Moments In A Box: Magic

11.1.13, Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

11.1.13, Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

Woven into the fabric of Phish shows alongside compositions and jams are moments—those instances where time stands still, everything goes into slow motion and the world explodes. Fall tour had many of these indelible occurrences that everyone in attendance will always remember. Here are a few of such moments from Fall—presented chronologically—that still give me goosebumps to think about.

Piper -> Taking Care of Business“—10.20 II, Hampton, VA

Though there are several frozen moments from Hampton’s third show, none brought a more thunderous response than this one. As if an exuberant “Piper” to punctuate an outrageous jam sequence of “Tweezer > Golden Age” wasn’t enough, this impromptu move into “Taking Care of Business” was nothing short of genius. As soon as everyone in the crowd recognized the song they were playing, Hampton’s roof nearly blew off. People freaked out, and rightfully so, because Phish hadn’t only just executed a shrewd and seamless segue, they had laid down their mission statement for the next two weeks! They were as excited as we were to be on tour. If everyone didn’t already know that shit was on like donkey kong this fall, after this moment they certainly did.



Drowned‘s” “Sitting in Limbo” jam—10.26 II, Worcester, MA

This one still blows my mind. The band was neck deep in an uptempo groove of the likes of “Guy Forget” when they—collectively—stopped on a dime and converged on one of the most surreal segments of music of the entire tour. As if they had this change preconceived, the guys were immediately on the same page as they bled into the infinite. Mike dropped some enveloped filtered notes that provided an aural cushion for this ethereal music. The band sat into a delicate, to-die-for groove for a minute or or so before Page (I believe) hinted at the chords of “Sitting in Limbo.” Trey picked up on the Chairman’s idea—as he so often does—and he, himself, offered the chord progression of Jimmy Cliff’s reggae classic. Trey had played “Sitting in Limbo” with TAB once, and I was sure he was about to step to the mic to sing the first line. Apparently, (from someone who actually watches the show) he almost did, but deferred, keeping the poignant nod instrumental. But damn if that change and subsequent jam isn’t one of the most sublime moments of 2013.



Trey’s final solo in “Disease“—10.29 II, Reading PA

The 'Doc (Andrea Nusinov)

The ‘Doc (Andrea Nusinov)

There are moments and then there are moments. Ask anyone who was in the intimate Santander Arena on that Tuesday night about the end of Reading’s “Disease” and they may just turn away and blush. Yeah, it was like that. Following the meat of a solid, though unspectacular, “Disease” jam, Phish found their way into one of their now-classic, blues-like codas. This southern-laced jam was particularly significant on the brink of Halloween with all of the Allman Brothers talk in the air. The band actually worked their way into a jam around Eat a Peach‘s famed live track, “Mountain Jam,” and it was within this feel good context that Trey would make history. The guys had the room in the palm of their hands and were bringing the jam to a full-band peak when Trey reached back and unleashed the most spiritual, spine-tingling, and downright spectacular guitar solo of the past five years. Channelling his inner Duane Allman and harnessing every bit of his own soul, Trey opened his heart and out burst rainbows and Klondike gold. And this wasn’t just a short statement, he let it all hang out in a blissed out guitar solo for the ages. This is one we’ll be telling our grandkids about. (nb: I had continuous chills just recounting this tale without the music on.)



Twist” middle peak section—11.1 II, Atlantic City, NJ

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

One could sense during the first set of Halloween that Phish was more focused on the second. They had clearly practiced the Winsguit set and had a lot riding on the success of its songs. Thus, the first frame of Halloween didn’t amount to much, but with the pressure lifted in the third set, the band was clearly able to let loose and jam. Well, when they came back to Boardwalk Hall the next day after nailing their Halloween show, the guys were visibly looser and more comfortable on stage from the jump, tearing apart the show’s opening half. And that brings us to “Twist.” The band had played two versions thus far on tour, Hampton and Glens Falls—both bigger than any since Cincy 2012—and the second had built substantially from the first. Thus, when Phish opened the second set in Atlantic City with “Twist,” everyone knew we were in store for a treat. But midway through this jam, things got straight silly, and we stumbled upon another magical moment.

I’m not exactly sure just what transpired during this segment, but it was one of those instances where the energy of the moment continued building upon itself and informing the actual music onstage. Page and Trey had locked into an exchange that the other guys quickly latched onto, collectively forming a sort of anthemic vamp. This drew in the audience’s energies and this sequence gained series momentum before the band broke from this vamp into a high-speed, cathartic peak. Then, this moment truly crystalized as they continued switching between these two feels, creating a monumentally triumphant passage, both musically and energetically. This was one of those bigger-than-music metaphysical explosions that happen from time to time at Phish shows, and quite honestly, this was the most collective, in-show peak since Tahoe.

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296 Responses to “Moments In A Box: Magic”

  1. cavey Says:

    greetinx! say, isn’t there a way you can change the background color of your blog, it’s so exhausting and unpleasent to read white on black… been meaning to ask you for a while now, think about it, it would really make a huge difference! thx, chris

  2. dorn76 Says:

    I’ve watched LazyL’s vid of Drowned a few times, and haven’t seen Trey do more than fiddle with his pedals during the “Limbo” section. I’m sure up close you could see a subtle move, but there’s nothing from a distance that looks like an aborted move to the mic.

