Phish.net: a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation


St. Louis Recap

Posted 2 years ago by bertoletdown - 56 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/503e22e4

I’ll open with a confession. Before hearing tonight’s show, I had cooked up a snarky idea for the recap. Something cutesy. Something high-concept. I thought it was clever.

Then Phish smacked the smirk clean off my face.

Given what transpired in St. Louis tonight, I conferred with some of the staff and we all agreed that we owe it to you to do our best to describe the show in clear and simple terms. Phish did not show up tonight to mess around, so neither will we.

Chaifetz Arena is a 10,600 seat arena on the Saint Louis University campus that tonight would host Phish’s first appearance in St. Louis since the 2009 Fox Theatre gig. That much was true before the show started. Post-performance, I can also say confidently that it is now the epicenter of the Chaifetz “Limb By Limb,” and the home of a show destined to be talked about for a long time in more than one context.

At 8:11 St. Louis time, Trey scratches out the intro to “Punch You in the Eye,” perhaps at the request of .netter @phish_sticks (give that phan a contract!). To me, this song has always been about the drop... you know the one... and Fishman misses the drop hilariously, coming in four full bars after he’s supposed to. Trey’s guitar tone sounds oddly reverb-drenched for the first half of this song as well, but then he negotiates the “Landlady” segment with the kind of precision rarely seen in this selection since the late 90s. Superb recovery to a modestly shaky beginning, and the crowd roars its approval.

Since losing my dog last Friday, “Runaway Jim” has been a stalwart companion, and I’ve been listening to some of the finest versions ever played: Raleigh 1995, MSG 1995, Worcester 1997. It’s an anthemic Phish song that deserves improvisational TLC, and it hasn’t been getting a whole lot recently. While tonight’s version never punches through into type-II territory, it certainly achieves a smoldering peak, and builds nicely on “PYITE’s” momentum.

Hey, am I alone or is “Ocelot” starting to creep toward glory, one exceeded expectation at a time? It seems to me that this original debuted to too much hype, and was then unfairly slagged when it didn’t quickly go to the same places as “Light” (a tall order). But recent performances are suggesting that the jam is on the verge of yielding some pretty big returns, and tonight’s version is certainly anything but a bathroom break. “Reba” bubbles up next, the first of two jamming tunes that seem to be gracing only the strongest shows of late (“YEM” is the other, and both were played at BGCA 3, for example). Page sparkles throughout this modest but fetching “Reba,” which like the Bill Graham version features the whistled coda. During an otherwise fungible “I Didn’t Know,” Trey introduces Fish as “the John Coltrane of the vacuum cleaner.” And here I’d always thought of him as the Bronson Pinchot of the Slap-Chop...

The Curtain” is always welcome, even in its sans form. It’s a composition that somehow manages to reconcile harmonic and rhythmic complexity with deep emotion and soul – and I think that makes it one of the quintessential Phish songs. This truncated version features a gloriously weird ritardando ending that sets up the spring-loaded arrival of Zappa’sPeaches en Regalia,” a cover that seems to be in a really generous rotation over the last year or so. It’s tightly and respectfully rendered tonight.

Mound,” another tune that’s seeing unusually frequent action over the past few years, goes over better than the somewhat clunky BGCA version, and feels very well placed. “Sample in a Jar” follows with fury and purpose, “The Sloth” survives some early flubs, and “Camel Walk” proves as controlled and fierce as any in recent memory.

With the one-two punch of a confident “Possum” and a concise “Quinn the Eskimo,” this strong first set (whose only mellow moment came during the early part of the “Reba” jam) is in the books. While I find the first quarter a lot more compelling than the second quarter, the set as a whole is enough to elevate expectations for what’s still to come.

Chalk Dust Torture” sparks up set two to mixed results, as Fishman biffs yet another cue and Trey forgets how to play the ending. But this is Phish, and they know a thing or two about turning lemons into lemonade. They rope off the moment and paint over it, then slide deftly into a brief bonus jam that tees up a proper segue into the elegantly paranoid “Frankie Says.” After flirting briefly with a deeper idea, Trey steers “Frankie’s” outro jam in a funk-ward direction, and an attentive Fish picks up the “Undermind” beat. After a Whammy-fueled workout from Trey that rivals the Festival 8 version of “Undermind,” we enter brief stretch of psychedelic grime... and then “Sand” emerges.

Five or six minutes into “Sand,” a promising show takes one giant leap in the right direction. That direction, arguably, is back in time, as this “Sand” recalls its 1999-2000 cock-rock glory. The jam culminates in a somewhat less-than-convincing segue into “Walk Away,” which these days can do nothing but (a) give our beloved “Tweeprise” another place to live and (b) melt faces off skulls. Tonight’s version is predictably powerful.

And yet nobody predicts this “Limb By Limb,” which careens from one idea to another and moves from 6/8 to 4/4 time before igniting in spectacular fashion and taking us all the way home. While not quite the longest “LXL” ever played, I’d argue that it’s the most unusual and kinetic, and will definitely be my favorite, until it isn’t anymore. Certainly, any serious discussion about the most unexpectedly spine-tingling jams of 3.0 would have to include this diamond in the rough. As one of our own used to admonish, hear at all costs.

When “Julius” begins, I immediately think about how strangely sad it would be to write that a Phish show was anti-climactic after the mid-second set “Limb By Limb.” And while it would have been a balls-forward call to end the second set there and then, the band presses their advantage instead, and manages to sustain a high level of energy right up until the end of the second set. A compact “Julius” and a surgical “2001” mate up naturally to exorcise the dancing jones of those in attendance, and an above-average “YEM” secures this show a nameplate in the varsity locker room. A tepid “Shine a Light” does nothing to add or subtract.

