Boy, Mann.

The Mann '14 (Andrea Nusinov)

The Mann ’14 (Andrea Nusinov)

Phish continued their summer onslaught with two very different second sets at the Mann on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Philadelphia. Tuesday’s showcase was chock full of creative improv, including the unquestionable jam of the tour thus far in a stunning, long-form rendition of “Fuego.” Wednesday night’s second set was highlighted by another in the recent line of exploratory, wide-open “Chalk Dust” jams, but was played in more straight forward fashion following the top-shelf opener. Instead of analyzing the shows as individual performances, let’s look at the overall musical takeaways from Phish’s stand the the City of Brotherly Love.

Mann Poster (LandLand)

Mann Poster (LandLand)

Any discussion of Mann highlights must start with “Fuego.” Phish drastically matured their newest springboard from its first to its second outing, unfurling one of their elite modern jams out of the brand new piece. Phish’s late-career musical re-development has led them to this type of wide-open, thematic excursion. The band demonstrated ultimate on-stage comfort as they calmly navigated this deeply exploratory adventure. The music was orchestral in nature and carried a very free, yet refined vibe. Trey carved out gorgeous melodies—delicate portals to heaven—as the band engaged in a jam that could only have been played in 2014. No rush, total comfort, and flowing as single course from start to finish while fluidly rolling through distinct improvisational ideas. “Fuego” is not only Phish’s newest jam, it is a launch pad to a new type of jam—patient, sprawling, free form journeys that move between developed themes. These are the jams that many of us dreamt of when we thought about Phish playing as the guys neared age 50. Each band member led different parts of this excursion, all with utmost nuance and subtly, forming a wholly collaborative endeavor. And just as one thought Phish would bring this jam to a huge crescendo like SPAC’s version, Trey led the troops out the back door and into the most intricate groove throwdown we’ve heard this tour. The Mann’s “Fuego” was pure, long form Phish genius, and all signs point to more stunning journeys from Phish’s newest monster.

Phish delved into a late set-run in Tuesday night’s show—“Ghost > 2001 > Harry Hood”—that absolutely demolished. Though Trey fought tooth and nail to get the band out of a “Tweezer” jam and into “Ghost,” once he got them there the band gained liftoff. Trey has been playing with revitalized dexterity this tour, featuring clean, multi-note runs that sound especially awesome in juxtaposition to his extensive whammy experimentation last year. Additionally, Trey has drenched his playing in original melodic phrasing has provided a powerful lead of so many Summer jams. The Mann “Ghost” combined both of these trends into a soaring piece of music that served as the night’s most profound peak. Any thoughts of a lopped off “Tweezer” vanished in this dizzying, highlight-reel “Ghost,” a second keeper from the Mann’s opening night.

The Mann (Andrea Nusinov)

The Mann (Andrea Nusinov)

And “Harry Hood” was the third. The second, deeply improvisational version in as many performances this tour punctuated a stellar set of Phish. And the beauty of this “Hood” was its absolute tenderness—a total juxtaposition to the flowing psych rock of Mansfield’s standout rendition. The Mann “Hood” saw the band delve into an immersive conversation within a stunningly delicate milieu, and they came up with yet another nugget of improvisational gold to end a very impressive frame of music. After an extensive rain delay pushed the start of the second set beyond 11 pm, the band made sure that the entire night was worth any inconvenience that people had been through.

The Mann (A.Nusinov)

The Mann (A.Nusinov)

Wednesday’s night’s second set kicked off with another top-shelf jam—something we have come to expect from the band on a nightly basis— in “Chalk Dust Torture.” Following in the footsteps of Dick’s 13’s and MSG 13’s versions, the Mann “Chalk Dust” featured many different segments of improv, however this one was notably more fluid as it morphed between feels. This jam carried an uptempo rhythm throughout, and the band seemed to surf a musical wave in whatever direction it would take them without truly developing any single section for too long. This type of protean jam has become a modern trend with “Chalk Dust,” and provides a stylistic contrast the band’s more singularly focused improvisations. (Note: They certainly have taken “Chalk Dust” in the mono-thematic direction such as Dick’s 12, but more often than not its jams fit this description.) Spanning several feels, Mann’s version’s provided a tasting menu of Phish sounds, all connected with a single thread.

Several other jams provided sub-highlights of the run. “Twist’s” tight rendition featured mini flourishes in different directions, but each time returned to structure, much like a jazz take on the song. “Mike’s Song,” though not extensive, featured more active interplay between Trey and Page, and didn’t simply default to a guitar solo. Could this be a sign of things to come? One can only hope. Each show saw one significant first set highlight each night—Tuesday, “Tube” and Wednesday, “Wolfman’s Brother.” Both pieces featured a developed jam that moved beyond convention and gave a burst of energy to otherwise routine frames of music.

