The Garden of Eden

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on January 6th, 2014 by Mr.Miner
12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

The level and diversity of improvisation over the four nights at Madison Square Garden to end the year were absolutely mind-bending. I spent my afternoon listening to all the major jams from the run for the first time through, and now I am as jacked as I was walking out of the shows each night! Amidst a celebration of all that was and will be, the thing most deservedly touted is the state of Phish right now. To put a final stamp on their thirtieth year, the guys unfurled jams of all shapes and sizes in a holiday run that lived up to its potential and surpassed it, in one of the finest year-end displays of all-time.

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

Phish revved up its improvisational gears midway through the first set of the 28th, using some loose and gooey “Wolfman’s” funk to indoctrinate the crowd to the four-night party. Though “Sand > Piper” formed a smoking couplet to kick off the second set, the true gem of the show came via “Steam.” Finally exploding like we all sensed it could, “Steam’s” jam got deep, demonic, and excessively dirty. Harnessing a thick, larger-than-life, mechanical vibe, the guys brought the show to its highest peak through heavy, effected grooves in “Steam’s” most prolific version to date.

The next central, open jam sequence came on the 29th, and it stole my heart the moment it happened—“Down With Disease,” “Carini.” This one-two punch for the ages provided untouchably magical moments to which this entire year has built toward. Each jam was note perfect and both reached the highest planes of creativity, veering down alternate paths of sinister ideation. “Disease” took us on a psychedelic journey of staggering beauty, traveling into the void and back again, in an undeniable musical triumph. “Carini” harnessed the grit and urban glamour that defined Madison Square Garden Phish jams of the mid to late ‘90s, with filthy, monstrous grooves that made time stand still while engulfing and uniting the consciousness of the entire audience. Both jams exploded with fresh sounds and even fresher ideas as they, collectively, covered a ridiculous amount of sacred territory. The smoothness in which the band morphed back into the end of “Disease;” the heights to which Trey rocked the Garden back and forth with his Echoplex in “Carini” like MJ crossed over John Starks and the rest of the Knicks before tomahawk dunking on Patrick Ewing; the fluidity of both jams which were seen to ultimate completion; this was 12.29 the right way. This was a fucking dream.

12.29.2013 (Jake Silco)

12.29.2013 (Jake Silco)

Many New Year’s Runs over the years have featured one night in which the band took less risks and didn’t go for it quite as hard as the other three, but 2013 was not one of those Holiday Runs. The band just kept on trucking, knocking down the doors of the 30th’s second set with a hugely exploratory and very cohesive “Chalk Dust Torture.” Bursting through the composition, Trey took the helm and brought the jam to an initial peak of catharsis with one of his most emotional solos of the weekend. When the jam reached a mellow juncture where it sounded as though it might move into “Taste,” things were just getting going. Phish went on to weave together a delicately driving adventure that touched on many feels without totally settling into any of them. The band never lost their connection throughout, however, crafting a totally different type of centerpiece than we heard the night before in “Disease” and “Carini.”

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

12.29.13 (J.Silco)

Later in the set, after completing a relatively contained “Mike’s Groove,” Phish tore into the usual “Groove” connector “Simple,” and this is where our next highlight jam blossomed. Bleeding out of Trey’s guitar solo, the band entered into a slow, wide-open conversation that evoked the feel of a loose, late night, festival jam. Entrancing the audience with this ethereal passage, the band would soon segue into “Harry Hood,” forming an extremely tender final portion of the set.

The central jam sequence of New Year’s Eve, uncharacteristically, came during the third set in the post “Auld Lang Syne” paring of “Fuego > Light.” If one thing can be told by the dramatic placement of their new song and it’s mini, outro segment, it is that “Fuego” will be the next big jam in this Phish universe. The only Halloween song delivered with any improvisational flair, look for “Fuego” to jump into second sets all over tour this summer. And then they dropped into “Light,” introducing the improvisational main event of New Year’s Eve.

