Moments In Mansfield

Official Mansfield Poster

I left Great Woods scratching my head last night with a question that has grown significant in the flow of recent Phish sets – “Why does Trey keep cutting off jams?” In a very good show at Great Woods that could have been great, Phish got into two sections of improvisation, out of “Sneakin’ Sally” and “Light” that reached points of greatness when Trey singularly decided to lop them off before they came to an organic endings. The flow of a potentially awesome second set became compromised, and we were left with some stellar, relatively disconnected, moments of Phish.

Within each individual jam, Phish is clearly listening to each other very proficiently, jamming as a unit quite well. But any time a piece seems to be progressing into something bigger, the band continues to push ahead in the musical concept, while Trey simply starts a new song. For examples, look no further than the two most significant pieces of last night’s show – “Sneaking Sally” and, more particularly, “Light.” Each jam brought original ideas to the table, connected in cohesive improvisation. But in both cases, (much more flagrantly in “Light”) Trey ended the piece awkwardly, suddenly starting the next song while the rest of the band was clearly still engaged. Food for thought.

6.12.10 (PEEK)

Nonetheless, the highest points in the evening came in “Sally > Light,” and a phenomenal “Slave” that deserved a more complete set to punctuate. “Sally” brought a bulbous funk excursion that had the amphitheatre bumpin’ like a pinball machine. Trey, with short, high-pitched licks and searing leads, and Mike, with thumping bass lines, engaged in creative interplay, leading the band through dance realms without ever falling prey to cliche grooves. Trey briefly previewed the upcoming “Light” by changing tones within the “Sally” jam, but then prematurely chopped in with the song’s initial chords. The band adjusted quickly, resulting in only a slightly rocky transition, but why isn’t Trey allowing jams to reach their natural conclusions?

“Light” entered sublime territory, leaving the song’s build for a darker exploratory realm. Page and Mike stepped up to co-lead this forward-looking experiment while Trey accented the jam from the behind the scenes. This section was amazing, but this section lasted only two and half minutes. As the band jammed on, Trey decided it was time for “Forcety-Six Days,” inexplicably starting the blues-rock number amidst a serious groove. Once the band had left the build of “Light,” they arrived at a plane that seemed destined for greatness along the lines of Blossom’s “Number Line,” but it wasn’t given the chance to grow.

6.15.10 (B.Riley)

Though “46 Days” didn’t go too far, it did include an clever improvised vocal ending before the band played standard versions of “Limb” and “Golgi.” When this dip in the road ended, Phish came back with a gorgeous version of “Slave.” Incredibly patient throughout, the jam featured a quiet initial section without a beat, as the band combined gentle offerings. Listening and responding to each other meticulously, the band built a summer highlight with the apparent set closer. Then throwing the audience a bone, the band tacked on “Loving Cup” to end the summer night.

There were encouraging sections in last night’s second set, but when the dust settled, the whole wasn’t necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. The opening “Mike’s Groove” contained high energy, but straight-forward playing in both halves, as the band has yet to match the creativity of Blossom’s “Groove.” An encore of “First Tube” closed the night on a high note just before the rains came.

At this point, Camden is set up to be a complete blowout with all sorts of big guns due up in the rotation. And Phish destroys Camden as a matter of fact throughout their career. Every.Single.Year. There’s no place like Southern Jersey to get the second-half of tour underway! See you there.

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

First Set Notes: The jam of the first set came via “Kill Devil Falls.” A stretched out rock improvisation smoked anything in the frame with one of its best outings yet (though not in the same league as Bonnaroos’s versions from last June.) Shredding versions of “Divided Sky” and “Antelope” also dotted an opening frame that saw the debut of another original, “Dr. Gable.” This piece carries a distinctly non-Phishy sound, presenting the potential for something original to grow. Now that Phish has debuted so many new songs, the question remains – why aren’t they playing them? In the past, the band frequently repeated new material to improve it, but this summer we’ve heard a bunch of new pieces only once. Hopefully, along the second half of tour will see the development of  the new side of Phish alongside their classic jams. The band opened with a song called “Lit O Bit,” but as of right now, I do not know if its a Phish song or cover.

I: Lit O Bit*, Camel Walk, Possum, The Divided Sky, Dirt, Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls, Dr. Gabel*, Run Like an Antelope

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley > Light > 46 Days, Limb By Limb, Golgi Apparatus, Slave to the Traffic Light, Loving Cup

E: First Tube

*Debut

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1,342 Responses to “Moments In Mansfield”

  1. Moby Dick Says:

    @miner

    any thoughts about tonight

    what with Ghost and Split and such still out there?

    I am hoping for a deep sea Ghost that gets my dork to full mast.

    Is that too much to ask?

  2. Moby Dick Says:

    well not tonight but tomorrow I suppose

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    I think they’re right there.

    Its one thing, you know, Trey just being a little more patient.

    Thats such a small change to make. They are playing tight. They are listening to eachother. They are pumped to be out there every night. They’re being goofy.

    The dish is prepared. Trey just needs to add a little salt, and we’re good to go.

  4. pabalive Says:

    Absolutely great time last night. Miner, I love your work. But, too many shows has lead to paralysis by over analysis. I don’t know, but, I loved how Sneakin Sally slammed right into Light, I was hooting my head off at that moment. I was exhausted by the jam out of slave and was ready for another move. I would have preferred Ghost in that spot, but then Light was sick.

  5. Moby Dick Says:

    @Silly

    I guess the question we all have is this. Does Trey have the desire to make that change?

    I don’t think anyone doubts his capablity.

    Thats what makes this so frustrating. Is that we all KNOW he can do it. But it seems to be his desire NOT to.

