Fitting In Fuego



This summer tour felt very much about integrating the band’s new material into their live show. Having debuted all but one of the songs in a single set lasst Halloween, Phish played seven of their new pieces over the New Year’s Run, but their roles were totally unknown going into this summer. And after twenty-two shows, the guys have sorted most things out, with only a couple selections whose placement remain elusive. Let’s look at a track-by-track analysis of how Phish has worked their newest batch of songs into their summer performances.

“Fuego”—After much speculation, “Fuego” was the only true jam vehicle that developed from Phish’s newest album. Though the song spawned three of tour’s most significant highlights with its SPAC, Mann and Portsmouth outings, “Fuego,” was still hard to pin down, as it was played far more times without a jam than with one. Perhaps this was due to the band’s “Everyone Gets a ‘Fuego’ (Except Pelham)” policy,  and they decided that it would be overkill to improvise from the song at every tour stop. Perhaps they didn’t even think this deeply about the issue at all. But when the promotional dust settles on Fall Tour and “Fuego” slides back into regular rotation, I bet we see it extend into a jam more regularly. The band has already proven how prolific a springboard it can be, as they crafted three twenty-minute excursions from the title track, all plunging different musical depths. One commonality between all three jams, however, was the group-wide patience that allowed the guys to collectively explore and discover some awesome spaces. Between SPAC’s unforgettable peak, the Mann’s bliss-turned-funk theatrics and Portsmouth’s clav-laced groove workout, “Fuego” has certainly proved its value quickly this summer. And we have only begun to see what this piece has in store. (Check out Philly’s version here.)

Chicago (G.Lucas)

Chicago (Graham Lucas)

“The Line”—Despite placing “The Line” just about everywhere in their show this summer, Phish still hasn’t found a routine use for this song. The two most common placements have been in the middle of the second set as an interlude between lager improvisations, and as a standard first set song. I can’t say it has totally failed in its second set role, but its natural place in a show seems to lean towards the first. “The Line” appeared nine times this summer, trailing only “555” and “Fuego.”

“Devotion to a Dream”—This upbeat tune was used solely as a first set song this summer and that seems just right. Phish paired “Devotion” with “Wolfman’s Brother” on three of its last four outings of summer, using the two songs as a stylistic juxtaposition within the opening half of shows. I foresee more of the same for “Devotion,” as its structure and vibe don’t lend themselves to the second set.

“Halfway to the Moon”—Unfortunately, I have nothing of interest to report on “Halfway to the Moon.” The band has kept the song harnessed to the first set and has showed no interest in opening up what could be a promising jam vehicle. As previously noted before tour, Mike’s and Page’s songs don’t usually get jams in this era, and the trend continues with this number.

“Winterqueen”—Phish seamlessly integrated “Winterqueen” into their repertoire during SPAC’s opening show as a second set landing pad for the sequence of “Bathtub Gin > Limb by Limb.” “Winterqueen” was also used in this vein following Chicago’s “Down with Disease,” as it appeared in set two on three of five occasions this summer. Its most improvised version, however, came in Charlotte’s first set when Phish pushed the piece beyond its traditional contour for the only time of tour. This song translated incredibly well this summer and brought us “Fuego’s” most pleasant surprise. (Check out Charlotte’s version here.)

7.16/14 (J.Herzog)

7.16/14 (J.Herzog)

“Sing Monica”—Another one of summer’s surprise developments was the emergence of “Monica” as a late-second set rock breather in smoking stanzas of music. Trey called for the song in both Randall’s iconic final set and Merriweather’s opening, jam-heavy performance. “Monica” also appeared in a SPAC encore before “Tweeprise” in much the same vein. But after Merriweather the song disappeared—perhaps because Trey didn’t feel another set of tour was hot enough to warrant the kickdown? Maybe that’s where this song has settled, and who’d have thunk it?

