Revisiting Rochester

Fall 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

Fall 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

What the heck happened in Rochester? On a tour where Phish could do no wrong, they stopped in western New York on a Tuesday night and threw an absolute clunker. Not only did the band display a noticeable lack of energy, they simply couldn’t hook up improvisationally. Only two days removed from a white hot weekend in Hampton, the site of several prolific jams, things—suddenly—had taken 180 degree turn. The band gave it their best effort for the opening of the second set, but before long, set things on cruise control—at around 45 mph—for the rest of the night. Since I haven’t as much mentioned this show since tour ended, I thought it was high tome to go back and see what the heck went down in Phish’s third show at War Memorial Auditorium.

Rochester Official (Fugscreens)

Rochester Official (Fugscreens)

Rochester was the first show that many Northeastern fans caught on fall tour, and with the buzz on Hampton’s final set still thick in the air, everyone laced up their dancing shoes for what felt like a no-brainer throwdown. But unlike most nights in their career, the band simply couldn’t get it going. A solid, if not slow, first set seemed par for the course after a monstrous three nights—an easy frame to work back into things. “Timber” provided a glimpse of jamming, though mostly standard songs filled out the set with nothing out of the ordinary. Things would clearly elevate after setbreak—or would they?

Both times the band had opened with “Crosseyed” this year, in Holmdel and at the Gorge, the jam blew up into a tour highlight. Thus, when the band brought out the Talking Heads’ cover for the third time of 2013, and the first time indoors, one suspected a monstrosity. But this time, the jam never got off the ground. What happened?

Reading (A.Nusinov)

Reading (A.Nusinov)

The guys had things on lock down through the structured part of the jam, but when they went to open things up, they were never able to connect. Just as they moved into free form territory, Fishman, inexplicably, dropped his rhythm out of the mix, abruptly shifting the feel of the excursion and throwing everyone off. The band members tried to adjust to this beatless canvas, but it took some time for anything to truly transpire. On listen back, Trey attempts to push things with a set of quickened chords, but nobody joins him, and at this juncture it sounds like Fish and Trey are on completely different pages and not united at all. Typically the axis of Phish, Trey and Fish struggled through this initial section, though finally reached some level of harmony allowing the jam to progress.

Phish gained some momentum through the next part of “Crosseyed’s” jam, but their playing remained disjointed and didn’t resemble the well-oiled machine we had witnessed in Virgina. The jam continues in very generic fashion, though nothing, whatsoever, develops. Following an uncharacteristically awkward meat of this jam, the band found a decent groove in the final, ethereal portion of this segmented set opener. Some nice, loose textures emerged, but the guys are merely wandering, and before long, Trey cut things off with the opening to “Light.”

Atlantic City (G.Estreich)

Atlantic City (G.Estreich)

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again—and this is what the move into “Light” was all about. Not willing to accept defeat, Trey led the band into, perhaps, their most wide open jam vehicle to see what they could come up with. But following a solid composed section, once the band dove into open waters, it was nothing but stinksville—the guys just couldn’t connect. Over a choppy groove, Trey began chording and then signing “Golden Age” in half-speed, executing a smooth segue and giving the crowd something unique to cheer about. The guys stuck with the slower tempo—one would think to foreshadow a dirty funk jam—but once “Golden Age’s” improvisational passage dropped, it sounded like all four band members were on different drugs. In short, it was a mess. Page tried to salvage things getting down on his clavinet, but it was all for naught. Before anything transpired musically, Trey counted off for “Birds of a Feather,” waving his white flag of surrender.

The rest of the set might as well have been a continuation of the first, featuring an eye-popping run of “Halley’s,” “Possum,” “Bug,” and “Heavy Things.” Trey tried to throw a setlist bone to the audience with an end-of-set “You Enjoy Myself,” but the band delivered a flat and lazy version. Oh well, ya’ can’t win em all! Thus we packed our bags and headed for Glens Falls.

