TTFF: The Second Ten of 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on February 1st, 2013 by Mr.Miner

8.19.12, Bill Graham (Ken Scelfo)

Once again, don’t make too much of the rankings here, as I could have cut and pasted all night. I do, however, like the order in which these tracks settled. Look for jams 21-30 next week—there’s that much (plus more) any left to cover! Also, stay tuned next week when I unveil my picks for the sets and shows of the year.

20. “Roses Are Free” 6/8 I, Worcester, MA

Some of the freshest sounding music to come out of Leg One. Fishman’s work is immaculate.

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19. “Ghost > Boogie On” 6/7 II, Worcester, MA

This segment needs no introduction—some of the more fluid jamming of Leg One. Trey owns the “Boogie.”

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18. “Light > Weekapaug” 6/23 II, Burgettstown, PA

“Light’s” calypso section is hard to beat, and this is best “Weekapaug” of the era.

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17. “Waves” 6/28 II, Noblesville, IN

The only “Waves” jam of the year, and it was a winner.

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16. “Birds of a Feather” 6/15 II, Atlantic City, NJ

A stellar jam at the onset of one of summer’s most complete sets.

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15. “Limb by Limb” 8/28 II, St.Louis, MO

I think its safe to claim this jam as the most impressive “Limb” of all time, as the band smoothly moves from the song’s theme into a wide open adventure.

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14. “Fee” 7/1 I, East Troy, WI

A stunning foray into ambient sound-sculpting while the sun still shone at Alpine.

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13. “Rock and Roll” 6/24 II, Pelham, AL

This personal favorite is one of the fiercely underrated pieces of 2012. The heavenly final segment was worth the price of admission alone.

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12. “Sand” 9/2 II, Commerce City, CO

Though the band akwardly exits the groove for the outer reaches of the galaxy, once they get there this jam takes off.

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11. “Carini” 6/7 II,  Worcester, MA

Perhaps the most underrated jam of summer; stunning interplay throughout.

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Miner’s Top 10 of 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on January 25th, 2013 by Mr.Miner

12.28.12, MSG (Graham Lucas)

It took a ton of deliberation, crossing out and remaking lists to come up with my favorite jams of 2012. I pondered not even trying to pare down Phish’s prolific year to a “Top 10″ because there are plenty more jams that are outstanding, but when it comes down to it, these are my favorite pieces of music from 2012. Don’t read too much into the rankings, as deciding on an order was quite the ordeal and I flip-flopped places many times before settling on this one. Enjoy the music and come back next Friday to check out the ten jams that I would put just behind these. A great weekend to all.

10. “Down With Disease” 12.30 II, MSG

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9. “Rock and Roll > Ghost” 8.15 II, Long Beach, CA

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8. “Twist” 6.22 II, Cincinnati

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7. “Light > Ghost” 7.1 II, East Troy, WI

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6. “Carini” 12.30 II, MSG

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5. “Crosseyed > Light” 8.19 II, San Francisco, CA

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4. “Chalk Dust Torture” 8.31 II, Denver, CO

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3. “Undermind” 8.31 II, Denver, CO

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2. “Tweezer” 12.28 II, MSG

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1. “Light” 9.1 II, Denver, CO

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MYFE. & Miner Present: The Island Run

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

4.3.98 – Nassau (livephish)

The Island Run needs no introduction. Four shows that were spontaneously announced in the spring of ’98, because the band was teeming with creativity have become legend in the Phish community. Following the well-loved tours of Fall and New Years ’97, the band had a European jaunt planned for June—but they couldn’t wait that long. They wanted to play now. And the rest is history. As they began to blend a spacey ambiance into their funk stylings of ’97, Phish dropped, arguably, the greatest four-night run of their career in Nassau and Providence, resulting in timeless jams that sit amongst best of all-time.

In the modern era of Phish, beginning at Hampton’s comeback in ‘09, fan-created, jewel-quality, cloisonné pins have emerged as collector’s items of choice. From Gamehendge characters to song representations and from original art to classic logo-rip offs, pins are everywhere on the scene today, taking almost all focus away from lot t-shirts while reducing the hype about posters. Fans rock these pins on hats, shirts, bags and any number of other places. Additionally, collectors have pin boards on which they display their collection. More easily viewable than twenty five posters that are still in tubes in the closet, and retailing for less money, Phish pins have become all the rage in 3.0

4.3.98 – Nassau Coliseum

After I published my book last winter, I decided to think up some pins. Though people had created pins to represent all things Phishy, I decided to take the idea a step further and develop pins that creatively represented historic jams in Phish history. And what better place to start with than The Island Run? Within days I had four designs in mind, but I also had a problem— I didn’t know the first thing about how to make a pin! As fate would have it, in reaching out to the pin community, a kind soul connected me with one of the original and most respected pin making teams in the scene, MYFE. Designs.

Just before the Hampton 2009 reunion, MYFE. Designs was part of the team that launched the first pin of the 3.0 era; the pin that ‘started it all.’ Since then, MYFE. has grown into one of, if not the most, respected pin companies in the scene. Anchored by a two-man team of Tanner Council and Mike “Monk” Cavagnino, MYFE. is known for their thoughtful creative process that has produced some of the highest quality and most sought after pins in the scene today.

Thus, it is with great pride that I announce the first MYFE./Miner collaboration—a four-piece limited edition collectors set representing my favorite jams from each night of The Island Run. Each set of pins comes fixed in it’s own custom-built collector’s case—a free-standing, crystal-clear, plexi-glass tower—that perfectly displays the artwork and detail on both the front and back of these pins. No expense was spared in getting these pieces up to showcase status for your collection. Below you can read about why I chose each jam, and the design process that went into each pin. These collector sets are available for purchase for $80 from MYFE.’s site, and go on sale very soon—as in later today!

The Backstamps

(Note: Photos do not accurately reflect the color and detail of the pins.)

