Monday 07/09/2012 by bertoletdown

SPAC3 RECAP

I have bittersweet feelings about tonight, as there’s part of me that wishes this tour could go on and on. I love many of these sets and even shows individually, but most of all what I really like about this leg one is its narrative arc. By and large, since regaining their footing in Atlantic City, Phish is telling a story about consistency – the kind of consistency that makes a Phish show a very safe bet in 2012. They are playing like a band in command of its arsenal, and with an understanding of what its discerning fans expect and desire. More often than not, they are sending those fans away sated with a winning combination of showmanship, deep cuts from the repertoire, and a healthy balance of tight and loose playing. Even the most jaded fan can find something to be glad for about this stand.

But we’ve got one more gig to go, and if it’s 45 minutes past the time on your ticket, it must be showtime. Let’s do this!

Throughout the first half of this tour, the staff here at Phish.net grumbled both publicly and amongst ourselves about fourth quarter doldrums – either a flurry of oddly placed songs or hurried jamming in the latter half of a second set that often amounted to a deceleration of sorts and gummed up the flow. By and large, with just a few exceptions, that problem seems to have been addressed and put behind us. Now in its place we seem to be seeing lots of tepid first quarters, and tonight serves as a prime example.

I don’t want to overstate this, read too deeply into it, or imply that I’m losing sleep over it. I’ve seen enough Phish to understand that it’s not entirely new. It’s even defensible. Three hours is a long time to play their brand of rock, especially in the oppressive heat of summer. It takes concentration and energy, and if I have to pick between a balls-to-the-wall first quarter and a balls-to-the-wall fourth quarter, the fourth quarter gets the nod every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

But there’s nothing remarkable or attention getting about the “AC/DC Bag” opener tonight, or the four song stretch that follows. Among them, “Camel Walk” – a tune that I am always super glad to hear live – reveals a band that may very well be experiencing some fatigue.

But enough about that. Let’s talk about the mid-set “Party Time.” Great stuff, and a likely “best ever” candidate for this number, which ventures beyond its typical role as a crowd-pleasing mood maker (Phish’s “Aiko Aiko,” perhaps) and points to its own promise as a vehicle for spirited group jamming. A turning point for the song – and for the set, as we’d come to learn.

Another jam-free “Gumbo” bubbles up, followed by a flurry of tunes that aside from the well-played “Foam” do not merit too much analysis or discussion.

What most certainly does merit discussion is the gargantuan “Split Open and Melt” > “La Grange” pairing that ends the set. Standalone “Melts” have been mostly fenced-in affairs during Phish’s 3.0 era, with unclear direction and modest peaks. Tonight’s is triumphant, and reminiscent at times of the throbbing, back-of-the-worm versions from the summer of ‘97. It would be ridiculous to qualify my praise for this “Melt” by noting that it isn’t flawlessly played; very few versions of this song are, and that’s not the point besides. Tonight the band captures the broken, horrorshow spirit of the composition, and peaks it with purpose. At the risk of damning with faint praise, I’ll call it the best “Melt” since Coventry, and walk that back later if I need to...

But lest you think that’s all she wrote, think again, because here comes the first “La Grange” since 1999, delivered like a precise right cross. The entire band attacks this long forgotten ZZ Top cover with 1.0-style, type I zeal.

And that, my friends, is how you bring home a first set.

Having earned their breather, Phish bounds out of the gate with a punchy “Axilla” to open set two. “Light” is so consistently transcendent these days that its first chords get fans genuinely excited, and it’s great to hear them respond to late-era material this enthusiastically (Dear Phish, please write new songs). Trey apologizes sheepishly for transposing verses before the band drops into a lilting, watery jam section. The ensuing conversation pinballs around a bit, with nobody willing to choose a vector, and it seems unlikely that this “Light” has its controls set for the heart of the sun. Before long, Fishman drops out, leaving Trey and Page to debate the merits of “Twist” before settling on precisely that.

“Twist” features some jamming around the main “Oye Como Va” riff [author's note: having re-listened thanks to some comments in the blog, it is definitely not "Oye Como Va" but "In A Gadda Da Vida"], but otherwise just coasts along for a few minutes before yielding to “Kill Devil Falls.” After a straightforward but impassioned jam section, the band returns to the closing chorus, but instead of ending the song, breaks out a bonus “reprise” jam that wanders quickly off the beaten path, painting briefly in primary colors and to lovely effect. Splendid reading of “KDF” and a must-hear, right down to the nifty segue into “My Friend, My Friend.”

“My Friend” is marred by clammy execution, unfortunately, but in lieu of its usual “MYFE!” ending bleeds instead into “Swept Away” > “Steep” – which not only conjures fond memories of the Billy Breathes era but also sounds goddamn great these days when dressed up in its elegant, lyrical new jam. I love this pairing and it is lovingly played and well placed here.

Piper” pops up next and begins to show promise when Fishman doubles the beat and Mike initiates a four-chord progression similar to “Uncle John’s Band.” The harmonic idea doesn’t take, but a simplified version emerges a minute or so later, and Trey jumps back into the fray with his most dextrous lead playing of the night. The jam soon reaches a soaring climax, tethered to terra firma only by Fish’s jazzy beat – a four-on-the-floor approach might have ultimately been more satisfying, but I’m nitpicking here – and then hints at a second climax before rocketing off into interplanetary space, where no foot pedal is left un-stomped...

