Transforming a Tradition

Posted in Uncategorized with the on October 31st, 2020 by Mr.Miner

2013—Wingsuit

After Trey unleashed a soaring Duane Allman-esque solo to punctuate a standout version of “Down With Disease” in Reading, Pennsylvania on October 29th, the final show before Halloween 2013, the rumor that Phish would cover The Allman Brothers’ Eat A Peach seemed to be coming to fruition. The band had been featuring, bluesy, Allmans-like peaks to their jams all tour, and this one felt like the tipping point towards their forthcoming Halloween costume. But while fans were busy scouring jams for clues as to what might transpire in Atlantic City’s cover set, the band was hatching another plan altogether.

Since coming back in 2009, Phish had delivered two scintillating Halloween sets, covering a pair of double albums from the annals of classic rock history—The Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” and Little Feat’s “Waiting for Columbus.” After skipping fall tours in 2011 and 2012, the band found itself amidst a stellar fall run in 2013 as they prepared to descend on Boardwalk Hall for their second Halloween party down the shore in New Jersey.

Keeping everyone guessing until the last moment, fans were thrown a curveball when they stepped into the venue on Friday night, receiving a Phishbill announcing that the band would perform Wingsuit—“an album from the future”—a set of twelve unheard, original songs. Phish would debut a host of new material—half of which they had written together after listening to recent jams—that they would begin to record in the days following Fall Tour. With this unprecedented move, the band broke from their well-loved Halloween tradition and jumped into the unknown with their fans.

10/31/13 (Jake Silco)

Phish had only approached such a daring feat a couple times in their career, debuting six originals at a one-off benefit show in Lowell, Massachusetts in May of 1995, and seven then six, respectively, on the first two nights of Summer ’97 in Dublin, Ireland. But of all the crazy things the band had done in their 30 years, they had never before played an entire set of new, original music, and certainly never flirted with such a feat in such a high-profile affair.

There was no greater risk that Phish could have taken on Halloween. Many Phish fans have a notorious reputation for hating on new music as Trey explained in an anecdote from Wingsuit’s Phishbill: “Every time we’ve put out a new Phish album—literally every time—a certain contingent of fans has felt that the band they know and love is coming to an end. It’s never true.” He went on to recall how he was heckled in 1990 after debuting “Reba,” one of the band’s most hallowed compositions. Needless to say, Phish didn’t expect their audience to lap up their newest offerings in Atlantic City, but they put their wingsuits on and played them anyway. And in doing so, they shocked a fan base that thought it had virtually seen it all.

Through reading their essay and interview in the Phishbill, the band’s energy for their upcoming set became palpable. They were clearly excited to get their songs “dirty and mess them up a little” before recording them, while having “the live energy of a Phish audience directly involved in the making of [their] new album.” Page added that the band was eager to make a statement that in their 3oth year they “were a vital, creative force still, and in some ways, more so than ever.”

10/31/13 (Jake Silco)

There is nothing quite like hearing new Phish music for the first time, and the Wingsuit set put the entire audience—noobs and vets alike—on the same plane, transforming everyone into first-timers. This aspect provided the most novel element of the Halloween set which became an experience in collective discovery; expectations were impossible. The audience learned the nature and dynamics of these songs in real-time with the band. Wingsuit was a collaborative exercise; an unprecedented gesture in live music in which—most often—fans come to hear the familiar. How many other bands could step on stage and captivate their audience with 90 minutes of brand new material?

With their Wingsuit performance, Phish opened the studio doors to their fans, allowing them to be a part of the creative process. The songs of the set varied in style, and many would soon become staples of the band’s live rotation in the following years, including “Wingsuit,” “Fuego,” “The Line,” “Waiting all Night,” “Wombat,” Devotion to a Dream,” “555,” and “Winterqueen.”

Phish didn’t have to take such an audacious risk. The guys could have easily memorized another album from the past and crushed it. It probably would have been easier and less stressful. But choosing the road less traveled has defined Phish’s ethos from their genesis. Throughout their career, their audience had come to expect the unexpected from the band, and Halloween 2013 was another such instance. But little did they know that Wingsuit was the first step towards a new, even greater, Halloween tradition.

