Catching Fire

7.12.14, NYC (Chris LaJaunie)

7.12.14, NYC (Chris LaJaunie)

Phish returned to Summer Tour with a monster weekend comprised of two standout shows and one for the record books in the mid-Atlantic last weekend. Following a four-day break, the band has made a concerted effort to deliver the whole package each night to each audience and were successful on three consecutive nights to begin the second half of Summer Tour 2014. Phish certainly hit a stride with these performances and their fluidity has stepped to the forefront of their shows to compliment their already present jamming. Everything has now fallen into place and the guys are in the zone as they approach the final week of a tremendously successful run.

7.16.14, Detroit (J.Herzog)

7.16.14, Detroit (J.Herzog)

It became quickly apparent this past weekend in Charlotte and Merriweather, that Phish is serious about their segues again. I’m not sure what, if anything, transpired during the four day break, but the band came back firing off seamless transitions at almost every juncture. Beginning in Charlotte’s second set, the guys wove “Fuego” “Twist” and “When the Circus Comes to Town “ into a seamless suite of music. Even with all of the segues that transpired at Merriwether, the slyest of them all happened when the guys unsuspectingly transformed the “Twist” jam into the tour debut of Los Lobos’ “Circus.” A definitive musical segue with not a momentary glitch, this shift actually deserves consideration beyond just its all-tour status. The transitions continued to fly on the first night in Columbia as the band slithered through a second-set sequence of “Carini -> Ghost > Steam -> Mango” with notable flow. But this second-“leg” trend, though only three days old, came to an immediate head in Sunday’s retro segue-fest, the likes of which hasn’t showed its face in oh, about two decades! Bobbing and weaving in and out of songs with spontaneity and precision, the band treated the audience to an old-school affair in which the excitement generated was as much about what would happen next as it was about the music. Totally in the moment and having a blast, the band tore off countless segues, but the most seamless movement of the night came in the musical palindrome of “Free -> Tweezer -> Simple -> Tweezer -> Free.” Delivering three songs a single piece of music, the guys took the early-set mashup theme to a whole new level with this clever vignette. The entire vibe of a set changes when the band makes smooth transitions between songs, and one would expect this trend to continue through the south.

7.20.14 (G.Lucas)

7.20.14 (G.Lucas)

These artistic transitions helped contribute to the second Mid-Atlantic take away—Phish’s delivery of complete second sets. Though Summer Tour started out strong in this regard, the band’s set craftsmanship took a small dip after Randall’s Island. Phish began to bounce back in Chicago, specifically with their third-night performance, and continued this upward swing with these past three shows. With only one blemish in three main events (Charlotte’s harshly “Rift”-corded “Piper” jam), Phish’s second sets have not only been proficiently smooth, but exceptionally so. This arc was highlighted by Merriweather’s Saturday night performance in which the band threw down a bulletproof second frame. Each segue was considered and artistic, virtually every song contained a legitimate jam, and the entire set went off without hitch. Even Sunday’s wild ride was notably smooth as the band worked through countless shifts between songs and schticks. Phish’s sense of the moment—one of their defining characteristics throughout their career—has returned in full this summer, and no performance illustrates this more than Sunday’s unforgettable affair. The best versions of Phish instinctually know when to pull back and when to push things far over the edge, surfing the energy of the crowd and the moment as well as any performers in history. Sunday night’s show at Merriweather showed us that, even while pushing age 50, the guys can still blend their musical acumen with their sense of the absurd to craft a wacky though virtuoso ride through a unique universe called Phish.

7.16.14 (J.Herzog)

7.16.14 (J.Herzog)

And don’t look now, but two of the weekend’s three first sets were great too! Both Charlotte’s and Sunday night Merriweather’s opening frames popped with energy and musicality. Friday’s first set featured powerful versions of crowd favorites including “Mike’s Song,” “Back on the Train,” “Weekapaug,” “Possum,” “Tube” and “David Bowie,” as well as a quality version of “Wingsuit” and the most improvised “Winterqueen” to date. This amounted to a virtual non-stop barrage of serious Type I jamming throughout Charlotte’s opening set. Sunday’s first frame contained legitimate improvisational highlights in “Curtain (With),” “Sand” and “You Enjoy Myself” and also derived energy through the rarities of “Fee,” “My Sweet One” and “Saw It Again.” On each night, as the setbreak lights came on, one felt like he had already been through a legitimate musical experience, and in the modern era of Phish shows, that makes all the difference.

