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. dusty Says:

    Maybe the low cal crowd will dig those, but norcal and pnw will not. Pretty fucking lame.

  2. marcoesq Says:

    That’s a tough run for anyone doing all of tour. Lot of distance and little downtime

  3. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Eugene>Seattle is a stretch, but doable. Just weird the south>north>south. I was sure they’d throw a show at PDX.

  4. marcoesq Says:

    Timer the only guy psyched about this?

  5. IrieWalton Says:

    Tory probably thinks PDX is just o.k. with him playing with the Oregon Symphony on September 9.

    HEY, I AM NOT O.K.!

    I really don’t understand the logic in this–at ALL! SF midweek, Oregon, then Washington, and then California.

    Saving grace is tour opener in Oregon as I haven’t hit a tour opener in quite a while.

  6. jtran Says:

    better run?

    SBx2, Inglewood

  7. Kaveh Says:


    my vote: SBx2, Inglewood

  8. DryIceFactory Says:

    Fall Tour = trap


  9. jtran Says:

    is key arena so bad sound-wise not worth hopping a cheapo flight for the one-off show?

  10. verno329 Says:

    Guess they didn’t want to space it out so that SF and Vegas could be on weekends. Sucks for the PNW crew.

  11. roberto luongo Says:


    one and dones in Seattle and Eugene or mid week Bill Graham

    fuck so cal. I don’t do south of the bay.

    I for one am a fan of hookers and crack but am retired so no vegas.


  12. butter Says:

    sb bowl is a dream venue, chula vista in October is the shit, MGM grand is a sick venue

    the routing is a little tuff, but time to pull up your big boy pants


    ITS ON

  13. butter Says:

    the quit your job Fall Tour

  14. IrieWalton Says:

    I don’t know why they even put that photo of the conifers on their tour announcement page.

    There isn’t a tree that tall in SoCal and the desert where most of this tour is happening anyway!

  15. marcoesq Says:

    Chula has put on some good shows. That has potential, plus you have Tijuana 5min south on a Sat night.

  16. butter Says:

    sb bowl will be the tuff ticket


  17. roberto luongo Says:

    exactly butter

    if the Gulfstream wasn’t in the shop and I retire late summer that tour would be $$$$$

    just with that job thing, the baby thing, and the commercial flying thing being a baby about it.

    bunch of great dates there. just a bit tough to hit em. sure I’ll figure out something.

  18. roberto luongo Says:

    could take that entire week off and just crush BGCA > Vegas

  19. butter Says:

    eugene > sea is a 4.5 hr drive

    then 2 days off before so cal

    this is actually a doable tour

    i’m trying for whole tour

  20. butter Says:

    im skipping dicks to make Fall tour a reality

  21. jtran Says:

    Kevin Shapiro ‏@shapsio 5m
    surf tour…put your wetsuit on. #phish #fall2014

    shapsio reads the BB

  22. butter Says:

    jtran Says:
    July 22nd, 2014 at 11:10 am
    better run?
    SBx2, Inglewood

    ^ SF will probably go deeper jam wise (and you get SF to play in), but if you want epic outdoor October weather and something thats prolly a 1 and done SB/Inglewood. additional you would prolly drop less coin not being in SF for 4 days

  23. Jerome Garcia Says:

    MrC your orange is emptiness… Looking for Northerly2 to complete the set…

    Well maybe I fly out to the Whales Vagina for 10/25 & stay w/ my Phish hating friends. Prob get the funky drummer to hit the show w/ me but my other buddy = no fucking way. He’s just a straight up dick when it comes to Ph. Was hoping for BGCA over that wknd & crashing at The Vulcan w/ teeny b.

    Sorry for you salty PacNWers.

  24. jtran Says:


    I thought of that a couple mins ago too. regardless of location, it’s deeper in tour and run right before halloween.

    wook budget for SF runs sucks though. hour BART rides post-show (and pre-show, too) not ideal.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    huh. all good things come to an end I guess

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