2014—Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House

10/31/14 (Eric Battuello)

As Halloween 2014 approached, the door was now wide open for anything Phish wanted to do. The scene had shifted to Las Vegas for the first time since 1998 and anticipation for the tour-ending weekend was sky high. What transpired, however, far surpassed anything anyone could have possibly imagined.

Following their own lead of 2013, Phish again performed a set of totally original music, but this time they folded their old tradition of covering an album into the mix. In the middle of the afternoon of the 31st, the Phishbill leaked and fans learned that this year’s cover album would be Walt Disney’s 1964 Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. But with the assistance of Google, everyone also quickly learned that this album contained no music—only short, spoken vignettes with accompanying sound effects. Hmm. What was going on here?

As it turned out, Phish wrote ten new instrumentals to accompany the album’s eerie narrations while incorporating Disney’s sound effects into these jams via samples triggered by Page. The result? A sublime mash-up of fantasy and psychedelia that plunged the depths of imagination. The band interpreted each scene from the album with an instrumental passage, inviting audience members to be active participants in envisioning mental movies for each musical narrative. Disney’s sketches set the scenes and Phish took over from there, leaving their audience spellbound in awe. When all was said and done, Chilling, Thrilling, as it would come to be known, was the most well-loved Halloween set the band had ever played. Never had Phish honed in on the spirit of All-Hallows Eve like they did on this night, and with a set’s worth of original music without lyrics or songs, proper, this performance was many a psychonaut’s dream.

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

The production of Chilling, Thrilling was as ambitious as the music. A massive haunted house crumbled after the second “song,” revealing an elevated square stage on which the band performed in white tuxedos and full makeup above a troupe of dancing zombies amidst an elaborate graveyard. Positioned across from each other to enhance focused communication, the band went all out in creating a ghoulish spectacle unmatched in any previous Halloween set.

And then there was the music, itself. These instrumentals were not thrown together haphazardly, but meticulously developed with each boasting a cohesive theme to go along with Disney’s scenes while leaving plenty of room for improvisation. A few of the pieces—“Martian Monster,” “Your Pet Cat,” and “The Dogs”—soon become hallmarks of the band’s live rotation, while two others—“The Very Long Fuse” and “The Birds”—were played less frequently. Though the pieces have not developed into the jam vehicles that many fans envisioned at the time, they are always choice reminders of this special night in Vegas.

The power of hearing new Phish music in real-time without expectations or reference points that underlined Wingsuit once again infused the experience of Chilling, Thrilling, but this time the band wrapped an entire concept and production around the music, bringing these pieces to life in a way that did not take place in Atlantic City. There was much more scaffolding for the audience this time around as the band took them on a musical adventure not unlike a Disney ride from childhood. All the audience had to do was pull down the safety bar and let go.

2018—I Rokk

10/31/18 (Keith Griner via Live for Live Music)

After a 2016 detour in David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, in which Phish honored the late icon, 2018 seemed primed for a return to the band’s newly minted Halloween tradition. And this time, they flipped the idea on its head once again. Not only did Phish play a full set of original music, they fabricated an obscure Scandinavian band, Kasvot Vaxt, and set out to cover their long-lost album of lore, I Rokk. Though it was clear from the get-go that this was another in the long line of the band’s elaborate gags, one still heard stories of fans who bought into the tongue-in-cheek ploy hook, line and sinker, truly believing that Kasvot Vaxt existed.

The Kasvot Vaxt set featured not just short instrumentals, but a totally new “album” of ten, fully fleshed out Phish songs, complete with hilarious, pastiche lyrics and improvisational passages. This Halloween performance was a comedy show and a psychedelic rock concert mashed into one—a quintessentially Phishy maneuver. In I Rokk, Phish combined the strongest elements of Wingsuit—a brand new set of developed songs, and Chilling, Thrilling—a full-blown, conceptual production—into their most ambitious Halloween set ever played.

