Miner’s Mailbag VI

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on November 15th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

6.11.11 (Brian Ferguson)

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@RichLevy00: Since everyone is so tease obsessed…What do you really consider a tease?? One that’s worthy of a footnote…

In my opinion, a tease must include clear intent on behalf of a band member and be 100% non-debatable (e.g. Page’s “Green-Eyed Lady” in Dick’s ’11 “Tweezer” or Trey’s “Norweigan Wood” in Worcester ‘12 “Taste”). If there is any question as to whether something was a tease or not, I don’t feel it should be noted on an official setlist. There have been teases noted where I can understand what the person heard but I don’t think it’s a tease at all (e.g. alleged “Live and Let Die” in Pelham ‘12 “Rock and Roll”) and then there are teases that make no sense whatsoever to me. I’m not sure why Phish fans are so tease-crazy, I’ve always thought it to be odd phenomenon. To recap—clear intent and no subjectivity.

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@TimberCarini: What are your favorite five “one-time covers” you have seen live and why were they special?

In no particular order:

“Running With the Devil” 8.6.98, Atlanta: As a huge Van Halen fan from early on in my life, this encore from Lakewood ’98 shocked me in the best way. To hear Trey play Eddie’s licks, even if they weren’t so clean, was a sublime experience that united my childhood and young adult life.

“Terrapin Station” 8.9.98, Virginia Beach: Click here to read a post about this magical moment.

 “Thunder Road” 6.19.11 Portsmouth: When the band started the intro to “Thunder Road” to honor the passing of Clarence Clemmons, I could hardly believe my ears. Once again the band had inserted one of my absolute favorite songs into their live show. Even though it was pretty much off the cuff, the power of hearing Phish cover meaningful songs from your life is undeniable.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” 12.31.96 III, Boston: For a tripped out tale about this experience, click here.

“So Lonely” 11.14.98 E, Cincinnati: My first two favorite bands in life were Duran Duran and The Police, thus when the band pulled this song out of nowhere as the encore at The Crown and bled into “Tweezer Reprise,” I was totally floored.

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@mcary23: …five songs or even segments of songs that you consider lyrically to be Tom and Trey’s best work…

Some of my favorite lyrical pieces are “It’s Ice,” “Lifeboy,” “Sand,” “Silent In the Morning,” “Velvet Sea,” “Frankie Says” and “Spices.”

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@bryantweathers: What do you expect from #Phish in 2013 in terms of tour dates?

A lot of people have asked this very question, so based on nothing at all, here is my prediction for 2013: a two-legged summer tour featuring Festival X, a Halloween run, a Thanksgiving/30th Anniversary Run and New Year’s Run. As the band members now have families, I think full-blown fall tours are a thing of the past.

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@diller24: Where does Madison Square Garden rank among top Phish venues?

If considering both the show experience and musical output MSG is right up against the Gorge for top venue of all time. I’ve always thought of it as the top indoor venue to see Phish. While Hampton has a better show experience and better sound, it doesn’t have the history of MSG. Phish hasn’t performed close to as many memorable shows and jams in The Mothership as the New York’s midtown Mecca. This upcoming holiday run will make 27 total shows at MSG—almost a month of Phish in one venue! And if I were to list the all-time jams that have gone down in The Garden, it would be a post of its own. I did a whole series of MSG memoirs a couple years ago before MSG 2010, and I plan to repost them in anticipation of this New Year’s Run. While some of the 3.0 shows at MSG haven’t quite been up to snuff, there is little question that the venue has hosted more top-shelf Phish shows than any in the land.

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@stillwading: If you were to have the band over for breakfast, which cereal would you have in stock for each member and why?
Trey: Cap’n Crunch—because he leads the ship.
Mike: Cinnamon Life—because Mikey likes it.
Page: Smorz—because they are as close to a sandwich as you can get in breakfast cereal.
Fish: Fruit Loops—to match his dress and demeanor.
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@HeyCrutch: If you could change one thing about Phishtory, what would you change?

The band would have played Halloween shows in ’97 and ’99. (I guess that’s two.)

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Jam of the Day:

Light” 7.1.10 II, Raleigh, NC

One of the highlights of early summer 2010, as “Light” was coming into its own.

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MASTHAY’S “THE TERMINAL” ON SALE TOMORROW!

Don’t forget to pick up your New Year’s Run quadtych at Noon EST tomorrow at Masthay Studios!