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

12.28.12 (J.Silco)

Shortening his guitar solo at the onset of the jam, Trey led the band into the fray more quickly than usual as they formed a light, percussive canvas with a distinctly celebratory vibe. The guys were fully locked together as they navigated this unique musical ground, and the feel of the jam remained this way for some time. And then it turned straight nasty. Lending a hard edge to “Light’s” final segment, they guys fully dug in during this third-set gem, and the final monster Phish jam of the weekend.

It’s quite clear that for a New Year’s Run, Fall Tour makes all the difference. This year, the band’s short fall run propelled them to incredible musical heights over this holiday run as opposed to past years where they have scrambled, after an extensive offseason, to put together four shows. This year at Madison Square Garden, everything came together in a perfect storm. Riding the momentum of fall, the excitement of a new album, and the outpouring of love and devotion of their community on their 30th Anniversary, Phish threw down a run packed with jams for the annals of time, making us fall in love with them all over again thirty years later.

12.28.12 (Andrea Nusinov)

12.28.12 (Andrea Nusinov)

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A Record of History

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 16th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Niagara Falls 12/7/95

Niagara Falls 12/7/95

With all of the hubbub surrounding Fall Tour, Phish’s release of their December ‘95 stop at Niagara Falls Convention Center flew way under my radar. I just recently listened to the discs for the first time and I must say, it’s another winner in a recent hot streak of Live Phish drops. This show—a classic even within a classic month—had been begging for the re-master treatment for years, and this shimmering two-setter has finally gotten its due. What a treat it is to get a Live Phish release from such a hallowed era in band history. Much like Hampton/Winston-Salem provided a glimpse into Fall ’97, and Ventura opened a portal to Summers ’97 and ’98, Niagara Falls brings us back in time to December ’95, the home stretch of legendary two-leg, 54-show fall tour on which the band truly realized all the skills they had been honing for years.

Having stretched the limits of abstraction over the courses of Fall ’94 and Summer ’95, Phish spent the fall of ’95 selecting the best elements of this growth spurt and tightening things up into a full-throttle, psychedelic arena rock show. In a matter of weeks following Niagara Falls, the band would play a career-defining show at Madison Square Garden, but on this night on the other side of New York State, Phish cemented another golden block in their yellow brick road of December.

imgresThough this show isn’t a masterpiece of set craftsmasnship, it contains elite, jaw-dropping versions of “Slave to the Traffic Light,” “Split Open and Melt,” “Reba,” “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug.” Additionally the we hear an early incarnation of “Taste” in the second set, at this point called “Taste That Surrounds.” Phish showcased their free form creativity of the era throughout this show, as they dove deep into second-set versions of “Split,” “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug,” taking each jam far off course and forming tour highlights out all three. A “Reba” that sounds like it’s in fast-forward compared to recent versions highlights the middle of this second set, as Trey’s comically confident and exceptionally emotive soloing evokes the sound and intensity of days gone by—a true gem that is often overshadowed by Niagara’s copious highlights.

Retro Niagara Print (Welker)

Retro Niagara Print (Welker)

The first set features an out-of-nowhere version of “Slave” that sounds like it’s plucked from the end of a hugely dramatic frame of music. Unfurled in between “Rift” and “Guyute,” this standout version—which sits in an incredibly delicate space for quite some time—could anchor the opening half all by itself. However, a unique “Curtain > Bag,” a bust out of “Demand” and a full-throttle “Possum” provide solid support.

In short, this Niagara Falls release provides a stellar portrait of Phish’s sound and jamming in one of the most historic months of their career. The band brought all sorts of furious jams to Niagara Falls that December night, though they delivered them within a less-than-artistic setlist. But when Phish drops so many Grade-A excursions on a single audience, how they unfold becomes largely irrelevant. This one is a keeper.

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Niagara Falls CD Giveaway!

Hippie Santa

Hippie Santa

Just in time for Christmas, and thanks to the kind folks at Phish Inc., I have three copies of this release to give away! If you’d like to enter your name into the ring, please write a haiku that touches the essence of December ’95. I will pick my favorite 10 entries (and post them), put the names in a hat and draw the three winners. Please have your haikus in to mrminer@phishthoughts.com by 7:30 pm Tuesday (tomorrow) night! Thanks for playing and Happy Holidays from Phishthoughts.com!