Jaws hung to the floor throughout the arena in laughter and disbelief as the band rolled out one incredible song after another while donning Nordic-white outfits on an illuminated, white stage. Everyone in attendance knew they were witnessing something incredibly special as this set transpired—one of those indelible moments in Phish folklore. These songs had obvious staying power from moment one, and it was clear that Phish wrote them with the intention of keeping them around far beyond this Halloween spectacle. “Turtle in the Clouds,” We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains,” “The Final Hurrah, “Say it to me S.A.N.T.O.S,” and “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” have all become central in the Phish catalog and crowd favorites since Halloween night, while “Passing Through” and “Cool Amber and Mercury” have also proven to be worthy additions to any set. And unlike any previous Halloween set, Phish has since performed every song from I Rokk in their live shows.

10/31/18 (Jake Silco via Phish)

The band collaboratively wrote the Kasvot Vaxt songs and they represent Phish song-crafting at its finest, replete with catchy melodies, infectious motifs, deep pockets, and their trademark sense of absurdist humor in instantly memorable lyrics such as “I’m the glue in your magnet,” “This is what space smells like, “Faceplant into rock,” and “Cluuueless Wallob.” This set of songs injected the Phish repertoire with the most clever, innovative and fresh-sounding material in a long time, and much like Chilling, Thrilling—but even more enthusiastically—everyone in the community was on board. The Kasvot Vaxt performance became an instant sensation among fans, while the band responded by creating all sorts of merch to commemorate the special night. Phish and their fans collectively reveled in I Rokk‘s afterglow as everyone’s energy bubbled over throughout the months off and right into the New Year’s Run, where the band excitedly opened the 28th with “We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains.”

It short, I Rokk was one of the absolute peak performances of Phish’s illustrious career. This set built upon what they had learned through Wingsuit and Chilling, Thrilling and could not have transpired without the stepping stones of those previous performances. Traditions take time to develop, and Phish took a bold step in 2013, breaking from their time-honored rite of a cover album and forging forth with a new idea of how a Halloween set could be crafted. Challenging themselves to reinvent Halloween rather than resting on a well-proven formula, Phish veered off the path of least resistance to create a new tradition that has been even more invigorating for the band and more spectacular for their community. Over the span of three performances, Phish has built a new Halloween ritual that stands out in their prolific musical legacy and has set a new standard of greatness for the band that always seems to have a new trick or treat up its sleeve.

10/31/18 (Jake Silco via Phish)

Twenty Years Later: Japan 2000

Posted in Uncategorized with the on June 12th, 2020 by Mr.Miner

Japan 2000 Poster

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Japan 2000—one of my favorite Phish runs of all time. My friend, Myke Menio—aka @LawnMemo—invited me onto his Daily Soundcheck podcast to talk about these incredible shows. We will be recording five episodes. The first episode just went live and is linked below. I will add the new links to each episode onto this post as they go live. Hope you enjoy!

Episode 1: 6/13/00 Club Quattro and the Tokyo shows 

Episode 2: 6/14/00 Drum Logos, Fukuoka

Episode 3: 6/15/00 Big Cat, Osaka

Episode 4: 6/16/00 Zepp, Osaka

Nassau Wins the Title

Posted in Uncategorized with the on May 7th, 2019 by Mr.Miner

Nassau Coliseum

#1 Nassau Coliseum 52 #1 Auburn Hills 36

In the championship game of Tweezer Madness, Nassau Coliseum’s ’03 version took down the Palace ’97 and captured the trophy. Although the game was competitive, the result was never truly in doubt, as Nassau grabbed an early lead and was able to maintain separation throughout the game. The only 2.0 Tweezer in the tournament out-dueled the Fall ’97 favorite in a battle between two defining versions. We caught up with Nassau in their champagne-soaked locker room, and the champ had this to say, ” We want to congratulate the Palace on an amazing season. That’s a nasty Tweezer over there, and it deserved to win as much as we did. In reality, Auburn Hills is a deeper, more psychedelic jam, but we had the advantage of length, and you know what they say—size matters. I want to thank all the voters that came down on our side, and we are happy to represent the much-maligned era of 2.0 in taking home the title.”

