…And That’s a Wrap

11.2.13 (Jake Silco)

11.2.13 (Jake Silco)

Phish punctuated their best tour of the modern era on Saturday, playing a hot show in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall—a room that gained a ton of all-time stature in band history this past weekend. Though Saturday’ night’s jams didn’t quite elevate to the levels we saw in AC’s first two shows, the guys still put on an incredibly fun and entertaining performance that had significant highlights in both sets. To cap a historic weekend, the guys threw an end-of-tour party that served as a celebration of all that has transpired over the past, magical fortnight.

11/2 Official (D.Mumford)

11/2 Official (D.Mumford)

After two balls-out performances, Phish opened up Saturday’s show with a conventional run of songs, beginning with a “Wilson” opener and carrying through a sixth-song “Funky Bitch.” But when the band started up “46 Days,” the vibe of the show turned on a dime. Playing a heat-seeking version of the blues-rocker, Phish injected all sorts of energy into their audience while elevating the musicality of the show in an instant. What happened next, however—in the middle of the first set—was my highlight of the entire show.

Just as the band was wrapping up “Theme From the Bottom,” Page began hitting a rhythm on his clav, and his bandmates caught on in an instant. Trey assumed his role of groove conductor on rhythm guitar, while Fish and Mike formed an instant pocket, transforming the concert into Dance Party USA. We all hopped in the DeLorean and set the date to 1998, and when we arrived at our destination, the band threw down a quintessential late-90’s funk jam that was laced with humor, taboot. Spinning the room like a gyroscope, the band locked into a groove and immediately set the show afire. This jam would be the most hooked up the band was all night, as the funk was deep as all get out. Over this crack groove, Trey began a stand-up comedy routine, asking Fish who his least favorite president and second least favorite president were, and what his favorite beer was, to all three of which  Fish answered “Bush.” Reprising the antics from Friday’s “kush under my bush” version of “Makisupa,” the guys engaged in a classicly Phishy maneuver as they blew our minds and busted our guts simultaneously.

11.2.13 (A.Nusinov)

11.2.13 (A.Nusinov)

The first set had caught fire at it’s halfway point, and the band’s momentum carried right through the end of the frame. Gordon’s “Yarmouth Road” and a tight “Limb by Limb” set the table for a ferocious set-closing “Mike’s Groove” that popped on both sides of a “Hydrogen” connector. With one set left to go in tour, things seemed lined up for another huge frame of Phish.

When the dust settled on the main event, however, the band had clearly given it their all, but their jams didn’t quite get “there” throughout the second set—a solid frame of B+ Phish. This is not to knock what happened, as the Saturday’s set was very enjoyable, but, rather to differentiate Sunday’s second set from the monumental improvisation to which we have bore witness this tour. The band was not sloppy at all, they just weren’t as cosmically hooked up as they have been since Glens Falls. Let’s check out what happened.

The band selected “Down With Disease” to open the second set for the second time in four shows, using their anthem as a way to bid adieu to the road for the time being. Fishman maintained a driving rhythm throughout most of this set-opening jam, lending a upbeat vibe to the entire piece. The guys found their way into a couple interesting places, but, as previously mentioned, when this “Disease” ended, it never had reached the sacred ground we have been experiencing on a nightly basis this fall. Instead, the jam plateaued at a certain, melody-anchored, point, and when Trey felt like it was time, the band dissolved into “Piper.”

11.2.13 (George Estreich)

11.2.13 (George Estreich)

Something happened during “Piper” that proves—beyond all else—that Trey is the true motivating factor behind the “Woo!” As the band hit a break in a full-steam version, part of the audience let out a meager “Woo!” Before anyone knew it, Trey took the cue from his congregation and formed a stop/start jam to facilitate crowd participation. But if this musical gesture wasn’t enough to prove his love for the “Woo,” at one of these breaks, Trey enthusiastically instructed the audience to “Take off your patches!” This was in reference to a comical ad in Halloween’s Phishbill for “Woo-x,” patches to help fans curb their addiction to and urge to “Woo!” Thus Trey’s move came as pure comedy—kind of. When this short but fiery “Piper” jam came to a close, the band exhaled via “Roggae.”

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

One could feel the oncoming “Tweezer,” as the band didn’t have many central jam vehicles left to play. Instead of dropping right into their gooey launchpad, however, Trey elected to set the table with a gorgeous mid-set “Waves.” Though the guys would leave their jamming for “Tweezer,” Trey unleashed a poignant guitar solo in the post-hiatus piece that whispered to our souls. As the band hit the “On the wind and under water” refrain, Trey dripped in the opening lick to “Tweezer,” a move that brought a roar from the crowd and ushered in the last jam of Fall 2013.

