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Phish 2013: Top Ten Shows

Posted 6 months ago by phishnet - 86 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/52eec542

What follows is the consensus Top Ten shows of 2013 as collectively determined by the phish.net working group. But first a word about the process of these rankings. Yes, we have ranked these shows in order from 1-10. But if you don't like ranking something as subjective as a Phish show then just think of this list as ten really good Phish shows from what proved to be an outstanding year for the band. That's largely how we think of the list. This composite list reflects precisely none of our individual opinions. Even if it did, I don't think any of us think a show we personally ranked #6 is indisputably better than our #7 show. And even if that were true, everyone has different things they look for in a show.

What we can tell you is that this list was put together by a bunch of people who really love Phish and anything that's mentioned below is absolutely worth your time to check out, if you're not familiar with it. Please note that no fans were harmed in the development of this list; it is entirely for fun and entertainment and should be taken in that light-hearted spirit. If your favorite show of the year doesn’t appear in this list, it isn’t because we didn’t think it was a good show! Your list – or no list – is every bit as valid as ours. But as our resident National Treasure noted in regard to the second Gorge gig – for which he advocated strongly, but ultimately ranked #11 – “we’re not handing out participation medals here, this is the Top Ten; you have to respect the science.”

So without further ado, "We asked fifteen über Phish Nerds 'Name your favorite shows of 2013.' Top Ten answers on the board. Survey says..." [SP, PZ]

10. 10/26/13, The Centrum, Worcester, MA – Dan Mielcarz

In the Phish 3.0 era first sets have rarely – with some notable exceptions – contained the extended jamming that many fans crave. First sets are absolutely great fun to witness, but usually overlooked when it comes to discussing shows or deciding what to queue up on your digital music player of choice. Given the relative weakness of first sets, I've made the joke that they should sell a JadedVet™ package including admittance to the sound check and second set, but not the first. Thankfully, 10/26/13 Worcester put the lie to that notion in a way that – combined with an epic tentpole jam in "Drowned" – elevates this show into the top 10 of 2013.



Phish, “No Quarter” – 10/26/13, The Centrum, Worcester, MA

Thanks to some nice work by some early-arriving .net colleagues, we carved out a nice spot on the Mike side (right side!) of the floor about 20 people back. A ripping "Party Time" started off the show and yes, the lyrics of this song are silly but also completely accurate. I've seen some complaints about Trey taking too much of a back seat in jams lately, but "Back on the Train" had a fantastic jam completely dominated by Trey's stellar work on the guitar. "Bathtub Gin" has been a high point of many 3.0 first sets, and this version doesn't disappoint, with an extended section of Trey singing along with his guitar preceding a great little jam. It was my first "Ride Captain Ride," so I was understandably thrilled, and I wasn't the only one.

In most Phish first sets of recent vintage, a rare cover and a couple good jams like those found in “BOTT” and “Gin” is about all you can ask for. The band had other ideas for this first set, though. A concise but slow building "Stash" followed, including what I think is Trey using the whammy pedal the right way. "Simple" was a huge and welcome surprise, the placement was perfect. “Simple” ended with a cool chill out jam that bled into the opening hi-hat intro to "David Bowie” with a big bass bomb from Mike that elicited a huge roar from the crowd. “Bowie” featured a relatively short and taut retro-style building jam that perhaps foreshadowed some of the playing on the NYE truck set in spirit. “Character Zero” as a set closer was probably unnecessary after the preceding series of songs, but that doesn’t mean I sat there with my arms crossed shaking my head at the stage – I was dancing my ass off with the rest of the crowd.

I have already spilled several thousand pixels of digital ink describing the epic “Drowned” > “Light” – suffice it to say that this second set is must hear front-to-back. The encore with special guest Kenwood Dennard showed how much a drummer can affect the flow of a song – his beat on “Possum” made it a truly unique version. While there may have been shows with ‘better’ jams this year (for whatever definition of the word better you want to use), 10/26/13 was an extremely strong complete show and was fantastically fun to attend in person.

10/26/13 Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

9. 10/27/13 – Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CTAdam Scheinberg

The announcement of Lou Reed's death earlier that day had people expecting a massive "Rock and Roll," a "Sweet Jane," or maybe even a "Who Loves the Sun?" bust-out. As it turned out, Phish extinguished the tension promptly with a “Rock and Roll” opener that everyone expected to be the centerpiece of the show. But a few months later, the “Rock and Roll” is largely forgotten in favor of several goodies in – surprise! – the second set. If you're a fan of fall 2013 – and really, who isn't? – you should check out most of the second set, because if the “Chalk Dust,” “Birds of a Feather” and “2001” don't hook you, the highlights of the set really should.

While the first set is generally first-set worthy, it was still perfectly enjoyable. The “Tube” is short, as usual, but with some punch. “Fee” > “Maze” satisfied the old-school cravings, but “ASIHTOS” and “Walls of the Cave” satisfied the new school. But it'll be the later offerings where you'll find the timeless gems.



Tweezer” – 10/27/13, Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT

Although the “Birds of a Feather” and the “2001” get some airplay and some credit in discussions about recent history and fall 2013 highlights, it's the “Golden Age” and the “Tweezer” that we'll remember. The “Golden Age” is a beautiful – a notable version in every respect. The “Golden Age” is a better “Golden Age” than the “Tweezer” is a “Tweezer,” but the “Tweezer” is probably a better listen. “Tweezer” is undoubtedly one of the MVP songs over the last two or three years, and this version includes a beautiful, major-key "Drifting"-like jam that shouldn't soon be forgotten.

If that wasn't enough, the set was capped with “Fluffhead” and “Slave.” As strange as it sounds, that's only happened one other time, in October, 1999. Two monsters – one a composed masterpiece and the other a gorgeous open-chorded crowd-pleaser. Such a nice way to round off a set, what a gorgeous comparison, what a beautiful buzz!

The thing about this “Tweezer” and the whole second set is that it's coming off of a few consistently strong shows. I think it would've been fair to expect this show to be a burnout, a non-starter after a few big at-bats. I've heard it said that Friday is for the fans, Saturday is for the bros, and Sunday is for the band. If that's true, count me in with the band!

10/27/13Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

8. 8/4/13 – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CADan Purcell

I used to hate going to concerts at Bill Graham. The first show I saw there was Beck on the Midnite Vultures tour, and we didn't get inside until after the opening act had already started, by which point the only open seats were in the upper deck behind large concrete pillars. But seeing Phish at the BGCA the past two years has been a treat. The venue is small enough that you're pretty close wherever you happen to be. The floor is short but wide; if you get there a half-hour before showtime you can find ample space 15-20 feet in front of the soundboard, with bell-clear sound, a great view of the work of Chris Kuroda and easy access to beer and bathrooms.

The first set was probably the weakest of the three San Francisco shows, but first sets at Phish shows in 2013 were fungible, with little to separate them on tape other than song selection. It's almost as if the band has consciously decided that actual improvisation is no longer permitted in the first set; the most you get is a "Wolfman's" or "Stash" or "Bathtub Gin" that rages but doesn't venture far from home base. But I love Page's Tumbleweed Connection outtake "Army of One" and could hear "Foam" and "Pebbles and Marbles" at every Phish show.

Setbreak was great. Wonderfully, in addition to two of my usual touring crew who made it out to the shows, there were a ton of phish.net working group folks in attendance. Some of them I'd met before; others I had finally been able to awkwardly bro-hug in the flesh after years of heated email debates. At halftime a couple of us wandered into the upper deck to talk to @natesdad, a new fan who'd been brought to San Francisco only through the tragic death of his Phish-loving son. He wanted to see first-hand this thing that he'd heard so much about, and judging from his thrilled smile he was starting to understand his son's obsession.



You Enjoy Myself” – 8/4/13, BGCA, San Francisco, CA

The second set – well, that was a whole 'nother kettle of fish. I had been expecting and hoping to see an "Energy," which at the time seemed like the new "Rock and Roll," the next big second-set opener. Maybe it still will be. After seven minutes or so it surely seemed to be dropping into "Crosseyed and Painless"; the dude in front of me turned around and yelled CROSSEYED!!! at me. But it never quite caught on, instead melting into "Runaway Jim."

It's easy to forget that "Runaway Jim" used to be a massive jam vehicle, the launching pad for not just the longest-ever Phish jam (11/29/97) but numerous other monsters (6/16/95, 7/31/97, 8/11/98, 7/18/99, 7/3/00). This one wasn't lengthy, but it got to the point immediately, evoking the instant-legend Tahoe "Tweezer" and pounding the downbeat incessantly like a nail gun. With Tahoe fresh in our minds we were jumping up and down and murmuring things like "historic!" and "fucking A!" to one another; my friend Richard shouted mid-jam "This is ... THE BILL GRAHAM RUNAWAY JIM!" I didn't want it to end but when it slipped into the opening riff of "Carini" I had no conceivable objection.

