Summer ’97: Blossoming

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 19th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Summer ’97 changed it all.  Sure, you can look to the Remain in Light set as the moment that began this gradual progression over the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997; but not until Summer ’97 did Phish transform into the monster-sized industrial groove machine that would carry us into the next millennium.  A particularly high energy of anticipation flooded every show that summer; it was the first time we had dipped our toes into the dripping primordial funk of Phish.  It was much thicker; different than before, and really fun to dance to.  Shows started to become more squarely focused on psychedelic groove, while still retaining some of the abstract exploration that characterized the band’s first peak in 1994-1995.  It was the beginning of the next chapter, and everyone felt it.

It started in Europe on June 16th, at the SFX Club in Dublin, Ireland, where a late second set Chalkdust melted into thick slow grooves and oozed into the debut of Ghost.  Arguably the defining song of the summer, Ghost was introduced as a new epic jam vehicle specifically created to groove.   With a simple, and short composed section, the intention-as was the intention for the summer shows-was to get in there and throw down raw funk.  To improvise dance rhythms and textures far slower than the frenetic tightness of December ’95; allow the music to breathe a bit.  Tearing up clubs all over Europe with twenty-minute funk jams, the band used Ghost symbolically, as an indication of their new musical direction, though these funk excursions seemed to show up in every song.  Stories flooded stateside via the internet, stoking the dangerous flames of expectation.  Yet, Phish would come home, and they would not let anyone down.

Armed with a new batch new of songs- Ghost, Piper, Twist (Around), Limb By Limb, Vultures, Dogs Stole Things, Dirt, I Saw It Again- an old cover song in Cities, and a whole new approach to improvisation, Phish continued to reinvent themselves in front of us each and every night.  Each show produced bombastic highlights that are staples of people’s collective memories, and listening patterns, to this day.  The Deer Creek Cities, Star Lake Gumbo, Ventura’s Bowie>Cities>Bowie, the Gorge Diseasezer, Austin’s Timber>Bowie, the Atlanta Ghost, Raleigh’s Disease>Mike’s; the list goes on.  This all culminated with the overwhelming magic of The Great Went; a festival littered with more dirty Phish jams than beer bottles.  Standing the test of time is the truest indication of genuine greatness, and Summer ’97 is here standing tall.

Everybody has their favorite year, or their favorite tour, between the years of 1997-2000, but none of it would have happened if the Summer of ’97 didn’t happen first.  This summer was the musical and conceptual building block for the next three years and beyond.

To honor such a historic shift in the Phish universe, I am releasing the first in the series of “Miner’s Picks,”- ” Summer ’97.”  This compilation amounts to twenty tracks and over five hours of Phish history, all performed during this universally-loved tour.  The “set” had to be broken up into three sendspace files, but the order of songs, which should be in tact, is as follows.  Enjoy!  And look for more from the “Miner’s Picks” series soon!





“Miner’s Picks: Summer ’97”

1. Reba 8.9 Alpine

2. Split Open 8.10 Deer Creek

3,4,5. Halley’s>Cities>Llama 8.16 Went

6. Ghost 7.23 Atlanta

7,8,9. Twist>2001>Bag 8.6 Riverport

10. Gumbo 8.13 Star Lake

11. YEM 8.11 Deer Creek

12,13,14. Disease>Tweezer>Disease 8.2 Gorge

15,16. Cities>GTBT 8.10 Deer Creek

17. Harry Hood 8.14 Darien

18. Slave 8.16 Went

19, 20. Tweezer>Taste 8.17 Went

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The End of Summer

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on August 18th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

And then it’s over. With a deep sun tan, it’s back to the rest of the world. With one last show-closing final note, summer tour is over. Whether you had seen every show, or had just made it to a few, that last drumbeat sent a bittersweet internal rhythm through you that fluctuated between ecstasy and sorrow. Was it all a dream? It was just too much fun to have been real. Was it really over? Did you ever imagine that happening in your life? Am I still the person I was before?