 

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TTFF: December Jams 3.0

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 13th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
10.18.13, Hampton, VA (Jake Silco)

10.18.13, Hampton, VA (Jake Silco)

Seven Below -> What’s the Use?” 12.27.10 II, Worcester

Amidst a snow storm in Worcester, Phish paid homage to mother nature with this centerpiece jam of the show.

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Tweezer > Caspian” 12.29.09, II Miami, FL

After all these years, the Miami “Tweezer” still holds up as one of the best of the modern era. And this “Caspian” absolutely crushes.

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Piper” 12.30.11 II, New York, NY

The only bright spot of a otherwise piss-poor show. How they pulled it together for this one jam, we’ll never know.

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Sand” 12.31.10 II, New York, NY

I’ve died and gone to plinko heaven.

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Carini” 12.30.12 II, New York, NY

This menacing abstraction was the talking point of the Holiday Run for months after.

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Light” 12.2.09 II, New York, NY

Just as “Light” was beginning to break form, Phish thew down this monstrosity at MSG—the most prolific version anyone had ever seen.

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Ghost > NO2” 12.31.09 II, Miami, FL

Everyone knows MSG’s “Holy Ghost” of 2010, but do you remember this grimy, funk number from Miami the year before?

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Harry Hood” 12.28.10 II, Worcester, MA

One of the truly magnificent jams 0f the modern era—musical perfection.

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You Enjoy Myself” 12.4.09 II, New York, NY

This is one of very few worthy “YEMs” of the modern era. This one goes out to Scott—@Tourtweet.

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TTFM: December Jams 2.0

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 9th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Reading 10.29.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

Reading 10.29.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

Piper” 12.29.03 II, Miami, FL

The standard against which all 2.0 “Pipers” should be measured. The short post-hiatus era were the true glory years for “Piper.”

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Runaway Jim -> Times Loves a Hero” 12.31.02 III, NYC, NY

The improvisational centerpiece of their comeback show.

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Wolfman’s Brother” 12.1.03 Albany, NY

A favorite of a couple friends, this one is in honor of Wade and Scotty B. Look out for the “butter” jam at the end.

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Ghost -> Free” 12.29.03 II, Miami, FL

This pairing provided the meat of a non-stop, second set sequence.

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Down with Disease” 12.30.13 II, Miami, FL

After a zany second set with both highs and lows, Phish stopped the antics on a dime and closed the show with a heart-wrenching “Disease.”

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Frankie Says” 12.28.03 I, Miami, FL

This is the stuff Phish pulled off in first sets in the post-hiatus era. Out of “Frankie Says” no less.” This was in the very first set of the New Years Run.

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Rock and Roll -> Weekapaug > Reprise” 12.2.03 II, Boston, MA

This unorthodox sequence opened the second set of the 20th anniversary show, ten years ago.

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Suzy Greenberg” 12.28.03 II, Miami, FL

The seemingly innocuous pop song turned into one of Trey’s darkest guitar confessionals in history.

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Stash” 12.31.03 II, Miami, FL

One of the finest post-hiatus jams, period

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Bathtub Gin -> 2001” 12.30 II, Miami, FL

This set-closing “2001″ foreshadowed P Funk’s second set sit in as Trey teases some classic Parliament licks.

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TTFF: December Jams

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 6th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Fall 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

Fall 2013 (Andrea Nusinov)

Tweezer” 12.16.99 II, Raleigh, NC

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Reba” 12.31.95 I, NYC, NY

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Ghost > Mike’s” 12.13.97 II, Albany, NY

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Simple” 12.6.96 II, Las Vegas, NV

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Weekapaug” 12.9.97 I, State College, PA

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Free” 12.15.99 II, Washington, DC

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Bathtub Gin > 2001” 12.2.99 Auburn Hills, MI

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You Enjoy Myself” 12.9.95 II, Albany, NY

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A Tour in (Moving) Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 2nd, 2013 by Mr.Miner

Perhaps you’ve had the pleasure to meet one of the community’s most stealth warriors, @LazyLightning55. Video taper extraordinaire and one of the nicest guys in the scene, @Lazy has spliced together HD footage of his favorite jams—and just the jams—from fall into one amazing compilation. Check out his outstanding work above. Below, I have included a little blurb about each segment of footage.