Dialing in their efforts, Phish engaged in a proficient groove outing that provided us a final opportunity to let loose on the dance floor. Though this version wouldn’t morph into transcendence like Tahoe’s, Hampton’s or Hartford’s, it certainly served its purpose as the dance centerpiece of the second set and whipped the audience into a liquid frenzy. After the jam’s initial groove segment, it meandered for a few, before the guys locked into a latter segment of more eclectic—though still rhythmically focused—interplay. When the band settled, seemingly having expressed the totality of their ideas, Trey made the move for “Julius.”

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

Rocking renditions of “Julius” and “Number Line” brought the set to its set closing slot, and if I were a betting man, I’d have wagered a fair chunk of change on a tour-ending “You Enjoy Myself.” But instead, Trey made a left turn for “Character Zero,” a move that he made summer to punctuate huge musical events. And Atlantic City’s three-night run was most certainly a gargantuan musical event in the Phish universe.

Over this fall tour, Phish has hooked up in a way we haven’t seen in over a decade, and the musical results have been nothing short of staggering. Bringing the goods on a nightly basis, Phish tour has developed a buzz that it hasn’t had since the late-90’s. Everyone—the band members and audience, alike—have been living the dream the way it’s supposed to go. At this point, the story of our Vermont super-heroes has totally course-corrected in a way few ever thought possible. Not only has Phish been jamming like at no point in this era, but they hit the “Reset” button in a huge way over the weekend with a slate of new songs that will pave the way for the years to come. As the band steps into the studio this week with the momentum and magic from an unforgettable tour in tow, I think we are bound to see one of the greatest—if not the best—studio efforts of their career. And when they emerge in a couple of months at Madison Square Garden, I suspect we will experience a full-annihilation Holiday Run like none in the modern era. Though the past five years since 2009 have been an incredible journey, the payoff for our work and dedication has finally arrived. Fall 2013 will go down in history as one of the most prolific tours in the band’s career, with its duration being its only limiting factor. The music is better than ever and light is still growing ever brighter now. It’s a good time to be a Phish fan.

I: Wilson, Rift, Ocelot, Water in the Sky, Sample in a Jar, Funky Bitch, 46 Days, Theme From the Bottom*, Yarmouth Road, Limb By Limb, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Down with Disease > Piper > Roggae, Waves > Tweezer > Julius, Backwards Down the Number Line, Character Zero

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

* “Shaft” jam

Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

2,223 Responses to “…And That’s a Wrap”

  1. mmmhmm Says:

    Agreeeeee Mr. C on the overload. Spinning highlights on the LP app every day was fun but Im happy for a break. How many Carinis can you listen too morning after morning???? a lot, but still…

  2. ren Says:

    The funny thing C….is that once I was back I tried very hard to recall why I had hopped of the train and still can’t really understand why I did.

    The wisdom of elders is invaluable
    The power of love is immeasurable
    Curiosity makes life worth living.
    It all crumbles without respect, humility, grace and kindness

  3. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I was just trying to be funny tela’s. Fail. Sappy might be a better word. Honestly I couldn’t be happier. Super excited for Wingsuit/new album. Can I preorder yet?

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    the subjective power of reality seems overwhelming and inescapable from the inside but almost comically tiny & insignificant from the outside…no need to even try to understand how the walls got built really just laugh and keep rolling down the road…main thing is you were ready to go when synchronicity manifested an opportunity for you. well done

  5. btb Says:

    Great quote Ren

  6. verno329 Says:

    I’m with you btb. Couldn’t find much too interesting in Wingsuit set.

    There were a few tunes that have potential, but there are plenty of the new tunes from ’09 that are still waiting for their potential to be reached.

    Luckily for me Phish albums mean absolutely nothing to me. Haven’t bought or listened to anything since Billy Breathes and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    However, the rest of the AC run (and fall tour as a whole) absolutely ripped. And that’s what I care about, the live experience.

  7. btb Says:

    You guys read that Phil isn’t going to tour anymore? At 73, he’s just going to do 30+ shows at the Capitol in NY and his place in California. Plus Lock’n festi.

    Got to be hard on the road at that age.

