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. little umbrellas Says:

    Gdad with the art droppage. Dig Oliver’s work.

    Instead of assuming that the father of Gavin doesn’t read my posts, I’ll just assume a no response means he’d rather wait for the record.

    Boots’ yours if ya’d like. Just gotta grab it from my bandmate who recorded it.
    mr.j.toews @ g mai l

  2. dorn76 Says:

    I’m just posting and I wondering what I did wrong
    Waiting all night, Waiting all night
    Where could you be
    I’m so alone
    Won’t you please post back

  3. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Dig CMAC poster. Spaceship’d.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    Yess! Just found this:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dyIUR9l5pWI ‘I Want You’
    Marvin Gay with a four piece in the practice studio. Medicinal. Thick funk and Marvin laying down the lace in full recline. Chaise longue and Slap Bass.

  5. SOAM Says:

    last time I was at cmac I left a tix on the ground-no takers.

  6. garretcorncob Says:

    Lil Umb, great video.

    That’s a funky little band right there.

  7. Stoney Case Says:

    the rhythm chording Trey starts at exactly 9:23 of the ghost video $$$$

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Just ran into Johnny Sac ( Sopranos Character) in the super market. Think his real name is Chazz something? Nice guy. We are neighbors.

  9. Stoney Case Says:

    at 10:50 the jam normally ends in 3.0. The next movement brings this Ghost to the top of my list.

    And Trey seems to start it. $$$$

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    Word Garret. Marvin Funk. Love seeing bands in the rehearsal space.

    Watching Phallon, Mike does some really impressive stuff in WAN. Playing that bass line while singing and juggeling his Moog Pedal is tricky shit.

    Awesome bass line. Reminds me of the first segment in YEM.

  11. P.S.H.S Says:

    Ghost video is enough to get me to delurk. Love the filthy slow ending (last 4-5 min especially)

    Seen lots of tech/sound chatter on here, question for those who know more about that stuff:
    I’ve noticed that since last summer (I think Bangor was the last time) he been using old faithful, an little to no ocedoc. Is it a certain sound he’s looking for? Is it that the old one has that “sharper/edgier” sound and the ocedoc has the fullness to it? Any thoughts? Not good at music speak, maybe someone else can shed some light on the subject. If I remember correctly he was gushing about the ocedoc when he got it, thought I remember him saying that it was the only guitar he wanted to play from then on…

  12. Kaveh Says:

    Just ran into Johnny Sac

    ^ Sweet.

  13. Gavinsdad Says:

    Nah Lu – I’m posting from a phone and reading back ltr. I’d love the mammatus…post a drop box link or hit me at dadgavins at the yahoo thanks

  14. plord Says:

    Stoney, I was just watching that section: that chord jam is straight up the chord form for the beginning of Divided Sky. A go-to finger position for big red. I love how it bleeds together into that full white hot scream sound.

    PSHS don’t know why no Ocedoc; it was a warmer sound than what he is playing now for sure.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    Word Gdad, will do. Checkin out these Mars1 sculptures. Always a fan of art getting shared here.

    ..also noticing the No Ocedoc. Must have just realized he likes the old one more. Sharper sound?

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Going back to Mann Fuego… Wowzers.

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Ocedoc was used Last Fall..

    Summer ’13 ( old faithful), Fall ( Ocedoc) NYE (Old Faithful),

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I think it’d be cool to hear blondie again

  19. vapebraham Says:

    Palmear: just don’t make fun of ginny sac’s weight. sore subject w/ ole johnny.

    “page heavy Fish driven space rock” — RL

    ^^^ good to have you back, bud. Descriptions like this one are priceless and on point.

    “probably has the jazziest chops of the 3 that aren’t FIsh these days. Mike has been very tasty and subtle not quite as busy in these segments.”

    ^^^ more great observations.

    just exited a massive short position on the RUT. time to crank up the fresh iaudio loaded w/ fresh tour flacs and make vapors.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    MAnn Fuego

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-jy9_vx9nw

  21. marcoesq Says:

    He’s been playing the Koa more now, no? Def a different tone, sounds a little more edgier than the warm embrace of the ‘Doc.

    I’ve been respinning this Ghost all afternoon, thought the lead up was a little sloppy before but warming up to it. Tryza def still hits some brown notes beginning of the peak but that outro space-funk section heals all wounds. Kind of gets into a MannFuego area.

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Think I’m gonna start listening to songs before reading reviews on here. Fluffing has reached new levels in 2014! Sometimes it takes me a few spins to fully get the love of something, hearing the different intricacies throughout. I was probably the same way after MannFuego. That’s the 1 show I’ve caught so far and I loved that 2nd set minus the Tweez fiasco.

  23. vapebraham Says:

    spun a great album this morn: The eponymous debut album from The Word – (medeski, robert randolph, and n. miss. allstars).

    Gdad: thanks for the mars-1 link. very cool.

  24. marcoesq Says:

    Wish I remembered more of the Mann…to much pharming beforehand during the show build up. Storms suck.

    These SBD’s this year seem to sound better than ever. Crisper than I’ve ever heard. mp3’s sound fantastic.

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    maybe it’s just me, but Page’s eyeglass prescriptions seems to be increasing.

    looking extra Milton’ish in that Phallon Fuego.

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