When "The Wedge" melted into the beginning of "Light" I figured it was as good a time as any to head for the bathroom. Once I got there I checked my pocket and realized my sunglasses were gone. Of course they were gone. I had put them in the side pocket of a hoodie I had tied around my waist, but like I mentioned I had been heedlessly jumping up and down. And so the sunglasses had flown out of my pocket and ended up god knows where.

When I got back to the floor I tried to resume having a good time. After "Bowie" our group caucused and agreed that the band should just drop the mic and walk off, 1997 style. An hour and seven minutes of such quality was plenty. The rest of the second set was just gravy, but it was mostly very tasty gravy. Since life is like this, "Silent in the Morning," a song I completely detest, offered the brightest silver lining of all. Naturally nobody dances during "Silent," so I took the tune's long build as an opportunity to look for my lost sunglasses. Bending down to scour the floor, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and looked up to see a smiling woman holding my glasses. "Are these yours?" she asked. I thanked her; I gave her a hug; I tried to give her a reward but she wouldn't take it. Phish fans are the best. Phish shows are the best. During "You Enjoy Myself" I resumed jumping up and down but this time with the sunglasses shoved safely into my pants pocket.

8/4/13 Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

7. 12/31/13 – Madison Square Garden, New York, NYPhillip Zerbo

Phish’s combo NYE / 30th anniversary gig at MSG finds a spot on this list owing primarily (some might say exclusively) to the JEMP Truck Set, but there was a lot of great music that took place in the sets on either side. The first set probably won’t get a lot of repeat plays in my household, but in the moment I thought it had great flow and it features more than respectable versions of “Divided Sky,” “Ocelot” and “Fluffhead.”

The third set is trickier: amazing in the moment, but outside of the fantastic “Light” this set is best characterized as “safe.” Which is understandable from a degree of difficulty perspective: you try to do your job while thousands of balloons and a truckload of confetti descend upon you! Even with front-loading the gag, the balloon drop makes for a curious day at work for the band. In the cold light of day of comparing recordings, the sum total of the first and third sets is classic “average great.” Which still feels “off” to say even a month after the fact, because “average great” doesn’t nearly capture the essence of the event as a whole, which was anything but average.

© Andrea Nusinov
“Truck Ur Face” © Andrea NusinovAZNpics

Which leaves us with Truck Your Face. I wrote about my love for this set at some length and have only this to add: it was one of the most honest and unselfish performances I’ve ever seen, from this band or any other. Trey has spoken on many occasions about how the stage is where he is most comfortable. One of the striking things about the truck set was how vulnerable they seemed, so exposed; but like the strongest of long-term personal relationships, being vulnerable was OK with us, it was safe. The most rewarding experiences in Phish (as in life) are when they (and we) step outside of our comfort zones – it’s OK, you fall, I’ll catch you. Only a handful of us were around for the Nectar’s days, and for the majority of Phish fans even the chance to see them in a theater-sized venue was well before their time. That they were able to evoke some sense of that intimacy in the middle of Madison Square Garden in a manner that was entirely genuine without being reductionist or cheesy was a stunning achievement.

The whole year felt like such a mutual embrace, where fan and band goals were totally aligned, every scratch itched. The sublime music and beaming smiles and warm vibes of this night – from my amazing crew of friends, to the band members, to total strangers – are etched into my personal top tier of over three decades of concert going experiences. Yet #7 in the 2013 .net top ten. Tough crowd! :-)

12/31/13Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

6. 12/29/13 – Madison Square Garden, New York, NYPhil Nazzaro

Great times, great friends, great band. The second night of the MSG New Year’s run turned into a show for the history books. Following the best phish.net gathering in memory, the band seemed to really hunker down and deliver a performance full of passion and intent. Everybody can get complacent at work once in a while. And let's face it, no matter how rewarding it can be, this is the band's job. But then there's times at work where you're just feeling it. And you rip the shit out of the task before you. This feels like one of those nights at the office.

Bookended by a fairly unusual “Moma Dance” opener and “Possum” encore are competent to tight performances of seventeen songs that comprise a free-flowing setlist containing many crowd favorites ("555"!), and nary a groaner (I like "Rift”!). But the centerpiece is the "Down with Disease” > “Carini" combo to begin the second set.

Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013
12/29/13 MSG, New York, NY – Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013. All rights reserved.

The tuning before "Down with Disease" is almost like an orchestra tuning up. It could almost be a jam in itself, leading Trey to say at the end (message to Billy Joel?): “Thank you, we wrote that”. Then in a more serious-seeming carrion cry, his intro on the bass is like sitting on the runway with a 747 taking off. This band is on a mission. Listening to this performance it's so easy to fall down this hole. Take 17:15 for instance, when the “DwD” seems to be petering out. The band just locks in again and gallops ahead, into a truly spine-tingling full segue from the jam back into the “DwD” reprise, if you want to call it that. Brilliant. One that made me cry out in surprise and emotion. Like watching Reggie Jackson hit a game-winning home run. This is why we attend over and over.

"Carini" starts off chunky and funky, with a nice backbeat from Mike. It slowly picks up steam after a raspy and dirty (in a good way) Page solo. Then launches into space like the flying Corvette in the movie Heavy Metal. Unfortunately, it's brought back to earth and stopped fairly abruptly and prematurely by the re-occurrence of incessant audience "Woo" that it appears even the band is tiring of. What a shame, this could have been a "Carini" for the record books. Nevertheless, seek out this duo as it bears repeated listening.

12/29/13Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

5. 10/20/13 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VATim Wade

I think it speaks to the strength of fall 2013 that none of my five favorite jams of the tour – “Carini” from Hampton and AC, the Worcester “Drowned,” the Reading “Disease” and the AC “Twist” – appear in what I think is the best show of the tour. Of course, it may also speak to an attendance bias and a massive level of fluffery, but I’ll let someone else sort that out. A show is more than the sum of its parts, though, and 10/20/13 Hampton boasts a second set that is fire from start to finish.

The first set is solid. There’s no deep improvisation, which is not a surprise (nor is it an insult). I enjoyed it throughout, particularly the “46 Days,” which I thought had above-average energy and swagger. Now, normally when it comes to rating shows, I try to separate the experience from the music, but it’s particularly hard in this case. Seeing Hampton Coliseum become a galaxy of lighters during the pause in “Divided Sky” made the hair on my arms stand up. It was one of those thrilling moments of connection between the band and its fans that encapsulates the Phish experience. A group that makes a living on improvisation is surprised by a spontaneous act of participation from the audience, and there is tangible magic in the room.

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10/20/13 – Hampton Coliseum – “The Mothership” © Andrea NusinovAZNpics

The second set is a masterful display of Phish’s versatility. Starting with bluegrass and a rare “Paul and Silas,” the band moves through ominous deconstruction and heavenly ambience (“Tweezer”) to funky dance party (“Golden Age”) to exuberant shredding (“Piper”), execute a flawless turn into 70’s arena rock (“Takin’ Care of Business”), reprise the porno boogie (“2001” > “Sand”) and finally climb the peak of one of their most triumphant closers (“Slave”). Each song is perfectly placed, and each jam is allowed ample space to reach its potential. “TCoB” was another moment I won’t forget: goofy, cheesy, bombastic, quintessential Phish that plastered smiles from the rail to the wall. And in response, one more butane tribute from the crowd during the most delicate moments of “Slave.”

This was the most fun I had ever had at a Phish show, and the buzz from it lasted me all the way to Atlantic City, which took me even higher. Halloween belongs to another world entirely, so 10/20/13 Hampton is my pick for the best show of the tour.

10/20/13 Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

4. 10/31/13 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJJohn Demeter

How much can be said about Halloween 2013 that hasn’t already been said? Allow me to briefly recap much of the discussion, for those of you who may have missed it:

* It was a bold break from a hallowed tradition, surprising almost everyone, and proving that the band easily remains a couple steps ahead of the fan base in terms of their ability to keep us off guard.
* It was a “historic failure.”
* It was the best possible indicator for the future of the band - that they committed to developing a bunch of new songs together - and it was a uniquely special experience to be there for the debuts.
* They “owe us” Eat a Peach/Zeppelin II/Lamb Lies Down/etc.
* There is amazing jam potential in some of these songs.
* The songs sucked and were too down-tempo and boring.
* Wingsuit speaks precisely to where so many of us are in life right now.
* Jack and Jill…? Are you serious?

Halloween 2013 was a statement show. An overused construct in sports media, but I will confidently apply it here. Continuing a theme of the year, Phish made a conscious decision to continue to do Phish their way, regardless of tradition or expectations. "If we can’t please everyone, we’ll please ourselves." (12/31/12) "It’s pretty silly for you to try to tell us the right way to do our thing." (7/21/13) And now, "We started this cover tradition, and if we feel like doing something new and unique rather than old and expected, that’s our prerogative." The statement is that they are calling the shots, just like they always have. And while they deeply respect and appreciate the fans, we’re along on their ride. Same as it ever was, so lets enjoy themselves.

