Archive for October, 2008

As the Clock Struck Midnight…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 31, 2008 by Mr.Miner
M. Mitchell

Miami '03

In the many traditions of Phish, none were greater than their three-set New Year’s Eve Show.  Having performed on this night of revelry every year from 1989 through 1999, and again in 2002 and 2003, so many memories and legendary moments have taken place on 12.31.   Each New Year’s Run culminated as the clock struck midnight, and the band oozed into Auld Lang Syne as fans popped celebratory champagne, hugged and kissed their friends while all felt warm and fuzzy inside.  Yet, the moment that always cemented the Phish New Year was the song they bust into directly after the classic holiday tune.  With choices ranging from incredibly creative choices to some incredible train-wrecks, there was always great anticipation for this “moment after” New Years.  Let’s look at some.

MSG '02

MSG '02

12.31.1993 Worcester Centrum: In what is by far the greatest post-New Year’s moment in Phish history, on this night, they opened the third set with Auld Lang Syne, and as the song ended in all is celebratory gusto, Phish ripped into the debut of the Down With Disease jam- without ever having played the song!  I was not there, but I must imagine that it was the best experience ever to hear the Disease lick rip into the jam for the first time as the peak of the biggest party of the year.  Complete with shredding Auld Lang Syne teases, this choice was absolutely genius, as no one knew what was going on and were all experiencing what would go down as one of the most classic segments of blissful Phish ever.  The band did not debut Down With Disease until the next show, April 4th of 1994, at the Flynn Theatre in Burlington, VT.  Not only the most clever, but also the Phishiest move ever, this post-New Years moment takes the cake.

Jason Carlson

Miami '03 - photo: Jason Carlson

1995 MSG, NYC: Leaving the epic set II Mike’s Song hanging in the second set, after twenty minutes of scorching improv and a digital delay jam that left a silhouetted Trey on stage solo, the crowd was left in awe of what they had witnessed.  As the band came out for the third set, they did their mad scientist routine, and Fishman was born as the New Year’s baby.  But as they peaked Auld Lang Syne, FIshman slid into the quickened beat of Weekapaug as the crowd responded rambunctiously to the completion of the last set’s Mike’s.  Transforming into one of the most heavily improvised Weekapaugs ever, eventually segueing into only other performance of The Who’s, “Sea and Sand,” this post-New Years moment could be the most musically significant of them all.

1996 Fleet Center, Boston, MA: Using the “jam of the year,” the band put together a shredding end of 1996 and beginning of 1997.  Beginning with a newly-jammed out 2001 with a countdown on all the arena clocks, the band soared into the new year in space.  Moving through the Auld Lang Syne, the band quickly dropped into Down With Disease.  An unquestionable focus of the year, they used the launch pad as their New Year’s celebration three years after debuting the jam at the same time.  Setting the tone for a blistering Suzie and Antelope, and the surprise Bohemian Rhapsody, this was one of the best third sets of New Years’ past.

Big Cypress '99

Big Cypress

1999 Big Cypress, FL: A trampoline into the next millennium, this post-midnight moment came as the show was just beginning.  Choosing a monstrous and reflective Down With Disease to ring in 2000, this moment was as significant as any listed, as we were embarking on the longest Phish voyage of all time.  Featuring tight, unique jamming, this started this magnificent night perfectly.

Miami Midnight Madness

Miami Midnight Madness

2003 Miami, FL: After four days of fun in the sun and incredible Phish music, the New Years’ moment in this show gets on the list for sheer absurdity.  After opening the set with the out-of-nowhere cover of “Jungle Boogie,” the arena was bumping.  With an entire marching band climbing out of a tiny car onstage, and costumed dancers along side, Phish celebrated their Miami New Year’s by ripping into Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” with the marching band’s accompaniment.  The combination of the pre- and post New Year’s songs had the crowd confused and crazy. Before too long, the band leaped into their classic, Runaway Jim, using a familiar yet raging jam to bring everyone back to their Phish reality.

Miami '03

Miami '03

1997 MSG: After slaughtering the second frame of this show with set opening Timber and a rest-of-set Mike’s Groove sandwich, the anticipation for the third set of this New Year’s was huge.  It would go down as the final chapter in one of the best years of Phish’s career.  And they still hadn’t played the quintessential ’97 groove machine, Tweezer.  As expected, the band came out to a 2001, and had the crowd in the palm of their hand as they dropped into the post-Auld Lang Syne Tweezer that was bound for glory, but it sucked.  One of the biggest anti-climaxes in 12.31 history, Trey spent most of the song jokingly popping massive, obtrusive balloons that had descended and engulfed the stage.  With no coherent jam and a lack of a Trey presence almost all together, this Tweezer was a huge disappointment in one of the best New Year’s Runs ever.

