A Set of Sorcery

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 10th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
10/31/14 II. Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

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

Well, they did IT again. Using Halloween as a platform for one of their most profound on stage achievements yet, Phish reinvented their own holiday tradition while playing a set of music pulled from our wildest dreams. Choosing to “cover” a Walt Disney album comprised only of sound effects and narration, the band wrote ten instrumental jams to accompany the record’s eerie vignettes in a complete blowout of the imagination. Morphing fantasy and psychedelia on a night scripted for such a mash-up, Phish played an absolutely masterful Halloween set, while pleasing every fan in attendance for—quite possibly—the first time in their 31-year career.

PBcoverNobody knew what to expect when handed a Phishbill that read “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.” A quick Wiki search informed that the album was a collection of sound effects from the vaults of Walt Disney. It had narration on one side but it contained no music?! It quickly became apparent that Phish would follow their own lead of 2013, and use Old Hallow’s Eve to debut a set of original music! But what form this music would take was anyone’s guess. And few could have imagined what would soon transpire.

As the lights came after the Halloween set, the most common thought heard muttered was, “What just happened?” Phish had dropped ten top-notch instrumental jams on the that were used to musically describe scenes set up by the Disney narration, and everyone was desperately trying to wrap their head around the pinnacle Phish experience that just went down. Via live sampling, Page incorporated the album’s sound effects and much of its narration into the set’s increasingly dancy jams, creating a hour-long mindfuck for the audience. Though most fans were mesmerized in a state that fused disorientation and disbelief, there was one thing that everyone knew in real time—“This was most definitely the shit!” The dark instrumentals grew funkier throughout the set, concluding in the non-stop dance party of “Chinese Water Torture,” “The Birds” and “Martian Monster.” Complete with dancing zombies for the first and last track and set in a faux graveyard, this was the band’s quintessential Halloween performance. Though their cover albums showcased a different kind of mastery, this year, Phish distilled the mystic and macabre nature of Halloween into a set of music like never before.

10/31/II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

And it didn’t take long after the show was over to realize what was possible with these composed jams. These “songs” were the polar opposite of Fuego’s largely jamless material—they were already jams—composed themes for the band to expound on in the live setting! Now, if the guys wanted to keep the music moving with no stops, instead of necessarily jamming towards another song they could now simply jam into another jam—and keep jamming! Phish proved on be on board with such thinking, for the next night they seamlessly moved from “Light” into “Dogs” from the Halloween set, and then improvised upon its theme for a stretch before dripping into “Lengthwise.” As illustrated by this immediate example, these Halloween jams represent motifs that the band can weave into their improvisational storytelling. They may have just changed the game—once again—right in front of our eyes.

Phish in Las Vegas has always brought something memorable, but “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House” was on a whole ‘nother level. Combining their career-long penchant for spectacle with their unparalleled musicianship and sense of the moment, Phish executed one of their finest sets of music in a career loaded with staggering performances. Furthermore, this set typified the artistic ethos of the entire Phish project over the course of 31 years.  Never content with their laurels of yesteryear, the band has continuously infused innovative styles of music and performance into their live show throughout their career, leaving a legendary wake in the history of rock and roll.

10/31/14II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

 

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

 

10/31/14 II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

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Put Your Wingsuit On!

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 1st, 2013 by Mr.Miner
10.31.13. Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

10.31.13. Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

Wow! Just wow. Just when you thought Phish had done everything a live quartet could do, they pull another trick out of their hat. Bucking tradition and quenching any Phish fan’s fantasy, the band came out for their coveted Halloween set and debuted twelve new songs—tentative tracks on their new album, “Wingsuit,” that they will start recording next week! And these weren’t just off the cuff Trey ditties, these were spectacularly crafted Phish songs. Ten songs jumped off the stage as instant hits that could be inserted into rotation as soon as possible, and we’ll see about two of the acoustic songs—but holy shit what a treat! The only events with any such precedence in Phish history are Lowell ’95 in which the band debuted six originals, and first night of Summer ’97 in Dublin, Ireland, in which they premiered seven new songs and 13 over two nights at the SFX Centre. But here we were on Halloween 2013, and Phish just dropped a dozen on our domes!

10/31 Official (D.Mumford)

10/31 Official (D.Mumford)

The decision to play Wingsuit was incredibly brave, daring and risky—characteristics that have defined the band throughout their career, and traits for which we adore them. And for that alone, they must be applauded. But god damn, these songs were amazing. I felt like I was floating on cloud nine for the duration of the second set as incredible compositions fell like rain. And there were some legitimate jam vehicles too, that will blow up—in my estimation—starting tonight! These songs spanned a spectrum of feels like so many classic Phish albums. The title track “Wingsuit,” evoked a Pink Floydian vibe, while the third track, “The Line,” sounded influenced by the band’s love of  Velvet Underground. But the opus of the set was “Fuego,” a song, that if I had to bet, was written after they listened to the drum and bass jam from Dick’s “ Chalk Dust” (as the band was quoted in the Phishbill as having listened to recent jams and picked out memorable parts to form songs around). “Fuego” features several parts, including a vicious drum and bass jam and overlaid lyrics. The song “Monica,” performed acoustically with a head of steam last night, will make for an incredible electric arrangement. “Waiting All Night,” a trippy and groovy number with drippy guitar work will fit great deep in second sets.