© Andrea Nusinov – AZNpics
10/31/13 Atlantic City, NJ – “Wingsuit” © Andrea NusinovAZNpics

The tension was palpable in Boardwalk Hall from the moment we digested what the Phishbill was telling us. Mixed in with the supercharged electricity of a big-time run to cap off a stunning fall tour were noticeable elements of skepticism, doubt, and disappointment. It was weird. Was “Heavy Things” merely a bouncy opener, or an open acknowledgement that they knew they had committed to a path that would be controversial – even polarizing?

A fairly standard first set ensued. Average-great playing, Gary and team dialing in the sound. Party-people partying on. The band then donned their Wingsuits and let fly. No need for another play-by-play here, but regardless of how you received it, the fact is we got a dozen new songs from our favorite band. The lack of new original material had been one of the few remaining concerns in the 3.0 era. Consider that concern addressed. Phish is committed to each other, us, and our collective future.

I guess “You Never Know” how your fans will react to a risk or the unexpected, but precisely 15 minutes later the first chunks of “Ghost” emerged from the darkness, and it was like the top had been popped. That palpable tension exploded away into celebration mode, and Phish delivered a top-notch third set highlighted by the joyous, freewheeling Slave-within-a-Carini jam.

10/31/13Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

3. 7/31/13 – Lake Tahoe Arena at Harveys, Stateline, NVChris Bertolet

It’s hard to heap praise on a gig that nobody talks about ever, other than in the context of its marquee jam. And really, what more can be said about The Tahoe “Tweezer” that hasn’t already been said many times? If you held a gun to my head, I would guess that the number of non-fans who are aware of or have listened to The Tahoe “Tweezer” vastly exceeds the number of fans who actually attended this show. That’s how large it looms. So what else happened?

First, the band appeared for the first set and pretty much crapped out. My personal highlight of the first half was walking to the bathrooms during “Yarmouth Road” and seeing that melody work its magic on the crowd. Smiles for miles. But by and large, the song selection was uninspired, the playing was safe, and by the time “Stash” brought the first set to a close, the need for a redemptive second set was readily apparent. By the time the second set was over, the first set was long forgotten – and might as well have never happened.

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7/31/13 Harveys Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV – Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013. All rights reserved.

“Tweezer” was locked and loaded, having last seen action in Toronto, but the air was charged with possibility, and the opening notes managed to seem both inevitable and exciting at once. The audience gave the band its full energy and intensity right out of the gate, and the band responded, completing the circuit. And while the “Tweezer” was over some 35 minutes later, that circuit between the band and the audience remained unbroken for the remainder of the show. On playback, you can hear it in the reprised “woo” section of “Twist,” the galloping “Antelope,” and the thunderous cluster bombs of “Tweeprise.” In person, it was all levitation and bliss, like watching a comet sail past from a perch in the tall pines.

Next time you get a hankering to listen to the “Tweezer,” let it ride. You’ll find the whole second set is worth a spin.

7/31/13 Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

2. 10/29/13 – The Santander Arena, Reading, PASteve Paolini

Like many Phish fans, I find that one of the most exciting days on the Phish calendar (when there’s not actually a show being played) is when the band drops a set of tour dates. I imagine my experience is similar to many considering all of the possibilities of each date and what shows I might be able to attend. Invariably, all sorts of opinions emerge throughout the community as to the prospects of each show or run and – inevitably – a show is designated as the “you snooze you lose” show. There are no doubt instances of Phish playing special shows to “reward” (or, more cynically, “punish”) fans dedicated enough to make it to out of the way locations. Although those shows are well in Phish’s past, people continue to use the term today even though such shows rarely deliver on their promise.

So it was no surprise that the Tuesday night show in Reading, PA, in the shadow of Halloween and not steeped in the same history as Hampton, Worcester or Glens Falls, was branded the “YSYL” show of Fall Tour. What was surprising was that the show actually delivered on that promise and is seen by most fans as one of the top shows of the year (and coming in second only to 11/1/13 in our little poll). I actually wrote the Phish.net recap for this show the day after and stand by pretty much all of it.

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10/29/13 Santander Arena, Reading, PA – Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013. All rights reserved.

The first set of this show still holds little appeal for me. The “Melt” > “Julius” combo to close the set was certainly unique, but not in a way that did much for me. But, when they play a second set (and encore!) like they did on 10/29, who really cares? From Mike’s “Pop Goes the Weasel” intro to “Down with Disease” through the closing chords of “GTBT” Phish delivered arguably their finest set of one of their finest years. The “DwD” is the crown jewel of the set culminating in a five minute segment that saw the HOSE turned on at full blast. After a quick "Taste," Phish unfurled their biggest surprise of the night ushering “Twenty Years Later” into the type-II club. The “20YL” jam starts as growling funk, shifts gears to a more upbeat groove and seamlessly transitions into a short but fiery “Piper.” They weren’t done yet, though, capping the set with a “YEM” closer and still finding time to squeeze the best “Reba” of the year into a three song encore.

Was it the best set of the year? Listen and decide for yourself. Either way, I’m glad I didn’t hit the snooze button on Reading.

10/29/13Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

1. 11/1/13 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJElayne Best

The pre-show energy inside Boardwalk Hall was mixed on 11/1/13. As Phish chose to celebrate their Halloween tradition by putting their Wingsuit on for the costume; some people fully embraced the change in tradition, while others had disappointing (or worse) reactions.

Well my friends, if you look for the elements that I do in a Phish show, there would be no feelings of disappointment tonight! It was apparent from the moment "Shaft" teases started in "Runaway Jim" that the band was ready to deliver, feeling loose, and completely relaxed after being "Under Pressure."

We were blessed with so many ethereal moments in 2013, but from a cumulative perspective this show is one of my favorites. There is nothing that exhilarates me more than feeling that connection between the band and the audience. And even if you didn't enjoy Wingsuit, you have to appreciate Trey's heartfelt message of thanks for the audience's support the previous night.

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11/1/13 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ – Photo by Dave Vann © Phish 2013. All rights reserved.

This show had teases galore, an especially soulful "Jesus Just Left Chicago," a monster second set "Twist" opener and downright sexual silliness with O.G. Kush and Bush (and Bush, and Busch) references throughout "Makisupa," "Meatstick" and "Boogie On." Are you tired of the silliness yet? Well you are in luck because “The Wedge” follows only to be packaged up with a soul uplifting “Slave.” Wunderbar! As if that wasn't enough mustard for your appetite, this show ends with the delightful dessert of a funky dance party "Sneakin’ Sally" encore.

This night had all the components for why I love seeing live Phish shows: jams, zaney humor, connections between the band and audience, and simply amazing fun. The crowd energy leaving Boardwalk Hall that night vs. arriving was night and day.

11/1/13 Official LivePhish Soundboard * Audience Recording

Comments

Renaissance Reply
Renaissance I think you can interchange #'s 1 and 2 and still be right. It's a good, honest list, though I think Tahoe is a little overrated (not the Tweezer, just the whole rest of the show)
Score: 5
Stoney_Case Reply
Great list Phish.Netters. Way to wrap up a fantastic year of music.
Score: 3
dogman Reply
dogman Of course this just an opinion...but I think Tahoe is a bit over-rated obviously because of TWEEZER. really I thought the best show(or at least the best 1st set)of summer was Gorge 1.
Score: 4
Ez_and_not_so_Fast Reply
Ez_and_not_so_Fast It's interesting to take the shows out of the context of their tours –or runs– and compare them against each other in a larger window of the year 2013. Personally, neglecting how most shows spell something shocks my brain and not including the Jones Beach Theatre is rather confusing in the larger context of 2013, the year. But I'm happy to enjoy reading this without being invested so much in the ranking of these shows. It's certainly difficult for anyone to take such a spectacular year and mob together a top ten list that's not merely tongue-in-cheek. But as for me, I dunno... I'm not good at these things myself so, whatever, my hat's off to you all. Thanks!
Score: 1
MiguelSanchez Reply
MiguelSanchez Wow, I didn't expect to disagree with this list so much. Sure, every show on there is completely worth hearing, but C'MON MAN?!?!? GORGE 2 SITTING AT THE 11TH SPOT?!?!