    Who was that mystery poster who dropped in to tell us he saw that at the show, and then got a nod in Miner’s post.

    Curious I tells ya.

  3. Gratefulcub Says:

    All of these second frame highlights are great, but the back half of Fall brought first set action back into the fold. That’s a big time highlight for this guy. Glen Falls Undermind>Bowie had me grinning from ear to ear.

  4. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Cool read on Lou via Laurie:

    Miner, I got chills without the music on reading your recount of Toby’s DWD solo without the music on. Phish.

  5. dorn76 Says:

    Repost for repimp. The Phil Jam from Central Park last week is tasty.


  6. wolfmansfather Says:

    pretty safe to say TCB wasn’t in the moment

  7. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Miner’s writing chops are flexin’… Keep it up man. Really interesting stuff of late. Cub’s suggestion about set 1 heat may make a nice post sometime soon.

    @Beerheads: Was introduced to Kiuchi Brewery last night. That is some good shit.

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    Cubby – that split in GF was excellent. Agreed.

  9. neemor Says:

    gratefulcub, were we sitting in the same seats in GFalls?
    Seems like it.

    .net lists Time Loves a Hero teases in Drowned.
    I certainly have not picked up on that. Better keep listening.

    Glens Falls first set composition.
    Worcester Curtain With and Rift (together at last!), Vultures and late second set Dirt
    Worcester 2 Gin(!), Drowned and Sand

    Hartford was just a winner from “go”.


  10. Gratefulcub Says:

    Hampton 3 has to be my highlight of tour though. Not because it was the best show per se, but because they delivered with everything on the line.

    Going into the night, with everyone expecting a top notch show, including a big Tweezer…… that’s tough to deliver.

    What these guys do, is take the stage without much of a net. When magic happens, it just happens. They can’t “try harder”. I imagine, the harder they try, the harder it is to hook up and connect and spin the magic they are capable of. It happens randomly. They don’t decide Omaha is the perfect place to play an otherworldly Hood.

    To deliver what they threw down at Hampton with everything on the line, I was happy for them.

  11. Gratefulcub Says:

    Neems, were you clean shaven sporting a Sox jersey?

  12. jonacho Says:

    At the show and in multiple re-listens, the AC Twist has “Get Back” all over it – before the under pressure part.
    Trey plays with the theme in an artful way – moving back and forth with the energy. Get Back has been stuck in my head since.

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Something non-phish?

    I am not a hip-hop man at all. I’m a white, 40 year old dad who has never gotten into the whole genre before. This is an oldie ( been pimped here hard by AW and others) but it really resonates for some reason.

    Nice production, enough R&B and soul, and Chance has a nice , chill flow.. Check it out.

    Chance the Rapper- Acid Rap

  14. C. Clavin Ball Says:

    so if you took yesterday and amped it up a bit you’d have today with respect to the history we get. I’m not saying 11-21 is one of the greatest dates in phish history but if it isn’t in the conversation for best non-holiday normal ho-hum day of the week then I didn’t get the award for most knowledgeable postal carrier ten years running. I’m not even gonna include the date way back in ’87 from Nectar’s where no setlist exists, since that can’t help my argument. But hey, if anyone finds ut that setlist I’m sure it won’t hurt it.

    So let’s start with the one in ’91 at a place I’ve seen quite a number of shows – and movies – over the years. you gotta love a movie theatre that serves beer. I even went for one of those weird late night rocky horror things with diane and her arty friends once to see what that was all about. they were smoking that wacky tobacky which makes my head spin and that my ma always told me to stay away from. she doesn’t know about my friendship with that gal lucy, but let’s let that be our secret, okay? anyway, the somerville theatre. so phish is playing some political benefit which is odd in and of itself, but we won’t focus on that here. No, let’s talk about the fact that this show is filled to the brim with secret language all throughout. and that there is a very unique weekapaug groove on there with an ending you just need to here. and then there’s a pleasant reba tucked in there. but you might also want to check out the nice segue from Tweezer into TMWSIY in the second set there.

    The next year they were out on Long Island at SUNY Stony Brook for a banter-full show. This one got the debut of one of the few serial killer themed tunes in the repertoire, Buffalo Bill – with accompanying washboard solo by Fish. It also marks the announcement of Amy Skelton as an official member of the crew by Trey and a stab at explaining the BBJ by Trey and Page. Outside of that you get your typical ’92-ness with tight playing, lots of segues, and the energy of a band still on the upswing.

    after a couple years of not playing this date we get the first of four consecutive times that a show gets played on 11-21 south of the Mason-Dixon line (and its imaginary westward extension). Incidentally, those are also the last four times this date has been played. In 1995 it goes down in Winston-Salem with a show some might find as notable for what didn’t happen as for what did. As for what did happen, you get some acoustic first set bluegrass, a simple with some noted but hard to find teases, the Bowie that takes you to the river and back again, and a Mike’s Groove that works its way from a cavalry of keyboards to a be-dressed man’s take on Elvis before we end the set with a nice Beatles tune. What you don’t get is a Paug and that has happened less than fifteen times since Mike started singing about being trapped in time and whatnot.

