The Final Four of Phish

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on March 21st, 2012 by Mr.Miner

Trey is My Friend Hosts "The Phinal Phour"

The battle lines have been drawn, the regionals are over, and we have made it to the end of the line—the Final Four! After some hard fought battles in the Elite Eight, the people have spoken and the cream has risen to the top. The first semifinal of 2012 will pit two vehicles of groove—#1 seed “Tweezer” against another #1 seed “Reba.” The second semifinal will see the tournaments overall top seed and Phish’s seminal opus, #1 “You Enjoy Myself” battle against the band’s sacred hymn and #2 seed, “Harry Hood.” Below are recaps of the Elite Eight games and previews of the two monster match-ups to come. Thanks to Trey is My Friend for such a great idea and a well run tourney!

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(1) “You Enjoy Myself” def. (3) “Antelope”— 625-338

In the west regional final, the size and defense of the tournaments’ top seed, “You Enjoy Myself,” held off the run-and-gun offense of an upstart “Antelope” squad who had their eyes on the big upset. The game stayed close for the first half as “Antelope’s” pesky quickness caused several turnovers that led to easy baskets. But the second half was another story. Spreading their feared zone defense, “You Enjoy Myself” took away the long ball by smothering the three-point line, while their help side defense was quick to collapse when the ball was passed inside. This took away “Antelope’s” advantage and led to an easy victory by the sizable voting gap of 625 to 338.

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 (1) “Tweezer” def. (3) “Ghost”— 566-369

The East final matched two esteemed launch pads—“Tweezer” and “Ghost.” Dark, exploratory, and funky as hell are adjectives that describe this ferocious battle. Taking the game into the outer regions of psychedelic debauchery, “Tweezer” and “Ghost” played a contest that was not for the faint-hearted. Featuring a continuous highlight reel of ally-oops, fast breaks, and groove-based basketball, both teams were feeling the flow in this game. Like the West’s match-up however, “Tweezer” just proved to be too much for the late-‘90s funk staple, and “Ghost’s” offensive prowess disappeared into the night with ten minutes to play. “Tweezer’s” experience—having played the game in every way possible—proved to be one of the crucial factors of this contest, as “Ghost” looked like a discouraged JV squad by the end. Though this was the marquee match-up of the Elite Eight, did anyone ever have any doubt about the result?

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(1) “Reba” def. (2) “Bathtub Gin”— 559-449

“Reba” was the third #1 seed to make it into the Final Four, illustrating the accuracy of the tournament’s seeding committee. Phish’s classic fugue-turned blissful groove outclassed “Bathtub Gin” in a notably upbeat game—a far cry from the demonic basketball on display in the East final. “Gin” tried to knock “Reba” off its uplifting path by applying full-court pressure early and often. Making a second-half spurt with some powerful rhythm licks and ball movement “Gin” looked as if they it might overcome the narrow deficit. But “Reba” was able to answer back, winning the closest regional final by a tally of 559-449 to reach the Final Four.

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(2) “Harry Hood” def. (1) “Down With Disease”— 596-365

“Harry Hood” put on a ball control clinic in the South regional final, dictating a slower pace of game and taking the break-neck #1 seed “Down With Disease” completely out of rhythm. “Disease,” known for its off the rails adventure, was never able to get things going as the meticulous back door cuts and methodical passing of “Hood” lulled them to sleep. A This match-up featured the archetypal battle between a song that holds an unmatchable place in the Phish pantheon versus a more modern classic with limitless jam potential. And tradition won out over improv as #2 “Harry Hood” put a trouncing on “Disease” by the score of 596-365. As “Hood” moves into the semifinals, “Disease’s” fight song has never seemed more appropriate, for now is the time the team members can finally say, “This has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way.”

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FINAL FOUR PREVIEWS:

(1) “Tweezer” vs. (1) “Reba”

If I had to pick two songs to hear at any given concert, these would be the two. This national semi-final pits two diverse vehicles of groove against each other. With “Tweezer” favoring darkness and mystery and “Reba” leaning towards bliss and towering glory, this match-up is one for the ages. Both of these songs have similar game experience, but “Tweezer” more readily adapts to different styles of games, while “Reba” is a fairly one-dimensional, though formidable, squad. Able to shoot threes that tickle the next from anywhere on the floor, “Reba” will have to rely on their marksmanship to counteract “Tweezer’s” intimidating and imposing front line. While this should be a very entertaining game to watch, I think “Tweezer” has a spot in the championship locked up.