And the songs go on! “Wombat”—featuring a hip-hop dance routine with actor, Abe Vigoda—is a new funk vehicle that will provide some serious dance sessions in the near future. “Devotion to a Dream” carried an upbeat rhythm and a bluesy, Allman’s feel, with lyrics that sounded like an allegory for the band’s 30-year journey. “555” was a groove-based, Gordon-scribed piece that continues a recent trend of engaging Mike contributions to the catalog. “Winterqueen” is a gorgeous Trey and Tom ballad—played once (or more?) by TAB—that also featured some improv, taboot. “Amongst the Peals of Laughter” was a harmless acoustic folk song and “You Never Know,” the set’s finale, was an intricately written piece about the band being taken five million by a ponzi-esque schemer.

10.31 (J.Silco)

10.31 (J.Silco)

The feeling amongst my crew at setbreak was one of straight elation. We had just been hand served one of the—if not the greatest—batch of new songs ever dropped by Phish! And five long years after Joy, nothing could have come at a finer time. It’s hard to believe that tour is about to end with an entire universe of new material having just been unveiled. But, damn, we may very well be looking at their greatest record ever. Back in ’09, when Phish was interviewed by Rolling Stone, Trey said that he wasn’t sure the band had recorded their best album yet. Guess what, Trey? I think you were right.

And if an entire set of incredibly lush new Phish material wasn’t enough, the band came out and played, arguably, the best third set of their career, jamming their proverbial faces off. Kicking things off in true Halloween fashion, Phish opened the late-night frame with a seething version of “Ghost.” The band converged on a driving, inspired jam that evoked the feel of some memorable ’99 versions. But then the 3.0 twist came in, as the guys slipped into a gorgeous and uplifting second movement of the jam, bringing things into cathartic territory. The band was in total command of their craft in this third set—clearly feeling the weight of twelve debuts lifted off their shoulders—and were locked into sacred jamming. Equitable, lead-less, and totally awe-inspiring, this “Ghost” seemed like it would be the jam of the show. That is until they started “Carini.”

10.31 "Wombat" (Andrea Nusinov)

10.31 “Wombat” (Andrea Nusinov)

The band was taking no prisoners on this night, showcasing every element of what makes them the incomparable live act that they are. And so after a colossal version of “Ghost,” Phish stepped into their most prolific jam vehicle of the last two years—“Carini.” Having just spun this jam once in my buddy’s hotel room, I can—easily—say that this is on the level of anything from this tour, and likely beyond. For me, it was one of those out-of-body experiences in the live setting that when you go back to listen floors you twice as hard. That what full-fledged, all-in Phish will do to you—and this jam was all that and a bag of chips! “Carini” was multi-faceted to the core, spanning darkness, infectious groove, and straight free-form jamming for what seemed like an eternity. This was bliss—Phish throwing down the gauntlet in the third set of a holiday show! Can you remember the last time that happened? 1998—it’s been a while. And this was a complete, start-to-finish Phish set, unlike the three-song, abruptly ended stanza of lore.

10.31 (J.Silco)

10.31 (J.Silco)

Following 35 minutes of the best music you’ll ever hear, the guys tore into an interlude of “Birds of a Feather” before dropping into an impeccable, soul-tugging rendition of “Harry Hood.” “Bug” bridged the set to its closing “Antelope,” at which point I needed to be hooked up to IV fluids to compensate for what I had lost over the night. But water would have to wait as the band demolished their final jam of an unforgettable Halloween night. A celebratory “Quinn the Eskimo” provided the only cover of the three-set show, a rarity for Phish, and a cool twist on the encore for a night once defined by other’s music. In all of the possible scenarios that could have gone down last night, what happened was easily the Phishiest, thing that the band could have done. It is night’s like Thursday’s that make these guys the Phish from Vermont, living legends of rock and roll history.

First set notes: Comprised entirely of standard rotation songs, Phish was clearly focused on what was to come set for the duration of the first set. “Stash” and “Gin” provided slightly better-than-standard versions, but it was clear from the jump that this night would be about the second two sets. And was it ever.

I: Heavy Things, The Moma Dance, Poor Heart, Back on the Train, Silent in the Morning, Kill Devil Falls, Mound, Free, Camel Walk, Stash, Golgi Apparatus, Bathtub Gin

II: Wingsuit*, Fuego*, The Line*, Monica*, Waiting All Night*, Wombat*, Snow*, Devotion To A Dream*, 555*, Winterqueen*, Amidst The Peals Of Laughter*, You Never Know*

II: Ghost, Carini, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood, Bug, Run Like an Antelope

E: Quinn the Eskimo

*debut

10.31.13 Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

10.31.13 Boardwalk Hall (Jake Silco)

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TTFF: 1996—The Transitional Year

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 8th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
8.4.96 Red Rocks

8.4.96 Red Rocks

Inspired by some recent banter in the Twittersphere…

Wilson > Disease” 8.14 I, Hershey, PA

Right off the bat in Hershey, the band dropped this opening sequence

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Mike’s > Lifeboy” 8.13 II, Noblesville, IN

An adventurous mid-’90s “Mike’s” in the yet-to-be developed Cornfields of Deer Creek.