    Two years later would be the first of a classic run at Hampton that really needs no introduction from a humble civil servant such as myself. You’ve heard this one countless times and yet it still doesn’t get old. There’s the shockingly good debut of Emotional Rescue that eventually bleeds into a stellar Melt, the first set closing Caspian that never really ended, and then a four song set that alternately gives goose bumps and breaks knees it is so funky. Ghost->Bag->Slave, Cup E: Guyute If you don’t know it, what the hell have you been doing with yourself? Go listen. like, now. seriously, it was part of a boxset and everything, for crissakes.

    are they gone? ok. so the next year Phish would be back in Hampton again for night two of the run at The Mothership (c) and as mentioned yesterday it shouldn’t be compared to the ’97 run even though it will be inevitably because that’s what we do. So go ahead and do that if you must, but in doing so be sure to note a few things. There were two mini bustouts (Cry Baby Cry, Nellie Kane – each 250+ show gaps), some funny hints back to the previous night’s Fish Jiggy Fun ™ in BBFCFM and also in the debut encore cover of Tubthumping (which was oh so popular at the time), and a well put together second set anchored by a Simple that holds up very well, thank you very much. And in case you are counting, that makes four out of the five known setlists on this date having a Mike’s Groove (but only three with a Paug 😉 ).

    And then there is the last time they played this date, another second night of a two night stop at a storied venue. yesterday I brought out the Debbie Downer card so let’s talk today about the more positive stuff in this venue’s past. It’s a little known fact that The Allman Brothers were the first performers to grace the stage of the (then) Riverfront Coliseum back in 1975. And it is also a little known fact that the average Cincinnatian (Cincinnatite? phishm or telasmuff, help me out here) eats at least 25 pounds of skyline chili each year and as a result the air quality in the US Bank Arena has been declared unfit for pregnant mothers, people with CPBD, asthmatics, and people with the condition known as “hot dog fingers”. One of those statements may not be true. Anyway, the Phish played a nice show there on 11-21-09 to wrap up their visit there (and they haven’t been back since!). This one saw the first Torn and Frayed since the Halloween set a few weeks prior, the first Albuquerque since 1.0 (but really only 115 shows if you picking those nitty things), a well received second set anchored by RnR>Ghost>If I Could, and (arguably) the best Melt of 3.0. But don’t take my word for it…

    and now back to the grind. these stamps keep saying they won’t lick themselves, but I’m sure going to try to find out if they will. maybe that one I licked on the blotter paper wasn’t the best idea after all.

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    Random, was at that MSU show! Butters first the night before at Hara’s of Dayton.
    11/14/94 = the show barely anyone knows yet should.

  16. MiA Says:

    After the Drifting talk decided to spin TAB Bonnaroo ’02.

    What a killer first set. The Last Tube is killer.

    25 minute Money Love and Change in the 2 spot?

    I find none of it to be “wandering” or pointless either. Just great ideas thrown out all night.

  17. tela's_muff Says:

    Clavin – I concur on best Melt of 3.0. i was not a fan of the recent GF version, although the summer SPAC Melt got a A for effort. Anyway, there could be a complete blog on Cincy Melt’s, and the ’09 verison was a no-nap $$$ performance. also, loved the Albuquerque. as for the Skyline eating, that’s probably true as well.

  18. sumodie Says:

    C. Clavin Ball FTMFPostalW!!!

    Too Short; Fun Read

  19. plord Says:

    On point as usual Miner. Those were undeniably great moments.

  20. Fly Says:

    @palms, that Chance is so, so cherry. Need to let it rest for a while, as I spun it every day for the whole summer.

  21. Fly Says:

    And Reading DWD made me cry again. Trey channeling pure human spirit. That is why I listen to Phish.

    Jams from 3.0 that have made me cry like that:

    BGCA Light
    Tahoe Tweezer
    Reading DWD

    Thank you Phish for manifesting as music the ineffable beauty of human being.

  22. Gratefulcub Says:

    ^2010 Holiday Run Hood – I find it so moving I can be brought to tears

  23. vapebraham Says:

    cheers, BB. Hail the 3 kings.

  24. sumodie Says:

    TCOB is certainly my non jam moment of tour

    In the moment, at first I wasnt sure I was liking the band’s move but that quickly faded when I realized this wasnt gonna be a half assed attempt but instead an asskicking rehearsed cover (i know, not impromptu, but whatevz…)

    Ive been burned out on that tune for so long due to my classic rock radio listening years, but phish’s performance, not to mention the crowd’s enthusiastic singalong, has completely won me over to TCOB again. Def holds up on replay too

    A guy near me on the floor knew all the words. And his singing along wasnt annoying, he was that good

    A true gem from my lost weekend. That set killed

  25. vapebraham Says:

    crazy high and scheduled to play tennis (wouldn’t that be nice) in a half hour. just watched the kings of cannabis (strain hunters) go to colombia episode. really cool, but those two main characters, especially the little italian guy, have gotten super cocky. respect though.

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