The Feeling Returns


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.


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)

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1,410 Responses to “The Feeling Returns”

  1. Lycanthropist Says:

    oh my god i saw that yesterday Sumo

    some things cant be unseen

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    Flowing through jazz drumming infused hyper breakbeats to slumped out backbeat panty dropper grooves, the soft psychedelic sounds were akin to EnoCluster/Type2Jams/DriveIn/Lanois/Impala and the general world of trippy rad sounds.
    the bells and percussive aspects really remind me of Satchidananda.

    Everything soundwise from Tribe to Aphex, all wrapped in a Sci Fi Alice affair.

    Should also be noted he dropped Travis Scott’s Antidote, Os Mutantes, Roger and Zapp, and Kendrick’s King Kunta & Wesley’s Theory & Never Catch Me.

    King Kunta actually devolved into an industrial acid house kinda vibe. cray.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    ^^ @Sumo , how bout that Feldman though

  4. sumodie Says:

    Feldman wasn’t nearly as weirdly awful as reports led me to believe. But bad, yes

    LU, nice Fly Bowl reportage! So do peeps dance or at least stand for FlyLo?

  5. MrCompletely Says:

    Ok so question for the folks who have watched all of Stranger Things

    Completely Jr wants to watch it with us, he’s 12, and pretty ready for weirdness/creepy In a normal seeming way for that age

    We watched ep 1 last night without him and def thought it seemed ok

    So my question is, how much more intense than that does it get? Like a step or two, or a LOT?

    Right now we’re def trending towards Yes so this is kind of a final sanity check

    Thanks for your spoiler free thoughts

  6. MrCompletely Says:

    Not much in PDX Sumo but it was the You’re Dead tour and material and the show contour went from hyper spastic to spacy groove without a lot of mid/up tempo dance oriented stuff. There was a B boy crew at the back breaking pretty hard for most of it, but the crowd seemed really spun and head-trippy

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    Mr. C –

    Things get a little scarier, but it doesn’t make HUUUGE leaps..

    I would say it will probably be ok, but will definitely require a few moments of holding him close.

    There are intensely creepy parts, but never any significant graphic violence.

    But perhaps a few nightmare inducing shots.

    Episode 2 is the only real sexuality

    Think poltergeist level creepiness without it being out right horror

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    never more visually frightening than say Fringe

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    I guess that doesn’t really help you in any significant way.

    I will say this I would have let my daughter watch it when she was 12, with perhaps some fastforwarding through a scene or two.

    If he doesn’t scare easily (like terrify) then he should be fine.

    The kids stay the heroes throughout, so I imagine that would help inspire bravery. 😉

  10. MrCompletely Says:

    No actually that’s perfectly calibrated feedback, exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for thanks

  11. dusty Says:

    thundercat Michael McD. whoever is stalking me please re up my ether and random crystal bin. I just came therehisere to proclaim my love of ramen and lust of enail phố sure rig. Elemental..

  12. little umbrellas Says:

    ^Sumo, during FlyLo crowd was all buttered up. Many dancing, some chilling and just staring.

  13. Voopa Dickens Says:

    Just listened to Big Boat. I love it. *turns in card*

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    @C haven’t watched stranger things twice or remember specially which episodes,
    but on a scale of 0-10.. if first episode is a low of say 2 in ‘adult material’, then the show I’d say gets to maybe a 4.. it’s mostly psychological, doest ever go full horror, but there is some actual violence.. I daknow, kids these days .. 12 seems ok to me? I was watching Akira by 13 and this is much less gnarly then that.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    ^it’s pretty damn creepy though. And some folks don’t make it.

  16. verno329 Says:

    Has the Mud Island Tweezer video made its way here yet?

  17. MrCompletely Says:

    nope, wow

  18. bobby weird Says:

    way behind, am reading back, but Big Boat imo is pure crap. just shit all around. last good record was Farmhouse. last great record Ghost. downhill from there. good thing Phish records are irrelevant. holy awful if you ask me.

    get off my lawn!!’

  19. phishm Says:

    Something that isn’t awful and isn’t Phish.

  20. bobby weird Says:

    i mean, i hated Joy. but this record is just epicly bad. sorry. done now. wont speak of it again.

  21. More Says:

    Phish puts out studio albums???

  22. MrCompletely Says:

    and they named one of the most earnestly embarrassing Trey songs EVAR after you!

  23. MrCompletely Says:

    Wow, colossal difference in this 24 bit matrix spun off the phone and off the laptop. By far the biggest difference I’ve ever heard. Sounds like shit off the phone, and somewhere between pretty good and great (still listening) direct from computer

  24. MrCompletely Says:

    Still not sure I actually like it better though. Definitely only recommended if you can avoid a phone amp & probably if you have a subwoofer or other very clear bass reproduction. The bass instrument levels are very high, in what I’d mostly call a good way. Not totally convinced about the realism of the overall sound…sometimes I think the drums sound ok, sometimes not.

    Jumping to set two now. I think the mix in the audience recordings might be improving as it goes. I thought Tube sounded clearer than Gin for instance

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    Lowering the crossover on the sub helped. Cleared up some mud in the lower mids/upper bass registers, cleared up the drums and bass.

    No audible phasing artifacts in the cymbal decay – the downfall of many a matrix…

    Terry sounds good thru the effect tone sequence early in crosseyed

    Not really getting a great stereo image though. I think that’s it.

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