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. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    well, whether fun or not, vegas is most definitely a super crappy place….

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i’m just assuming vegas would be ridiculously expensive

  3. Darth Vaper Says:

    Santa Barbara is like 4300. Highly unlikely as it is essentially a garden.

  4. aj Says:

    I think hotel wise Vegas might be cheap because of lots of options. Now, everything beyond that is on you.

  5. marcoesq Says:

    Vegas hands down the most insane Ph experiences I’ve ever had

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    how much are the cheap prostitutes?

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    exactly, AJ… re: Vegas..

  8. Darth Vaper Says:

    Vegas is a battle of endurance. There is no sleeping in Vegas.

    I wish I would have skipped Vegas ’04.

  9. fat bastard Says:

    120 bucks

  10. roberto luongo Says:

    vegas is cheap as fuck flights and hotels.

    it’s the blow and hookers that get you.

  11. marcoesq Says:

    “I wish I would have skipped Vegas ’04.”

    A lot of truth to that. Band might say the same thing

  12. roberto luongo Says:

    didn’t sleep through both nights in 03. brutal.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    in october, you can get really good deals on rooms in vegas (see: crappy place) since that is fairly off season there. we stayed there en route to indio in 09 and I got two rooms at the stratosphere for $25. total. I spent about 25 minutes in said rooms total, but my bag enjoyed the stay.

    the whole thing is that you will pay more for proximity to the venue and all of that. but vegas can be done very affordably and not necessarily at the expense of your fun. in fact, it can add to the story.

  14. marcoesq Says:

    Slept in back of an Explorer between LA>Vegas ’03 and that was it for the weekend. Won a shitload of $$ on the blackjack table though so maybe that’s the secret

  15. aj Says:

    “how much are the cheap prostitutes?”

    Ask your mom? Sorry, I can’t pass on a good mom joke.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    how much are the cheap prostitutes?

    the real answer to that question is another question: “what’s the co pay for prescriptions under your health care plan up there in canada?”

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hard Rock is closest to T&M is i remember correctly.. That’s where we stayed in ’00..’98 was Trop…

    Playing blackjack in the pool with strippers during the day all coked up, then phish on lsd at night…. Never sleep… ugh… I have to take a dump just thinking about LV… 😉

  18. marcoesq Says:

    Not going back to the Thomas and Mack? MGM is pretty cool but much smaller. Always enjoyed the midnight romp through people’s backyards post-T&M, simply following the light from the Luxor

  19. Kaveh Says:

    Current tour:

    Anyone know of anyone looking for a Portsmouth N1 ticket? I have one to get rid of.

  20. Darth Vaper Says:

    I had nice rooms at the Hard Rock. Ended up being in a dive hotel with crack vials everywhere and in a room with 6 strippers and a mountain of coke that made me very uncomfortable. For hours.

    The guy RL met, JDY, said “this guy is great. Gives me all the coke I want for free!” Not sure that’s such a great thing really.

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Oh yeah….MGM grand… Just stay there… lol

  22. Darth Vaper Says:

    Sounds like Palmer and I had similar experiences. Ha.

  23. dorn76 Says:

    Narcotics can really bind you up.

  24. Darth Vaper Says:

    Pulling someone away from a mountain of coke after 3 days of not sleeping was very crazy. I wasn’t prepared.

  25. marcoesq Says:

    Instead of Gus sending Jesse down to Mexico to start up that 2nd meth lab, why not just do it in the Mandalay Bay?

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