The shows were the obvious centerpieces of your experience, providing the other-worldly memories, and soundtrack, but there was so much adventure involved. Camaraderie, spontaneity, partying, driving, laughing- and probably some drama in there too. It was so fun living with your friends, against the grain, while everyone else was sleeping, and sleeping while everyone else was living. Sure, you overlapped for some hours, but whether you reversed your schedule for a month a week, or maybe even a day or two, you always got the feeling that you were pulling one over on everyone else. You knew the Phish, tasted the magic; and few were let in on the secret. It wasn’t a bad thing, not everyone could know- it just wasn’t their path.  But you still felt like an undercover superhero!  Your mission- be inside the show when the lights go down, in one piece with a ticket, and while doing so, party, bask in life, and avoid the cops. “Keep the tires off the lines,” as Page has instructed us in song. A real-life video game- and you were living it.

Your closest friends were on your journey with you; all of you contributing to reaching your treasure each night. Whether it was driving the final early morning shift and pulling into the hotel at 9am, finding a ticket for a friend, or finding the local liquor store at 4 pm and scoring booze for after the show; everyone found a way to contribute. Well, most everyone. I’m sure we all had a friend who managed to do very little, but point being, you had your squad. And during the summer months, you felt invincible as you navigated the country under the blazing sun, from amphitheatre to amphitheatre, with a car running on dreams, childlike fascination, and lord knows what else.

But this was the last stop; there were no more tomorrow nights. This was it- the last one. Last set break. Last set. Last encore. Over. People were dispersing from here- all going back home, or wherever it was they said they were from. You weren’t gonna’ see the same few hundred faces in random states across the country any more; at least not for a while. Everything began to skew back into that other reality you knew before your expedition of self-discovery. Whether that meant school, a job, finding a job, finding a place to live, or figuring out what to do with your life; it wasn’t always the smoothest reentry. But you carried the inspiration with you, stored away in the recesses of your mind from stock-piling it five nights a week for the past month. It was enough to last at least a lifetime or two.

Yet, onward we trudged, and still we trudge, through this alternate reality- carrying what we have learned- and yearning to learn more. Navigating this obstacle course the best we can, hoping to make the right decisions, remembering back to those carefree days of driving and dancing in the heat; trying to recreate those feelings in different ways in our everyday lives. Striving for the enjoyment and fulfillment everyone deserves in life; but when we stop trying most days, and sit down on the couch to relax- what we do? Pull out one of those nights of perfection and go back to our experiences that are eternal, and shall never leave us.  We believe again.

“Nothing I see can be taken from me.” -Trey


thanks to for the photos


Page Sits In With Mike’s Band

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 18th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Page sat in with Mike’s new band on Friday night, August 15th, for four songs, totaling almost an hour at Waterfront Park in Phish’s hometown of Burlington, VT. (You can listen and download below.)  The extended sit-in featured a tight seventeen minute jam out of the blues-rock, “Traveled Too Far,” a song on which both Page and Trey appear on Mike’s album.  The jam showcased not only Page, but Mike’s whole band who engage in some pretty intense playing.  They also performed a playfully improvised version of the upbeat Gordon tune, “Voices,” which allowed Page to take some solos and loosen up a bit.  With guitarist Scott Murawski and Gordon, the three join in some very cool musical exchange in this jam.  The bluegrass/honky-tonk song “Walls of Time” follows, and Page’s sit-in ends with a bit of Phishy foreshadowing with an roots-based version of “Makisupa Policeman.”  Mike’s band plays this really well, in an authentic island-sounding way, and Mike and Page play some very smooth dub in the short jam.  I’m not sure who comes on stage, but they rip a feeststyle over the second verse!  This is fresh rendition of a song that I thought got pretty dull with Phish.  All in all, the show is really good and worth a listen.  It gives you a sense of what Mike- the busiest member of Phish- is doing these days.  And The Page sit in is great.  Half of Phish is half of Phish, any way you slice it.



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Halley’s > Cities

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on August 16th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

The weekend of August 16-17 is staring at us on the calendar once again. One cannot help but reminisce when even casually glancing at the date. There’s just too many big memories. The Ball, The Went, The Lemonwheel, and Coventry all happened on this historic weekend. Throughout all twenty four sets listed above, when I think of the enormity and feeling of summer Phish festivals, I think of the music provided by the Great Went’s Halley’s > Cities. It is this jam sequence that comes closet to musically defining the feeling that Phish festivals gave me .

What am I talking about, right? I mean being surrounded by colorful molasses, vibrant slow moving thickness- with the supernatural ability to navigate that color with freedom and ease. Being overpowered by the hugeness of the sound bellowing from the speaker towers. The elephant-like slowness of the music. Being dominated by the gigantic spaces in the music just as easily as by the piercing notes. This is what I am talking about. Maybe you know the feeling? Just being lost in the sheer magnitude of what was in front of you; the sound, the chunky, crunchy grooves; “it.”