The Palace version offered it’s own take. “I can’t say we’re not disappointed, but its no embarrassment to lose to that monumental Nassau version. That middle section of music is as good as anything the band has ever played. I thought the score would have been closer, but sometimes things just don’t fall your way. They started the game quickly and we could never quite catch up. On another day, I think we could have defeated the Nassau squad. It was an honor to play in the national final, and it’s an experience we’ll never forget.”

It was a game for the ages, and the fitting end to an amazing month of music and basketball. It was truly a fun event and a joy to watch unfold. Hopefully people got exposed to some new versions and were able to revisit some old favorites along the way. And that brings Tweezer Madness to a close. The selection committee and Uncle Ebeneezer would like to thank all of the voters who helped make this tournament happen. We hope you’ve enjoyed the experience, and we look forward stepping into the freezer together in a little over a month as we prepare for new versions to unfold. Until then…please her with a Tweezer.

Championship Stub—2.28.03

The Championship Game

Posted in Uncategorized with the on May 2nd, 2019 by Mr.Miner

Photo: Andrea Nusinov

*****

The Championship Game: #1 vs #1

*****

The moment has arrived! It has all come down to this—Tweezer Madness’ championship game on the hallowed grounds of Limestone, Maine. 66 versions started and only two remain—The Palace of Auburn Hills from December 6, 1997, and Nassau Coliseum from February 28, 2003. Arguably, the two most illustrious Tweezers in history will battle it out for the ultimate in cyberspace supremacy. But how did we get here? Let’s take a look back at the national semi-finals.

Final Four Recap

#1 Nassau 58 #3 Denver, CO 45

This semi-final matchup saw two opposing squads that hadn’t been challenged all tournament long. Denver had pulled huge upsets in the past two rounds, taking out Mud Island and Raleigh by surprisingly large margins, and Nassau had steamrolled everything in its path on its way to Limestone. But when the ball tipped, the mettle of each version was put to the test. Nassau threw it’s multi-stylistic offense at Denver, while Denver responded with a groove-centric onslaught. versions wouldn’t budge in a highly competitive affair. It was the proverbial immoveable object versus the unstoppable force—which would crack first? The two versions remained within a couple points of each other for the for the first half of the game, with neither able to build any separation. At the beginning of the second half, however, Nassau built a ten point lead that it maintained the rest of the way. In an incredible showing, Denver’s version—a jam that is not even the main highlight if its own show—went toe-to-toe with the post-hiatus behemoth in a quest to reach the title game. But the show-opening version ultimately fell short, as Nassau—an early favorite to reach the title game—moves on to compete for all the marbles.

#1 Auburn Hills 79 #2 Lake Tahoe 28

The other semi-final matchup proved to be the polar opposite of the first game, as Lake Tahoe was no competition for the top-seeded version from Auburn Hills. After staging a battle for the ages versus Magnaball in the Gorge regional final, Tahoe came out flat against the monster from the Palace, and never made the game competitive. Meanwhile, Auburn Hills, expecting its first real test of the tournament, took no prisoners and ran up the score without concern, toppling the 3.0 version by the gaudy score of 79-28. Auburn Hills was able to sit its starters for the last ten minutes of the game, a rarity in a contest of such magnitude, and a luxury that may behoove them in the tournament final. Tahoe’s cheerleaders tried to “Woo!” their team back into it, but their enthusiasm fell on deaf ears, as the squad folded down the stretch.

The Final Four

Posted in Uncategorized with the on April 29th, 2019 by Mr.Miner

**********

Limestone National Semi-Final: #1 vs #2

Limestone National Semi-Final: #1 vs #3

**********

Elite Eight Recap

The four regional final games provided one instant-classic, one surprise upset, and two predictable results. Let’s take them one by one.

#2 Tahoe 38 #4 Magnaball 34 

The two-four matchup between Magnaball and Lake Tahoe pitted two modern classics against each other with a bid to Limestone, the site of the Final Four, on the line. The majority of pundits had Tahoe rolling fairly easily in this one, but the incredibly competitive contest illustrates why the games are played and the unpredictable nature of Tweezer Madness. The two versions staged, arguably, the most ferocious battle of the entire tournament, going back and forth from the opening tip. Neither version would give an inch, and the score remained within a bucket or two difference for the entirety of the game. This one came down to who would have the final possession, and that turned out to be Lake Tahoe. In a tie game, the 2013 version ran a set play and hit an improbable, three-point buzzer beater from the right wing as time expired! Magnaball aggressively closed out on the shooter, taking away its landing space and was whistled for a foul on the game-winner, accounting for the four-point margin of victory. And thus concluded one of the greatest games in the history of the tournament.