Meanwhile, the jams have continued to roll. This weekend’s improvisational Dean’s List has two tiers. The first is headed up by Charlotte’s “Chalk  Dust Torture” and Merriweather’s “Tweezer” while also featuring Saturday’s “Ghost” “Light” and Sunday’s “NICU.” The second tier includes Merriweather’s “Carini,” “Harry Hood,” and Charlotte’s late-set “Reba.”

As we turn to the final five shows of tour, Phish has their feet solidly under them and the creative faucet locked in the on position. They certainly seem like a band that is primed to slaughter the south in a victory lap of a successful summer tour. Crushing it night after night creatively and consistently, and having the time of their lives, this is Phish live without a net and in their prime once again. Or simply put—this is Phish en fuego.

7.12.14 (Chris LaJaunie)

7.12.14 (Chris LaJaunie)

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3,699 Responses to “Catching Fire”

  1. Gavinsdad Says:

    Enjoy Telas. HBD pal. Don’t pee on your floor.

  2. garretcorncob Says:

    Here’s the length-based breakdown for 2011-2013. I didn’t include NYE runs or Jazz Fest, but I did include Essex ’11. All these are numbers are based on complete sets of the official LivePhish SBDs. The percentages are the % of songs from that tour that were in the given length window.

    2014 Summer, No Dicks [Total Songs: 478| Total Shows: 22 | Songs/Show: 21.73]
    25-30: 2 (7/13 CDT, 7/8 Fuego) [.4%]
    20-25: 3 (7/15 DWD, 8/1 DWD, 7/4 Fuego) [.6%]
    15-20: 13 (7/30 Fuego, 7/11 DWD, 7/1 Hood, 7/29 CDT, 7/11 Gin, 7/12 Hood, 7/9 CDT, 7/18 GA, 7/12 Ghost, 7/19 Hood, 7/25 CDT, 7/13 Tweezer, 7/3 Gin) [2.7]
    13-15: 18 [3.8%]

    2013 Fall [Total Songs: 264| Total Shows: 12 | Songs/Show: 22]

    20-25: 4 (10/20 Tweezer, 10/29 DWD, 11/1 Twist, 10/26 Drowned) [1.5%]
    15-20: 10 (10/31 Carini, 10/19 Ghost, 10/27 Tweezer, 10/20 GA, 11/2 DWD, 10/27 GA, 10/22 C&P, 10/18 Carini, 11/2 Tweezer,11/2 Theme) [3.8%]
    13-15: 10 [3.8%]

    2013 Summer [Total Songs: 525 | Total Shows: 24 | Songs/Show: 21.875]
    35+: 1 (7/31 Tweezer) [.1%]
    20-25: 2 (8/31 CDT, 8/5 Hood) [.4%]
    15-20: 13 (7/12 RnR, 7/22 DWD, 7/6 SOAM, 7/26 C&P, 7/10 C&P, 8/3 RnR, 8/4 Jim, 7/22 Bowie, 7/13 DWD, 7/3 Hood, 8/30 Sand, 7/21 Energy, 7/5 Light) [2.5%]
    13-15: 17 [3.2%]

    2012 Summer [Total Songs: 777| Total Shows: 33 | Songs/Show: 23.55]

    25-30: 1 (8/15 RnR) [.1%]
    20-25: 4 (9/2 Sand, 9/1 Light, 6/22 Twist, 8/31 Jim) [.5%]
    15-20: 10 (8/31 CDT, 8/19 C&P, 8/24 RnR, 8/17 DWD, 9/2 Hood, 8/31 Undermind, 7/8 Piper, 6/29 DWD, 6/8 DWD, 8/22 Tweezer) [1.2%]
    13-15: 28 [3.6%]

    2011 Summer [Total Songs: 800 | Total Shows: 34 | Songs/Show: 23.53]
    60+: 1 (Storage Jam) [.1%]
    20-25: 2 (6/3 DWD, 8/16 DWD) [.3%]
    15-20: 8 (8/5 RnR, 8/9 Light, 6/3 Bowie, 7/3 Reba, 5/28 DWD, 9/4 Gin, 5/28 Ginteca, 6/10 Curtain (With)) [1%]
    13-15: 19 [2.3%]

    Analyze away.