This is where Halley’s > Cities comes in. This segment is most likely my favorite festival Phish experience ever. I don’t want to begin ranking music, there is too much that is the “best ever.” Well, Halley”s > Cities falls squarely into that category. This jam is just so colossal. The Halley’s is like a swanky ride down Broadway morphing into deep slow Phish-funk that is best characterized as a Brontosaurus plodding through a swamp, questing for leaf after rhythmic leaf.

The pace of this Halley’s, as they begin the opening verse and drumbeat, holds an aura of potential greatness. So methodical and patient, with enough space to hear every note that each of them played cooperatively. This is what Summer ’97 was all about, and it had built for months to this point. Every piano note, bass note, kick, cymbal, snare and guitar lick rang clear as crystal in your ears and through your imagination. Even as they move into the notoriously ripping jam, the pace remains the same as Phish begins to dig in. If this first part of this Halley’s brings you to the central part of town, with Trey unleashing some nasty licks; the second part takes you straight off the grid, with daring whole group improv. Throughout this time and many different beats, Fishman never speeds up, and it is one of the keys to the jam’s intrigue and success. In fact when the tempo does change, it is a down-shift into murkier territory.

Trudging into that murk, the music reaches a point of “barely moving” reminiscent of so many jams that summer. Like Raleigh’s DWD>Mike’s segue, the band similarly sets up and teases a transition for minutes, with music crawling along with as much empty space as there are notes. This is where the Brontosaurus funk kicks in. Yet, as they slide into Cities, they never speed up, and our dinosaur continues romping through the jungles of our brain for another ten minutes before picking up steam progressing towards Llama. With all the room in the world to dance as hard as a you wanted, under the stars, with the greatest dance music of all time; this was truly massive. And the enormity of this all is where we got started.

So, Halley’s > Cities defines what a Phish festival is all about. I hope I make more sense now. There are some other jams that could stake a claim to this title, for sure- but not for me. That’s why Phish is so great, it’s a communal experience that is so personally intimate. Few things replicate such a dynamic. We all have our own Halley’s > Cities. On such a memorable weekend as we have upon us, go back to your own greatest summer festival memory and relive it. You will find the power is still there.



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Ambient Enchantment

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on August 15th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

A fourth set?!  Is that what Trey just said?  Had they ever done that before? Apparently, this year’s installment of the secret late night on-site set wouldn’t be a secret at all.  They were gonna come out on the main stage and play another set “as the spirit moves,” in the words of Trey, himself.  Before that happened, a huge ring of torches would be set up, surrounding the entire audience.  The “temple of fire” that had been joked about on Phish’s summer tour advertisements for months was not a joke in the end.  We would all be surrounded by flames, unifying the audience in a mass of tonal sponge to absorb the spiritual emanations from the stage. Was this real?  This was the Lemonwheel- ten years ago today- the exclamation point to Summer 98, Phish’s very own summer of love.  The tour that featured a two-week European stint that kicked off in Copenhagen’s Den Gra Hal for an epic three nights, two ridiculous nights at The Gorge, a dark-horse Texas run, a straight romp through Phish’s classic Midwestern haunts, and a surreal stop at Virginia Beach, had once again twisted up to Limestone.  And on the first night of the festival, where they usually had played a quirky late night set somewhere on the festival grounds (the flatbed jam and “disco” tent) they instead would come out and just play.

I had always dreamed of this.  Drop the songs and just play, improvise- play Phish music.  Phish songs were always fun, some phenomenal, but in the end, the ones we loved the most were launching pads for improvisation- Phish jams, the stuff dreams are made of.  The Tweezers, Bowies, YEMs, Rebas, Splits, Diseases, Mikes; the big guns.  As the composed sections of these songs moved along, anticipation continued for that drop into the jam- one of the most compelling, mysterious and hopeful feelings experienced at a show.  But this time, there would be no drop or build up, they would just play.  I, and everyone else around me, stood wide-eyed in disbelief that this was going to really go down.

the ambient set (

the ambient set (

Yet, after a prolonged break- they needed to set up the fire after all- Phish indeed came out and spun an hour long tale of mystical beauty, starting from a simple melody and flowing naturally through so many segments, all filled with the most familiar, yet brand new music.  Moving in a natural bell curve, the hour slowly built to an organic peak and then carried us back down the hill again into silence.  All four band members were moving as one, no one leading any more than the other, and the result was a completely sublime experience for us all.  I distinctly remember closing my eyes for most all of the set and upon its end, not believing how much time had passed.  The music transcended time, and still exists as one of the most magical hours of Phish’s career.

