Fitting In Fuego

'Fuego'

‘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. Random Poster...Nutbag Says:

    Projexpectations.

  2. dorn76 Says:

    Borderline profanity?

    dorn69

    dornholio76

    dick76

    Tougher than it seems…..

  3. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Reading Reba. Worth a spin Stoney.
    http://phish.in/2013-10-29/reba

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    Tzara, nice list!

    .. just bumped this Dave’s 11 ‘Playin’ remaster. Some of my favorite music ever!

    11/29/98 Gin it is! Thankie Bad Nirvana!

    Awakening so $$$. Ahmad Jamal’s But Not For Me’s ‘Poinciana’ turned me on to Jazz.

    MR Completely digs deeper into Sun Ra’s groove spectrum. Umbrellas sprouts more mind babies. Yes please. Spacecamp finds on demand.

    -Unknown Fling!

    Ah Um 4 Lyphe ..@Jerome Garcia, first Ah Um spin!?! You are stoked. Def in the top 10 Jazz albums ever

    #BlackSaintandtheSinnerLady- The Dark and Heavy Tender Beauty, my personal fav Mingus

  5. little umbrellas Says:

    Vape also with a nice list of Jazz artists goin. ;)

  6. Gumbomaniac Says:

    8/19/12 reba is nice.

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    This looks interesting…Norwood’s Telepathic Funk & The Terpsichorean Nutt Generators. Past incarnations include Norwood Fischer Tim Alexander Blackbird McNight Chuck Boogie & J Ro Robinson as seen here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbRz0AVweI4

    Playing Tues 9/9 in the ATX w/ special guest Fred Wesley. Love Fred so thinking I’ve got to go see it but not so sure…Wed 9/10 is last day in the office before heading out for TRide Blues & Brews…might be better served to get my shit together in lieu of going. Anyone caught these cats?

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Really digging the 2014 just jams comp linked earlier from DS… Banging

  9. Jerome Garcia Says:

    So much jazz I’ve yet to dig into teeny b & I like the yazz as ya know.

  10. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Going with the fam to a semi-pro baseball game tonight..

    Best deal in town- $35 total- 4 tickets ( behind home plate) 4 dogs, 4 drinks ( soft or beer), and 4 pretzels….. Can’t beat it..

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Sure, always more to dig, but you knew the 3Sided Dream and not Ah Um ! That’s impressive. Pretty sure Ah Um is up there with of Kind Of Blue and Time Out as one of the all time top selling jazz records.

    Usually Ah Um is people’s first Mingus.

  12. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Does semi pro translate to Minor League?

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    It’s considered Independent League…. Not mInor League… Minor league teams have an affiliation with a Major league team… This league has no such affiliate… But the actually quality of play is on par with minor league..

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Left the Phils game in the bottom 7th after your Mets went up on us. Oof.

    Bright side: only a few emails once I came back to the office.

  15. Kaveh Says:

    Finally starting to put my finger on why this 11.15.72 version of Playing in the Band is so outstanding. TONS of strong Bobby playing; thus much more rhythmic in nature. It doesn’t suddenly into deep space Jerry lead in a hurry. Bobby’s work out the backend of the vocals is killer and then around the 7 min mark, Jerry and Bobby, along with some Keith slowly set up the rest of the 22 minutes…

    ….writing this as I am listening…

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    ^Outstanding indeed! Sound is crystal clear. Even Billy’s bass drum is punchy.

    Sometimes in their jams, the drums can fizzle out… But he just keeps it steaming in this one!! Doesn’t matter how weird they get, the drums keep it moving !! So good.

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    @kaveh

    the most amazing thing about that Playin’ to me is that Jerry continually defers the meltdown into Tiger space that became ubiquitous in that song soon after. He hints and it many times but never forces the slowdown and th resulting tension drives the whole middle part of the jam. And then as a payoff at one points he basically takes the fully shredded Tiger lead line at full speed, but over a pulsing jam instead of in a meltdown! Killer!

    Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is my #1 Mingus for sure. Strong medicine though. Enveloping.

  18. Kaveh Says:

    @lu: I don’t mind the weird at all, the more the better; most times. But this version doesn’t dump right into that. Much more on the fly thinking to be more rhythmic and musical. And, shit, we both know that Billy will drum, and drum exceptionally, to anything the rest of the band will through at him. A true master back there.

  19. Gavinsdad Says:

    I like the broad music interests chat. Nothing that hasn’t been covered here before but to @LUs point you are touching on something that’s been on my mind….mostly that I always like getting to know myself better and it’s very clear in re: Phish that my place in the, er, gumbo pot is the guy who is there in the live setting to dance. Took me about 5 years of being on this board to fully realize that analysis is for others (well, I knew this but it’s very clear) and people other than me do it better than me. My obsession is broad, rather than deep….so I never totally obsessed about Phish (meaning Phish only). Phish cured one of my ills so I went to Phish to do just that. Def have loved the 98 forward “Internet Phish” and the past few years have put along tools in our hands.

    But really I saw this all to say that I have been listening to the GD again. It’s a part of my truth and I had been ignoring my truth for a long time. I love so much other stuff that I forget about one of the strongest branches in my tree. And obvs, I owe this place for all the nudges. Thanks.

    And ps seeing warren play days between, black Peter and high time was like a sledgehammer in the 3rd eye so there’s that.

  20. Gavinsdad Says:

    I so enjoy the chugging locomotive energy and brassy cries of Mingus and his many bands. I really want to recommend that you all read “beneath the underdog” just so u can get in his head. Read it sick as a dog with food poisoning in my dorm in 89 and I’ve never forgotten it.

    What C said….black saint will get u open

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    @gdad I’m working on a massive set of official release FLACs for Stoney, all with proper tagging, basically a “here’s the fucking GOODS” drop of 2 to 4 shows a year plus key other fragments, let me know if I can hook you up

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    2 to 4 shows a year from 1968 through 79 or 80

    then just some highlights after that

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    you see that Mingus ’65 live video drop from a few weeks back @gd?

    Mind.

    Blowing.

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Pro-tip: Stick to rainbows and sledgehammers for your 3rd eye. Do not rub it with dirty hands.

    #conjunctivitis

  25. Gavinsdad Says:

    Guess I need something that plays flacs hahaha

    You’re the man C keep me posted.

    There is so much released GD on spotify I’m still just doing that DP rag and lately stunned at the audio quality of DP 31. Extremely clean and mean

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