The Summer Debuts

6.18.09 Star Lake (M.Stein)

6.18.09 Star Lake (M.Stein)

As we turn the page on a new chapter of Phish history, one of the most exciting facets of this era is the plethora of new songs that were introduced in June.  As we begin our reflections on the past tour, I thought that their new songs would be a good place to start.  Showcasing diverse songwriting and various musical styles, the band has come out with a slew of new material- with more waiting in the wings.  Let’s take a look at each song one by one, in the order of their summer premieres.

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“Ocelot” – debut: 5.31 Fenway Park I

Unveiled as the first new song of tour, many fans had heard the band’s rehearsal of this piece at The Centrum from the previous night, which somehow made it to the internet.  A playful song that evokes memories of the ’70s folk-rock tradition, “Ocelot” hopped into rotation from day one.  Trey’s lyrical melodies complement the the song’s loafing, casual grooves, creating a catchy piece that would stick in your head far after the show was over.  Growing in improvisation each time out, the band stretched the final Deer Creek version into a real jam.  Expect much more to from “Ocelot” in August- “Won’t you come out to play?”

“Light” – debut 5.31 Fenway II

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Debuted as the landing point of Fenway’s colossal tour-opening “Tweezer,” “Light” was the one song that I really anticipated making the jump from TAB to Phish.  Sped up from its Trey Band incarnation, “Light’s” jam has adopted a feel of a new-school “Piper.”  With soaring guitar work and full-band improvisation, the Bonnaroo version, which emerged from “Rock and Roll’s” ambient jam, provided one of the weekend’s highlights.  An open-ended jam that even found its way into some funk grooves at Manchester, it seems that “Light” has limitless potential.  I have a feeling that this could develop into one of 3.0’s shining stars.

“Time Turns Elastic” – debut Fenway 5.31 II

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

This controversial opus was showcased on the first night of tour, and played several times throughout.  Certainly a great piece of music, its place in a live show is questionable, in my opinion.  As soon “Time Turns Elastic” started, we knew we were in for nearly twenty minutes of straight composition.  Appearing in the middle of three second sets, “Time Turns Elastic” played the role of vibe-crusher more than once.  But when placed as a first set closer at Alpine- coming out of “TMWSIY”- it worked much better.  If Phish is going to continue to play this song, which I’m sure they will, they need to be extra-selective about where they place it in a show.  A complex musical accomplishment, this one seems better suited for at-home couch listening than at an energetic, psychedelic Phish show.

“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” – debut 6.2 Jones Beach I

“I got a blank space where my mind should be”- centered around this intriguing refrain, this heavier song became an instant favorite when they broke it in the second show of tour.  Featuring a slower pace and ominous feel, “Stealing Time” seems like an ideal launchpad for dissonant, psychedelic improv.  Throughout June, however, this song remained largely in the box, with it’s final version at Deer Creek extended with some blues-rock, guitar led improv.  This piece won’t remain shackled forever, and when the band finally steps to it, the results could be astonishing.

“Kill Devil Falls” – debut 6.2 Jones Beach II

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Sounding distinctly like a TAB piece, “Kill Devil Falls” is essentially two songs in one.  First, we have the straight ahead rock and roll composition, that to be honest, leaves a bit to be desired.  Yet, when the verses end, the band enters a segmented jam that sounds almost identical to a “Birds of a Feather” jam.  (In fact we were sure they were soundchecking “Birds” at Fenway while they played this.) Once its improv section began, this song heated up considerably, with its most exploratory and enticing version coming during Bonnaroo’s late-night set.  Producing one of the standout “type-II” jams of tour, Trey clearly loves this song, and we have only begun to hear the places it will go.

“Twenty Years Later” – debut 6.5 Jones Beach II

With a chorus that approaches the sound of an “indie” Phish song, “Twenty Years Later” features engaging lyrics and layered vocals that almost sounds like a different band.  The song then progresses into a heavier section reminiscent of “I Saw It Again.” Clearly a reflection on Trey’s journey over the past two-decades, this song seems more autobiographical than any other.  Only played this one time, we have yet to see what really in store for this one.  But after only one version- I like it.

“Let Me Lie” – debut Great Woods 6.6 I

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Originating from Trey’s solo album Bar 17, Phish transformed “Let Me Lie” into their newest ballad- just as predicted.  A poignant memoir about recovery and resilience, this one also contains metaphorical imagery about Trey’s trials and tribulations.  A gorgeous composition, the rest of Phish really fills out this song in the way that TAB could never do.  Appearing a second time as an interlude amidst Deer Creek’s monster second set, this one will be a 3.0 staple before all is said and done.

“Sugar Shack” – debut Camden 6.7 II

One of the songs that I wish we had heard more often, Mike’s newest contribution to the Phish catalog made an impressive debut in Camden’s second set.  Combining quirky changes, segments of groove, and carnival-like guitar lines, “Sugar Shack” is one of the most unique songs of the new bunch.  Only appearing once during June, we can only hope that this gets pulled into rotation come the second leg of tour.