In the rearview mirror, this feels like one of those nights where even Phish’s mistakes are interesting and anything is possible, because the band’s intention is palpable and strong. It is certainly comparable to BG3 in terms of overall quality, though both boast their unique charms and will reward multiple listens. I would certainly welcome a robust debate in the comments as to which will benefit more with the passage of time.

PSA before I go: Phish tickets continue to be an awfully sound investment this summer, so get out and see a show. See you at the zoo!

Comments

tzevy Reply
tzevy Great review! I'm attempting a Phish fast before the CO run, but you may have enticed me to break it..
Score: 2
homerk Reply
Well said, was there and agree all around. This tiny indoor stadium was the perfect venue for this high energy, rock 'n roll show. Im still giddy.
Score: 0
ArkansasMule Reply
Yo! That mas me who called the opener, original post in the "stl predictions" thread!
Score: -3
stickydohnuts Reply
keep doin what u guys are doin i havent made many shows this year and these reviews def help me decide which shows to download and yea this show looks great it is amazing how even there flubs are genius... keep rockin and keep reviewing!
Score: 0
funkbeard Reply
The primary distinction I can tell, from afar, is that BGCA culminates with mellow beauty, only to be swept into the stratosphere with Tweezer Reprise. This one rocks hard, and ends with Shine a Light. Apples and Oranges, and depends the mood you're in.

I still think klipsch night two deserves a place in the best of 2012 discussion. The Gin, at eight minutes, thus far, contains the most dense improvisation of the year. Greatest Mango Song ever done WA done there.

I love BGCA3 to death, and had the time of my life there. Nonetheless,I like the "way" of limitless self-improvement improvement, and hope Phish turn in a complete show or two superior to those great ones of the past.
Score: 0
bl002e Phish.net Staff Reply
bl002e Great review, although I'd have to disagree with the following:

@bertoletdown said:
That direction, arguably, is back in time, as this “Sand” recalls its 1999-2000 cock-rock glory.
To me, the Sand jam from last night has little in common with those from the 1999-2000 era. Those were all about the ambient, looping, Trey-in-the-background-or-occasionally-on-keys jams that focused on groove and texture. Last night's Sand jam, on the other hand, was a vehicle for Trey to fuck our faces with his guitar, and fuck our faces he did. It was more similar to the Walk Away that followed than any 1.0 Sand, IMHO.
Score: 1
JD07855 Reply
They pulled out some heavy hitters last night. Granted there were some flubs at the beginning I thought the overall tone of the show was excellent and energized. The LXL jam was sick, didn't see that coming at all. Been waiting for a solid YEM for a while and was pleasantly surprised. What a great way to spend a Tuesday night!!
Score: 1
nichobert Reply
nichobert The Chalkdust is bursting at the seams, and Trey pulls the trick he has done in a few recent Kill Devil Falls' and tries to jam past the ending. Unfortunately the rest of the band wasn't on board for a measure, but they make a quick recovery and turn the outro jam into gold in record time. This is the glory of 3.0. As much of a 97-03 fluffier as I am, I know this move would have taken a lot longer to gel during that improvisational heyday. I think "didn't tell the band they were doing an outro jam" is way more appropriate than "forgot how to play the ending"

Mike is excellent in the segue into Frankie Says, as all 4 guys feed off each other while pushing the jam with clear focus and precision. After the major tease at a leg 1 show, I'm really glad to know this one wasn't forgotten. One of the best played versions I've ever heard, dripping with its strange mix of arrogance and glassy eyed paranoia. This is the song the Sun Kings sang into the ruby eyes of a golden jaguar skull, locked in a gilded palace and deep into their cups of ayahuasca.

Some truly excellent improvisation occurs coming out of Frankie, as Fishman ramps up the polyrhythms and Page adds dark strokes to the canvas. Trey drops some Sand teases, Fishman employs one of the coolest drum fills I've ever heard and suddenly we're in that Timber/Taste/Vultures/Undermind space that I personally love more than anything. Fish had teased Undermind earlier though, and again the band moves as one unit into a perfect segue. Clear contenders for the most underrated songs of the 1.0 and 2.0 eras, respectively. They fit like a glove and equate to pure black magic. I love how is Undermind flirts with plinko-space while splitting the difference between Timber and Ya Mar.
The outro veers into the bizarre. Almost reminiscent of the ending of the Bethel Boogie On or MPP 2011 Rock And Roll with their weird cascading drum rolls and atonal skronk.

2 songs after the most underrated song from the late 90s, the most overrated one fades into the mix. Sand was great on paper when it stretched out into 15 minute grooves, but not even Fela handcuffed his bass player the way Trey did back then. Sand has been an outright revelation the past few years. The jam has kept its propulsive nature, but Mike leads the band now, and he's out for blood. Making up for lost time with this beat. This is yet another pristine 2012 Sand that ebbs and flows while constantly staying on its forward motion. Some awesome stuff in here. A very inspired peak. What happens next is even better.
Once again, Phish decides to not let a song end. Using the post-peak reprise to make an absolutely perfect segue into the bridge of Walk Away. I stead of hammering those intro chords, they weaves them into the preceding jam and then came together on the bridge. Not convincing? How about insanely unique and inspired? Walk Away crushes as it is won't to do. This venue must have exploded, then apparently Phish froze time, used telekinesis to pull the pieces back together and continued. Apparently, as the venue needed to exist I order to implode during this Limb.

At this point, this is already one of the most well put together sets of the past few years. Reminiscent of Bethel or the Elemental show from Chicago. Dropping this Limb puts it over the top though.