“The Terminal” AJ Masthay

 

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Miner’s Mailbag V

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on November 2nd, 2012 by Mr.Miner

6.25.10 Camden, NJ (Graham Lucas)

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@EdCochran18: Can you address the cultures of different venues?

This is one of the weirdest factors of going on tour—by far. Because you are (usually) in a different state every night, the first thing that comes into play are state laws. Last summer, for example, when tour jumped from California into the south and then back to Colorado, the culture was like day and night. Weed and other drugs are seen so differently from state to state in the US, its hard to believe we are still in the same country sometimes, (see OKC.) Thus the first thing to verse yourself on is the laws of where you are and how seriously they have it out for hippies. But then the venues, themselves, can be extremely laid back or tight. For example, at Bill Graham Civic the ushers patrolled to make sure you were smoking weed and not cigarettes (this is a fact), while at Merriweather, there are teen-aged girls, backed by an urban security SWAT team, making sure your feet don’t cross painted lines on the aisles in the pavilion, less they kick you onto the lawn (also a fact.) Sometimes security takes themselves way to seriously (Jones Beach) while others they encourage you to have fun (Hampton.) It’s pretty crazy to bounce from venue to venue and have to adjust to a new set of norms on a nightly basis when all you’re trying to do is dance and feel good, but—alas—that’s why Jedi training is a huge asset on Phish tour.

Chillest Venues: The Gorge, Hampton, Dick’s 

Tightest Venues: Merriweather Post, Jones Beach, Virginia Beach

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@Teddier: Five years into the future-what are Phish doing to keep their interest fresh and will their music change much by then?

Five years! Wow. Phish has only played four years in this era and we are jumping five more ahead. I’ll be completely honest and say that Phish 2017 may or may not exist. While I certainly hope so, five more years is a long time for these guys to keep going. For some reason, I don’t see Phish following the Grateful Dead model of play until you drop. I suppose nothing stands in their way of playing five years and beyond except a desire to move on. If they are still playing in five years, I sure hope the band has a couple more albums under their belt and we are hearing a hell of a lot of new material! Improvisationally, however, the sky is the limit. As long as these four guys are committed to each other, I am confident they will crank out high quality jams. Any stylistic conjecture would be sheer speculation of which I wouldn’t even know where to start. If Phish has one thing going for them, their fans will never lose interest no matter what they do. Tour wise, let me take a wild guess—maybe summer tour and a new years run?

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@Matthewgerber79: Do you ever see Mikes Song or YEM ever returning to their former improv glory, or has that ship sailed along with Halley’s?

Interestingly, all it takes is Trey’s will and either of these songs can snap back into form on any given night. But for whatever reason, I don’t see it happening. “YEM” doesn’t feel like as huge of a loss as “Mike’s,” which has gone from a top three jam vehicle for the second half of the ‘90s to a recycled guitar build. But at least “Mike’s” is over in eight minutes these days, while “YEM” still has nearly ten minutes of composition and five minutes of a vocal jam, leaving the song with negligible payoff on any given night. Everyone has been focusing on the rarity of “YEM” over the past two years as if it’s a bad thing, but if the band is only gonna step into four minutes of generic funk, my preference is to leave it on the shelf. There’s no need to kill so much of a set with the theatrics that are “YEM.” It’s unquestionably one of Phish’s greatest songs, but they’ve played it so much over their career, it seems like they no longer know how to make it interesting.

 @henryilnicky: top 5 bliss, groove, shred, space/weird jams #nextaskminer

Here are some personal favorites in no particular order and without racking my brain:

Bliss:

“My Left Toe” 7.21.99, Star Lake

“Reba” 7.6.94, Montreal

“Harry Hood” 12.28.10, Worcester

“Bathtub Gin” 8.17.97, Great Went

“Bathtub Gin” 9.12.99, Portland Meadows

Groove:

“Sand > Quadraphonic Toppling” 12.31.99, Big Cypress

“Ghost” 5.22.00, Radio City

“Bathtub Gin” 7.29.98, Riverport

“Roses Are Free” 4.3.98, Nassau

“Mike’s Song” 12.31.95, MSG

 Shred:

“Tweezer” 12.2.95, New Haven, CT

“Piper” 7.18.99, Oswego

“Antelope” 10.24.95, Madison, WI

“Drowned > Rock and Roll” 6.29.2000, PNC

“Antelope” 12.9.94, La Mesa, AZ

Space/Weird:

“Drowned” 9.14.00, Darien Lake

“Wolfman’s Brother” 10.31.98, Vegas

“David Bowie” 12.29.94, Providence

“Disease > Free” 6.26.95, SPAC

“Reba > Walk Away” 10.29.98, Los Angeles

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Miner’s Mailbag II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on October 5th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

8.17.12 – Bill Graham (Graham Lucas)

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@heyscottyb: If you could pick one song that #phish has never jammed out, for them to explore which one would it be?