From the ashes of this blazing “Piper” we hear the declarative open D chord of “Free,” a wonderful song that could benefit from either practice or some time on the shelf. This version was sloppy and unfortunately rather pointless - especially since the unexpected “Kung” would have been such an inspired call straight out of the “Piper” meltdown.

Fishman quotes “Kung” (“from the hills...”) in the truncated opening to “Harry Hood,” which is beautifully played and builds to a more satisfying climax than many recent versions. A hot “Cavern” brings the set to a raucous conclusion with Mike slapping away with all he’s got, signalling his obvious pleasure with how this night has played out...

Wait! There’s more? There’s more! “David Bowie” threatens to bust the curfew, especially if there are encore shenanigans in the offing. Trey teases “Crosseyed and Painless” en route to a fiery peak in this brief but gratifying “Bowie,” and the last set of leg one is in the books.

If you polled the SPAC audience right now and asked them what they want to hear, it’s a safe bet that the rather dormant “You Enjoy Myself” would be the top pick – and so it is! This “YEM” proves nearly pristine until a slightly muffed transition into the vocal jam, but no matter. We’re in Bonus-ville now, and “YEM” is the perfect capstone to a set as grand as any in recent memory.

Valued readers: this is why we are critical. Because sets like this, and arguably shows like this, deserve to be set apart, and appraised differently from the pack, and if we blow our glitter all over the common stuff, we have no descriptors left. Personally, I am glad and proud to be able to fluff the hell out of this final show of leg one, and so let’s take a look at what just went down...

We got unusually strong and certainly “top 5 of 3.0” versions of “Party Time,” “Melt,” “Kill Devil Falls,” and “Piper.” We got perfectly-rendered deep-shelf cuts in “La Grange,” “Swept Away” > “Steep,” and “Kung.” And we got a second setlist as carefully and successfully constructed as any in years, right down to the “YEM” encore. All of this serves to redeem a weak first quarter and then some, and should send both fans and the band home to sleep contentedly, feeling good about the State of Phish in 2012.

Well done, Phish. I will see you in Long Beach on August 15th!

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Comments

, comment by HenryHolland
HenryHolland (Dear Phish, please write new songs)

Totally agree with that. Is Steam the only new song they've done on the last two tours?

Well done, Phish. I will see you in Long Beach on August 15th!

Aka "the warmup show before the 3 night Bill Graham run". :-(
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @HenryHolland said:
(Dear Phish, please write new songs)

Totally agree with that. Is Steam the only new song they've done on the last two tours?

Well done, Phish. I will see you in Long Beach on August 15th!

Aka "the warmup show before the 3 night Bill Graham run". :-(
If Phish plays as well in Long Beach as they did at DCU 1, I'll walk away happy.
, comment by gregdodge
gregdodge be careful what you wish for...
, comment by nichobert
nichobert They didn't play
I: Round Room-> Ya Mar-> Vultures-> Undermind -> Taste-> Party Time-> Taste
II: Simple-> Bouncing-> Foam*-> Bowie-> Bouncing Reprise-> Bowie
E: Mound**
* unfinished
** superMound
, comment by nichobert
nichobert If they top set 2 of DCU1 then we got anew best set of 2012.0!
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @nichobert said:
If they top set 2 of DCU1 then we got anew best set of 2012.0!
Easy there.
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 @bertoletdown

Nice review...I think the whole 4 quarter analogy is perfect...and you've hit it on the head about how in the 4th quarter when headed downfield the team has come up a few yards short of that critical 1st down...you won't hear any complaining from me about this three night run...which I believe has been the best run of the tour...

The band has defintely turned a new corner...there's a buzz going around the community that's a little different than it's been over the last few tours...it's exciting and fresh. And I think the thing that stands out the most about this recent tour...besides the bustouts, improv, crowd interaction, funny antics, is that many of the sets are filled with..and especially in the second sets..plenty of > and -> which is something that is always welcomed...

Enjoy what's coming your way west coasters..
, comment by BillZauggsCabin
BillZauggsCabin Good review Bertoletdown! Can't wait for 2nd Leg.
, comment by CmdrDarklighter
CmdrDarklighter This tour has had my spider-senses tingling since April. I took a chance and arranged for AC and Portsmouth in leg 1 and the southern arc and Dick's in leg 2, based on 2011 and my intuition. The 5 East Coast shows I attended had me in a near panic to catch a couple more before the leg-break, so I drove overnight to Indiana for a couple of Deer Creek. I have not been this excited about live music since the early nineties and I intend to get my fill! Phish is not perfect in the way a Tom Petty or Roger Waters show might be (perfect readings of a predictable set list), thank the gods, but they take risks in a way that enriches all of us, despite the occasional clams or missed cues. The type I and type II stuff that results from these guys sticking their necks out puts a grin on my face- now I smile just thinking about August! This cannot last forever, grab it while you can!
, comment by mgouker
mgouker They ended the tour with an exclamation point by knocking this one out of the park. We saw 7 shows (Star Lake, Blossom, both Jones Beach, and all 3 SPACs) and watched Bonnaroo and Portsmouth on video. I've heard the entire tour. In my humble opinion, night 3 was the best night at SPAC (better than night one - which was very good - and night two - which felt to me to be a rare off-night though quite good anyway (they are playing really well now)). Well done, fellows! I loved that the Piper did the magic and the Swept Away > Steep was psychedelia personified. What a great time!!!
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 I caught night two of spac and was extremely disappointed as I wrote in an earlier review. I gave it 2.9 out of 5 stars. However sunday was the best night of the run imho. The first set lagged until if i could which was an excellent verison. My other highlight was definitely the split which rivaled the portsmouth split but not sure it was better overall very close and solid version nonetheless. I'll get right to the meat of the second set. The light was once again top notch and I loved every minute of it. Then came one of my favorite jam vehicles in twist which they have been cutting short lately rather than letting it flow like they did earlier in the tour. This twist was good but once again it was cut short before it could really get going. Piper along with light is a MUST hear from this show. This could very well be the best piper of the tour though alpine valley's piper is very stiff competition. Listen to both versions then decide for yourself. Bowie was a very solid version one of the better ones this tour. Yem was definitely a fitting encore as most people knew it was coming in that slot. Aside from some lyrical flubs this version did not disapoint one bit. Overall this was best show of the three nights as spac. However I would not put it up there with best shows this tour (star lake, alpine valley night 1 second set) . Thank you phish for the best tour i've been a part of in a long time. Can't wait for leg 2 cheers
, comment by msgisgoodforyou
msgisgoodforyou Great Review! It really has been an awesome First Leg of 2012...even though their choice of ticket art foreshadowing "The end of the world?...the end of the band? the end of something as we know it?..." kinda freaks me out...