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Tweezer” 8.14 II, Hershey, PA

Legend has always said it that this Herhsey show before The Clifford Ball wasn’t so hot. I never understood that assessment. Here’s another reason why.

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Mike’s Song” 10.29 II, Tallahassee, FL

A percussion-drenched “Houses in Motion” jam laces the latter part of this jam in the final show before their seminal “Remain In Light” Halloween set.

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The Great Curve” 10.31 II, Atlanta, GA

Speaking of “Remain in Light,” I saw this Tweet yesterday and I immediately agreed.

If you’re not familiar…

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Crosseyed > Antelope” 11.2 II, West Palm Beach, FL

The band began to shape-shift on the first night after Halloween as Karl Perazzo stayed on tour for a few.

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Tweezer” 11.11 II Grand Rapids, MI

A post-Halloween signpost on the long road to Cow Funk.

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2001 > Llama” 12.6 I, Las Vegas, NV

One of the early, jammed-out versions from the final night of tour.

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Tweezer” 12.1 II, Los Angeles, CA

Three “Tweezers” on Friday? I dig it. This is a monster from the tail end of Fall Tour.

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Slave to the Traffic Light” 8.17 II, Plattsburgh, NY

An all-time classic.

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Weekend Nuggets: The Jersey Shore

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 12th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

10/30 Official Poster

With Halloween featured earlier this week, here are the first two nights to Phish’s Fall Tour finale. Taking Boardwalk Hall by storm, the band played three shows that fit together for the holiday weekend. The first night featured the highlight-reel second set run of “Sand > Carini > Caspian, Corrina” and a standout late-set “Slave” that preceded a “Fluffhead” closer. The 30th brought one of the tour’s stronger opening sets, including “Chalk Dust > Whole Lotta Love > Chalk Dust,” “Wolfman’s > Undermind,” and “Bathtub Gin.” Then the second set got buck-wild with a scorching “Tube” opener that made it past the five minute mark, and the “TweeZeppelin” antics that injected waves of energy through the domed arena. But the real-deal playing of the this set, and arguably the hottest segment of the three nights, came in the blistering combo of “2001 > Bowie.” The “2001” could have been plucked from 1998 as Trey’s guitar work brought this one to the next level. An intricate and multi-themed “Bowie” blew the roof off the place evoking memories of the mid-90s, finalizing the Fall for the unquestionable Comeback Player of the Tour.

10.29.2010 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

I: The Star Spangled Banner, My Soul, AC/DC Bag, Ocelot, Sample in a Jar, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, Sugar Shack, Timber, Bouncing Around the Room, Axilla, Rift, The Moma Dance > Cities > 46 Days

II: Punch You In the Eye, Sand > Carini > Prince Caspian, Corinna, Piper > Theme From the Bottom, Golgi Apparatus, Slave to the Traffic Light, Fluffhead

E: Loving Cup

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (Taper – Taylorc)

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10.30.2010 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Atlantic City (Graham Lucas)

I: Kill Devil Falls, Cavern, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Chalk Dust Torture > Whole Lotta Love > Chalk Dust Torture, Ha Ha Ha*, Walk Away, Wolfman’s Brother > Undermind, Bathtub Gin, The Squirming Coil

II: Tube, Possum*, Tweezer* > Heartbreaker > Tweezer > Ramble On > Thank You > Tweezer > Stairway to Heaven, Halley’s Comet > Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Show of Life, Backwards Down the Number Line, Good Times Bad Times

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise*

* w/ Whole Lotta Love teases

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (Taper -Taylorc)

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Jam of the Weekend:

2001 > David Bowie” 10.30.10 II

One of Atlantic City’s most impressive segments. Both of these versions are candidates for best of the modern era, and in my opinion, take the trophies.

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Gordeaux

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Mike Speaks: Check out this insightful and short audio interview from a radio station in LA with Mike Gordon as he rolled through Southern California on his solo tour. He discusses his solo project, Phish, Waiting For Columbus and more…

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Videos of the Weekend: Halloween Night (HarpuaFSB)

“Stash” I

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“Spanish Moon” II

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“Gotta’ Jibboo” III

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Memories Of The Boardwalk

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 3rd, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Trey and Giovanni Hidalgo - 10.31.10 (Michael Stein)

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"Little Phish" 10.31.10 (B.Lovelace)

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10.30.10 (Matt Wagner)

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The Rest of Halloween

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 2nd, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.31.10 (Graham Lucas)

While Phish’s take on Little Feat’s “Waiting For Columbus” was the clear centerpiece of an amazing evening, Phish played two other sets as well. The first frame, filled with Halloween-themed selections featured one of the jams of the tour in “Stash,” and a dancy early sequence of “Ghost > Spooky.” During the third set – practically an afterthought following such a masterful Halloween cover – Phish marched out a sequence of high-energy anthems to close the show, weekend, and tour. Without getting into any serious jams other than a smoking “Jibboo,” Phish used a fun finale to celebrate the achievements of the season. And after a transformative few weeks, that felt just fine.