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1. “Carini” 10.18 II: Starting out this video is the jam with the most swagger of any played over Fall—Hampton’s “Carini.” Trey sets up the excursion’s bluesy, feel-good peak as the camera cuts in, and what transpires throughout the rest of this footage is some of the most hooked up playing we saw from the band all fall. The video then cuts to the laid back funk at the end of the jam, illustrating the amount of ground covered in this dynamic tour highlight.

2. “Weekapaug” 10.19 I: Next we have the meat of Hampton’s first set “Weekapaug”—super percussive and with plinko textures from Page. The whole band brings the jam on a tangent, documented here, before returning to “Weekapaug’s” theme.

3. “Ghost” 10.19 II: Hampton’s second-night “Ghost” carried an incredibly uplifting vibe and the band laid into it with a passion. In this video we see them on the way to the mountain top, and we stay with them through their glorious ascent. Trey unleashes some cascading sheets of notes as the rest of the band chugs away like a single-minded entity behind him. This footage includes the jam’s denouement—a sublime, break-beat laden soundscape that gradually becomes more and more ambient, setting up an oncoming “Disease.”

4. “Tweezer” 10.20 II: The dark and stormy Hampton “Tweezer” needs no introduction. This video comes in after the initial jam segment, as the band takes a left turn into the Netherworld. At this juncture, everyone in the building knew that fall tour was gonna be something special. This footage follows the band into the abyss, and fades out once the full descent has been made.

5. “Piper -> Taking Care of Business” 10.20 II: The next clip documents one of tour’s most memorable moments—“Piper -> Taking Care of Business.” In this footage, one can actually see the band discover the idea, communicate to each other and execute the segue. And the crowd goes wild!

6. “Twist” 10.23 II: Here we have the second segment of the Glens Fall’s “Twist,” as Trey is teasing “The Line” before anyone had heard the song. This jam signified a turning point of tour from which Phish never looked back, paving a path of gold for the duration.

7. “Waves” 10.25 II: Worcester’s “Waves” has been severely underrepresented in the post-tour chatter. A gorgeous piece of psychedelic Phish, the band moved from something far more upbeat into this dreamy ambient realm—the beginning of the footage we see here. The video tracks the jam as it moves into a heavier outro, one that sparked the idea for the move into “Carini.” This one is a gorgeous clip of Kuroda’s light work, taboot.

8. “Bathtub Gin” 10.26 I: The next clip documents the first set “Bathtub Gin” from Worcester’s second night—a version that I highlighted last week and one that has to be among the most dynamic of the year. The band locks into a swanky, airtight groove and lets it ride in a spectacular segment of musical catharsis. Even with all the jams in set two, this was the most energetic, collective peak of the entire show.

9. “Drowned” 10.26 II: Next up is the Worcester “Drowned,” a sprawling jam that the video picks up as after it had moved through a couple feels and has settled in an uptempo, “Guy Forget”-eqsue groove. We follow the band as they stop on a dime and drip into one of tour’s most sublime musical sequences—A soul-tugging, blissed out segment that eventually blends into an instrumental and chill-inducing nod to Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting in Limbo.”

10. “Tweezer” 10.27 II: The final jam before “Intermission” is the final segment of my pick for jam of tour, Hartford’s “Tweezer.” The band has navigated an extended segment of hooked up grooves, and have found their way—seamlessly—way into this melodic second part of the jam. The guys find a three chord progression that provides the melodic framework for the rest of the jam.

Setbreak: part of “Fuego”

11. “Golden Age” 10.27 II: The second part of the video picks up with Hartford’s “Golden Age,” by my estimation, the standout version of tour. We hear the band center this jam around Fishman’s rhythmic fireworks, as he consistently changes beats, adds fills and generally destroys his kit. The guys eventually blend into a more ambient soundscape towards the end of this footage, a jam that would eventually end with the onset of “Halley’s Comet.”