It isn't perfect. But it is inspired, exploratory, unique and eventually destructive. There are points where Trey seems to have a clear idea of where this is going and everyone else wishes he clued them in. But this is Phish. And if Trey wants to get weird, they're up to the challenge. His slow spacey notes with increased volume are the first hint that we are leaving Limb's local space. Soon after, we're treated to a wholly original jam still floating on the framework of Limb. Everyone finds their place and we weave through several movements before charging to a rousing crescendo reminiscent of millennial Pipers.
The return to alimb is somewhat jarring, but not as much as if they had attempted to return to the Limb jam first, I would think. A completely satisfying segment of music. Up there with the best stuff they've ever played.

Congratulations, Phish.
Score: 13
sideshowNYC Reply
sideshowNYC --this feels like one of those nights where even Phish’s mistakes are interesting and anything is possible, because the band’s intention is palpable and strong--

well said
Score: 0
kyediggs Reply
@funkbeard its deer creek bro/sis you had me so confused I was like where the f is that hahaha you are def right that was one sick ass show
Score: 0
nichobert Reply
nichobert Wow I wish I could edit that. Major autocorrect flubs and I didn't mention the word HOSE on relation to Limb. Think of the great hosey Gins of the past. This Limb was right in that wheelhouse. And like so many of those Gins, it gets so good that they kinda fumble while exiting the hose and returning to the realm of humanity.

It's like crying at your wedding. You wish you didn't, but who the hell is going to blame you?
Score: 1
lumpblockclod Phish.net Staff Reply
lumpblockclod Great reviews by @bertoletdown and @nichobert! This really was one of the best sets in recent memory from a setlist construction standpoint. They're not going to play like they did at BGCA3 every night (nor will they strike gold the way they did in LxL last night), but more sets like this are just what the doctor ordered. Creative -> s, inspired setlist calls, unique twists on old warhorses.... Great stuff all around.
Score: 0
funkbeard Reply
Martin difference between this and bgca3 is that, for set two at bg, Trey took a back seat and spent the bulk of the jams over to Mike, Page and Fish. The YEM is derivative of the orchestral variation, quiet and sublime.

This show is a Trey showcase. When he sings "danger, I've been told to expect it," he's acknowledging the risk factor he's employing into the music. And the YEM this night gels with the finest moments of leg one, and Trey owns while illuminating the quality of this remarkable band.

Shine a Light gets a slightly sped up workout, which allows the closing solo to rock better than before. The Limb jam reminds me of the best grooves of BGCA3 with a more assertive Trey in force.
Score: 0
watsiyem Reply
watsiyem This show had me pumped up more than any in recent memory, save BGCA3 and had several cheer out loud moments similar to the raging Light segue into Sally from that show. And I was only listening to the stream! As much as I love the "With" it was great to get surprised by Phish once again.

As far as Ocelot, yup this one is growing into quite a beast. I first took note at the Worcester tour opener way back in June and every version since seems to build on that breakthrough.

Score: 0
Chenangobango Reply
Did you find your dog?!?!?!??!?!?!
Score: -1
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @nichobert said:
2 songs after the most underrated song from the late 90s, the most overrated one fades into the mix. Sand was great on paper when it stretched out into 15 minute grooves, but not even Fela handcuffed his bass player the way Trey did back then. Sand has been an outright revelation the past few years. The jam has kept its propulsive nature, but Mike leads the band now, and he's out for blood. Making up for lost time with this beat.
GOD DAMN RIGHT

when i got back into phish in 2000 (after abandoning the band and the fandom through all of 1999) i kept hearing about 'sand,' and could never figure out what the big deal was -- still can't. fisher-price songwriting, no melody, no arrangement, just...nothing. it's a nothing song.

@nichobert is dead right here: 'sand' was mostly a pleasant waste of time, a chance for trey to show off his fx while boring mike to death, until mike caught it by the neck these last couple years. now i look forward to it more than 2001 -- which i never ever ever ever ever ever thought i'd say.

'sand,' 'jibboo,' and 'first tube' are as dumb as 'jennifer dances' but at least you can dance to them. new flash: that's not a compliment.

great show in st louis btw.

...

p.s. the trey band take on 'sand' sucks way worse though. i'd rather hear the bassist from showbiz pizza.
Score: 0
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks still waiting for someone to loudly insist trey teased 'birds of a feather' during sand btw...
Score: 0
the_nitty_gritty Reply
Rock heavy and jam light. A wear your earplugs show. The Limb x Limb was the only Type II jam exception. Every other “jam” was Type I and ultimately built up to a screaming guitar solo and drum pounding. I can’t remember a jam that discovered a new dance groove the whole show. The reviews lapping on the praise for this show overlook that very little “new” was discovered here. Compared to 2009 at the Fox, I can see why a lot of people are happy. But compared to Riverport 8/6/1997 http://phish.net/setlists/?d=1997-08-06 or Riverport 7/29/1998 http://phish.net/setlists/?d=1998-07-29 , can anyone really say this was a better show? Other than the Limb x Limb, it wasn’t all that different sounding from Kiel Center 8/15/1996 http://phish.net/setlists/?d=1996-11-15 . To claim this show and BGSF III were some of the best in decades – as some have (I’m looking at you Mr. Miner) – is ridiculous. This show would have been middle of the pack in 1997 or 1998. Solid but not mind-blowing by any means.
Score: 0
pauly Reply
pauly When the julius is the only down time of the set,shit ill take it!
Score: 0
elfinito Reply
GhostJam...your take on what makes a great show is very narrow-minded.

Summer 2012 has seen some amazing music, and the top shows of this summer will sit alongside some of the great shows from a variety of their memorable tours, albeit for different reasons (and that is what makes Phish so amazing to listen to these past 2+ decades).