“555”—When Mike’s newest song opened up Charlotte’s second set, the potential of a jam loomed momentarily in the air. But it wasn’t to be, as the song simply kicked off the set before a long-form “Chalk Dust.” Every other appearance of “555” came in the opening set of shows, and that certainly seems to be where Trey likes the song the most. This one could get dirty if they opened it up, but as predicted before tour, it doesn’t seem like that will happen. “555” was performed 11 times in 22 shows, trailing only “Fuego” (12).

“Waiting All Night”—This was another song that slid into rotation with ease, as the band used it effectively as both a second set cool down and a first set single. Interestingly, the band paired “Waiting All Night” with “Reba” on three occasions this Summer, twice being placed poignantly after the revitalized classic. Mike’s bass lines give this one a smooth and groove-based feel in the live setting, and Trey seems to like playing the song quite a bit, as he called for it eight times this summer.

7.16.14 (J.Herzog)

7.16.14 (J.Herzog)

“Wombat”—“Wombat” was just getting loose when Phish shelved it for the tour. In Canandaigua’s first set, the band stretched out the funk number into its most significant incarnation to that point in tour. And then days later they blew it wide open on the first night of Chicago, taking the jam out of the groove realm and into the spiritual and wide open. Phish fully broke through with Chicago’s “Wombat” jam, and then we never heard from the song again. As we left it, however, the jam was just growing legs—and that is an excellent sign for the future. (Check out Chicago’s version here.)


“Wingsuit”—“Wingsuit” found a couple effective slots in shows this summer, most significantly used as a landing pad for improvised, second set passages. Beginning in Randall’s middle performance, the band opened up the end of the song into a “Curtain With”-esque jam, and it became all the more worthy of its second set employment. “Wingsuit” truly came into its own this summer, featuring massive, emotionally-laced crescendos and serving as a powerful infusion of psych rock into the live show. Phish also used “Wingsuit” as a first set closer a couple times this summer, a slot that also felt fitting for the dramatic piece. One place it didn’t work so great, however, was as a mid-first set song, as it seemed a bit too slow as shows were building momentum. (Check out Randall’s version here.)

Alpharetta (Chris LaJaunie)

Alpharetta (Chris LaJaunie)

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625 Responses to “Fitting In Fuego”

  1. MrCompletely Says:

    Herbie Hancock and Mwandishi in Molde -1971

  2. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Dr J my point exactly! Uncy JG is down for wook madness (I’m actually officially licensed in Wee W00k Oversight by the W00k Federation Of The Americas or WWO cert’d by WFOTAs if you’re in to the whole brevity thing; we’re like unionized & shit fwiw) for if just one fourteenth of a fortnight & exposure to said deliciousness. I’ll pay my own way & roll w/ h3tty treats but bid you to have any floor space mon?

    Whipping Post My Favorite Things>Jam>New Africa encore is just straight gonzo.

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    wow. my original intent was to post the long version of Sleeping Giant from Crossings since the album isn’t up

    which is a great track. I don’t really get how it’s a single song, it’s basically four sick jams threaded together with spacy sections and called a “suite”, but I don’t really hear a conceptual or musical through-line – no idea whether it’s just subtler than I can understand or doesn’t exist. I feel like Herbie just liked having a side-long track on all his albums in this period.

    But I’m obv gonna bump this live shit. Seriously though…I’ve searched several times in different ways for live Mwandishi and no dice…mmmkay

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    TYJC I wasn’t bg’d. Not there’s anything wrong w/ that…

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    This throws off my whole evening plan. I’m gonna need to be much much higher than I thought

  6. garretcorncob Says:

    Well, I was gonna throw Ethiopian Knights on the turntable, but live Mwandishi should be fine too.

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Mwandishi’d. Yes Please!

  8. garretcorncob Says:

    I haven’t been paying full attention to the videos while I make dinner, so I haven’t seen every shot. That being said, does Herbie have a clause in his contract that they never show his face? Seems like all we get are luxurious ‘fro shots and hand close-ups.

    This is great though.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    It’s European concert film @g.

    Seems like they always have to do something goofy after about 1967.

