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. dorn76 Says:

    This also seems apropos

  2. stapes Says:

    And by Meatstick I mean summer sausage. Fueling summer tours along with Ritz for decades.

  3. tela's_muff Says:

    do you take fries with your meatstick? #irepresentnobody

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    this whole “people I associated with” convo is hilarious. me and the 3 hippy wooks from Ohio i associated with like WTU and Meatstick. there ya go. ha.

    ^ I knew a lot of people back then. Never heard any anti-meatstick sentiment. Just trying to say that I can’t speak for the people I didn’t know. Not sure what’s so hilarious.

  5. Gumbomaniac Says:

    I’m still weirded out that the Trey chose to use the word “pulsate” in More. Especially since he uses the word “vibrate” in the previous sentence.

    Definitely think “I Always Wanted it this Way” is the best song on the album. Petrichor would be a tough one to pull off live.

    Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the drummer from Hamilton show up on Halloween to play with the boys.

  6. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Meatshtick was pretty damn fun @ Gorge1. I got down pretty hard.

    F the BB is right. Big Boat that is. Ha!

    Great wknd hanging w/ the family Brosevelt & friends. Sat aftn pontoon cruise on Lake Dillon was pretty amazeballs. Views of the changing aspens & surrounding mtns from the water were epic. MamaLos cruised the bus down to the Front Range for a much deserved & needed girls nt & following day out. Spent the rest of Sat & Sun kickin it w/ HB & BabyLos. Awesome chill aftn of peepin aspen groves Arkansas River Twin Lakes & sweeping views from Independence Pass ystdy w/ HB providing informative commentary stories etc during the drive. Heady as you can imagine is a most gracious host. BabyLos is one cool little mamacita. Dig her a bunch. We talked lovingly about many of you beautiful people on the BB & had a few laughs at your expense taboot. Thank you again for your hospo amigo. Look fwd to the next time.

    & just a friendly reminder to make sure you hydrate when heading up into higher elevations. Bc if you’re not careful it’ll getcha & you might just go wook down. Ha!

  7. tela's_muff Says:

    nothing at all. just having fun. i totally get the phish crew thing. i had one in ’95-’96, and do now as well. all good. arguing about Meatstick and WTU and who liked those songs or not back in ’99 2000 is ultimately funny to me. i gladly participate in said funny argument as well. i’ll move on.

    Big Boat sucks convo has been done.
    Meatstick, WTU debate seems to have run it’s course

    i’ll throw down on a Toronto Disease debate… any takers??

  8. garretcorncob Says:

    That’s kinda what I’ve been guessing, Gumbo: Halloween set with horns and auxiliary percussion, some new songs, some old ones with added arrangements, etc.

  9. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Roostar my pleasure. Glad to be of service. Enjoyed kicking it w/ you @ Dicks1. Always a delight to be in your presence.

  10. phishm Says:

    Toronto Disease is the shit. Done.

  11. vapebraham Says:

    Meatstick has $$$ lyrics:

    I’m trapped here as my senses bleed
    I can’t recall which things I need — (great line)
    You show up late and stumble in
    Unsure if you are still Corrine

    My captive gaze inside your eyes
    Reveal a thing you’ve tried to hide
    Attempting to record this view
    Reflections drive me out of you

    But long before this scene concludes
    The end I’m seeking still eludes
    My every effort to apply
    My will to moments passing by

    But every time we say goodbye
    The pain I can’t identify
    Reveals to me the hidden door
    That leads to several moments more

  12. lumpyhead Says:

    back to back nights at the bowl and this monday can suck all over it

  13. tela's_muff Says:

    meh…takes too much meandering before the slight 2-3mins of payoff at the end. mwhahahaha

  14. vapebraham Says:

    woops. miner beat me to that point re. the lyrics. I love the musical feel to the M-stick as well and when they jam it out a bit – heaven.

    bubbleberry and orchestre Poly Rhythmo echoes hypnotiques

  15. dorn76 Says:

    It’s a mehshtick at this point.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Nice Dorn!

    Meatstick Defense works in 37 state for misdemeanor traffic citations.

    AZ is not one of those states, unless you are state licensed for concealed carry.

  17. dorn76 Says:

    @HTHT, you may not need to leave home to find trends, yo.

  18. Jerome Garcia Says:

    This one phishm?

  19. phishm Says:

    That’s the one Jerome. For good measure I too will press play while in the cube. The boss isn’t here so I’ll use both ear buds too.

  20. dorn76 Says:

    Can we argue about the Hartford ’16 #line?

    Stellar version, brought me to near tears as I peed.

  21. phlorida phan Says:

    BUBBLEBERRY?!?!?!?!? Like my all-time fav. Had her once as a wee lad…..crave her ever since.

  22. tela's_muff Says:

    thanks for posting that vid @JG. said meandering put me to sleep and i spilled my cold brew. thankfully a widely recycled lick shows up at 13mins or so, and that snapped me out of my slumber. around 15mins of jam Mike decides to get engaged. the crowd feels the possibility that finally the jam might actually elevate. trey initiates lots of deep knee bends, teasing that a real jam is just around the corner… there’s quite the rave up here at the end…we may blast off…. sadly.. this is 2013 and well… no.

  23. dorn76 Says:

    My e-tix from MGM ticket broker AXS just arrived in the inbox.

    Check your e-mahl and spam filtration systems.

  24. phlorida phan Says:

    ^Same here…..Woot Woot

  25. phlorida phan Says:

    New Post!!!!! Bubbleberry!

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