Score: 1
nichobert Reply
nichobert I love First Tube, and I love the other two now that they are more prone to concision.

I love deeply layered textural jams that are crazy minimal, but Sand seemed like it was glued to an idea instead of actually giving in to that groove.

I don't hear any raging guitar solo peak from the Chalkdust outro through Undermind, but I do remember one in Limb. And it really wasn't that different than a Gin or Tweezer.

Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @Chenangobango said:
Did you find your dog?!?!?!??!?!?!
In case I was unclear and you're not just trolling, she died.

I did receive her ashes today, though, so in a sense I found her?
Score: 0
Sneknsally Reply
Great show lastnight.. Have been living in st louis for 25 years now. First show being keil 96 with guest appearance form John popped for mean mr mustard. 97&98 were both great shows in ther own right. Fox 09(lucky enough to get Tix for the show) was be in the latter part of the last 4 st Louis shows. Last night was high energy focused jamming. Sure a few flubs but made up for with a great song selection and flight segues. Have seen 64 shows and that was my firt peaches!!! So stoked!! Was on the floor a little left of the board. Great sound and of course ck5 doing is magic. First set off the hook. Well played camel, peaches, mound, even sample was played well with some great peaks. Second set flowed very well with tight jams and to point percussion. Was at alpine1, KC, and stl this summer. With STL taking the cake for my shows this summer. LxL was insane, best one I have DVD heard.. I heard that damn song 18 times. Highly recommend downloading lastnight!! Def best show of leg 2 thus far.. BG3 was special and who could forget long beach RNR> ghost but for me all around start to finish balls to wall phish.. Be kind and have fun at the zoo(sick venue) and Dicks!!! Sure dicks will be special. See my family next time around!! We safe and rage hard!!! STL STL STL STL let's go cardinals!!
Score: 1
nichobert Reply
nichobert I haven't seen anyone say it was the best show in decades. Miner said it was the best show in the last week though. I guess I can see how "a week" and "decades" are interchangable terms, if you don't believe in time.

News flash- middle of the pack for 1997 is something like 7/30/97 or 12/12/97. Amazing shows. If You think Phish playing a middling 97 show 15 years later is a bad thing, I don't know what to tell you.

Chalkdusts outro through the last note of Limb contained some of the most creative four way group improvisation heard since those halcyon early days of the late 90s. I don't think it tops the first two nights of Bethel, but I like it more than SF3 or the Undermind set if UIC or Dicks or any of the other highlights from the past year or so. Maybe it had to do with Frankie Says-> Undermind being an outright dream sequence to me, or the realization that this is the 2nd Chalkdust in a row to be more interesting than 90% of Chalkdusts, or my love for Limb by Limb and awe at hearing it blown to smithereens and taken further from its structure than its gone since Valentines 03. Or the way they passed up the typical Walk Away segue, weaver the opening chords into the Sand ending and launched into the 2nd segment of the song- the way I wish they'd do with -> Free since they usually have to backtrack to get to the intro.

Thinking of this show as Trey-centric cock rock is baffling to me. I thought the decision to extend Limb and the decision to go into a Chalkdust outro were the only times that Mike and Page and a fish weren't equally involved in the process, and both times they sound overjoyed to be making this music. The rest of that hour, they're the ones forging new wrinkles in the iron.

As for the YEM. I'm more into the San Fran one. I love how subdued Trey is in it. Because I'm into that kind of Phish, and yet this set is an easy "A".
Score: 2
Mdawg Reply
Mdawg Great Review! The energy in the building last night was phenomenal! The band had the crowd in the palm of their hand and this lead to great music being had by all! Cheers!
Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @nichobert - great comments above. Agree about 1997. Let's not start imposing ridiculous standards, shall we?
Score: -1
nichobert Reply
nichobert And furthermore, if we ARE considering this a Trey-dominant show. Wouldn't that be a freaking GREAT sign? I think of Trey dominated shows as being the ones where they whip through a bunch of random songs with no thought as to the flow of the set as a whole. Ending up with stuff like "Twist, Velvet Sea, Chalkdust, Joy, Antelope, Shine A Light, First Tube" that doesn't make sense whatsoever.

I'm not downing the dude, but his tendency seems to be to intentionally steer the band away from psychedelic rock god cohesion. Sometimes that ends up producing fascinating results, sometimes its like the above 7 song segment where it's almost impossible to hold onto a feeling because 5-10 minutes later the band is going in the complete opposite direction with nothing linking the extreme highs and lows.

This set is the polar opposite of that line of thinking. If this is what a Trey dominant show sounds like from here on out, I'm ecstatic. Maybe next time I'll finally get that Vultures-> Round Room-> Timber-> Shafty-> Taste I've always been hoping for.
Score: 0
the_nitty_gritty Reply
@nichobert said:
I haven't seen anyone say it was the best show in decades. Miner said it was the best show in the last week though. I guess I can see how "a week" and "decades" are interchangable terms, if you don't believe in time.

Miner's quote about St. Louis: "In the aftermath of Bill Graham’s finale, everybody wondered if Phish would put on another performance of that caliber this summer. Well, they just did."

Miner's quote about BGSFIII: " Although Phish has played so many shows in their career, only the best of them have rolled off the stage as flawlessly as last night’s performance in The City By the Bay."

I will admit, I really enjoyed the BGSFIII 2nd set. But let's not pretend that's what we heard in St. Louis. We heard rock, rock, and more rock. Sample, Sloth, Camel Walk, Possum, Quinn, CDT, Sand (for the last time there is no need to rock out this song), Walk Away, Julius.