PREDICTION: “Tweezer”

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(1) “You Enjoy Myself” vs. (2) “Harry Hood”

Perhaps the two most revered songs in the band’s catalog will square off in the second national semifinal. Both “YEM” and “Hood” touch the very soul of Phish, featuring multi-part compositions that release into jams that have a character all their own. “Harry Hood” is carrying momentum after knocking off “Disease” with a particularly intense last few minutes of play, while every analyst has picked “YEM” to be in the championship from Selection Sunday. Could an upset be brewing? Many fans have been touched by “Harry Hood’s” ethereal and heart-tugging jams, and the emotional connection many have to the song could put it over the edge. While the band’s signature piece, “You Enjoy Myself” hasn’t held as much significance in this era, its history and experience is unmatched by any team in the tournament. It’s lack of a routine rotation spot as of late could hurt “YEM” against a song that has never rested much since it’s 1985 debut. Though I’ll be casting my vote for “Harry Hood,” I think “YEM” will win in a barnburner.

PREDICTION: “You Enjoy Myself”

 

VOTE FOR THE NATIONAL SEMIFINALS NOW @ TREY IS MY FRIEND!

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PHILLY PHISH EVENT- TONIGHT!

3/21/1992 Twenty Years Later: A Night to Celebrate the Phish

1992

March 21, 1992 at the Chestnut Cabaret in Philadelphia was a typical ’92 smoker! Secret language all over the place, that ’92 energy rippling through the room, and a”YEM” complete with a “Three Blind Mice” vocal jam reared its lumpy head. Tonight, The Blockley in Philadelphia would like to invite everyone to come and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the one and only time Phish graced our West Philadelphia stage! There will be 1/2 priced drafts until 10 PM and “Lot-Tails” such as Reba’s Toxic Purple Paste, the Makisupa Swizzle, Piper’s Sour (complete with worms!), and Bathtub Gin Punch…You in the Eye! Phish Quizzo/Happy Hour will start around 8 PM and 3/21/92 will begin playing over the PA around 9:30. Throughout the night there will be giveaways (think 3-day Bader Field Pass and other Phish goodies), surprise jams, DVD footage, related videography, and a Phan-friendly food menu, taboot! Look for Mike the Rager behind the bar in his magical vest! Come on down, and feel the feeling you forgot!

When: Tonight!—Wednesday 3/21/2012 @ 8 PM

Where: The Blockley, 38th and Chestnut, Philadelphia, PA

Why: An Asteroid Crashed, and nothing burned!

Check out The Blockley on Facebook!

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Jam of the Day:

David Bowie” 3.21.92 II, Philadelphia, PA

Twenty years ago, today, Phish dropped this “David Bowie” in the middle of the second set.

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Three Eras of Tube”

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

6.6.09 - Great Woods (Graham Lucas)

Today we take a glimpse at three generations of “Tube.” Enjoy. And if you need more “Tubes” to listen to when you are done with this sample size, check out some others here. Have a great Thursday!

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7.16.98 II, George, WA

This wide-open funk jam oozes with the sound of the Gorge. Over-sized, chunky bass lines anchor this version as Trey adds all sorts of wah-groove into the mix. Trey then set some loops as Page sculpts the sound alongside him, adding a whole different, cathartic ambiance to the music. Returning to an extended series of slamming, whole-band grooves, this Gorge version has always been one of my go-to favorites

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2.22.03 II, Cincinnati, OH

This explosive version kicked off one of the marquee sets of February ‘03’s comeback tour at The Crown in Cincinnati. Both Trey and Page stood out in a jam that moves far beyond anything we’ve heard recently. This furious rendition took over the entire arena, whose roar you can hear in multiple mid-jam peaks. Fishman keeps a driving, cymbal-heavy beat chugging for the duration of this best-of-the-post-hiatus era “Tube.”

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6.18.09 I, Burgettstown, PA

Though its Star Lake show was nothing spectacular, this first set “Tube” remains the most significant of the modern era. Page’s takes an extended clav solo as Trey comps him with a diversity of rhythm patterns and pitch-bent notes. Trey then moves on, hitting some high-octave lead lines before the band comes back together in swanky groove and the final verse of the song.