#3 Denver ’97 48 #1 Raleigh ’99 27

To put it frankly, this result was a total shocker. At no point during the tournament did the media or the selection committee expect to see the version from McNichols in the Final Four. Though the well-loved, groove clinic is comprised of straight Fall ’97 Phish crack, most thought that its one-dimensionality would keep it from advancing to the tournament’s final weekend. Raleigh—a looped-out, layered, psych-groove-quasi-shoegazing exploration—has it all, including one of the band’s most sublime peaks of all-time, but the cowfunk of Denver took an early lead and never looked back, leaving Raleigh in the dust in an incredibly surprising blowout.

#1 Auburn Hills 58 #3 Bomb Factory 18

This contest saw a stark juxtaposition of eras, pitting, arguably, the crowning achievement of Fall ’97 against the iconic Spring  ’94 version that jump-started the year in which Phish truly discovered long-form jamming. Each version has a place in the pantheon of Tweezers, but when stepping back to compare the music and level of improvisation between the two, there is really no contest. The final score of this game reflected this dichotomy, as The Palace trounced the Bomb Factory, advancing to Limestone by the colossal margin of 40 votes.

#1 Nassau 50 #2 Lakewood 00 23

Nassau has been a force to be reckoned with in Tweezer Madness, dominating its competition from the opening  tip of it’s first round matchup. The Long Island epic has demolished any version that has stepped in its path, with an unrelenting fury, seeking vengeance for the undeserved shade that has befallen the 2.0 era throughout much of the Phish community. It has looked every bit the monster of its legend, and rolls into the Final Four casually disposing of an incredibly strong version from Lakewood 2000. Nassau’s wide margin of victory came as a bit of a surprise against one of the elite versions of all-time. Its victory sets up an intriguing semi-final against Denver ’97 in which its dominance may be challenged for the first time.

**********

The tournament has reached its peak! The four regional champions will make the haul up to Limestone to settle the score. The Final Four vote will be live for 72 hours. Thanks to all who have participated along the way.

The Elite Eight

Posted in Uncategorized with the on April 26th, 2019 by Mr.Miner

Updated Bracket (click to enlarge)

**********

MSG Regional Final: #1 vs #3

Gorge Regional Final: #2 vs #4

Hampton Regional Final: #1 vs #3

Worcester Regional Final: #1 vs #2

**********

Sweet Sixteen Recap

Well…the Sweet Sixteen round didn’t provide the the type of high drama that was expected between such standout versions. In fact, only two matchups were even close. The one-four contest between Alpine ’98 and Magnaball provided the only real intrigue of the round, as the modern favorite jumped atop the score from the get go, looking as if it was going to blow out the top-seeded classic from Alpine Valley. Magnaball got complacent with its lead, however, letting up on defense and allowing Alpine back in the game. Magna played with a single digit lead for much of the second half, but Alpine was never able to draw even, falling to the 2015 standout by the final tally of 50-37. Alpine ’98 is the first number one seed to topple in the tournament, as Magnaball’s Tweezer advances on the strength of two separate, standout jam segments sandwiched around Prince Caspian.

The other close game came in second-seeded Lake Tahoe’s 13-vote victory over the third-seeded version from the Great Went. Though Tahoe had the higher seed due to its iconic status in modern Phish, the Great Went boasted supremely locked-in, one-minded playing, and grooves that are among the band’s best ever. This one could have gone either way and the result wouldn’t have been surprising. Tahoe, however, took an early lead, and despite a legitimate effort from the Went to make it competitive, coasted to an easy 51-38 victory.