  3. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Just spun that OB Disease again… I dug it, scorching Trey lead or not.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    My Soul P&M Vultures FEFY SaSS all made their tour debut on 8/3. That’s enough for some peeps to call the show a smashing success.

  5. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Nice work young man re length based breakdown.

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    I want Tela’s ‘Jam Breakdown’ for every year (or at least starting with 94). But lets start with 99.

    ::
    been a while since one of these got posted by me, but here’s the Harry & the Hitmen setlist from last Weekends dance party SantaCruz mts wedding-

    set1:
    I Only Have Eyes For You
    Tenderness (try a little)
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered>
    Ain’t to Proud to Beg>
    ABC
    Shoop Shoop (it’s in her kiss)
    Twistin (the night away)>
    Sooner or Later *
    25 Miles>
    For Once In My Life>
    Higher and Higher (You’re love keeps liftin me)>
    Reach Out (I’ll be there)>
    Jam (two chord, ii/V dominant jam ala YEM or Chameleon style)>
    Reach Out>
    This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)>
    I Want You Back

    set 2:
    Can’t Get Next To You -jam’d->
    Mr Postman>
    Come on Back *
    Shoot Your Shot>
    Knock on Wood>
    Mr Pitiful
    Make You Stay*
    Nowhere to Run (nowhere to hide)>
    Get Ready(cause here i come) -Jam, featuring Crosseyed and Painless/ Discipline/ Larks’ Tongues in Aspic teases-
    Shop Around (my momma told me)
    Power of Two*>
    Soul Man>
    Sweet Soul Music -Stax soul rant featuring Hold On/Shake/I Can’t Get No Satisfaction segments-
    Stop (the love you save)

    Encore:
    Dry Your Tears *>
    Down In Mexico>
    Hold On(I’m coming)

    Encore2:
    More Love

    *=hitmen originals

    :: -weddings never feature break up songs like Standing in the Shadows of Love or You Keep Me Haning On(Set Me Free) ;)

  7. garretcorncob Says:

    Bottom page’d but doesn’t deserve it, dammit:

    Here’s the length-based breakdown for 2011-2013. I didn’t include NYE runs or Jazz Fest, but I did include Essex ’11. All these are numbers are based on complete sets of the official LivePhish SBDs. The percentages are the % of songs from that tour that were in the given length window.

    2014 Summer, No Dicks [Total Songs: 478| Total Shows: 22 | Songs/Show: 21.73]
    25-30: 2 (7/13 CDT, 7/8 Fuego) [.4%]
    20-25: 3 (7/15 DWD, 8/1 DWD, 7/4 Fuego) [.6%]
    15-20: 13 (7/30 Fuego, 7/11 DWD, 7/1 Hood, 7/29 CDT, 7/11 Gin, 7/12 Hood, 7/9 CDT, 7/18 GA, 7/12 Ghost, 7/19 Hood, 7/25 CDT, 7/13 Tweezer, 7/3 Gin) [2.7]
    13-15: 18 [3.8%]

    2013 Fall [Total Songs: 264| Total Shows: 12 | Songs/Show: 22]

    20-25: 4 (10/20 Tweezer, 10/29 DWD, 11/1 Twist, 10/26 Drowned) [1.5%]
    15-20: 10 (10/31 Carini, 10/19 Ghost, 10/27 Tweezer, 10/20 GA, 11/2 DWD, 10/27 GA, 10/22 C&P, 10/18 Carini, 11/2 Tweezer,11/2 Theme) [3.8%]
    13-15: 10 [3.8%]

    2013 Summer [Total Songs: 525 | Total Shows: 24 | Songs/Show: 21.875]
    35+: 1 (7/31 Tweezer) [.1%]
    20-25: 2 (8/31 CDT, 8/5 Hood) [.4%]
    15-20: 13 (7/12 RnR, 7/22 DWD, 7/6 SOAM, 7/26 C&P, 7/10 C&P, 8/3 RnR, 8/4 Jim, 7/22 Bowie, 7/13 DWD, 7/3 Hood, 8/30 Sand, 7/21 Energy, 7/5 Light) [2.5%]
    13-15: 17 [3.2%]

    2012 Summer [Total Songs: 777| Total Shows: 33 | Songs/Show: 23.55]

    25-30: 1 (8/15 RnR) [.1%]
    20-25: 4 (9/2 Sand, 9/1 Light, 6/22 Twist, 8/31 Jim) [.5%]
    15-20: 10 (8/31 CDT, 8/19 C&P, 8/24 RnR, 8/17 DWD, 9/2 Hood, 8/31 Undermind, 7/8 Piper, 6/29 DWD, 6/8 DWD, 8/22 Tweezer) [1.2%]
    13-15: 28 [3.6%]

