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. Darth Vaper Says:

    I wear a cape and a mask. My clothing choices are simple.

  2. Gavinsdad Says:

    I unbutton the top button of my shirt for Whaley Rebas and hot 2nd sets.

    So craving headphones right about now!

    Have fun at CMAC those of u making the trek!

  3. roberto luongo Says:

    I wear jeans every day. kinda believe grown men shouldn’t wear shorts.

    but that’s the only look I can’t get/rock at shows. jeans at a phish show is brutal.

    mitch used to rock those lil kiddo skinny’s in show. crazy.

    think he blew out the crotch getting down one night.

    remember that kid used to smoke the old man pipe? that shit was epic.

  4. BingosBrother Says:

  5. marcoesq Says:

    Gdad looking all Walter White in cargo shorts and shit. It’s working for you man because you’ve caught some hot shows this summer. I look like a sweaty tall tattooed mess on lot.

    How long till Mpp..

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Jorts are making a comeback, RL.

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    So thought Gumbo and Halleys were set to blow. Really chafes me they ignore them. They both were well done too And could have used the extra sauce.

    For my money I can so see a 5 min outro to Halfway but I don’t think the band sees the same thing.

  8. Darth Vaper Says:

    When I met Gdad, he was wearing a short sleeve cranberry button down shirt with a checkered pattern to it. Looked soft and cotton.

    I didn’t bother to check his shoes though. I figured he made it their fine and was probably wearing some.

  9. roberto luongo Says:

    when I met Gdad he was rockin a white satin Stanky Danky jacket with JNCO jeans and birks

  10. marcoesq Says:

    Whatever song comes out of Halley’s immediately makes me hate it and disgruntled for the next 10min.

  11. btb Says:

    GD’s Patagonia rain jacket is slimming, yet refined

  12. aj Says:

    Ugh, stuck at Lga, flights all cancelled or delayed. I am currently booked on four departing flights, haha. Gotta get back so I can get on the road in am, en shallah. Fingers crossed. Have nothing with me except the suit I am wearing , good times. Fuck lga.

  13. Gavinsdad Says:

    Ok I have to draw the line here @marco….I’ve NEVER worn cargo shorts. Now if you wanna talk to me about army issue ripstop bdu pants w the pockets well hell yeah I skated in those for probably 10 years. But cargo shorts? Not me.

  14. aj Says:

    On, cargo short hate? Count me way in.

  15. roberto luongo Says:

    yes Jorts are

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Wow, you guys are fucking weirdos .

  17. roberto luongo Says:

    i Hate all shorts equally. grown men don’t rock shorts.

  18. jtran Says:

    “When I met Gdad he ________”

  19. Gavinsdad Says:

    I’d take the next subject for $100 Alex

  20. aj Says:

    I wear shorts and I’m grown as fuck. Never cargos, but that’s just me clearly.

  21. RicksFork Says:

    These last two pages just made up for a long day back at work. You guys are awesome. Laughed out loud at all of this.

    While our meeting was only brief, Gdad appeared Cuddly, but muscular.

  22. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    btb Says:
    July 15th, 2014 at 1:34 pm
    GD’s Patagonia rain jacket is slimming, yet refined


  23. roberto luongo Says:

    funny thinking 40 yr old dude in shorts isn’t lame just cuz there aren’t pockets on the sides.

    need to get you some socks and sandals AJ.

  24. roberto luongo Says:

    also short shorts are no very stylee these days so can’t wait to see those legs shown off this summer.

  25. Plord Says:

    Our man Fly with the late on-lot score of a pair of pavs. “Partially obstructed” behind soundboard. I know what shit looks like. Sound should be killer.

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