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. Mooner Says:

    Miner – You forgot the Flynn show from 94 where they debuted Scent of a Mule, DWD, If I could, Julius, and Wolfmans (into the song from the Jungle Book).

    Fun night last night.

  2. sumodie Says:

    Miner, exactly! What an incredible, fresh night of phish. 2nd set was bomb, what a balls out move by the band

    Plenty o fans were less than enthused with the band’s choice to cover their future album. Bummer for them to snooze away such a special treat

    Still havent slept.. off to Boston to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday

    Cant wait to replay the show

    And thnx for your thoughts, Mr M!

  3. butter Says:

    @C – the on demand feature was pretty much like DVR (didn’t press on demand in “my stash” just using the high speed scrubbing time line on top of the video)

    i used my phone to send over to apple tv and i could high speed scrub to wherever i wanted in the concert. when i hit play, it started me at the beginning of set 1, i scrubbed to Live to watch cover set. when i had a couple moments of pausing (not my choice, just when it froze up) it started again where it had left off. wasn’t perfect, at one point it jumped back to live and completely skipped Antelope, but i was able to rewind to the beginning of Lope. afterwards i rewound to the begging of set 1 immediately after performance. (which put me to sleep, before i could get to Stash or Gin)

  4. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    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

    This is perfect. I would tack on that in the case of things like DicksDust giving rise to Fuego, that collaborative process began onstage in front of thousands of fans. Bag it, tag it indeed.

  5. tela's_muff Says:

    i can see Wingsuit coming out of a nice big dark jam. absolutely love the laid back space groove on this song. lyrically it’s up and down, but i can see it being pretty powerful in a deep second set.

  6. roberto luongo Says:

    Snow=worst song eva

    until Trey played the acoustic one

    really did love the rest except the opener. not as much a hater on that but wasn’t feeling wingsuit.

    a couple I dug but just can’t remember as well cuz they didn’t have dancing wombats.

  7. jtran Says:

    haven’t spun set 3 or 1 yet, but spun set 2 while falling asleep last night and really dug it (besides the lyrics in the second to last song haha)

    Getting right back into set 2 again now.

    Can’t remember the last time I was more excited to spin phish songs than a 20 minute carini

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    cool @butter, good to know for next time. I’ll listen to the album today and watch it at some point for the Abe Vigoda thing.

    I caught the third set live so I’m good

  9. bob dylan Says:

    Walking in to jack and Jill. Ouch.

    I didn’t love all the lyrics. Some trey cheese but that’s par for the course. I liked the arrangement and harmonizing on a lot of the songs. You can tell they were written together. Very neat aspect. The other reason I liked it, because jams.

  10. bob dylan Says:

    And it’s also cool reading the phish bill and seeing their live energy aspect for the studio. What a great idea for a live band. Try and capture a point in time in a bottle. Otherwise they could fall flat.

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    I’ll definitely listen to the Ghost and esp Carini 2 or 3 more times before spinning the album

    I think it’s cool they did it and I hope it comes out great but am increasingly realizing that if I’m not at the show I’m really truly just in it for the jams. At the show I’m into it all and good vs. bad songs matters a lot but from my current perspective any non unique/improv segment of music is simply not what I am interested in right now – with an edge case exception being basically template-y but creative and excellent versions of top shelf tunes like a couple recent Hoods

  12. butter Says:

    the thing about dicks dust being used as material to write Fuego is that the timeline is from November ’12 when Mike brought in his fav jams. Dicks Dust hadn’t happened yet. not saying it couldn’t have influenced it, but it seems from the Phishbill that most of the songs had already been worked out before Dicks this year… maybe Fuego influenced Dicksdust…..

  13. butter Says:

    whale haters can’t use that as a reason they don’t like Wingsuit. barely a whale cry to be heard

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    Did Trey even take a real hot lead solo in either the Ghost or Carini?

  15. Nagarjuna Says:

    Summer of 89 teases in the Jack and Jill jam

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    The crew of the Pequod will always remain focused on the object of their obsession @butter. From hell’s heart I stab at thee, etc

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    Boom solid right cross by @nagarjuna there

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    not spinning any phish til I wear out this Bronson drop though

  19. roberto luongo Says:

    I really only like Tweezer so it is what it is.

    I go to see a hot band lock up and hopefully go deep.

    just enjoy they enjoy writing new stuff and hopefully the funky weird one’s get crazy one day.

    but never been a big Trey/Tom guy. just not that big into the mellow emotive singer songwriter thing.

  20. Jeff Says:

    Minor is the biggest prisoner of the moment on the internet. Every show he reviews contains “the best 35 minutes of music ever!!” Get a grip yo!

  21. butter Says:

    not really C

    he did his cathartic build thing at the end of Ghost

    but Carini was tons of rhythm work, with super fresh Kimock type of melodies over the rhythm work once it was established. even tho it wasn’t necc. a solo, i thought it was some genius stuff he was spitting. drums and bass that wouldn’t quit. seemed soooooooo much longer than 18 min

  22. roberto luongo Says:

    Trey seemed to be having picking problems all night.

    really starting to wonder about those hand/wrist issues you brought up C

    he had a rough set I and as great as the jams we’re in set II were def more him laying back on the pedals and such. real mellow all night.

    still set III was massive! Trey or no Trey Fish Page and Mike are absolutely crushing shit right now.

  23. roberto luongo Says:

    the party supplies sampling on this Bronson is just $$$$

  24. btb Says:

    Finally made my way through the Wongsuite set… Give me 3 weeks and I’ll be hummin this shit in the shower. 4-5 of these songs will stick around. Curious to hear what else they wrote.

    Some of those lyrics are lasughable…in a good and bad way. whatever.

    Overall, great night for PH and the 30 & 40 something duders and dudettes to share in the grooves and whatnot

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    right @butter, ok, end of Ghost

    and @RL, I thought the Birds, Bug sequence was an “I better shred something or people will start to wonder” statement straight up

    but yes for the record I actually thought Trey’s playing was superb through the Carini without taking dominant leads. He definitely steered the jam through the quiet section into the build that followed, he was controlling that but with very subtle dynamics

    it was very much an outgrowth of the full band jamming we’ve seen in the best moments (IMO) on this tour so far, very patient and interactive but directed

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