Sunday, June 29, 2014
The journey East and a week or so off from shows had us giddy to be back amongst the Phish crowd. With all of the beauty and grandeur that came from the adventure driving across Utah and into Colorado, finally back through the plains and into Kansas City, there was still no excitement that compared to knowing we were getting back into the Phish amoeba groove.
DWD – quick intro out of ER with nice runs along the 'Doc from Trey. The show energy is at full throttle already as it's another solid version and good launch point as song #2
Moma – let Mike play! – slow, fat, funky / very patient playing / perfectly danceable
Tela – the wind from beyond the mountains – It felt like a musical breeze was pushing us back eastward / Trey absolutely destroys the last 90 seconds
Sneakin Sally – back in the groove / Trey chooses the blues route and shreds away over a full band funk-space groove with a breakdown around the "the name is slick” riff
Ice>lengthwise>ice – nice breakdown of Ice – unexpected Fishman turn w/ vacuum and Lengthwise (a first for me ) and it had me harkening back to the odd nights living at the beach, listening to Rift until dawn
Sparkle – the pressure builds / a nice tempo builder after the awkward/mellow ice jamming / Trey and Page both seem to enjoy digging into this one and revving up the pace
Bitch – straight up blues rock / Page's solo goes off while Trey is laying rhythm licks behind him - the jam is full of soul, eventually shifting down tempo in the groove / some interesting Trey banter thanking Rich for the bar tab last night gives this show a personal touch
Setbreak - I remember being sweaty through my entire shirt from dancing so hard. We joked that they had played the second set first. The people in front of us brought extra waters for everyone around them and we enjoyed their kind gestures and told our stories from tour. The comfort of home was so close, too close. The road was more fun. Enjoy it while it lasts...
Wedge – slow, a little sloppy / not the best 2nd set kickoff
Poor Heart – not a hit for me as the set moved along and we were growing ever closer to going home. I wanted funk and rock. Trey does throw in some serious bluegrass licks, however to keep it interesting
Mango – slick and smooth, but still nothing out of the box or too rocking
Brother – I enjoy high energy and odd tempo songs, and this is a good version, but where’s my funk grooves?
Contact – lounge lizard meets funk / slow groove, but this one takes it a step into the ether with some nice looping from Trey. This one is different (it sounds like it was born on the Island Tour) and includes nice finishing work from Mike
Maze – There is a chance we are shifting into the darkness here / A full band diving in full force and it's quite possible that steam was spewing from the stage. A stellar jam with great communication between Trey and Page - nailed it!
Caspian – ah yes, the slow rise intro with Fishman teasing the rock groove. I love the harmonies here and the full wall of sound that surges with Trey tickling the high notes and propelling forward
YEM – After cruising through the composed part they are almost slow dancing with the funk and build to a full band jamgasm guided by a laid back Trey who eventually just opens the wall and brings in the light
E: Camel Walk – great encore, rare these days and almost always signifies that the band had a fun night. Again, the whole band plays slow and toys with the emerging blues+funk (cowfunk) hybrid sound
Coil – It got away
And we were down to one last show before the return to Memphis. Phish had delivered again. The final chapter was on the table. The road called us home again, and we took off into the night, wiser and more cautious than our previous runs. Those last few miles before home are always the most treacherous. Especially with one show to go. We made it halfway across Missouri and found a campground. Everything felt different here. Hot and humid, but a breeze in the woods. We were far from the mountains and still not quite back to the familiarity of the Mississippi River. This was the last time we were setting up camp. The last roadside meal. The last night on the road.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Moma – A solid, jammed out opener while staying to standard MOMA Dance rock jamming. A great shot of adrenaline to start the show
Beauty – A semi regular afternoon happy vibe until page goes off. Moving on…
Sample – The band was sounding/playing balanced and tight and hit a second early peak in the show shooting energy level high straight out of the gates.
Guyute – 97/98 were big years for the pig. It had fully grown and matured and had mastered it's many segments from Irish ditty jig to evil menacing arcs and snarls over massive tension – the coda is prog rock mastery.
Ghost – Time to bring out the space funk. This one was, if you can say it without blaphemy, just another of many during this phase – a deep, long journey riding Mike’s base while Trey lets the loops unfold and Page makes the clavinet bounce. Totally in the swamp muck of Phish groove 101. Eventually the jam leads to full on Phish rock bliss with a vocal reprise from a locked in Fish – these are the jams jaded vets miss.
Limb – Here we are, Summer of 1998, first set, and yet again another top shelf version. Fishman goes freeform and carries the jam while Trey hoses the melody which never really steps out, but provides a thorough wash during an extended version.
Roggae – This song has never failed. It is so fitting when outdoors on the West coast. Trey is flirting with the “smudge” sound in the jam that evolved into 1999 and plays a consistent role in the Bug jam.
YEM – Very patient. A nice, long funked out intro to the jam with nice subtle looping fromTtrey while Page goes B3 bananas. Eventually Trey gives in and starts with the rhythm licks as Fish and Mike lay it down taking it on a slow growling build but without any major fireworks.
Set break - Ting a Ling. All systems go.
Llama – A fast and fiery welcome back kiddos. Loads of energy and more snarling from the ‘Doc. Trey sounds angry as he rips it apart during the blistering outro.
Wolfman’s – A hair loose, but a lot of slow and deep. A swim in the space porn with no true peak. Culminating in a meandering, wet funk journey.
Piper – O, the slow build intro. It almost takes a “Sparkle” approach as the tension builds with no release in sight. As opposed to when Phish gives us the Hose, this is more like a sprinkler spraying in rapid bursts before running out of water pressure and fading off.
Tweezer – Trey takes us out for more deep space wha-wha. Totally danceable, but I was starting to lose focus through the set. It was certainly funky.
JJLC – More controlled energy. This time bluesy and soulful and Trey lets loose on the ‘Doc.
McGrupp – We have made the jump from deep space funk to breezy melodies, we’ve lost the dance, but the music is still pouring out. A very good version providing nice juxtaposition after Tweezer’s growling nasty slide. McGrupp turned into a gorgeous piece of work across the board.
DWD – A pretty typical, high energy wave of the song (1998) and the jam. Trey keeps it coming through the Disease reprise into a soaring finish. Great set closer.
E: Possum – A quality encore, but nothing insane. Still, some deep tension and release within the box provided.
Tweeprise – Another door slammed shut. As much as I like Kuroda's 2.0 and 3.0 light rigs, he had a rotating spotlight setting that he would white out and just let them fly in vertical lines during the Tweeprise peaks in the late 90's that he can't quite replicate, and I miss them dearly. We called them "the elevator vortex lights" and they were only used in that spot. They have literally made me think we were all in a massive freight elevator free falling before.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Let's get one thing clear: I love Phish, and there was no force in live music like Phish coming off of 1997, and there is no better venue in America to camp out and see awesome music than the Gorge Amphitheater.