1998 MSG: With about as much zest as the year before, Phish finished a stellar four nights by ripping into Simple as the year’s post New Years song.  A sloppy juxtaposition to the two sets of fire than preceded it, this aimless balloon-ridden jam had a serious lack of “rage” to the shows New Year’s celebration.  This jam set the tone for a forgettable third set that is easily left behind in favor of the rest of the show.

Sometimes on point, and sometimes past their New Year’s Eve prime, Phish made every midnight juncture memorable.  Each winter, if there was one thing you could could count on, it was Phish on New Year’s Eve.  Regardless of what Northeastern city was the destination or what venue hosted the festivities, Phish on New Year’s became an institution for even casual fans.  With this comeback gaining momentum with rumors of March 28 and 29th at MSG, one can only assume that come December, we will all be gathering somewhere to ring in the new year once again.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.16.00 Zepp, Osaka, Japan, MATRIX < LINK

Zepp Osaka

Zepp Osaka

The final show of their only Japan tour, the show is a keeper.  With a beautiful opening Limb, a great first set Reba and a thematically flowing second set, there is a lot to listen to in this show. With an extended Runaway Jim that goes into some pseudo-electro grooves, the improvisation is on throughout this one. Great version of Slave, Bug and Hood also highlight the second set.

I: Limb by Limb, Back on the Train, Sample in a Jar, First Tube, Golgi Apparatus, Heavy Things, Dirt, My Sweet One, Bowie Tease > Reba, Character Zero

II: Runaway Jim, Theme from the Bottom, Dog Faced Boy, Driver, Slave to the Traffic Light, Julius, Bug

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Harry Hood

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Bar 17

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 30, 2008 by Mr.Miner

Combining elements of classical music, jazz improvisation, and signature searing guitar lines, Bar 17 exists as Trey’s most musically mature and accomplished solo album to date- yet not so many people even know it exists.  Released in 2006 after the Mike & the Italians (GRAB) tour, and featuring more virtuoso musicians than you can shake a stick at, this album is filled with gems, and could be quite the Phish feeder come next year.  With some songs you certainly know, and other you probably don’t, everyone should familiarize themselves with this album before March.

Due to the awkward release time in Trey’ career, during his post-70 Volt Parade days of 2006 in which he toured as The Trey Anasasio Band with Tony Hall on bass, Jeff Sipe on drums, Ray on piano, and backup singers Christina Durfee and Jennifer Hartswick.  Towards the end of this year, in his fall tour, Trey’s inconsistencies on stage became apparent, and while he was playing some of the songs of Bar 17, his newest album never got the musical exploration or fan credit it deserves.  Putting together a collection of over 40 musicians who guest star on various tracks, Trey included everyone from John Medeski to Peter Apfelbaum, Dave Grippo to Marco Benevento, and Mike Gordon to Tony Markelis in his project.

The result is a coherent set of emotionally driven songs that move fluidly from the beginning of the album to the end.  Featuring a string quartet on multiple songs, arranged by Orchestra Nashville’s Don Hart, collaborator on Time Turns Elastic, Trey infused this album with classical influences that blend with his striking guitar tone as if they were meant to go together.  With a mature vibe to the album, some of its pieces wind up in wailing walls of sound and guitar textures that you never saw coming.  It is these types of compositions I think we will see Phish feature prominently in their return.

“What the heck is on this album?” you might be asking.  Well, lets look at the album’s highlights.

Host Across the Potomac: Featured prominently on Mike and the Italians tour (I much prefer that name to the silly acronym of GRAB), this song contains a driving groove during its verses and a sublime resolution in its lyrical and symbolic chorus-  “The time has come, for desks and chairs to be elevated.”  A song that stood out in the summer and fall of 2006, it seems odd that this one was dropped for the time being.  This could very much reemerge in 2009.

Crash Photo

Warfield: Crash Photo

If You’re Walking: A whimsical tune with a catchy melody and percussive beat, this one is a pleasant listen with musical lyrics.  Possessing a mellow groove for Phish to springboard off of, they could develop some interesting jams from this if they chose to play it.  This one doesn’t necessarily have that Phish “sound” that many others on here do, but it could be a welcome addition with jam plugged into the middle before the lyrical reprise.

Bar 17: The title track begins with the a string quartet and a very subdued feel.  Yet as the gorgeous composition progresses, the laid back textures give way to some slowly building guitar work with elements of jazz improvisation highlighted by Trey’s emotive tone.  One of the highlights of the entire album, this was brought out a few times in the fall of 2006.  With an eight and a half minute album version, live versions could be stratospheric.  The diversity of feels contained in this song, along with its soaring poignant peak, could translate Bar 17 into a latter day Phish epic.  This seems likely if you ask me.