...Anyway, I'd like to formally call for a Freebird opener to Leg Two...Why? Because as we've seen so far...Why Not?!!?

GO PHISH!
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 Last night's Piper is the answer for everyone that has constantly posted about the lack of transcendent jamming, blah blah blah. I felt that the jam out of Piper may be one of the quintessential jams of 3.0. It had everything from peaks to valleys, rocking out to space, simply awesome. If you can't find happiness with this jam, do yourself and favor and just stop listening and posting dumb comments. It won't happen better than this one.

Thank you for a wonderful tour, Phish. I will be anxiously awaiting the West swing from my couch.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks "Even the most jaded fan can find something to be glad for about this stand."

At this point, 'jaded' fans should fuck off for their own sake. The instant a fan decides that his 'jadedness' (self-regard) is a function of the music itself, rather than a purely egotistical malady, he's better off staying home with his memories and giving his ticket to someone who can enjoy the experience on its own terms. Talking about the beam in my eye too yes, but there's no shortage of same around here.

Three great things about last night's show: (1) the way Swept Away emerges from MFMF's shadow to flicker, glow, and go Weird; (2) the jam from 8/7/09's Sally smiling out of the foggy Light jam; (3) the hushed middle portion of the Piper jam; and (bonus) (4) how Kung is sooooooooooo stupid and we all don't mind, or pretend not to mind, because when we get to the future we'll die there with our friends and so why bitch about small things. Even others' jadedness (oh) or (oh) my own. Plus that's a nice drawn-out ending to Kung, isn't it!

oPc: 10/21/10 Split Open > Mercy > Piper > and Melt goddamn
, comment by WaxBrain
WaxBrain All I saw this past weekend; and at the other few shows I saw this tour, was a band having a lot of FUN.
Trey was a monster the whole weekend at SPAC, and it sure did kick arse seeing/hearing it. ....I mean, damn peoples -- they were on fire! It's right there on the tapes!!
I dunno... yeah Phish, life: never what you want, need, can use, sell, snort, shoot, hump, etc etc....but a ridiculously gifted group of musicians who have huge smiles on their faces, and are on most nites -- and certainly every moment of SPAC -- the best dance band in the world??
As far as not being the "same", "anymore" -- nothing ever is. But a smiling band of Phish??
Yeah, I'll take it.
, comment by Alumni
Alumni There's a lot to like about this show. No complaints from me.

Okay, one (I can't help myself). Pls, Trey, turn down the shrill. Your current tone can be a weapon of mass destruction at times. :)
, comment by Dividedsky333
Dividedsky333 This was a great venue for glowstick wars. ;-)
, comment by AbePhroman
AbePhroman “Twist” features some jamming around the main “Oye Como Va” riff

Just to clear this up, that was not Oye Como Va.

That was In A Gadda Da Vida
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM @Alumni said:
There's a lot to like about this show. No complaints from me.

Okay, one (I can't help myself). Pls, Trey, turn down the shrill. Your current tone can be a weapon of mass destruction at times. :)
Thank you. I couldn't agree more. Emphatically. Picking up the thread from spac2 here and I think this is part of why the middle-range dynamics are not what they were in 1.0 as you mentioned before. It forces things to a polarity between either rage or ambience and this is part of why hoods/rebas/slaves aren't quite as satisfying to my ears these days.

That said, what a nice way to end the tour. Possibly a better three night run than AC, have to listen again. Hood and Bowie finish off the fourth with swagger. Overtime exclamation with YEM.
, comment by Rainsinger
Rainsinger @AbePhroman said:
�Twist� features some jamming around the main �Oye Como Va� riff

Just to clear this up, that was not Oye Como Va.

That was In A Gadda Da Vida
Finally another who agrees!
, comment by Phishrabbi
, comment by sethadam1
sethadam1 @waxbanks said:
"The instant a fan decides that his 'jadedness' (self-regard) is a function of the music itself, rather than a purely egotistical malady, he's better off staying home with his memories and giving his ticket to someone who can enjoy the experience on its own terms.
I wonder how you can say that with a straight face. As one of our most prolific reviewers, how you can in one sentence saw someone who has an emotional response should "fuck off" and the a few words later say to give the ticket to someone who will enjoy it "on its own terms." That's completely hypocritical. My own terms are partly jaded.