"Frankenstein" (G.Lucas)

Phish crafted a Halloween-laced opening set with the heavier rock of “Frankenstein” and “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars,” before catching everyone off guard with an early “Ghost.” Playing with a collective direction and relaxing feel, the entire band toyed within the song structure while building closely off each others’ offerings. Trey stepped out front with an enthusiastic solo while Fishman kept a cymbal heavy beat. Continuing the holiday theme, Page seamlessly came in with piano chords that smoothly transformed the jam into the late-’60s cover, “Spooky.” One couldn’t tell where “Ghost” ended and “Spooky” began in a particularly seamless segue. Though Trey has often teased the guitar lick from this piece (a la 12/31/95’s “Weekapaug”), the song hadn’t been performed since April ’93, making it the largest bust-out in Atlantic City.

Phish passionately nailed “Divided Sky” as a mid-set interlude and continued the holiday cheer with “Roses Are Free,” but the improvisational peak of the Phish-only section of the show came in a staggering “Stash.” The band dove headfirst into this top-notch highlight; a jam that illustrates the band’s current no-nonsense style as well as any. Within a minute of exiting the lyrics, Phish fully locked into a synched pattern that began to build away from the song. As Mike and Page joined Trey in a major key, the band transformed the usually evil opus into a blissful magic-carpet ride into the sunset of Fall Tour. Fishman remained loosely-anchored in “Stash’s” rhythms, while the other three band members took off into an alternate reality. Forging a pristine path through this musical wormhole, the band subconsciously slid right back into the key of “Stash,” picking up the snarling journey at the end of the sonic rainbow. A crunchy “Character Zero” punctuated a highly-engaging opening frame, bringing the evening to into its first setbreak.

10.31.10 Graham Lucas)

After playing, arguably, their most impressive Halloween set to date, Phish came out for a third set with all sorts of possibilities. Some darker selections that seemed like a given – “Mike’s Groove” and “Light”- never showed up, and the band favored an upbeat, high-energy affair to close out their tour. A scalding “Disease” ripped the frame wide open, roaring out of the composed rock into a snapping section of percussive grooves. Locked and loaded, the band seemed to be on the brink of something significant as Trey wove guitar effects into the increasingly abstract piece. Slowing into a series of collective hits, the band landed in a murky psychedelia; Phish was set for liftoff. But in an inexplicable move, Trey called for an abrupt change into “Back On the Train” as “Disease” reached its deepest point. This move signified the type of set that would roll out – a fun, song-based third frame rather than a Vegas ’98er.

10/31 Official Poster (Duval)

The centerpiece of this high-octane conclusion came in a fiercely-active “Jibboo.” Trey’s non-stop solo formed the scintillating icing on a musical cake which showcased more full-band interplay than usual. Trey even drew the band into his melodic template towards the end of the excursion. But when the dust settles, “Jibboo” is a vehicle for mind-numbing guitar work, and that is exactly what underlined is what this third-set standout. Building to a white-hot peak, Phish settled the audience with the slowed-funk of “Camel Walk,” a clear nod to Little Feat’s musical influence.

The set got a bit choppy in the middle, as “Suzy” and “Wilson” seemed completely out of place; but the band decided to jam out of “Wilson” for one few times in their career. Beginning with a guitar lick that sounded like the precursor to another Led Zeppelin tease, the band stayed on their own turf this time, crafting a thrashing heavy metal-turned-ambient passage that showcased far more creativity than they have infused into the song in eons. As Phish drew out the cosmic sludge into a drone landscape, Trey subtly teased the original lick that got this shindig started before he dropped out for the opening drum roll of “Harry Hood.” A delicate and mellow version of the usually high-spirited jam reached the ending chorus with no real build up to it, leaving the last “Hood” of fall a bit short of spectacular. But this entire set was gravy after such a stunning and satisfying Halloween performance.

"YEM" - 10.31.10 (B.Lovelace)

As soon as Trey started “The Horse,” everyone in the venue knew where we were headed – “Horse > Silent,” YEM.” And so it was. A largely guitar-based “YEM” jam put the final stamp on an unforgettable evening of music on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Finalizing things with a set of joyful Phish songs, everyone drifted into November 1st with the energy and inspiration that only Phish can provide. Bringing all their guests back for a “Julius” encore, the show ended with the band of the hour – Little Phish – on stage for one last time. Closing tour with a special encore, the band took a bow to a notably enthusiastic ovation. Putting down their instruments for the last time of tour, Phish had arrived. Sometime during the magical fall of 2010, their comeback came to a close, and Phish took the first bold step into in the next golden era of their career.

