The Fulcrum of Fall

11.2.13 (George Estreich)

11.2.13 (George Estreich)

One of the dates everyone had circled before Fall Tour started was October 23, Phish’s return to Glens Falls Civic Center. The intimate venue in the small New York town had played host to only one Phish show before and it was one of legend. This would be the second. Close to Burlington, Vermont, Glens Falls would also be the “friends and family” show of Fall Tour—an event that often comes with added demands and pressures on the band. Atop all that, after a torrid Hampton weekend, Phish showed signs of fatigue in Rochester the previous night, dropping the ball in their shakiest performance of the year. These multiple variables had their long-awaited return to Glens Falls up in the air.

A fierce opening set seemed to set the arrow straight for the band, but it was the second set’s more creative endeavors that had given them problems in Western New York. The vibe inside the Civic Center was electric from note one, and it certainly felt like Phish could ride this energy to victory, but the truth would be told after setbreak.

10.19.13 (A. Nusinov)

10.19.13 (A.Nusinov)

In each of the first four shows, the band had opened the second set with a significant piece of improvisation, thus when they kicked down the doors of Glen Falls’ main event with “Rock and Roll,” fans strapped on their seat belts for a long-form ride. It felt like the guys had something going when Fish dropped the rock jam into half-time, but not long after the tempo slowed, they wound down into a quasi-natural ending with no real ground covered.

Very rarely does Phish start a second set with two jam vehicles without taking one of them for a ride, thus when “Seven Below” started, it seemed that the post-hiatus tune would provide our adventure of the night. Perhaps a bit hesitant from the fact that “Rock and Roll” didn’t get anywhere, the band didn’t try to bring “Seven Below” outside the box, favoring a contained and very fiery exchange. The band wove a good amount of creative playing into this anchored rendition, building back their improvisational confidence that they had lost over the past night plus a jam. And upon “Seven Below’s” conclusion, Phish crept into “Twist.”

As soon “Twist’s” first notes whispered into the arena, one knew that here would lie our gem. Phish had opened Hampton’s first second set with “Twist,” and with it sculpted a Pink Floyd-laced ambient soundscape—a clear sign of intent to resuscitate the song’s creative edge. This Glens Falls version would not only help that cause, it would become the pivot point of Fall Tour.

11.1.13 (A.Nusinov)

11.1.13 (A.Nusinov)

This time around, Phish built right out of the song’s Santana-esque jam instead of bringing the lyrics back and launching off a second jam a la Hampton. Trey accelerated the pace of this “Twist” early on and Page stuck right with him, as the band’s jamming sounded far more locked than at any point since Hampton. Minutes later, Trey and Page led a break from form, and once Fish and Mike switched up the rhythm, Phish shot into the stratosphere with a high-octane and quite atypical, mid-jam climax. And as quiet dreamscape emerged out of this peak, “Twist” oozed into its most transcendent section.

Atop atmospheric textures, Trey began playing a heart-tugging melody—a week later discovered to be from “The Line”—that came to define the final portion of the jam. As the rest of the band carefully constructed their offerings around Trey’s melody, a breathtaking exchange blossomed. Building off this thematic sequence with layers of ambient effects, the guys took their time to descend from a truly blissed out trip.

To close this set, Phish absolutely slayed an old-school version of “Harry Hood,” a piece that, unquestionably, continued the band’s now-righted improvisational path. As “Hood’s” blistering peak brought the tour’s smallest crowd to it’ highest high of the night, Phish had made it through their slight stumble and came out of Glens Fall’s with a rocket strapped to their back heading for New England. After the subsequent weekend, with only Reading and Atlantic City to go, it became very clear that Phish wouldn’t falter again. And when looking back over tour’s first week, there was no doubt that things had shifted for keeps with the Glens Fall’s “Twist.”

Boardwalk Hall (George Estreich)

Boardwalk Hall (George Estreich)


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

Twist” 10.23 II, Glens Falls, NY

Fall Tour’s point of solidification.

[audio:] Tags: , , ,

212 Responses to “The Fulcrum of Fall”

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  1. bob dylan Says:

    Great photos

  2. bob dylan Says:

    Solid post taboot

  3. butter Says:

    sweet Miner! love the recaps and macro view perspectives

    what a tour

    555 has some serious potential

  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Interesting perspective, Miner.

