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. voopa Says:

    Dad Rock shop updated. The best is yet to come. Clicky my name-o.

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    killer font on the new product there @v

  3. Jerome Garcia Says:

    poopy g has pamped CUD on here previously; aj too me thinks. That exact vid has been linked as well. Dig it maaaan.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Rollin & World’s Greatest Dad Rock scwhag is $$$ voopstar.

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    ah I missed it before then. this drummer is b-a-n-a-n-a-s

  6. jtran Says:

    thx for teh tiger thoughts yo. post-lunch starting up with the scarlet>fire from DP18 filler (2/5/78)

    like the uptempo scarlet song portion

    gonna go primal after this cut

  7. MrCompletely Says:

    best Scarlet Fire ever


    especially the filtered out solos on Fire…dat Wolf tone (yes the guitar this time)

  8. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Got thru Ah Um. Excellent. It’ll be on the dinner jazz list going fwd. Fixin to queue up this best Scarlet Fire evah next…


  9. jtran Says:

    phil sounds low in the mix on my work speakers. might have to spin this again at home tonight too.

  10. lumpyhead Says:

    cash for your extra Inglewood floor if you happen to have one

  11. sumodie Says:

    Tela’s, recent live Araron Freeman show at nyctaper

  12. tela's_muff Says:

    thx Sumo. i grabbed that on Saturday.

  13. Jerome Garcia Says:

    smuff are you also a Ween fan? Just curious.

  14. MiA Says:

    78° and raining. My kinda August weather in ATX

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    yeah I mean there are several that if you said they were your favorites over that one I couldn’t argue, but that one is the best across all 3 phases (Scarlet – transition jam – Fire) to my ear, esp. for Garcia, and S > F is just all about the Jerry solos for me

    Also check the Other One from that release. Wait for the reason…it’s coming. You’ll hear it.

  16. tela's_muff Says:

    big ween fan JG.

  17. lumpyhead Says:

    Man, Robin Williams… That’s so sad. RIP.

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    ^mental illness is a bitch. This much I know. Thanks for all the laughs Robin. RIP.

  19. tela's_muff Says:

    damn. RIP Robin Williams.

  20. bobby weird Says:

    asphxia. guess that means he hung himself… wow.

  21. bobby weird Says:

    incredible in Good Will Hunting. perhaps because he could so understand the role. what a talent.

  22. jtran Says:

    that is sad. RIP

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    21 minute Saxophone Concerto from Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle by Rahsaan – circular breathing the whole time, i.e. not a single stop for breath in 21 minutes of constant action – and it’s not just a stunt either


    sucks about RW for sure, very sad

  24. bobby weird Says:

    reading back. everything i have read and heard convincingly suggests that treating Ebola patients in this country presents absolutely no real risk. sound scary till you hear the Emory U physicians treating the patients have zero concern.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    agreed bobby. seems like modern medical wards are very confident.

    the only good thing about ebola is that it’s symptomatic before it’s communicable so a US or European iso ward should really be ok

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