12. “Split Open and Melt” 10.29 I: Had the band nailed the ending of Reading’s “Split,” we’d all be talking about it as a highlight of tour, and this segment of footage shows you why—Phish got into some super-locked, menacing-as-fuck jamming. They seemed to have the piece by the jugular, but just as they were set to begin working their way back from this musical dementia, Trey pulled the string for an abrupt change into “Julius.”

13. “Down with Disease” 10.29 II: Reading’s second set was among the best of tour, and the spine-tingling peak to the set-opening “Down with Disease”—captured here—is one of the central reasons why. Trey’s magical guitar solo is among his most prolific of the past five years, and certainly one of his most original—pure transcendence on every level.

14. “Twenty Years Later” 10.29 II: But while many have focused on “Disease,” I find the true improvisational gem of Reading to lie in this “Twenty Years Later.” Patiently working their way into a pre-historic dancehall groove, the band evoked the feeling of ’97 amidst a truly sinister milieu. The entire fan base had been waiting for this moment ever since the guys debuted the song back in ’09, and boy was it worth the wait! Eventually, they pull off a back door transition into another Americana outro, this one likening “I Know You Rider.”

15. “Ghost” 10.31 III: After the band introduced us to the songs of Wingsuit, they came out and did something far more familiar—jam their faces off. This set-opening “Ghost” provided a jolt of adrenaline to a crowd half comprised of those disappointed in the Halloween set. Nonetheless, the band put a smile on everyone’s faces with this ripping rendition of a crowd favorite.

16. “Twist” 11.1 II: This sequence from the AC “Twist” is why we go. ‘Nuff said.

17. “Sneakin Sally” 11.1 E: This surprise encore of “Sneakin Sally” put the cherry on top of one of Fall’s most complete shows on the second night in Atlantic City. This night had it all, including the most hard-hitting encore of the tour.

18. “Theme from the Bottom” 11.2 II: We end this video tour through fall tour with the first set funk throwdown that emerged out of “Theme” in Atlantic City’s penultimate set. This one felt like the olden days as the band hadn’t unleashed grooves of this nature in quite some time. A truly electric moment in a tour filled with them.

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Thinking Out Loud: The Flow of Ideas

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on November 27th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
10.29.13 Reading, PA (Andrea Nusinov)

10.29.13 Reading, PA (Andrea Nusinov)

After years of listening to Phish improvise, I wanted to document some patterns. While all band members—clearly—listen to everyone else in the band in a circular flow, I have found that each member has tendencies and patterns in the general flow of ideas onstage. Here’s what I have to posit about the general flow of ideas during a Phish jam:

Page to Trey:

The flow of ides from Page to Trey is perhaps the most easy to hear  live and on tape. Very often—and more than ever these days—Trey picks up on subtle melodies and lines that Page plays and turns them into prominent parts of his own line, and often the entire jam. One of the most significant and easy to hear examples of this pattern from ’13 is the Tahoe “Tweezer’s” “Woo” section. As the band headed into a change, Page blocked out a five chord melody on piano two times. Trey echoed that melody on his guitar, and—immediately—that subtle piano melody had transformed into the main vamp of the oncoming “Woo” section of the jam; the melody that you recognize as that part of the “Tweezer.” But in the mix of each and every jam, Trey picks up on what Page is doing, often mimicking parts of his phrases or his exact line as part of the developing exchange. Even a casual listen to recent jams—such as the wide open part of Dick’s ’13 “Sand’—will provide plenty of examples of this interplay.