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Twisted Tuesday

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on February 7th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

10.30.10 - Atlantic City, NJ (Dave Lavery)

One of the songs that has taken a distinct step backwards in this era is “Twist.” Debuted in Summer ’97 along with a host of new songs, “Twist Around,” as it was known then, became an instant vehicle for improvisation. Phish crafted exploratory jams from the song immediately, both in Europe and in America during its first summer. The song continued to be a mainstay launch pad through the 2.0 era, producing such diverse masterpieces as the Island Run “Twist,”(4.2.98), Fukuoka’s Japanese space symphony (6.14.00), and SPAC’s heaping dose of psych-inspired robo-funk (6.20.04). “Twist” was always one of those songs whose dip into the unknown enhanced by the multitude of directions that the jam could take—and Phish often played contained versions as well. With no preset course, “Twist” developed into one of the band’s most diverse jams through the late ‘90s and the post-hiatus era.

Fukuoka, JP 6.14.00

But since Phish came back three years ago, they have reeled in the song considerably. In fact they played one of “Twist’s” most abstract modern excursions at Hampton’s comeback run, as the song sank into murky textures before segueing into “2001.” More often than not, however, the band has used “Twist” as a vehicle for contained, jazz-like improvisation. Essentially, we know what we are getting when “Twist” starts these days, and that is a drastic shift from the song’s former lives. Aside from Denver’s “Low Rider” jam, “Twist” has been a straightforward piece whose differences have lied only in tempo and licks rather than musical direction. Today, let’s dip back into a few lesser-known versions that highlight the intrigue the jam once contained.

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7.5.97, Como, Italy

This was the fifth version of “Twist” ever played, and it took place at a free, one-set show in a gorgeous outdoor locale in Como, Italy. With their stage on the sand at the side of a lake with mountains in the background, Phish played a sunset set for anyone who cared to join. In this “Twist,” the band builds into thick, rhythmic interplay, gradually seeping from their own infectious funk into a jam on Deee Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart”—a quality, lesser-circulated nugget from a game-changing tour of Europe.

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7.29.97 II, Phoenix, AZ

When Phish got back to the US, they continued to push the boundaries of “Twist” throughout its youth. This version—the next after Como—came one week into the US Summer Tour, and showcases boundary-pushing psychedelia. Using his raw tone and soloing style of the era, Trey locks with Mike to lead the band into a twisted, multi-tiered standout jam that is often left behind by listeners in favor of other, more established favorites. (Excuse the windy audience tape.)

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7.4.00 II, Camden, NJ

Kevin Shapiro’s recent soundboard drop of this “Twist” from July 4, 2000, in Camden, allows us to hear the jam’s subtle intricacies unlike any audience tape ever did. The band gets far away from the song in this jam, entering a completely alternate milieu and finding a unique theme deep into the adventure. Dark and exploratory while remaining wholly cohesive, this jam is one of “Twist’s” shining moments. Resolving into “Slave,” this two-song combo punctuated a stellar set of holiday Phish.

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7.18.03 II, East Troy, WI

When the band came back in 2003 and got into more abstract playing, “Twist,” occasionally transformed into a platform for increasingly dark encounters. In this version, plucked from deep in the second set at Alpine Valley, Phish spawned an extra-terrestrial spacescape that took more than a few concert-goers by surprise. Trey continued to solo over a blanket of dark ambiance, a gorgeous juxtaposition, as he joined his mates in maniacal sound sculpting. Switching to uncompressed growls with uncompromising fury, Red meshed with piece seamlessly as the band smoothly jammed back into the song’s groove.

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Three Tweezers On Thursday

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

8.5.10—The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

The title says it all. With no further ado, here we go.

12.1.96 II, Los Angelas, CA

A piece that quintessentially represents its place in time—the tail end of Fall 1996— this “Tweezer” from UCLA’s Pauly Pavilion often flies under the radar; but it shouldn’t. Phish had begun to shed its arena rock skin for a far smoother style that would begin to takeover their music, and this metamorphosis is fully on display in this “Tweezer.” A version that came on the last run of tour illustrates how far the band had come since their transformative performance of “Remain in Light” on Halloween. And though the initial jam sequence is swanky and groove-based to the core, this extended jaunt eventually builds into a dark and cacaphonous symphony before floating back to earth via futurisic and percussive interplay and a final, old-school “wind down” ending. A true monster in every sense.