“Joy” – debut 6.7 Camden Encore

Played only twice this June, “Joy” is another new ballad, describing the emotional plight of a woman and her connection to the outside world.  The lyric, “We want you to be happy, because this is your song too” also carries figurative meaning for the entire audience, as we are all a part of this great Phishy experiment.  An outwardly emotional song, this one will probably gain mixed acceptance in the larger Phish community.  I think it’s great.

“Alaska” – debut 6.9 Asheville II

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6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Another TAB > Phish transplant, this may be the least interesting of the June debuts.  A comical blues-rocker with a guitar-based “jam,” this one appeared twice in three shows, and then we never heard it again.  As any Phish song, its jam has potential, but the composition of “Alaska” falls a bit flat.

“The Connection” – debut 6.19 Deer Creek I

album-undermind-bonus-dvdIt was a complete surprise when the band broke out “The Connection” towards the end of Deer Creek’s first set.  Off of the band’s last album, Undermind, this song never made it into a live show in 2004.  The debut of “The Connection” came off quite well, with catchy hooks and Jerry-esque noodling.  More proof that any song is fair game this time around, “The Connection” is a welcome reminder of its wholly-underrated album whose 2004 release was squeezed in just before Phish called it quits.  It will be interesting to see how this song develops come August.

Eleven songs made their Phish debut in the band’s first tour back on the road, most which will find their way onto their upcoming album, Joy. Differing in musical quality, most all of these songs hold great potential for improvisation.  We have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these songs will grow into, as Phish mostly played basic templates this tour.  As they embark on a new era of their career, Phish has ushered in their most impressive batch of new songs in over a decade, adding a distinctly fresh feel to their ’09 setlists; and I foresee even more debuts in August.  Stay tuned – to Red Rocks and beyond!

What do you think of the Phish’s new songs?  Respond in Comments!

***

PHISH’S NEW ALBUM: JOY

Yesterday, a story on Rolling Stone.com broke some new information about Phish’s forthcoming album, now officially titled Joy. Later in the day, Phish.com issued a small news release about Joy, with an official track listing.  A clear theme about the passage of time and a reflection on life runs through the album, starting with “Twenty Years Later” and concluding with “Time Turns Elastic.”  The only song hasn’t been played live is “I’ve Been Around.”  Look for the album some time in August.

1. Twenty Years Later
2. Backwards Down the Number Line
3. Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan
4. Light
5. Joy
6. Sugar Shack
7. Ocelot
8. Kill Devil Falls
9. I’ve Been Around
10. Time Turns Elastic

***

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.21 Alpine Pollock

6.21 Alpine Pollock

6.21.09 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < TORRENT LINK

Set II contains some of the tightest and most exploratory improv of the run.

I: Brother, Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, The Divided Sky, Joy, Back On The Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Time Turns Elastic

II: Crosseyed and Painless  > Down With Disease > Bug > Piper > Wading In The Velvet Sea, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Slave To The Traffic Light

E: Grind, Frankenstein

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S(din) > Lunatec V2 > Benchmark AD2K > Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Recorded by Z-Man

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223 Responses to “The Summer Debuts”

  1. whole tour! Says:

    maybe it was from playing ‘TTE’ 278 times in a row in the studio? lol

  2. sumodie Says:

    @Mr. Completely: Great, I’m glad you found some good matrix releases. I hadn’t checked them out myself -thanks for pointing out which ones I might want to get.

    In spite of my years with phish, I really don’t know much about sound engineering, comparing audio recordings of the same show, writing out a literate argument of why that KDF jam is better than the other, etc (I am, however, confident in knowing when I’ve heard something of quality at shows, irregardless of what someone else might think).

    Only thru Mr. Miners site (thanks for the nudge into torrenting) have I recently begun DLing shows. I’m already in need of an external HD, and I’m also getting nervous about letting my phan obsession expand anymore (i.e., finding the perfect AUD from 6/14, comparing Trey’s tone, etc).

    In any case, I love how 3.0 has evolved from Hampton, and I love the education and good vibes that I’m getting here. Now back to real work -my desire to post a short bio and comment on the new songs will have to wait.

  3. sumodie Says:

    http://thepiratebay.org/user/tomelope/

    This site has the matrix shows that Mr Completely references.

  4. whole tour! Says:

    thanks

  5. R1 Says:

    The Alpine Piper is SICK!

    Sorry for the total non sequitur.

    I haven’t posted in many a day, so just thought I’d tell y’all I saw Starlake (sorry, I will always call it that) > Alpine and had a great time. Some really great moments musically (DC second set and Alpine II set II contained most of my highlights) and tons of fun.

