Two Meh’d-Week Affairs

7.12.14, Randall's (Chris LaJaunie)

7.12.14, Randall’s (Chris LaJaunie)

After Phish nailed eight straight shows between SPAC, Mann and Randall’s Island, fans were salivating to see what the band had in store as they stepped away from the east coast for the first time this summer. Back in the day, these more remote, smaller market shows brought a welcome respite from the higher profile nights of the northeast. In the past, Phish often threw down spectacular shows in these more out of the way performances. This created a dynamic where fans would not want to miss these hard-to-get-to shows. However, in the modern era, these smaller shows have become something totally different. While the dynamic of less pressure remains the same, the resulting concert often crumbles into an array of jamless greatest hits for a localized fan base. The “skip” shows on tour are no longer the ones fans must quest after, but rather less focused affairs whose moniker is quite appropriate.

Canandaigua Official (J.Soto)

Canandaigua Official (J.Soto)

Needless to say, both Canandaigua and Detroit’s mid-week shows succumbed to this modern trend and the band on stage on Tuesday and Wednesday nights might as well have been understudies for the maestros on stage last weekend in New York City. If Randall’s Island was the culmination of a fortnight that was characterized by artistry and patience, these two mid-week, small market shows were exactly the opposite, crude and rushed. This is not to say there weren’t individual highlights in these shows—there absolutely were, but the overall feel of the shows were far from the refined and cerebral affairs that dotted the east coast, but mildly entertaining rock concerts in which the band seemed more concerned with how many songs they could get through than what any individual piece contained. To put it bluntly, while Trey graced the east coast with his timeless brilliance, Troy brought his ripcord and ADD to Canandaigua and Detroit, crafting more trainwrecks than memories.

Detroit Official (S. Serigraph)

Detroit Official (S. Serigraph)

The highest point of Canandaigua came in a twisting, long form “Down With Disease” that kicked down the doors of the second set with a fury. This jam was certainly on the level of tour’s first stretch, and it seemed like we were in for another set-long journey. But nothing of improvisational significance developed after that and a great “Disease” was hung out to dry. Striking first set renditions of “Wingsuit” and “Wombat” also provided takeaways from CMAC, as the former kept the more whole-band improvisational feel debuted at Randall’s, and the latter got into the dirtiest, loopiest funk jam of its short life. DTE’s lone improvisational highlight came in “Ghost > Caspian” though the “Ghost” jam seemed to have plenty of legs when Trey switched gears. Additionally, the band took “Weekapaug” for an out-of-character spin into abstraction and really had something significant building when the jam was cut inexplicably cut for “Cavern.” And that, folks, is about it for the mid-week highlight reel. On the “Not Top 10” list, Phish played two consecutive late-second-set “Fuegos” in Canandaigua and Detroit, while touching neither with a single improvisational brushstroke. At this point, “Fuego” has appeared far more times without a jam than with one. Interesting. An unsuspected development to say the least.

When it comes down to it, perhaps it’s not the size of the market, the distance from the east coast, the age of the band or the lack of hardcore fans in the audience—perhaps it’s the combined effect of all these elements. And alas, Phish is human. Call me presumptuous, but in Canandaigua and Detroit, the band just wasn’t putting in the same level of effort and focus that was on display for two weeks straight on the eastern seaboard. And when you don’t put in the same effort, you don’t get the same results. Thus, it is not surprising that these midweek shows paled in comparison to the musical events that took place on the in Saratoga Springs, Philadelphia and New York. The band needed an exhalation from an intense two weeks, and they took it in the form of two jukebox shows over the past couple nights. Have no fear, however, the Phish we know and love will be back in Chicago and tell a largely different story. Why? You tell me…

7.12.14 Randall's Island (Chris Lajaunie)

7.12.14 Randall’s Island (Chris LaJaunie)

7/16 Canandaigua—I. Buried Alive > Twist, Heavy Things, 555, Halley’s Comet > Bathtub Gin, Wingsuit, Divided Sky, Wombat, David Bowie

II: Down with Disease > Back on the Train > NICU, Gotta Jibboo, Theme From the Bottom, Meatstick, Fuego > The Wedge, Run Like an Antelope