Was this fun at times? Sure, but sometimes - treason! - I feel like I am listening to Guns N Roses or Aerosmith. Where is the funk? The space? The trance? The ambiance? The deliberate searching for new dance grooves? The band can rock, but I for one - maybe the only one - would like to see more of the elements that made 97-99 great rather than what made 94-96 great. Ridiculous standards? No, just different genres. If Phish 3.0 could be characterized by one dominant quality, it is relentless rock. And from a "psychedelic" perspective, the last thing I want is to have my ears blown out by yet one more Possum or Julius.

Since you are a Timber fan, go listen to Timber> Wolfman from 12/7/97 in Dayton and tell me you wouldn't be lapping enormous praise on the band if that was the sound that now dominated their style. And while you're at it, listen to the Tube jam at that show. And then the whole Island Tour from Spring '98.

The irony of all this is that we have finally seen the jamtronica scene becoming a prominent part of the jam scene. It is no longer just STS9 and Disco out there, it's Lotus, Pretty Lights, Bass Nectar, Big Gigantic, the New Deal, Manhattan Project, etc. all laying down thickly textured and nuanced - yes nuanced - funk, house, space, trance, and dance grooves. And yet we I see my favorite band ignoring these styles for old school rock. They used to take those styles and Type II jam them.

I don't blame Trey for this. The band is on the rock bandwagon together. Last night they really wanted to sing and to rock, and that's by and large what they did.
Score: 0
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @the_nitty_gritty, I am not sure I understand your point.

I agree entirely that last night's show was ferocious, dick-in-the-dirt rock, but I don't think the show was without spacey or patient or adventuresome jamming either. There were a few different points where they brought the weird.

I also think Phish has been mixing it up and making use of their entire stylistic arsenal on both legs of this tour -- shredfests, long tough compositional tunes, type I and type II jams, vocal jams, funk, ambient jams, space, etc.

If there's anything predictable about Phish this tour, it's the repeats.

Finally, the suggestion that Phish should take its cue from jamtronica loses me completely. I don't want to shit on your favorite band, but none of the artists you named are fit to sniff Phish's sweaty jockstrap.
Score: 2
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @bertoletdown said:
@Chenangobango said:
Did you find your dog?!?!?!??!?!?!
In case I was unclear and you're not just trolling, she died.

I did receive her ashes today, though, so in a sense I found her?
chris --

so sorry for your loss. truer words than these i don't know: cummings:

Now i lay(with everywhere around)
me(the great dim deep sound
of rain;and of always and of nowhere)and
what a gently welcoming darkestness—

now i lay me down(in a most steep
more than music)feeling that sunlight is
(life and day are)only loaned:whereas
night is given(night and death and the rain

are given;and given is how beautifully snow)

now i lay me down to dream of(nothing
i or any somebody or you
can begin to begin to imagine)

something which nobody may keep.
now i lay me down to dream of Spring
Score: 0
n00b100 Reply
n00b100 Very good review, @nichobert. Agreed with just about everything you said. Truly sorry about the loss of your dog - my dad's terrier passed in January (I just found out about it this month, because he didn't want to burden me with the news when it happened and only got around to telling me when I asked about her) and it is a truly wrenching emotional experience, no bullshit. Hope you're able to get a new dog; no family should be without one.

Is it possible to agree totally with what @waxbanks said about Sand and still enjoy the song anyway? They're not going to stop playing it (or Jibboo, or Meatstick, or...), so if they do play it and I enjoy it and it doesn't fuck up the set's flow (or, in JB1's case, helps transition into that GODDAMN gorgeous Golden Age), I can't really complain.

I also don't really see how you could listen to the second set and hear Guns and fucking Roses. Shrug.
Score: 1
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @waxbanks @n00b100 - thanks for the kind wishes, guys.

Still not out of the general despair yet but music has been so incredibly healing. Phish and otherwise.

Cheers.
Score: 0
erinp Reply
that is a recap and a half right there. son!!
Score: 1
lawsuit Reply
lawsuit It's a good summary and well written. The author seems to define the show based on the band member's mistakes, which I have to say is a little disheartening.
Score: 0
nichobert Reply
nichobert I'm well versed in 97 Phish. That's a nice Timber, but check out 7/26 or 11/13 from the same year. Way better.

I've seen the Biscuits 100 times. They're a shell of themselves now. Started off nice with the new drummer but fell off dramatically the past 2 years. Aiming for the jock jams crowd does that for you. Same with Pretty Lights and Bassnectar. Hideous mainstream electronic music for frat boys. Check out Hudson Mohawke,Rustie,Sepalcure/ Machinedrum, Distal, Girl Unit, Kingdom, Jamie XX, Caribou, Four Tet, Flying Lotus, Murderbot, Canblaster, T. Williams, bok bok, mosca, SBTRKT, etc. there is a whole world of brilliant dance music that the ham band community (and really, America) ignores in favor of this lowest common denominator fluff like Pretty Lights and Assnectar. Pretty Lights never met an old Ninja Tune or Mo'Wax record he wouldn't rip off and present as an original idea.
Think the New Deal broke up cuz their drummer is a scientologist. STS9 doesn't improvise, but they're better than when they did and they ripped off boring LTJ Bukem records. Brothers Past is the only band in that genre approaching forward thinking electronic music whatsoever, and they're great songwriters for a band touring to crowds of like 200people.
Ever hear Lake Trout? Check out 4/21 or 4/8 2000 on archive. Still sounds more modern than Lotus ever did, even while posturing as a "post rock" band. LT had the best jungle drummer eve, covered Amon Tobin a decade before hippies got into him (and fwiw, he is the greatest electronic musician on the planet), Dr. Octagon, aphex twin, ministry, the cure, ornette Coleman. Unimpeachable cool cred with a gang of influences like that.