I'm so tired of this silly need for every single note Phish plays to be worshipped as though it's beyond reproach. This is not "Phish 4.0" and the boys are not without fault. They are, however, playing remarkably consistently and that deserves all of the acknowledgement it's been given, but it doesn't mean it's out of line to comment on the parts that aren't top notch.

How about this? I continue to see the band I want to see and I'll react however I damn well please.
, comment by jwelsh8
jwelsh8 "At this point, 'jaded' fans should fuck off for their own sake. The instant a fan decides that his 'jadedness' (self-regard) is a function of the music itself, rather than a purely egotistical malady, he's better off staying home with his memories and giving his ticket to someone who can enjoy the experience on its own terms."

Which is it, for their own sake or for "someone who can enjoy the experience on its own terms?" And who are you to suggest how a fan of a band should enjoy their music?

I find it hard to believe that anyone can actually attend show after show and experience it on its own terms. I think may be even harder to do so with a band like Phish, where each experience is different -- of course you are going to bring with you your past encounters with the band. I think that is the very reason people see Phish 10, 50, 100 times.

I am also curious as to this "jaded" self-awareness. Can one actually be "jaded" and not have it be a function of the music?
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @AbePhroman said:
�Twist� features some jamming around the main �Oye Como Va� riff

Just to clear this up, that was not Oye Como Va.

That was In A Gadda Da Vida
Because I'd like to get this right, can you give me a timing on the LivePhish SBD? I will definitely give it another listen. Thanks!
, comment by chrismcguire634
chrismcguire634 @AlbanyYEM said:
@Alumni said:
There's a lot to like about this show. No complaints from me.

Okay, one (I can't help myself). Pls, Trey, turn down the shrill. Your current tone can be a weapon of mass destruction at times. :)
Thank you. I couldn't agree more. Emphatically. Picking up the thread from spac2 here and I think this is part of why the middle-range dynamics are not what they were in 1.0 as you mentioned before. It forces things to a polarity between either rage or ambience and this is part of why hoods/rebas/slaves aren't quite as satisfying to my ears these days.

That said, what a nice way to end the tour. Possibly a better three night run than AC, have to listen again. Hood and Bowie finish off the fourth with swagger. Overtime exclamation with YEM.
I could not agree more. You both said it very well. Trey's tone in the past has been (in many instance) the basis by which a jam or a composed section really "clicked". I'm really enjoying this current tour, BUT, I do think that Trey's new more tiny/shrill tone is an underlying reason why some of the jams haven't been as long and why some have left us either scratching our heads or unsatisfied.
, comment by RB214
RB214 Best Melt since Coventry? If I remember correctly weren't they crying at that point?
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks ONE.

I'm so tired of this silly need for every single note Phish plays to be worshipped as though it's beyond reproach.
I have no idea what this has to do with my comment.

TWO.

How about this? I continue to see the band I want to see and I'll react however I damn well please.
Sounds like everyone's got exactly the right attitude and don't you dare let anyone tell you otherwise ever.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @jwelsh8 said:
I find it hard to believe that anyone can actually attend show after show and experience it on its own terms.
Yes, it is a hard thing to believe.

I am also curious as to this "jaded" self-awareness. Can one actually be "jaded" and not have it be a function of the music?
Yes.

The members of Phish have worked their entire lives to try and achieve -- as a routine matter -- a state of egoless group communication. I think the fullest experience of the resulting music is to be had in a similar state. I have a hard time getting there sometimes, and when that's the case I tend to hold my own difficulties against the music, the band, the night, the crowd.

This is bullshit of course and I want to be done with it. Some dudes wanna defend their right to keep on keeping on in their own heads? How dare I argue.

@sethadam1 said upthread that...

I wonder...how you can in one sentence [say] someone who has an emotional response should "fuck off" and the a few words later say to give the ticket to someone who will enjoy it "on its own terms."
But he's missing my point. 'Jadedness' isn't about the music. It's not an emotional response to the shared experience, because the whole point is that jaded motherfuckers aren't taking part. They're having their own experience, willfully separating themselves for whatever private and very human reasons.

And those folks are better off taking time out for other experiences. This site overflows with comments from back-in-the-day fans who've gone away awhile and come back with a new, powerful love for Phish's music and the weird Events at which that music is made. I don't think 'jaded' fans owe me anything; I think they owe themselves the happiness that distance can afford.

And it's nice to pass on a ticket -- even a $70 one -- to some kid who's dying to find out what the joyful noise is about.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks To be clear: it's fine to say you wish the music were more like it used to be. (Duh.) It's fine to criticize, as long as keep a level head. But it's not fine to make a fetish of your own 'veteran' status, trading away fulfillment for satisfaction.

I used to joke that hating bad movies is more rewarding than loving good ones -- because if the movie sucks, then your enjoyment (at the bar afterward, say) is limited only by your own creativity in dissing it. You can always work harder to spin the wheel faster. Whereas after a good movie, you feel as good as the movie let you feel.

That was wrong. I was wrong.

The point of all my comments in this thread is that we should stop treating 'jadedness' as if it's the same thing as 'experience' or 'perspective.' It's not. It's almost exactly the opposite of those things.
, comment by WaxBrain
WaxBrain @Dividedsky333 said:
This was a great venue for glowstick wars. ;-)
I'm not gonna get into all the heavy sh*t being discussed here....