Trey to Fish:

10.18.13 (J. Silco)

10.18.13 (Jake Silco)

Trey and Fish are, historically, the backbone of Phish, and it is their uncharacteristic dynamic that often makes Phish music sound unique. Very rarely in bands is the drummer keyed in on what the guitarist is doing, as they are most often concerned with the bass player. However in Phish, beyond forming a pocket with Mike, Fish gets many of his ideas by following Trey’s lead. Fish will actually echo guitar patterns on the drums, dropping his beats in a sing-songy way, in a very unique use of the drum kit. This directional flow of ideas from guitarist to drummer is a dynamic that most bands don’t have, and provides an extra layer of connection within the music. Fish is a rare breed, one who can be deep in the pocket, echo a rhythm lick from Trey, all while telling a joke about his favorite beer, but very often, a jam’s directionality comes from Fish following Trey, and consequently Trey being pushed even further.

Trey to Mike:

Beyond being locked with The Greasy Troll at all times and offering his eclectic Gordeaux bass lines, Mike is often very focused on Trey’s playing. Mike is known to echo Trey, though he more often plays counter-melodies and fills around Trey’s playing. The close connection between Trey and Mike is also not the most common in bands, where guitar and piano generally take care of the top while bass and drums provide the bottom. But the way Mike incorporates Trey’s ideas into his own offerings instantaneously, makes the most hooked up jams pop with a whole ‘nother level of adhesive. And when Trey’s ideas are woven into Mike’s unique bass lines their effect is not just connection, but enhancement.

Mike to Page ?:

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

10.31.13 (J.Silco)

This would complete the pattern as I would like, but I’m not sure that I can back it up like the others. Page most often converses with Trey, often exchanging ideas like a game of ping pong, but does Page get ideas right from Mike? Hmmm. Page often blocks out chords to fill out the empty spaces in Trey’s grooves, giving his offering some relationship to Mike’s bass lines. By helping define the patterns of grooves, Page is most definitely sculpting in collaboration with Mike, but I’m not sure Page is responding directly to Mike’s notes regularly enough for me to complete this neat and tidy pattern. Do you guys notice a flow of ideas from Mike to Page? Other than Trey, who do you guys hear Page getting ideas from?

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Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

Twist” 10.18 II, Hampton, VA

One of very few unposted jams from fall tour. This one showed us that this tour was gonna be different. Trey continuously hits a signature lick from “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” in the depth of this one.

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TTFF: The Structured Stuff

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 22nd, 2013 by Mr.Miner
10.22.13 (Jake Silco)

10.22.13, War Memorial, Rochester, NY (Jake Silco)

As everyone well knows,  I almost exclusively comprise my playlists of Phish’s open jams. Not today. The band’s playing was so strong across the board this past tour, that I’d like to highlight some of my favorite contained jams for this Friday’s playlist. As I wrote about as recently as this year, the band’s structured—or type I—playing, was the last part of their repertoire to ripen in this era. Sure, they could get through all the changes without the obvious flubs of post-hiatus, but for the first years of this era, they infused little to no creativity into their structured jams, causing parts of shows—particularly first sets—to drag. This year, however, starting in summer, Phish made a point to resuscitate classic pieces that has lost their luster; pieces like “Bathtub Gin,” “David Bowie,” “Stash,” and “Harry Hood.” During 2013, these jams—and more—have regained their proper place in the Pantheon of Phish. Here are some of my favorites from fall presented to you in a thought out playlist that bring some flow to your Friday.

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2001” 10.26 II, Hartford, CT

Though “Also Sprach” had been gaining creative steam all year, this this tour is first time the guys gave the piece a decent amount of time to breathe, as both versions clocked in at must over eight minutes. Hartford’s tour highlight came at the tail end of a groovalicious set that featured massive versions of both “Tweezer” and “Golden Age,” and kept the vibe alive with a nasty rhythmic throwdown.

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Harry Hood” 10.23 II, Glens Falls, NY

Perhaps the retro environs of Glens Falls seeped into Trey’s consciousness, because he took this set-closing version of “Harry Hood” with the fury of old. The jam begins with some distinctly modern textures and ends with a scorching peak the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time—all in all, a stellar version.

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Bathtub Gin” 10.26 I, Worcester, MA

This “Gin” provided the highlight of perhaps the best first set of the tour on the second night of Worcester. Almost breaking form, the band remains anchored in groove and brings this version to a colossal peak—the largest single peak of the entire show.

