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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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“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.)

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Alpharetta (Chris LaJaunie)

Alpharetta (Chris LaJaunie)

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625 Responses to “Fitting In Fuego”

  1. Stoney Case Says:


    Green Light they are not. Harvest season seems to be off their radar.

    11/29/98 Gin now. Because. Check it

  2. vapebraham Says:

    vibes, rooster.

    re. jazz. Like C said, you can discover various albums and artists by working outward from Miles and Trane. For example, C mentioned Trane’s ALS, also a personal fave. From there you’ll find McCoy Tyner (p), Elvin jones (d), and Jimmy Garrison (b). some albums to check from those guys — The Real McCoy (w/ ron carter on bass instead of garrison) and Illumination w/ all three as part of a sextet.

    and that’s just one album to spring off from! If you use Miles, you’ll find such incredible players as wayne shorter (s), joe zawinul (p), ron carter (b), herbie hancock (p), cannonball adderly (s), chick corea (p), keith jarrett (p), tony williams (d), jack dejohnette (d).

    In addition, check out piano greats Oscar Peterson (Night Train – classic trio album), Horace Silver (Cape Verdean Blues), Thelonious monk (Criss Cross), and my absolute fave, Ahmad Jamal (The Awakening). Also check, drumming great and leader of the jazz messengers: Art Blakey (Moanin) and horn men Sonny Rollins, Donald Byrd, Lester Young, and Dexter Gordon (Getting Around).

    and then there’s the organ greats: Big John Patton, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard groove Holmes, and Larry Young (Unity).

    and check the vibe guys: Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, Roy Ayers, Lionel hampton, khan jamal

    tl/dr: Ahmad Jamal – the Awakening

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    Sun Ra – Space Fling

    in the “more or less regular type jazz with a nice groove” vein

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    For Dicks, I def want whatever y’all been on that keep typing ‘Phish is playing better than ever’. I need that experience again.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    don’t forget all of vape’s favorite jazz flutists either

  6. tzara's Says:

    Word, C and Stoney. There’s all sorts of things getting ripe around here at that point. I have decent SEA seats, but would take a floor upgrade if possible. Haven’t seen only one show in a stretch since my first in ’95.

  7. Gumbomaniac Says:

    I definitely came to the right place for jazz knowledge! Summer ’14 has been good to the Hood, Rebas, and the first two YEMs at least.

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Gumbo, here’s where we differ. Reba is dead to me. Swallowed by a whale. Chicago’s was close, but unnecessary at best.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    The Awakening – very great album and a strong rec, one I should/will refresh in my mind with more spins soon, after this current Sun Ra dig

  10. Gumbomaniac Says:

    @stoney at least we can still remember what Reba was always meant to be aka (12/31/95).

  11. MrCompletely Says:

    Sun Ra – Jazz From an Unknown Planet


  12. vapebraham Says:

    no doubt, love me some jazz flute. Hubert Laws (The Laws of Jazz). and the many who played sax and flute: Yusef Lateef, Charles Llyod (Dream Weaver, Journey Within — a spacecamp nominee, although it lacks electric instruments), Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

    There’s also, Charlie Haden (b).


  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Firing up Mingus’ Ah Um for first ever spin. Let’s see if you dudes know wtf’s up or not…

  14. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I was gonna say Gumbo be careful how you discuss Reba around Stone Loc as she’s officially dead to him. I still love her though.

  15. Stoney Case Says:

    Gumbo, you don’t have to go back even that far.

    The versions from the Greek3, and especially SBIX3 are fantastic, and tops for the era, along with the nice August ’10 encore, IMO.

    This summers make last summers seem acceptable. And those were lbad. Worse than Kevin Kolb.

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    Anywhoo, just got the call. Heading up to fight the fires. Loading up the dodge with fire hose, water tank, and saws. Pray for rain. I’m going to do the rain chant I was taught when I first moved out here. Powerful medicine. At this point, the lighting is inevitable. Gonna try and draw out some moisture.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    Mingus is just unique. The opening one/two combo of Better Git It In Your Soul and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is just $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for me

    If you dig that album check out Black Saint and the Sinner Lady for something a little more intense

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    some Sunday morning or late at night when you’re really properly baked, like really truly seriously floating, put on Pork Pie Hat and let it take you away….so much genius in there

  19. Gumbomaniac Says:

    @stoney I always enjoyed the version from IT as well. It has some really nice licks in there that make it unique. SBIX is a definite keeper.

  20. voopa Says:

    Best of luck Mr. Case.
    Thinking of you Mr. Pizza.

    Time to design a Fuego shirt.

  21. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Let’s not forget Karl D who plays both tenor sax & flute. Accomplished jazz musician in his own right. Check his Blackened Red Snapper from
    ’92 Herbal Turkey Breast from ’93 & Chunky Pecan Pie from ’94.

    This Mingus album is $$$ as I knew it would be coming from yall 😉

  22. Stoney Case Says:


    (i give nicknames to people i like. unless there’s borderline profanity, then you know what that means)

    From my memory, BGCA12 night 3 is ‘The last great Reba’ of 3.0

  23. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Best Stoney. Give ’em hell.

    What about Reading Reba?

  24. Gumbomaniac Says:

    @stoney i’m honored. i’ll be checkin that out right after Ah Um, which by the way is a great transition from the live Miles.

  25. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    I thought the Reading Reba encore was good.

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