The Feeling Returns

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Dick’s 2016 (Stephen Olker)

In the subjective medium of improvisational music, perfection is a loaded term, as beauty lies firmly in the ear of the beholder. But sometimes stars align and factors converge resulting in a performance whose excellence is both undeniable and universally accepted. Not often does Phish unveil a set of music that fully embodies their artistic prowess and is praised by all as exemplary of their musical acumen. When this happens, a feeling arises in the community—a group-wide understanding—a manifestation of the shared, unconditional love we all have for the Phish experience. These nights remind us of why are here, why we have come this far, and why we have such a limitless devotion to this band. Phish’s closing act in Colorado was one of these nights.

The final set at Dick’s was a fully realized set of music like Phish hadn’t played in quite some time. There weren’t highlights—the entire set was the highlight. There was not a single awkward moment, no random calls, no blips, no stumbles, no stutters. Songs were simply springboards into the universe as the band sculpted Phish art of the highest magnitude. This all-time caliber performance flowed from first note to last in a continuous musical thrill ride the likes of which we dream; a show that gripped one’s soul, held on tight and never let go, transforming fantasy into reality right before our eyes; a night of music that produced emotional memories as much as musical ones, feelings that are impossible to articulate yet understood by all. This was Phish in its purest form of creation, leaving a trail of treasure in the cool mountain air, dancing on the astral plane on a night that will live forever.

Dick's 2016 (Michael Stein)

Dick’s 2016 (Michael Stein)

The synergistic flow that defined the band’s playing on this night peaked over the course of the second set which centered on an hour plus of free-form improvisation. In a show where Phish could do no wrong, they unfurled three massive jams in “Crosseyed and Painless,” “Piper” and “Light,” and while these were all top-shelf endeavors, “Crosseyed” elevated to career-highlight status with a sublime plunge into infinite beauty. In an spell-binding excursion, the band gelled masterfully, surfing a colossal soundscape while climbing to one of the most dreamlike and extended peaks in memory. One of those jams with staggering one-minded communication, “Crosseyed” not only set a highly elevated tone for the set but delivered a surreal Phish adventure that belongs among the band’s most esteemed.

Following a very active composed jam, the band moved into a melodic preamble of “Crosseyed’s” open jam from which they blended into the central mind-melt of the night. A passage so fluid and open yet tight and connected, the following section of soul-drenched reverie truly defies description. Teeming with retro ’98 / ’99-esque wizardry, the quartet stepped into sacred stride and channeled music that will forever send tingles down one’s spine—real deal, best ever type stuff. Mike’s eclectic and heavy-handed rhythms, Fishman’s crashing cymbal textures, Page’s rolling intensity on grand piano, and Trey’s otherworldly emoting meshed in a cosmic ambrosia that stayed among the heavens for minutes that felt like a lifetime. Finally allowing the sonic fallout to settle, the band likewise brought the audience back to earth.

Dick's 9.4.16 (Calico Giecewicz)

Dick’s 9.4.16 (Calico Gicewicz)

But IT didn’t stop there. The band continued in a heightened flow state for the rest of the set, descending tastefully into “Steam” before melting into “Piper.” Launching into this jam with fierce passion, Phish rolled into a cathartic, guitar-led theme behind which the band entered full annihilation mode. Mike anchored the savagery with creative bass lines, a motif of the entire evening as well as the weekend. A shift into a sparser segment of jamming saw Mike step to the forefront and Trey back off, as the group never lost their airtight cohesion. They soon coalesced into a full band drum jam with Trey on marimba, a sequence that had potential to derail the set’s flow, but instead burst with a vigorous musicality often absent from such ventures. Slipping out the backside of this percussive fiesta into a knee deep, pornographic Phish groove, it was clear at this point that there would be no slowing down the four-headed monster on this night. Bouncing the stadium in series of slow motion, musical crossover dribbles, the band continued to demonstrate the vast stylistic diversity that laced this powerhouse set of music.

Without hesitation, they layered a brief “Crosseyed” lyrical reprise over the deep groove before segueing smoothly into “Light”—another piece that transformed into a virtuosic jam of high order. Upon the conclusion of the lyrics, Trey sidestepped an extended guitar solo as the band dropped into a minimalist texture from which they built. Reaching a place of near silence, the foursome displayed patience and a willingness to let things breathe before intricately collaborating on their next sound sculpture. Mike and Page soon locked in as Trey layered ideas over their foundation while Fishman offered an ever-changing and delicate rhythm. This piece built slowly into an intense wall of sound, and peaked with a fury far removed from its starting point, another episode of improvisational gymnastics.

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Dick’s 2016 (Stephen Olker)

The band had played amongst the stars for over an hour as they opened a portal to Gamehendge and coyly landed in “Lizards.” This move evoked a certain poignancy as Phish hearkened back to their earliest days, 30 years later, with one of their seminal compositions. And they didn’t just play it, they shredded it to bits with the same level purpose that had been on display all night long. As they moved through the uplifting piece and into Trey’s classic solo, everything was in its right place. Following a bumpy summer tour, the last night of the season brought things back into focus in a way nobody could have imagined. Amidst a prolific set of music, a sense of serenity whispered through the air as the band and audience basked in their bond. “First Tube” provided the energetic culmination—an exclamation point—on this special evening.