I: Frankenstein, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Ghost > Spooky, The Divided Sky, Roses Are Free, Funky Bitch, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Character Zero

II: Little Feat – Waiting For Columbus

III. Down with Disease > Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo, Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson > Harry Hood, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Julius*

* with Giovanni Hidalgo and horn section

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Little Phish

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 1st, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.31.10 II - Boardwalk Hall (Graham Lucas)

Phish redefined the Halloween experience on Sunday night in Atlantic City, ending their holiday mystery by playing Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus, the first live album they have ever donned as a musical costume. Transforming Boardwalk Hall into a legitimate Seventies dance party, Phish recreated the concert experience of another band, taking their Halloween stunt to another level. Joined by a horn section and conga virtuoso, Giovanni Hidalgo, on percussion, the band slayed a double-album that reflected the ensemble jamming featured so prominently throughout fall tour. Dipping into several musical textures, much like Phish themselves, Waiting For Columbus proved to be the ideal choice for the band right now. Elevating their game throughout the tour, Phish capped the winding road of fall with a defining Halloween performance that will certainly leap into any debate over the best ever.

Excerpting David Fricke’s eloquent article in this year’s Phishbill:

Phish are not just playing another classic album, back to front…[they] are covering a legendary Seventies concert experience – what is was like to be like in the room when Little Feat ruled a stage, fusing salty blues, New Orleans second-line funk, zippy jazz-rock mischief and country-diner romance in drop-dead songwriting, with snapping-treble guitar action and stunning improvised crosstalk.

Little Feat - Waiting For Columbus

And they achieved their task to perfection, recreating this experience to a tee and executing the album with unmatched musicianship. Far more complex than covering a recorded set of songs, Phish masterfully learned a series of songs and live jams recorded over seven nights in London and Washington, DC, during August of 1977. Playing the double-disc with passion and precision, the set never dragged for a moment, stealing the show – and the weekend – in Atlantic City. From beat one, the groove grabbed the audience and never let go, providing the genuine feeling that we had been transported to a different place and time.

Beginning with the infectious opener “Fat Man In the Bathtub,” the collaborative rhythmic focus of the album became wholly apparent right away, signifying a far more participatory experience than in past years. To quote Fricke, “…you will be expected to dance. Anastasio can’t help raving about the mad wicked action in these songs.” With varying time signatures, a dirty, blues-based sensibility, and collaborative improvisation throughout, Waiting For Columbus proved to be the aural treat after Phish’s Led Zeppelin “trick” on the 30th. The album not only showcased the band’s impeccable current chops, but also contained slower funk realms that sounded natural and addictive in Phish’s musical medium.

In terms of familiarity, everyone knew “Time Loves A Hero,” an Phish cover that has popped up in setlists from time to time, and the signature piece “Dixie Chicken” – both which provided earnest high points as Page took center stage on the latter. But familiarity hardly mattered with music this engaging; music that spoke to your body and loudly as your mind. Fusing blues, funk, jazz, and rock influences – much like Phish themselves – Little Feat’s culminating work fit provided the ideal soundtrack for a Halloween party.

10.31.10 II (Graham Lucas)

While the Waiting For Columbus set was drenched in songwriting and soul, carrying a notable energy and momentum from beginning to end, most would agree that the percussive-based “Spanish Moon” brought the most indelible group memory. Comprised of gooey, funk textures with dripping bass lines and nasty rhythm guitar licks, this ode to “whisky and bad cocaine” combusted the dance floor, providing the early favorite to stick in rotation. And when this piece ended, the retro-trip was only halfway over.

10.31.10 (G.Lucas)

Interestingly, Fishman wrote a piece in the Phishbill explaining that there has been no greater influence on his drumming that Little Feat’s late Richie Hayward. And throughout last night’s performance, the similarities became obvious as Fish covered Hayward’s melodic beats and lyrical phrasing. In classic Fishman fashion, he wrote,”I’ve already ripped this guy off so much that covering this album is my chance to finish the job once and for all!” He and Hidalgo worked in awesome unison, churning out dance patterns all night long that anchored the album in a dynamic rhythmic foundation.

Interpreting the legendary guitar work of Lowell George, Trey added his own accents and spice to the already-swaggering leads. A choice that seemed hand-picked for Trey, Waiting For Columbus provided him the chance to magnify his current style while encouraging more percussive offerings than we’ve seen from The Ocedoc this fall. One of Trey’s finest Halloween performances, his gutsy guitar tone fit the album perfectly and he navigated the diverse live tracks with staggering proficiency. Phish had clearly practiced this complex album with diligence, as the entire band came together in a magical Halloween transformation; an unforgettable set of music for the annals of Phish history.