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Twist” 4.2.98 II, Nassau Coliseum

4.2.98 – “Twist”

Coming late in the second set of The Island Run’s opening show, this “Twist” jam elevated in full, giving us the first true sense that something greater was at work. What started as an outrageous Phish concert had turned into a completely sublime experience. Fusing groove and melody in way never truly done before or since, this version of “Twist” grew a life of its own, enveloping the minds of the unsuspecting Nassau audience. Part and parcel of this unforgettable jam, was Chris Kuroda’s one-of-a-kind lighting display. As “Twist” reached a higher plane, Kuroda blanketed the venue with moving, narrow white beams of light, creating an overwhelmingly, extra-terrestrial feel. As the futuristic music with this alien lighting display, a powerfully cathartic moment crystallized; a moment so surreal that if you were there, you’ll never forget the Nassau “Twist.”

Design: When thinking of a design to represent this “Twist,” Kuroda’s indelible lighting display immediately came to mind. I wanted to convey the way the beams took over our visual field while we danced to this divine music. Initially, I sketched this design from memory, but then, on a call with MYFE., we decided to look at the actual YouTube clip from the show. Instead of going with my original sketch, we paused the video at the exact moment that I had attempted to draw. Capturing a screen shot of the lights, precisely as they were during the jam, MYFE.—vectored a proof directly from the image, assuring an accurate reproduction of the scene. After considering different materials and accouterments to accentuate the lights on the actual pin, we decided that sticking true to the white beams, lined with simple black nickel, would be the classiest call. Complete with seven “cut-outs,” 4.2.98’s “Twist” is the first pin in the commemorative series.

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Roses Are Free > Piper” 4.3.98 II

4.3.98 – “Roses > Piper”

Hailed by many fans—including myself—as their favorite jam of all time, “Roses -> Piper” is a household term in any Phishy abode. Covering the gamut from seductive grooves to deep-space, sound sculptures and everywhere in between, “Roses -> Piper” has come to define the astounding capabilities of Phish for an entire generation. Kicking off the second set, this timeless pairing covered 45 minutes of the greatest improv you’ll ever hear. April 3, 1998—a night that will always live in infamy—is eternally synonymous with this unparalleled jam. Read more about this “Roses -> Piper” here.

Design: This was the first pin I designed when sitting down last winter. I wanted to create something that would aesthetically do justice to my favorite sequence of Phish music. The first image that came to mind was a worm (“Piper, Piper the red, red worm) slithering through roses, conveying the interconnectedness of this life-changing sequence. But there needed to be a sense of place, so I printed and traced an image of Nassau Coliseum and laid it behind the first piece of paper with the worm and roses. I then traced my entire design onto a single piece of paper. When I got together with MYFE., we all agreed that there was nothing that needed to be changed with this design. With some slight cleaning up of the leaves and roses, and some re-angling of the worm’s curves, this pin represents the original, hand-drawn design.

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Birds of A Feather > 2001” 4.4.98 II

4.4.98 – “Birds > 2001″

Phish debuted “Birds of a Feather” during The Island Run’s first show at Nassau. But when they opened Saturday night’s second set with “Birds” in Providence, only two days later, the jam exploded into one of the highlights of the four shows. Blending spacier textures —sounds that would come to define 1998—into the rock jam, Phish pushed the envelope in this hybrid experiment. To say the interplay within this “Birds” is airtight would be a gross understatement. Carving a ferocious and forward-looking jam out of the brand new song, it felt as though the band was looking to top themselves for a third straight night. Finally returning to the last verse after a profound journey, Trey hit the final chord of the song with a delay effect that immediately morphed into the beginning of “2001.”

Crafting an alien-like ambiance before liftoff, with Fish’s snare hit, Phish spun into one of the elite versions of “2001” ever played. Carrying a white-hot intensity, a break-neck pace, and layered with droves of loops and effects, this version launched into the stratosphere, setting a new standard of what was possible from the one-time, three-minute funk cover. If you love Trey solos over “2001,” this is the version you’ve been looking for you’re whole life. If you’re a groove junkie like me, this version never fails to provide that magical fix. This is one of the best. Interestingly, the band never passed through the second theme of the “2001,” instead, breaking the groove down into a percussive vocal jam before starting “Brother.” Clocking in at over half hour of infectious improv, the pairing of “Birds > 2001” is but another timeless paring of Island Run lore.

Design: This pin underwent the most change from original sketch to final product. Before I was in touch with MYFE., I had a simplistic drawing of birds flying through space, but after a long call one night, we decided to incorporate the iconography of Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” where the music originated. After re-watching “2001” the next night, I loved our idea of birds flocking around the Monolith—the mysterious, extra-terrestrial object that brought higher consciousness to the apes at “The Dawn of Man,” and to species throughout the universe. When confronted with the Monolith, apes, men, and other species—literally—flocked around the object, providing the ideal image for the birds in the pin. At the end another call, we randomly pulled up an old movie poster for “2001” that only portrayed the astronaut helmet used by the main character, Dave. We quickly thought of putting the entire scene within the visor of the space helmet—as if the astronaut was viewing the birds and the Monolith. This was the answer. And it came out perfect.

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Oh Kee Pah > YEM” 4.5.98 II

4.5.98 – “Oh Kee Pah > YEM”

Despite the fun of the deep funk jam that brought “Possum” into “Cavern” at the end of this show, the most impressive music of the Island Run’s final night came right at the beginning. Rolling with the momentum of the past few nights, Phish came out and played one of my favorite versions of “You Enjoy Myself” in history. Taken entirely by surprise, the audience erupted as the band dropped into “YEM” out of “The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony” for the only time in their career! This move signified a rabid band ready to tear apart the Civic Center once again, and what a way to get the party started! Moving into a totally original jam, laced with sinful whole-band groove, Phish needed no time to warm up on this night. Playing incredibly expressive leads, Trey sounded as if he was narrating a story rather than playing a guitar solo. An original collaboration of rhythmic acrobatics, there is no other version out there that sounds like The Island “YEM.”

Design: The original sketch of this pin had a trampoline over Rhode Island with the letters of “O-h K-e-e P-a-h” bouncing off surface of the tramp. But when MYFE. completed the first rounds of the proofs, such an obvious image didn’t hold up to our other three designs. One night I had an idea: instead of spelling out “Oh Kee Pah”—both literally and figuratively—we’d include images of all the elements that comprised the band’s infamous, collegiate rites of passage. We’ll let you do the detective work from here. With a star marking Providence on the state of Rhode Island, this pin balances the sense of place present in 4.3’s “Roses > Piper” pin.