But I will say that there are ALWAYS great things going on at any Phish show.....and a really solid GSW 'can be' one of them.
And SPAC -- especially during Sand on nite 1 -- had some really nice ones.
These days it seems people just chuck glowsticks all the time, so the novelty of an honest to goodness glowstick WAR is pretty much another forgotten highlight of Phish of yester-year -- you know, like the solid jams or whatever. ;)
SPAC delivered though.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @RB214 said:
Best Melt since Coventry? If I remember correctly weren't they crying at that point?
Yeah it's an interesting listen. Its virtues aren't exactly shared with most well-loved Splits. A lot of Loud Fast Monotonous Rock, with a Ghost-meets-Birds climactic jam that's not all that different from the other big long jams of '04, frankly. The ambient outro is a really compelling soundscape.

I wasn't at the show but it sounds to me like the average Phish fan needs to hear that jam less than the band needed to play it.
, comment by jwelsh8
jwelsh8 @waxbanks said:
I am also curious as to this "jaded" self-awareness. Can one actually be "jaded" and not have it be a function of the music?
Yes.
So . . . how does it happen? I don't believe you explained it.

@waxbanks said:
The point of all my comments in this thread is that we should stop treating 'jadedness' as if it's the same thing as 'experience' or 'perspective.' It's not. It's almost exactly the opposite of those things.
Who is "we"? I think one describes oneself as being "jaded" as self-mockery, in a flippant manner. I also believe that one can be critical of the band's music, decisions, playing, bringing in experience and perspective, without succumbing to a "jaded" label. If I leave a show (NYE, Bonnaroo) with expectations that were not fulfilled and wishes for something different, I am not looking for someone to tell me how I could/should change . . .
, comment by pete722
pete722 I'm a novice when it comes to Phish shows, the three SPAC shows being #3, 4, and 5! So my review will just be a quick commentary and shout out to Jessica the girl behind me on Sunday :) I have seen Phish in Cali but never home in NY and never at SPAC where I grew up seeing my favorites The ABB and others since 90'. Phish at the Bowl last summer was when I started to see how special this band, the shows, and the Phans are! This SPAC run was really mind blowing. I'm so glad my buddies kept hooking me up with tix and making me come back for more. I thought the music and the energy were outstanding. The old favorites were great. I learned some new ones too! The covers were unreal! So much fun for a guy like me! Each closer was better than the last. La grange and the "Nice Girl Out There" sitting behind me, Jessica, had a smile on my face for the last two days. I certainly enjoyed myself, I hope you enjoyed myself too! Heading back to Cali in a couple weeks. Already got tix for Long Beach and maybe if I can swing it head to at least one in Frisco too! Jessica if you, your brother or Caren read this please contact me at peteaccardi@yahoo.com. Jessica you have a ticket to the Long Beach show already, and a place to stay, if you can get that pretty smile to the left coast.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @jwelsh8 said:
@waxbanks said:
I am also curious as to this "jaded" self-awareness. Can one actually be "jaded" and not have it be a function of the music?
Yes.
So . . . how does it happen? I don't believe you explained it.
I don't need to. Here, lemme ask my laptop computer what 'jaded' means:

"tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something"

See that 'too much' in there, the entire point of the definition, the whole problem, the thing people joke about to relieve anxiety about it being their problem? It's not a quality of the music. It's not complicated and it's not worth arguing about anymore today.

Enjoy the rest of the thread.

oPc: The post-Disease jam on 7/1/98, leading into Dog-Faced Boy, is really pretty.
, comment by ckess22
ckess22 @chrismcguire634 said:
@AlbanyYEM said:
@Alumni said:
There's a lot to like about this show. No complaints from me.

Okay, one (I can't help myself). Pls, Trey, turn down the shrill. Your current tone can be a weapon of mass destruction at times. :)
Thank you. I couldn't agree more. Emphatically. Picking up the thread from spac2 here and I think this is part of why the middle-range dynamics are not what they were in 1.0 as you mentioned before. It forces things to a polarity between either rage or ambience and this is part of why hoods/rebas/slaves aren't quite as satisfying to my ears these days.

That said, what a nice way to end the tour. Possibly a better three night run than AC, have to listen again. Hood and Bowie finish off the fourth with swagger. Overtime exclamation with YEM.
I could not agree more. You both said it very well. Trey's tone in the past has been (in many instance) the basis by which a jam or a composed section really "clicked". I'm really enjoying this current tour, BUT, I do think that Trey's new more tiny/shrill tone is an underlying reason why some of the jams haven't been as long and why some have left us either scratching our heads or unsatisfied.

I agree with the thoughts on the sound. And that the current tone cuts jams short...that seems plausible. So, as someone that has no technical knowledge beyond what my ears can hear, what's the solution? I had a bigger problem with the tone in '09, which everyone seemed to say was because he wasn't using his compressor...so people bought him a new one. Is something like that needed here? Or does Trey or a tech just need to turn a dial or something. Just curious.
, comment by jwelsh8
jwelsh8 @waxbanks said:
@jwelsh8 said:
@waxbanks said:
I am also curious as to this "jaded" self-awareness. Can one actually be "jaded" and not have it be a function of the music?
Yes.
So . . . how does it happen? I don't believe you explained it.
I don't need to. Here, lemme ask my laptop computer what 'jaded' means:

"tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something"

See that 'too much' in there, the entire point of the definition, the whole problem, the thing people joke about to relieve anxiety about it being their problem? It's not a quality of the music. It's not complicated and it's not worth arguing about anymore today.
Clearly, you needed to. :)

And what is a "jaded" person "bored or lacking enthusiasm" for? Music. Something about the music is not connecting with this person as it was before. It is a function of the music that at one time did not make them "tired."
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 go listen to the portsmouth split now.
, comment by WaxBrain
WaxBrain It's only rock n' roll.....an I fer 1 quite like it.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @RB214 said:
Best Melt since Coventry? If I remember correctly weren't they crying at that point?
They decided to play it to "blow off steam" and it was an absolutely incredible version.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown This thread would have been a lot shorter, comment wise, if I had only said "discerning" instead of "jaded."

