Wednesday 06/15/2011 by ericwyman


An entire nation turned it's eyes on Phish last night as the band embarked on their second official stream. First, a couple notes on the stream itself....

Phish doesn't do anything poorly. Ever. They are meticulous in their planning and building their own streaming platform with is an absolute win. People in the past have calmored for a partnership with iclips or spoken highly of the recent VEVO offerings, but Phish have maintained complete control and produced a great result. As far as the technical side of things goes, last night seemed to be even more rock solid than the shows over NYE. It's the internet, you're sure to encounter a few hiccups, but last night was well exectued and much appreciated. BTW, if you were one of the scumbags who was watching via a re-stream, seriously?

On to the music.

Continuing the recent trend of choosing the opener from a sign in the audience, Trey zeroed in on someone not up front, but seemingly further back with a song far outside the rotation in Dinner and a Movie. The odd song is propelled by the fact that it's not being played every other night and hearing something "new" is a wondeful treat. Keep the signs coming, and be creative. If I see someone with a Possum sign, I will tackle them. Speaking of Possum, it wouldn't be 2011 if we didn't get another version. Preceeded by a MOMA Dance that found Trey stretching his legs on the solo a little, we had yet another Possum. This song must die. Why? There are two theories. Holdsworth needs the royalty checks or there's some inside joke. A perfunctory Cities led into Fluffhead. While it is easy to criticize the band's repetitiveness and unwillingness to go far off the expected path with more frequency, you can not criticize the work they have done inside the main themes of the individual songs. Trey especially, has found amazing jam spaces in the oldest of songs. Divided, Fluffhead, Curtain, they all have featured tremendously unique and amazing performances. Tuesday night was no different. Highlighted by amazing Clod section, Trey breathed new life into one of the oldest songs. These moments are becoming more frequent and should be commended. Fluff seemed to light a fire under the band as they launched into a very groovy Ocelot (a song that is sneaky good) and continued the bluegrass trend with the peppy Ginseng Sullivan. The final strecth of the stanza would bring the heat though. While Kill Devil Falls didn't push as far as some previous versions, like Ocelot, it excelled inside its own skin. The second Bathtub Gin in as many nights, the first time since 11-15/16-91, a compact but powerful jam erupted. One that would have been a great moment to leave the stage and rest for Set 2. But Trey had other ideas, conversing with Page and Mike they launched into Light Up Or Leave Me Alone. In what may be the best "Pound for Pound" jam of the entire tour, Light Up went so far and so deep in such a short amount of time. Honestly it caught me by surprise. One minute, we're singing the chorus and then BAM! All of the sudden we're in shredsville (population Trey). Truly amazing, not Light Up for sure...more like Walk Away with more fire. Despite the last two songs the band pressed even further with the de facto set closer Cavern. Great first set. I heard mixed reviews, but I can't hear that. Outside of Possum and Cities, it's top notch.

Second set began with the now heavy rotation Carini. In 2010 the song morphed into a tremendous jam vehicle with major jam sequences that were unique and amazing. In 2011, it's standard at best. The jam started to push a little and then tried to orchestrate a full segue into Sand, but through the magic of the live video you could see Trey try to clue Mike into what he was doing, but alas it was no use. Mike didn't get the message and Carini ended in a loud thud. GuyForget from OnlinePhishTour referred to it as a ->| transition. The Sand that followed was once again powerful, but well within the confines of the song. DWD however pushed into the magnificent territory we found in Michigan. With a similar jam structure, the song began at 100mph and slowly worked its way down into a dark dissonant space that was held for quite a while as they loaded up for Maze. Pure power, Maze was the kind of song that blows the roof off the joints. A four song segment that didn't push any boundaries but was high energy and well executed (minus the segue out of Carini). The remainder of the set followed in the footsteps of so many second sets this tour. Predictable and uninspired. Only Trey's solo in Bug stood out amongst the Meatstick > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Bug > A Day in the Life > Run Like an Antelope stretch. The Antelope being the worst offender, it was lifeless and boring lacking even the, equally predictable, teasing of previous songs in the set. Yet another run out the clock situation for my ears. Any song other a song that closes every other set would have been a welcomed change. Even my prediction of Shine A Light would have been better.

The encore however was an embodiment of all that is right with Phish. A blistering version of Quinn The Eskimo that found a slight off path jam segment that more like Loving Cup than a Bob Dylan tune, was a great ending to the show.