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The Island Tower

 

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2011′s “Type I” Highlight Reel

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 9th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

8.6.11 - The Gorge (Graham.Lucas)

Phish’s current creativity is far-reaching, seeping into all parts of their show and certainly extends beyond their exploratory jamming highlighted on Friday. I was going to wait until this coming Friday to highlight the band’s best contained, or “type I,” jamming of  2011, but instead, let’s get right to it! This following is how these picks are organized. First, I listed—in no particular order—the band’s strongest “type I” vehicles of the year, and highlighted my favorite version of each. I also noted one or two other standout versions as well. The tracks are simply ordered for playlist listenability. Then, I have a series of “One Timers,” or songs that only blew up once during the year—but that version deserves mention. Enjoy the many tunes, our the continuing look back at the year that was 2011.

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Bathtub Gin” 5/28 I, Bethel, NY

“Bathtub Gin,” though never making into the second set last year, still produced a couple of standout versions and was always reliable for a solid piece of improvisation. My favorite version of the year came in Phish’s second show in Bethel, New York. Closing a spectacular first set, this jam moves into a serious funk jam, eventually blending with “Manteca” and back into “Gin.” One can hear the electricity in the air during this version, as Phish began their conquest of 2011. Honorable Mention: 9/4 Denver—a guitar clinic in groove.

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Reba > David Bowie” 7/3 I, Watkins Glen, NY

The Gorge 2011 (G. Lucas)

Phish played some standout versions of both of these classic jams throughout 2011, and wound up pairing them to finish the first set of Super Ball on July 3rd. Each of these Super Ball versions represent my pick for the top “Reba” and “Bowie” of the year. You can hear the fluidity of the band as they were in top form for their mid-summer festival, specifically, this final show of the weekend. Page and Trey flirt with “Dave’s Energy Guide” as the “Reba” builds into an out-of-character section. The two songs are joined by an ambient, storage-laced bridge. Honorable Mention: “Reba” 6/17 Charlotte—a second set version where the band swims in IT, “Bowie” 6/3 Clarkston, MI—the conclusion of “Disease -> Fluffhead > Bowie”

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Sand” 6/19 II, Portsmouth, VA

“Sand” absolutely blew up in 2011. Every single version, less 12/30’s, was a legitimate highlight of its show. Featuring full-band interplay in every version since its reinvention last Fall, this became one of the anthems of summer. My favorite version came in June’s final show at Portsmouth, Virginia. Getting into a retro-futuristic stop/start funk jam, as well as a “Sand Reprise,” the band’s dynamic, rhythmically-focused imporv truly popped off in this summer highlight. A “Sand” and then some.  Honorable Mention: 8/6 The Gorge—Trey infuses a slight whale call into the groove while the band crushes within the venue’s open air anvirons; segues back into “Tweezer!”

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Run Like an Antelope” 8/6  II, The Gorge, WA

6.5.11 — Cincy (M.Stein)

Though “Antelope” has remained fairly standard throughout 2011, a couple versions expanded beyond the norm. In the Gorge’s version of 8/6, not only did Trey provide a summation of the second set within the song’s intro, the band locked into a slammin,’ yet laid back, jam that oozed with both patience and ferocity. Passing through a “Golden Age” segment of the jam, teasing the final song from the set, Phish came together in this “Antelope” in far more engaging fashion that any other time last year. Honorable Mention: 6/4 Blossom—a quality first set closing rendition.

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Wolfman’s Brother” 8/15 I, Chicago, IL

It seems like “Wolfman’s” has permanently settled into a role as a first set song in 3.0. After taking some of its jams out in 2010, Phish brought the song, largely, back to form but for one or two occasions when it segued into another. My selection for the most engaging “Wolfman’s” of the year is an easy one—UIC’s version from 8/15. After moving through a legitimate funk session, Phish moved into a second jam where Trey initially laid way back in the mix filling in the space of his band mates groove. Gradually he integrated his lines into the music, finishing in victorious fashion. Honorable Mention: 7/2 Super Ball—a fury of funk grooves to get the festival going during its first set.

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Stash” 7/2 II, Watkins Glen, NY

Though “Stash” more often than not provides the first jam of its show, and hasn’t made it into the second set since the band’s return—the noted shows was a three-setter, and set II was essentially set I—Super Ball’s version carried a bit more rhythmic complexity than usual. This “Stash” represented the point where the band began to build momentum for the rest of the show and their late-night Storage Shed extravaganza. A quality moment that is often forgotten about from the last year’s festival. Honorable Mention: 6/10 Camden—a classic, modal take on the jam with quality tension and release.

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Tweezer” 6/5 II, Cincinnati, OH

Though I highlighted the phenomenal Denver “Tweezer” on Friday, most often, the song was a vehicle for “type I” jamming rather than open exploration. In this Cincy version, the band sits into a vicious funk exchange for much of the piece before Trey peaks it with foreshadowing “Crosseyed” licks. Far dirtier and groovier than Denver’s melodic mind-meld, this is the other side of “Tweezer. Honorable Mention: 7/2 Super Ball—a crunchy, mechanical, larger-than-life version dripped from the speaker towers before ending abruptly for “Julius.”

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Harry Hood > Roggae” 9/4, II, Denver, CO

9.2.11 - Denver (G.Lucas / webcast)

“Harry Hood” continued to offer energetic and passionate playing throughout 2011, often finishing sets with cathartic exclamation points. But each of my two picks are versions that were more centrally located in their second sets. Denver’s 9/4 version melds the jam’s modern staccato soundscapes with the airtight, thematic playing of lore to create a new-school masterpiece. A truly triumphant piece of music, no version approached the Denver “Hood” this year. And the “Roggae” that followed harnessed the same vibe as the “Hood” jam, standing out in its own right. Honorable Mention: 5/28 Bethel—more exploratory than given credit for, 8/15 UIC—ended the night on a huge high.