Score: 11
Stoney_Case Reply
Problem with the Gorge would be trying to decide between night 1 and night 2. Lots of differing opinions there. Amongst those in attendance, doing the webcast, or just listening back. Such a solid two nights, with highlights and phlow throughout.
Score: 3
phootyjon Reply
phootyjon i've listened to all of 2013 (maybe three times now; I'm very OCD) and I put MPP N2 waaaay up on my top 10 list. that is the only difference (except ordering) between your list and mine. Good work.
Score: 12
ucpete Reply
ucpete I made it to one show of Fall Tour -- 11/1/13 -- and had to fly out from California and rally solo in a rental car from a scientific conference in Long Island to get there. I drove back from AC to the northern coast of LI, finally laying down in my hotel room bed at 4 AM. Woke up at 8 AM for the next set of talks. It was all worth it!
Score: 7
Runaway_Sean Reply
Great job guys. I can't help but say that Spac3 (especially that second set) should be in there along with Jones Beach (I know it was pouring and I got as wet as anyone but they brought it hard tweezer> cities> wedge. Dicks1 should also be thrown in IMHO.
Score: 1
harroldHOOD Reply
harroldHOOD Very well constructed list - its hard to put a number on these shows because so many of us put such an emotional bias in everything phish - I'd probably put Hampton N3 a little higher up but that's my only critique.

Also - honorable mentions?

My vote would be SPAC N1 and JB
Score: 3
tek9rifleskills Reply
I like this list, well played! But, some things just keep hanging on that set my bother button to being pushed on almost full time:

Can we please, PLEASE, not over emphasize the "set I=lackluster" comparison anymore? I agree, the "heat" comes in the second set, but lets all be honest here, and bare our hearts for a minute: the songs played in the first set are fire songs, because they are Phish songs that we love almost 100% of the time. But in the past, they used to play big, huge songs in the first set, and sometimes they didn't; in 2004, they let it fly in the first set, for instance. But I see both sets as the whole night, the buzz before lights fall and "what are they gonna open with?!?!" feeling, the sound, what they'll play set I and NOT set II, etc. The whole night is Phish, not second half.

And, the Tahoe Tweezer was killer, no doubt. Great. But, to rank a whole show based on one big song alone, at #3 for the whole year, THIS year especially, over even the New Year's show? Personally, I thought the truck set struck me as more important and memorable than the Tweezer: the old instruments, the closeness and intimacy, the song selection, location in venue...all that.
Score: 5
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd Enjoying everyone's comments so far. It was fun to contribute to putting this together. Of course, as @pzerbo says, its all opinions and not a definitive *anything*, other than amassing the attempts at honest ratings of a handful of us.

It's one thing to slap a 4 or a 5 onto an individual show a couple hours or days after you attended. The exercise gets a lot more interesting (and confounding - for me at least) when you are looking at a comprehensive list of the year's shows, and trying to rate them, relative to each other, in an honest way. If you are ranking 40 shows from 1 to 10, and try to keep your overall average around 5...it gets tricky. In a good way.

The real takeaway is how great 2013 is. I'm a general fluffer of course, but in a holistic way. I love all of phish of course, but I have no problem calling individual shows stinkers or flat here and there, relative to other phish shows. Point being, the top 10 came out of a quantitative method (applying, of course, our subjective opinions about the shows) - it was not, I think importantly, influenced by discussion or collective decision to slot any given show in any given spot.

And there were a lot of close calls, top to bottom. Virtually every show this year had at least one stretch of really excellent improv, worthy of multiple relistens. And thats just the baseline - even shows that would have come in ranked 30 or below. Its a level of consistency not heard in a long time, to my ears.
Score: 6
lastubbe Reply
lastubbe Nice job Phish.net! I agree with 11/1/13 completely. That show was the complete package.

I have long sought and asked for comprehensive and complete annual surveys and have fallen short of organizing it myself (just no time, energy or resources).

But I think it would be interesting if someday it can ever happen. Not just best shows, but best versions, venues etc etc.
Score: 4
Ez_and_not_so_Fast Reply
Ez_and_not_so_Fast Not forgetting, of course, the obvious bias of the veterans that by leaving out a huge collection of voices, namely those new to Phish and those younger fans who may or may not be having a completely different experience, the implication could be interpreted that you're weighting yourselves and your votes and opinions as potentially more valuable than those of noobs or those who are less active online. So a more extensive clarification on the sampling method would be welcome to explain and recognise the bias in the data collection part of the experimental design there. Regardless, I truly and sincerely laud the effort, most especially because I don't personally care about the results of ordinal-level data concerning these specific qualities of a nearly arbitrary collection of Phish shows.
-Another question: Why 2013?
Score: 0
ramsaYEM18 Reply
Hmm... I don't know about this list. I completely agree with the selection of the shows chosen to be on here, but the specific order of them? No way. As the .net team did say in the introduction, I as a reader could choose to look at it as a specifically numbered list, or just a collection of great shows in no particular order. I think that these are all amazing shows, and 2013 was filled with them and plenty more. I just don't think that I would put 11/1 above 12/29, 10/20, or even 7/31.

With this all said, this was a very entertaining read, and I am so psyched with the great music that Phish played in 2013.
Score: 2
sirhotpants Reply
sirhotpants Nice to find this list on a snow day and think back to the shows I was lucky to catch in 2013. And a few Couch Tour shows on here for us to catch virtually, no less. What a great year--we had a blast!
Score: 0
lititzphan Reply
Haven't gotten to listen to all these, however was at Hampton N3, Reading, and AC N2, and can say without a doubt that was the hottest, loosest, fun show. I was surprised not seeing MPP N2 up here. I thought that show incredible too. Of course being 8 feet from stage definitely heightened the thrills.

Great Job guys!!!!
Score: 4
deberg Reply
Great list, but I have to agree with the above poster who mentioned MPP2. My two best shows I attended this year were Hampton3 and MPP2, and I honestly can't decide which show I like better. MPP2 was fire from start to finish.
Score: 7
TheEmu Phish.net Staff Reply
TheEmu @Ez_and_not_so_Fast said:

-Another question: Why 2013?
I argued extensively for 1971, but was shouted down.
Score: 11
CreatureoftheNight Reply
CreatureoftheNight @phootyjon said:
i've listened to all of 2013 (maybe three times now; I'm very OCD) and I put MPP N2 waaaay up on my top 10 list. that is the only difference (except ordering) between your list and mine. Good work.