This style foreshadowed the ambient jams that would be added to the band’s repertoire in the Fall of the same year.  Jams like the Greek Theatre Reba (10.29), the Vegas Wolfman’s (10.31- though a bit darker), the UIC AC/DC Bag (11/7), the Bi-Lo Wolfman’s (11.18), the Hampton Simple (11.21) are all examples of the type of playing that became magnified throughout the autumn months.  But all song-based jams aside, the ambient set exists as, literally, one of the greatest things the band has ever done.

To be honest, I was thinking that the NYE Big Cypress set would be more like this, in terms of music being played with no reference points to know where the band was going or when something was winding up or winding down.  Though the Cypress Roses that brought the darkness into the light of the new millennium, did provide one massive 40 minute excursion in this vein.  Nonetheless, that torch lit summer night in late August of ’98 remains a unique and one time experience that brought out the very essence of Phish music.  It could have only happened on the hallowed grounds of Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine.  If you were there, you vividly recall where you were on that field when Phish came out in the middle of the night and just played.


DOWNLOAD THE AMBIENT SET, and next time you’re hanging out at sunrise, throw it on.  It will be perfect.

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Not Your Every Day Prank – 8.14.97

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 14th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

It was under the circus tents of Darien Lake that the Pranksters met the Phish.  Psychedelic worlds collided eleven years ago today, as Acid Test pioneers Ken Kesey and Ken Babbs made their infamous appearance amidst “Colonel Forbin’s” looking for the Bozos.  It was an odd night in Gamehendge, as the Colonel would not find the mighty Icculus, but rather, Uncle Sam in the form of Ken Kesey.  For many young fans, this was merely an odd occurrence; but for those who understood the significance of the silly skit, it was a nod from the older generation that we, Phish and all of us, were carrying the psychedelic torch of the ’60s.  And we were doing it right.

Amidst his foolery, Kesey said that the Bozos had been missing for two years (since Jerry died in 1995) but now they were found on Phish tour.  Coming from the Merry Prankster, himself, the LSD pioneer who defined a generation and a movement- it was an amazing stamp of approval at a time when many Deadheads refused to give in to the power of the Phish.  As absurd as the skit was, with Kesey calling up his friends the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Frankenstein to help find the Bozos, and regardless of whether they stayed on stage a bit too long, it all bore so much significance in counter-culture history.  The scenes which had stayed separate and segmented for so long had now symbolically come together in the most classic way.  Phish were the modern day Pranksters, and on our way to Limestone, our ultimate psychedelic playground, for the first time- nothing could be have been so fitting.

This was all within a stellar Phish show on August the 14th, 1997, at the end of a long summer tour showcasing raw funk jams and adventurous improv.  This summer was the onset of the the next stage in Phish’s musical evolution.  Starting in June in Europe, and on the verge of culmination in Limestone, Phish’s funk revolution was almost complete.  With expectations of The Great Went through the roof after The Clifford Ball had redefined what a concert could be just a summer earlier, some thought Darien might represent the calm before the storm.  Yet, after witnessing a standout show amongst a summer full of standout shows, fans’ shit-eating grins could not have been bigger on the scenic drive up to Limestone.

The centerpiece of this show was the transcendent, then exploratory, mid-second set “Harry Hood.”  Trey played original and surreal melodies from the opening lick of the Hood jam, as if he was delicately telling a fable to a young child.  As the band provided the perfect improvisational chugging support, Trey really took this one to the top with non-repetitive soul-searching lead melodies that exploded at the peak of the jam.  Yet, as the band sat in the post-lyrical peak, the song didn’t end.  Instead, Mike began playing deep bass lines over the sonic residue, and Trey soon picked up with a completely new and complimentary guitar line.  They were tapped in.  And what resulted was one of the most unique and tight segments of Phish improvisation I have ever heard.  Out of the peak of Hood?!  That Hood!?  This was bliss.  The whole band dove head first into this post-Hood jam, and came up with something for the annals of Phish history.