What was fascinating about Rochester, however, was just how off course it was in relation to the rest of the tour. Phish are human beings after all, but this show was such an aberration from any other of fall (and even summer), it almost made no sense. On Sunday night they played their best set of tour in Hampton and on Tuesday they sounded like a JV jamband on dirty acid. Go figure. Such is the nature of live music I suppose. They say, you can’t have the highs without the lows, so I guess we needed one night to remind us just how special all the others were. It worked.

10.22.13 Rochester, NY (Jake Silco)

10.22.13 Rochester, NY (Jake Silco)


Jams of the Day:

Winged-music-noteCrosseyed” 10.22 II, Rochester, NY

Listen to how different and disconnected this jam sounds compared to any other jam from fall.

[audio:] Tags: ,

378 Responses to “Revisiting Rochester”

  1. phlorida phan Says:

    Apparently I can’t post a link right now, oh well, maybe later. That $39 atmos raw vape pen got 1st place by hightimes for pens. Groupon that shiz!

  2. vapebraham Says:

    am i reading that right?
    NFL Films’ Phish film Premiering New Year’s Eve

    Phish film? they made a film about phish?

  3. garretcorncob Says:

    Yup vapebraham. It’s because they play Wilson at Seahawks games for Russell Wilson

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    jtran it typically doesn’t rain in the desert. Head east young man camp under the Milky Way build a fire perhaps imbibe some psychs & maybe you’ll hear the universal orchestra.

    Or you could do this @ 98 Bottles:

    Gilbert Castellanos’ tribute to Freddie Hubbard & Stanley Turrentine feat Karl D Joshua White John Paul Maramba & Jaz Sawyer.

  5. Gavinsdad Says:

    My NYC parking spot karma is freaking unreal today. I better kiss a few more babies.

  6. vapebraham Says:

    That connection warrants a film about phish? curious times we live in.

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Put your wingsuit on!!

  8. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Wingheads & Filmsheads invade Phish Tour 2014 wreaking havoc on outdoor sheds across the US

  9. ren Says:

    Good luck in your travels today Gdad!

    I’d give my left nut for some choice VT outdoor right about now. Any of you VT’ers heading down for MSG…I’m lookin at you! Lets get a trade on!

  10. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Nevermind jtran…Freddie tribute SOLD OUT

  11. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Sorry dude. Desert trippin still a solid alternative.

  12. garretcorncob Says:

    Be careful, GDad, I’m pretty sure there are laws against that kind of thing…

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    @PB Ho. Lee. Fuck.

  14. garretcorncob Says:

    AV Club has their top 23 albums of the year list up

  15. dorn76 Says:

    that’s just wild footage. holy crow.

  16. jtran Says:

    BGCA1 is a really great show front to back. just spun set 2


  17. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Bad intel yet again @jtran. Online tickets sold out; limited # of tickets available at door for $20. But think there’ll be a line formed early for those tickets prior to doors @ 7PM.

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    dusted space hubbas- if you do this right, you will see the eye of god.

    Wilco, ive been told to listen to ‘a ghost is born’ . the word kraut was even used in the rec i got.

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Holy Crow is right, damn Bezerker. that shit was nuts!

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    AV club gives Yeezus album of the year…… meh…..

  21. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Here’s the CRB SoundCloud search I mentioned ystdy. Hit play & you get 10 CRB tracks uploaded by various users including two versions of Rosalee.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    I’m a fan of Wilco. Talented band with unique song. Tweedy, despite being kind of annoying, writes a great song. Good live.. Nels Cline was a great addition.

    I think all of their albums are good. Just pick one.. Yankee Hotel gets all the acclaim, but others are just as good.

  23. George W. Kush Says:

    @Palmer, annoying how? Just a ranter on stage? Or cheeseball annoying like Trey can get?

  24. George W. Kush Says:

    And does Wilco really jam or they just stretch some songs out like Black Crowes?

  25. George W. Kush Says:

    Im getting the sense I need to dive into live material over studio stuff from recent comments. Tripost ftw.

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