It's a wonderful thing that each one of these top shows lists have a lot of variability. That means we had a great year with a lot for all of our diverse loves to be satiated. On the other hand, one constant is the complete omission of 07-14-2013 MPP by multiple lists. I will probably listen to that show more than the 4 I attended on this list. Instead of one Type II epic, MPP has several essential jams in Stash, Scent, Light and the best YEM of 3.0 imho. I guess Jon and I are in the minority on this one, but it does speak to the strength of 2013. Happy debating and thanks for the effort writing and compiling the list netters!
Score: 5
zwyts Reply
Great list and agree with number 1....all great shows...I join the others in wondering where MPP2 is....but hey...it's not my list...and it was such a strong year, great shows are going to be omitted...nicely done and thanks for compiling
Score: 2
tasatter Reply
Well done, Phish.net staff! Please keep up the good work. Because I "suck at Phish" as Antelope Greg called me out on Facebook (yes indeed, he did - do I get a medal for that, because I fucking want one), I'm going to have to go listen intently to Reading and Atlantic City 11/1.
Score: 3
NateSluszka Reply
I was truly surprised not to see any Chicago n. 2 or 3 love
Score: 0
Renaissance Reply
Renaissance Steve, I think the 36 minutes that comprised of Divided, SOAMelt, and Julius during Reading's first set are also under appreciated. Each were very good versions...better than the average 1st set segues. So I have to disagree there...but the fact that you felt the 1st set was not that appealing and yet it's #2 on the list speaks for itself.
Score: 1
sstevee00 Reply
I was only at the 12/29 show (my first ever show in fact) so I can't comment on the other shows on this list (well at least not yet...), but I do want to weigh in on the whole "woo" debate in Carini. I feel that the severity of it is blown out of proportion. Yes, the jam could have went on a little bit longer and probably could have done without it, but I feel that the "woos" didn't kill the vibe at all and, in this context, added to it in a way. It just showed how into it the crowd was as a whole and, I feel, reinforces the idea that the crowd plays just as important of a role in the creation of the vibe and the music as those four men on stage. In fact, the way the band ended with the whole start/stop thing makes it seem like they were feeling it as well and were even encouraging the fans to do it a few times. Others may disagree, but I just wanted to add a different perspective on the whole issue.
Score: 5
The_Soup_Maker Reply
The_Soup_Maker Great list. Thanks for doing this. I agree with #1. Best musical experience of my life, bar none. Only thing is I would flip #6 and #3. 12/29 was the complete package. Really strong first set and majestic 2nd set. 7/31 was the Tweezer, which was amazing, but that's really it. It wasn't a complete show even close to the level of 12/29. IMO, the only thing 12/29 didn't have that 11/1 had was humor and goofiness, and that's actually the only reason why I prefer 11/1 to 12/29. I was at both. Just my opinion, thanks again guys.
Score: 3
quincydog420 Reply
glens falls 10/23 should be on the list, on paper sets look meh, but the energy in that place was awesome, specially the Back in USSR opener, camel walk, gumbo, bowie, golgi , rnr, twist
Score: 0
BigDudeInTheDoorway Reply
Awesome recap, it's cool hearing peoples personal adventures at shows as well. Also think Jones Beach needs to be on here, maybe in place of Hartford. I've re-listened to Rock&Roll - Wedge an absurd amount of times.
Score: 0
diagonalinmybed Reply
diagonalinmybed @sstevee00 said:
I was only at the 12/29 show (my first ever show in fact) so I can't comment on the other shows on this list (well at least not yet...), but I do want to weigh in on the whole "woo" debate in Carini. I feel that the severity of it is blown out of proportion. Yes, the jam could have went on a little bit longer and probably could have done without it, but I feel that the "woos" didn't kill the vibe at all and, in this context, added to it in a way. It just showed how into it the crowd was as a whole and, I feel, reinforces the idea that the crowd plays just as important of a role in the creation of the vibe and the music as those four men on stage. In fact, the way the band ended with the whole start/stop thing makes it seem like they were feeling it as well and were even encouraging the fans to do it a few times. Others may disagree, but I just wanted to add a different perspective on the whole issue.
I think Trey initiated those Woos
Score: 2
uffizi_esquandolas Reply
No disrespect to this list, because as with any phish "top 10 list" it is completely subjective. I just think recency effect got the better of the writer. 80% of the shows are from the fall tour and NYE run. I just feel like there was some really good stuff in the summer tour that is being overlooked because it seems like so long ago. 7/6/13 (SPAC 2), 7/14/13 (MPP2), 7/27/13 (Gorge 2), 8/31/13 (Dicks 2) are all potential top-10ers. although, like i said before, all these lists are so subjective it is completely impossible to please everyone and/or incorporate all your phavorite moments of an entire year.
Score: 2
TelaJewel Reply
TelaJewel The fact that 6 out the top 10 come from a two week period 10/20-11/01 speaks to just how remarkable Fall '13 tour was. Some amazing music packed into such a tight time frame!
Score: 2
TheEmperorJoker Reply
TheEmperorJoker My subjectivity made this painful to read. 10/20 NUMBER 6!?
Score: 1
tele_mon Reply
tele_mon Great choices on this list, but Tahoe2 as only coming in third? That was THE HAPPENING!!! Win! Was there any other moment in 2013, which became it's own (love it or hate it) meme? The Tahoe Tweezer show is NOT over-rated, because it really was one of those special moments that define an era. When Trey starts wearing a t-shirt referencing a show (his Jules: "Say Woo Again!), then referenced in the Halloween Phishbill: (Woo-X Patch), and again during the so-called #1 show: "TAKE OFF YOUR PATCHES!!!", well, I think that right there seals the deal, as to what they thought of that show. It was the #1 show of '13, says this jaded vet, hands down. And the Phish is playing better than ever, too. They even won the Super Bowl!
Score: 1
phunguy Reply
phunguy ...when someone says, "overrated" for Tahoe, that is a huge sign of jealousy.

Sorry, it ruled your face!
Score: 0
PeterJenningsLovedTheFish Reply
PeterJenningsLovedTheFish Count me among those who place the "overrated" label on Tahoe. Second set is strong, mainly because of Tweezer but also a fine Antelope. I found the first set, frankly, slow. Hard for me to rate it above some of the other more complete shows on the list. I'd place Hampton 3 ahead of Tahoe (easily). Also, I was at 10/26 so I'm a little biased, but that was a great show. Better, in my view, than Tahoe.

Score: 1
lizardneck Reply
lizardneck "First, the band appeared for the first set and pretty much crapped out"
This is my only complaint about this list....if your doing a "best show list" than the tweezer at Tahoe was better than Worchester N1 as a whole? or Jones beach? or almost any other show this year? You guys had the best kind of tough job putting this list together Thank you for your time and effort, it's a great time to be a phan!
Score: 0
ColForbin Phish.net Staff Reply
ColForbin @Ez_and_not_so_Fast said:
Not forgetting, of course, the obvious bias of the veterans that by leaving out a huge collection of voices, namely those new to Phish and those younger fans who may or may not be having a completely different experience, the implication could be interpreted that you're weighting yourselves and your votes and opinions as potentially more valuable than those of noobs or those who are less active online. So a more extensive clarification on the sampling method would be welcome to explain and recognise the bias in the data collection part of the experimental design there. Regardless, I truly and sincerely laud the effort, most especially because I don't personally care about the results of ordinal-level data concerning these specific qualities of a nearly arbitrary collection of Phish shows.
-Another question: Why 2013?
Not sure why everyone is down voting the above, it seems a sincere series of questions. I'll try to answer them.

The main reason we surveyed who we did was because we are the Phish.net working group. Yes, it does introduce many biases, especially because most of us are long time fans. But I would argue that the data is more accurate than any one particular person's list, since everyone in the group brings a slightly different viewpoint. If you are more interested in what the general public thinks, check out the star ratings here on Phish.net, since they are open to everyone.

The methodology was this: given a list of every show from 2013, assign a rating from 1-10 (note: the vast majority of these ratings were in the middle of the range, indicating that most of us think the vast majority of Phish shows are pretty damn good). This was done by 15 or so of us. The top 11 scoring shows were then pulled out and ranked in order from 0 to 10. The average ranking was then used to put the shows in order.

Why 2013? Because it was freshest in our minds. We might go on to do other years.
Score: 3
lumpblockclod Phish.net Staff Reply
lumpblockclod To address a couple of themes that have come up:

- MPP2 finished in the Top 15. Speaking for myself, I see it as the best first set of the year, but the second set highlights (Light & YEM IMO) just aren't quite strong enough to get it on this list. FWIW, my next 5 shows would probably be Dicks2, JB, MPP2, Gorge1, BGCA1.

- Re: Gorge2, I'm just not as much a fan of this show as others. Again, I really like the first set, but the second set has a nice looking setlist that just doesn't deliver. The DWD> Undermind is an outstanding segue, but outside of that neither jam does a lot for me. The Sally is great, but, again, just not enough there to make my Top 10. I (slightly) prefer the first night of the Gorge.

- Tahoe2 is definitely the hardest show to rank. Yes, it's - to put it charitably - an uneven show. But when your highlight is that good, you have to weight it somewhat disproportionately. Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
Score: 6
MiguelSanchez Reply
MiguelSanchez @TheEmu said:
@Ez_and_not_so_Fast said:
-Another question: Why 2013?
I argued extensively for 1971, but was shouted down.
Keep fighting the good fight brother.
Score: 3
lumpblockclod Phish.net Staff Reply
lumpblockclod @Renaissance said:
Steve, I think the 36 minutes that comprised of Divided, SOAMelt, and Julius during Reading's first set are also under appreciated. Each were very good versions...better than the average 1st set segues. So I have to disagree there...but the fact that you felt the 1st set was not that appealing and yet it's #2 on the list speaks for itself.
The Divided Sky was indeed a good version. As far as the Melt> Julius segues goes... I thought it was pretty awkward. Sounded to me like Trey just kind of ran out of ideas for Melt and started up Julius. But whatever, different strokes and all that. You're right about the second set, it was that good.
Score: 2
Herbdacious Reply
Herbdacious SPAC n1 for psycadelic jamming, spac 3 for perfect show
Score: 0
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd OK, lets give this a shot. Linked below is a spreadsheet with some very basic statistical formulas, and every show in 2013 listed in the first column.

1. Open spreadsheet
2. Choose an empty column
3. Enter your username in row 1
4. Rate each show from 0 (fire-least) to 10 (firemost), with 5 being the median show for 2013. Which is a really good show. (The overall average for everyone included in the piece above was a little over 6.)
5. Decimals are fine. Non-numerical entries are not.
6. Please don't mess with the formatting, formula cells, re-sort rows, etc. If you see something you want to change, please PM me. If you want to take a copy of the sheet to play with, by all means, do so. This lasted less than 2 hrs among a very small audience in the forum; maybe we can top that here and get a large sample size that includes deaf n00bs and deaf jaded vets alike.

There are about 50 columns available. If/when they fill up, I can add more.
You don't have to rate everything at once, but is you start a column, please commit to rating every show. (It took me about 2 days.) It doesn't really help the effort if you just drop 10's into the 4 shows you hit this year.