All the other Sweet Sixteen matchups turned out to be blowouts. The most notable upset came in Hampton’s two-three game as Denver ’97’s groove clinic toppled the longest version of all-time in Mud Island by the score of 57-25. Many saw the hallmark Summer ’95 version as a final four contender, but its run ended in the round of sixteen as McNichols will now battle Raleigh ’99 in a marquee regional final.

Jones Beach’s magic finally ran out as the Summer ’95 beast fell to 1994’s first long-form Tweezer from the Bomb Factory. Jones Beach had gone on a late-season tear, winning its conference tournament and vaulting to a two-seed in Tweezer Madness, but the Bomb Factory ended its quest for glory in dominating fashion by the score of 58-24.

Second-seeded Lakewood ’00 easily ousted Christiana’s Grey Hall rendition from Europe ’98 by the score of 48-32. Christiana made a nice run in the tourney, making it to the second weekend as a six seed and garnering the respect it deserves, but Lakewood proved too much for the international version to handle.

The three other top-seeded versions rolled once again. The Palace crushed Camden ’99, 62-24, Raleigh ’99 smoked Hampton ’13 by the count of 60-24, and Nassau easily disposed of Tokyo 64-19. These number one seeds all look like favorites for the final four, and will look to continue their dominance in the round of eight.

Above is the Elite Eight vote. These games will run for 72 hours. May the strong survive!

**********

Elite Eight Breakdown

By Year

1994: 1

1997: 2

1999: 1

2000: 1

2003: 1

2013: 1

2015: 1

By Season

Spring: 1

Summer: 3

Fall: 2

Winter: 2

 

The Sweet Sixteen

Posted in Uncategorized with the on April 23rd, 2019 by Mr.Miner

Updated Bracket (click to enlarge)

**********

Welcome to the Sweet Sixteen! This is where things *really* get interesting. The voting has brought together sixteen absolutely incredible versions (see the previous post for the latest recap), and every matchup from here on out will, no doubt, be hotly contested. The Sweet Sixteen vote will run for 72 hours. We are now only three voting rounds away from the championship game! This is where the drama gets thick. This is Tweezer Madness.

**********

MSG Sweet Sixteen: #1 vs #5

MSG Sweet Sixteen: #2 vs #3

Gorge Sweet Sixteen: #1 vs #4

Gorge Sweet Sixteen: #2 vs #3

Hampton Sweet Sixteen: #1 vs #5

Hampton Sweet Sixteen: #2 vs #3

Worcester Sweet Sixteen: #1 vs #4

Worcester Sweet Sixteen: #2 vs #6

Round Two Roundup

Posted in Uncategorized with the on April 22nd, 2019 by Mr.Miner

Hampton (A.Kuroda)

Drama, Drama, Drama! The Hampton and Worcester regions more than made up for the blowouts in the last round of voting with several down-to-the-wire contests. Let’s go to the video tape!

Hampton Region Recap

#5 Hampton 13 27 #4 Bangor 94 23

The Hampton region’s highest drama came via the four-five matchup between Bangor and Hampton. This game was nip and tuck throughout with several lead changes along the way. Neither of these juggernauts were able to build any separation in this rugged-style matchup. Hailing from completely different eras, each of these monster versions utilized their unique psychedelic prowess in an attempt to intimidate the other, but neither backed down as the game went down to the wire. A small run in the final two minutes pushed the modern classic over the gem from ’94, and Hampton became the second 3.0 Tweezer to make the Sweet Sixteen.

#2 Mud Island 95 23 #7 Austin 98 19

The most surprising contest of the Hampton region came in an incredibly competitive game between two-seed Mud Island and the upstart, seven-seed Austin 98. This matchup provided the most stark contrast of styles that we have seen in the tournament—Mud Island’s multi-sectioned, never-ending 50-minute odyssey versus the locked-in, smooth-as-can-be, chunky Summer ’98 funk grooves of Austin. Austin kept the game closer than anyone had predicted, and by the second half, the compact dance-version won over the crowd as the arena pulled hard for the improbable upset. It seemed as though the favored ’95 beast would fall in a David versus Goliath story, but Austin missed a couple gimmies in the final minute and somehow, someway, Mud Island survived.