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12.16.99 II, Raleigh, NC

This hallowed gem illustrates the drone and dissonant style of the late-’99 era quite well. Creeping out of a post-“Velvet Sea” ambient jam late in the second set, this beast emerged. Mike bushwacked the band’s intitial path with bass grenades as Trey set up layered a pillow of psychedleic sounds. Coming with laid-back leads amidst this murky excusrion, Trey began to command the jam with minimalist authority. Settling into a second segment, the band crawls amidst gorgeous ambient-melodica before ascending slowly into a “Slave-esque” that is as cathartic as music gets. This one touches my heart every time I hear it.

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8.11.04 II, Mansfield, MA

Forgotten amidst turbulent times of August ’04 was the last “Tweezer” of the post-hiatus era. Though not super long, this jam certainly packs a hell of punch before segueing smoothly into the real version of “Hold Your Head Up.” An oversized, dark and mechanical groove dominates this excursion which certainly possesses an apocalyptic feel that paralleled the band’s “final run” to Coventry.

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The Rebirth of “Tube”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 7th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Fall 1997 (Unknown)

Fourteen years ago tonight, Phish pulled into Dayton’s Nutter Center on a Sunday night following, perhaps, their best performance of Fall ’97 in Auburn Hills. The band had visited the intimate arena once before on 11.30.95 and a played a great show anchored by the second set sequence “Tweezer -> Makisupa -> Antelope.” But two years later, on December 7th, Phish was neck deep in funk grooves and there was still one song they hadn’t played all summer or fall. Because of my love for the ’95 Nutter show, when Cleveland hit on 12/5, I made the call to the people I was riding with—”Tube” in Dayton. It just felt right. The Nutter Center and “Tube” would go well together, at least in theory, and as it turned out the combination wasn’t so bad in reality either!

The last time the band had played “Tube” was in Stuttgart, Germany on 2.26.97 and they had already limbered their funk chops a bit in a first-set version of the song. But it was still largely anchored by Page the entire time—moving from piano to organ and then back to piano as the rest of the band sat aside comping him. Before that the song was nothing but a short, infectious, sought after bustout. But with the developments of Summer and Fall ’97, the potential collision of an asteroid and Phish, on a James Brown-esque rampage across the country, had all sorts of potential. Thus when the band actually did play “Tube” towards the end of the first set at the Nutter Center—I can still remember the moment it dropped—the intimate venue felt like it might explode.

Sliding into Page’s clav solo with precision, the band immediately carried a synced-tempo of champions. They hit a strong collaborative groove behind Page, as he went off on his clav then his organ. As the band hit a break, they came back in with a full-band funk jam of the Fall ’97 variety. The Nutter center was shaking as the band reinvented the song in front of our eyes. Hitting a classic ’97 break, Trey scratched out a guitar pattern and the band dove headfirst back into the funk for another section before bridging the ned of the song. All of a sudden, it seemed like this treatment was what the song had been made for, and Phish had done more than impressed everyone in the audience—they had impressed themselves!

After winding up the particularly tight groove, the band liked what they had done so much, that instead of starting a new song, they went right back into the rhythmic workout. Elaborating on the funk theme by adding layers of effects and melody, the band took this section into more earnest improvisational realms. Transforming into one of the eternal highlights of the fall, this jam transformed into a delicate palette of melody-infused hypergroove; this was music that felt as good as it sounded. Trey gradually blended in more hints of “Slave,” and the band eventually made the move into a magnificent set-closing rendition.

Though Dayton ’97 will always be remembered for many aspects of its show, the most revolutionary was the first truly funkified “Tube.” Transforming the song into a jam vehicle overnight, Phish went onto keep the song in loose rotation through the end of 2000, appearing in many shapes and sizes. And it was always an adrenaline-inducing dance party. Finishing a gargantuan Midwestern weekend in Dayton and with their reborn song in tow, Phish headed for the home stretch of their hallowed tour with a bulls eye on Albany one week later. All those “Tubes” we know and love throughout the late ’90s can be traced directly back to the grandfather of all significant “Tubes” from Dayton on this night so many years ago.

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Jam of the Day:

Tube > Slave” 12.7.97 I

A classic.