Unless you are a hockey fan, we'll see you again tonight!

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, comment by HotPale
HotPale Quinn the Eskimo is one of the most rockin' tunes in the history of rock! Folky because of Dylan, but because he did not popularize this song it has always had more of a rockin' feel when covered!
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy I just re-listened to Gin, Light-Up and it sounded as great or better on second pass as it did last night. Don't think there's much else that I am eager to listen to or for that matter, anything that I'll re-listen to from the show. I do love Dinner openers and Quinn encores so it was nice to have the show bookended by two personal favorites.

As to the stream itself: yeah it was fantastic. I logged into My Stash right at 7:00 pm and straight through end of Quinn, never an issue. Really pissed me off though with the extra mustard they put into the set-break humor. I was really hoping to use the 30 minutes as the lines for the bathrooms at my venue were long and the concession stands were weak-sauce and moving slowly as well. Having to be glued to the TV for an additional 10 minutes cut into set-break time. Though I really hope someone screen-capped that and puts it up on YouTube. It was hysterical. I can't even remember half the jokes but they were all pretty funny.

Though even with hockey game tonight, and the relatively mediocre effort last night, I'll still likely buy again tonight, fingers crossed that I can multi-task effectively, Phish kicks ass, and the Bruins win. Would be a stellar night. Though if I was a betting man, I wouldn't bet the perfecta.
, comment by benevolution
benevolution so true about that Carini -> | Sand fail. Just one of those juuuust missed moments you can't help but groan but also laugh.
, comment by LINDERAMA65
LINDERAMA65 <3 the couch tour and I thank the band for giving us the opportunity to enjoy a show from the comforts of our personal groove space! I hope we get more of this in the future! I do mostly agree with the review of last nights show and hope they kick it up a notch in some regards tonight. I AM A HOCKEY FAN, however, I have set it up to enjoy the best of both worlds! A PYITE tonight would be most appropriate given the behavior of Vancouver and the the Bruins through the finals!

, comment by finch460
finch460 The webcast itself was perfect. I enjoyed the setbreak jokes and the video quality looked good on my LCD HDTV. Kudos to the web-techies for a job well done. Looking forward to seeing the band play YEM tonight! > ,>
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod Nice review, Eric. Agree that the Gin Light Up is the unquestioned highlight of the show. It's a real shame what's happened to Carini. It really seemed poised to become a true jam vehicle last fall and now it's been reduced to "soft opener" status. If you're still in a bathroom or beer line when Carini comes on, you have 4 minutes to get back to your seat...

All that said, looking forward to tonight!
, comment by BoomboxMike
BoomboxMike i was on couch tour so it was hard to tell, but didn't the sun set during Fluff?
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 dear author,

you may be the worst writer since martin acaster...actually, upon further review, you ARE the worst writer since mr. acaster...truth be told, you make marty look like dr. seuss (make of that what you will)...finally, ANYONE, bitching about the fellas playing 'cities' should be taken out back (administering pre-yard beatings is solely up to and, thus, the responsibility of, each individual punisher) and SLOWLY put out of their misery...really??? whining because Phish played 'CITIES'?!? can't possibly suck at all of life as much as you do Phish (your writing ability notwithstanding) so, please, go find something else to do...thank you in advance
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin Great recap.

Couch tour was great...I've fired up the unauthorized streams before but this was an much better experience. Only a couple small hiccups in the stream, nothing major, and if I had anything better than a terrible integrated graphics card in my MacBook those probably wouldn't have happened. The audio was top notch, and the video was generally HD with the exception of a lot of compression artifacts. Turned off the lights and the way the stage lights strobed through my living room really gave a great feeling of being there, with the added plus of snacks and some really great beer.

The show seemed pretty average for 3.0. The Light Up and Gin jams were fantastic and by far the highlights of the first set (and entire show). Unfortunately other songs that used to jam (Moma, Cities) in the first set were really just short, maybe even less than standard. Fluffhead was very well executed, and being able to watch Trey and Page up close during some of the runs they play was great. Page in particular seems like he's having the time of his life up there, all smiles all night.