  8. bob dylan Says:

    Miner Theatre – SF Jazz

    Pro: Great sound, lots of room, cool vibe.
    Con: felt like carnegie hall in that there were a lot of members there last night so they were kinda stiff. the chairs are right against the railing so if you are trying to dance at your seat you can’t see the band (i was in the balcony)

    couldn’t puff inside. i just danced in this huge area behind my seat. feels like they need to take the chairs out and get some standing room so it doesn’t feel so open. not much of an intimate feeling for such a small room.

    i had fun tho, maceo kept it funky. felt like the show was kinda geared toward the audience (see: members) so it wasn’t full on non stop in your face stuff. would like to catch him at brooklyn bowl, i bet thats the kinda place to see him.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    @

  10. bob dylan Says:

    *so if you are trying to dance at your seat you don’t have room. if you move back you can’t see the band

  11. ren Says:

    Well said C. Thanks for always sharing your wisdom. Hope to glean some of it in person someday.

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    @btb, the Phil move is canny and overdue. Dude is trying to find ways to make it work. The guy is making his own way on his own terms. Respect.

  13. bob dylan Says:

    ^im not sure how to feel about him signing off the rights to the music. i wonder if its his way of charging for music after giving it away for so many years “nah, petes charging you, it aint me babe, he’s the bad guy :collects check from pete:”

    i just wonder why he’d sign that away.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    Maceo!

  15. locust the lurker Says:

    Now that the dust is settling wanted to give a shout out to the BB crew. Been a while but I’ve been enjoying the reflections and banter over the course of summer and this legendary Fall run. Great to see so many familiar names as well as all the new folk drawn here for the vibes so rare and hard to find elsewhere. Having been seeing the band for 24 years, I have to say this is one of the most exciting times to be part of the Phish community.

  16. 4thDimension Says:

    What happened to Energy and Say Something?

    Is it possible Phish was asked not to play Energy? Any precedent for this with covers that original bands eventually asked Phish to refrain?

    Shouldn’t Say Something, Suskind Hotel, or even just a recording of somebody passing a kidney stone always trump Yarmouth Road?

    What a tour folks … when Hampton 1/2, Rochester and AC 3 are your relative “let down” shows, you know you’ve hit gold Jerry. Of course all of the major jams have been acknowledged but I found a lot of glory in some of type 1 jazz precision I heard this tour … like Birds from Hartford, the LxL’s or the power flow Bowie from Glens Falls … so many examples of this to mention, so don’t skip over these gems. For me, the energy at Glens Falls and Worcester, and the dance floor at Hartford, were special old school experiences. Worcester 2 set 2 is still my set of sets … it just never stopped — the Mike’s suite delivered big time … and you could just tell the band did not want to stop playing that night. our cups runneth over. wingsuit will evolve and be good enough. embrace the spirit of phish trying to move forward … it’s almost as important as the music. hopefully the band is a self aware bunch and fixes some of these lyrics … it’s just not something they should put their name on IMO. peace to the bb

  17. snow Says:

    “The funny thing C….is that once I was back I tried very hard to recall why I had hopped of the train and still can’t really understand why I did.” – Ren

    Sounds very familiar… 🙂

    Great job team. Super stoked for everybody who caught a part of this tour.
    Always makes me happy to here about the BB massive carving up the dance floor.
    Let’s all be clear – despite the imperfections – Phish is for real again and it’s awesome.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    big ups to miner and j silco this tour. well done both of you. thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  19. Joe Says:

    It was night 2 for that crowd leaving venue reaction ten and honestly one of my favorite moments at a phish show I’ve ever experienced musically or non musically. Being on the same train might have aded to my perception of it but even the security staff/cops were cheering. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

  20. Joe Says:

    *ren not ten

  21. snow Says:

    and mostly importantly… we have hours of killer new jams while shredding pow…

  22. ren Says:

    Glad I was cheering with you @Joe!!! We definitely freaked out some squares and made the others think long and hard on what they’re missing out on 😉

  23. snow Says:

    *to enjoy while

  24. ren Says:

    I almost felt a little too comfortable to be back on the train during night 3. Wanted to make my way back on the floor to the soupy puddle sesh/get down happening for a drop or two more. There in may lie the challenge. Used to go deep…maybe too deep.

    But this time is gonna be different. I am much more matured (I hope), not nearly as reckless and have so many other things in my life that bring me hapiness. No need to grab everything in sight….just cultivate what I’ve already been blessed with.

  25. Joe Says:

    I know phish doesn’t do things the normal way but if the album gets done and released by spring, does that mean we’ll get a tour in spring as well?
    Stirring the pot here.

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