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Slave to the Traffic Light” 6/19 II, Portsmouth, VA

Several times this era, Phish has centered “Slave” in the second set rather than leaving it as the shows denouement. And my pick for “Slave” of 2011 comes from Portsmouth, Virginia, in this exact context. Capping an opening run of “Crosseyed > Walls,” this version was incredibly patient and reached divine levels of interplay. Complete and utter bliss, this rendition is what this song is all about. Honorable Mention: 8/9 Lake Tahoe—another mid-set monster, 9/2 Denver—the conclusion of the “S” show, Trey holds a sacred note for quite some time.

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Chalk Dust Torture” 8/16 I, Chicago, IL

8.15.11 - UIC (M.Stein)

The usually straightforward Phish anthem veered into more than a couple memorable jams in 2011, and my pick for the “Chalk Dust” of the year comes from the first set of UIC’s second show. Roaring to life like few versions have this era, Phish attacked this jam with uncharacteristic aggression, reaching intricate points that were more reminiscent of “David Bowie.” Sparking the show as the third song, this one provided a golden memory. Honorable Mention: 6/3 I Clarkston—a laid-back and patient take on the song to close the first set, 8/9 Lake Tahoe—intense version laced with teases and breaks down beautifully into “Slave,” 12/29 MSG—a fantastic transition into “Hyrogen” amidst a “Mike’s Groove.”

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Backwards Down the Number Line” 5/28 II, Bethel, NY

On a night when the band could do no wrong, they shredded this second set “Number Line” with atypically active interplay for this song. Focused on a whole band conversation rather than Trey’s noodling, this jam gets intricate and quite engaging, easily qualifying as version of the year. Honorable Mention: 6/19 Portsmouth—Trey gets into some Allman—esque soloing while the rest of the band is playing gently accompanying him.

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Crosseyed and Painless” 7/1 II, Watkins Glen, NY

7.1.11 (G.Lucas)

Though it pains me that Phish has decided to use this once prolific jam vehicle as a means to high-speed and aggressive rock playing, they, nonetheless, routinely shred the composed jam to bits. Two versions standout above all others in my memory from 2011, and its no surprise that each contained a little bit extra. My highlight version comes from Super Ball, as an ambient jam led into the song and out of it before a Trey emerged with a cool transition into “Chalk Dust.” Honorable Mention: 8/17, UIC—featured a tripped out interlude between “Crosseyed” and “No Quarter.”

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Weekapaug Groove” 6/8 II, Darien, NY, and 12/29 II, NYC, NY

“Weekapaug” has consistently proven to be more interesting than “Mike’s” in this era, a trend which certainly held true last year. Two versions stand out to me from 2011, the plinko-laced rendition from Darien Lake and the more commanding percussive-funk of December 29th’s version. Since we are all familiar with the recent one, I’ll play Darien.”

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ONE TIMERS:

2001” 6/8 II, Darien Center, NY

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Light Up or Leave Me Alone” 6/14 I, Alph., GA

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Destiny Unbound” 7/3 I, Watkins Glen, NY

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The Curtain With” 6.10 I, Camden, NJ

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Limb by Limb” 8/16 I, Chicago, IL

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Wilson” 7/3 I, Watkins Glen, NY

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Mound” 7/3 I, Super Ball

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Scents and Subtle Sounds” 9/2 II, Denver, CO

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TTFF: The Top Ten of ’11

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 6th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

8.5.11 - "Rock and Roll" (Graham Lucas)

For this week’s installment of Ten Tunes For Friday, let’s review the band’s open, or type II, jamming of 2011. This week’s playlist is comprised of my ten favorite jams or jam sequences from this standout year of Phish (that didn’t take place in a storage shed). I am not claiming this to be any sort of definitive list that anyone else should agree with, rather, my personal picks for the year’s top jams. This list was quite hard to “rank” after numbers one and two, but for the sake of fun, I worked it out. The many honorable mentions are below the playlist in italics, listed chronologically.

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10. “Piper” 12/30, NYC, NY

The standout piece of improv from the recently-completed New Year’s Run breaks the top ten with an exploratory yet coherent jaunt that came out of nowhere amidst a relatively sloppy show. The band shook off the jitters for a heavy dose of confident, exploratory, and psychedelic playing. Comprised of several modern textures, this jam served as a stellar cap to the many quality versions of “Piper” in 2011, ending with a segment as stunning as any.

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9. “Halley’s Comet” 5/28, Bethel, NY

This is, straight up, one of my go-to jams of 2011. So tasteful, smooth and groovy, the band builds out of “Halley’s” into one of the more original jams of June that always leaves me wondering what I’m listening to. The centerpiece of an outstanding first set in Bethel’s second show, this “Halley’s” sparked and foreshadowed one of the strongest two-set shows of the year.

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8.  ”Rock and Roll” 6/7, Mansfield, MA

I can’t believe I let this jam drop so low in the “top ten,” but that is a testament to the unbelievably high quality of music we heard from Phish last year. This “Rock and Roll” has it all, first moving from rock grooves into a soulful and uplifting middle section with composed-sounding melodies rolling off Trey’s guitar with speed and confidence. After fully exploring this melodic enterprise, the band moved into darker, scathing and more abstract playing. Transforming into a psychedelic monstrosity, this jam provided the centerpiece of an otherwise clean but uneventful set, but this is one of those jams that can carry a frame of music all by itself. Read More…

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7. ”Twist -> Piper” 9/4, Denver, CO

This classing song pairing absolutely popped off in the band’s final show of summer, as each piece was laced with high-level musicianship. “Twist” weaves in and out of “Low Rider” before a perfect segue into “Piper.” And this “Piper” absolutely smokes, showcasing Phish at the end of a long summer of playing. Hitting a notable groove, the band added an indiscernible chant (around a jam of the Modern Lovers’ classic “Roadrunner”) into the mix, before bringing the piece down for the most impressive use of the Theremin all year. With Page on his magic instrument, the band engaged in a futuristic, Mind-Left-Body-laced chase through a high-speed, musical wormhole.

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6. “Waves -> Undermind” 8/15, Chicago, IL

In the meat of UIC’s “Elements Set,” Trey gets into some dirty, uncompressed playing amidst a stellar “Waves” jam before the band surprised most everyone in the arena with a segue into “Undermind” that transpired under our noses with hardly anyone noticing. “Undermind’s” jam moves cohesively, blending into the final Theremin jam of Leg Two—a majestic passage of music.