    He just doesn’t seem interested in stretching things out at all anymore.

    This isn’t leaving me angry or push me towards not gettin down with Phish, it just leaves me with my dork hard but my blowhole unblown.

  6. Moby Dick Says:

    I got one thing to say to Trey

    Ride the Whale!

    I will protect your submarine!

    You can keep going into the abyss.

    All that is there is an organic peace loving alien race that uses water for their technology.

  7. Moby Dick Says:

    But don’t get me wrong

    I am still Manta Ray for Trey

  8. Mitch Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj0HqshoMl4

    ^tweezer HD from hershey part 1. part 2 is uploading at my house. it may have stopped cause I logged into youtube and didnt see it. I’ll post tonight at the latest.

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    @Moby

    I hear ya.

    If Trey doesn’t want to jam it out, then he just doesn’t want to. Maybe in a few shows he will want to?

    Im hoping he’s not quite conscious of it. Maybe he doesn’t realize yet, how abrupt his switches are sounding. I hope this is the case.

    I gotta believe that if it’s so obvious to us, the band realizes it and will want to change it.

    I see what you mean though. If Trey knows full well what he’s doing, then we have a bigger problem.

  10. zzyzx Says:

    The thing though is that Phish have always had these jamming ebbs and flows. 1996 was much less jammed than 95. 99-00 was much less jammed than 2000. Right now Trey is enjoying playing songs. In a few days/weeks/months/years, the direction might change again. We’re all along for the ride…

  11. Moby Dick Says:

    If Trey knows full well what he’s doing, then he may not know what he’s doing at all.

  12. Luther Justice Says:

    @Mitch
    That sounds and looks great! Was this the one Ms. Mango recorded?

  13. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Trey doesn’t give a fuck. Look at him on stage. He’s the happiest guy in the whole building.

    Set I last night is the definition of standard to me. But, i’ll still listen to it and give it a fair shake.

    Set II looked like a hot one.

  14. Moby Dick Says:

    @zzyzx

    no doubt.

    It just seems way that Trey is the one out of four that is belligerently dropping the axe.

    In other eras it seemed that the amount of jamming was a collective decision. But now it seems like 3 of them want to explore and they are battling with Trey who doesn’t.

    Again, I am not hating or saying that they have jumped shark or that they blowhole or anything.

    It just comes down to confusion and awkwardness spotting otherwise incredible shows.

  15. Moby Dick Says:

    I mean I loved last night’s second frame.

    I truely did.

    I just think had they given each part of the Sally > Light > 46 Days just a tad more space to develop, that would have gone down as a huge highlight.

    I still thought that gambit was good though. Excellent funk out of Sally, something that has been all to rare these days. Light continuing its trend of atonal exploration, and 46 days wrapping up the triumverate in rock and roll fashion. Reallly good. But it shies away from greatness due to rushed changes.

  16. BOB Says:

    To me it sounds like (and I haven’t caught a live show yet) that there is a conscious decision going on by Trey. I can’t help but believe that sobriety is a little bit part of not wanting to explore and go deeper and darker into a jam. I think that’s playing a role. There’s nothing wrong with “songs” but the problem as I see if is sinking your teeth into a “jam” then aborting. Seems like they need to figure out a way to make songs like Ghost or Sneekin’ into shorter more fully realized versions of themselves rather than throwing down fully then aborting.

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    @Moby

    thats a good way to put it.

    @Zzyzx

    I’m on board with you.

    Im not an expert like a lot of you guys are, but I really dont think the lack of huge jams is much to be worried about. Night in, Night out I think this tour is as good as many of the old ones.

    Its not December 95, or Fall 97, or June Japan 2000. But, I think its a good Phish tour.

    I guess I just see a small step to get to the higher echelon.

    If Trey steps out of the way and lets some of these jams develop we’re going to see some big jams.

    everything else is there, I think.

    Im not letting it bother me, but if Trey gets some patience Im going to be ecstatic.

  18. BeantownBoy Says:

    Great show last night with the Sneaking>Light being an absolute jam shredder that deserves a second, third, and fourth listen. Yes, Trey did slam into Light a little early but with the funk that oozed out of Sally it needed to happen or the pavilion might have combusted.

    But how is it that Great Woods has now been around for 25 years yet they still haven’t figured out the parking in that place?! I literally did not move for exactly two hours, but once I did I was home in 40 minutes.

    However, with this great New England weekend run between SPAC and Great Woods complete and with it my only shows of the summer, I feel remiss that I won’t be able to witness, in person, the amazement that is bound to come in later shows.

    Enjoy it.

  19. Moby Dick Says:

    I certainly don’t mean to come off as a downer this morning or anything.

    Last night’s second set was definitely one of the better ones of the tour.

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    I with you, Moby

    I thought it was a good show!

    Im just trying to articulate how we think the problem can be diagnosed

    (If of course we believe there is much of a problem)

  21. Jake Says:

    Minor – LOVE your setlist manipulations of the past week: Sand>Forced>Silent and Light>Forcety-Six Days. brilliant!

  22. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ZZ- thoughts on the back to back Antelope’s? That stuff confuses me with such a vast canon of music. I think they pulled it off last year too. Disease at the Gorge and Shoreline.

  23. Moby Dick Says:

    I do however am glad to see that Crosseyed still has potential to be dropped at BK’s first show.

    I really hope he gets his there.

  24. Moby Dick Says:

    “I do however am?”

    Man this whale needs some coffee.

  25. fat bastard Says:

    havent listened but i know that mikes>hyho>weekapaug is one hell of a start to a groovin 2nd set.

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