Rarely does a set of music come together like Sunday’s second. A night like this is immortal—a show that transcends a mere concert and becomes a life experience. They don’t come around very often, sets without a hiccup, sets that flow relentlessly with unparalleled music, sets that define Phish’s raison d’etre and embody the ethos of the community that loves this band with all of their being. Sunday night at Dick’s, however, was one of them. It was a perfect set of Phish.

Dick's 2016 (Stephen Olker)

Dick’s 2016 (Stephen Olker)

1,410 Responses to “The Feeling Returns”

  1. Shred Says:

    Breath and Burning was originally released on $1.99 romances-

  2. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Is that a unidentified flying orb on the upper right of that 1st pic? Seriously. I think it is. Damn right the aliens were boogie’n w/ us during the Sunday Sermon.

  3. sumodie Says:

    Let’s Go also didn’t make the cut

    Skim worthy:

    http://www.jambase.com/article/tracklist-for-new-phish-album-big-boat-features-5-songs-band-has-yet-to-play-live

    ***
    For those vocab wooks wanting a fresh parry against crepuscular:

    Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɨkɔər/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek, petra, meaning ‘stone’, + ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

    The term was coined in 1964 by two researchers, Isabel Joy Bear (Australian) and Roderick G. Thomas (British), for an article in the journal Nature.[1][2] In the article, the authors describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, a metabolic by-product of certain Actinobacteria, which is emitted by wet soil, producing the distinctive scent; ozone may also be present if there is lightning.[3] In a follow-up paper, Bear and Thomas (1965) showed that the oil retards seed germination and early plant growth.[4] This would indicate that the plants exude the oil in order to safeguard the seeds from germination under duress.

    In 2015, MIT scientists used high-speed cameras to record how the scent moves into the air.[5] The tests involved approximately 600 experiments on 28 different surfaces, including engineered materials and soil samples.[6] When a raindrop hits a porous surface, small bubbles form that float to the surface and release aerosols.[5] Such aerosols carry the scent as well as bacteria and viruses from the soil.[5] Raindrops that move at a slower rate tend to produce more aerosols; this serves as an explanation for why the petrichor is more common after light rains.[5]

    Some scientists believe that humans appreciate the rain scent because ancestors may have relied on rainy weather for survival.[7]

  4. stapes Says:

    Definite extraterrestrial presence at Dicks.

  5. Arcimboldo Says:

    Nice GSW reference Shred.

    Track time for Blaze On is 4:20

  6. tela's_muff Says:

    not sure about aliens but i def can’t shake the sight of that bear wook in his g-string.

  7. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Track times for both B&B & Blaze are 4:20. Ha!

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Always dug Hans’ perspective. Then he placed the Tweezer above the Crosseyed from Dicks. 5 years of opinions, out the damn window. Thanks Hans!

  9. HadToHaveThat Says:

    @JG i told you I saw a spaceship!!!

  10. sumodie Says:

    If you’d stop talking about g-string wook, I’d stop having flashbacks about him

    Imagine if everyone wore g-strings at phish, what then?

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    Shred – which tune tho? Mile X Mile? Or Thirsty?

  12. MrCompletely Says:

    Tickets would be easier to get, for one thing

  13. MrCompletely Says:

    For some reason I don’t have this set on my phone yet? What kind of bullshit is that?

  14. TheUniverse Says:

    Just wanted to drop in and say hey. It sure was great having some of you join TheUniversse for a little while. The offices can get kind of lonely and even if there are a lot of chompers in the group, it’s still nice. I hope to see y’all real soon. Fingers crossed for the Halloween run.

  15. Jerome Garcia Says:

    FTR it wasn’t a g string per se. More like a string bikini bottom.
    http://thoughtsonthedead.com/time-is-a-fat-circle/

  16. aj Says:

    G string incident

  17. Shred Says:

    seriously when I heard trey’s singing it reminded me of listening to Lo and Aaron in 94 on 1.99.

    They all have pretty good voices. No need for that.
    1.99 is $35 on amazon. Does that come with a handjob from a bandslut?

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    Ain’t nuthin but a G strang

  19. MrCompletely Says:

    Back half of Lockn Light as style setter for Dicks version? Tho I guess that style of calm, interwoven Light jam goes back to the Greek

  20. DryIceFactory Says:

    Fantastic stuff Dave. Well done.

    All it was missing to be absolutely perfect was your calling card “PHISH IS BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER AND SO AM I!!!”

  21. Kaveh Says:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2016/09/12/493632092/listen-phish-share-a-breezy-new-rocker

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    Echoes of Ghost in the early part of the No Man’s loop section. Missed that the first six times through I guess.

  23. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    thanks for the write up, as always, miner. i thought it was a straight magical weekend with sunday set II being otherwordly. a sick three day run. fire phish. disco dancing in space.

    will petrichor be the TTE of fall 2016? will it take up twenty minutes in the second set? will it only close the first set? will the community blow up after gettting that sick dicks run and then getting a Home>Tide Turns>Miss You>Petrichor in the second set of the tour opener? i guess we’ll find out. dance through the dick punch, yo. can’t fucking wait for nashville and vegas!!!!!!

  24. snowbank Says:

    This new Dave Mathews Band Cover that Phish dropped is Fiyah! Can’t wait for the college talent to start taking over shows.

    Now when is Trey gonna get an electric violin?

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    Me: Petrichor is on the new album I guess

    MrsC: ಠಿ_ಠ

    Me (trying to be positive): it was nice at the symphony gig

    MrsC: TTE was nice at the symphony gig too and it sucks as a Phish song

    Me: …it has No Man’s on it

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