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)

Tags: , , ,

686 Responses to “Put Your Wingsuit On!”

  1. Nagarjuna Says:

    “I’m really truly just in it for the jams” -MrC

  2. [an unrelated] Wilson Says:

    Wombat. What an awesome addition to the phish wildlife repertoire.

  3. voopa Says:

    Missed the middle part of Set II, listening back now…Page plays a fucking CELESTE on Snow?!?
    Fitting.

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    note that the “30 Days Of Dead” is on again this year

    http://www.dead.net/30daysofdead

    first up, a Shakedown, sounds like early Brent era from the intro.

    back to Bronson

  5. tela's_muff Says:

    The Line will fall into that #Line, Heavy Things slot. I like it.

  6. jtran Says:

    The Line is the new hipster phish tune I think

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    prior years of this excellent Lemieux kickdown are here http://deadroots.net/content/30-days-2012

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    Apparently the Phunion doesn’t know about Page and Hot Pockets. Guy’s not as hip as I thought.

  9. Joe Says:

    Who’s got my extra for tonight? Joeblackboard at yahoo. Too much in the middle of it to dissect and analyze now. Peace.

  10. JR Says:

    To say that the 2nd set was amazing, is nothing short of pure nonesense. A couple decent tunes, but to break tradition with the musical costume is BS. Further, to play tunes that may not even be on the album (by Trey’s own admission)??? Why, why on Halloween? It was awkward, unnecessary and disappointing. “Thank you for letting us do this?” Really? It was imposed and a break from tradition that didn’t need to happen. The first half of the set was pure cheese before finally picking up. I always want the best from the band I love, but this Halloween should rank at the bottom of all of them in thier amazingly beautiful 30yr career. Def have hopes for some of the tunes, but best Phish album ever after one listen? Get real.

  11. butter Says:

    yea Wilson waiting for the heady Ocelot > Wombat

  12. bob dylan Says:

    OH SNAP BRONSALIN-YO!!!!!

    FRESH PHISH AND FRESH BRONSON, WHAT A DAY!

    (jammin in the office)

  13. Joe Says:

    Dance throw down space in the back ring all the way to the wall on mikes side. Teen girl tried to cop the running man from me during ghost carrini. Actually asked me to teach her the moves. She couldn’t keep up. Can’t teach what 25 years of practice and soul power has given me baby but maybe watch some special ed rap videos on YouTube to get started.

  14. ren Says:

    If anyone grabbed an extra playbill I would be oh so grateful. Still picking up the pieces

    Paulny123 at ghee mahl

  15. Joe Says:

    I got it made

  16. MrCompletely Says:

    your reaction is valid and understandable @JR but “tradition” is just a word for “a thing we keep doing because we have always done it and for no other reason” – IMO tradition is just about the worst reason to keep doing anything – if there’s not another reason besides “tradition” you should probably just stop

    not sure, I feel ya

    from my perspective it’s irrelevant. Carini jam, yo

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    “not sure”? but sure

  18. verno329 Says:

    I think if they wanted to play their new “album” they could have done it at any show and didn’t need to play it on Halloween. It isn’t necessarily that I didn’t like it (I haven’t actually listened to a Phish album since listening to Billy Breathes twice) as there were 2-4 songs that I enjoyed, like Fuego, 555 and parts of Wombat, its just that I think they could have introduced these songs into the tour earlier on and not waited till Halloween.

    All things considered, its not a big deal and won’t negatively influence my experience on the couch the next two nights at all. I was just underwhelmed.

  19. William H. Bonney Says:

    @dorn. Yes I enjoyed a few of the songs. Just commenting on the overall record. Even the people who seem to enjoy r say only a few songs r keepers. Kind of makes my point. Kind of like getting socks for chrtismas. You need em but could gotten them any other day. Whatever. I thought it was a low point. You cats liked it , albeit many from a stream. The could have debuting the new songs along the tour and still did Halloween proper. Two shows to go. Life goes on.

  20. Sgt Pepper Says:

    Listen if we’d been let down by last nights performance thats what the reviews would look like. but i dont think many people were let down, and if you were tough tits. phish can and will do what they want and i have alot of criticisms on certain new songs from last night but what they did took way more balls than serving up stale old classic rock. would you have liked eat a peach? rock of ages? what would that really give you other than a brief novelty? Not every song was perfect but not every song on those old records is perfect either. If i wanna hear classic rock i’ll put on my radio where it repeats itself over and over ad nauseum 24/7. if i want something fresh im going to phish

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Third last song I think was written around dick’s sand from ’12. Miner can you admit that was a great jam now??

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Also that crowd had like no energy until ghost.

  23. verno329 Says:

    I’m spinning the 3rd set now and enjoying it immensely. Ghost>Carini is magical.

    I do agree with JR that calling the new “album” the best one yet after one listen is extreme to say the least, but I’ve been around long enough to know Miner’s ways so it is what it is.

  24. butter Says:

    its about letting us into the process of making an album

    thats the new and fresh idea and thought process, even fresher than the songs

    an album from the future, ya dig

  25. roberto luongo Says:

    also judging from Trey’s picking hand in set I

    you did not want him covering any guitar god classic rock albums

    let dude do his thing. he’s crushing these effect driven wide open full band jams. that Carini was massive.

Leave a Reply