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Sand” 11.1 I, Atlantic City, NJ

This third-song “Sand” beat out any second setter of this tour, as Phish’s relaxed and confident demeanor showed immediately on night two in Boardwalk Hall. They had just turned in their first “Shaft” jam of the weekend in “Runaway Jim,” when they flexed their muscles on their groove anthem—an incredibly fiery start to one of tour’s strongest performances.

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***

Roggae” 10.18 II, Hampton, VA

I recently respun Hampton’s tour opener and found it to be an incredibly well played show, if not a touch mellow. This mid-second set “Roggae” stood out immediately and paced the set between “Twist” and before “Carini.” This second set is a dark horse of tour.

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Sneakin Sally Through the Alley” 11.1. E, Atlantic, City

After a spectacular performance, Phish went right ahead and blew up a “Sally” encore, eventually reprising the “Shaft” jam from “Runaway Jim.” Whew!

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Split Open and Melt” 10.29 I, Reading, PA

The band seemed to have this “Split” jam by the horns as they had progressed the piece into ominous abstraction. Then, without even attempting to bring it back, Trey bailed out of the jam abruptly for “Julius.” Not sure what that was about, but this jam is nasty.

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Gotta Jibboo” 11.1.13 II, Atlantic City, NJ

After a monumental “Twist” jam, the guys applied their focus to the groove in this smoking “Jibboo.”

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David Bowie” 10.26 I, Worcester, MA

This intricate “Bowie” closed out Worcester’s big-time first set on the 26th, coming at the tail end of a powerful, set-closing trifecta that started with “Stash” and “Simple.”

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***

Slave to the Traffic Light” 10.20 II, Hampton, VA

This gentle, understated “Slave” served as a perfect juxtaposition to the fire-filled set it closed, the set of the fall tour.

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***

You Enojy Myself” 10.29 II, Reading, PA

A real live “YEM” jam?! Lordy, lordy where have you been? Refreshing to say the least!

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The Next Ten

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 18th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

Atlantic City (Jake Silco)

11. “Tweezer” 11.2 II, Atlantic City, NJ

This jam is incredibly unique as all band members anchor themselves in rhythmic playing. Nobody offers melodic leads, and the result is some super crunchy, locked in dance music. One of the more underrated jams of the fall.

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12. “Carini” 10.25 II, Worcester, MA

The only thing holding this “Carini” out of the top ten is its brevity. Talk about Phish crack, this jam has it in droves.

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13. “Theme from the Bottom” 11.2 I, Atlantic City, NJ

You youngsters wanna’ get a feel for the ’97 and ’98 era when any jam could plunge into gooey, danceable funk textures at any given moment? Well, it was kinda like this! This “Theme” evoked the quintessential sound of the era. Think Island “Cavern.”

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14. “Down with Disease” 11.2 II, Atlantic City, NJ

During this tour, Phish featured several jams with monstrous peaks and many sick jams without big-time peaks. This is one of the latter. Locked in from the jump, this version passes through several stages of music with total fluidity, arriving at a gorgeous final segment.

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15.  ”Tweezer” 10.20 II, Hampton, VA

The most exploratory jam of fall tour came via Hampton’s third-night “Tweezer.” This loose, grungy and ever-darkening take on the classic vehicle gets quite abstract before the band finds salvation in the jam’s final sequence—some of the most special moments of tour. The reason I haven’t ranked it higher is because I don’t find it to be very cohesive in concept or execution, but a great piece of Phish nonetheless.

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16. ”Waves” 11.25 II, Worcester, MA

A soft-spoken psychedelic vignette. I’m not sure why this one hasn’t gotten more speak in the online community, but I absolutely love it.

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17. “Drowned” 11.26 II, Worcester, MA

The only “Drowned” of fall popped off in a big way, focusing mostly on hard rock and uptempo groove. But the big payoff came when the band dripped into a surreal final segment centered around Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting in Limbo.” The reason I didn’t rank this higher is because I don’t find most of the jam to be very original, despite the quality of play.