All in all, the Mann was a very solid two-night stand. Whether you favor the more adventurous first show or the cleaner, more rocking second show largely depends on your stylistic preference. But whichever path Phish has chosen in each show of this short tour, whether jamming or rocking, they have executing it to near perfection. When looked at together, the two Philly shows demonstrated the yin and yang of live Phish.

7.5.14 SPAC (Chris LaJaunie)

7.5.14 SPAC (Chris LaJaunie)

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2,250 Responses to “Boy, Mann.”

  1. RicksFork Says:

    BB Beer crew – check out the Sierra Nevada Collaboration 12 pack and get one if you can. 12 beers, 12 different breweries. Ballast Point, Russian Rive, 3 Floyds, Bells and more.

  2. Dorn76 Says:

    I believe shorts are for the beach and mowing the lawn.

    Whenever you’re in doubt just ask yourself a simple question, “would 007 wear shorts here?” Poolside at a casino? Yup. Out for cocktails with Pussy? Nope.

    His nickname wasn’t Jimmy Gold Bond for nuthin’

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    WE need to start an over/under pool on how long before RL returns to posting during tours.

    The kid gets bent on overfluffing regulars here and swears off in the off-season, until Troby gets the tone right after week then comes the jorts hate.

    Glad to see you back.


  4. aj Says:

    Hell’s yes, short shorts and sockles where it’s at!

  5. roberto luongo Says:

    exactly dorn

    1. beach
    2. jogging
    3. dancing at phish shows
    4. world cup soccer player

    only excuses for men older than 25 to wear shorts in public.

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Shorts are somewhat helpful if you live in an inferno.

  7. BingosBrother Says:

    Can I wear capris?

  8. verno329 Says:

    Word Pham B. I grew up in WI and even though I’ve lived in the South for nearly 20 years I still have a hard time wearing anything but shorts for about 9 months of the year.

    But then I also have no shame or true sense of style. You can bury me in cargo shorts. I’ll probably still have stuff in all of my pockets.

  9. btb Says:

    Rick’s – SN Beer Camp debuted in Cleveland at Winking Lizard. Some pretty good stuff. Very cool idea and good marketing either way.

  10. roberto luongo Says:

    don’t worry PB

    I know you’ll miss me. just wanted to see what my ole buds here at phishthoughts were up to.

    see if any dte tix were around. plus didn’t do any east coast so didn’t see hi to any of my people

    I don’t have much phishthoughts left 5 yrs later. probably used them all up. but thanks for the lil reminder about how annoying some of you cats are. almost forgot. work your own program yo. not mine. I know you know all about that.

    train time. laterz kids.

  11. RicksFork Says:

    BTB – I’m pretty intrigued by this one. The breweries in the collaboration are top notch.

  12. Fly Says:

    Saw a friggin’ scorpion crawling across the road. Started filming it. Cop stops and I excitedly point out said scorpion. Cop takes one look, laughs, and drives away.


  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Like to wear cargo shorts to the country club and get accosted by the staff there for being out of dress code, my CEO does not approve of my jack-assery.


  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice, RL. Touche, amigo. We all need right-sizing sometimes.

  15. aj Says:

    DTE tix going for 30 bucks online apparently…. Pav not sold out… Shits gonna get weird

  16. garretcorncob Says:

    If we’re laying down the rules on shorts and what-not, it needs to be asked: where, exactly, is the line for “grown-ass man-ness”?

    18? Beard? Losing virginity? Paying off college debt? Kids?

  17. tela's_muff Says:

    i’m too busy owning life to give a fuck if wearing shorts at my age is cool, or when i’m supposed to wear them. you dudes are hilarious, and apparently fuckin hip. especially considering you spend all day on a message board. wait, can i wear shorts whilst posting on the BB? f it.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’ve read worse…

  19. phlorida phan Says:

    New Post! Long pants in Florida, not gonna happen!

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    new post_________>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  21. Dorn76 Says:

    Tela’s reaching the stratosphere of sarcasm.


  22. bobby weird Says:

    RL fashion thoughts. same as it ever was.

  23. Calpain Says:

    Hilarious. Shorts are necessary in in hot and humid climates. Pants are ideal the rest of the time. Same as it ever was.

    Stay tuned pre-glory hole for topics which may/may not include hemp necklaces, metallic pipes and fossilized grass.

    To those in the building rage it hard

  24. ElJefe Says:

    As soon as I put shorts on the first time of the (barring soccer/sports) year that’s it I’m wearing shorts…

  25. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Morning yall. Waaaaay behind on pg 86… How was the show last nt? Highlights? Quick perusal of LP App looks like 1st set Divided & 2nd set DWD…might not have been enough to make Df happy…

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