Let Me Lie: This song has received its proper due in my coverage of Trey’s recent tour.  It seems to be a new Phish ballad with some improvisation taboot.

What’s Done: This is another song that starts in a very down-tempo place, yet is accented by ripping guitar phrases behind the drone beat.  A song that builds into  “My Bloody Valentine”-eqsue walls of sound and distorted guitar dissonance, this once could be an absolutely psychedelic masterpiece if Phish took it under their wings.  With a climactic lyrical chorus that fits congruently with the musical texture of the song, this one integrates a heavy Pink Floyd influence in creating its massive sound.

Goodbye Head: A compositional masterpiece that was all over Trey’s shows in 2006, he noticeably left it out of his most recent tour.  A tune that 100% sounds it was written specifically for Phish, its uplifting musical path is blissful.  With lyrics of childhood awe written with his daughter, Eliza, Trey has put together the next truly masterful multi-part composition.  With several non-repetitive segments of composition, this one seemed like a perfect fit for Phish when they weren’t around.  A fusion of the precision of Divided Sky with the flowing, tension releasing jam of Reba- we can only hope that this one is being practiced in The Barn over the next months.

A Case of Ice and Snow: A stunning song that was featured prominently on Trey’s Northern Exposure Tour, it appears as an acoustic track on this album.  When performed over the past weeks, A Case of Ice and Snow provided a highlight of many of the shows it was played in.  With an  surreal guitar improvisation, and powerful lyrics, I’m beginning to become convinced that this one will land squarely in late second sets of Phish shows in next year.  It would be breathtaking.

Gloomy Sky: An almost-ambient soundscape with a diverse instrumentation, this song’s music describes the comfort of watching through your window as the rain falls on a gray afternoon.  Boasting beautiful harmonies and appropriately delivered lyrics, this song is one I’d personally love to see Phish incorporate- though I’m not sure everyone would agree with me.  It’s a piece that lends itself to patient, layered improvisation that could land you in another universe without even realizing it.

unk

Shoreline '03 - photo: unk

Shadow: An “adult-contemporary” sounding song with extremely layered vocal tracks, it provides a slightly more upbeat feel while still retaining the classical-sounding vibe of the album.  Trey’s guitar sprinkles melodies throughout the song before jumping into a spirited guitar solo over the refined backdrop of a string quartet.  Backed heavily by an orchestral arrangement, the vibe of this song would be hard to reproduce with a four piece- even if they are Phish.

Cincinnati: A rarely-played TAB fan favorite found itself onto the last track of Bar 17. This song features a delicately composed introduction, giving way to a impressive horn arrangement and the most driving jazz-rock fusion grooves on the album.  Topping the album with triumphant lyrics and a composition that could find a place in Jesus Christ Superstar, Trey exits his most accomplished album with a more uptempo feel than is characterized throughout.

Honestly, what I am most excited for in Phish’s return is the large amount of new material that we will experience.  Sure, I am extremely psyched to see them drop Tweezers into the abyss, bust mind-expanding Bowies, and rage to twenty-minute YEMs.  But this comeback is not about nostalgia; it is not about the past.  This comeback is about now- where the band members are at this point in their lives- and the music they play will most definitely reflect that.  I can’t wait to discover what pieces Phish will choose to unveil, and am more excited to see where they will take them.  While Phish will certainly sprinkle their classic jam vehicles throughout their shows, the parts that will be the most exciting will be the parts uncharted and unknown.

Isn’t that what this is all about anyway?

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.16.08 Trey and Classic TAB, Roseland Ballroom < LINK

This one comes by popular request, as Roseland was the only recent Trey show not posted to Phish Thoughts during the tour.  With a lack of audience sources, I wasn’t able to readily find one while on the road.  But thanks to Ginseng Jeff, my man behind the music, we have a 320kbps copy for your enjoyment.  A solid tour opener, this opened the door for the smoking seven shows that followed.  Enjoy this last installment of Trey’s Northern Exposure Tour!

I: Sand, Cayman Review, Let Me Lie, Gotta Jibboo, Dragonfly, First Tube
II: Alaska, Last Tube, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Valentine, Drifting, Brian and Robert*, Chalkdust Torture*, The Way I Feel, Spin
E: Heavy Things, Burlap Sack and Pumps

*acoustic

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SATURDAY (3/7)  HAMPTON TICKET CONTEST: I have been contacted by Dr. Trip, who is running a contest on his blog for one free Saturday night Hampton Ticket.  The contest details are here! You have to purchase $25 dollars of merchandise form his site to be eligible.  WIth the ticket madness going on, I’d thought I’d pass this opportunity along.

