…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. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    speaking of which, here’s my latest portrait (of her) http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesseherzog/10737777873/

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yeah my fall def made up for summer. much needed.

  3. vapebraham Says:

    what a muse! nice work.

  4. phoammhead Says:

    great to hear, Df.

    okay off for a farm burger dinner and then a panic attack!

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Sounds like DF did not get Dick’s punched.

  6. xpun Says:

    fuego should just start at 4:16 segued out of some sick ass jam. i can do with out the nonsense at the start and trey solo. but i fricking love that keep it rolling part.

    that was the first time i felt the room really wake up that set. ck hit these huge red lights at 4:39 and set the room ablaze

  7. phishm Says:

    Finally done with work. Not going out tonight. Got 8 IPA’s and some dank and am just going to get down to some Phish. Ever got burnt out on Phish? I was most of the week. It sounds great tonight. Go figure.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    so, you gonna switch things up a bit tonite, phishm

  9. Don Gordleone Says:

    AG cracks us up.
    He is trying to make us laugh, right?

  10. phishm Says:

    Ya, a little.

  11. phishm Says:

    Too much bad news this week. Too many days functioning with not enough sleep. No good buzzes. Music didn’t hit the spot. That has all changed tonight. Just living in the now as tomorrow could suck. I hope it doesn’t, but I’m not going to worry about that now.

  12. xpun Says:

    now is all you got

    also a monica fan. needs a little vocal reworking, and a mini jam. but i dig it. sorry just digging through wingsuit and am probably a few days off topic. what are we talking about.

    waiting all night has a very hall and oates feel. which isnt always a bad thing right @MiA?

  13. KOOKS Says:

    PHISHM I like your attitude.

  14. KOOKS Says:

    Best song 555

  15. jtran Says:

    just had a call from a new customer in Vashon, WA.

    Looks like a sweet place. PNW folks, school me on Vashon?

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Have 3 extras NYE. Sec 209

    Looking to trade for three together on 12-28 or 12-29. 100s behind stage.

    What happened to the ticket board here?

  17. vapebraham Says:

    cheers, phishm. cheers, BB.

    grab a sculpin and some greenies

  18. phishm Says:

    Done and done vape. Thanks KOOKS. Giving the old taste test between 12/29/97 and 12/30/97. So far the 2nd one has the edge with that monster Bag to open the 2nd. Paused that and am now diving into the DWD from the previous night. Not sure why I’m doing them song by song. Probably my ADD.

  19. phishm Says:

    If anyone is interested into getting into one of these shows.

    12/29/97 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17vN-dogYCU

    12/30/97 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O351eKdGopU

  20. voopa Says:

    jtran- Never been, but mrs. v spent a couple Summers on Vashon island and has nothing but good things to say.

  21. jtran Says:

    thinking of hitting sculpin for dinner before rubblebucket show tonight if I can get non beer drinking slf on board

  22. phishm Says:

    It’s funny. I get high with my brother in law all the time. I’ll go over there and we will smoke out and have a good time. My sister will join us and immediately go inside her head and get all paranoid and quiet etc. We both just talk, laugh, act normal. When I decide to leave, a lot of the time, she will freak out stating that there is no way that I can drive. I just laugh and pat her on the head and tell here a story that I know she can’t respond to. Then I leave.
    I know, weird story. Not sure where that came from. Just talked to her on the phone and the first thing she mentioned is that she is high and might not make sense. I just don’t get that. I guess that’s what a dab would feel like. OK, babbling. This Disease is amazing. Just getting lost in it trying to type. tie between the 2 shows again.

  23. phishm Says:

    But honestly not switching back at this present time. Bowie just started and I feel the need to see this through. Even typing that made sense as far as the keystrokes are concerned with the hi hat. I should be quiet now. I think I’ve said too much.

  24. Gavinsdad Says:

    DF – set and setting right? Ur girl had a good spirit and an open mind. That area of the floor was going off. If u don’t get inspired there hard to tell where u would. Good to hear that!

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Word gdad, def had a little help night 2 getting her into the right headspace too 😉

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