Maple Leaf Lovin’

7.7.13 (Jake Silco)

7.7.13 (Jake Silco)

On a hotly anticipated night north of the border, Phish added a monumental piece to their Pantheon of Summer 2013 jams in Toronto’s “Down With Disease,” while supporting the centerpiece with a thrilling “David Bowie” and two fun and energetic sets of music. Finally playing a dry show in a truly summer environment, the band and crowd rejoiced amidst a cool Canadian evening at Molson Amphitheatre. With the band playing a rescheduled date from July 9’s postponement, even some of the most hardcore and familiar faces on tour were absent from the scene as Phish bombarded Toronto with their most complete show of the weekend.

7/22 Official (P.Hamou)

7/22 Official (P.Hamou)

The guys got right to business with a one-two punch of “Moma Dance” and “Chalk Dust,” reversing the usual order of the show opening couplet. Then out came “Undermind” for the first time since Dick’s. Though the band remained within the musical confines of the song, it sounded so damn good to hear one of the their countless amazing songs that have been left for dead this tour. Even in an out-of-the-way show in Toronto, the band stuck to their minuscule summer rotation that has quickly become a bit of a joke. But song choices aside, the energy exchanged between the band and their undersized audience was off the charts for the duration of both sets—and that a crucial aspect to an amazing night with Phish.

The highlight of the opening half came in a sunset rendition of “Stash.” Trey’s chops are so on point right now that every jam sounds interesting, whether contained or open. His uber-proficient chops graced so many ferocious “type I” jams over the rain-soaked Chicago weekend, and they took over this “Stash” as well. When Trey fires out creative melodies and licks, it raises the game of his bandmates as they must match their own creativity to jive with him—and vice versa. But never has this rang so true in the modern era as Summer 2013, where contained jams like “Stash” “Mike’s Song” “Bathtub Gin” and “David Bowie” pop with psychedelic contours. This is an element of the Phish of old that has rejuvenated considerably this tour.

7.14.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

7.14.13 (Andrea Nusinov)

But as fierce as the band’s structured jams are right now, when they let loose and unabashedly dive into the abyss this tour, they have created jams that stand up to anything in their career. Examples are SPAC’s “Light,” PNC’s “Crosseyed,” Jones Beach’s second set, and now Toronto’s “Down With Disease.” In this refined conversation of the most virtuosic degree, the band showcased why there is no possibility of comparing them to any act in the history of live music. No band manipulates music as if Play-Doh like Phish, and this set opening “Disease” is a case in point. Soaring into the most uplifting music of tour, the band reached a holy plane—and stayed there for what seemed like an eternity, spinning into a cyclone of bliss. This is the real deal, folks. This “Disease” reaches a place we dream of jam’s attaining, and the band didn’t rush out—in fact, quite the opposite. As if they had discovered a new planet, the guys extensively explored this sacred ground, one graceful note at a time, and the result was staggering.

When the band finally reached the end of this incredible peak, the crowd roared but the band kept chugging. Slipping out of this heavenly realm and into a filthy section of groove, the band completely switched gears on the fly, and this wasn’t just a casual denouement. Instead of ending the jam at their earliest natural chance, they took the piece smoothly into a darkening ambiance. Without jumping the gun, the band wove their set-opening masterpiece seamlessly into “2001.” Though this version remained succinct, it served as furious exclamation point to Phish’s newest adventure.

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

At this point, the second set—and show—seemed primed for all-time status, but then things got both songy and choppy. After a standard “Free,” the band tore into “Piper” with all sorts of urgency. Springing to improvisational action, the band locked into a jam that felt destined for greatness. The guys were very clearly keyed into each other’s ideas and were crushing it hand over fist when Trey jumped ship and started “Tweezer” with no warning whatsoever. Though as abrupt they come, who’s gonna argue a drop into a second set “Tweezer?” Not this guy. But the “Tweezer” that had been looming so large in the Midway over the weekend didn’t really elevate. Settling into a slow, quasi-routine “Tweezer” groove, the band played around the song’s theme for the duration of the jam, but this time the creativity wasn’t really there. Used as a song rather than a launchpad last night, the “Tweezer” that had Canadian fans buzzing in the lot before the show wound up being less than powerful.

Though the songs continued with “Silent In the Morning,” “Number Line,” and “Cavern”—three that have taken the beating of a red-headed stepchild this summer—there was still a closer left. As the band played “Cavern,” one might have anticipated the subsequent “David Bowie,” as the two songs often pair up to close sets. And this one straight exploded. Another jam that didn’t leave its road map but enthralled to the fullest, this “Bowie” featured a major key flip that anchored its direction while the band’s crazy chops took care of the rest. Toronto’s “Bowie” truly touched its set-closing essence with a fluid fifteen-minute exercise that rolled like a steam engine through the living room of your mind.

