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. butter Says:

    awesome write up Miner

    Phish let us into the creative process of creating an album. a move that only enhances the love affair between band and fans. thought we were already close. wow. still absorbing Wingsuit… i dug it pretty well. Fuego, 555, Wombat seemed like they have the most potential. Fish rapping – bring it. Waiting All Night is Phishy and weird in a very old school way. Mike singing Snow in that way to high a register makes his normal singing seem like he’s ready for the opera. Mike bookmarking his favorite jams and the band listening to them to make songs out of, has to be some kinda bb wet dream.

    set 3, the message was clear: you give us space to do what we want, we will deliver what you want. That Carini was just mind blowing. Trey spending a lot of time setting up rhythms, then getting locked with Page on his little phatty or little moog with gentle leading melodies, while Fish and Mike just destroyed. just as cerebral as music gets for me. seemed like at least a 30 minute jam. went on forever, with the band just in that magical space we dream about. Ghost was amazing too, and this has to be one of the two best 3rd sets of their career, agree Miner.

    if peeps didn’t dig the album thats fine too. had to expect this to be quite the polarizing move. but a full 3 sets of Phish on a night normally known for covers is pretty rad.

  2. PigSong Says:

    Thanks phoam, moved into a new house last week. Fall tour was over before it began for us..

  3. alf Says:

    in the context of career arc, wingsuit is arguably the greater achievement. this is different than listening to rift and listening to wingsuit and saying, this one is better.

    rift is a product of individual artistic creativity. no doubt it is great. wingsuit is a reinvention, and one based on a collaborative process that, arguably, is a truer expression of what has made phish phish. which achievement is greater?

    ultimately i don’t give a shit, i’m just wasting time while this ghost carini downloads, but since matt brought it up…

  4. tela's_muff Says:

    i’m still trying to digest Disease>Taste>20YL>Piper. still my favorite sequence of jams this year.

  5. bob dylan Says:

    Blue chips 2?

    The day after new phish? My work day is cut out for me.

  6. phoammhead Says:

    right on, pig. Bek and I seeing you and fam raging dicks was a summer highlight for us!

  7. bob dylan Says:

    Abe was not dancing like that. They took the dancer off stage and brought him back.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    agreed, butter. 3rd set kick down … and really a time when we phans should be thanking the band. good times, great band!

  9. roberto luongo Says:

    need to spin that Telas

    yesterday. through in Dicks Dust with fall highlights and still tops for me.

    haven’t touched that set yet though.

    LOVE the Hampton Tweezer and GA.

  10. roberto luongo Says:

    party supplies droppin Sledgehammer and Sussudio beats on this one.

    shit is fun.

  11. voopa Says:

    “We had such a great time writing and hanging out together creating this new material. But nothing could make us happier than having your energy and imprint on our new album. Music is a spiritual language. Your energy is obviously embedded in everything we’ve ever done, but what’s happening tonight is more of a tangible thing. The songs always change so much as soon as we play them together with all of you. Playing these songs tonight is a way that we can get them dirty and mess them up a little before we record them. And the live energy of a Phish audience will be directly involved in the making of our new album, as we all celebrate 30 years together.”

  12. roberto luongo Says:

    hah. and John Mellencamp. this shit is fuckin hilarious.

  13. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Fired up to rock Action Bronson on my drive to AC

  14. dorn76 Says:

    Youtuber deadphishpanthers76 got the hookup.

    Here’s Wombat. Rest is up too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-LLYB_wmXM

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    “What do you suppose Abe makes for that quick Cameo?”

    free doses and the digits for Trey’s third favorite former tour jumpoff

  16. William H. Bonney Says:

    Muy Malo. Gone need more than Bob Ezrin to clean up that run of songs. Maybe time to let Polly Sampson write some lyrics, even she doesn’t need to lift nursery school rhymes. Well at least I don’t have to worry about buying the new Phish record based on what I heard last nite. In the end if Phish had come out with a bad ass set of songs I would have been on cloud nine. That was anything but.

  17. tela's_muff Says:

    just noticed Trey yells “Motherfucker” before Boy in the Reading YEM. that says something about that set.

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    Action Bronson. Word.

  19. William H. Bonney Says:

    Out to enjoy A/C for the day. Have fun everybody. Always wear a wing suit with the working girls……..

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    I am excited to spin the early part of the album which I missed while trick or treating last night, and I have a very open & positive attitude about it, but I gotta say walking in on the “Jack and Jill” lyric was not a good first impression to say the least.

  21. btb Says:

    Monica – definitely a nod to the Beach Boys influence on pre-pubescent Trey

    or Jer. Whatever

  22. Nagarjuna Says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed last night from the couch. Did it in the way that suits me best: skipped first set for the warm up it was, did the dishes while listening to set 2, and locked in all the way for set III.

    Love all the enthusiasm from Miner and the BB. I come from a weird place in that I think 90% of phish songs are bad, usually really bad. Sorry, not hate, just my honest opinion. Bad vocals, bad lyrics, bad composition. Most of wingsuit feels bad in these same ways BUT once you get past the standard bad opening parts of phish songs some of those songs are built for SICK jams. Take wombat for example. Those lyrics and Fish’s psuedo rap are pretty terrible and kind of embarrassing – great once as a fun live joke but should never be recorded or played again. But the groove in that song once it opens up has so much potential for $$$ for years to come.

    I love that phish bared their artistic souls last night and dropped their new album. It was sweet and genuine and forward looking. But for most (not all) of those songs I’ll be skipping through the openings as I prefer to do with most phish tunes, then digging the jams.

    Set III was fucking magic. History will forget phish studio albums but jams like that Carini will be remembered.

  23. dorn76 Says:

    ^^Just the SBD audio. (and a cute wombat pic)

    That letter to the fans is heartfelt stuff. Vlad the Impaler did make the cut.

    Not loving the golf reference preceding, and I always try not to pay too much attention to Trey’s at times saccharine, at times absurd writing, but the title lyric to Wingsuit is pretty solid.

    Nothing lasts, nothing stays
    Caught in this procession of unchanging days
    What’s new is old, what’s old is gone
    You’re pushed up to the edge
    So put your wingsuit on

  24. tela's_muff Says:

    @mr C – that was the Pearls of Laughter song i think? yeah, didn’t love that one, and i don’t see them playing it live much.

    last Reading, PA thought. I find this YEM to be way above average for 3.0. am i just not listening to other YEM’s close enough? Trey stays engaged in the jam a lot longer than normal it seems. really love this YEM.

  25. dorn76 Says:

    Bill Bonney won’t you please come home! Didn’t dig the power of Fuego? The dirty funk breakdown of Wombat? The Bong Rattling bass of 555?

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