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. She Divides Says:

    @phoammhead- just emailed…
    @sumodie- thanks!

  2. Berkeley Head Says:

    I tell myself everyday I wish I could fly… and so Wingsuit is but a vivid dream. Recently at shows I’ve been finding the choice perch with optimal vantage points, so I can close my eyes and swoop down over the crowd. I had an “I’m flying” experience at BGCA13 Vultures, and so I’ll be waiting for this tune live… from my perch.

    “And gliding away…You fly where you choose.
    There’s nothing to say and nothing to lose” As a set opener it gets the mind right before taking a leap of faith into the deep.

    After listening to the new stuff, I reminded myself what I first thought of Light (and others) when I heard it. Just sayin’

    So they narrowed their new material down to 25 songs and then to 12? How many new songs are we talking about here? Do we get the B Side tonight?

    So much to think about. Are we in Phish 3.1? Am I growing?

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    8/1/98 Tweezer


  4. little umbrellas Says:

    snow. I was confused. 555 has a cool guitar tone moment.

    the direct message was in Wombat. to complainers

  5. vapebraham Says:

    got regulation IPA glassware today. the ripple narrow bottom dogfish sierra jaun. i’m a fan.

    vapin (headband, diablo ksh, 3 K’s) and spinnin AC birds. tight little birds. exhibit A of a band locked and loaded. Loved the AC carini on my first jagged, noncontinuous spin. def. more my flavor then Reading DwD.

    aimin to cast tonight. why not? make me regret i’m not there, phish.

    band is in tight form w/ fish and page really shining. fish makes phish work. that’s primarily why i am jazzed w/ 2013 — the fish man elevation. Has trey lost a step, is the flat out whale a drag – undoubtedly. but he’s still in the game and he’s our boy. and still a badass player.

    AC Hood is a nuanced gem. trey making me eat my words.

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    I’ll hit you up bobD. might have to do Maceo.

    Sun Hop Fat tonight in Oakland. psych ethio getdown. at the Night Light.

    Halloween rocked last up night! glad Phish was so awesome. we managed to get 200 people to show to our concert. On The Spot trio opened. -amazing keyboardist! I sat in with them and we did some MMW covers.

  7. snow Says:

    Confusion!? never heard of it.

  8. Berkeley Head Says:

    Confusion is a type of jazz right?

  9. vapebraham Says:

    last night’s antelope – oldschool crispy + new school wide open rhythm chops = $$$

  10. Don Gordleone Says:

    Revenge is a dish that tastes best
    when served cold
    But it also works
    as a smoking hot 3rd set

  11. Berkeley Head Says:

    LU I need to see you guys play soon. Where can i get a calendar

  12. Don Gordleone Says:

    I would just like to take a moment
    to thank all my fans
    without you
    my greatness would go unknown

    and to those that doubt me
    enjoy your last breaths

  13. Berkeley Head Says:

    Look at the smile on Mike’s face in the Nusinov pic!?! Priceless

  14. She Divides Says:

    Ticket at face procured! Thanks for looking out everyone!

  15. Don Gordleone Says:

    I was served Tea once
    we took good care
    of the guys widow

  16. Don Gordleone Says:

    She Divides –
    Someday and that day may never come
    I will call upon you to do a service for me
    until that day accept this justice as a gift

  17. roberto luongo Says:

    must hear

    action bronson flowing over a stream of the cheesiest late 80’s samples you will ever here


  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Posted up Mikes side of soundboard. Come on down.

  19. voopa Says:

    Songs in the Key of Wombat

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Phish has their own word for wook.

  21. phishm Says:

    Perfect night. Just got back from trick or treat with the kids. We had a blast. Ready for more Phish. Let’s do this.

  22. Berkeley Head Says:

    “I asked Diego if it was stolen” Am i hearing that correctly en Fuego? funny

  23. Berkeley Head Says:

    Phishm you must have rip van winkled homey. Halloween was last night!

  24. little umbrellas Says:

    “Why!?” ~Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion.

    “what’s goin on here?…”
    ” it’s juzs music boss.”

  25. bob dylan Says:

    vape, those glasses are BOMB! but be gentle with em. they break easy and at 12 bucks a pop it stings. keep that shit in the freezer and you’re money.

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