Where was I? Oh yea. Phish. I look at Phish as if they at going through a re-evolution of their sound. They are less popular than they have been at any point since 1994, and the pressure is off. To me, it sounds like they reset the clock to 1993 but brought everything they learned back with them. They clearly like playing rock music. Even 97 was filled with Hendrix influence at every turn. And the Talking Heads. And Eno. Cooler than your average classic rock, but not exactly groundbreaking in 1997 either.
But really I don't see how you take a show with that Jam-> Frankie Says-> Undermind-> Sand and Limb and complain about it being all rock. There was brilliant type II jamming throughout those songs, just compacted into a brisk moving concision because Phish are fucking masters at what they do. A bluegrass jam in Tweezer would be more "type II" than the majority of 97 Tweezers though. Type 2 doesn't mean "amorphous ambient jam" it means "leaving the structure of the song". So many people define type 2 as a specific range of styles of jams and that's just not the case. When did Sand NOT rock? It always had a guitar solo. Only now, the rest of the band does something besides sit there and watch Trey fiddle with effects. The songs jam structure is pretty much the same, only Mike and Fishman are allowed to contribute now. If sounding more like one 20 year old form of music than another somehow makes it less contemporary sounding, that's simply a failure of people to acknowledge that those sounds we're old. The Biscuits were great from 99-01 and 07--09 but recent Sands are much closer to what tDB does than those boring 99 ones were. Old Sands were like a dumbed down bastardization of Kuti and kraut rock but without any of the bite. Any of the snarling sweaty attitude that made that shit timeless.
Phish may play more rock, but Trey leads the improv (and I get that the overall quantity is way smaller) way less than he did even in 97 or 98. It's revisionist history to focus on the funk when there was so many jams that were based around 3 guys backing up a guitar solo.

I don't want Phish repeating the past. It's why I don't get why Halleys, Gumbo and Roses are so prominent. Those songs are beloved based on the 10% of versions that had jams. I'd much rather hear a Round Room or Waves or Undermind or Halfway to the Moon that hasn't really written its own story yet. I don't want Phish doing what they did in 97. I want this new extraordinarily dense, constantly mutating improvisation that combines the best qualities of 93, 95, 97 and 03 to grow into something new. And I can't even wrap my head around anyone thinking that we're not seeing exactly that happen on this tour. It's not constant, but Phish rarely was. Holding up 97 as the example isn't fair because it's the only time they were ever likely to play 4 world class jams on any given night, spread throughout the show. That lead to 98 which had great ideas but a general dip in quality post Island Tour, and by 99 and 2000 the majority of those "futuristic" jams were just as rote and predictable as the next Possum you'll hear. Only there was a synthesizer, Trey had effects on and Fishman was playing conventional beats so people took those trappings of the great 97 jams as being a continuation and not a stagnation which they largely were. Hell, 03 and 04 are even more interesting than Millenial Phish to me.

I like that they are finding their voice again. Its going to take time if it's going to be truly special. I'm fine with that. This is my favorite tour since 1998. They have played a lot of music since then, and this feels the most honest, passionate and engaged of any of it.
Score: 8
metawhy Reply
metawhy @the_nitty_gritty said:
Rock heavy and jam light. A wear your earplugs show. The Limb x Limb was the only Type II jam exception. Every other �jam� was Type I and ultimately built up to a screaming guitar solo and drum pounding.
this basically summarizes the shortfall of 3.0. All screaming guitar loudness/flashing lights and not enough deep, patient grooves.

Score: 0
dick_tatertot Reply
dick_tatertot my first midwest show and enjoyed every moment of it. loved grooving with the fans on the floor, turning the arena into the seething organism we all know, love, and crave. i have trouble objectively ranking or even discussing shows i've been too-- there's way too much going on in my head and around me that is NOT music to fairly assess the music alone (not that its ever possible to be objective about something to subjective as music, even though it's often fun to try)

truth may be hard to come by but i know there was no place i would have rather been than at chaifetz arena last night. thanks for the awesome time.
Score: 0
spunround Reply
Looking back over this summers trajectory, I still feel DCU leads the way. I listened back to the Carini / Taste / Ghost / Boogie / If I Could... just down right sick! I keep finding my way back to this set even tho there has been so much to listen to. That Boogo On is just down right raw!
Score: 1
barefootbob Reply
barefootbob Great review. I didn't get to listen till today, but well worth the wait. My biggest critisism of some of the songs are the finger work of Trey, missing assignment changes in tempo ( which fish may share so blame too) and lyrical flubs. But the stage batter and that feeling of trying to interact with the fans, reflecting on the continuoius improvement of taking some 2.0 material and stretch it out, too, leave me some encouragement for what to come down the home stretch.

Great Read,

Bob
Score: 1
barefootbob Reply
barefootbob @barefootbob said:
Great review. I didn't get to listen till today, but well worth the wait. My biggest critisism of some of the songs are the finger work of Trey, missing assignment changes in tempo ( which fish may share so blame too) and lyrical flubs. But the stage batter and that feeling of trying to interact with the fans, reflecting on the continuoius improvement and taking some 2.0 material & stretch it out, too, leaves me some encouragement for what to come down the home stretch.

Great Read,great job

Bob
Score: 0
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd Like gallileo dropped the orange.
Great post, @nichobert. While our tastes in edm vary slightly, I pretty much completely agree with your analysis and interpretation above.