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“Sitting in Limbo” (full song) Richmond, VA


The Next Phish Album

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 29, 2008 by Mr.Miner
unk

Richmond - photo: unk

With the abundance of new material showcased on Trey’s just-completed tour, combined with the knowledge that he and Tom Marshall have a host of other songs we have yet to hear, a new Phish album is certainly on the rise.  With no shows scheduled between now and Hampton, the open months could be possibly cleared out for studio time.  However, the band could decide to let their multitude of new songs develop a life of their own before laying them down on a record- a trend that has held true for most of the band’s career.  Yet, with Round Room and Undermind, this pattern flip-flopped, as they recorded the former without debuting any of the tracks, and the latter after playing only three.  Which way will they go this time?  It is an intriguing question.

unk

photo: unk

In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this summer, Mike was very transparent in the fact that a new Phish album would happen- one way or another.  Mentioning that Phish had already been in contact with producer Steve Lillywhite, who worked on their most acclaimed album, Billy Breathes, the new album “rumor” was very much substantiated by Gordon’s candor.  Lillywhite has been currently working on a U2 project in Europe, with an album that is slated to drop in early 2009.  A collaboration with other legendary producers Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois, this team effort could potentially free up Lillywhite for Phish sooner than later, but more likely than not, keep him in Europe.  If they wanted to record, there are obviously other great producers.

Yet, if there is one thing we have come to know about Phish, it is not to have expectations.  Whether talking about a show, a setlist, an album, or simply a jam- with no expectations comes no disappointment.  Personally, I’d like to see Phish take that time off to learn Trey’s new songs, and some of Phish’s old ones, and practice their bums off up in The Barn.  Seeing songs live before hearing them on wax certainly curtails any expectations you might grow for them, while allowing the songs to naturally evolve into what they will become.  Once their jams have some sort of pre-recorded direction- more often than not, the band will follow that predestined place.  A perfect example of this phenomenon is “Walls of the Cave” from Round Room, a song that, in my opinion, has never reached its potential.  Given the ability to grow naturally, without the album version, the improvisational “silent trees” section might not have wound up being virtually identical every time.  But because that was the way they recorded it, I suspect they had a natural proclivity to go right there.  Knowing where the jam was going before it even came out to play, the excitement and freedom of the song was limited.

Shaun Krouse

Richmond - photo: Shaun Krouse

When you think of all the potential songs that might be on the forthcoming album, it could easily become a more mature studio masterpiece.  Just to name the songs we are aware of “Greyhound Rising,” “Light,” “Backwards Down the Number Line,” “Valentine,” “Peggy,” “Gone,” and “Ruby Waves.”  And those are just Trey’s songs.  With much material yet to be debuted, and more yet to be written, this album, whenever it is recorded is going to surprise people both inside and outside the Phish community.  All that being said, here’s to hoping they just play now and record later!  Phish albums are great, some better than others, but the studio will never be the magic carpet that the stage is for the production of Phish music.

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HAMPTON SIMULCAST PETITION UPDATE: Fan, Greg Doucette started a petition that I posted on here a few weeks back to get the Hampton shows simulcasted around the nation.  So far his petition has reached 10,000 signatures- a great start- but he really wants to get it doubled to 20,000 people before he presents it to Phish and their management.  It is even getting media coverage! Even if you have tickets and are going to Hampton, think of all the people that won’t be able to fit in the building that are dying to be a part of these epic nights.  Take a minute and sign the petition for the good of all!  It is linked right here:  CLICK HERE TO SIGN SIMULCAST PETITION!!

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DOWNLOADS OF THE DAY:

11.21.97 Hampton Coliseum REMASTER < LINK

Preview: Ghost RMSTR< roll over and press play

11.22.97 Hampton Coliseum REMASTER < LINK

Preview: Tweezer RMSTR<roll over and press play

Ok- back to the Phish music.  Here we have the classic 1997 Hampton weekend remastered by Paul Shapera Gwynne-Craig, the man behind the recent remaster of 12.6.97 that everyone has been raving about!  He has put hours into making these sound as crispy as possible and uploading them for the Phish Thoughts community.  He is currently working on another Phish masterpiece- 12.28.98- so look out for that coming soon!  Until then, enjoy these mint sounding Hampton shows from the annals of Phish history!(single song downloads)

HAMPTON COLISEUM, Phisheads.com

A Tour Story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 28, 2008 by Mr.Miner
Andy Hill (State of Mind)

Albany - photo: Andy Hill (State of Mind)

After a day of decompression and a 15 hour slumber, some post-tour processing is necessary.  The past two weeks have been incredibly inspiring.  To see Trey so happy and healthy in such intimate venues was like being with an old friend again- there was a lot of catching up to do.  The zest and precision in which Trey played his trusty Languedoc all tour long encouraged vibrant dreams of the future.  With Trey referencing Phish throughout the tour, and specifically mentioning the Hampton shows at the end of the last show, he made it clear where his intentions were.  With Tony, Russ, and Ray- the only members that should ever comprise the Trey Anastasio Band- Trey became re-acclimated to stage, and by mid-tour, he owned it once again.  With his multi-faceted guitar repertoire flowing like molten lava, Trey gained so much momentum throughout the eight shows that it seemed he wished the tour was not ending so soon.