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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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Many Sides of Simple

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 4th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

12.30.2010 (Graham Lucas)

Last week, we looked at one of Phish’s most diverse jams, “Twist.” And while considering songs for that post, whose jams can move in any musical direction, my final choices were “Twist” and “Simple.” Not a jam that immediately pops to the forefront of my mind when thinking of psychedelic adventures, throughout the years “Simple” has, in fact, provided these journeys in droves. Though the song, traditionally, provided a bridge within “Mike’s Groove” while also appearing as a standalone piece, its jam truly came-of-age in 1996, transforming “Simple” into a legitimate vehicle for improvisation. And throughout the band’s career, “Simple” jams have veered every sort of sonic pathways. From mellifluous to sinister and from rocking to ambient, “Simple” is a song that has spanned the band’s musical spectrum.

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Though the song continues to serve its dual role in current Phish shows, two modern versions blossomed into 3.0 highlights. The rendition played at The Greek (8.6.10) is among the most exploratory, successful, and psychedelic musical conversations of the era. Moving through multiple segments of locked in jamming, Phish wove a delicate experiment that stood out as an instant classic. The second came in the last show, on January 1st at Madison Square Garden. In the second set, Phish took the composed jam to virtual silence before emerging with one of the most soulful and poignant passages of the Holiday Run, featuring an ending so gorgeous and connected it sounded composed. And now—as we sit only a bit more than three weeks away from Summer Tour 2011—if were a betting man, I would wager that we will see a few more creative excursions out of the anthem before this season is out. But for the time being, let’s take a look back of some of the diverse jams that have carved “Simple’s” legacy.

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11.21.1995 LJVM Coliseum, II

This set opener from Winston-Salem gets into some ’95 style percussive grooves, moving with urgency and segueing into “David Bowie” via an abstract rhythmic ending.

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10.31.1996 The Omni, III

A classic version from the third set of Halloween ’96, that moves through experimental territory into some laid-back and buttery grooves. Best heard on LivePhish’s soundboard remaster, this intricate version, assisted by Karl Perazzo on percussion, was one of the early, show-stopping versions.

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11.18.1996 Mid-South Coliseum, II

This full-band conversation from Memphis was underlined by cathartic guitar work from Trey in the latter part of the jam.

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(Pollock)

8.16.97 Limestone, II

The Great Went; Trey’s iconic guitar solo; big-time, emotional, festival-sized Phish.

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12.9.97 State College, II

This under-the-radar odyssey from Stage College, Pennsylvania, is as exploratory as any “Simple” ever played. This extended version provided the centerpiece of a show that went largely under-appreciated due to its alternate nature within a tour known for its nightly, funk-based dance parties. Check this one out if you’re not familiar, you may be surprised.

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Hampton Coliseum

11.21.1998 Hampton, II

A gorgeous example of the band’s Fall ’98 melodic and ambient “amoeba” jamming where no one member led the jam more than any other, pushing and pulling like a single-celled organism. This version is also a perfect illustration of how “Simple” can migrate into blissful pastures.

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11.29.98 The Centrum, II

And this version, from Fall ’98’s tour-closer in Worcester, highlights the evil and menacing side of Phish with one of the more full-throttle, aggressive abstractions heard in years. Pushing the envelope by filling The Centrum with the intense sounds of a deranged reality, Phish sculpted a distinctly “other” style of jam on this night.

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8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

8.6.10 The Greek Theatre, II

The Greek’s wildly creative and laid-back experiment from just last summer is one of the defining jams of the modern era. Intricate, delicate, and connected, this jam was one of the band’s defining moments of its three-night Berkeley stand.

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Pronouncing It In Several Ways

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

12.29.09 (Wendy Rogell)

Though Phish has many protean songs whose jams reach differing musical realms, few launchpads hold such diverse possibilities as “Twist” every time out. Since the song debuted in Dublin to kick off Summer ’97, “Twist” jams have never held a predestined path, while leading the band into many different musical pastures. Covering all ground, from groove to ambient soundscapes and rock and roll to avant-garde quasi-jazz escapades, “Twist” has always featured dips into the musical unknown. The versatility of the song is clearly illustrated when looking at some of the seminal (and obscure) versions.

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Desert Sky Pavilion 7.29.97 II

This early version of the song, during the first week of the band’s US Summer Tour in ’97, immediately illustrated the jam’s propensity for psychedelia. Entering a dark and abstract jam amidst a summer best-known for funk music, this new song did’t always lead into chunky grooves.

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Nassau Coliseum 4.2.98 II

Nassau '98 (livephish)

One of the most iconic “Twists” ever played, this blissful escapade in melodic space-groove remains a defining relic of Spring ’98’s Island Run. No other versions touches the convergence of rhythm and catharsis that this one does, and the melding of the two elements created one of the driving, danceable, and smoothest versions ever played. On this night, “Twist” touched the divine.

