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

*debut

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. Gozer Says:

    Haven’t posted in ages but just wanted to say about the new album drop on halloween. I get the slight dissappointment in that there is always a fantasy of sharing the emotional peaks of an album we know with our phriends and the band like columbus or the white album or imagining the dead or zep etc. so there is an understandable let down there. But life is about enjoying the moment u are given and not holding in to what u wanted or expected. So you owe it to yourself and no one else to let go of what u expected/craved and be open to the coolness of what is. And it is great that they are crafting new songs. And in how good they are is another matter. But i was listening since 1991 and began seeing them in 1993-(delaware first show) and remember this- every album that dropped somehow seemed dissappointing on first spin to most of us. (Not all) rift, hoist, billy breathes, farm house and even the live one and slip stitch. Only later did the songs gain meaning and experience to rival what we had experienced in shows, in the road in our cars, late nights, etc. i am older now have kids and so my touring days are over. But i saw hartford live, some web casts, but listen to most shows in the app and think they are as good no better than ever. And the gems on this album will emerge to you in time and in moments so “beforr you take another step” let them wash over you over the coming year and IMHO this one will stand up with the others. No its not eat a peach or an album that will offer 4 songs into classic rock history. We are in a post classic rock world. It might be more like a great beck, or radiohead album. And time and an open mind will tell. Ghost, down with disease, and others felt empty when they came out compared to the anthems of antelope, reba, hood, when i first heard them. Now years later played with heart and soul and sharing those moments with y’all and the band, they carry the weight, power, and scars and history that had filled the previous songs of yore with magic. I for one am psyched.

  2. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Nice post Gozer

  3. Spasm Waiter Says:

    AC bound in an hour. Giddy up.

  4. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    @spasm

    About tree fiddy.

  5. Snigglebeach Says:

    From a business standpoint, last night was pure genius.

    In this age of piracy and anemic album sales, Phish guaranteed a profit on a yet to be recorded album through above average webcast sales. Never mind that they saved a lot $$ on royalties.

  6. ren Says:

    So I hopped back on the bicycle last night!!!!

    Couldn’t have picked a better night.

    Shout out to dude in the bear/wolf suit puttin the mellow in my palm.

    Love this fucking band and everything that comes with it!!!

  7. ren Says:

    At Caesars and could really use some headies. Cash, trade etc

    Paulny123 at ghee mahl

  8. phoammhead Says:

    this is the thirty year celebration and I love it on so many levels … cheers, folks

    some great songs debuted last night … #winning

    I was already thinking during fuego last night that this … these news songs are setting the bar really high … and that is a great thing … Phish are in it to win it!

  9. Gozer Says:

    By the way i am on an iphone so my punctuation and spelling are bad. In post i meant to say they are as good, no, better than ever. And i meant it. Lots of different shows and periods but they are simply bringing it all together. Id rather see 18 minutes and constant connection and many ideas than 35 mins with alot if meandering. More about that in another post. and to clarify i think if Shred loves to hear the Shred and only the Kick ass jammin that is totally cool. My friends and i joke about the velvet crapper and some other meh songs. But I want them to do what feels right, and be prolific, be themselves, and stay healthy and happy. So we can all rock on. And someday when i am 60 (i am 39) and my kids are 26 and 22 i can pack up the winnebego and drive to the Gorge and rock out with a 70 year old band that has a 50 years body of work behind them and yet still puts IT all into the year, day, song, and moment we are in. But i can only hope and enjoy it as long as it lasts.

  10. Esteban Says:

    Last night was pretty damn sweet. I am so pumped that couch tour exists. Although my travels have been spotty in 3.0 (as the convenience and accessibility of simply dropping out and tuning in my early tenure with the band), I feel like I haven’t missed much. Thank you, Internets.

    @jdub I feel your pain. I traveled the week before Hampton, came home for one day, then hit the road with friends for a three-night run (blowing off ALL responsibility), returned home midday Monday then flew out Monday night for consulting meetings in AZ all week. My wife and kids were exhausted when I returned (and my wife was a little perturbed), but in the end, it was a stellar three night run. Just make it home in one peace, and all will be forgiven by next weekend. AC FTW!

  11. GhostPhunk Says:

    wow

  12. Esteban Says:

    And that’s one piece. Or peace. Shit.

    It peeves me reading others’ use incorrect heterographs. Now, I find I’m still in bush league when it comes to postings.

  13. aj Says:

    Laurie Anderson’s Lou Reed obituary she placed in their local paper. Tears.

    To our neighbors:

    What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.

    Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.

    Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!

    Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.

    Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

    — Laurie Anderson
    his loving wife and eternal friend

  14. PigSong Says:

    Is this the third run at Boardwalk? Loved that place in ’10, wish I was there to rage this weekend again with y’all.

  15. alf Says:

    @matt, what makes rift better? at this point all you’ve done is make an unsupported assertion, the same as miner did – this one is better.

    in addition to his unsupported assertion, miner went to the show and also wrote the above review, so i’m cutting him some slack. you just called other views overreaction and insane. but you haven’t given us any reasons or criteria – why’s rift better?

  16. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, pig … Wish you were here! Best to you mrs and little

  17. voopa Says:

    Morning, wingnuts!

  18. roberto luongo Says:

    blue chips 2 – action bronson

    some great party supplies samples again. fun spin as usual.

    http://www.complex.com/music/2013/11/action-bronson-party-supplies-blue-chips-2

  19. aj Says:

    Said it last night to Telas and Mia, the Waiting All Night tune has a distinct Sea & Cake vibe to it, which I love. Lots of gems in these new offerings, very enthused.

  20. GhostPhunk Says:

    Stay home jdub

  21. marcoesq Says:

    Heading up, see everyone tonight

  22. PigSong Says:

    I’m with PhamB, all reports act as if Abe was out there dancing like that. No way, right?

  23. dorn76 Says:

    If the criteria is which album did I listen to a thousand times lying in high school, Rift is a clear winner.

    Of course by this criteria the Spin Doctors would have gone Platinum.

  24. GhostPhunk Says:

    the Don Gordleone video makes me think they got there Abe money’s worth.

  25. tela's_muff Says:

    had a great time on the couch last night. completely engrossed by new material, loved almost all of it. two or three songs didn’t grab me, but the rest of the album i found to be instantly ready for exploration. I think Fuego and Wombat are ready right now for the rotation. both classic Phish songs. Waiting All Night might have been my favorite. so exciting that last night happened. good for the band and us.

    Carini!!

    the top shelf highlights have exploded this tour.

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