Andy Hill (State of Mind)

Albany- photo: Andy Hill (State of Mind)

Despite similar setlists, Trey magnified different songs on different nights and sprinkled in enough new and other songs to keep every show feeling unique.  Enthusiastically shredding throughout the tour, song selection was secondary to his consistently pristine, clean and refreshing improvisation.  Trey seemed to have as good a time as anyone over the fortnight, as he was all smiles all the time.  Complete with his one “show shirt” for the tour, it sure seems that the cosmic jokester we know and love is back to tickle, tease and tangle our minds again.

Musically announcing his comeback to each audience across the Northeast, and one in the south, Trey seemed as if he was rediscovering the joy of just playing.  Clearly not carrying as much personal weight with him, his childlike bliss shone each and every night.  With shows comprised of several new songs, some from Shine and 18 Steps and many TAB classics, Trey and his band delighted each and every audience of the tour.  With the white-hot focus on the sublime improvisation of the man himself, he consistently responded with blistering, yet delicate playing that provided a significant contrast to his last days with 70 Volt Parade in 2006.

Andy Hill (State of Mind)

Albany - photo: Andy Hill (State of Mind)

The entire tour had a distinctly celebratory tone to it, as the energy in every room was astronomical.  With the imminent return of Phish, and no shows scheduled between now and then, people knew this might be the one time they saw Trey before Hampton- or beyond.  It would not be surprising, seeing how much fun he had, to see Trey announce a New Years show or two, but as of now all we have are rumors.  This was the return of Trey, and with so much anticipation for the return of Phish, it was most definitely the return of the Phish community.  With many fans reacquainting after the extended time away, one of the coolest parts of the tour was seeing so many familiar faces again, both friends and also those people you didn’t really know, but always saw all over the place.  And this is just a preview of the massive homecoming that Phish shows will be.

Andy Hill (State of Mind)

photo: Andy Hill (State of Mind)

Gotta’ give props to Trey’s band who were great all tour.  Tony and Russ always holding down a deep pocket, but more specifically Ray Paczkowsi on keys.  Adding a completely other dimension to the smaller sized band, he consistently improvised with Trey on the tour, supporting his melodies and licks, while helping build some monster jams.  If there were a non-Trey MVP award, Ray would clearly be the winner.  Trey went out of his way on multiple nights to point out that Ray has been by his side for every non-Phish show over the last eight years, and to say what a spiritual and musical connection he felt to his second keyboardist.  Adding tremendously to funk jams, and layering melodies and sounds behind others, his playing stood out in every show.

Andy Hill (State of Mind)

photo: Andy Hill (State of Mind)

In looking forward to Phish, there were some songs that seem clearly destined for our favorite band, and others that could possibly make the transition as well.

Let’s look at the possibilities:

LIKELY
Backwards Down the Number Line: Written by Tom and Trey, about friends coming back together, with a ripping jam, this one seems both lyrically and musically spot-on.

Light: Only played once, opening the second set of Wallingford, Trey seems to be saving this one for Phish.  When you listen to the song, you can imagine Phish destroying it.  A transcendent jam that will be brought to uncharted realms, I for one, cannot wait to hear this in Trey’s “other band.”

Greyhound Rising: Also only played once, deep in the Philly’s second set, this compositional masterpiece seems written for Phish as well.  You have to figure if Trey has these amazing songs, and only played them  once during these shows, he wants Phish to be the quartet to define their destiny.

Burlap Sack & Pumps: Consistently introduced with other TAB-to-Phish songs written by Trey such as Sand, Jiboo, and First Tube, it seemed as though Trey was implying that this was the next to make that jump.  A song made up of multiple diverse jams and six total words, it sure fits the description of a Phish song.  Played for the first times ever as a four piece band, this could be a fiery piece of Phish 3.0 improv.

Valentine: Played twice in the first three shows, Trey kept this one stashed away for the rest of tour.  Another song you can just hear Phish playing and taking to divine places of improvisation, this new uplifting song seems like it was tucked away for a reason.  Only able to go so far with a guitar solo, add three master improvisers to the mix, and you’ve got a whole different monster all together.

Let Me Lie: The next in the line of beautiful Phish ballads, this one will have a jam as well.

Ruby Waves: Debuted in Burlington, the only time played on tour, this song features flowing verses and extended guitar improvisation. Phish will make this into something this band just can’t.