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5. “Down With Disease -> Fluffhead” 6/3, Clarkston, MI

This gorgeous one-minded collaboration brought a jolt to tour as the band let loose in a multi-faceted adventure. Moving through several cohesive and engaging segments of jamming, the band landed in the theme of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”—the starting point of the piece’s final movement which blended seamlessly into “Fluffhead.” Read More…

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4. “Rock and Roll -> Ghost” 6/17, Charlotte, NC

This “Rock and Roll” gets very deep, unique and complex with outstanding interplay between all band members. An exploratory and spiritual jam in its own right, “Rock and Roll” blends smoothly into—easily—the “Ghost” (and one of the jams) of the year. The entire band was locked in and on point for throughout this heavy-hitting sequence that took place at the tail end of June’s tour. And the guys brought “Ghost” to hugely emotive heights, as Trey digs into some his most inspired playing of the year in what was, perhaps, the strongest night of Leg I.

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3. “Light” 8/9, Stateline, NV

Experimental, extended, and absolutely otherwordly, this jam is some of the most original music made by Phish all year long. Coming on the heels of The Gorge, Mike forged a path for the band as they flirted with outer realms of the galaxy in a dark odyssey that goes very underrated when it comes right down to it. The relatively abrupt ending does little to tarnish the monumental ground covered. This is Phish without a net. Some love it. Some don’t. I most certainly do.

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2. “Tweezer” 9/3, Denver, CO

The most cathartic jam of the year, this “Tweezer” is a melodic masterpiece. Peaking with some of the most soul-cleasing grooves of the year, Trey spirals off the mountaintop and begins to layer and loop two different phrases before he lays down a timeless lead melody that takes the jam through a final stage before an ambient denouement. Fishman holds it down with infectious beats throughout this “Tweezer,” perhaps the smoothest and well executed jam of the year. This piece of music touched the heart of everyone I spoke to in that Colorado soccer stadium, and that is saying something.

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1. “Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On” 8/5, The Gorge, WA

This sublime sequence opened up the second leg of summer at The Gorge with the most mind-bending jam of this year in “Rock and Roll.” Integrating their full musical spectrum into this piece, the band also infused the theremin and “storage jamming” into their live show for the first time, and succeeded with flying colors. From the uplifting to the Theremin funk to the evil “Gorgae” segment, the band were like musical superheroes on this night. The Gorge always brings out the best in Phish, and in the most magical sequence of 2011, Phish sculpted the defining piece of 3.0, along with a segue into “Meatstick” that still produces a rush of adrenaline every time I hear it. The band’s momentum spilled right into a stellar “Boogie On” to complete the standout sequence of 2011 by leaps and bounds. Read a memoir…

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Honorable Mentions (in chronological order): “Simple” 1/1, “Waves > Caspian” 5/27, “After Midnight” 5/31, “Drowned” 5/31, “Sneakin’ Sally” 6/4*, “Down With Disease > Free” 6/10, “Down With Disease -> Maze” 6/14, “Simple” 7/1, “Golden Age” 7/2, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” 7/3, “Down With Disease > No Quarter” 7/3, “Light” 7/3, Waves -> What’s the Use?” 7/3, “Roggae” 8/5, “Light” 8/15, “Down With Disease -> Twist” 8/16, “Seven Below” 9/2, “Ghost -> Guy Forget -> Ghost” 9/4, “Carini” 9/14, “Carini -> Tweezer” 12/28

* This “Sally” would have been number 11.

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Type II Cast

TYPE II CAST: MSG REVIEW PODCAST

A couple nights ago, I sat down with Type II Cast‘s host, Stephen Olker, YEMBlog curator and the editor-in-chief of Hidden Track, Scott Bernstein,and Phish.net veteran, Charlie Dirksen, to discuss the recent Holiday Run. The 90-minute conversation flowed really well, and the podcast—with jam-only audio clips—should be a fun listen for fans of all ages. Click on over to Type II’s page and give the show a listen! Thanks to Stephen and Type II cast for having me on the show!

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Trey’s New Songs

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , , , on October 11th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

2.19.10 - Chicago (M.Stein)

After such an extensive summer of Phish music, I haven’t been keeping up with Trey tour as usual. I haven’t listened to a full show or many jams, but reports have been solid all around. The most interesting aspect of Trey tour for me, however, has always been its proving ground for new songs and the potential they may hold for Phish. Trey’s larger band slayed 33 shows over the summer while debuting exactly one new original, thus I would imagine that on the first tour of 2012—whenever that may be—we’ll hear a batch of new songs. With work on an album forthcoming as well, one has to wonder what new Trey debuts might crossover to the Phish stage. With more than half his tour left, we may see  Trey unveil more pieces yet, but for now, lets look at his first four debuts.

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Land of Nod” – 10.7.11, Myrtle Beach, SC

Trey’s most recent debut, “The Land of Nod”—first played in the encore of the Myrtle Beach show—is my favorite and the most original of his new pieces. Written by Trey, alone, the song begins with a heavy, bass-driven groove and when the horns come in over this rhythm, the piece resembles genuine Israeli gyspy-dub (a la Balkan Beat Box.) With ridiculously danceable rhythms, Phish could slaughter this piece if they could adapt the horn lines to the quartet. The middle of the song moves into an uplifting and melodic passage with the refrain, “I was asleep for so long…”— a total juxtaposition of styles within the piece. When the song moves back into gypsy-dub stylings, TAB winds it down, though this is where Phish could just get going. Then again, this is one tune that could be tailor made for his solo project.

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Glacier“ - 10.1.11, Burlington, VT

The first Anastasio/Marshall composition of tour was debuted late in the second set of Higher Ground’s opening show, and that is exactly where I can see it fitting in a Phish show as well. Though the piece has already been pegged as Trey cheese by many fans, but I actually enjoy it quite a bit. While the lyrics are bit over the top about the Winter Queen and the Prince of Music, the guitar melodies and sparse supporting textures are both ethereal and cerebral. Trey and Tom usually write songs for one band and one band only, so I wouldn’t be surprised “Glacier” in the bigger pond at some point.

