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. marcoesq Says:

    True, thanks sumo. I just did 68 degrees with no suit this weekend so I’ll prob bring my 4/3 for that one. Might even make the shark bite less lethal

  2. marcoesq Says:

    I’ll be up near Kennebunk in 2wks, you a ways up from there? Even down there the water is chilly.

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Hell Eh is the place!

  4. Darth Vaper Says:

    Two guys walk out together from a phish show, one guy says “I wasn’t thrilled” other guy says “greatest experience in my life”

    They then spend 30 hours on blogs and twitter arguing not understanding anothers opinion.

  5. marcoesq Says:

    They’re really going back to the Forum, eh? Never seen so many tickets on trees walking in there. And girls in high heels, that was a sight to see.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    10/17 Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC
    10/18 Key Arena – Seattle, WA
    10/19 Matthew Knight Arena – Eugene, OR
    10/21-22 Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA
    10/24 The Forum – Inglewood, CA
    10/25 Sleep Train Amphitheater – Chula Vista, CA
    10/26 Bridge School Benefit @ Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA
    10/27-29 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco, CA
    10/31-11/2 MGM Grand Arena – Las Vegas, NV

  7. aj Says:

    Damn, Eugene huh? Seattle, then drive to Eugene sounds fun but ruff.

  8. little umbrellas Says:

    Mid week BGCA? Say it ain’t so! Bay Area Sunday Bill Graham hopes dwindling?

  9. aj Says:

    also reading elsewhere that no BC, Eugene opener… we shall see.

  10. Darth Vaper Says:

    Just booked my hotel rooms for Santa Barbara.

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    And a Sunday Bridge School set (though I’d be in attendance) is not what I’m talking about.

  12. Darth Vaper Says:

    All the rest no problem. Come on Fall!!!!

    Phish kills Sunday Chicago to sell out fall in 30 secs each show.


  13. Darth Vaper Says:

    That one seems unlikely to me.

  14. vapebraham Says:

    Chi night 1 sand – listen for the jazz phrasing from trey and page. Love it.

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Also heard maybe 2 in Sea then Eugene…

    I got me eyes on 1st 3, if anything… dreaming big…for now…until said dream is dashed amongst real life, big boy stuff.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    ^sure Bout these dates Palms?
    I had heard two venues in LA…

    (Date Palms, he he)

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Just passing along what someone sent me last night… Not sure of anything…

    A week ago same guy told me PDX was a lock, so…grain of salt.

    Band wanted Eugene instead of PDX is how it was worded to me..

  18. Darth Vaper Says:

    Fuck it. I’m going to Santa Barbara either way.

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yo. how hard are vegas tickets gonna be to get??

  20. IrieWalton Says:

    If they are actually headed to Eugene that will be off the deep end craziness in that college town.

    Regardless, all in for all shows in Cascadia Nation and might tack on a few in Cali.

    Are we thinking dates drop today or next Tuesday?

  21. btb Says:

    Eugene is perfect setting for PH. Love that town.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Eugene arena is only 8k….great size… must hit.

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    would vegas even be that fun? maybe i should just do cali and skip vegas

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    no, vegas is a crappy place. I’d skip it. there’s nothing fun to do there at all.

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    If you’ve never done Phish in Vegas, I recommend it. Especially be a young whippersnapper, DF… I would die if I did vegas for a weekend. No bueno

    ’98 and ’00 were so much fun.

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