Discerning is what I meant anyway. Jaded, as Jeremy pointed out, is a term of art and is intended in a self-deprecating way.

Who among us, including Phish themselves, hasn't had their fill of Phish now and then? Ought not be that controversial a topic, imo.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting I got all pumped when I saw the purple icon. I like what you have to say, Wally, and I'm always glad to read your comments and reviews. It's OK to be smarter than most people, but you're only gonna drive yourself nuts dealing with some people in the world on the internet.

The argument someone made against your "Phish blogger" comment was incorrect. A sportscaster saying a clutch dinger would silence detractors is reasonable. A slugger in a slump probably hears about it from his detractors quite a bit. . .if he's "big" enough, sports talk radio, the local/national newspapers, the news media, bloggers and the public at large that are either fans of the player, team or just aware of someone in a slump. When he hits a walk-off homer or something, it silences his detractors; and he probably wants it to.

Whereas Phish probably doesn't care what four online bloggers have to say about them. I'm sure they do a little, but they're a major rock band. They're gonna be successful, and the blogs saying that Phish is playing well, but not quite to their peak, but really well isn't something a major rock band would work on giving a "f--- you" to.

Where am I again?
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @safetymeeting said:

Whereas Phish probably doesn't care what four online bloggers have to say about them. I'm sure they do a little, but they're a major rock band. They're gonna be successful, and the blogs saying that Phish is playing well, but not quite to their peak, but really well isn't something a major rock band would work on giving a "f--- you" to.
I hope Phish doesn't give a rip what I write about their shows. I hope they don't waste a nanosecond of thought on it. I hope they devote their Phish thoughts to playing good shows by practicing, listening, and hooking up.

So, I don't write for them. I write for myself, because I like to process thoughts on the page, and I write for you, because I like to share my experience of music with other people, and I write for the site, because I want it to succeed.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting I like you too, @bertoletdown. I think all of us freaks could use a tour free from online Phish media. I like the music, don't get me wrong, but sometimes if .net doesn't have a recap up of a show I've streamed, I get like "where is it?!?"; and huh, I don't see myself re-listening to shows as much as I did for the handful of tapes I had in the late 90's. Maybe .net and phish thoughts.org should do a "second-look" recap a week after the show?

Just kidding. I never should have remembered my password for posting here.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting Ugh. I make *no* sense.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM @ckess22 said:
@chrismcguire634 said:
@AlbanyYEM said:
@Alumni said:
There's a lot to like about this show. No complaints from me.

Okay, one (I can't help myself). Pls, Trey, turn down the shrill. Your current tone can be a weapon of mass destruction at times. :)
Thank you. I couldn't agree more. Emphatically. Picking up the thread from spac2 here and I think this is part of why the middle-range dynamics are not what they were in 1.0 as you mentioned before. It forces things to a polarity between either rage or ambience and this is part of why hoods/rebas/slaves aren't quite as satisfying to my ears these days.

That said, what a nice way to end the tour. Possibly a better three night run than AC, have to listen again. Hood and Bowie finish off the fourth with swagger. Overtime exclamation with YEM.
I could not agree more. You both said it very well. Trey's tone in the past has been (in many instance) the basis by which a jam or a composed section really "clicked". I'm really enjoying this current tour, BUT, I do think that Trey's new more tiny/shrill tone is an underlying reason why some of the jams haven't been as long and why some have left us either scratching our heads or unsatisfied.

I agree with the thoughts on the sound. And that the current tone cuts jams short...that seems plausible. So, as someone that has no technical knowledge beyond what my ears can hear, what's the solution? I had a bigger problem with the tone in '09, which everyone seemed to say was because he wasn't using his compressor...so people bought him a new one. Is something like that needed here? Or does Trey or a tech just need to turn a dial or something. Just curious.
A reply within a reply within a reply within...feel like this is Arabian Nights or something. To my ears, this whole thing started with that new guitar we were all so fond of back in 09, I forget exactly why now. Different guitars have different natural tonal and dynamic frequencies thus two guitars playing the same exact notes "cleanly" (without effects or distortion) are going to sound slightly if not even radically different. A good example of this is 7/25/92 when Carlos Santana comes out to join Phish in YEM. Also, fwiw one of the defining rage face YEMS ever. You can clearly tell who is who not only from the phrasing of the soloing but just from the sound of the guitar. Both have mild distortion but no hint of the shrill. I believe Santana is playing a custom strat with enhanced sustain while of course trey is on the 1.0 'doc. Very different sounds yet each satisfying because each guitarist has made it his own, respectively.
, comment by Alumni
Alumni I don't know. I don't play guitar, and I'm definitely no gearhead. It could also have something to do with the new sound guy, whose background was a bit different than Phish.
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 bottom line on this thread night 3 of spac was the best of the three. made possible by the light and especially the piper which rivals alpine's piper for best of tour.
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 one last thing i was just listening to some of the best jams from last year and this tour's blows them out of the water. the only exception may be the rock n roll--> meatstick--> boogie on from the gorge last year. other than that this tour takes the cake
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @safetymeeting said:
Maybe .net and phish thoughts.org should do a "second-look" recap a week after the show?
Stay tuned. :-)
, comment by towerhippie
towerhippie @phunky58 said:
bottom line on this thread night 3 of spac was the best of the three. made possible by the light and especially the piper which rivals alpine's piper for best of tour.
I respectfully disagree (emphasis on "respectfully"... to each, their own). To me, it sounded like they were tired on Sunday (which is certainly understandable), and sounded a little out of sync, especially with respect to the previous two shows. I thought Saturday was the gem of the run.
, comment by adude
adude Mad review skills.
, comment by towerhippie
towerhippie @jwelsh8 said: "@waxbanks said: "@jwelsh8 said: "@waxbanks said: ""I am also curious as to this "jaded" self-awareness. Can one actually be "jaded" and not have it be a function of the music?"