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

7.14.13 (A.Nusinov)

Treating their Canadian fans to a triple encore, Phish came back on stage with “Loving Cup,” the summer’s first “Squirming Coil” and a final good-bye in “Tweezer Reprise.” It’s safe to say that all who made it back to Molson Amphitheatre for the Phish show last night left home smiling, as the band dropped a real party show featuring a marquee setlist, a “lifer” in “Disease,” and plenty of supporting meat throughout. A northern fan base deprived of a home turf show since 2000 in the same shed, was kicked down a winner on Monday night, and I am blessed to have been there to share in the groove, eh?

I: The Moma Dance, Chalk Dust Torture, Undermind, Army of One, Halley’s Comet > Twist, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Yarmouth Road, Tube, Ocelot, Suzy Greenberg

II: Down with Disease > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Free > Piper > Tweezer > Silent in the Morning, Backwards Down the Number Line, Cavern > David Bowie

E: Loving Cup, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer Reprise

 

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655 Responses to “Maple Leaf Lovin’”

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  1. Foul_Domain Says:

    Nice review, Miner. Listening back now. I remember felling a bit better about Tweezer, but I’ll have to give it another spin. There was a moment at the end of Bowie that just blew my mind. Really had a blast last night, despite the multitude of talkers throughout the pavilion.

    Go listen to this Disease immediately!

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice piece, miner

  3. Stoney Case Says:

    Experts now point to Phish as the reason for all the unrest in the Middle East. This prevailing thought is a result of them not playing there. Ever.

    – Sheppard Smith
    Fox News

    And here’s Andrea with your fall travel plans:

    > October 18-20 Hampton
    > October 22 Rochester
    > October 23 Glen Falls
    October 25-26 Worcester
    > October 27 Hartford
    > October 29 Reading PA
    > Oct 31-Nov 2 Halloween in AC

  4. BigAB Says:

    Guess I needa get this Disease, stat.

  5. bhizzle Says:

    “Experts now point to Phish as the reason for all the unrest in the Middle East. This prevailing thought is a result of them not playing there. Ever.” – fuckin Phish! Always fuckin shit up!

    October is too far away!

  6. Rinskydinks Says:

    Can we talk about poster nut bag from Sunday nite? I mean c’mon that was sicccccccccccc!!!!!

  7. jdub Says:

    That does look like a tasty fall tour, even if it is short. Love me some northeast indoor Phish.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    page plays some “groovy” licks in that twist from last night

  9. DividedSkywalkerNYC Says:

    Miner: Nice writing, as always, but I would like to hear your thoughts on WHY they’re sticking to such a ridiculously small number of songs. Are they responding to fans who want fewer jams and seeking to satisfy them every night? If so, why the 180-degree shift from 2012 where we heard nearly their entire catalogue? As a devoted LivePhish client, I want a variety of songs in my iPod, not 17 versions of BDTNL from July ’13 so where’s the economic incentive for such a tight set list? (Yes, Phish are businessmen — quite good ones, too.)

  10. The Flesh Says:

    Fall tour date announcement. The moment you realize that a move to Atlanta was a mistake.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    Love the toronto review. cheers, miner.

    dl code for 7.22 greatly appreciated. please code me.

    going to grab the LP sbd of last night. Miner’s review piqued my interest.

    so miner just skipped the review of night 3 in chitown? no worries. some things are better left unsaid.

  12. Foul_Domain Says:

    If they took Piper for a ride and cut out some of the filler, that 2nd set could have been one for the ages…Something like this…

    Disease>2001>Free>Piper>Tweezer>Silent>Bowie

    Just listened back to Bowie and its gold. Great Type 1 jam with slick Trey licks. The band is hooked up here. Tweezer has some great moments from Mike and is just a nice tight Type 1 Tweezer. Agree totally with Miner that it didn’t quite explode.

    Good Stash too. 1st set could have used a bit of meat at the end, but like others this tour, it was fun and well played. Moma>Chalkdust brought the energy right out of the gate and it was a pleasure to hear Army of One and Undermind. Otherwise, pretty standard as 1st sets go. The Stash is the highlight, no doubt.

    Overall, I thought that was a stellar show and definitely one of the best 2nd sets of tour. Stash, Disease, Tweezer and Bowie all deserve a listen, imo.

  13. btb Says:

    It didnt rain? What gives?

  14. MiA Says:

    Greatest Hits Vol. 1

  15. Foul_Domain Says:

    It rained Mike Bombs for a while during Tweezer

  16. sd Says:

    So Miner’s back to fluffing?

    j/k

    Nice review.

    And tour dates! Must make 3,000 mile journey back east….

  17. Nich Says:

    My guess.. And granted, you have to think that webcasts are a total afterthought for it to make any sense.

