In Touch With Their Roots

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

If Phish had played a show with the contour of Merriweather’s Saturday night’s song-based performance at any time over the past several years, it would fallen completely flat. But with the band’s revitalized interplay in their contained jamming—something glaringly missing from their modern arsenal until this tour—a show like last night’s was fantastic. Sticking to the program and breaking song structure only twice in “Disease” and “Simple,” the guys, nonetheless, threw down another high quality performance from top to bottom. The energy in the pavilion last night was both palpable and electric, and the band rode that wave all night long, dropping their second stellar “Split Open and Melt” in a row, a scorching “Birds of a Feather,” magnificent “Harry Hood” and a heavy-handed, 28-minute “Mike’s > Simple > Groove” to close things out. Filled with active jamming all night long Merriweather night one popped off in a different way than a Phish show has in quite a while.

7/13 Official (Doe Eyed)

7/13 Official (Doe Eyed)

The first set featured an array of tour debuts, including a bustout of “Destiny Unbound” for the first time since Super Ball, “Taste,” Page’s “Halfway of the Moon” and “Twenty Years Later.” The improvisational crest of the set, however, came in its final three-song segment featuring an absurdly intense and well-executed “Maze” and a version of “Split” that illustrated—to the delight of all—that song has truly returned as a juggernaut in the Phish catalog. A opening frame that contained no open improv still held everyone’s attention for the duration, and that is the mark of a band firing on all cylinders.

The highlights of the second set were all absolutely classic-sounding pieces of Phish in “Disease,” “Hood” and “Mike’s Groove.” All three pieces evoked the essence of the songs as they were employed in the hey day. Here’s how. Appearing in its hallmark slot as a second set opener, “Disease” kicked things off after setbreak for the second time this summer, and for the second consecutive time it became a creative peak of its of the show. Moving deep into a groovy space, the band swam into open waters for the first and only real time of the night and succeeded with flying colors. Resolving the exploration with a melodic coda, the band proceeded to sew the song together with its final verse in a move seldom seen in with a second set “Disease.”

7.13.13 (R.MacNeill)

7.13.13 (R.MacNeill)

Following a few-song interlude, including a “Birds of a Feather” that carried an urgency and full-band attack unseen since ’99, Phish dropped into the second mid-set “Hood” in three shows—and once again they absolutely slayed it. This time, however, the tone Trey used along with the way he built the jam to a larger peak than we’ve heard in modern “Hoods” all reeked of classic Phish. Soloing with passion and a purpose, Trey orchestrated a grandiose version that needs to be heard by any die-hard fan of the song. You might even question what year to which you’re listening. And the same might be true for the final highlight of the show—“Mike’s Groove.”

Having laid off their suite since Bangor’s opening set, this time Phish placed it as the closer of the night—and for the first time in this era, the band gave true love to each and every part of the triumvirate. “Mike’s” built to an outlandish peak with all sorts of dissonant guitar fury, but when the band transitioned to “Simple” the second open jam of the set unfolded. Moving out of song without slowing down into any sort of ethereal or noodly space, the band trucked into yet another classicly-shaped jam, hearkening back to the days when “Simple” was but an extension of the “Mike’s’ jam. And then came the glory, as Trey peaked the piece with subtle, slow and methodical reprise of the “Disease melody. While Trey never outright played the lick  note-for-note, he danced around it for long enough to make a clear nod to the set’s opening jam—a bit of Phishiness slipped into the fold. The guys blew out “Weekapaug” with creative, rhythmic calisthenics, caressing the jam like they haven’t in so damn long. This is the first 3.0 “Mike’s Groove” that deserves a place on any tour highlight reel, and it came at Merriweather Post, the same venue at which the band dropped a monumental “Mike’s > Twist > Weekapaug” in ’99 that Kevin Shapiro just dropped on Live Bait 9. Coincidence? Probably.