I WISH

Spin: With an open ended jam that has absolutely no necessary direction, this one would be a psychedelic adventure every time Phish played it.  These would be the type of jams that dreams are made of, the ones that have no logical ending point and are wide open for the imagination.  Potentially too autobiographical for his larger band, one can only hope Phish adopts this one.

A Case of Ice and Snow: It would awe-inspiring.

MAYBE

Alaska: This is the exact type of song that Trey would bring to Phish for no apparent reason.

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DOWNLOADS OF THE DAY: Here are crispy AUDS of the entire Trey Tour (except Roseland), linked all in one place for your selection. Back to Phish tomorrow!

10 08 Chevrolet Theatre,Wallingford, CT

10.18 The Palace, Albany, NY

10.19 Higher Ground, Burlington, VT

10.21 Lupo’s, Providence, RI

10.23 The Orpheum, Boston, MA

10.24 The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA

10.25 The National, Richmond VA

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TAB, THE PALACE, ALBANY NY, PHOTO: ANDY HILL (State of Mind Music)

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“Sample In a Jar” acoustic, Richmond, VA

“Sitting In Limbo”  solo Richmond, VA


Philly / Richmond Downloads

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 27, 2008 by Mr.Miner

10.24.08 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA < LINK

I: Cayman Review, Last Tube, Drifting, Gotta Jibboo, Alaska, Ooh Child, Money Love and Change

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Sand, Tuesday, Spin, Greyhound Rising, Push On Til the Day
E: Moesha, Let Me Lie, First Tube

10.25.08 The National, Richmond, VA < LINK

I: Push On Til the Day, Sand, Ooh Child, Tube Top Flop> Cayman Review, Drifting, Backwards Down the Number Line, Money Love and Change

II: Sweet Dreams Melinda, Mr. Completely, Gotta Jibboo, Sitting In Limbo, Alaska, Shine, Water in the Sky*, Brian and Robert*, Strange Design*, Sample in a Jar*
E: Burlap Sack and Pumps, First Tube

(Thanks to Jon Goldberg for the uploads!)

Endings and Beginnnigs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 26, 2008 by Mr.Miner

10/25/08 The National, Richmond, VA
I: Push On Til the Day, Sand, Ooh Child, Tube Top Flop> Cayman Review, Drifting, Backwards Down the Number Line, Money Love and Change

II: Sweet Dreams Melinda, Mr. Completely, Gotta Jibboo, Sitting In Limbo, Alaska, Shine, Water in the Sky*, Strange Design*, Sample in a Jar*
E:
Burlap Sack and Pumps, First Tube    (* acoustic)

Within a stones throw of Hampton Coliseum, the Phish community’s current Mecca, Trey closed out his encouraging Northern Exposure Tour with a show south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  With a show that concluded his ten-day comeback tour, Trey displayed the enthusiasm, goofiness, and incredible guitar playing that has defined the run.  Consistently impressing crowds in each and every city he pulled into, Richmond was no different.  Trey took his favorite songs from tour and put together, in the words of many Southern fans, “the best Trey show I’ve seen in a while.”  With high octane power from the moments the lights went out,  Trey seemed enthralled and engaged, eliciting similar emotions from the excitable audience.

Slamming his foot on the gas from the moment he stepped on stage, Trey opened the show with the ripping improvisational duo of “Push On ‘Til the Day” and “Sand.”  Catching up the Southern crowd to what has been going on up North, Trey used two staple jams from this tour to spark the fireworks of the final night.  A potent one-two punch, “Sand” followed up the opener with session of screaming phrases and blazing lead melodies, creating a militant soundscape of improvisation.

Brain Ferguson

The Electric Factory - photo: Brain Ferguson

The bookends of the first set brought the most intense moments, and concluding combo of “Backwards Down the Number Line” and “Money, Love and Change” took the set to its musical peak.  Dedicated to his lighting director on his 50th birthday, Trey played the song that Tom Marshall created for Trey’s own birthday.  After not appearing in the first four nights, “Backwards Down the Number Line” appeared in every show thereafter.  Boasting catchy verses, melodic hooks, and vocal harmonies- all giving way to a shredding, yet controlled jam, this song seems to possess the tangible qualities of many Phish hits.  Perhaps performed for the last time before Hampton, time will tell what will become of this piece.

Taking liberty to annihilate the set closer, Trey took “Money, Love and Change” out further and more aggressively than any time of tour.  Beginning with a series of classic rhythm licks, Trey funked hard for the early part of this jam.  Enraptured by his playing, head nodding subconsciously side to side in tempo with his grooves, Trey was a portrait of his old-self, losing himself in his guitar playground.  Inspiring to watch, and equally addicting to move to, it is these type of moments that keep us eternally coming back- bearing the crowds, traffic, teenagers, and general mayhem to get to the source.