Have at it:
2013 Rating Sheet
Score: 5
ThinMan Reply
@quincydog420 said:
glens falls 10/23 should be on the list, on paper sets look meh, but the energy in that place was awesome, specially the Back in USSR opener, camel walk, gumbo, bowie, golgi , rnr, twist
plus the velvet sea > hood > cdt, wmggw -- which is a really, really good run

it's kinda weird that 4 of the top 5 had "throwaway" 1st sets, i would put 10/26, 10/27 & 12/29 higher and move Tahoe, Reading & Hampton lower

I need to relisten, but isn't the 20YL from Reading ripcorded?? First time thorugh I did not hear that as seemless
Score: 1
mgiambra Reply
i think 10/25 and 10/26 could take 9 and 10 if you're rly feeling fall tour, i think worcester was both nights really special (not that hartford wasnt great, but ya know....waves> carini).
spac was amazing, all 3, so i see it hard to squeeze one in the top 10.
hampton 10/18
12/29 speechless
i agree with lizardneck (worcester N1)
thank you for the list
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
The write was quite clear about the impossible nature of splitting hairs on a ranked list.

That being said, I have no issue with this list. All the shows on it have obvious merit for consideration and I have no quibbles with the rankings either.

There were two periods of music this year which were categorically superior in terms of consistent quality, and those were the shows from Gorge1 through BGA3, and Hampton3 through Reading (with the obvious exclusion of Rochester).

Any shows from either time stretch are valid considerations for this list and I find them well-represented here, as they should be.

I personally felt that Gorge1 and Reading were the two finest shows of the year, but it is subjective and not by a large margin. I am really partial to Gorge1 in particular as an all-time classic, but the same can be said for Tahoe2 on the merits of the first 50 minutes of the 2nd set.

MPP2 does not deserve top ten mention though it was a great show, for sure, but as Chris points out the second set does not really hold up to the quality of most of Fall Tour.

I would like to give an honorable mention to Chicago2. I thought that was quite a magical evening.

Happy I'm not alone in feeling that MSG2 was special as well. That Disease> Carini was something else.
Score: 4
Renaissance Reply
Renaissance @phunguy said:
...when someone says, "overrated" for Tahoe, that is a huge sign of jealousy.

Sorry, it ruled your face!
Jealousy doesn't really necessarily have to factor into someone's opinion. We are almost all in agreement about the specialness of that Tweezer. Simply put, one of the band's finest moments in their 30 year career. But the rest of the show wasn't really that interesting, at least not to me. Do I wish I would have been there..hell yes! But we're talking about full shows, not songs, and Tahoe just doesn't do it for me front to back the same way other shows on these tours did.
Score: 2
Ez_and_not_so_Fast Reply
Ez_and_not_so_Fast @MiguelSanchez said:
@TheEmu said:
@Ez_and_not_so_Fast said:
-Another question: Why 2013?
I argued extensively for 1971, but was shouted down.
Keep fighting the good fight brother.
I shall. Sometimes even, my efforts at civil discussion, however contentious, may not fall on deaf ears, taboot. Love this site! It's not cliquey at all, down votes notwithstanding.
Score: 1
YorkvilleBeerLover Reply
YorkvilleBeerLover Nice work - who knew Reading would be a heater - me!
Score: 0
Brandonclick77 Reply
Night 1 of The Gorge captivated me... A definite highlight of the last few years...
Score: 2
Brandonclick77 Reply
@Brandonclick77 said:
Night 1 of Lake Tahoe captivated me... A definite highlight of the last few years...
Score: 0
elfinito Reply
@sstevee00 said:
In fact, the way the band ended with the whole start/stop thing makes it seem like they were feeling it as well and were even encouraging the fans to do it a few times. Others may disagree, but I just wanted to add a different perspective on the whole issue.
Couldn't agree more.

It seemed the Trey was clearly calling for the "Woos" there. I think it was a great cap to an awesome Jam.

That said -- I think and hope that it is the Woo-to end all-woos, though.

One "woo" segment in the closing run of 2013 seemed very appropriate. It brought nice closure to the Woo! -- Lets try to make it the end of it though!!
Score: 1
elfinito Reply
@diagonalinmybed said:


I think Trey initiated those Woos
I think it is clear to anyone that actually watched Trey during that segment. Not sure why the Phish.net official stance on it is that it was an awful moment of the fans-ruining-a-jam -- instead of an appropriate climax to a great Jam.
Score: 0
shihtzusandphish Reply
shihtzusandphish No Gorge on this list = COMPLETE FAIL. tahoe n2 had the tweezer and not much else and Bill Graham???? for summer the only acceptable answers for SHOWS were MPP2, ATL1, and in a league of its own Both nights Gorge.
Score: -3
ninebyframe Reply
ninebyframe Great list, great work, what an incredible 30th year for this band!

Just want to toss in my $0.02 signing that MSG fans did not end/ruin/mar the 12/29 Carini jam. If the band had wanted to continue the jam beyond the 'woo's, they would have. I believe the same is true for Dick's Chalk Dust which was also accused of being cut short by 'woo's.

I doubt the band is tired of the 'woo' any more than they are of hearing the Stash claps. They never told anyone to clap, or to 'woo', or to chant 'Wilson', but in each case the fans turned the magic of spontaneity into the fun and inclusion of tradition. I would imagine all of these phenomena are incredibly rewarding and gratifying to the boys, every time.

The more crowd-initiated traditions we share with the band, the better, I think.
Score: 7
Izabella Reply
Gorge 1 deserves a spot IMO!
Score: 2
johnnyd Phish.net Staff Reply
johnnyd I'll also sign on not minding the 12.29 woos.
When the band is obviously calling for it both musically and with the body language, I mean come on, I don't see how to be against that. Its like the secret language, but literally within the constructs of the music.
Score: 3
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
I enjoyed it throughout, particularly the “46 Days,” which I thought had above-average energy and swagger.

This is hilarious, Tim, because I thought this might have been the single worst version of this song I've ever heard. Sounded to me like Fishman was attempting an original interpretation on the skins but his bandmates never connected to him and the whole piece sounded (to me) disjointed and choppy. Just seemed like a mess and I felt at the time that the band was looking for a quick escape from it.

Yet, for you it was a highlight of the show. ::::::

Just goes to show how truly subjective this process is. I ranked this show very highly myself and enjoyed your commentary on it.
Score: 1
Justinthegroove Reply
Justinthegroove Been seeing this band for 19 years now, and I walked out of 11/1 AC wondering if I just saw my favorite Phish show. Was by far the best energy of the 15 shows I was able to see this year. I love when this band has that much fun. So infectious! Hope to see ya'll at Jazz Fest.
Score: 2
phunky58 Reply
great list, love that fall tour dominated the list because it absolutely deserved it imo. Best run of 3.0 imho. also huge fan that reading caught the number 2 spot. DWD and yes Twenty Years Later are gems from that show.
Score: 0
Renaissance Reply
Renaissance @sstevee00 said:
I was only at the 12/29 show (my first ever show in fact) so I can't comment on the other shows on this list (well at least not yet...), but I do want to weigh in on the whole "woo" debate in Carini. I feel that the severity of it is blown out of proportion. Yes, the jam could have went on a little bit longer and probably could have done without it, but I feel that the "woos" didn't kill the vibe at all and, in this context, added to it in a way. It just showed how into it the crowd was as a whole and, I feel, reinforces the idea that the crowd plays just as important of a role in the creation of the vibe and the music as those four men on stage. In fact, the way the band ended with the whole start/stop thing makes it seem like they were feeling it as well and were even encouraging the fans to do it a few times. Others may disagree, but I just wanted to add a different perspective on the whole issue.
I've never been bothered by woos. I think it lets the audience be a part of a song and performance in a way very few artists an their fans can relate...and the band really seems to enjoy, most of the time.
And I love the clapping in Stash. I actually think it's an integral part to the song. I get why people don't like either, but I've almost never been let down by audience participations at their shows...except maybe the glow sticks, which can actually physically affect someone's moment....especially if it happens when they're peaking.
Score: 1
lumpblockclod Phish.net Staff Reply
lumpblockclod When the band is clearly playing for the Woo, it's fine. When they're forced (eg Hartford GA) or horribly out of place (BGCA Reba), it's another story.
Score: 4
Devious_Jelen Reply
Devious_Jelen @Stoney_Case said:
Problem with the Gorge would be trying to decide between night 1 and night 2. Lots of differing opinions there. Amongst those in attendance, doing the webcast, or just listening back. Such a solid two nights, with highlights and phlow throughout.
- Re: Gorge2, I'm just not as much a fan of this show as others. Again, I really like the first set, but the second set has a nice looking setlist that just doesn't deliver. The DWD> Undermind is an outstanding segue, but outside of that neither jam does a lot for me. The Sally is great, but, again, just not enough there to make my Top 10. I (slightly) prefer the first night of the Gorge.

My only two shows of 2013 were at the Gorge and I've never been able to objectively compare shows I've been at with ones I haven't. That said, if there are ten shows better than both the Gorge from last year, the boys are playing even better than I thought.

Personally, I preferred Gorge 1 over Gorge 2. For me, the second night's first set felt really disjointed. They raged After Midnight to close and I liked a few other moments, but there didn't seem to be much flow - it didn't help that they took 2-3 minutes between each song to figure out what to play next. I really enjoyed the second set of that show.