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Snake Head Thumb” – 10.1.11, Burlington, VT

Inspired by a dream had by the Dude of Life in which Trey’s thumb was a snake’s head, this debut came in the first set of the first show at Higher Ground. A slow and filthy groove, “Snake Head Thumb” illustrates how 2010’s Halloween cover of Little Feat has influenced Trey’s songwriting. Crafted in collaboration with the Dude of Life, the chorus makes way for a slow and infectious groove that methodically moves to dirtier and dirtier places. The only debut that had included a jam, Trey unleashed his compressed growl over heavy organ swells in this percussive piece. A jam that Phish could take to sinister realms, this could be the second new-school Anastasio/Pollack contribution to the rotation (with “Show of Life”).

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Frost” – 10.6.11, Asheville, NC

Beginning with beautiful vocal harmonies, this song’s opening gives way to a minimalist and chilled out groove, allowing its focus to remain on Tom Marshall’s lyrics. “Frost,” the second Anastasio/Marshall debut of tour could easily translate to a powerful Phish ballad. Containing the refrain of “Maybe you could sail away,” this section seems tailor-made for big-time Phish catharsis. Though more straightforward than many of Trey and Tom’s playful numbers, the more I hear this one, the more I like it.

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TAB - 2.25.2010 (Michael Stein)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

MINER’S PICKS: Summer 2011 – Denver/VT

Here are the final download links for the Summer 2011 Miner’s Picks series—all with the best sources available. Thanks again to Chris Keiner of Phish Listening Room for all the hard work!

TORRENT LINKS:

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Denver (FLAC)

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Denver (Mp3)

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DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINKS:

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Denver (FLAC) Pt.1

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Denver (FLAC) Pt.2

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Denver (Mp3)

 

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Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 — Downloads

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on October 6th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

8.6.11 - The Gorge (Joe Iudice)

For the end of the week, and with the help of Chris Keiner of Phish Listening Room, I have assembled downloads of all the Miner’s Picks that were posted last week. And here’s where Chris comes in. As audience sources of each current show are posted on etree, he reviews the same four songs from each and every source, honing in on—in his opinion—the best available recording for every show played. These installments of Miner’s Picks were assembled from Chris’ selected sources, thus feature the “best” sounding source for every single track! Also, for the first time in Miner’s Picks history, I am offering the compilations in both lossless and mp3 formats.

Below, you will find any link that you will need to download these summer compilations. The torrent links are listed first and are the easiest way to pull entire compilations at once. There are two sets of torrent links—one comprised of FLACs and one comprised of 320 kbps mp3s. Additionally, if torrenting isn’t your thing, there are also direct Megaupload links for the compilations as well. I had to keep each Megaupload file under a 1 gig, so there are multiple download links for the FLAC compilations, though the mp3s files all fit into a single download for each set of picks. Enjoy the summer highlights in any format you choose!

I want to also thank Eric Masters for organizing and re-uploading all the Leg I picks, by far the heartiest compilation of them all. In addition, download links for “Miner’s Picks: Denver” will be provided as soon as they are ready. Enjoy the weekend!

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TORRENT LINKS

FLAC

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg I (FLAC)

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Super Ball (FLAC)

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg II (FLAC)

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Mp3

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg I (mp3)

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Super Ball (mp3)

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg II (mp3)

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MEGAUPLOAD DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINKS

LEG I

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg I (FLAC) Pt.1

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg I (FLAC) Pt.2

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg I (FLAC) Pt.3

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg I (mp3)

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SUPER BALL

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Super Ball (FLAC) Pt.1

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Super Ball (FLAC) Pt.2

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Super Ball (mp3)

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LEG II

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg II (FLAC) Pt.1

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg II (FLAC) Pt.2

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg II (FLAC) Pt.3

Miner’s Picks: Summer 2011 – Leg II (mp3s)

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Miner’s Picks: Denver: Coming Soon…

 

 

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Miner’s Picks: Denver’s Finale

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 29th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Official Denver Print (LandLand!)

Two weeks after one of their best stands of the year at UIC, Phish traveled to Denver to put a cherry on top of an already amazing summer. But when the three nights in the Rocky Mountains were over, the band had rearranged the highlights of summer, pushing quite a few more jams onto the top shelf. The momentum started on Memorial Day at Bethel Woods in upstate New York had wound its way through two legs of tour and a mid-summer festival, taboot. And on Labor Day weekend, Phish gave us one more unforgettable experience to celebrate everything that had transpired over the season. What resulted in Denver was the strongest top-to-bottom stand of the year and some of the summer’s hottest musical talking points. Phish hadn’t played six consecutive sets this strong in ages, and they provided the perfect exclamation point to a summer or glory. Below are my favorite jams from Denver and one final sequence from the benefit show in Vermont.

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9.2.11

“Stash” I

After a slow start to the opening night in Denver, “Stash” provided the spark to the “S” show and Phish never looked back.

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“Sneakin’ Sally > Sparks” I

An awesome combination of old-school covers provided the standout sequence of the opening set. A funked out “Sally” turned dirty before winding its way into “Sparks”—the first version since The Cow Palace in Fall ’96

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“Sand” II

A perfect example of how “Sand” has evolved into a full-band jam. In this version, Mike leads much of the way as the band builds to a collective peak.

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9.4.11 - Denver (Michael Stein)

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“Simple > Steam” II

An ambient “Simple” jam bled into the most powerful version of “Steam” to date.

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“Seven Below” II

The most impressive jam of the opening night, Phish moved from an sparkling conversation in groove to the depths of psychedelia.

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“Scents > Slave to the Traffic Light” II

This uplifting combination punctuated the show. Trey reached for the heavens in the peak of “Scents” and with a sublime note that he held for quite some time in “Slave.” The “Slave” is below.

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9.3.11

“Llama” I

The perfect example of Phish’s on-point playing across the board, “Llama” hasn’t sounded like this since last decade.

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9.2.11 (G. Lucas / webcast)

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“Wolfman’s Brother” I

A rousing, set-closing version that moved away from center before returning to the theme.