    2011 Summer [Total Songs: 800 | Total Shows: 34 | Songs/Show: 23.53]
    60+: 1 (Storage Jam) [.1%]
    20-25: 2 (6/3 DWD, 8/16 DWD) [.3%]
    15-20: 8 (8/5 RnR, 8/9 Light, 6/3 Bowie, 7/3 Reba, 5/28 DWD, 9/4 Gin, 5/28 Ginteca, 6/10 Curtain (With)) [1%]
    13-15: 19 [2.3%]

    Analyze away.

  8. little umbrellas Says:

    “I dug it, scorching Trey lead or not.”
    ^word. me too. a sweet jam.

  9. Chris Says:

    I think the reason it felt like we were getting tapas jams is because of how many jams that were primed to liftoff but got axed by trey. There probably was actually more long jams but maybe they didn’t all feel finished. See spac and mpp Light, a couple carinis (8.2 felt ready to explode but didn’t) and Alpharetta Chalkdust and light. This was definitely the single thing that bugged me the most which mr C explained nicely in an earlier post. Mr Palmer is right though.

    I was wondering if anyone else thought that chicago night one second set was awesome on the webcast? That set felt like they had ‘it’ happening to me just behind mpp2, randalls 2/3 and portsmouth 2. It felt totally in the moment and that the guys were all really hooked up in creative fashion. The flow was something else seguing into mango, then the wild piper> haleys segue was both amazing and disappointing at the same time. The wombat was perfect placement and the crowd went nuts when they burst into it. I really hope they continue to drop that tune in second sets because it’s a perfect jam vehicle for their current funk sound. Whenever they do a funk jam these days it sounds so god damn good. Wombat and meatstick are top jams of tour for me

  10. Jerome Garcia Says:

    here’s the Harry & the Hitmen setlist from last Weekends dance party SantaCruz mts wedding

    ^#toomanysongs

  11. RicksFork Says:

    @Tela’s Happy B-Day and thanks for the recs. Need to step away from overspinning and overanalyzing (not really, but I’ll try) some of this summer ’14 stuff and a ’03 Winter exploration sounds like a perfect place to go.

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    ^went for it Garret. good work.

    now rate their quality, just kidding.

  13. little umbrellas Says:

    ^#toomanysongs
    -cute. Weddings get less improve. and we play for a Really long time. keep those dancers moving. all night.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    Yeah. Orange DWD is great. It’s an example of a jam that works sans trey leads. Others don’t…

  15. lumpyhead Says:

    peeps be droppin information, I appreciate it.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    “I think the reason it felt like we were getting tapas jams is because of how many jams that were primed to liftoff but got axed by trey”

    ^def felt this a lot this summer.

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    somehow missed the Orange beach show, sick tweezer!

    and first post from new iMac! posts so much faster with 16gb of RAM

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    Higher and Higher>Reach Out>Naive Melody> I Want You Back was def the peak in terms of the crowd connection and dance party heat.

    note to selves: at weddings, the closer to the ceremony the more important the music. IE, first set openers and closers more important than second sets.

    reverse logic at a weddings gig quite often.

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    little um, no one pays attention at weddings

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    ^not the weddings we play. different kinda thing. Concentration is had aswell as glorious raging dance parties. keep up the good photos though man.

    “Shit Phish Phans Say”
    -pretty on point.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @little umb nice, I gotta shoot better weddings obv

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Garret- you watching the MLS All-Stars vs Bayern Munich in an hour? Espn 2..

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    Hear ya, were def not the right group if you want a boring and tame band for staunchy individuals.

    Going to jam tonight with Thomas Pridgen of Mars Volta and Thundercat. And trading out songs with bassist Uriah Duffy, formerly of White Snake and Sly & The Fam Stone. Should be a good time, peace yall.

  24. Stoney Case Says:

    Great stuff Garret, just now and reading back. Really dug Orange beach overall and think Disease is fantastic.

    Lotta great stuff from Fly too. Very proud of our young, tall as hell bawana’s

  25. vapebraham Says:

    lovin the plex’d out Tubes this tour. char (7.25) is another keeper.

    repamp: MannTube

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