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Big Cypress, Florida 12.31.99

Big Cypress

As the band got a few songs into their midnight set at Big Cypress, “Twist” whispered into the Florida night. A gorgeous rendition that featured a hypnotic melody over a soft ambent backdrop, this “Twist” provided an introspective journey as we passed into 2000. Combining with “Caspian,” this version soothed the soul as we seeped deep into night.

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Drum Logos, Fukuoka, JP  6.14.00 II

If the Island “Twist” represents one peak for the song, this jam from Fukuoka, on Japan’s southern island, is unquestionably the other. In a tiny club, Phish played the most cerebral and coherent ambient music of their career; a nuanced and delicate conversation that could have only happened within such intimate environs. This version likens a silk carpet on which the audience rode into outer space. Well known as part of LivePhish 4, this “Twist” is one of the band’s timeless jams that never gets old.

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Tweeter Center, Camden, NJ 7.30.03 II

7.30.03

When Phish came back from for the second phase of their career, they continued to push “Twist” into new places. During an era when the band took musical risks like they were going out of style, “Twist” was often the beneficiary of such exploration. This churning and sprawling rendition represents the full-throttle, psychedelic experiments of Summer ’03 and one of the darkest jams of the tour.

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Alpine Valley 7.18.03 II

Only weeks before the aforementioned Camden odyssey, Phish had a close encounter with extra terrestrial lifeforms while engaged in this space-aged, mind-control experiment.

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The Spectrum 11.29.03 II

Circa '03

11.29.03

One of the few defining jams of an underwhelming Turkey Run, this “Twist” got quite melodic before gradually descending through a sequence of groove, into an uncompressed dungeon of guitar terror. A stellar snapshot of post-hiatus jamming, a growling and unexpected segue into “Simple” brought this menacing sequence back into the light.

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SPAC 6.20.04 II

SPAC 2004

Part of Phish’s last burst of creativity the second time around, this “Twist” stood up with “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” and “Piper” as the brightest stars from an unforgettable weekend at SPAC. This multi-faceted version featured furious full-band, bass-led grooves, that saw Mike going beserk before the band brought it down and Trey’s delicate rhythm licks revved the second half of this summer highlight—a truly elite rendition.

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The Transformation of “Sand”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on February 3rd, 2011 by Mr.Miner

12.31.2010 (George Estreich)

Traditionally a platform for extended guitar sorcery, “Sand” made the jump from TAB to Phish at The Gorge in the Fall of 1999. Adopting a similar structure as it had in Trey’s solo band, Phish’s “Sand” showcased a deep, linear groove over which the band largely improvised by adding and peeling away sonic layers and effects. Rarely veering from this structure, the song became a relic of 1999 and 2000—the millennial era—a time when Phish focused on psychedelic soundscapes and dark, rhythmic jamming. Appearing only once in the post-hiatus era as a part of 2003’s New Year’s Run in Miami, Phish doubled that output in 2009 with versions in Camden and Miami. Camden’s version added a surprise element of melody to the groove-based palette, but the song remained a rarity through Summer 2010.

8.9.10 - Telluride (W.Rogell)

A turning point for the song came in Telluride, when Mike broke form and began improvising bass leads while Trey tore into ferocious washes of sound and sustained, uncompressed phrases. Page stepped up and began playing along with Mike’s uncompromising lines before Trey drifted back into a more standard lead role. While Mike, Page and Trey engaged in a distinctly different conversation, Fishman still maintained a driving beat that kept the creativity framed in familiar style. Coming together in a crushing full-band peak, Phish capped the jam without returning to its final musical verse. This version carried something far more dynamic than previous incarnations; interplay that foreshadowed a forthcoming change.

Over the course of Fall and New Year’s, Phish dropped four “Sands”—as many versions as they had played in almost two years since their return. Over these four outings, Phish continued the shift that had begun in Telluride, from a one-dimensional piece into a jam in which all four members play an equal part. Coming off the shelf in the first set of Charleston’s finale, it was this version of “Sand” that kicked the show into overdrive; a show that would set Phish afire for the rest of the fall. Building off Telluride’s version, the entire band—including Fishman—treated the song more equitably than ever before. Trey left space for other ideas in the mix, and before we knew it, Phish was crafting a legitimate four-piece conversation amidst “Sand.” Applying their ego-less jamming that has steadily matured since their return to “Sand,” the band transformed the one-time Trey highlight reel into a dynamic show-stopper.