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“Down with Disease > Tweezer” II

A hot “Disease” built towards “Tweezer” in what seemed to be an epic transition in the making, But the rug was pulled out from underneath and the band started “Tweezer” from the top. And when they did they dropped one of the defining jams of the summer. This version of “Tweezer” featured the most cathartic build in memory before Trey spiraled out of the groove and began an exercise in looping. Dropping a unforgettable melody atop two looped phrases, Trey takes this version to the bank—one of those jams in which Phish achieve musical perfection.

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“Light -> Disease Reprise” II

Deep into the second set, out of the peak of “2001,” Phish unexpectedly dropped into “Light.” Shying from the avant garde, bass led excursions that peppered the second leg, this version favored a melodic canvas in and Trey, and then the band, brought back “Disease” in, perhaps, the most artistic moment of the weekend.

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“Run Like an Antelope” II

One of few “Antelopes” of summer that brought some real fire to the table, this time including “Disease” teases within the jam.

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9.4.11

“Bathtub Gin” I

In this explosive version that bookended summer with Bethel’s standout, Trey put on an absolute guitar clinic. Moving from rhythm lick to rhythm lick, this one is as dirty and as swanky as they come.

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9.3.11 (Michael Stein)

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“Tube” I

It’s great that “Tube” is a highlight again. This compact, yet fully developed, jam is an example of Phish’s modern musical marksmanship.

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“Twist -> Piper > Hood” II

Perhaps my favorite sequence from the entire weekend, the segues are fluid, “Piper” stands out as one of the jams of the weekend, and the “Hood” is the most spectacular version of the summer. Blending modern stacatto soundscapes with an old-school assault on the song’s theme, Phish crafted a hybrid version of “Hood” that oozed victory.

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“Roggae” II

And as a come down from the previous triumvirate, the band played “Roggae.” They opened up the slower piece in the wake of the Gorge’s version, channeling the musical feel of the “Hood” jam that came before.

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“Ghost -> Guy Forget -> Ghost” II

Amidst a high-speed and dancy jam, Trey hit an fierce lick bringing the band into the second-ever appearance of the soundcheck legend “Guy Forget.” A smoking sequence put a perfect cap to a weekend that produced in ways nobody could have expected.

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9.14.2011

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“Carini -> Down with Disease -> Slave” - 9.14, Essex Junction, VT

The standout chunk of the benefit show in Vermont was anchored by the stellar combo of “Carini -> Disease.” “Carini” built into something far more significant than we’d seen since last fall, and “Slave” brought a light to the darkening “Disease jam.

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The Philler: Denver and Vermont Wrap (interview starts at 50:07)

The Philler – Episode Six – The Phlood by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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Miner’s Picks: Summer Leg II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 27th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

"Rock and Roll" - 8.5.11 - The Gorge (Graham Lucas)

Phish was riding high from a standout June tour and phenomenal festival when the hit the road for their second leg of summer. Beginning at the West Coast musical shrine of the Gorge, things started on an incredibly high note. From night one of tour we saw Phish integrate their newest abstract style of “storage jamming” into their live shows. Throwing down a seminal piece of modern-generation Phish on the first night of tour in “Rock and Roll -> Meatstick” things were off and running in a hurry. Pushing forward in their stylistic reinvention, the band incorporated this new-style psychedelia into all of their shows, even if only in small spots. The band was moving forward again, and there was no looking back. Following the night of insanity at the Gorge came the LA “Piper,” Tahoe’s “Light” and “Ghost,” UIC’s “Elements Set” of 8.15 and the next night’s “Down With Disease.” The band was comfortable taking massive musical risks again, and more often than not they were succeeding with flying colors. On a tour that lasted only two weeks, Phish still managed to crank out quite a few highlights. Capped at UIC by the only indoor stand of the summer, Phish’s second leg like it passed in a blink…but the music remains. My favorite pieces from Leg Two are below.

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“Roggae” - 8.5 I, Quincy, WA

The laid-back, West Coast psychedelic vibe took hold right away at the Gorge, sinking in deeply with this surreal sunset version of “Roggae.”

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“Rock and Roll -> Meatstick -> Boogie On” - 8.5 II

The jam of the year and, perhaps, the defining musical sequence of the modern era. Page’s Theremin was re-introduced in the live setting after the band’s groundbreaking Storage Jam, bringing new sounds into the mix while facilitating a new style of abstract jamming.

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“Farmhouse” - 8.5 II

“Oh snap! Did Miner just drop a “Farmhouse” on his picks?!” Indeed, I did. The cosmic energy from the previous 50 minutes spilled over into a beautifully reflective version of Phish’s ballad.

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“Wolfman’s -> Maze” - 8.6 I, Quincy, WA

Passing through a “Heartbreaker” tease within the monstrous rhythms of the jam, Phish built from this groove-based outing into “Maze,” a combo that cranked up the intensity of the first set.

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8.6.11 (G.Lucas)

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Tweezer > Caspian -> Sand -> Tweezer” - 8.6 II

If wide-open Phish grooves are your thing, this sequence is for you. Featuring an underrated “Tweezer” and my favorite “Sand” from the second leg, this is a can’t miss sequence of dance floor Phish. The “Sand -> Tweezer” is below.

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“Run Like an Antelope” - 8.6 II

Musically recapping most of the set within the song’s intro, Phish finished the job with a “Golden Age” jam in the “Antelope.” A supercharged version in a season that wasn’t necessarily full of them.

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“Tube” - 8.8 I, Hollywood, CA

A powerhouse few minutes from the first set of Hollywood.

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“Piper” - 8.8 II

This standout “Piper” capped a fierce (and underrated) set-opening sequence of “Carini > Crosseyed > Twist” at the Hollywood Bowl, and became the improvisational highlight of the show.

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“David Bowie” - 8.9 I

This rarely-placed, mid-first set “Bowie” anchored a strong opening set in Tahoe with a dark and intricate excursion.

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8.10.11 - Lake Tahoe (John Crouch)

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“Light” - 8.9 II, Stateline, NV

An exploratory, bass led epic that—like the Gorge’s “Rock and Roll”—reached musical places never before touched in the band’s career.

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“Chalk Dust -> Slave” – 8.9 II

Two ripping renditions of classic songs that were tactfully bridged by an delicate breakdown of “Chalk Dust.”