Gorge 1 just had tremendous energy throughout - from Trey really enjoying the Russell Wilson chant to the entire second set. And easily the best Character Zero I've ever seen. The moon howl had the place just buzzing with electricity. Really fun show.

Hoping for some more PNW love this year - I'd especially love some indoor Phish in the fall in Seattle and Portland! Will always love the Gorge, but wouldn't mind having our "home show" be closer than five hours away!

Score: 3
HotPale Reply
HotPale Wow...I know you phish.net nerds were all down on Dick's this year, but any of those would be on my top ten and NYE...that was epic...what else do you want from a show? I attended 15 shows in '13 and although none were fall tour shows I think this post's premise is worth revisiting...got some listening to do and Me thinks you do too!
Score: 1
deceasedlavy Reply
Wow! I am speechless, aside from the "wow".
Score: 0
FirstTubeCT Reply
FirstTubeCT 8 of 10 shows from the Fall Tour? I attended Hartford and it was solid but not as good as any of the SPAC shows I also was at. My Top3 rankings were 1) Gorge2 2) SPAC3 3) Chicago2. Strange list here.
Score: 0
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Regarding the 10/19 Reading synopsis:

The first set of this show still holds little appeal for me. The “Melt” > “Julius” combo to close the set was certainly unique, but not in a way that did much for me. But, when they play a second set (and encore!) like they did on 10/29, who really cares?

I agree with the Melt> Julius comment, but I thought that this was the best first set of the year, actually. (With the exception of Melt, which was painful), just about every song in this set was played with high energy and perfectly nailed. Trey was particularly sharp to open the set with a blistering Cars Trucks Buses and Stealing Time. The set never lost a step. I didn't expect any extended jamming in the set and was perfectly satisfied to hear the band on point and performing so well. The vocals were strong, very few flubs, if any, and great flow.

The second set, well, I definitely agree with the ranking here. All-time show.
Score: 0
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Final comment on the Reading show....

My only real criticism of the show, and it's purely from a personal interpretation, was the Piper into Backwards.

I LOVE BDTNL, and usually disagree with posters who criticize its 2nd set appearances, however in this case I felt Mike and Fishman had set the stage perfectly for Trey to take the reigns and bring Piper to a heart-stopping peak of epic proportions. The tention and buildup were intense.

Instead, Trey allowed the tension to drift into the mist and dramatically changed the tone and feel as he chose to segue into Backwards. A great version of the song, yet I think if he had properly mined the Piper as it had been developed that there would be absolutely NO DOUBT in anyone's mind as to what the best show of year was.

Anyways.....enough. Just saying.
Score: 0
lumpblockclod Phish.net Staff Reply
lumpblockclod @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Regarding the 10/19 Reading synopsis:

I agree with the Melt> Julius comment, but I thought that this was the best first set of the year, actually. (With the exception of Melt, which was painful), just about every song in this set was played with high energy and perfectly nailed. Trey was particularly sharp to open the set with a blistering Cars Trucks Buses and Stealing Time. The set never lost a step. I didn't expect any extended jamming in the set and was perfectly satisfied to hear the band on point and performing so well. The vocals were strong, very few flubs, if any, and great flow.
I've said this elsewhere, but I had other issues with the set outside the Melt > Julius. I thought the Wolfman's was one of the weaker versions if the year, certainly nowhere near MSG or Dicks (my two favorites for '13). There are a bunch of better Walk Aways since the song grew balls in 2010. Was there some other well-played stuff? Sure, particularly Divided and STFTFP was a pretty nice version too. But your main attraction set I songs here are Wolfman's, Walk Away, Divided and Melt> Julius. Of those, 3 were well below average (IMO of course). Not saying you're "wrong" to feel the way you do, but that's why I don't think terribly much of the set.
Score: 0
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@lumpblockclod said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Regarding the 10/19 Reading synopsis:

I agree with the Melt> Julius comment, but I thought that this was the best first set of the year, actually. (With the exception of Melt, which was painful), just about every song in this set was played with high energy and perfectly nailed. Trey was particularly sharp to open the set with a blistering Cars Trucks Buses and Stealing Time. The set never lost a step. I didn't expect any extended jamming in the set and was perfectly satisfied to hear the band on point and performing so well. The vocals were strong, very few flubs, if any, and great flow.
I've said this elsewhere, but I had other issues with the set outside the Melt > Julius. I thought the Wolfman's was one of the weaker versions if the year, certainly nowhere near MSG or Dicks (my two favorites for '13). There are a bunch of better Walk Aways since the song grew balls in 2010. Was there some other well-played stuff? Sure, particularly Divided and STFTFP was a pretty nice version too. But your main attraction set I songs here are Wolfman's, Walk Away, Divided and Melt> Julius. Of those, 3 were well below average (IMO of course). Not saying you're "wrong" to feel the way you do, but that's why I don't think terribly much of the set.
Yes, you make some really good points. I agree that the Wolfman's was weaker than some other versions this year. My fav. Wolfman's of the year actually was Bangor. The Walk Away was a little choppy, too. So, I can't dispute what you're saying. I guess what impressed me about it was that Trey seemed so on point right out of the gate. The CTB was far superior to the version last yr. at Dick's and Stealing Time was fire. Divided was the best of the year. Trey really nailed it.

For me, when I view first sets these days, what matters to me most is the tightness of the musicianship. As great as Fall Tour was, Trey was a bit sloppy at times (read: a lot sloppy).

This show was pretty tight. So I probably have overrated it based upon that one factor.

Were you the one with the line this year about SOAM sounding like dying kittens? That was seriously funny. I concur.
Score: 1
lumpblockclod Phish.net Staff Reply
lumpblockclod If I used the dying kittens line, I shamelessly stole it from (I think) @pzerbo. BTW, if you liked the Reading STFTFP, I highly recommend checking out BGCA1 (if you haven't already). That show has significant flow issues, but is highly underrated IMO and has tons of above average versions of songs.
Score: 1
scottocs Reply
scottocs Alas,

All
Lists
Are
Subjective
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@Renaissance said:
@phunguy said:
...when someone says, "overrated" for Tahoe, that is a huge sign of jealousy.

Sorry, it ruled your face!
Jealousy doesn't really necessarily have to factor into someone's opinion. We are almost all in agreement about the specialness of that Tweezer. Simply put, one of the band's finest moments in their 30 year career. But the rest of the show wasn't really that interesting, at least not to me. Do I wish I would have been there..hell yes! But we're talking about full shows, not songs, and Tahoe just doesn't do it for me front to back the same way other shows on these tours did.
I thought the end of the first set through most of the 2nd set was very interesting, actually. The Stash, though short, was brilliant.

Tweezer was followed by a rare and beautiful (and perfectly placed) Tela, and a melt-your-face-off Twist (which I'm sure was played because of the "woos!"

So I don't think it's wrong for the show to be listed here. It's an average-great show even without the classic Tweezer. The first night of Tahoe is probably a better show from top to bottom in terms of consistency, but the Tweezer is not to be denied.
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@lumpblockclod said:
If I used the dying kittens line, I shamelessly stole it from (I think) @pzerbo. BTW, if you liked the Reading STFTFP, I highly recommend checking out BGCA1 (if you haven't already). That show has significant flow issues, but is highly underrated IMO and has tons of above average versions of songs.
Thanks for the tip. The first night of Bill Graham is one of the few shows that I haven't heard the soundboard from. I have heard the tapers' recording, but only once and it's been months. I'll have to go back and check that.

Also thought the STFTFP from Holmdel was pretty hot, while we're on that song. Speaking of Holmdel, I'd be curious to know where it fell in on this list.

There were a couple of posts on here claiming that SPAC was superior to Fall Tour. I'd be willing to bet that anyone not super high on Fall Tour didn't hear much of it.
Score: 0
HotPale Reply
HotPale After reviewing the post and other people's comments and listening to the shows I did not attend I must say you pholks did a really good evaluation. I do think NYE was #1 and the Dick's shows were amazing; however, having said that I also respect that IT was an honest approach and I couldn't have done a better job ranking all those shows...Kudos to those who worked hard on this.
Score: 1
ScoopyGreenberg Reply
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@lumpblockclod said:
If I used the dying kittens line, I shamelessly stole it from (I think) @pzerbo. BTW, if you liked the Reading STFTFP, I highly recommend checking out BGCA1 (if you haven't already). That show has significant flow issues, but is highly underrated IMO and has tons of above average versions of songs.
Thanks for the tip. The first night of Bill Graham is one of the few shows that I haven't heard the soundboard from. I have heard the tapers' recording, but only once and it's been months. I'll have to go back and check that. Also thought the STFTFP from Holmdel was pretty hot, while we're on that song. Speaking of Holmdel, I'd be curious to know where it fell in on this list. There were a couple of posts on here claiming that SPAC was superior to Fall Tour. I'd be willing to bet that anyone not super high on Fall Tour didn't hear much of it.
I agree, Facts. I was at SPAC and have listened to all of the Fall tour, only attending Hampton3. Maybeeee SPAC3 approaches what Fall Tour brought but I would argue that point as well. SPAC3 was alotta fun with a rainy 1st set and awesome 2nd set but I never considered it close to Hampton,Worcester, AC, Hartford or Reading in overall rating. Fall was just a different animal
Score: 1
ScoopyGreenberg Reply
You know...I take some of that back. SPAC3 can hang with Hartford, AC3, Worcester2 and Hampton1. I meant no disrespect, SPAC. This venue is near and dear to me and I never should have spoken about a friend like that, so I am truly sorry.