10.29.10 - Boardwalk Hall (J. Weber)

Phish liked what they played in Charleston so much that “Sand” was moved into the second set only two shows later in Utica, New York. Coupled with Atlantic City’s fall finale on 10.29, these two versions explored the band’s newly-discovered four-piece rhythmic gamesmanship. And both resulted in fall tour highlights that reached places previously untouched by “Sand.” Utica’s knee-buckling version featured more powerful exchanges than Charleston’s and broke into a second segment that provided a groovy bridge to “Theme From the Bottom,” while giving us a preview of the open jamming we’d hear from the song in Atlantic City. “Sand’s” curtain call of the season came in a scintillating centerpiece on the first night of Atlantic City. Following another mind-numbing and equitable excursion, Phish skirted the song’s typical ending and landed in a slowed down, melodic piece of music with a shuffle beat that, had nothing to do with the song’s structure at all. “Sand,” the ultimate contained jam, had finally broken down its doors into open, uncharted territory. Eventually leading into “Carini,” this version illustrated how far the song had come over fall tour. But we had no idea what was waiting for us on New Year’s Eve.

12.31.10 ( AJ Masthay)

As the opening of “Sand” emanated from the stage at Madison Square Garden, it felt like the theme music to a prize-fighter’s entrance. Shit was about to go down, and everybody in the building knew it. Bursting out of the gate with his signature staccato licks featured prominently over the New Year’s Run, Trey began the jam as he would any other in history. But with 2010’s improvisational transformation, the rest of the band reacted completely differently than in years past. Instead of providing a canvas for Trey’s crack rhythm licks, the band joined right in! Echoing and improvising off of Trey’s infectious lines, the band members engaged in a selfless symphony like none heard in the song’s history. Page, Mike, and Fish were all playing some form of Trey’s stacatto licks, transforming the jam into one of the danciest and most impressive jaunts of the song’s career. The band members all left space for each other to continue and finish each others’ musical ideas, and the jam quickly turned into one of the most intense high “Sand” had ever provided. And as Trey released from his syncopated patterns with a jazzy lick, the band followed right along, sailing fluidly through the second half of the song with communication just as jaw-dropping as the first. And then without wasting a moment, Phish seamlessly returned to the final chords of the song in a flawless rendition.

It is a fruitless attempt to compare “Sands” from 1999 to “Sands” of 2010, as the band’s intent for the song has now completely changed. That being said, each spin of the New Year’s version continues to floor me with its precision and perfection. Along with Big Cypress’ middle of the night romp on the other end of the spectrum, I believe these to be the song’s crowning achievements. The former version is 40 minutes and the latter is 10—timings that are signposts of vastly different eras. Cypress’ odyssey represents the peak of the original “Sands,” while MSG’s represents the peak of a whole new style. But when all is said and done, with Phish’s new focus on equitable “Sand” structures, the song’s brightest days may yet lie ahead.

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Jam of the Day:

Sand” 12.31.10 II

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

4.27.1991 The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York SBD

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

4.27.91 Poster

I played roulette with for today’s download. I chose a year, closed my eyes, and clicked the mouse. So here we have it—The Capitol Theatre, a very Phishy stop in 1991. This was the band’s third of seven shows at the venue between 1990 and 1992. Enjoy the Thursday SBD treat. (Note: The FLAC torrent is an AUD new to circulation.)

I: Sweet Adeline, The Asse Festival, Runaway Jim, Cavern, The Landlady, My Sweet One, Reba, Llama, The Lizards, Suzy Greenberg, Stash, Golgi Apparatus

II: The Curtain > Possum, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY > Mike’s Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Fluffhead, Tweezer, The Squirming Coil > Wipe Out > Tweezer Reprise

E: Bouncin’ Around the Room, Good Times Bad Times

*Aquarium Rescue Unit opened

Source: DSBD / FLAC: akg 451eb’s

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Settling Into Place

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

Jones Beach '09 (Wendy Rogell)

Almost two years has passed since Joy dropped, and the songs from Phish’s only modern-era album have found their primary spots in the band’s rotation. Today, we’ll look at some of the most promising songs from Joy that were debuted in 2009 and their role in current shows.