Set two started off with what seemed like a promising Carini jam which then came to a crashing halt when Mike seemed to miss the Sand riff that Trey was laying down. The Sand jam was good, in fact the entire sequence through Maze was fun. Although truth be told, I would have preferred one tune with a long jam in the place of Carini> Sand, pick either one Trey, I don't care. Meatstick was entertaining since the webcast let us see the dance, but audio only it was completely standard. As for the rest of the second set - well - it was fairly typical by 3.0 standards (Bug was kind of boring, and I actually kind of like it as a song), although I always enjoy ADITL. The Quinn encore was really, really great, high energy, crowd at the show singing along, as well as the crowd on my couch.

This show is probably a 4.0 all time, scale it up to a 5.5 on a 3.0-only scale if you want. On a scale of what is usually on my TV on a Tuesday night, 10.0! Definitely check out the Light Up and Gin.
, comment by beanholestatus
beanholestatus someone please bring a spocks brain sign! we need to bring that song back
, comment by zunisfly
zunisfly Wasn't the first official stream Alpine Valley 1998?
, comment by terms_of_the_dance
terms_of_the_dance Great review! Glad you didn't sugarcoat anything.

Tell it like it is!
, comment by tvlxql9x
tvlxql9x ^There was a Spock's Brain sign, but if they do anything from a sign tonight it'll be Prep School Hippie. There was one right up front and at the beginning of set 2 Trey pointed at the dude and was like "YES!" So since we didn't get it I'm assuming they just went to brush up on it so they can play it tonight.

As for the review, I thought it was a little harsh on the Meatstick through A Day in the Life Section. Page had a nice little mini-segue into A Day in the Life and 2001 wasn't bad, it just wasn't awesome either. You hit the nail on the head for the Antelope though... Anyway, spot on other than the Meatstick-A Day in the Life section.
, comment by HighGearAntelope
HighGearAntelope PYITE said the rest of the 2nd set was "predictable and uninspired". I thought it was at least somewhat inspired, but certainly not predictable. Bug has been played at roughly 1 in 12 3.0 shows, and ADITL 1 in 9, although much less if you throw out 2009 when it was played much more often. I also figured that ADITL would end the set, but it didn't. Anyway, DWD > Maze which I thought went > Meatstick was great IMHO. Antelope was probably average, but that's still a good thing from my perspective. And yeah, Mighty Quinn was rockin. Bottom line though: WEBCASTS RULE and would love to see more. "POSSUM" sign?? Brilliant! I want to see not just one but several "POSSUM" signs tonight folks! And I guess that would be, POSSI, plural, eh?
, comment by lbsurfer8
lbsurfer8 vegas 2000 was a live stream too..
, comment by heyitsmejenni
heyitsmejenni @theothr1 said:
dear author,

whining because Phish played 'CITIES'?!? can't possibly suck at all of life as much as you do Phish (your writing ability notwithstanding) so, please, go find something else to do...thank you in advance
Referring to last night's Cities as perfunctory can hardly be considered "whining." It's a simple statement of fact. This performance, while well played, simply does not take full advantage of the song's potential. Check out's song history page for more information on the many instances where Phish has gone beyond the "perfunctory" to create truly memorable experiences with Cities. I would by no means register the author's comment on last night's version as a complaint. Instead, his opinion makes evident his knowledge of the tune's history with the band.With this knowledge, it's completely reasonable, when the guys choose to bust this one out, to expect substantially more than we got last night
, comment by iandisoftheworld
iandisoftheworld my highlights from last nights stream:

light up or leave me alone (kinda dark jam at the end reminicent of SOAmelt?)
DWD jam-> mike segue> Maze was particularly hot, especially the mike segue.

overall it was a standard rockin first set.

Comments on the gin: it was a rockin gin, but i prefer a more jammed out version.

Hoping tonight is the "jammier" show of the run.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty @theothr1 said:
dear author,

you may be the worst writer since martin acaster...actually, upon further review, you ARE the worst writer since mr. acaster...truth be told, you make marty look like dr. seuss (make of that what you will)...finally, ANYONE, bitching about the fellas playing 'cities' should be taken out back (administering pre-yard beatings is solely up to and, thus, the responsibility of, each individual punisher) and SLOWLY put out of their misery...really??? whining because Phish played 'CITIES'?!? can't possibly suck at all of life as much as you do Phish (your writing ability notwithstanding) so, please, go find something else to do...thank you in advance
Thanks for the kind words!!!
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman dear @theothr1,

Since you dropped out of high school junior year when your older sister's tour rat boyfriend got you hooked on truck stop speed and used you as a mule to boof his drugs into shows, you probably weren't exposed to the bigger words in the English language. Perfunctory, for example, simply means "short". I think I hear your wook dog crying for some water you candyflipping waste of space.