The hugely heavy drop into “Colonel Forbin’s” immediately cemented this as a special show, and the Bozos hadn’t even arrived yet.  As Kesey tried to lead the band into “Mockingbird” turning his rap to “a Bozo-bird,” Trey wouldn’t allow it, “the funk was too deep,” and the heavy slow funk they had been backing the skit with smoothly morphed into a rare appearance of “Camel Walk.”  An immaculate Taste followed as a soaring end to the evening before Phish encored a classic show with a classic encore: Bouncin, Rocky Top.

At the end of a magical summer, this was a show that was bigger than the music.  And the music was flawless.  I haven’t even mentioned the first set, but you can see the setlist below; it was as good as it looks.  As the sun peaked over the New England mountains, and our car trudged up the map to the corner of America, everything was in the right place.

08/14/97 Darien Lake P.A.C., Darien Center, NY
Set I: Ya Mar, Funky Bitch, Fluffhead, Limb By Limb, Free, Cars Trucks Buses, Tela, Train Song, Billy Breathes, Run Like An Antelope
Set II: Chalkdust Torture, Love Me, Sparkle , Harry Hood > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent >Merry Pranksters Bozo Madness > Camel Walk, Tatse
E: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

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Gordeaux and The Green Sparrow

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on August 13th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

While Trey’s weekend has captured the headlines in Phishland, our very own secret agent, Mike Gordon, has been on mission of his own, out on the road touring behind his new album, The Green Sparrow.  With most every song on the album led by prominent big round melodic bass lines, Gordon is certainly the musical lead and centerpiece of his band.  While teaming up with a host of different musicians on the album, he is currently touring with guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Tom Cleary, drummer Todd Isler, and percussionist Craig Myers; and reviews have been stellar.  The album has a distinctly Gordeaux feel to it with quirky lyrics, smooth rhythms, and a very listenable vibe.  The vocals sound particularly good, as Gordon shows off his range and control on tracks that he dedicated a year to writing.  A shift away from the calypso feeling of his previous collaboration with acoustic guitar craftsman, Leo Kotke, on Sixty-Six Steps, The Green Sparrow is definitely a rock and roll album strewn with Mike’s eccentric and unique funk bass lines.  With an eighteen-month creative process behind the album, The Green Sparrow exists as Gordon’s most developed and focused solo effort.

Some tracks that are typical of the albums large rhythms and smooth harmonies are the opening track “Another Door,” “Dig Further Down,” and “Radar Blip.”  Although Gordon seems intent on keeping this band together regardless of a Phish comeback, it would be hard to imagine that a few songs would not leak into the Phish repertoire.  Ironically, the three Phishiest songs come right in a row on the album in “Pretend,” “Traveled Too Far,” and “Andelmans’ Yard.”  A collaboration with Trey, Page, and Bill Kreutzmann, “Traveled Too Far” seems like a shoe in, and defintely has a place for Phish to explore the rock/bluesy textures of the song.  I can hear Phish playing “Pretend,” a love song to an an unknown woman, as a mellow and groovy stop late in their set, with lush vocal harmonies and a Trey solo at the end.  It would be great to see them adopt “Andelmans’ Yard,” an upbeat funky song with which Phish could really create cool jams in the vein of Undermind‘s “Access Me.”

It is interesting that little has been heard from Gordon’s tour, though people who have seen shows have nothing but good things to say.  On the road through the first week of September, everyone still has a great chance to see him as he will be hitting venues, literally, all over the nation.  Gordon is one who loves to tour, and on more than one occasion, has referred to Phish tour as a “mission” he was on, and how it never grew tiresome, regardless of the stresses it put on his bandmates.  That being said, he is surely happy to be touring again, as his circuit is hitting New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, Oregon as well as all the big markets.  (New Yorkers- Highline-tonight!-8.13)  Take the time and check it out, it really highlights Mike and the sound is infectious, and unlike previous solo albums, very danceable.

Mike Gordon Band 8.5.08 in Richmond, VA- sleeveless.

(This is the best clip I could find- the audio is not that hot.)

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Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on August 12th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

I’m ready to jump on Trey tour.  Only two nights- well, one and a half- that’s all I needed to see.  When I compare the two shows over the weekend to the last Trey performance I saw at The Warfield on 12.7.06, its like night and day, apple and oranges; choose your cliche.  Not only was that Warfield show uninspired and one of the first times I flagrantly watched Trey going through the motions on stage, this weekend was as exciting as any in recent memory.