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18. “Golden Age” 10.20 II, Hampton, VA

This locked in dance jam switched up the vibe from the previous “Tweezer,” and is—arguably—the more hooked up jam. Phish set the stage for Hartford’s tour-highlight version of “Golden Age” at Hampton, as the jam traveled an almost identical course. This one, however, take a more extensive glimpse into the storage shed.

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19. ”Ghost” 11.19 II, Hampton, VA

The triumphant scorcher from Hampton at number 19? What a tour!

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***

20. ”Light” 11.1 II, Atlantic City, NJ

This is an underrated jam that has lived in the shadows of the larger pieces of Atlantic City. The band gets into quite a unique—and very tight—conversation in this piece, a sort of avant-garde, jazz-laced groove. This “Light” ends with an abstract foray into an almost Dead-esque, free-form space—quite cool and experimental.

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The Top Ten Jams of Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on November 15th, 2013 by Mr.Miner
Boardwalk Hall (Andrea Nusinov)

Boardwalk Hall (Andrea Nusinov)

I’ve spent the past week spinning the hell out of Fall and I have come up with my top ten jams of tour. These are—by my ear—the most hooked up, flowing pieces of improvisation from an all-too-short fall run. As always, ranking these was an incredibly difficult task, but that said, I’m quite happy with how this top ten turned out. always, Enjoy the playlist!

10. “Ghost” 10.31 III, Atlantic City, NJ

This locked and driving jam opened the third of set of Halloween with a bang.

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9. “Down with Disease” 10.29 II, Reading, PA

After steering through a couple different moods, the band found the end of the rainbow in a southern-style pot of gold.  This Allmans-sque passage and earth-shattering peak cement Reading’s “Disease” as a keeper.

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8. “Golden Age” 10.27 II, Hartford, CT

Fishman absolutely destroys this rhythmic jam, as the band dances around his inhuman beats for much of its duration. The band truly sits into this jam, something they are becoming more and more comfortable doing with “Golden Age.”

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7. “Twenty Years Later” 10.29 II, Reading, PA

Methodical, growling, and funky as James Brown’s band on their worst night, this mid-set surprise obliterated the dance floor and left people picking up pieces of their brains off the walls of Santander Arena. Sliding into a rootsy, Americana outro, this jam hit the feel-good spot as well.

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6. ”Twist” 10.23 II, Glens Falls, NY

This jam provided the pivot point of tour; from here on out, everything the band touched turned to gold.

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5. “Carini” 10.31 III, Atlantic City, NJ

A free-form, third-set joyride that reached profound planes following some early-jam hiccups. The improvisational centerpiece of the Halloween show.

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4. ”Light” 10.26 II, Worcester, MA

The most slamming “Light” of Fall has so much to offer, including a searing guitar solo, a passionate composed jam and the the most sophisticated groove exposé of the entire tour. Hey!

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3. “Twist” 11.1 II, Atlantic City, NJ

The central part of this jam provided the most cathartic group moment of the year aside from Tahoe’s “Tweezer.” Very powerful music; very powerful energy. The band came down from the mountaintop and retained cohesion through a mini-”Under Pressure” jam, continued into a full-blown, psychedelic third segment of music, and finally came down via a dreamy denouement.

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2. “Carini” 10.18 II, Hampton, VA

This multi-staged, super-dynamic jam is the only piece of Fall—other than my number one pick—that flows with a completely effortless nature from beginning to end. And that’s quite impressive considering the amount of ground it covers, including a scintillating mid-jam, peak and a funked up final section. Despite Sunday’s scorching final set, this “Carini” is the everlasting gem of Hampton 2013.

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1.Tweezer” 10.27 II, Hartford, CT

The guys clicked from this jam’s first note, locking into a sacred stride and never missing a beat. No jam from Fall flowed more effortlessly that this—four-minded, egoless, soulful music from start to finish. As if God pressed play and the band simply allowed the music to flow through them—this is what it’s all about.

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Hampton Coliseum (Andrea Nusinov)

Hampton Coliseum (Andrea Nusinov)

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