#3 Denver 97 34 #11 New Haven 95 14

After upsetting MSG 12/30/16 in round one, New Haven ’95 had its sight set even higher on the well-loved, show-opening version from McNichols Arena from Fall ’97. But New Haven’s one dimensional, guitar-led run-and-gun attack proved no contest for the methodic and balanced cowfunk of Denver. This one was never close, and Denver—as expected—rolled into the Sweet Sixteen unchallenged.

#1 Raleigh 99 44 #9 Nashville 16 8

Nothing to see here, as number one seed, Raleigh ’99, steamrolled the dark-horse rendition from Fall Tour 2016 in Nashville. Raleigh moves into the next round with its true competition about to begin.

Worcester Region Recap

#4 Tokyo 00 25 #5 Bozeman 94 21

Tokyo ’00 and Bozeman ’94 played the third, hotly contested game in this half of the bracket’s second round. This four-five matchup—pitting a 30-plus minute, international rendition against a 40-plus minute sprawl from Fall ’94—became a contest of leapfrog, with neither version holding a lead for any period of time. Tokyo’s cohesion and intricacy eventually won out over the long-form, patchwork improv from Bozeman, giving this half of the second round its third four-vote margin of victory.

#6 Christiana 98 23 #3 Salem 94 19

This three-six matchup saw two beasts go head-to-head, with the underdog, Christiana winning out in yet another four-vote contest! Much like Tokyo-Bozeman, this game was as competitive as any in the tournament, as the two versions battled neck-and-neck the entire way. Just when one version pulled ahead, the other would come back, and the game entered the final minute tied up. In their last gasps, Christiana offered a slowed-down, psychedelic “When the Levee Breaks” tease, and Salem retorted with a “Norwegian Wood” jam out of an abstract space. The Zeppelin reference was just was the doctored ordered as the iconic European version pulled ahead of the penultimate rendition from Fall ’94, edging Salem by the slim margin of four.

#2 Lakewood 00 22 #7 Albany 18

Worcester’s two-seven matchup proved to be just as dramatic as Hampton’s two-seven, as Lakewood and Albany went at each other with aggression from the opening tip. The heavily favored version from Atlanta was plagued by turnovers out of the gate, allowing Albany to remain in the game with marksman-like three-point shooting. Albany’s long range bombing continued throughout the contest, as they remained within striking distance until the final minutes. Lakewood’s tournament life flashed before its eyes. The Fall ’97 version, however, never got over the hump, as Lakewood blocked it’s final two attempts to secure a narrow escape in an unexpected barnburner.

#1 Nassau 03 42 #9 Champaign 95 6

Nassau 03 was the fourth top seed to annihilate their second round opponent and waltz into the second round with zero trouble. Nassau has its sight set on the final four, but will have to now step up and play in order to get there.

*****

Sweet Sixteen Breakdown

By Year:

1994: 1

1995: 2

1997: 3

1998: 2

1999: 2

2000: 2

2003: 1

2013: 2

2015: 1

Tours with Multiple Versions

Summer ’95: 2

Fall ’97: 2

Summer ’98: 2

Summer ’00: 2

Seasonal Breakdown

Spring: 1

Summer: 10

Fall: 3

Winter: 2

Lookout for the Sweet Sixteen vote within the next 24 hours!

Hampton / Worcester Round 2 Games

Posted in Uncategorized with the on April 17th, 2019 by Mr.Miner

Hampton Coliseum (Jeremy Kessel)

MSG Region Recap

#5 Camden 99 35 #4 Lakewood 15 29

The four-five matchup between Camden ’99 and Lakewood ’15 provided the most marquee matchup of MSG’s second round action. A battle of styles, a battle of eras, a battle of tempos—this contest provided an interesting musical juxtaposition. Camden rode in on the strength of its ’99 psych-goo, while Lakewood put forth its stunningly beautiful melodic theme. In the end, however, the molasses of Camden got the better of Lakewood, as the New Jersey rendition jumped out to a comfortable early lead and continued to score just enough to hold off several comeback attempts from the Summer ’15 highlight.