Score: 1
bmorris0427 Reply
@bertoletdown

Hey man, I'm sorry you lost your dog. I lost my little guy last year at this exact time..well he was 90lbs, but my little guy and Runaway Jim always makes me think of him. It's a hard thing to go through, especially after being bound together by 11 years of life. I wish you luck. You will never really get over it but it will get better with a little time I promise. That said, I hope you make it to Commerce City and have some fun to shake it off. I haven't been able to hit any of the midwest shows but I hit AC, Portsmouth, Charlotte and had a great time. In my opinion, Phish is a great reason to get together with friends from around the country. Every single show is like a family reunion. I hope we can do this for many more years to come. If any of you guys are headed out to CO, have a great show(s)!!
Score: 1
the_nitty_gritty Reply
@metawhy said:
this basically summarizes the shortfall of 3.0. All screaming guitar loudness/flashing lights and not enough deep, patient grooves.
Thank you metawhy for putting so succinctly what has took me numerous paragraphs to say. I would not have even posted yesterday if I hadn't read so many reviews rating this as one of the greatest Phish shows of all time. While I would love for a St. Louis show - my hometown - to bear that distinction, it just wasn't true. The vibe coming out of the show was that we saw a good one and after the Fox '09 letdown, people were grateful. But no one was making claims like what we read on the internet yesterday. I personally wouldn't put it in my top 10.

@nichobert You only validate my point further by lengthening the list of contemporary electronic influences that Phish could generously draw from, your negative critiques of some of the bands I mentioned notwithstanding. The simple fact is, the way the band played on Tuesday clearly indicated that jamtronica and electronic music being made right now is having little to no effect on their style. My observation was simply that that is too bad, because no one loops and jams off those styles as beautifully as Phish. That era is over, I get it. Maybe one day we'll see those styles reintegrated, but I doubt it.

This would be fine with me if what I heard on Tuesday had more of the "deep, patient grooves" that have characterized many of their best shows. It doesn't need to be "electronic". Big Cypress, MSG 98> 99, 11/7/98, 11/14/98, 7/4/99 etc. all had a great balance between mind-blowing crazy jams and deep, patient transcendental grooves. There were moments beyond the Limb x Limb Tuesday that harkened back to those days, however briefly. But for the most part what we heard were jams that relentlessly hit their peaks with screaming guitars, flashing lights, and pounding drums. My ears are still leaking wax.

Score: 0
nichobert Reply
nichobert I guess you took a piss break during the Frankie Says-> Undermind, or else I just can't understand you.

Phish reminds me of rock when they jam all right, like the new Radiohead album or TV On The Radio. Polyrhythmic introspection. Much rather that then a bunch of date rape-y DJs and terrible hambands you listed that literally just beat you over the head with pounding drums and flashing lights. Again, I've seen the Biscuits 100 times. It was fun from 00 until Phish came back the second time. Unfortunately for them, their own steep decline came right after Phish wrapped up their first year back, and it was easy to lock them out of my brain. But yeah, every single song is just a shitty version of Antelope.
Score: 0
HarryHerring Reply
HarryHerring @nichobert
"I look at Phish as if they at going through a re-evolution of their sound. They are less popular than they have been at any point since 1994, and the pressure is off. To me, it sounds like they reset the clock to 1993 but brought everything they learned back with them."
"I'd much rather hear a Round Room or Waves or Undermind or Halfway to the Moon that hasn't really written its own story yet. I don't want Phish doing what they did in 97. I want this new extraordinarily dense, constantly mutating improvisation that combines the best qualities of 93, 95, 97 and 03 to grow into something new. And I can't even wrap my head around anyone thinking that we're not seeing exactly that happen on this tour. It's not constant, but Phish rarely was."

That is so well said and pretty much sums up the current state of Phish and the mood of lots of fans.

Score: 0
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @the_nitty_gritty said:
This would be fine with me if what I heard on Tuesday had more of the "deep, patient grooves" that have characterized many of their best shows. It doesn't need to be "electronic". Big Cypress, MSG 98> 99, 11/7/98, 11/14/98, 7/4/99 etc. all had a great balance between mind-blowing crazy jams and deep, patient transcendental grooves.
crazy notion: those shows still exist 'on tape' as the old folks say. the 98-00 era offers several hundred hours of the kind of stuff you want. do we really need more of it? (this is to leave aside the question of whether they do get into 'deep, patient grooves' these days, on which score i strongly agree with @nichobert.)

if you want the particular experience that 'jamtronica' offers, by all means continue finding it with the various bands you mentioned! you want phish to change genres. it's not going to work. they go where they go, they like what they like. it's one thing to say they're not as fluent as in 1997, or something; but it's another, dumber thing to assign the band demerits for not being a different band.

yes, they were better at ambient-machinic 'psychedelia' than pretty much everyone else. but they're not those people now. they're these other people, who have recently played the following music:

* 8/5/11 r'n'r > meatstick > boogie
* 12/28/10 hood
* 6/3/11 disease > fluffhead > bowie
* 8/19/12 crosseyed > light > sally > crosseyed > theme
* 6/23/12 mike's > simple > light > groove
* 6/15/12 birds > back on the train > heavy things

none of this is 'jamtronica'-inspired, none of it sounds like pre-2009 phish, none of it is (centrally or finally) about screaming guitar solos and drum pounding. some of that happens; that's a big part of phish's sound since 1983. (listened lately to the 11/23/97 gin > dwd > low rider > dwd? go do that. trust me.)

the clean minimalist laptoppy funk grooves of 1997 and the sedimentary haze+thrash of 1999 belong to those years; they were experiments. phish is an experimental band. right now they're experimenting with other stuff (movement logic, harmonic language, leader shifting). the experimentation is the important part, not its outcome.
Score: 4
the_nitty_gritty Reply
Waxbanks and nichobert seem determined to project onto my comments a point that I am not making. I am not saying Phish should become a different band. In my last post, I made clear that they are done with the era of loops and layers of sound texture that is most closely analogous with jamtronica and that I have no hope of a return. It is too bad imo b/c there are SO MANY MORE places they can go with jams along these lines than the current mid-90s style of rock jamming, and they bring a love and beauty and mastery to this style of play that few jamtronic bands can. And if anything it felt like that exploration was cut short prematurely back when it happened.

