As Red Rocks, and the second leg of summer, sits less than two weeks away, my thoughts have begun to move past June to what may be coming in August. With the tour coinciding loosely with the now-unknown release date of their album, “Joy,” we are sure to continue hearing Phish’s new material early and often. But along the second road of summer, we will almost certainly see the transformation of some of these new songs into larger jam vehicles. Thus far, all have remained largely contained, in what will likely be their album form. Phish will slowly put these pieces put under the spotlight in the second set, and scribe complex adventures we can’t yet conceive. Taking into account all their new songs, I see the following three as the most engaging launch pads.
I continued waiting for Trey’s slow opening chops of “Ocelot” to creep from stage to start a second set towards the end of June, and I am waiting still. A song that has turned into a new-school fan favorite seems quite conducive to some summer time improv, and I think we will see the loafing groove expand into something colorfully improvisational in August. The jam could take the direction of a slowed down whole-band folk-funk fusion, or they could also take it into psychedelic blues-rock territory. Trey’s solo in Fenway’s debut hinted at a potential dirtier direction as well. The playful tune could create some Phishy excursions before summer is done, and they would be great to hear.
“Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan”
This song seems destined for dirty psychedelia whenever the band decides to let loose on it. With a slower rhythm and ominous feel, Phish will create some monstrous jams out of “Stealing Time” once they establish its improvisational framework. I could definitely see this one coming out of the box during August, and oh, the places it could go! With a composition that easily lends itself to rock, ambient, or dissonant psychedelic planes, the improvisational possibilities of this song leave me salivating.
Though the band scratched the improvisational surface of “Light” in Bonnaroo’s closing set in June, we have only seen the beginning of where this new song is going. With a fast-paced texture, “Light’s” jam caters to breakneck exploration in the vein of “Piper.” This song is a certain jam vehicle, as we have already seen it reach diverse musical places in its only version following its Fenway debut. Emerging from darker jams- “Tweezer” and “Rock and Roll”- both times it was played the band, apparently, finds it an ideal landing point for jams, as well as a jam, itself.
As we move through this upcoming tour and also into the fall, many of these new songs will take on enhanced musical significance for us. Ever the innovators, Phish used June to introduce their songs, and will, in all likelihood, soon begin to expound on them. As we take another step deeper into chapter three in only ten days, it will be exciting to see which ones we will ride to musical heights- and we will soon find out!
Jam of the Day:
“Reba” 7.6.94 Montreal, QC
Nothing like a “Reba” to kick-start the week, and why not one of the best?
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
11.16.94 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI < TORRENT
11.16.94 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI < MEGAUPLOAD
Here is an analog classic that comes via reader request. While there is a lot of bluegrass within the show- for better or for worse, depending on your tastes- it all boils down to the colossal “Simple ” jam that segued out of “Mike’s” in the second set. This wildly creative version, clocking in at over a half- hour, was one of the most intriguing jams from the band’s highpoint of November ’94.
I: Sample in a Jar, Foam, Fast Enough for You, Reba, Axilla [Part II], Lizards, Stash, Pig in a Pen*, Tennessee Waltz*, Bluegrass Jam*, Swing Low Sweet Chariot*
II: Mike’s Song > Simple, I’m Blue I’m Lonesome**#, My Long Journey Home**#, Chalk Dust Torture, Fee, Run Like an Antelope
E: Amazing Grace, Suzy Greenberg
*With Rev. Jeff Mosier on banjo and vocals **Acoustic #First time played
Source: AKG 460B/CK61