#2 Jones Beach 95 32 #7 Hartford 13 28

The two-seven matchup pitted two versions, almost two decades apart, that are as different as can possibly be—the wooly and  outlandish exploration of Jones Beach’s Summer ’95 behemoth versus the smooth, thematic playing of Hartford’s Fall ’13 standout. The two squads played each other incredibly tough, but the Long Island monster held the lead from wire to wire. Hartford pulled as close as it would come within the games final minute, but never got over the hump. The sneaky-powerful two seed rolls on with a mission to dethrone more widely known versions.

#3 Bomb Factory 51 #11 Laguna Seca 5

This three-eleven matchup saw two classic 1994 Tweezers that are household names—Bomb Factory and Laguna Seca. After pulling a huge upset over Blossom 15, Laguna Seca looked to shock the world by sending the Bomb Factory packing. But the California, multi-band-festival version couldn’t harness its first round magic and got run out of the gym by the iconic Dallas rendition. This was an outright drubbing, and the victory sets up a highly-anticipated Sweet Sixteen matchup between Bomb Factory and Jones Beach.

#1 Auburn Hills 97 62 #9 Gainesville 95 4

Speaking of a drubbing, Auburn Hills annihilated the upstart Gainesville version from Fall 95 with an eye-popping score differential. The Palace Tweezer strolls into the Sweet Sixteen without breaking a sweat over its first two matchups. The tournament starts now for one of the best Phish jams of all time.

Gorge Region Recap

#4 Magnaball 46 #5 Island Run 19

Everyone had this Magnaball-Island Run second-round matchup circled before the tournament started, but it turned out to be surprisingly non-competitive. These versions hail from two of Phish’s most revered events, but whereas the Magna version was, arguably, the highlight of the weekend, the Island version was practically an afterthought to the run’s countless other-worldly jams. Magnaball ran away the contest in the second half in a thumping that few saw coming.

#3 Great Went 34 #6 Alpine 15 21

The Great Went’s afternoon classic coasted to victory in its second round match-up, maintaining a comfortable 10-plus point lead from early in the first half. The impeccable and buttery Alpine version showed some fight in scoring more than expected against the Went’s vaunted ’97 zone defense, but the result was never truly in question. The Gorge region’s second festival version advances, and the Great Went will surely make some noise in the the next round.

#2 Lake Tahoe 49 #10 Lake Placid 13

Following the trend of the Gorge Region, this Battle of the Lakes resulted in yet another blowout as Tahoe easily dismissed Placid. The tour-ending version from Fall ’95 proved no contest for the fan favorite from Stateline, Nevada, as the third Fall ’95 version bows out of the tournament. This sets up a prime-time affair between The Great Went and Lake Tahoe next round.

#1 Alpine 98 42 #9 Vegas 98 16

This battle of 1998 versions provided little drama, as Vegas just didn’t have the mustard to get within an arm’s reach of Alpine ’98s historic outing. Alpine’s victory cemented an all-chalk second round in the Gorge region, and suffice it to say, the next round will provide more drama than this one.

Hampton & Worcester Regions: Round 2 

Hampton Round 2: #1 vs #9

Hampton Round 2: #4 vs #5

Hampton Round 2: #3 vs #11

Hampton Round 2: #2 vs #7

Worcester Round 2: #1 vs #9

Worcester Round 2: #4 vs #5

Worcester Round 2: #3 vs #6

Worcester Round 2: #2 vs #7

MSG / Gorge Round 2 Games

Posted in Uncategorized with the on April 13th, 2019 by Mr.Miner

MSG, The Baker’s Dozen (Andrea Nusinov)

The second round begins and the matchups get spicier! I plan to run this vote for the same 72 hours, as it seems like it takes that long for a critical amount of voters to weigh in. The tournament will move faster now, as the second round will be done with two posts. Thanks to all who are participating, and I hope you are enjoying this as much as my friends and I are!

MSG Round 2: #1 vs #9

MSG Round 2: #4 vs #5

MSG Round 2: #3 vs #11

MSG Round 2: #2 vs #7

Gorge Round 2: #1 vs #9

Gorge Round 2: #4 vs #5

Gorge Round 2: #3 vs #6

Gorge Round 2: #2 vs #10