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. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Just queued up the PITB>WR>PITB linkage above. Sometimes my listening gets wholly disjointed during the work day thanks to the BB.

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    that was their version of tension and release. massive screaming meltdown followed by melodic bliss jam, or groove jam, or a ballad, or…

    one of the funniest/best is 8.1.73 Dark Star > tiger > the most overly melodramatic El Paso ever

    absolutely comical really

  3. Kaveh Says:

    Thanks @mrC.

  4. MrCompletely Says:

    that YT link is pretty meh quality @jerome. there’s solid tape of that show around. cool sequence though

  5. tzara's Says:

    Enjoy @JG. Not much groove there, and no space camp. Just speed, volume, atonality, and pain. I love the stuff, it’s like 1 hr segments of Tiger Jam level intensity in some cases.

  6. Kaveh Says:

    is fully Tigered by around 15′ with the signature riff kicking in at 14:55 or so

    ^ Yep; deep space 9. And I can see how on acid this would go straight to your spine. :)

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    and just imagine that shit on the Wall of Sound and high grade acid.

    you can’t.

    but try.

  8. MrCompletely Says:

    it’s the ultimate “licorice” music – not for everyone, but the people who like it really love it

  9. little umbrellas Says:

    Love the weird. I need ‘Out’ too. But this “pulsing jam instead of a meltdown”. Is when it all happens.

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah. a lot of the times the pulsing jam comes after the meltdown…Roosevelt stadium 8.6.74 Playin’ > tiger > spastic funk jam > Scarlet > Playin’ a classic go-to, prob on the youtubes

    Sun Ra – Seductive Fantasy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcpKyy2zgmY

    definitely feeling a Mulatu connection on this one, obliquely

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Beneath the Underdog!

    Love how he starts that one explaining his three selves.

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    Oblique Mulatu. Yesssss. About to be out in the city, and at a rehearsal. Save’d dat Ra though. Dreams of new mind babies.

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Discussed last wk but lilum’s boys Danny & Kris on the new Playonbrother album recorded 7/14/14 @ Evergroove Studios. Streamability here:
    http://playonbrother.bandcamp.com/releases

    & believe this is the video of said sesh:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sLoi9NLbww

  14. MrCompletely Says:

    Sun Ra does mid/late 70s P-Funk?!?!

    UFO
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2q3dqOaMt0

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    “let my children hear music”. That one’s crazy good nutso and beautiful. Almost like a foray into 20th century classical music but still ruff and ready and swingin.

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    Get it C! Go C GOoOooO!!!

  17. little umbrellas Says:

    “I keep thinking the Tiger was referring to the guitar that Jerry was playing but Tiger wasn’t until ’79/80.”
    - I also on this tip and wondering.

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    this “UFO” track is great

  19. little umbrellas Says:

    Tiger = Fanning technique. Check.

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Salavation.

  21. MrCompletely Says:

    it’s super specifically the 64th note runs with the slower wah cycle but he spends a lot of time doing things in the immediately adjacent spaces

    I didn’t think he really did it via broad fanning…he gets right up on the guitar part of the riff in the Beat Club PitB, my fav part of the whole thing was when they caught it on camera in the last take

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    Sun Ra- Sleeping Beauty (full album0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdeCe6mbHa4

    fucking fantastic so far

  23. vapebraham Says:

    lovin the Sleeping Beauty. Thanks, Completely.

  24. plord Says:

    You can see the Tiger technique plain as day on _Sunshine Daydream_. Banjo frailing speed runs with slow wah, check. Serious fun.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    AW just hipped me to this. Takes a minute to get going but amazing. Chicago Underground Duo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JaHS6B5oXg

    dem drums yo

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