  6. msbjivein Says:

    Piper from Alpine is my favorite Jam of the Tour!!!! Good Call R1 !!!

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    mr c – jimi + modular plus playing with miles? Damn that’s outta sight man that’s quite a dream. Band of Gypsies is some of my favorite music in the history of the world and that’s just a glimpse of what Jimi could have become …. but you know I have to say I’m glad we didn’t see what would have become of Jimi in the 80s 😉

    going to pick up (well I guess I should look it over) my new synth in 2 hours – beyond excited!! Wh00p wh00. Still can’t believe I found an almost-analog synth for under 150 bux unreal.

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    …..modular aka modal…..

  9. msbjivein Says:

    Also Piper is my most played song @ 27 times!! In the past i didn’t really care to hear Piper. But now I hope to hear it another 27 times!!!!

    Favorite new tunes are as follows
    1.Stealin Time
    2.Ocelot
    3.Sugar Shack
    4.KDF
    5.Connection
    6.Light
    7.Alaska
    8.TTE
    9.Joy
    10.Let me Lie
    11.20yrs Later

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    interesting, the divergent opinions about the Alpine Piper. Not everyone loves it, but those that do, really love it.

    I will gladly post MP3 versions of the matrixes in a mediafire account if people would like them. I could have a couple up tomorrow. The 4 that are up on PB are all worth having. I’m going to review a couple of private trackers tonight and see if I can find more – I’d really like to get at least Deer Creek obviously, plus Asheville and Knoxville.

    Hearing these shows with Mike audible – and in some cases, actually LOUD – is like hearing them for the first time. 6/7 Wolfman’s, 6/5 Boogie On…Camden Sand…the difference is like night and day.

    oh no wonder the 6/7 is so full, it’s a mk41 FOB. Schweet.

    Kudos to the matrix tech! Excellent job! I am very very very skeptical/critical of many matrix mixes, but these sound great. Very natural sound, and so far I haven’t hear any stereo image shifting, phasing, or other weird artifacts.

  11. c0wfunk Says:

    certainly let us know if you find asheville knoxville matrix recordings that sound great! Just out of curiosity what’s the official taping policy when it comes to matrix stuff? I’d love to hear a greatest hits of the tour via matrix – I don’t think I’ll go back and download every one though..

  12. Phish...Yup Says:

    Number Line doesn’t make your top 10 msb?? Or are you not counting it since it was played at Hampton?

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    oh and mmmm schoeps mk41 fob is one of my favorite character strings

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    ^i thought the alpine piper was terrible, need to listen to it again but it sounded extremely sloppy

  15. R1 Says:

    ^I would be very interested in those Mr. C.

    Mike was VERY quiet in the mix at Starlake>Alpine. I was in the Pav each night and found it quite difficult to hear him at all at various points. It seemed that at Fenway and JB he was loud and in your face. Which I love.

  16. whole tour! Says:

    that would kick ass mr. c!

  17. Noah Says:

    Back in the day, the online phish crowd was very anti-bootlegging or trading officially released shows, etc.

    Why is it that nobody feels bad about trading the Live Phish Flacs (matrixed or not).

    If you don’t want to pay, fine. Listen to the AUDs.

    Why is it ok to steal from Phish and their Charity work?

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    ^because i’m poor and phish is rich

  19. R1 Says:

    ^Didn’t realize that they were the official Flacs. I’m not condoning trading those.

  20. playitleo Says:

    Off subject, does anyone remember trey wanding his guitar in the air at deer creek during the end of tweezer reprize? Just wondering if anyone has seen him do that before?

  21. sumodie Says:

    Here’s hoping that tomelope on pirate bay will upload more matrix mixes…..

    BTW, sorry to drag the rumor mill into here, but I’m really hoping the Halloween rumors pan out for the Polo Fields at Coachella. You know where to go to follow that debate 🙂

  22. Adam Says:

    Hi there all, I don’t post very much so you probably won’t reckognize the name.
    Anyways, I was wondering if you guys think there is something somewhat off about the way the SBD’s are mixed (at least for Alpine, the one that I downloaded from LP)? It’s nothing I can put my finger on and say “this is what’s wrong”. Comments?

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    reliable sources (who tend to be right) I hear agree with the coachella rumor and have booked hotels already ..

  24. R1 Says:

    ^yes playit, he’s done that many times before. he’s “throwing” feedback around the room. I am not a guitarist and have no clue, so i don’t know if the sound is created when he brings the guitar up to the mike, or if he’s doing it with pedals. he always seemed to do it after particularly good shit, and DC was no exception.

    ^^Mr. C – do you have an opinion on Alpine Piper?

  25. sumodie Says:

    whoops, didn’t realize matrix mixes came from SBDs. I’m very torn about the extreme amount of SBD trading going on. For my ears the AUDs have been pretty sweet (though all the talking during the quiet songs at the Fox was a downer)

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