    They looked back at 2012 and said “hey our jams are awesome but holy crap a lot of those rare songs were sloppy”

    Then at some other point, they realized just how few people REALLY toured anymore and said “lets play our shows for the 80% of the crowd who won’t see us again after this stop”

    I guess I just don’t think it’s too nuts that they’d have 25 songs they liked playing a lot more than the rest,

    I couldn’t care less about the rotation. The placement and setlist flow is another ball game. You’d think caring about putting on a tight rock concert would extend to when they played what. It’s def better than it has been in years tho. Ad the improv continues to shine. Fugaeddaboutit.

  18. Stoney Case Says:

    Dear Phish,

    That’s harvest season! You want the easties puffin beasters on fall tour? Quick, flip the script by starting on Halloween and ending 2 weeks later.

    -Thanks
    Pharmer Phans

  19. Foul_Domain Says:

    Forgot about Ocelot. I may have grumbled when this one dropped, but I remember the jam being way above par.

  20. Litteringand Says:

    So no comment on 15min jam of new material (Energy),very good segue into powerful ghost(that also transitioned nicely into lizards and a Harpua that was clearly a tongue cheek shot at overly critical fans? Chicago night 3 is the elephant in the room me thinks.

  21. MiA Says:

    My extra Sat or Sun code for your Mon code.

    Mikeinaustinbb @ ghee mahl

  22. Snigglebeach Says:

    I like how Miner is just going to avoid Sunday night discussion.

    We all know what he thought anyway.

  23. mayhem Says:

    sounds like Toronto was pretty damn good. That disease sounded pretty great on the crappy stream. Glad GP, DF, Frankie and everybody else there got some love.

  24. roberto luongo Says:

    glad to see miner still in the trenches. reporting from the field. great piece man. wish could have chilled a bit in Chicago I think we were on the opposite side all weekend. see ya in SF.

    Hey kids just stopping in for a bit. Sharin some personal thoughts.

    Glad the Canadians got some more wide open meaty jamming. Hopefully as this tour progresses Trey can combine his new obsession with shreddin that doc like it was made to be played with the more open experimentation we got throughout 2012 in jams all over summer. Even a little show like Alpine got that wide open Fee and the pure creative experimentation of Light >Ghost. My joke of there being more open jamming in the FUCKYOURFACE show may almost not be true anymore but you get my point. Cinci Twist, DCU Carini, Dick’s Light and Sand. Star Lake. Band was blowing it up open stylee last year. But I like to hear a guitar play rip so I had a blast hearing Trey find his tone again all weekend.

    The shred and palpable full band energy is the first thing I noticed coming off no spoilers. Songs like Gin, Bowie and Mike’s Groove can finally be slayed in a more 90-93 style and have the crazed beastly toned band leader crushing his solos. All this leads were sharper, cleaner, and solo’s seemed to flow more naturally beginning to end. Great example of Trey’s crushin tone and full band chasing him can be heard in the Chicago Mike’s Groove and the nutso Fish and Trey tearing apart of the Piper.

    Whether Trey continues to get off on his new flying fingers or start to combine that with some more open search is the big ? for the remainder of tour. Can’t wait for SF and Dick’s.

    No spoilers saved my phish life. Not only shows I wasn’t at but one’s I was.

    I danced with my old school crew, my preggers wife, and a few new youngins and had the time of our lives in biblical downstorms. Phish is just a soundtrack for me to enjoy myself as much as possible and as long as they aren’t shittin the bed like early 2009 I can have a blast in anything.

    I never collected tapes back in the day. Still haven’t spun 75% of the shows I caught. It’s all about the live experience for me. That’s what was hurting my 3.0 experience. I got into the internet debating. Spinning every jam 100 times and comparing nonsense. Not enjoyable and kinda weird.

    Hearing complaints of the weekend of peeps not having fun cuz of setlists or jams or rain or whatever made me finally realize
    I wasn’t seeing Phish like I enjoyed but how the community here did and developed into
    Now like all my other friends it’s back to being the band we go to act like pranksters at, get high, and get down.
    If they want to help our enjoyment with some hot music power to em but it ain’t gonna make or break my evening.

    One of the most enjoyable weekends of 3.0 for me
    Laughin my ass off with laidback couple hundred show peeps that don’t take shit seriously
    None of us had heard a note of this tour and none of us will. Never discussed the shit post shows. Just went out and raged.
    Loved it.

    See ya’ll in SF
    It’s just a Rock n Roll band
    laterz

  25. roberto luongo Says:

    but being that I haven’t spun 1 note of summer beside being in the building in Chicago and bangor, SPAC 1.

    I’m just getting my facts of not as much open creativity this summer from my friends that have seen a bunch when I asked them for a list of any monsters they caught.

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