…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. Gavinsdad Says:

    Reading Reba will receive unintentional encore forgetfulness prejudice over time which stinks cause it was a beaut!

  2. MiA Says:

    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?listingId=128175166

    There ya go Bob. Could probably drive it for two years, and maybe take a $1k hit on depreciation. Maybe.

  3. MiA Says:

    Ask Stoney or Slick but I think that’s the most ubiquitous truck in NorCal.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    if Phish manage to put out new material on the same level of craftsmenship as YEM, Divided Sky, David Bowie and Fluffhead. I will probably have to shit myself from shock.

    I dig the going back and writing songs from moments of jams that worked. this makes sense to me. actually have been hoping they could embrace that idea, and put out another album in the Ghost/Siket style…. but after listening to the wingsuit set, not sure how much that is really beeing embraced. a few moments seem like they could be from jams…
    ..anyways, I’ll also be surprised if Wombat gets put out. cool song, but extremely nerdy in a certain way. while I enjoy it, not sure it really sounds “good.”

  5. bob dylan Says:

    i don’t even need 4×4 unless i visit stoney case.

    manual, lightweight, good on gas, carries my bike. sign me up.

    my dad had a small dakota when i was a kid. needed something cheap at the time. i could use something that size. s10 size is what i have in my head.

  6. Jerome Garcia Says:

    You think so Gdad? Augusta Reba also an encore that lives in infamy. Perhaps it’ll be overshadowed by meat of Reading’s show primarily the 2nd frame?

  7. bob dylan Says:

    im not buying used anymore. i don’t care about depreciation anymore. people are slime balls and don’t disclose issues and I’m not smart enough about cars to know any better.

    i want something new that will drive me around for 10 years.

  8. vapebraham Says:

    been spinning AC phish all day. 10.31 set II: only 555 and wombat jump off the page. the rest are OK. fuego could be cool w/o the whale (woops negative buzzword alert). I like the dad rock tunes for the most part esp. wingsuit.

    page has been positively effected by his work with the funky meters. His tone, his riffs smack of art nevillization and that’s a great thing. Phish lifted a whole passage from a meters song for one of the new ones.

    sand from 11.1 — $$$. sizzling version. they were feeling the funk flavor on fri. and sat and crushing it — runaway jim funk breakdown, sand, tube, theme shaftfunk!, sally!

    love phish too much to stay away, but will keep my comments cogent and succinct so as not to offend the BB high priests. yes, i am probably more of a homegamer at age 40+. I listen to phish a lot at home and get off on it. I oftentimes fall asleep during the webcasts. I like a live show here and there, but oftentimes find it to be a challenging environment. I am kayatosh, a cardless phan.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    i haven’t dealt with a bigger stress ball than my past car. loved the car – subaru legacy gt – and i love subaru’s but that thing had problems.

    ended up eating a lot of money moving out here and having to move it quick. fool me once…

  10. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Bitchin avatar bob! Who is that?

  11. shred Says:

    In the market for 12/28 and 12/30 if anyone has..

    Thanks,

  12. MiA Says:

    Suburu? Are you a lesbian?

  13. ren Says:

    I don’t think they CAN write songs like they did in the old days. Different men, different times, different things they want to say…..kind of like asking a painter to paint the same painting….like 20-30 years later. The only way to be disappointed is to EXPECT something. We know they are not crushing speed/intricate compostions for the most part…and not doing drugs….huge factors there.

    I had no expectations of the Halloween costume. I’m not even sure I knew what they were playing…but I was there to have a good time….I did….and loved every minute of it.

  14. MiA Says:

    Just kidding. I think there a lot of Suburu owners on here I just offended.

    They’re all Lesbians, but I know I offended them.

    Good luck in your search.

    Gophers are 7-2 playing Penn St. I typed that because I may never be able to type that again in my lifetime.

  15. bob dylan Says:

    action bronson – check his new mix tape that just dropped.

    http://www.livemixtapes.com/mixtapes/24769/action-bronson-party-supplies-blue-chips-2.html

    gonna try and work an image of his face into something i can screen on a shirt. he’s tops on my hip hop list right now with run the jewels (el p and killer mike) and danny brown.

    speaking of run the jewels, they just announced run the jewels 2 for next year. get run the jewels if you don’t have it yet too.

  16. dusty Says:

    old toyota tacomas are the dirtbag choice in the mts. I’ve seen 4 and 6 bangers run forever!

  17. Dorn76 Says:

    Lesbian or a Vermonter.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    ya, it wasn’t til after i got my subaru i learned they are for lesbians. fuck it tho, all wheel drive is the awesome. love how they drive.

  19. Dorn76 Says:

    You sure that’s not Kim Dotcom?

  20. ren Says:

    Kaya- but you haven’t met me at a show yet?!?!? This is not acceptable

    ::tapes card back together::

  21. snow Says:

    @kayatosh – priests set themselves up to be offended. that’s their trip. In a boat or with a goat, I’ll still kick it with you.

    @JG – thanks for the info. I might give them a shot.

  22. Jerome Garcia Says:

    What’s the line MiA? I’ll bet you an order of Poor Qui’s Buns at the Guadalupe East Side King but I may want the pts. Btw ESK Hole In The Wall open for lunch. Score!
    http://eskaustin.com/hitw/

  23. dusty Says:

    foresters = lesbian, old legacy = dirt bag and outback/impresa = vt, ca or co.

  24. bob dylan Says:

    my lady turned me onto subarus. she went to UVM so the vermonter is her tie in, not lesbian. i used to make fun of her being crunchy with her subaru and granola business. but i caught on. its funny i’d never heard the lesbian references before.

  25. MrCompletely 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?”

    the latter. Admittedly he was a busy man, but he didn’t even try to make a separate mix for the tape, it’s pretty much all just a straight push from the board so basically a matter of luck…and tape flips just allowed to happen whenever…he was just caught up in the general minimum-effort vibe the entire band was putting out, maybe

    >”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?”

    No, failures of execution. Flagrant sloppiness on the part of any & all band members. Blown lyrics. Painfully rough Garcia vocals or harmony vocals. Low effort, off-the-template post-drums segments. The kind of thing you can forgive in a free download but make an official release highly suspect.

    I have a very hard time naming ANY show from 1978 on without some of these flaws. The list of those with few enough flaws (that are outweighed by the excellent segments) to consider for future releases is a matter of ongoing discussion. Some of the most famous obvious candidates are unfortunately not in the vault (’81 Greeks, ’82 Frost, ’83 Merriweather etc)

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

    hey I take notes and shit!

    Actually I think my main qualification is that I like me some Brent era Dead but am capable of hearing the flaws that commonly arise

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