My primary point was that the St. Louis show was not the epic come to Jesus moment you two and others are making it out to be. When you are clinging to Frankie Sez > Undermind to make your point, that really is grasping. Please. I assign the band "demerits" for not playing more like that throughout the show, and better. They have always experimented with "movement logic, harmonic language, and leader shifting." That is not new!

There are so many songs whose jams sound barely any different than what they were 15 years ago, and it so happens that many of them blow out eardrums. If you guys really wanted re-evolution, you'd make a bigger deal about that. How many Possums, Juliuses, and Samples do you guys need to hear before you apply the same standard of experimentation to these songs? They never change. Even the YEM jam was "painfully standard" to quote Rory over at onlinephishtour.com. And 2001 was the standard short and sweet.

Anyway, I still love the band and believe it or not have been enjoying many moments, songs, and even a few sets from this tour. I think the band could have done a lot more in St. Louis, but that's just my opinion, and again I would have never shared it if so many hadn't been so eager to christen this one of the greatest shows of all time. I will listen to some "Date Rape-y" djs for you on the way home, nichobert. Peace out.
Score: 0
Roofless_Sheds Reply
Roofless_Sheds great show, great write-up, great legitimate discussion and thoughts in this thread.

sometimes i'm not sure which i love more: this band, or the self-sustaining community it has created.

see your smiling faces at Dick's this weekend - i'll be flying solo, at least until our paths cross!
Score: 0
bertoletdown Phish.net Staff Reply
bertoletdown @the_nitty_gritty said:
I think the band could have done a lot more in St. Louis, but that's just my opinion, and again I would have never shared it if so many hadn't been so eager to christen this one of the greatest shows of all time.
I can't answer for Miner -- he hears things I don't hear all the time -- but I don't think he said that.

I certainly didn't say it.

Still not sure who did.

It's really okay that the show didn't work as well for you as it does for others. You make valid points about dynamics.
Score: 0
the_nitty_gritty Reply
@bertoletdown said:
@the_nitty_gritty said:
I think the band could have done a lot more in St. Louis, but that's just my opinion, and again I would have never shared it if so many hadn't been so eager to christen this one of the greatest shows of all time.
I can't answer for Miner -- he hears things I don't hear all the time -- but I don't think he said that.

I certainly didn't say it.

Still not sure who did.

It's really okay that the show didn't work as well for you as it does for others. You make valid points about dynamics.
The quotes I was referring to are here:

Miner's quote about St. Louis: "In the aftermath of Bill Graham’s finale, everybody wondered if Phish would put on another performance of that caliber this summer. Well, they just did."

Miner's quote about BGSFIII: " Although Phish has played so many shows in their career, only the best of them have rolled off the stage as flawlessly as last night’s performance in The City By the Bay."

Anyhow, it's in the past. Thank you for acknowledging the validity of my points, bertoletdown. I will be back to sing the praises of the Ghost they play in Denver when it happens.
Score: 1
dick_tatertot Reply
dick_tatertot @the_nitty_gritty said:
My primary point was that the St. Louis show was not the epic come to Jesus moment you two and others are making it out to be.
I totally dig your general tone and agree with some of points, but . . .

How can you tell someone what is and what isn't their Jesus moment? If 10,000 fans in Chaifetz felt like they had their Jesus moment but you didn't, who is to say who is right? I like bickering about phish jams as much as the next guy but when it comes to personal experiences at a show, don't tell me what's meaningful and what's not. Does that make sense?
Score: 2
RebaMyMuse Reply
Did any one catch the Dear Prudence lyrics in Ocelot? "Ocelot, Ocelot where have you gone... won't you come out and play...."

I've only caught Ocelot once before and didn't pick that up last time.

Hot show, perfect fit for the venue. I left exhausted and quite satisifed
Score: 0
waxbanks Reply
waxbanks @the_nitty_gritty said:
Waxbanks and nichobert seem determined to project onto my comments a point that I am not making. I am not saying Phish should become a different band. In my last post, I made clear that they are done with the era of loops and layers of sound texture that is most closely analogous with jamtronica and that I have no hope of a return. It is too bad imo b/c there are SO MANY MORE places they can go with jams along these lines than the current mid-90s style of rock jamming, and they bring a love and beauty and mastery to this style of play that few jamtronic bands can. And if anything it felt like that exploration was cut short prematurely back when it happened.
Aha. Here we differ. I thought y2k showed the band had hit a dead end and 2003-04 didn't fix it. I think they're getting a lot out of their current styles and approach. I think loops-all-tha-time is dull and a crutch for Phish. And I like the density and intensity of their music now. This is a question of taste only, I think.
Score: 1
Dividedsky333 Reply
Am I the only one who thinks Ocelot perfectly captures the vibe of the "way back" lawn scene, just before sunset, where there's always enough room to dance, the lovely ladies r hoolahooping, and the promise of an insane 2nd set looms on the horizon.

I've always felt this, but this version in particular just cemented the idea. And for the first time ever I'm gonna go to my next show looking forward Ocelot.

It's funny how phish songs do that. Like I never enjoyed Time Turns Elastic when I heard it live in '09, but after a bunch of relistens at home, I honestly can't wait for them to bust it out and go wild on that ending sequence
Score: 1

You must be logged in to leave a comment!

Username

Password




Register | Forgot Password

Login Register