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

7.13.13 (Ryan MacNeill)

When Phish dropped a pinner-sized “Free” and “Bouncin” as the second and third songs in the second set, it was hard to imagine everyone in the venue would walk out ecstatic, but that is exactly what happened last night. In show that got in touch with the Phish’s musical roots of the mid-Nineties, the band delivered a memorable feel-good performance with all sorts of replay value. 2013—the summer it all came back together again.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Destiny Unbound, Taste, Halfway to the Moon, Twenty Years Later, Maze, Yarmouth Road, Split Open and Melt

II: Down with Disease > Free, Bouncing Around the Room, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood*, Architect, Mike’s Song* > Simple > Weekapaug Groove

E: Waste, Good Times Bad Times

*Birds teases


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391 Responses to “In Touch With Their Roots”

  1. xpun Says:

    Great weekend of phish.

    Good to finally meet @calpain and ever so briefly @dr Braun.

    And @gdad is always a pleasure to see.

    Missed @marco again. Happy bday and congrats again on the little one to be.

    Haven’t worked since July 3rd and back in the morning. Yuck.

  2. ElJefe Says:

    X – I’ve never see that before!

  3. xpun Says:

    Oh and extra special thanks to janx for the ticket hook ups. I owe you.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    Damn.. Not trying to continue the wrong subject for this blog, but I spelled his name wrong and want to correct myself in honoring him ..
    Trayvon. Everybody please sign the NAACP patition for civil trial.
    And go see Fruitvale Station. K, political rant done.
    Growing Brighter now…..

  5. Dr_Braun_Schitzmir Says:

    Very cool to meet you xpun and gdad!

    I didn’t actually expect to get to meet any BBers, so even if it was only for a minute, it made my day.

    Sorry we had to split so quickly, we had pit tix and had to go find a decent spot down there. It gets super gnarly down in the pit. Not really my scene down front, but I was psyched about getting the tix. It was actually pretty cool. We had some great people in Mike’s Corner that made it all worthwhile. And the sound down there is freaking awesome. Tons of low end building up in the concrete corners.

    Hope to run into you guys in ATL or Chicago!

    Stay safe out there!

    Now, for some sleep…

  6. Dr_Braun_Schitzmir Says:

    Ok, one last thing…

    Start/Stop Light jam.

    Full ON!

  7. Berkeley Head Says:

    Tonights Light jam was the best thing I’ve heard in my life. Wow. My life is so much better than it was two weeks ago. Wow

  8. Berkeley Head Says:

    Seriously. I just flac hd’d with headphones and it is mind blowing. I don’t know how they continue to keep raising bar with that track. Wow

  9. MiA Says:

    ^i love posts like this.

  10. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Doing a little late night listening out west. Love what the band is dealing.

  11. Berkeley Head Says:

    Thanks Mia! I like checking in to see what you have to say… I feel compelled to say. A lot of guys on here are very insightful. I rarely post, but man… I had to tell somebody about that light jam immediately.

  12. vegas wolfmans Says:

    I’ve honestly never heard anything like that light jam. Wild.

  13. Berkeley Head Says:

    Kinda reminds me of the Tahoe light but in any event much different than the brand between dicks and tonight. Incredible to me on many levels. Trey was hitting these blue notes so perfectly and how they managed the start stop so perfectly

  14. Berkeley Head Says:

    I don’t ever remember liking YEM as much as I love it now. Last two are ridiculous. Shit is so good it’s difficult to not speak in hyperbole

  15. Berkeley Head Says:

    I see others also thought Tahoe light was the carbon atom of tonights divine light. Awesome. I like back checking my ear with what you guys are hearing in case i need my ears cleaned.

    I feel the dicks jam was so epic that they’d been going back to that well for the most part this tour (and fir good reason) until tonight which is another reason why it was so impressive. Masterful. Also what they’ve done with SOAM this tour is also insanely impressive. I wonder how important that song is to them… As it relates to being able to slay that on their 30th anny tour. I know it’s important to me. Ha! -See you at the shows

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Lol re: antelope Greg. His whole twitter is just him making threats to punch people if they go near him. I was right by him at MSG 1 this year. I’d love to go toe to toe with him and make him shut the fuck up. Not every phishie is outta shape yo.

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