…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. lumpyhead Says:

    MiA -absolute zero chance you will be at MSG?

    I hadn’t even considered it but after this run….

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    yup

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    payoff for several years of pushing the matrix concept specifically and untold hours spent breaking down Brent era shows in general

  4. ren Says:

    MiA has NOT yet bought those fancy tix to Paris….but mrs MiA would need to get some serious kinda Xmas gift I would think

  5. mmmhmm Says:

    Mr. C, pushing the matrix concept as in using AUD/SBD mixes for commercial releases that have spotty sources?

  6. mmmhmm Says:

    Mrs. Mia gets a new car for Christmas, Mia gets to go to MSG. Not a bad tradeoff…

  7. lumpyhead Says:

    willowed’s moves rep had preceded him. was indeed impressive.

    oh and ren palmer was right by us night 2 with willowed and phoam, so y’all raged that twist together. counts as an acquaintance to me. 🙂

  8. mmmhmm Says:

    that new car smell will endure far longer than the sting of skipping family NYE for MehSG.

  9. snow Says:

    people are saying I should see “Shook Twins” in the ‘ham on thursday. Anybody seen them? they seemed polished but cheesy so far.

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    yes. I admire the matrix concept but feel pretty strongly that 95 to 99% of the amateur produced matrixes that circulate on etree and such are unlistenable, including most of the ones that people seem to love, which mystifies me to no end. But the concept itself is solid and it always seemed to me that Jeffrey N. could probably nail it.

    The early and mid 80s are the perfect era for this. The move to cassette masters and Healy no longer giving a shit about taping resulted in a whole lot of weird sounding SBD masters. A lot of them are very crisp but sterile sounding, with stereo image and instrument balance problems. However that same era from 1979 to 84 or 85 is the golden age of audience taping with a bunch of people routinely pulling really superb FOBs and balcony tapes with incredible clarity and presence. It’s kind of an obvious peanut butter & chocolate situation.

    So I’ve been rabble rousing for this concept for quite awhile and the new Dave’s Picks is the first one to do it and all indications are it’s pretty successful & it sounds like Jeffrey enjoyed the process….

  11. snow Says:

    um, yeah, I found the shook twins album on spotify.
    moving on…

  12. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Caught Shook Twins on the bag patio of Boticelli’s over SXSW. There for dinner w/ friends who were in performing & stumbled on them my happenstance. Really dug em. They’re very talented & might I say kinda sessy. Plus the giant golden egg makes for some freak folk weirdness.

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Caught Shook Twins on the bag patio of Boticelli’s over SXSW. There for dinner w/ friends who were in performing & stumbled on them my happenstance. Really dug em. They’re very talented & might I say kinda sessy. Plus the giant golden egg makes for some freak folk weirdness.

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    now the only problem with finding shows from that era to release is the fact that even most of the great ones have really bad moments in them, and people don’t like compilation releases…but the matrix concept puts a lot more masters into play as possibilities…basically as long as it’s clean & not distorted it could theoretically be on the table

    Now if we could just go back and get Garcia off the nod post-drums & make Mickey pay attention during first sets

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^stabbin then paddlin

  16. mmmhmm Says:

    what do you mean Healy no longer giving a shit about taping? He din’t care about tapers in the venue or he gave up on quality control of the house GD recordings?

  17. bob dylan Says:

    “we’d like to thank mr c for puffing countless nugs and listening to hours of jams. he really took one for the team”

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Very enjoyable live show snow. As we all know albums don’t always do justice. Plus Timer penned an article on the Twins.
    http://www.jambands.com/columns/david-steinberg-some-are-mathematicians/2013/05/28/defending-the-album-a-night-in-the-studio-with-shook-twins-and-the-shook-twins

  19. mmmhmm Says:

    Mickey too busy being an ass and/or throwing drumsticks at people to pay attention to 1st sets. Can you give an example of a hot early 80s show with horrible moments? Are these moments akin to Trey Juliusing the Tweezer the other night or worse?

  20. ren Says:

    I think I ran into Timeron the floor night 3…..I think he was foaming at the mouth with a silver cape on. Sound like him?…or just some other caped crusader?

  21. MiA Says:

    Went and looked at new vehicles. Holy crap?! Are these things now made of lubricated unicorn tears and made of virgin dragon bones?

    Expensive. As is the $1500 flight to Paris.

    I’m becoming the guy who can barely afford to do nothing for NYE but sit in my back yard, smoke weed and grumble.

  22. MiA Says:

    Reading Reba is amazing. Whole show Fishman is killing it. Had to play BDTNL to catch a breath.

  23. bob dylan Says:

    cheers to that mia. i was looking for a small pickup truck and they don’t even exist anymore. in the land of overindulgence and buying shit you don’t need, they only sell HUGE trucks now.

    i just want something for point a to point b but able to throw my bike in the back.

    apparently the companies still make small trucks for other countries but the import tax from the 60s still in existence makes it not worth it to import small trucks.

  24. MiA Says:

    Bob, I bought a new ’89 Toyota 4×4 BITD. Greatest vehicle I have ever owned. Super simple to fix (never needed it) huge enthusiast market and super popular and relatively easy to get parts. I cry daily that I still don’t own that truck.

    The 4Runner I now own is fine, but nothing like that 4×4. Saw them in Cali in La Jolla when I was there, and was obsessed with owning one.

  25. Jerome Garcia Says:

    NYE custy cast copius herb consumption IPAs mild mushy & lots of grumbling in MiA’s backyard ftw! Fits my budget 😎

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