Better than you.

ps. Marty Acaster is at least Shel Silverstein. Dr Seuss had some fucked up politics.
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman Congratulations on your wings though. Big accomplishment.
, comment by Doctor_Smarty
Doctor_Smarty "When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?"
— Shel Silverstein (A Light in the Attic)
, comment by joechip
joechip Nailed the assesment, though I think the Maze brought some serious extra fire that made it another legitimate highlight of the show.

Not digging the multiple mid 2nd set Meatsticks here. IMO terrible placement. 3 Meatsticks to date and only one Ghost, Twist, Simple, Jim, SOAM, Drowned, the list goes on. I personally find that to be baffling.

Meatstick belongs in the first set, or as an encore, possibly a second set closer or opener, but in the middle I think it's a huge drag.

2001 seemed so rushed to my ears, well played but....

In short, the section in the middle from KDF to Maze had the makings of a great show. Hope for a more consistent flowing effort tonight.

, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy Perhaps one of the most bad ass poems ever written, The Great Smoke Off, by Shel Silverstein. If you haven't read it, I urge you to.
, comment by lunamoon
lunamoon @BoomboxMike said:
i was on couch tour so it was hard to tell, but didn't the sun set during Fluff?
Yes! Yes it did! I was there and it was amazing!
, comment by davey0110
davey0110 I'll go ahead and say it. I'm A Trance Stars song histories were among my favorite in the Phish companion. He seems to be on a different plane of existance than the majority of us. When I'm sitting on the john reading a particlarly strange/humorous song history, I always check the author with the belief that Martin's name will pop up.
, comment by LINDERAMA65
LINDERAMA65 (As posted on Phish's FB page too) So, I was thinking about the dynamics of Phish and the audience. As a long time phish head (class of '89) I spent the years between 1989 and 2000 with a similar age (give or take 5-10) years crowd who were passionate about listening for every tease, who could call a tune on the first note, and when the teases within a jam were in it's infancy, the majority of the crowd would become rabid and frothy, encouraging the band to "go for it" to explore, experiment, be unpredictable and throw it down. To me, it was about the give and take dynamic between the band and the audience, the energy, excitement and insanity, and knowledge of the music and its possibilities that gave opportunity for both the band and the audience to encourage each other to go into another dimension. The dynamic between the audience and band are muted for me. I don't feel it or see it as much anymore. I also noticed that the average age of the crowd is the average age when I saw Phish back in the early 90s. So it's a newer connoisseurship, and the old-time phish heads who experienced that dynamic are fewer in numbers. Of course, for some older phish heads, lifestyle changes make it more difficult to get to a show, also, mail-order and actually getting tickets without showing up at a lot doesn't exist anymore. The pause in Phish 1.0 to 2.0 and then to 3.0 didn't help carry on the musical dynamic and understanding between the audience and phish either. I always loved phish because it was about experimentation,improvisation, unpredictability, risks, and exploration. I often wonder if the reason they hold back is because the audience holds back too.
, comment by ADAWGWYO
ADAWGWYO ^^^ I like you
, comment by MongoNugget
MongoNugget The biggest problem with the Alpharetta shows were the fucking local pigs raiding all the hotels in the area. Garggle my nutsacks Alpharetta.
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 jeeeeeeeez, you guys are ssssso sssssssserioussssss,,,,,,
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 i just noticed my "comeuppance" for blasting you////allow me to retort:

first, i have niether siblings nor pets...i graduated from high school when i was 16, aaaaaand subsequently graduated from college with a Master's deg in Criminal/Abnormal Psychology and a Bachelor's in Philosophical Theology...admittedly, i tried speed once but it wasn't at a truck-stop which may have been why i didn't like it...and i apologize for taking your use of "perfunctory" in negative context...however, while the word perfunctory is, in fact, USUALLY used to mean "short", the tone of your post, especially when, later on, you said "Outside of Possum and Cities, it's top notch", caused me to believe you knew more than just the surface definition of the word...too much credit where it wasn't due, i guess and, for that, allow me to, again, apologize
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