    Only halfway paying attentnions outside of your immediate post-show reviews and the livephish app. It does make sense that this was a switching station show putting them on the ‘right’ track for te rest of this tour.

    Not likely and MehSG NYE run this year. No expectations though still pretty psyched fo rthe adventure.

  5. Matso Says:

    The Alaska is rightly written out of history, but the Wading deserves to be heard (in my books, it’s “best ever” material, like the Waste from Boise 99). I always listen to the Twist->Wading->Hood as a sequence. The emotional peak in Hood is amplified by the Wading that precedes it.

  6. MiA Says:

    Agreed Matso.

    It’s also 34° where I’m at in Austin. I think it’s warmer in MN.

  7. RoosterPizza Says:

    That Alaska was a huge dick pinch.

    On a side note Island Tour is up on livephish app, but they usually post things according to date or venue about to be played. Island tour forthcoming? I can wish…

  8. RoosterPizza Says:

    Autocorrect for the dick pinch

  9. DavidSilver Says:

    Dick pinch ain’t no picnic neither.

  10. Ulysses S. Wingsuit Says:

    Interesting RP, I’ll bet that’s next.

    dorn etc., check the last comment on the previous post.

  11. The Phish Whisperer Says:

    Boise Waste brings it, fact.

  12. Gavinsdad Says:

    Classic but ferocious Hood in GF with what appears, to these ears, to have slightly “Leslie’d” leads at the end

  13. plord Says:

    That Hood was a white hot scorcher. Notably ripping for 3.0 IMHO.

  14. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Hola fLuffinaires. How was Phil & his amigos Gdad? Dark Star encore. Nice.

  15. Rob Ford Says:

    “Olivia Gondek says I wanted to eat her pussy. I’ve never said that in my life to her, I would never do that. I’m happily married – I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.”

  16. dorn76 Says:

    ty sir

  17. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers…

    @Miner: nice writeUp…this is the show that did finally jump start Fall tour…

  18. C. Clavin Ball Says:

    well well well. It has been quite a busy Autumn for this mail carrier, let me tell you. There’s no time for regurgitating old facts to the masses when the new jams are spouting and the mail continues on its steady pace. but here we are today to recount a date that has a lengthy history for our heroes of the green mountain state persuasion.

    It is a little known fact that eight times the band played this date in the 1.0 era, a fact buoyed by their lengthy fall touring over most of those years. In truth, most of the years where they didn’t play this date back then were because they weren’t on the road on the time. So let’s dive in, shall we?

    In the woolly days of 1985, they were still playing basement rooms in campus halls and this night found them ending the second set with a notable sequence of Makisupa->Piggies->Makisupa->Drums>Alumni Blues>Dear Mrs. Reagan. Astute followers will note that Piggies wouldn’t make another appearance until the first costume set in 1994 when they played my ma’s favorite record by those mop tops from over in England. The next year they would still be on campus (supposedly) playing Slade Hall, though no setlist or recording of that has yet to surface.

    In 1991 the band was in the midst of an ambitious tour of close to 50 dates over just over two months, which to me seems like a recipe for some overtime and paid leave. No way my supervisor approves that kind of relentless routing. It’s a classic setlist from the era, notable as much for the appearance of Roll Like a Cantaloupe as anything.

    Three years later the band would be in the midst of another marathon Fall Tour (after taking Fall 1993 off) and this night would put them in the middle of Michigan at DeVos Hall on the campus of Michigan State. Be sure to check out the odd Lawnboy>Cavern which includes some Lawn Boy in the Cavern. But really the thing you want to hear is the big time Peaches>Bowie that opened the second set. Not just a big jammer, this one set a new bar for audience/band interaction. And if that isn’t enough for you, did you know that this is the show that began the “bluegrass run” through the Midwest that tour? Rev. Mosier would hop on stage the following night at that other state school around there, but the impact was already being felt when they took on a couple of tunes in the latter part of the set. Parts of this are immortalized in the great Phish Bluegrass Sessions video, which I planned on linking here but has apparently been repeatedly deleted from youtube. so it goes.