  10. the Baker Says:


  11. MrCompletely Says:


    holy fuckballs

    guess I’ll be busy for a minute with that

    40+ minute Hornets…hmmmm…

    50 minute Ostinato?!?!? I might die

  12. IrieWalton Says:

    I might die, but it won’t be from herbie’s funk but hosting the in-laws for the last six days. They leave tomorrow and the next round arrives Friday–gotta love split families. Luckily the second set puff as I’m about to lose my calm at this point from the first set’s non-dog loving antics around our pup.

    Oh well, first-class problems, no doubt.

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    55 minute Sleeping Giant in lossless

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    six days of in laws is a fucking lot. especially with puffing and dog issues

  15. Selector J Says:

    @irie – What C said. 6 days?? Damn.

    Linked this for @aj once while he was in the midst of some in-law hell. Not sure if it’s in-laws of the maternal variety but…


  16. Selector J Says:

    @irie – Same title/different songs:

    Charlie Chaplin

    Robert Ffrench (yea, not a typo.. “Ff”)

    Both of these are killer, too. The Ffrench one might be my favorite of the three actually.
    Lots of baby mama’s mama drama in reggae land apparently.

  17. voopa Says:

    Yeah mon.

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    “Okay, wait. Sextant. What the fuck is happening here?
    This is some out there shit. Glad I finally figured my shit out and listened to you folks… It’s weird that Hidden Shadows feels like a step backs towards normalcy and the familiar after Rain Dance.”


  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Thanks Selecta, let there be water!


    I’ve kind of made up a narative in my mind for Sextant that contextualizes Hornets. Here goes:
    -The first song RainDance, like the real traditional dance, is a counjering or incantation, except Herbie is the master of bots which are building a space ship. The arpegiator from the Arp2600 represents this. Blueprints are drawn and the ship built. An alarm goes off at one point warning launch. then the craft takes flight and jetisons into space.
    -The second song Hidden Shadows is perfect interdemensional space travel. Like the shadowspirits which run the quantum ship in Michel Kearney’s ‘Light’. The ship is formed from the true spirit, the space funk, and is effectively navigating the cosmos and shedding light as it reaches into the deepest and darkest part of the cosmos, finding the Hidden Shadows.
    -The third song Hornets takes place on the surface of the found alien planet where the ancient tribal People reside. We have traveled and found the ancient flame where the true nature of our souls finds freedom, where the black spirit can be safe. (Much like the cover of the album). The living myth. Hornets sound is primal, tribal, and organic. The insects, birds and alien wildlife are buzzing all around, but the tribal dance continues around the fire and the stories from deep space and the ancient myths are kept alive.

    … So theres a little story for ya.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Holy craps, you did it! C found the jackpot. Praise be! Fuck yes! Dreams do come true. Gonna have to take a life sabitical it seems.

  21. Selector J Says:

    It’s quite obvious that the mind babies we’re squeezing out of our head-uterus in TX are of an entirely different breed than those gestating within the cranium-wombs of folks in the Bay Area (e.g. lilumb).

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    “entirely different”… So should I worry or not!? Unsure if your making a quantative value judgment.. Oakland papers are pretty crap honestly. That article I posted is not from the best paper by any means.

    I even usually the NY Times over the SF Chronicle … Though in general I never know what to trust any more..

  23. little umbrellas Says:

    ^oh wait, figured it out, you mean my narrative extrapolation, not the water data.

  24. Selector J Says:

    By the way, if you’re a huge Jimmy Cliff fan, check this dude Sidney Rogers, an under-the-radar pop reggae juggernaut. Scored his 1975 “Miracle Worker” LP off of eBay last week and giving it a proper headphones spin tonight. Guessing this dude was huge in the UK but went completely unnoticed in the USA. It’s sooooo Jimmy Cliff … not exactly a bad thing.

  25. Selector J Says:

    Water data??

    All I meant was that I’m jealous of your space camp program.
    By the way… If any of your bands are ever in ATX, y’all gotta do a show with the Golden Dawn Arkestra. It’s exactly what you think it is (maybe).

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