Yes.
"

So . . . how does it happen? I don't believe you explained it.
"

I don't need to. Here, lemme ask my laptop computer what 'jaded' means:

"tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something"

See that 'too much' in there, the entire point of the definition, the whole problem, the thing people joke about to relieve anxiety about it being their problem? It's not a quality of the music. It's not complicated and it's not worth arguing about anymore today.
"

Clearly, you needed to. :)

And what is a "jaded" person "bored or lacking enthusiasm" for? Music. Something about the music is not connecting with this person as it was before. It is a function of the music that at one time did not make them "tired."
"

Nicely put. Kudos for correcting yourself. I wish more people were willing to do so (including myself at times, but I digress). That said, I have a slight disagreement I'd like to voice (nothing major... not trying to stir up dust). I am one of those "jaded" individuals. I decided - well before the SPAC run - it's time for me to "...sling the baskets off this over-burdened horse..." and stop going to shows (I was disappointed with the Sunday show, but that had no bearing on my decision). Putting it simply, I just don't have as much fun at shows anymore. For me, it has nothing to do with the music, nor the scene. I still love the music, and it still means everything to me it's meant for so many years. I just don't have the same passion to see shows anymore. My point is that sometimes, life just happens, and people change. It need not be a function of the music, necessarily.

That's a very anecdotal - and rather unnecessary - argument, I realize. But... my thoughts were triggered, so I figured I'd share. Thank you for sharing yours. Again, you express them well, even if I don't fully agree. Cheers.
, comment by chrismcguire634
chrismcguire634 @AlbanyYEM said: "@ckess22 said: "@chrismcguire634 said: "@AlbanyYEM said: "@Alumni said: "There's a lot to like about this show. No complaints from me.

Okay, one (I can't help myself). Pls, Trey, turn down the shrill. Your current tone can be a weapon of mass destruction at times. :)
"

Thank you. I couldn't agree more. Emphatically. Picking up the thread from spac2 here and I think this is part of why the middle-range dynamics are not what they were in 1.0 as you mentioned before. It forces things to a polarity between either rage or ambience and this is part of why hoods/rebas/slaves aren't quite as satisfying to my ears these days.

That said, what a nice way to end the tour. Possibly a better three night run than AC, have to listen again. Hood and Bowie finish off the fourth with swagger. Overtime exclamation with YEM.
"

I could not agree more. You both said it very well. Trey's tone in the past has been (in many instance) the basis by which a jam or a composed section really "clicked". I'm really enjoying this current tour, BUT, I do think that Trey's new more tiny/shrill tone is an underlying reason why some of the jams haven't been as long and why some have left us either scratching our heads or unsatisfied.
"
I agree with the thoughts on the sound. And that the current tone cuts jams short...that seems plausible. So, as someone that has no technical knowledge beyond what my ears can hear, what's the solution? I had a bigger problem with the tone in '09, which everyone seemed to say was because he wasn't using his compressor...so people bought him a new one. Is something like that needed here? Or does Trey or a tech just need to turn a dial or something. Just curious.
"

A reply within a reply within a reply within...feel like this is Arabian Nights or something. To my ears, this whole thing started with that new guitar we were all so fond of back in 09, I forget exactly why now. Different guitars have different natural tonal and dynamic frequencies thus two guitars playing the same exact notes "cleanly" (without effects or distortion) are going to sound slightly if not even radically different. A good example of this is 7/25/92 when Carlos Santana comes out to join Phish in YEM. Also, fwiw one of the defining rage face YEMS ever. You can clearly tell who is who not only from the phrasing of the soloing but just from the sound of the guitar. Both have mild distortion but no hint of the shrill. I believe Santana is playing a custom strat with enhanced sustain while of course trey is on the 1.0 'doc. Very different sounds yet each satisfying because each guitarist has made it his own, respectively.
"