It just cant hang w Hampton3, Reading, or AC 1 & 2
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@ScoopyGreenberg said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@lumpblockclod said:
If I used the dying kittens line, I shamelessly stole it from (I think) @pzerbo. BTW, if you liked the Reading STFTFP, I highly recommend checking out BGCA1 (if you haven't already). That show has significant flow issues, but is highly underrated IMO and has tons of above average versions of songs.
Thanks for the tip. The first night of Bill Graham is one of the few shows that I haven't heard the soundboard from. I have heard the tapers' recording, but only once and it's been months. I'll have to go back and check that. Also thought the STFTFP from Holmdel was pretty hot, while we're on that song. Speaking of Holmdel, I'd be curious to know where it fell in on this list. There were a couple of posts on here claiming that SPAC was superior to Fall Tour. I'd be willing to bet that anyone not super high on Fall Tour didn't hear much of it.
I agree, Facts. I was at SPAC and have listened to all of the Fall tour, only attending Hampton3. Maybeeee SPAC3 approaches what Fall Tour brought but I would argue that point as well. SPAC3 was alotta fun with a rainy 1st set and awesome 2nd set but I never considered it close to Hampton,Worcester, AC, Hartford or Reading in overall rating. Fall was just a different animal
Yes, I'm with you totally. I made Bangor, SPAC2+3, and both Worc. shows. I really enjoyed SPAC. I had a great time at Bangor. The weather, the soundcheck jam, the whole vibe was great and thought the 1st set was stellar at Bangor. SPAC3 was certainly a level above Bangor, but the Worcester shows were on a totally different level from that. I can't put Bangor in the same conversation as Reading, Hampton3, et al, and yet it compares well to most of the 3-night SPAC run. SPAC3 was a very good show and would have been a top show perhaps in any other year since the reunion, but was not at the same level as some of the shows we're talking about from Fall Tour, or even for that matter as the Gorge or Tahoe.

What I liked at SPAC3 were It's Ice, Walls, Mound and the first 45 minutes of set 2. At the time it was top shelf but as the year wore on they topped all the versions of those songs with better ones. I really view whole beginning of Summer Tour as kind of a warm up. They got out of the gates somewhat slowly this year.
Score: 1
ScoopyGreenberg Reply
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@ScoopyGreenberg said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@lumpblockclod said:
If I used the dying kittens line, I shamelessly stole it from (I think) @pzerbo. BTW, if you liked the Reading STFTFP, I highly recommend checking out BGCA1 (if you haven't already). That show has significant flow issues, but is highly underrated IMO and has tons of above average versions of songs.
Thanks for the tip. The first night of Bill Graham is one of the few shows that I haven't heard the soundboard from. I have heard the tapers' recording, but only once and it's been months. I'll have to go back and check that. Also thought the STFTFP from Holmdel was pretty hot, while we're on that song. Speaking of Holmdel, I'd be curious to know where it fell in on this list. There were a couple of posts on here claiming that SPAC was superior to Fall Tour. I'd be willing to bet that anyone not super high on Fall Tour didn't hear much of it.
I agree, Facts. I was at SPAC and have listened to all of the Fall tour, only attending Hampton3. Maybeeee SPAC3 approaches what Fall Tour brought but I would argue that point as well. SPAC3 was alotta fun with a rainy 1st set and awesome 2nd set but I never considered it close to Hampton,Worcester, AC, Hartford or Reading in overall rating. Fall was just a different animal
Yes, I'm with you totally. I made Bangor, SPAC2+3, and both Worc. shows. I really enjoyed SPAC. I had a great time at Bangor. The weather, the soundcheck jam, the whole vibe was great and thought the 1st set was stellar at Bangor. SPAC3 was certainly a level above Bangor, but the Worcester shows were on a totally different level from that. I can't put Bangor in the same conversation as Reading, Hampton3, et al, and yet it compares well to most of the 3-night SPAC run. SPAC3 was a very good show and would have been a top show perhaps in any other year since the reunion, but was not at the same level as some of the shows we're talking about from Fall Tour, or even for that matter as the Gorge or Tahoe. What I liked at SPAC3 were It's Ice, Walls, Mound and the first 45 minutes of set 2. At the time it was top shelf but as the year wore on they topped all the versions of those songs with better ones. I really view whole beginning of Summer Tour as kind of a warm up. They got out of the gates somewhat slowly this year.
I havent heard Bangor since the summer so I can't really comment on it other than it was the tour opener so what can we expect ya know. As has been said a million times on here, Ive never had a bad time at a show before. Theyre all a blast (some more than others)...and I made 9 shows this year so attempting to be subjective is difficult. I think when ranking a show that you were at vs one you were not, the discrepancy b/t the shows has to be somewhat significant in favor of the one you were not at in order for it to be placed ahead of the one you were. Thats just my opinion though.

Its just impossible to recreate crowd energy, atmosphere, setting, sound, etc when you werent there. I don't think any two fans would have the same order on their list
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@ScoopyGreenberg

Yes, it's true. Honestly, I love the atmosphere at shows but I really can't analyze the music until I've had a chance to hear the soundboard. A song can sound and look great live only to disappoint after I download it. I hear the flubs and what not on the download but not necessarily in the arena. Conversely, the download cannot portray the feeling or vibe in the crowd. You hear the roar, but you don't feel it.

An example would be Jones Beach. I wasn't there, but I'm sure the weather had as much of an impact on those that were as the music. When I listen to it with my headphones on, though, all I hear is the music. It changes things.

Debates will always rage over the merits of shows that a person has been to versus ones that they weren't. I believe that often the best show reviews come from those who were NOT in attentance.

You can never take anything away from someone who was there, though. That's the beauty of it. Phish is like sex. When it's good it's really good and when it's bad it's still pretty damn good.
Score: 2
mblum Reply
11/1 is my best of 2013 if not best ever. It had it ALL, plus that x-factor intangible. Intimacy; playfulness; energy; an endless highlight reel. It was something so special. My 20th anniversary (for their 30th) and the best show I've ever seen. Then again, I've said that more than once!--forgive me it's Phish!

And Tahoe Tweezer: my best friend was on his knees crying and laughing with such joy after. Everyone was hugging everyone. And high-fiving, woooing and fist pumping, with jaws dropped. Incredulous. Yet there it was. For real. It was divine. I still have goosebumps six months later. We--the crowd and the band, we knew while it unfolded how pure it was. How monumental. If I thought there was no chance my wife would ever read this I would say I've basically lived for that.

After TT, my favorite performance of the summer is BGCA I Seven Below. Merits your revisit and epitomizes that most important Phish lesson, how it's all in the recovery.
Score: 2
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
Still think that nothing this Fall topped the Dick's run last year.

9/1/12 first set: Antelope, Number Line, Tweezer, Fluffhead, Roses....and there was still Bitch, Moma Dance, Theme, Golgi and Stealing Time to go.....that's a first set that we didn't see the likes of this year. Not even MPP2 could touch that.

2nd set: Golden Age (a better GA than 10/20/13), Caspian and the Dick's Light.

Hey now...
Score: 0
mblum Reply
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:


... The Stash, though short, was brilliant.

Tweezer was followed by a rare and beautiful (and perfectly placed) Tela, and a melt-your-face-off Twist (which I'm sure was played because of the "woos!"

... but the Tweezer is not to be denied.
Neither is that Reprise to be denied. Nuclear! Audience tapes better than soundboard mix for crowd participation.
Score: 1
FACTSAREUSELESS Reply
@mblum said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:


... The Stash, though short, was brilliant.

Tweezer was followed by a rare and beautiful (and perfectly placed) Tela, and a melt-your-face-off Twist (which I'm sure was played because of the "woos!"

... but the Tweezer is not to be denied.
Neither is that Reprise to be denied. Nuclear! Audience tapes better than soundboard mix for crowd participation.
Indeed.
Score: 0
IdRatherBeOnTour Reply
IdRatherBeOnTour The Under Pressure tease on 11-1-13 was epic if you ask me...Fishman made me crack a rib laughing!!!
Score: 0
forbin1 Reply
forbin1 How does Gorge Night #2 not make this list? Show of the summer imo...
Score: 1

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