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

Tags: ,

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

  1. marcoesq Says:

    “Narcotics can really bind you up.”

    That’s what the coke is for. #tourlaxative

  2. Kaveh Says:

    Fall tour:

    The SF -> Vegas run would be sweet.

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Just heard that dates are today….

  4. aj Says:

    I have a work trip during Vegas, probably for the best. I like Phish and I enjoy the circus, but I know my limits. Last time I was in Vegas was 94 GD tour and I hated it, but now I can see the appeal. Gonna get weird. I hope to see something this fall tour, but gonna leave it to the work planning gods at this point.

  5. marcoesq Says:

    Chicago Ghost is really good as well, great movement by the whole band with Fish nailing the ride and some bass bombs. I like that 2nd set

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    wow those dates are fucking bunk

  7. little umbrellas Says:

    Vegas basically is a horrible place. Huge waste of water. A sad showing of humanity.

    Did two Vegoose’s. Saw some great music, but couldn’t relate to the whole experience. Didn’t get rooms, just slept pool side for free. Couldn’t pull that again.
    Alice was strong one of those years. Spent most of the non music time walking around with my friends and a boom box blasting Sun Ra’s Nothing Is. People gave us weird looks, as we did to them.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    vegas is what you make it basically

  9. dorn76 Says:

    Weird hopscotching around CA, and hitting BGCA midweek?

    Can’t imagine that is the kickdown the kids were lookin’ for.

  10. jtran Says:

    see you cats at CA run (maybe not bay area though) > vegas

    that friday LA, saturday SD, sunday shoreline routing is whack though.

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    West Coast Halloween again and not Indio… Too bad. Come on Trey, your sober now, what has Vegas got for you?

    Return to Indio!

  12. aj Says:

    “Spent most of the non music time walking around with my friends and a boom box blasting Sun Ra’s Nothing Is. People gave us weird looks, as we did to them.”

    Vegas, the Right Way!

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    pinner PacNW tour after years of nothing = slap in the face if those dates are right

    why the fuck would UO let all the crazies into their brand new arena? they’re drowning in money already, I guess you always need more…

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    So I can make Vegas a beautiful outdoor paradise with lots of healthy fresh food and a big lake with nobody gambeling or wasting their money around me and no power or water being wasted in ridiculously tacky sights? Wow, I need to work on that.

  15. phishm Says:

    Still employed. Dude is acting like nothing happened. He’s even kissing my ass a bit. He knows me and that I don’t give 2 shits. If he did something smart I would commend him for it. He didn’t and then tried to blame it on me. Good luck with that.
    I have a weekly meeting with my boss here in a few. I hope he brings it up. I will laugh and then tell him the story in full detail and he will also call the dude a dumbass. My boss rocks. I’m not sure I can get fired from this job. I sure have tried. Of course I have another job lined up if I ever lose this one. Always good to be prepared. Honestly just waiting on my next bonus and I just may take that other job. Plus the big Disney vacation is 2 weeks away. Might as well collect paychecks until then. Or I may just stay with this one. Haven’t made my mind up yet. Just going with the flow and expect it will work itself out.

  16. marcoesq Says:

    Why not!bjStBu

  17. jtran Says:

    surf tour

    Rincon > south bay > sunset cliffs > steamer lane > OB

  18. dorn76 Says:

    They have all those things in the Borgata, LU.

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Vegas is what it is. Hard to make it something that it is not.

    Enjoy it for what it is or don’t.

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    I don’t like hookers or blow or alcohol or gambling in games stacked towards the house, so most of Vegas is lost on me. I do like being able to wander around super wasted without getting hassled. Not a big fan of the industrial scale degradation of the human spirit going on all around but I can usually overlook that for a couple days before the young girls with fake IDs trying to sell me their buttholes start to get me down

  21. Kaveh Says:

    Enjoy it for what it is or don’t.

    ^ Kind of like a Phish show. 🙂

  22. marcoesq Says:

    Vegas is a huge waste of water, you’re right. I only drink Smart Water when I’m there. Electrolytes and conservation, kids.

    I did the Vegeese also, def not the same vibe as Ph. When Ph is in town, every single person is there on the same mission. Vegoose was weird.

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    I just meant experientially/subjectively obv @um

    I basically despise vegas but can still have fun there sometimes.

  24. marcoesq Says:

    Sounds awesome, jtran. We’re coming up to SF next Aug to do that Alcatraz swim, hoping to go down to SC to get some Steamers in. Never surfed Santa Cruz and OB (SF) gets too big.

  25. little umbrellas Says:

    I just take what I can get from Phish. Normally I’d be exstatic getting a Halloween run on the West Coast. But since it’s in Vegas, I probably won’t go. A lil sad, but watcha gonna do.

    Might go fly out for just Halloween and fly back after the show.

Leave a Reply