Maybe it was the time off, and the question of whether anything would ever happen in the Trey and Phish world again.  Maybe it was the ridiculously clean shredding all weekend long, but I’m so amped on Trey right now, I bought tickets to the Nashville performance of “Times Turns Elastic,” the orchestral piece he has

Adam Kaufman / Hidden Track

photo: Adam Kaufman / Hidden Track

written over the past 18 months.  Combining intricate electric guitar, vocals, and an entire orchestra, this piece is “in the vein of ‘Divided Sky, ‘Guyute,’ and ‘You Enjoy Myself’,” according to  If this piece is of comparable quality to any of Trey’s songs debuted this weekend, we are in for a treat.  People often say that Trey’s Phish and solo compositions are more poppy, simple, and emotional these days.  True, however, he has put his compositional energies into this guitar led orchestral piece- come to Ryman Hall naysayers!

But straight up, I feel like Trey’s “King Midas” touch is back.  I basically love all of Trey’s work- call me what you will.  Whether we are talking Tweezer or Two Versions of Me; Split Open or Sleep Again, I love it.  It works with my soul.  But towards the end of 2006, it was no longer a sure thing everytime Trey stepped on stage- and that in itself, was something that required a conceptual adjustment.  I think that time has returned.  I  know, we are only two shows in, but the life has returned to his eyes, and his unbridled passionate expression has returned to his guitar.  Being at two very small shows over the weekend, we got a chance to see Trey up close.  He looked as present as ever and ready to take on the world.

I can distinctly remember the ’04 Deer Creek Tube (sick!)- I was in the pit for a rare song, and although he was shredding (Trey can always shred, on drugs or not) his eyes were somewhere else- somwhere distant.  This wasn’t just his usual gaze into the ether as he whispered a Reba or a Hood solo- he was elsewhere.  This weekend, he was right there with everyone else.  Sure, he played his solos into the sky and emoted jams to the invisible spirits above with his quintessential gaze of innocence and emotion, but he was there- very there.  Just wait until a video of the All Points West Jiboo surfaces, (SEE BELOW!) you will see just how present he was.  It was clear that the stage was, once again, his wonderland.

A segment of the Brooklyn Sand jam is below to show how into things he was right from the beginning, and watch the All Points Jibboo (and Mr. Completely from the previous post) to see how the weekend ended. (Compare this to Langerado 2007, one of his last performances, to see what had become of his band.)  I am still awaiting a video of “Valentine” to watch his priceless expressions as he debuted what is clearly one of his favorite new songs, but that connection, that energy, that balls-to-the-wall passion and emotion was oozing to and from the stages in Brooklyn and Jersey City.  The weekend peaked with perhaps the two most smoking jams in Jiboo and Mr. Completely at the end of the festival set, and its just a shame there isn’t a four-night run starting tomorrow.  I bet Trey feels the same way.

All Points Jibboo (Part 1)

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All Points Jibboo (Part 2)

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Brooklyn Sand (jam segment)

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Langerado 2007 (jam)

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All Points In Good Directions

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on August 11th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Trey & Classic TAB @ All Points West Festival; Jersey City, NJ
Sand, Drifting, Caymen Review, Alaska, Gotta Jiboo, Mr. Completely, First Tube E: Heavy Things, Tuesday

Trey came out and followed up his intimate and exploratory Brooklyn show with one that was much more rocking and straight forward.  Not at all lacking in shredding or precise groove, the show featured high-quality standard versions of most all of the Classic TABs greatest hits; all repeated from Brooklyn. Also notable was that he did not play any of the new songs that dominated the second set on Thursday, and debuted nothing else as well.  It was more of a customary festival set with all the songs that everyone that came to see Trey wanted to see.

However, as with Phish, greatest hits can often produce great moments, and in this short 70 minute set, Trey Band staples Jiboo and Mr. Completely certainly provided these moments.  While Jiboo stayed within the confines of its jam and chord progression, the improvisation featured some smoking Trey licks and grew into a blistering version; the first song to really bring the crowd to the next level.  The Mr. Completely that followed was the most original improvisational playing of the evening with a dark groove that had a 2001-esque feel to it- definitely the jam of the set.  Sand also provided a jump start as the opener of a very high-energy set that featured a lot of solid interaction between Trey and Ray on keys.