10.31.10 II (G.Lucas)

By putting a barbershop quartet spin on the humorous and vocally-based, “Don’t Bogart That Joint,” and bringing Fishman front and center for the beautiful ballad “Willin’,” the band still managed to fit a few Phishy twists into an incredibly authentic performance. “Sailing Shoes” and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Know,” the final two songs of the liquid-flowing set, brought two more quintessential stops in the bass-led percussive pastures that underlined the entire album. And as Trey dug into his final solos of the second frame, they felt completely natural – as if he was swimming amidst his own music rather than playing that of another. Wearing a tightly-fitting musical costume, the lines between Little Feat and Phish became completely blurred last night in a Halloween set for the ages. The band pushed their holiday tradition to the next level this year, throwing an outright dance party like no other this fall, while simultaneously providing a genuine glimpse into the musical tradition that birthed Phish itself.

More to come on Halloween’s other two sets tomorrow!

I: Frankenstein, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Ghost > Spooky, The Divided Sky, Roses Are Free, Funky Bitch, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Character Zero

II: Fat Man in the Bathtub, All That You Dream, Oh Atlanta, Old Folks’ Boogie, Time Loves a Hero > Day or Night, Mercenary Territory, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie, Rocket in My Pocket, Willin’, Don’t Bogart That Joint, A Apolitical Blues, Sailin’ Shoes, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

III: Down with Disease > Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo, Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson > Harry Hood, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Julius

10.31.10 II Graham Lucas)

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Getting The Led Out

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on October 31st, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.30.10 - Atlantic City, NJ (Dave Lavery)

Phish primed their Halloween audience on Saturday night with a fun and raucous rock show laced with Led Zeppelin history, crossing the strongest rumor off the never-ending list musical costume possibilities. Filling two sets with ballistic playing, Phish granted the Atlantic City audience an explosive and special show that will go down in the band’s rich Halloween lore.

On the eve of their three-set exclamation holiday show, the band crushed from beginning to end, with much of their impressive improvisation coming before setbreak. Popping through a set-opening trio of “Kill Devil Falls,” “Cavern” and “Foam,” the band clearly carried an extra something with them from the get go on Saturday night. But when the band ripped into what seemed like another innocuous first set “Chalk Dust,” the evening was just getting started. Phish transformed a furiously creative jam into a full-blown stop in Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” before dive-bombing for the ending of “Chalkdust.” At this point, the Zeppelin reference could have been a Halloween preview, or a tease altogether. But when Phish followed up the smoking segment with “Ha Ha Ha,” the joke was clearly on us, and we didn’t even know the half of it.

10/30 Official Poster

“Chalk Dust” began a scintillating first set run that continued with a sticky and percussive “Wolfman’s Brother” that continued to push the envelope of fall versions. Moving out of the composition into a vocal scat over a pulsing groove, the bands musical exploits never stopped while they simultaneously added a fifth vocal layer. Passing into a sparse rhythmic plane, Trey darted through the intricate beats with staccato melodies that Gordon answered with strong counter-leads of his own. Soon enough the band was neck-deep in a pit of percussive quicksand that continued to draw the band down the rabbit hole. Hinting at “Manteca” (as most funk jams this tour have at one point or another) all four members kicked in equitable antes in this rhythmic canvas. A strained, but well intended, transition brought the band from “Wolfman’s” into Fall’s first “Undermind.”

Continuing their rhythm-based jamming, Phish flowed into a standout version of “Undermind” that was delivered with enhanced precision and tightness that has characterized this tour. Trey and Mike entered a dynamic conversation while Fishman held the court for such a discussion to take place. Page comped this scene with organ swells that provided a backdrop for the three-piece summit. Look for some furious work from Red throughout this, potentially, best-ever version.

10.29.10 (J.Weber)

Following the post-hiatus song with two oldies, Phish closed the set with a massive “Bathtub Gin” and “Squirming Coil.” Highlighted by guitar acrobatics – an emerging theme of the show – Phish led “Bathtub Gin” down decidedly dancy road. Oozing right into the thick of things, it took Phish no time to lock into an initial groove that spiraled into a tornado of nasty guitar licks, ballooning bass lines, and collective melodic sensibility. This “Gin” built into a cathartic first set standout that brought one of the legitimate high points of the entire show. Flowing and connected with unparalleled urgency, Phish carried a Mack truck’s worth of momentum through this mind-numbing first half gem.

But after setbreak, Phish built a retro-adventure centered on a “Tweezer” that wove in and out of four Led Zeppelin songs, climaxing with the iconic final verse of “Stairway to Heaven.” As soon as the “Tweezer” jam dropped, Phish went right into tease of “Heartbreaker” before changing back into to “Tweezer” for a stellar couple of minutes that too quickly found their way “Ramble On.” Passing through mere portions of each Zeppelin song, Phish built a classic rock jigsaw puzzle that likened a joyride down high school’s memory lane. After passing through the gorgeous “Thank You,” Phish briefly returned to “Tweezer’s” theme before merging into “Stairway to Heaven.” Turning “Tweezer” into a straight up medley, Phish musically chuckled at any fans that had believed the hype, while creating a wildly entertaining sequence of music along the way.

