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. ren Says:

    ^Nice DF. Talk about a succinct argument

  2. ren Says:

    ^Nice DF. Talk about a succinct argument

  3. MiA Says:

    I also easily here The Real Me.

    I think Phish got their hands on the ÜberAlpha list.

  4. Shred Says:

    Listening to Suny 11-21-92. Mike’s used to be such a shredcrush. Smoke and Strobs. So sweet. Aud recording is really good too.

  5. Shred Says:

    Hear Here

    Hare Hair

  6. MiA Says:

    Or hear it

  7. MiA Says:

    Not quite a paddlin’ I think that “hear” was autocorrected to that.

    But Woukd gets by without a problem. Go figure … Apple’s autocorrect sucks.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Respectfully disagree re: Nassau Roses. Whatever it is they are doing it one hell of an infectious groove that stands the test of time.

    A timeless piece of Phish history. To each their own..

    I’m sure it’s no Camden Sand or Gorge Gin.

  9. Gratefulcub Says:

    If they Nassau Roses is meh, we can now distill this band’s career down into 3 great jams, 2 good ones, and 29.9 years of crap.

  10. Gratefulcub Says:

    I’ve listened to most of the Big Cypress midnight set, while working alone in the home office today. Gotta say, about 7 hours of mindless noodling, with a pretty decent Josie Wales in the middle.

  11. snow Says:

    And the saddest part is that ‘lope G was giving all the right signals to land that DWD but it just incinerated…

  12. snow Says:

    also, bunny manifesto

  13. dorn76 Says:

    Some folks on here playin’ too many notes or something.

    Island Roses meh?! Reading DwD not ill?!

  14. ren Says:

    I don’t think the point was that Nassau Roses was meh. More like a great jam can still start with cord vamping etc?

    I love Nassau Roses…top 5 peak phish experience right there

  15. MiA Says:

    RF/DF was being sarcastic. At least I read it that way.

    “Denver ’97 Ghost was just a bunch of shreddy noodling before the funk part, and didn’t ever land”

  16. dorn76 Says:

    I can miss the point all by myself, thank you.

  17. MiA Says:

    Here’s to none of my jams ever landing.

  18. Rob Ford Says:

    yes ren and mia.

    my point was who gives a fuck if reading disease or drowned were “standard” until the end (which i don’t believe), because those endings are fucking awesome.

    everyone wants longer jams and then cries when they’re not $$$ throughout.

    anyone who would rather a boogie on instead of the “standard” first halves of the aforementioned disease or drowned, please put your hands up.

  19. Rob Ford Says:

    and yes, the first half of nassau roses is just a funk jam.

  20. Rob Ford Says:

    “I actually considered both of those, but they don’t fit into the “magic” category IMO. One is a just a song and one is a funk
    Jam. Theme could have made it I guess, though I was aiming for 4”

    apparently funk jams aren’t that special anymore

  21. Rob Ford Says:

    listening to denver ghost now actually. this first section is a pretty standard ’97 jam. yawn. should i just skip to the end?

  22. MiA Says:

    Boogie On love is for highly estrogened individuals.

  23. bob dylan Says:

    did you guys already talk about tribe called quest opening at barclays center last night? daaaaamn!

    cool video and pic with chapelle, mos def, and possibly jack white.

  24. Rob Ford Says:

    bob, i got to shoot and meet phife dawg a couple months ago. fun times

  25. ren Says:

    ^unless that Boogie gets jammed and then the BB fills up their socks

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