Paradise Waits

Miami 2014-15 (Andrea Nusinov)

Following Trey’s outstanding performance at the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well shows, there has been an anticipatory buzz around Phish’s forthcoming summer tour. With many questions on the horizon and a full slate of shows in which they will be answered, it’s once again an exciting time in the world of Phish. With Bend just around the corner, here’s what’s been on my mind about Summer 2015.

Trey @ FTW (Jay Blakesberg)

Trey @ FTW (Jay Blakesberg)

It wouldn’t be a stretch to posit that Trey’s preparation for Fare Thee Well represents the most focused guitar practice that he has undertaken since returning to the Phish stage in ’09. He has mentioned in interviews that he isolated himself for up to over five hours per day to study Garcia’s playing, to learn Grateful Dead songs, and to practice. When asked in a Rolling Stone what he’s taken away from his work, he said “One is just guitar stuff. I’ve made a conscious effort to learn everything I could about Jerry’s incredible style. I’m playing in different positions on the neck. It’s opened up a whole world of people I’d never listened to before.” While I wouldn’t bet on any stylistic crossover into his own band, there is no doubt that this preparation will affect his sharpness and readiness to tear things apart on the with Phish. During much of 2014, Trey lacked the powerful leads that traditionally have directed Phish jams. He often laid back with quasi-aimless rhythm playing while his band mates stepped up to varying degrees of success. During the Fare Thee Well shows, especially come Chicago, Trey’s lead playing was the undeniable force driving the band and holding jams on course. He took magnificently passionate solos all over the place, often flooring the stadium-sized audience with his six string prowess. If there is one thing that I feel that will certainly carry over from his Grateful Dead project, it will be his assertiveness. I surmise that Trey, the lead guitar player we know and love, will be back in full force this summer, and that alone is enough to make the any fan giddy with excitement. Phish is the best when Trey takes the lead, not necessarily dominating jams, but directing them. And with his chops as polished as they have been in years, things bode well for his musical leadership this summer. It remains to be seen if the overhauling of his tone for Fare Thee Well will spill over into his Phish articulation. While I doubt he’ll bring his full-fledged “Jerry sound” into the mix, he could integrate some new phrasings and effects that he picked up in such a diligent case study of Garcia.

10/31/14 II. Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

10/31/14 II Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

While many people in the community have been hypothesizing about Phish covering Dead songs this summer, I think the more pertinent question is what will come of the Halloween material? In Miami, we saw a slight integration of some of the band’s universally loved Halloween set, but will they commit to the material in full this tour? Will we see some of these jams reworked into actual songs? Inquiring minds want to know. Using “Martian Monster” as a set closer over the Holiday Run seemed to imply that it would become a legitimate part of the band’s rotation. I would imagine we see this infectious funk number fully integrated into the live show this tour. But what about everything else? The band used the “The Birds” as a jam motif during the New Year’s “Theme From the Bottom,” and it is more in this fashion that I think we could see these Halloween passages come to life. Most all of the vignettes from the Haunted House set weren’t fully fleshed out pieces of music, and if they stay that way, it would be really innovative for the band to use them as instrumental themes to jam in and out of within larger improvisations in the vein of “”Tweezer -> Shipwreck -> Tweezer,” “Bathtub Gin -> The Very Long Fuse -> Bathtub Gin,” or “Tube -> Your Pet Cat -> Tube.” They could also use them as bridges between pieces like “Tweezer -> Shipwreck -> Carini” or “Chalk Dust -> The Dogs -> Light.” In fact, we already saw this latter use on 11.1.14 in “Light -> Dogs -> Lengthwise.” While there is a possibility that we see a couple of them reworked into legitimate songs, I almost feel that it would be cooler to see them kept as improvisational devices. If any, I think “The Birds” has the best possibility of becoming a formal song. In terms of any real integration of Grateful Dead material? I seriously doubt it.

Summer '15

Summer ’15

Summer tour’s routing sees the band play nine one-off shows, with five of them coming in rarely visited markets. While small market, out-of-the-way shows were not to be missed in the Phish’s earlier eras, they have more or less become greatest hit sampler platters that lack truly adventurous jamming in 3.0. The overnight travel segueing into soundcheck and a one-night performance hasn’t always treated the guys well over recent tours, and from experience, I would be wary before chasing them through their stretch of the Southern and Midwestern single night shows. They represent a serious grind with potentially small payoffs. Or perhaps I’m just getting old. The band’s wheelhouse in this era has clearly been multi-night stands, and if I had to predict where the strongest shows of summer will materialize, it would be within the two and three night affairs—Bend, Lakewood, Alpine, Philly, Merriweather, Magnaball and Dick’s.

Magnaball

Magnaball

Finally, for the first time since IT in 2003 (excluding Coventry), Phish’s summer tour will culminate in a festival. This format of their earlier years always provided a larger than life showcase for the band’s musical achievements of their current tour. They traditionally used their festivals to show what they had learned through their month-long journey, and put their improvisational foci and successes on full display at their August fiestas. This was arguably the best aspect of placing festivals at the end of their tours. Instead of having to gear up for a massive event in isolation, the band was fully in the flow of playing and jamming as they will be this year, and I think Magnaball is primed to explode far more significantly than Festival 8 or Superball, both which were played in detachment. And at Magnaball, we will—in all likelihood—get to experience one more of the band’s hallowed “secret sets.” I find it fruitless to speculate on what will transpire in this year’s installment, because Phish is always one step ahead of their fans and come up with something that we could never have guessed. That said, following their avant-garde Storage Jam, folks will be anticipating this set as much as any other of the three-night festival.