10.30.10 (Dave Lavery)

Although a smashing and significant “Tube” opened the set followed by a “Possum” that stuck out like a sore thumb, what this show now needed was some pure Phish fire. All teases and jams aside, there was little meat in the second set until the final third. But any concerns were put to rest with an ornate sequence of “2001 > Bowie” that doused the end of the show with some serious improvisation.

Building on the revitalized versions of Fall, Phish absolutely went to town on “2001,” tearing apart the space-funk with a flying passion. Turning Boardwalk Hall upside down and spinning it around, the band really gave this version the full treatment, extending its second half into a clinic of groove. One of those versions where the mind shuts off and the body just moves, this one had the venue bumping as one in the middle of the second set. Flying off the chain with furious runs of notes, it had been ages since Trey had been so active and out front in the space-aged realm – and it was straight up glorious.

10.29.10 (J.Weber)

Dropping into “Bowie’s” intro at “2001’s” peak, the band unveiled another resuscitated piece of their catalog that has shined throughout Fall. A dialed-in rendition littered with nuances and intricacies, Mike, Trey and Page played a game of musical tag, chasing each other through a labyrinth of psychedelia. A perfect example of the new and improved Phish, the amount of ideas conveyed within this compact musical cannonball was stunning, as the band never let up from the moment the jam began. Unquestionably the musical highlight of the show, you can take “2001> Bowie” to the bank – top-notch stuff.

“Show of Life” set up a set closer from which the band could have selected a number of successful songs, but “Number Line” wasn’t one of them. Using this enigma of a song as a contained set closer contains very little power, and honestly, leaves the show wanting more. And luckily, last night, Phish had a little more in them, capping the set with a filthy and fitting encore of “Good Times, Bad Times.” Finalizing the evening with a last tease of “Whole Lotta Love” after “Reprise,” suffice it to say that Phish got their Led out on Saturday night, treating the South Jersey audience to a full-on experience. But now that Zeppelin is out, what will the costume be? Nobody knows a thing and the witching hour is quickly approaching! Your guess is as good as mine, but if one thing is for sure, the last night of Fall tour will be one for the books.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Cavern, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Chalk Dust Torture > Whole Lotta Love > Chalk Dust Torture, Ha Ha Ha, Walk Away, Wolfman’s Brother > Undermind, Bathtub Gin*, The Squirming Coil

II: Tube, Possum*, Tweezer* > Heartbreaker^ > Ramble On^> Thank You^ > Tweezer > Stairway to Heaven^, Halley’s Comet > Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Show of Life, Backwards Down the Number Line, Good Times Bad Times

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise*

* w/ “Whole Lotta Love” teases, ^ incomplete

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Hallo-What?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on October 28th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

10.11.10 - Broomfield (Brooks Perry)

Frank Zappa, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, King Crimson, and The Police are just some of the many artists that have been ground through the Halloween rumor mill in past weeks. While last year, Phish included their fan base in the evolving mystery of what musical costume they would don for the holiday, this year we have been left in the dark. So many rumors have been tossed around with so many rationalizations that it is hard to believe any of them. We are two days away from Halloween and Phish has the entire community stumped – and kudos to them for keeping the secret all to themselves.

Both Mike and Trey have done interviews vaguely discussing the Halloween album, both giving it high praise. Gordon said:

I’m really excited about it, to the point where I’m calling some of my friends and I’m saying, ‘Well, I don’t even have any more room on my guest list, but you’ve got to come somehow, because this is going to be the one.’ It just really feels right to me.

10.23.10 (C. La Jaunie)

While Trey’s significant soundbite was as follows:

This year, this one’s for me. The one we picked, I’m going to get more out of this as a musician than I ever have before. Three songs into it, I called everybody and told them, ‘None of the other ones — I wouldn’t think, hopefully — will have nearly the effect on my playing this one’s going to.

Without dropping any clues, the band, themselves, are hyping up Boadwalk Hall’s blowout, clearly enjoying the fact that nobody knows what will happen.

Just yesterday, Atlantic City radio personality, Pinky Kravitz (father of part-time Phish photographer, Jeff Kravitz) speculated in print that Phish will play Led Zeppelin for Halloween, citing a “magic mockingbird” as his source. This published conjecture has made the British rockers’ double-album “Physical Graffiti” the newest lead horse in this guessing derby. But if Phish has kept everyone guessing for this long, I find it highly unlikely they would allow the answer to leak days before Halloween.

Other front-running possibilities include Queen’s “A Night at the Opera,” Genesis, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” or “Selling England By the Pound,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland,” King Crimson’s “Lark’s Tongue In Aspic,” and any number of Frank Zappa albums. Assuming Phish is trying to please the entire audience, the abstract prog-rock of King Crimson has to be crossed out, while “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’s” 90-minute, intricate rock opera seems unlikely for similar reasons. Though Trey is known to love both of these bands, these albums seem too inaccessible for a Halloween party.

10.12.10 (Bill Hartlage)

While many fans have expressed interest in Phish stepping outside the boundaries of classic rock, many of the current possibilities are going right down that road. British glam-rockers, “Queen” and the eclectic Frank Zappa round out the most talked about candidates. Might the band honor the 15-year old fan ballot from 1995, when the high-vote getter was allegedly Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage?” That year, Phish vetoed the democratic process by playing The Who’s “Quadrophenia” at Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.