Great question and easy answer—“Bouncin’ Around the Room.” With all the shows Phish has played in their career, it is unfathomable to me that they have never jammed out “Bouncin.” The song has all the ingredients of a great jam—percussive layers, a perfect tempo, and a beautifully melodic foundation. Influenced by the syncopated style of Senegelese bands, I’ve always thought Phish could transform this song into an awesome piece of improv. Why they haven’t I’ll never know.

There are some other head scratchers in the modern catalog as well. First and foremost, “Stealing Time.” A song that has been played ad infinitum in this era, the band has only flirted with a jam once—in Portsmouth last summer. When this song debuted at Jones Beach in 2009, I was sure it would be a new school jam vehicle, but instead it has turned into the “Character Zero” of 3.0—an innocuous, guitar heavy set closer. Talk about wasted potential. Additionally, I’d really like to see Phish jam on “Halfway to the Moon,” “20 Years Later,” and “Steam.” Each of these three songs have a distinct sound and style that begs for exploration. But as of yet….no go.

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@roofan2009: I’m looking for a good group of scorching “Suzy Greenbergs.” If you had an all-time-top-five Suzys, which ones?

11.13.96 Target Center Minneapolis, MN, 9.14.00 Darien Lake, 12.28.03 AA Arena, Miami, FL, 10.31.09 Festival 8, Indio, CA, CA, Any Summer ’91 version with Giant Country Horns

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@rw_forb: Can you share how you take set notes in real time so you can then write a show recap? Maybe a pic of your set book? Thanks

I have never in my life held a writing implement or piece of paper in my hand when Phish is playing. Everyone has their own way of enjoying Phish shows, and I dance. The thought of trying to process anything intellectually or analytically during a show is foreign to me. Phish is a purely in the moment experience for me; I don’t try to breakdown anything about a show as it’s happening, aside from exchanging looks of awe when massive jams end. I feel that taking notes would be totally counterproductive to the spiritual nature of my experience. In fact, I rarely open my eyes at shows, because any visual stimuli takes away from the music for me. The reasons I go to Phish are to be inspired and to transcend my own humanity; pencils and paper don’t help these goals at all.

Writing a recap of the show is a totally separate experience for me that comes after talking with friends, thinking back over what went down, and—usually—listening to the significant jams once through. I won’t remember to get milk at the store, but I’ll remember what lick Trey started a jam with. Odd, but true.

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‏@MJVITIELLO: Why no new material lately? They tried some new ones in 2010 & 2011, but it didn’t stick. Even “Steam” was rare.

The reason I think there has been no new material recently is that the guys don’t spend time together off tour. They haven’t been in a studio together since they recorded Joy before their return, hence they have had no opportunity to engage in the creative process together. Between families and side projects, I guess there hasn’t been a desire to write new music for Phish. Most of the new songs we’ve heard this era that aren’t from Joy have been solo efforts that have crossed over to Phish, with “Steam” being the only real exception. Why “Steam” hasn’t entered the rotation by now is beyond me. It was once rumored that this fall might bring a new studio effort from the band, but as of now, I’m not sure that is even still planned.

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 @WolfmansUncle: Which song would you like to see them turn into their next 3.0 jam vehicle? #fireaway #WheresmydarkOcelot?

If I had my druthers, it would be a completely new song. I thought “Ocelot” and “Stealing Time” had potential, but the band had other ideas. If I had to pick a song that could jump into rotation and be a heavy-hitter with some improvisational attention, it would be Page’s “Halfway to the Moon.” Or “Mike’s Song.”

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‏@AceMcCready68: What are your top 5 MSG jams of all time?

In chronological order: “Harry Hood” 12.30.95, “Mike’s Song” 12.31.95, “Tube” 12.29.97, “AC/DC Bag” 12.30.97, “Carini > Wolfman’s” 12.28.98

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Jam of the Day:

Boogie On” 9.18.99 II, Chula Vista, CA

I haven’t heard this beast in a minute.

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