Yep, the new guitar "Ocledoc" probably does have a lot to do with it. I do wonder though if he's still using the BOSS compressor he had from roughly 95-99 (I haven't seen it on his website and he hasn't mentioned it in the interviews he's done for Guitar Magazine. Also, I checked his website and he's also using a "Bruno" half stack along with a Fender twin Deluxe. From what I remember of shows in the mid-90s, (especially 96-98) he only had the Leslie cabinets and two Fender Deluxe Reverbs. Those particular amps have more sloped highs and mids, ie: more mellow. I'm sure this all equals out to a more tiny/shrill tone. All this being said, I love this current tour. But, (here it comes) I do think his tone needs a bit of tweaking, at times it forces a jam to go in the same direction, the "serious rock out" direction that I've heard many .netters call it. I DO love the pedal to the medal approach, however a bit more variety would be nice and I think tweaking his tone would help.
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 @towerhippie said:
@phunky58 said:
bottom line on this thread night 3 of spac was the best of the three. made possible by the light and especially the piper which rivals alpine's piper for best of tour.
I respectfully disagree (emphasis on "respectfully"... to each, their own). To me, it sounded like they were tired on Sunday (which is certainly understandable), and sounded a little out of sync, especially with respect to the previous two shows. I thought Saturday was the gem of the run.
yeah to each his own, i was at saturday and i have listened to or been to every show this tour and in just this man's opinion spac 2 was one of the only shows that had no replay value for me. just no improv everything was in the box.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @Alumni said:
I don't know. I don't play guitar, and I'm definitely no gearhead. It could also have something to do with the new sound guy, whose background was a bit different than Phish.
Garry runs FOH (front of house) sound and is responsible for the mix that comes through the P.A. Trey and his guitar tech are responsible for the sound that comes out of Trey's amplifier(s) - aka "tone." In theory at least, none of what Garry does should impact Trey's tone at all - volume certainly, but not tone.

Far as I know, there have been no major changes to Trey's rig in quite a while, and I hear the same tone that I've been hearing since the Ocelot hit the scene in summer 2010. Sometimes I think it gets a little too up in the mix, and cuts through everything to the point where it may irritate some audience members. This then gets explained away as a tone problem.

I really liked the 1999 compressed sound a lot too, fwiw.
, comment by ckess22
ckess22 @bertoletdown said:
@Alumni said:
I don't know. I don't play guitar, and I'm definitely no gearhead. It could also have something to do with the new sound guy, whose background was a bit different than Phish.
Garry runs FOH (front of house) sound and is responsible for the mix that comes through the P.A. Trey and his guitar tech are responsible for the sound that comes out of Trey's amplifier(s) - aka "tone." In theory at least, none of what Garry does should impact Trey's tone at all - volume certainly, but not tone.
Just as a clarification...I thought grey had been using the compressor again, since 2010 or so...and his sound is infinitely better than 09. Loved 99 tone, btw
Far as I know, there have been no major changes to Trey's rig in quite a while, and I hear the same tone that I've been hearing since the Ocelot hit the scene in summer 2010. Sometimes I think it gets a little too up in the mix, and cuts through everything to the point where it may irritate some audience members. This then gets explained away as a tone problem.

I really liked the 1999 compressed sound a lot too, fwiw.
, comment by ckess22
ckess22 Meant to say that I think trey has been using the compressor since 2010. His sound has been infinitely better since then. But, its be good if the sound was modified a bit. I loved his 99 tone, too.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @ckess22 said:
Meant to say that I think trey has been using the compressor since 2010. His sound has been infinitely better since then. But, its be good if the sound was modified a bit. I loved his 99 tone, too.
Yeah, you're right, but I think the setting on the Ross is dialed back quite a bit from where it used to be, I think, so it provides the sustain but doesn't mute the distortion or the consonance of his attack. The higher setting is what gave that round "bwee" attack and clean quality to his leads back in the day.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown BTW - I checked and that is definitely In A Gadda Da Vida at 4:25 (and for a good goddamn long while, too). Have asked the setlist team to add that.

Thanks, all.
, comment by vinniebart
vinniebart @towerhippie said:
@phunky58 said:
bottom line on this thread night 3 of spac was the best of the three. made possible by the light and especially the piper which rivals alpine's piper for best of tour.
I respectfully disagree (emphasis on "respectfully"... to each, their own). To me, it sounded like they were tired on Sunday (which is certainly understandable), and sounded a little out of sync, especially with respect to the previous two shows. I thought Saturday was the gem of the run.
I have to respectfully disagree with your point about the band being tired on Sunday. Could you tell at what point of the show on Sunday the band started to slow down or "sounded tired"? I thought the band picked up steam towards the end of the first set and kept pushing it further through the second set, example: La Grange was pretty ripping, Twist and Kill Devil Falls were solid versions imo, and Piper, which to me is up there with best song of the tour, never let up. Oh, and I cannot leave out the My Friend, My Friend > Swept Away > Steep, which were not too shabby either. Could you elaborate?
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks @bertoletdown said:
This thread would have been a lot shorter, comment wise, if I had only said "discerning" instead of "jaded."
Or indeed just pointed this out several days ago!!!! :)
, comment by ckess22
ckess22 @bertoletdown said:
@ckess22 said:
Meant to say that I think trey has been using the compressor since 2010. His sound has been infinitely better since then. But, its be good if the sound was modified a bit. I loved his 99 tone, too.
Yeah, you're right, but I think the setting on the Ross is dialed back quite a bit from where it used to be, I think, so it provides the sustain but doesn't mute the distortion or the consonance of his attack. The higher setting is what gave that round "bwee" attack and clean quality to his leads back in the day.

So, would getting the compressor more in mix help w the middle tones that we've been mentioning? It seems of to me that any problem fans have had w treys tone in 3.0 has somehow always come back to his compressor. Is the thing that powerful? Unique?
, comment by funkbeard
funkbeard Paul L. should come back for1 tour, or one part of a tour, and work with Trey to perfect that tone. In 1.0, Trey's tone was not shrill because the man who built his axe mixed the sound, which allowed him to also work behind the scenes to tweak those guitars until they were perfect. Who else is there to go that extra mile? If Paul is retired as sound technician, than the least he can do is take a few shows to get that guitar to the just-exactly-perfect standards that he is well known for. That would make the gift complete.
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