Only a few days separate us from the beginning of another summer tour. When Phish came back in ’09, nobody knew exactly what to expect from them, how long they’d stick around or to what level they’d perform. Now, six years later, the band is going strong, surpassed most expectations for this era and the guys seem committed for the long haul. They have struck a balance in their personal lives and have no signs of slowing down. Having fully righted their ship and restored their legacy, it’s full steam ahead into 2015.

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6,610 Responses to “Paradise Waits”

  1. little umbrellas Says:

    on the crest of a wave, her angels in flames.

  2. MrCompletely Says:

    “I just don’t think we’ll hear “Jerry solos” in Phish jams if you know what I mean.”

    Yeah agree with that. Just the usual way he integrates new sounds into his style. Would be cute to put a little fanning peak onto Ocelot, and it’ll be even funnier than usual the first time they’re going into meatstick and half the crowd thinks it’s fire on the mountain

  3. MrCompletely Says:

    Mr, Miz and Junior Completely

    Plord

    Snowbank

    Getting bendy

  4. dorn76 Says:

    Bend it like Minerino.

    Thanks man, nice write up.

    Trying to stay off devices when around my ladies the rest of the Summer and embrace being present on what is basically a fairy tale life. Wtf is my problem anyway? My big brain and small dick?

    Had a little heart to heart with mrs d last night. She really doesn’t need me to be her second kid.

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    Cheers man. Can be hard to really accept that the most important thing you want is actually what you already have

  6. The Flesh Says:

    How many people are expected at magna?

  7. voopa Says:

    37, 946

  8. jtran Says:

    @LU

    saw your offer for couch space. very generous, thank you! will hit u up off board this week.

    i also found a walmart in mountain view i was gonna sleep at in the subaru. full wook CA 2015 run.

  9. MrCompletely Says:

    There’s a Krispy Kreme just an exit away from shoreline. Would be a good place to kick it wook style

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    word.

    yeah, Shoreline is about a 50 minute drive away from the Vulcan with no traffic.

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    dear god Completely, if its the same one, I can literally remember the day that Krispy opened. funny, I was in High School , In and Out had made its way up from SoCal, but Krispy was like a new thing that the norcal kids had only heard about.

    peninsula 90’s upbringing

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    where’s Case, I know he’s super excited about the upcoming Redwood Curtain show with the band: ‘Sublime with Rome’.. all the industry people are gonna be there maaan.. WOO STONEY!

  13. bob dylan Says:

    Krispy Kreme was never my steez. Dunkin all day e’ryday. When I was a kid I lived in Maryland and we had dunkin. Moved to Indiana and had Krispy. Moved back east and loved having dunkin again. Something about that waxy mouth feel of their donuts and strong coffee.

  14. Jerome Garcia Says:

    How you gonna kick it? Gonna kick it wook style! At the Krispy Kreme no less.

  15. RicksFork Says:

    Nice piece Miner. Trey taking leads and shredding solos is all I’m hoping for. The rest will be gravy.

    Bob D, congrats on the kiddo. Hope it’s going well. Also hope you were kidding about DD coffee. Tea with an essence of coffee I’d call it. I’d rather drink gas station coffee.

    Stoked for Tuesday. West coast webcast = fighting a losing battle with sleep, but I’ll try.

  16. GWKush Says:

    Happy Birthday Kieith Godchaux

  17. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Holly does ASIHTOS Velveeta & Swept Away.
    http://www.jambase.com/Articles/125819/Holly-Bowling-Covers-Water-Themed-Phish-Songs

    Tempted to try to catch her in Filthy on Mon nt pre Mann. It’s @ Howl At The Moon piano bar though. Still…The Ogling… Holly = so phine.

  18. bob dylan Says:

    Rick, I’d never buy Dunkin beans to brew at home but I’m strictly talking caffeine quantity. Large ice coffee you can drink black cause, like you said, it’s like tea. I drink my coffee black normally but more to the point it’s really caffeinated and keeps you going.

    I agree the flavor isn’t good. But it works from a staying awake standpoint.

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    We stopped at that krispy kreme a couple times after shows. Madhouse. Box of donuts expected to last the weekend gone before the drive back to Marin was complete. Munchies supreme > fugue of regret

  20. MrCompletely Says:

    Dunkin donuts coffee better than many alternatives in the old school east coast milieu. Agreed it’s effective enough and some claim to love it

  21. Mr.Palmer Says:

    D&D Iced Coffee- my summer sustenance.

  22. jdub Says:

    Jordan spieth is so clutch right now. Amazing what he is doing.

  23. ElJefe Says:

    Our local 7/11 used Dunkin Coffee back at the Shore in the day.. No terrible.. But now terrible.. Now I’m craving an egg bagel or a Kaiser roll with about an inch of buttah.. Don’t get me started on Pork Roll..

  24. tela's_muff Says:

    Loved me some DD coffee for a couple years. Moved on but I enjoyed it.

    I’m straight up giddy for tour and really excited to hear what the band brings. Hoping these two new posts are a sign of things to come from ya Miner. Get the juices flowing again.

  25. tela's_muff Says:

    I think this Blossom Halleys is ok but if I could pick a 2000 jam I think if ask for the Polaris Disease. Quality recording out there now is pretty weak. It’s a jam that I think would open some eyes. I know it’s a known jam, but it needs special treatment.

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