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“Ocelot”

Trey's Ocelot Inlay

Debuted right after Hampton in Fenway’s first set, “Ocelot” seemed like a promising jam vehicle for the band out of the gates. At the time, it’s playful and methodical grooves seemed like the could easily lead the band in adventurous directions. I remember all of June ’09 waiting for a big “Ocelot” to open the second set, but  to this day, the song has still not appeared in any second set at all. “Ocelot” has found its home as a first set staple, often the first improvisational piece of its given show. The jam has developed a roots Americana feel, spouting passages that sometimes evoke the sound of The Grateful Dead. While the song never seems obtrusive and provides a warm musical breeze, the piece has yet to take on any risk whatsoever. Seeming to content to play it straight, Phish has domesticated their “Ocelot,” much like Salvador Dali did. Perhaps one day, the band will let their pet song out to play.

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“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan”

Jones Beach 09 W.Rogell)

When “Stealing Time” crunched from the PA at Jones Beach ’09, many fans freaked on what seemed like a new dissonant, hard rock launch pad. But almost two years later, we are still waiting on the song to break form. A platform for seething guitar solos, instead of morphing into the next improvisational juggernaut, “Stealing Time” has turned into this generation’s “Character Zero”— a hard-edged set closer that leaves the audience on a high note. Closing only one second set in Hartford (6.18.10), “Stealing Time,” like “Ocelot,” now finds its home in the opening half. And when I first heard it, I would have bet good money against that development. Seemingly reluctant to take their new songs to new places, Phish has also kept this song firmly inside the box.

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“Backwards Down the Number Line”

Trey and Tom (Relix.com)

Perhaps the biggest enigma from Joy, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has blown up a handful of times—most notably last summer at Blossom and Jones Beach—but has otherwise remained a noodly anthem. While some of the contained versions shine more than others, Phish has yet to find a good placement for the piece. Often breaking up the flow of second sets with its sudden beginning and abrupt change of vibe, “Number Line” seems to work better as an opener a la SPAC ’09. Though “Number Line” has had some all-star moments, until Phish finds a natural home or musical direction for their ode to friendship, it will continue to be an awkward piece of the band’s catalog.

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“Twenty Years Later”

Perhaps the most contemporary-sounding Phish songs on Joy, the enchanting-turned-menacing “Twenty Years Later” has most-often appeared as a soft landing pad for outrageous psychedelic jaunts. And just this fall, Phish began pushing the end of the song, itself, creating dissonant and layered walls of sound out of the jam. A song that always seems to fit perfectly at the end of torrid adventures, Phish has definitely found the right home for “Twenty Years Later.”

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“Light”

8.7.10 -The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

When Trey performed “Light” twice with Classic TAB (before Phish returned to the stage), I immediately sensed that it would be Phish’s next cosmic trampoline. And lo and behold, “Light” has been the most consistent portal to the universe in this era of Phish. An open-ended piece that is routinely placed in the second set, its jam has migrated from thick ambient textures to futuristic groove, while hitting just about every musical place in between. “Light” is the band’s most exploratory piece right now, and has been since it first explored darkened territory at Bonnaroo (6.14.09), and further exploded during Fall ’09. Easily the improvisational MVP of 2010, every time “Light” started up the most interesting jam of the night was almost sure to follow.

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“Kill Devil Falls”

Starting out as another straight forward rocker at Jones Beach ’09, “Kill Devil Falls” got immediately interesting at Bonnaroo as the band’s first stellar and exploratory jam of this the summer. But these type of excursions have been few and far between from of the song, and no version has yet to touch Bonnaroo’s ’09 peak. Staying within the box 99% of the time, “Kill Devil Falls” most often finds its way into a show—or set—opening slot. Providing quality rock and roll, “Kill Devil Falls” warms up the audience for what is coming next.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper > Guy Forget” 10.1.00 II

A classic nugget from the home stretch of Fall 2000.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.4.1995 Mullins Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload

This December ’95 re-post goes out via reader request to Willowed!

Mullins Center, Amherst, MA

I: Julius, Gumbo, The Divided Sky, Punch You In the Eye, Stash, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Axilla II, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Hello My Baby,While My Guitar Gently Weeps

II: Timber Ho, Sparkle, Ya Mar, Run Like an Antelope, Billy Breathes, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself, Sample in a Jar, Frankenstein

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

Source: AKG 460B/ck61 > custom pre-amp > Teac DA-P20 (@ 48kHz)

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