Definitely a step down the right path, Trey pleased the crowd within the limits of a 60-minute festival slot.  While not delving very deep, his playing was as precise and sharp as in Brooklyn and his enthusiasm was certainly all there.  With rumors of a Fall Trey Tour swirling, one would expect that his new songs to resurface in the upcoming months.  Yet, it would be cool, if not cooler, if he didn’t play them a lot with his Classic TAB ensemble, and kept them for Phish to define, characterize, and pave the destiny of.  In all likelihood, they will come up throughout the fall but we shall see what else also comes up, knowing how many songs he’s been writing.

Thinking a llittle further down the road, you gotta’ hope “Goodbye Head” resurfaces as a Phish song, such amazing potential.  “Backwards Down the Number Line,” “Valentine,” “Light,” and “Peggy” just sound like Phish songs.  The mere templates were of these were exposed in Brooklyn, waiting for Phish to develop the jams out of them, and they would simply obliterate the Spin jam.  We’ll see how “established” these songs are by the time the stars are realigned.  All in all, quite an exciting weekend in the Phish universe. Trey is clearly back with intention.  There are many new songs written that seem to be massive Phish jams in the waiting.  The fire is burning again.  Trey seems excited to get out on the road.  Old friends are reconnecting.  Things are in motion, and according to Newton, objects in motion tend to stay in motion- thankfully.  Summer 2009 is looking very good right now, seems about right.  In the meantime, Trey is back in classic form and waiting to play with your minds again; catch him if you can.  This period will only last so long, and before long, well- you get the point.

One more thought- with all of his great songs, why did he decide to keep “Tuesday” in rotation?  Hmmm.

Check out some of the Mr. Completely jam (thanks to linusj) You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video


Forget About It.

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on August 8th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

August 7, 2008, The Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
I: Alaska*, Gotta Jibboo, Peggy*, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Sand, Cayman Review, Gone**^, Windora Bug, Night Speaks To A Woman
II: Tuesday, Drifting, Backwards Down The Number Line*, Spin, Valentine**^, Greyhound Rising**^, The Way I Feel, Mr. Completely >, Light*^, First Tube
E: Heavy Things, Bug


Phish will be better than before.  Sure, they may sound different, but it won’t be any less inspired than your fondest memories.  Based on the wide array of new material, sacred guitar confessionals, and spectrum of emotions touched by last nights show; I ensure you, Phish will be better than ever.  The new songs, yet to be named, until Trey posts them online, were all monstrous in melody, adventure, and psychedelic potential.  One after another they came, highlighted by the “Spin”, “Valentine” sequence; 20+ minutes of straight from the heart monologue from our dearest lost love, Ernest.  It was all that and then some.  Touching every bit of his legendary repertoire, Big Red tore apart what was, and redefined what could be.  In what was so much more than a welcome back show; it was a welcome to the future.

The new material showcased in the second set second set of tonight’s show rendered a first set of “Classic TAB” greatest hits relatively meaningless, and a good reminder of what his intentions were not.  It seemed as he tore through exhilarating versions of Jiboo, Sand, Caymen Review, and Night Speaks, he was reminding us of what was.  In the second set, it was everything that is yet to become. I said to my closest Phish confidant at set break, “So I guess he’s gonna come out and blow our minds with songs we never heard before.”  That turned out to be a massive understatement.  Be ready for twenty minute second set openers of “Backwards Down The Number Line” that start in melodic Trey pop territory and ending in multi-layered harmonic climaxes.  “Valentine” is a new epic jam vehicle that fuses groove and bliss to spiritual heights; and Trey’s dark self-reflection that came from “Spin’s” ambient jam were truly moments for the soul, and places that Phish will certainly bring deeper.

One thing that can be said for sure, is that it was the most point on and absolutely emotive playing from Trey in ages.  After hearing the show again to accurately put names with faces,”Greyhound Rising” was a multi-part compositional song featuring both uplifting melody and a bluesy improvisational section.  “Light” is another song that will be a big Phish song, in the truest sense of the word, and was a showcase for Trey’s harder guitar licks defining both the rhythm and the melody ofthe song.  A show that truly touched on every spectrum of the rainbow, this was literally the best case scenario for the future- new songs that were clearly created for Phish to blow apart. Introspective lyrics, melodies for the ages, and a new chapter about to be written.  Listen to the stream here!! That’s what I’m doing. Honestly, start with set two; chapter three.

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