That what full-fledged, all-in Phish will do to you—and this jam was all that and a bag of chips! “Carini” was multi-faceted to the core, spanning darkness, infectious groove, and straight free-form jamming for what seemed like an eternity. This was bliss—Phish throwing down the gauntlet in the third set of a holiday show! Can you remember the last time that happened? 1998—it’s been a while. And this was a complete, start-to-finish Phish set, unlike the three-song, abruptly ended stanza of lore.

10.31 (J.Silco)

10.31 (J.Silco)

Following 35 minutes of the best music you’ll ever hear, the guys tore into an interlude of “Birds of a Feather” before dropping into an impeccable, soul-tugging rendition of “Harry Hood.” “Bug” bridged the set to its closing “Antelope,” at which point I needed to be hooked up to IV fluids to compensate for what I had lost over the night. But water would have to wait as the band demolished their final jam of an unforgettable Halloween night. A celebratory “Quinn the Eskimo” provided the only cover of the three-set show, a rarity for Phish, and a cool twist on the encore for a night once defined by other’s music. In all of the possible scenarios that could have gone down last night, what happened was easily the Phishiest, thing that the band could have done. It is night’s like Thursday’s that make these guys the Phish from Vermont, living legends of rock and roll history.

First set notes: Comprised entirely of standard rotation songs, Phish was clearly focused on what was to come set for the duration of the first set. “Stash” and “Gin” provided slightly better-than-standard versions, but it was clear from the jump that this night would be about the second two sets. And was it ever.

I: Heavy Things, The Moma Dance, Poor Heart, Back on the Train, Silent in the Morning, Kill Devil Falls, Mound, Free, Camel Walk, Stash, Golgi Apparatus, Bathtub Gin

II: Wingsuit*, Fuego*, The Line*, Monica*, Waiting All Night*, Wombat*, Snow*, Devotion To A Dream*, 555*, Winterqueen*, Amidst The Peals Of Laughter*, You Never Know*

II: Ghost, Carini, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood, Bug, Run Like an Antelope

E: Quinn the Eskimo


10.31.13 Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

10.31.13 Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

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686 Responses to “Put Your Wingsuit On!”

  1. Joe Says:

    Getting ready to hop on train to get out of ac. Wish I could throw it down again for last night of the tour. Got 5 hot shows though so I guess I can’t complain all that much. Leaving ac with more money than I came with even after expenses and zero trips to the ATM ta boot.

    Rock it proper today, bb. Thanks for helping to make this shit so enjoyable to do.

  2. Joe Says:

    And goodnight to a few of you just getting to bed I hope.

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Safe travels Lunch Bucket Joe. Kicked some ass and took some dough. Team Sujoe ftw.

  4. Willowed Says:

    Waking up. Head foggy. Fun night. Filled with Phishy antics.

  5. Vapebraham Says:

    Gave away my Friday ticket and slept through bulk of set II. I stink at phish. I did hear the Sally and loved it.

    Don gordleone bit is hilarious and well acted.

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  7. MiA Says:

    Glad they are recording after this but wishing they were doing another 8 shows so I could do something irresponsible.

    BB massive raged it.

  8. Matt Says:

    A treat? It was a massive disappointment. I got my ticket from the pre-sale, but I hope Phish plans on reimbursing all the people who paid extra money in the secondary market to see this bait-and-switch.

  9. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    what’s shaking bb? i hope everyone is decompressing and gently strolling back into reality. the one thing wingsuit definitely did was spur conversation- love it or hate it, it is a conversation centerpiece in the phishyverse. i’ve listened to wingsuit a few times and i have finally arrived at an opinion.

    first, i stand by my original statement and feeling that it was a risky, gutsy, and very cool move by phish to play a set of original music on halloween. i wish i could have been there for that alone. after listening to the set multiple times, i understand why the community is split over the wingsuit experiment.

    the good- new music! this is the bottom line, in my opinion. i thought about half of the songs were cool- 555, winterqueen, wombat, wingsuit, fuego, and snow (musically- vocals were tough/rough for mike) were tight. even a midst the pearls of laughter could be a cool ballad/come down song.

    the bad- i felt it was pretty sloppy, overall- definitely a rought draft (however, i have been listening to an aud, not a soundboard- my aud could be sloppy); at times it sounds like they lost the crowd- lots of chatting and a sarcastic whistle scattered throughout the performance; some of the tunes are a little too adult contemporary/ “dad rock” for my taste. i hope the adult contemporary vibe of traveler stays away from the new phish album.

    if someone went in there with expectations- they were fucked. i feel some fans have a huge sense of entitlement- remember, this band owes you nothing. when you walk into a venue, take a deep breath and get ready to boogie- an open mind will work wonders on your headspace.

    my hat is off to phish for pulling a very phishy move. i don’t think it was a trick, mean spirited, or controlling- i think they really wanted the phans to be part of the creative process of making new music.

    last note: i agree with the idea that it would have been very cool to debut all of the new music during the hampton weekend. let the music build and breathe throughout fall tour.

    i hope everyone had fun who got a chance to go to ac- i am sure it was a blast- msg around the corner!

  10. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    ^sorry for the tl/dr! fuck- i didn’t know i was babbling that much. oops.

  11. SHARKBITE Says:


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