10.12.10 (B.Perry)

To add another layer to this puzzle, an anonymous inside source recently claimed this year’s musical costume is more complex and was harder for the band to learn than any they’ve chosen before. This clue has pushed my thinking in the direction of Zappa’s catalog and away from the guitar-driven rock of Zeppelin and Hendrix. But at this point, nobody is sure of anything – and that is the best aspect of the mystery!

Another part of me feels that Phish might have a huge prank waiting in the wings and that all of these conjectures are way off base. I don’t know where that leaves us, but something might happen that nobody ever saw coming. All of the talked albums have been talked about in previous years, and it would be just like Phish to come out and play something in a completely opposite direction. Last year, clues were leaked by now and some people knew the deal, but nobody I’ve come in contact with on tour seems to have a clue.

With only five sets of Phish separating us from the answer, musical hints may lie within. So keep your ears peeled and keep on guessing, because something tells me we won’t know the answer until it happens. And that’s just the way the band wants it.

10.12.10 - Broomfield (Bill Hartlage)

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What’s Up With Halloween?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on September 28th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

"Loving Cup" 10.31.09 (G.Lucas)

With a haunted gallery of 99 possible cover albums and a wild-goose chase with the infamous “Save the Date” map, Phish put together elaborate guessing-games for their fans to hype up Halloween 2009. This year, we have heard nothing at all. The silence around Halloween – the band has made no official announcement as to their intent for the show – has caused some people to question whether Phish will be covering an album at all. With a similar ticket time as the other two Atlantic City shows and billed as a “very special Halloween show,” fans have been left to their own devices to figure out what Halloween will bring.

Halloween 1996

Conventional wisdom – and tradition – dictates that Phish will cover an album during the show’s second set. With nothing stated to the contrary, one would assume business as usual. In addition to fun and mystery, last year’s fanfare around Festival 8 was – in large part – a marketing campaign to get east coasters to Indio. But it was also an aberration. Aside from the fan balloting in 1994 and 1995, the band didn’t made a lot of noise about their Halloween plans in the past, and with a $3 price increase to pre-order the show on LivePhish, the band has all-but confirmed a three-setter. Thus far, fans have stuck with more classic rock hypotheses for Phish’s likely musical costume with Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” leading the charge. Will Phish stick to their path of covering classics, or might they step to a more contemporary record as suggested by several of last year’s finalists? Might they take a stab at the long-time fan favorite, “Thriller,” test the rock and roll fantasy of “Ziggy Stardust,” or honor New Jersey’s native son with “Born to Run?” Would they really try to play Radiohead as rumored was the orginal plan for Indio? The questions abound, but there have been no clues leaked as to the answers.

Halloween 1995

As Fall Tour mail order tickets trickled in over the past couple days, fans began to wonder if the ornate ticket designs – each representing a different Phish song – could be a clue to an alternate Halloween plan. Of six venue-specific designs, four depict Gamehendge-based songs – “Llama,” “Mockingbird,” “Sloth,” and “Punch You In the Eye” – prompting some to theorize that Phish would play Trey’s hallowed musical fable on Halloween…until the last two tickets were discovered to be “Ocelot” and “Dog-Faced Boy.” Others saw an animal theme aside from “Punch” and followed that clue to Pink Floyd’s “Animals.” But having already covered Dark Side during Fall ’98, a repeat artist seems highly unlikely. Like sleuths looking for a needle in a haystack, fans tried to pull any clue from the ticket layout, but, in all likelihood, there are none there.

Per usual, Phish has their fans guessing what is coming next, and that is part of the fun of Halloween. The band has clearly kept their plan under wraps and things will likely remain that way until we walk into Boardwalk Hall on October 31st. And that’s how it should be. While last year’s album elimination brought a lot of fun and the introduction to droves of new music, the essence of Halloween is the unknown – trick or treat? Between now and then, fans will continue to guess what album will fill the second set of October 31st – but if things follow past patterns, Phish will likely surprise us all. “Houses of the Holy?” “Electric Ladyland?” “The Band?” “Lark’s Tongue In Aspic?” “Greetings From Asbury Park?” “Hot Rats?” Your guess is as good as mine…

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Jam of the Day:

Free” 12.15.99 II

A stellar ’99 “Free” from Washington, DC that featuring a segment of Trey on keyboard that works masterfully.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.10.1994 Palace Theatre Louisville, KY < Torrent asap

10.10.1994 Palace Theatre Louisville, KY < Megaupload

The Palace - Louisville, KY

I: Sample in a Jar, The Divided Sky, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Sparkle, Stash, Guyute, The Old Home Place*, Ginseng Sullivan*, Nellie Kane*, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Esther, Tweezer, Fee > Rift, Down with Disease, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Foreplay/Long Time*, Tweezer Reprise

* w/ Steve Cooley on banjo

Source: AKG 460 (likely)

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