    The show the year following hardly needs an introduction. In 1995 the band was in Orlando on this day and threw down a second set that many consider one of the finest random tour stop sets of all time — which is not to say the first set lagged because it has highlights of its own as well. After the chess move, the Maze gets the joint jumping in an era when that song exploded every single time but it is the Stashteca that will bring you to your knees due to the power and glory of the band operating at full killing capacity. And then they top it all off with the Immigrant YEM. Honestly, if you don’t know this show please go listen to it post haste. And even if you do, you owe it to yourself to revisit this gem.

    Now, I could spend a lot of time talking about the Ames, IA show from 1996 and why it may or may not have gotten “there” but in truth we have bigger packages to send so let’s just move on. The band was battling the icy assault of mother nature and wanted to move on, so we will follow their lead here.

    Everyone loves to talk about the Fall 1997 tour and how amazing it was. And they are correct. The problem is, people tend to focus on only a few tour stops when they highlight this transformative tour, picking out the Denver shows, Hampton, Worcester, Auburn Hills, and maybe one or two others as the highest highs. And they may be right because those are all amazing shows that deserve rightful praise. But a forgotten jewel is the show they dropped on the E Center on the way from Las Vegas to Denver. Second set: Wolfman’s Brother->Piper>Twist>Slave. Let that sink in for a bit. It really is as great as it looks on paper. Sure, it might not make the top five sets of Fall ’97 but go listen to it before you put that judgement on it, mr. rankin.

    Lastly, we have the show from 1998 which would be the band’s first time a venue in Cincinnati that seems to have a different name every time they drop in. At that moment in time it was called The Crown and, while the band maybe didn’t doing anything absolutely regal that night they did enough to solidify this venue as a must go place going forward, as they have put up six more shows here since. The first frame is anchored by solid versions of Tweezer and Reba but things get interesting in the second with the Bowie opener. From there we get a Beatles cover (Something), some filler fare (looking at you Golgi, Guyute), the always somewhat uncomfortable Sexual Healing Fishman interlude, a Trey-led YEM that merits hearing, and then a first and only time cover in the encore of The Police’s So Lonely. So perhaps not an epic masterpiece but enough there to keep one interested before going to later year stops at this storied venue to picks out some of the classic jams they’ve dropped here. For more on that, take a gander at Mr. Miner’s thoughts on the topic from a few years ago.

    All told Phish played this date five years in a row during their peak years. In a season full of amazing highlights no matter which way you turn, you could do much worse than to spend your time picking from this day to fill your head with great phish.

  19. 4thDimension Says:

    GF — the town, the venue, the style of playing that night — it all integrated in a way that enhanced a good show into a great show and fulfilled us in a very unique way I haven’t felt since 94. I agree with comments about Velvet Sea that night. Don’t sleep on the power jazz flow Bowie, fall’s lone Undermind, and a lot of excellent playing in STFTFP, LXL and Melt. This show had a special quality that carried everything above its gross material body, so to speak, thank you Miner

  20. C. Clavin Ball Says:

    this is not to say that the band was not already playing acoustic tunes (and bluegrass) on fall tour prior to the DeVos Hall show. Far from it, as they debuted Foreplay>Longtime at the tour opener back in early October. The change was when Rev. Jeff Mosier came on the tour bus to help them tighten up their chops. Starting the next show (11.16) he would join them on stage for at least a couple of songs for five “official” shows and one well-circulated parking lot jam session at IU.

  21. Jerome Garcia Says:


  22. phoammhead Says:

    I met, party and got down with this guy at the last Dicks show this year . . . at the time didn’t even know he had won on the PIR . . . really cool and fun guy

  23. Shred Says:

    I loved Glens Falls show but my coffee sucks.

    Great town to see show in.

  24. dorn76 Says:

    Here’s DVD rip of that 11/14/95 show:

    Came up in ’95
    2nd jam in Mike’s
    Stash and Bowie with a head full
    What the fuck is that?

  25. vapebraham Says:

    last post ended on comment 555. nicely done, BB.

    Nice piece, miner. GF Twist is the goods ($$$), a fave from Fall. the floydian flavor was apparent.

    Went back to listen to summer ’13. Hit 7.13 Hood — $$. need to circle back and hit that GF Twist again. thanks for the reminder.

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