The National, Richmond, VA

The National, Richmond, VA

The opening three songs, the meat of the second set, featured near forty minutes of intensely tight playing that had the room collectively bouncing like a pinball being slammed around a triangle of three bumpers.  Putting a spotlight on “Sweet Dreams Melinda” for the second time in three nights, Trey used the smooth pop textures to improvise a flowing series of stirring melodies that brought the room to an elated state.  With Boston’s version, tonight’s represented the best of tour from a song that many wrote off three years ago when released on Shine.  Taking the energetic highpoint, and blowing it through the roof, the band launched into the tour’s second “Mr. Completely.”  A crowd favorite, last night’s version one-upped the The Orpheum’s rendition with vicious improv from everyone on stage.  Matching the intensity and insanity of Philly’s tour-best “Sand,” this Completely will no doubt wind up on many a post-tour highlight compilation.  With all of Trey’s best on display in this jam, the audience responded to the extended jam with the raucous adoration.

As if the he hadn’t just given the entire crowd 1000 cc’s of adrenaline to the dome, as “Mr. Completely” came to an end, Trey launched into the final “Jibboo” of the run.  Appearing in every show and highlighting the first four nights of tour, it seemed quasi-nostalgic to hear the last run through of the candy-grooving TAB composed vehicle.  Soaring through a final set of guitar acrobatics, Trey looked as joyful as ever as he crafted a second set centerpiece.

Brian Ferguson

The Electric Factory - photo: Brian Ferguson

After the initial high-paced segment of the set came the most emotionally poignant moment of the night.  Playing a gorgeous, slowed down rendition of Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting In Limbo,” Trey seemed to embody the lyrical path of an unknown future.  Only played five times with 70 Volt Parade in the lackluster year of 2005, this performance had the vibe of a debut.  Not only rife with Phish symbolism, this song choice evoked the spirit of Jerry Garcia, as he also covered the reggae classic with his side band.  With undeniable parallels between the lives of the two guitar gods, this performance by Trey at this time in his personal journey, seemed incredibly relevant.  This was a particularly powerful moment at the end of a very significant tour.

After closing out the electric part of the set, his final acoustic mini-set took on some final meaning. Preceding the segment some funny banter about heading down the road to Hampton and camping out for five months to practice Phish songs, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand, drooling over the reality of March.  Sending out a “dual dedication” to his daughters- both in attendance- and to Mike’s daughter who was born yesterday, Trey played the acoustic treat of “Strange Design.”  Without Page alongside, hearing Trey’s voice delicately sing these lyrics, which he wrote himself, seemed like an affirmation that the tires are off the lines these days.  Reminding us that life is an imperfect episode, this composition spoke to the resiliency within us all to persevere hardships and life’s speed bumps.  Another intentional song choice for its layered meanings at this point in time, Trey seemed to move inwards as he gracefully strummed the emotional Phish ballad. Topping his last acoustic set with a sing-a-long Sample In A Jar, the anticipation of Phish ballooned considerably and filled the room.  The energy  that both Trey and the crowd possessed during this Phishy classic only foreshadowed “teensy-weensy” preview of the type of energy that will build over the following months and explode in Hampton.  With no other dates scheduled between now and then, this could have been the last time we see Trey on stage until March 6th.

Brian Ferguson

The Electric Factory - photo: Brian Ferguson

With a show that highlighted the best parts of tour, Trey finished his brief return to road in high style.  On a Saturday night in Richmond, VA, finalizing a triumphant comeback tour, Trey officially was declared back in action and as good as ever.  As the crowd filtered out into the temperate Virginia night, Hampton was certainly the buzz.  Maybe he’ll play New Years and maybe he wont, but in the end, the moral of the last couple weeks has to be the rallying cry, “Viva Phish!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.23.08 The Orpheum, Boston, MA < LINK

In possibly the best start to finish show of tour Trey gave the Red Sox faithful something to celebrate.  A great recording, and standout jams throughout, download it now for your Sunday afternoon!

(Thanks to Jon Goldberg for the upload!)

A Party In Philadelphia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 25, 2008 by Mr.Miner
"Alaska" - Electric Factory

"Alaska" - Electric Factory

10/24/08 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA

I: Cayman Review, Last Tube, Drifting, Gotta Jibboo, Alaska, Ooh Child, Money Love & Change

II: Backwards Down The Number Line, Sand, Tuesday, Spin, Greyhound Rising, Push On ‘Til The Day

E: Moesha, Let Me Lie, First Tube

Bursting with energy, Philadelphia was afire last night.  On the brink of the Phillies’ first home World Series games since the ill-fated season of 1993, the city is literally painted red.  With the hype of tonight’s game three looming large, Trey pulled his party into a town needing no excuse for festivities.  With a show that stood up to Boston in might and psychedelia, The Electric Factory is now officially on the ballot for the best show of tour.  Again taking every song beyond its natural length with feverish energy and vigorous guitar-led improvisation, Trey crafted a standout show for his beloved City of Brotherly Love.