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“Runaway Jim > Ghost” - 8.10 II, Stateline, NV

In my mind, Phish should have rode out the magical plane they found in “Runaway Jim,” but they didn’t. Cutting a potentially stellar jaunt short with “Ghost,” the band took the second piece from rock to storage psychedelia in a version that takes the cake for the best of a weak second leg for the song.

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“Wolfman’s Brother” - 8.15 I, Chicago, IL

With a completely original jam all together, this version gets my vote for “Wolfman’s” of the year.

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“Reba” - 8.15 I

Riding the cresting momentum of the first set, this “Reba” hit the spot at UIC.

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UIC Pavilion (Chad Smith)

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“Sand > Light > Dirt” - 8.15 II

The beginning combo of the “Elements Set,” a standout segment that has been overshadowed by the latter par of the frame. Phish took another dive into original, abstract, and intergalactic realms in “Light.”

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“Waves -> Undermind > Steam” - 8.15 II

One of the most compelling jam sequences of the second leg, Page broke out his Theremin again for a spiritual soiree at towards the end of “Undermind.”

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“Harry Hood” - 8.15 E

The exalting exclamation point on a remarkble night in Chicago, and the best “Hood” of the summer that wasn’t played in Colorado.

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“Chalk Dust Torture” - 8.16 I, Chicago, IL

A third-song scorcher from UIC’s second show.

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“Limb by Limb” - 8.16 I

Taken into plinkofied planes, this first set “Limb” came as a surprise and delightful highlight of its set.

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8.9.10 - Lake Tahoe (John Crouch)

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“Down with Disease -> Twist” - 8.16 II

This exploratory “Disease” touches on countless places, though settles in few; a post-hiatus style jam without the opiates. A smooth transition into “Twist” capped a wild ride.

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“Bathtub Gin” - 8.17 I, Chicago , IL

A cathartic musical farewell, albeit for only a couple weeks.

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“Crosseyed > No Quarter” - 8.17 II

The only sequence really worth including from a fun, but musically anti-climactic final set of tour.

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Miner’s Picks: Super Ball

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on September 26th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

As fans populated Watkins Glen International in central New York for July 4th weekend, something significant was coming back together. Though Festival 8 on the West Coast was blissful in 2009, Super Ball—two years later—represented the true return of the Phish festival. With art installations of the like we hadn’t seen since IT in 2003, the look and feel of Super Ball brought us back to the carefree memories crafted so many years ago. Though smaller in scope, the Northeastern “home turf” feel was back and an intimate feel permeated the weekend. With a spectacular late-night set (a facet of the Phish festival absent at Indio) and concert grounds that were open virtually all day long, an event like this had been waiting in the wings since the band’s return.

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With the return of such a classic atmosphere, Phish played marathon sets all weekend long, cranking out all sorts of standout music. After the psychedelic high point of the festival in Saturday’s late-night “Storage Jam,” Phish concluded the weekend with one of its strongest two-set efforts of the entire summer on Sunday. All in all, Super Ball brought back a tradition that had been absent for eight years, and featured highlights galore. My favorite jams of the festival are below, most with audio accompaniment.

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“The Moma Dance” – 7.1 I

This standout version from Super Ball illustrates the renewed swagger that “The Moma Dance” discovered this summer.

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“Wolfman’s Brother” - 7.1 I

While many “Wolfman’s” veered off the funked-up course this summer, this version in Super Ball’s opening set got the dance floor hopping with ferocious set of gooey grooves.

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“Crosseyed -> Chalk Dust” - 7.1 II

With an ambient focus on both its intro and outro, “Crosseyed” offered far more than vicious textures in a first-night highlight.

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“Sand” - 7.1 II

There’s nothing like a festi-sized groove-fest with the summer’s hottest rhythmic juggernaut.

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7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

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“Simple > Bug” - 7.1 II

“Simple” provided the most exploratory and impressive piece on the festival’s first night, and one of the more psychedelic passages of the entire weekend.

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“Monkey Man” - 7.2 I

This out-of-left-field Stones cover that capped a miserably hot and uneventful afternoon set is far more fun to listen to without the sweltering temperatures.

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“Stash” - 7.2 II

This hard-edged and rhythmically divergent rendition provided one of the few engaging pieces of its set.

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“Golden Age > Caspian -> Piper > Tweezer” - 7.2 III

Here is the stellar third-set sequence that pushed Super Ball to the next level for the duration. The most developed “Golden Age” jam to date gave way to an unconventional “Caspian,” creative “Piper,” and a crunchy, festival-sized “Tweezer”—quality Phish through and though.

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"The Storage Jam" (Graham Lucas)

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“The Storage Jam” – 7.2 IV

A transformational, all-improv extravaganza that stole the weekend at Super Ball; this is the stuff of which Phish dreams are made. This innovative experiment sparked a new style of abstract jamming on display throughout leg II. I wrote about the innovative jam session here.

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“Destiny Unbound” – 7.3 I

A super-charged version of “Destiny” in a first set that absolutely killed.

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“Wilson” - 7.3 I

You know Phish is feeling it when they get creative with “Wilson!” A scorching mini-jam featuring a Mind Left Body tease puts this version into the discussion of “best ever.”

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“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” - 7.3 I

The long-awaited return of this post-hiatus vehicle provided a storage-infused, sunset standout on Super Ball’s final day.

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7.2.11 - Super Ball (Graham Lucas)

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“Reba -> David Bowie” - 7.3 I

This old-school combo—one of the most sparkling sequences of the weekend—has become a personal favorite. An absolutely glorious “Reba” bleeds into to an intricate, uptempo and underrated “David Bowie” through an ambient, post-song extension.

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“Down with Disease -> No Quarter” - 7.3 II

An inspiring “Disease” gradually works its way into Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” a version that trumped PNC’s debut.

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“Light” - 7.3 II

One of the most creative jams of the weekend that set up “Light” for a prime-time second half of summer.

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“Waves -> What’s the Use?” - 7.3 II

Phish tacked a jam onto “Waves” in three out of the song’s four appearances this summer, and each time the band moved in a very different direction. In Super Ball’s version, they guys drop into deep space before oozing into “What’s the Use?.”

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