E: Character Zero


7/17 Detroit—IWolfman’s Brother, Devotion To a Dream, Wilson, Poor Heart, The Moma Dance, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Lawn Boy, Yarmouth Road, Rift, The Line, It’s Ice, 46 Days

II: Mike’s Song > Ghost > Prince Caspian > Backwards Down the Number Line, Weekapaug Groove > Cavern, Piper > Waiting All Night, Tweezer > Fuego > Tweezer Reprise

E: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Possum

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2,348 Responses to “Two Meh’d-Week Affairs”

  1. DryIceFactory Says:

    Summer ’14: Crunch Wrap Supreme Tour
    Fall ’14: It’s a Trap, Team Tour

  2. sumodie Says:

    Hot damn, step offline for a few and BOOM fall dates drop

    SF vs Vegas, two consecutive 3 packs

    More inclined to hit SF right now, if I can even catch any

  3. DryIceFactory Says:


  4. bob dylan Says:

    no time to read back but at least I got 3. hoping for more but the flow of this tour is a lot like the rest. red light is incapable of making a car friendly tour.

    either way, i’m glad SF is getting 3 not 2.

    whats the general consensus? happy about it? small venue sizes because of the east coast performance?

  5. roberto luongo Says:

    no job and no kid.

    that’s an epic lil tour.

    for the yuppie hit and run weekend warrior kid like me and my wife def not perfect.

  6. roberto luongo Says:

    bobby D

    Randalls and Northerly were both severely undersold

    the smaller venues are def the wave of the future.

    GA floor extras pretty available on lot everyday also. def not tight at all.

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    killer tour if you’re cali local or wealthy

    for pacnw it straight up sucks IMO. better than nothing is all you can say.

  8. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Alas & alack…& so it goes. Appreciate earlier hooks as it relates to that so thanks again MrC.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


    I am totally using this acronym. just gotta figure out how to pronounce it now…

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    17.5k in Key Arena

    12.4 listed in Eugene

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    they might have moved, if they come back around I’ll let ya know of course

  12. sneven Says:

    what was the consensus on the tease/jam in The Wedge from Sunday… anyone?

  13. butter Says:

    can you do Eugene and SEA, @C?

  14. Joe Says:

    I’m getting married in a few weeks and divorced after Halloween if phish had any say

  15. bob dylan Says:

    thats my point RL. but going to 4k person venues for all the people out here that dont get shows is kinda tough.

    i guess thats why they are playing them midweek…

    already got “vacation” approved for SF shows cause of midweek playing. i won’t complain tho, i know others have it worse.

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @jtran, totally serious about doing fall with you (assuming i can afford it and get tickets)

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    new post—->>>>

  18. snow Says:

    phish thinks this tour is so lame, they didn’t even make a video for it.

    serious dick punch. how do they not play portland? One night in seattle!? so weird.

  19. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Used to have a place up the hill from Sizanta Bizzarbara hish school with line of sight to the bowl. Great accoustics from <1000 yds away.

    Chulajuana is the skip show to skip, Sat Nite Special taboot.

    Still likley hauling the family there as we have accomodations in the region.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Friends helping to eleviate my fears that mid week shows are meh. Maybe your right @Dylan, perhaps 3 is better than two regardless of placement. 3rd shows are the best, forget Sundays Umbrellas.

  21. brother Says:

    wow! that Wedge Ghost Week is the most legit shit they have played all tour!! right on par with the dust tweez whatev from ny…..real deal!!

  22. Lumpyhead Says:

    DryIceFactory Says:
    July 22nd, 2014 at 11:41 am
    Summer ’14: Crunch Wrap Supreme Tour
    Fall ’14: It’s a Trap, Team Tour

    ^ that is incredible

  23. pettrout Says:

    Having been at CMAC, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment. It was a fun, danceable show with a number of things to its credit beginning with Buried Alive opener down to an as always high energy Antelope. The crowd was *there* on every single note and the venue itself, insanely pleasant. Was it MPPII? No, but not many are. Perhaps it was you who was tired (believe me I’ve been there).

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