In another show that never dragged from start to finish, Trey even left the acoustic songs aside, favoring more time to shred.  With a tour-best second set- featuring only six songs and some of the best moments from tour- Trey delighted the jam packed club with a set of pure fire.  Opening with the most extensive “Backwards Down the Number Line” to date, this first-time placement as a second set opener could foreshadow what is in store for the song.  Evoking folk rock textures reminiscent of the Dead, this song has been a focus of the second half of tour, appearing three nights in a row.

unk

The Orpheum, Boston - photo: unk

Directly following the opening peak of the set, Trey dropped into easily the hottest Sand of the week.  With not much difference in TAB’s “Sand” and Phish’s version, Trey was laying into this with such ferocious improv, at times I felt like we were already at a Phish show.  No joke- with his band providing every bit the groove Phish did with the song, Trey annihilated this wide-open psychedelic epic with dirty venomous solos and disgusting dance grooves.  Absolutely the Sand to hear thus far, Richmond will need to go the distance to keep up with Philly’s masterpiece.

After a quick “Tuesday,” Trey unleashed the second “Spin” of tour and the first since the Roseland.  Entering into the post-song jam with an ambient and eerie space, Trey slowly led his band in an earnest full-band jam that built into a virtual cover of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” off of Dark Side of the Moon.  Another jam that more closely resembled what you’d expect to hear at a Phish show, this directed improvisational segment vaulted itself to the must-hear highlights of the entire tour.  Ridiculously psychedelic, this jam provided the down-tempo compliment to the blistering Sand.

As the audience reassembled their brains, Trey seized the opportune moment to slide into the beginning of the long-awaited return of “Greyhound Rising.”  With polished transitions and extended soloing following the lyrical sections, Trey has clearly worked out the kinks on what seems to be sure-fire Phish epic. With several striking compositional sections, a heavier bluesy jam, and mellifluous lyrical verses, the community has been waiting for something like this from Trey for a while.  Fully showcased as a centerpiece of the second set, Trey seemed both excited and proud to reintroduce the song to his larger fan base.  Anyone who already felt attached to this song will now love it even more, and it will scoop up any doubters along the way.  This one is certainly destined for greatness.

Roseland - photo: Roli Breitenscher

Topping the incredibly improvised set with a spirited and intense “Push On Til the Day,” the sweaty venue was left in a cheering frenzy as Trey gave his signature fist pump, assuring everyone he is right there with us.  Using diverse styles of improvisation and enough energy for the Spectrum, let alone the Electric Factory, Trey left no one in Philadelphia in doubt of where he is at musically at this point in time.  With a fierce approach to the set and a list of fresh songs to go along with his masterful chops, Trey delighted the venue with a no-holds-barred hour plus display.

Although after the show few were thinking about the first set, though it did contain some notable points.  A mid-frame “Jibboo” provided another series of improvised dance grooves ranging from the deranged and dissonant to the silky and smooth.  All previous songs had solid jams, but it was “Jibboo” that gave the room its initial spin of the evening.  Following the tour staple of “Alaska,” Trey busted the tour’s second “Ooh, Child,” bringing the blissful improv to a much higher place than Providence, his guitar sounded heavenly throughout.  Juxtaposing the melodic cover with the grittier “Money, Love and Change,” Trey closed the set with a jam that gained direction as momentum about half way through, turning into a piece of rock-funk fusion.

unk

The Orpheum - photo:unk

With a show that contained at least two of the best jams of tour in “Sand” and “Spin,” Philadelphia proved to be Trey’s stomping ground yet again.  Regardless what side of the Ben Franklin Bridge his shows are on, Trey always seems to treat the Camden / Philly area with monster efforts.  Following in a long tradition of sparkling Phish in the city of cheesesteaks, pretzels, and water ice, Trey owned the classic room from note one through the crashing conclusion of “First Tube.”

Richmond prediction- best yet- tonight is gonna’ blow up!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.19.98 Higher Ground, S. Burlington, VT < LINK

A new, superior source of a special night!  Boston is coming next!!

I. Gotta Jibboo, Peggy, Dark and Down, Push On Til The Day, Sweet Dreams Melinda, Sand

II. Burlap Sack and Pumps, Money Love and Change, Last Tube, Let Me Lie, Drifting, Alive Again, Tube Top Flop, Windora Bug > Ruby Waves*, Moesha, Dragonfly

E: A Case Of Ice And Snow, First Tube   * debut

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PHILLY VIDEOS

“First Tube” (Thanks to Michael Blume)

“Money, Love & Change” Clips Philadelphia Last Night (thanks to SpaceCadetGlow @ PT Phish)