Thursday 08/23/2012 by phishnet

KANSAS CITY RECAP

Recap by Phil Harrison @Dog_Faced_Boy

Phish returned to the Kansas City last night, its 11th visit to the area and first since 7/17/03. The question at the forefront of many fans’ minds was: would the band a) continue the momentum forward from the well regarded Long Beach and BG3 shows; b) falter and provide an uneven performance more like Bill Graham 1 & 2; or c) both. The correct answer in this instance is “c.”

Kansas City was once a distinct and important epicenter for the development of jazz and blues music, home or proving grounds for such influential luminaries as Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. In terms of Phish, the band first performed in nearby Lawrence, Kansas on 4/1/92. While none of their prior performances in the vicinity are particularly acclaimed, you could do yourself a favor and check out the 7/28/98 performance in Bonner Springs, KS. It’s one of those oddball, quirky shows that the band plays from time to time, loaded with unusual song selections, and includes strong versions of “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Brother,” “Maze,” and an “It’s Ice” > “Lengthwise” > “It’s Ice” sandwich. As for last night’s show...

Chalk Dust Torture” leads off and immediately gets ever so slightly beyond “standard fare” as to make this version a hopeful good omen of things to come. After a pause, next up is the band’s second performance of Little Feat’sSkin It Back” in 2012, but only its third since 1988. This rendering is a well played take on Little Feat’s bluesy and funk-infused classic, but is essentially straightforward. Check out 8/21/87 for a good example of what Phish can do with this song as a jamming vehicle. As an aside, this is a challenging song vocally for Mike, pushing him well into the upper register of his range, but he does a great job here, and this may allay the concerns of those who’ve criticized his vocal contributions to songs like “Drowned.”

The band keeps the funk rolling with a no-surprises version of “Moma Dance.” Although unremarkable, the placement here on the heels of “Skin It Back” does earn the band some good points for setlist flow. Shifting gears, next we have the highly composed complexity of “Rift.” Given its intricacies, I tend to view this song as a good thermometer for whether or not the band is “on” or “off.” Mostly solid, but Trey does sound a little off here. Hmm, we’ll see. “Bathtub Gin” promptly follows “Rift,” a nice old-school pairing. Looking for deep mid-set improvisation? You won’t find it here. However, this bopping standard fare version does continue the energy flow from “Rift,” another nod to good setlist construction.

The “Stash” that follows proves to be the first set vehicle for serious improvisation. In its heyday, “Stash” was typically dissonant, loaded with tension, and often pushed into the realm of “type II” jamming – see 8/28/93, 5/13/94, 6/16/94, and 7/1/95 for good examples. The version from last night, while lacking the jaw dropping dissonance and chaotic tension of these performances, nonetheless has some great improvisation, much better than almost any other version since 2009 with the possible exception of 10/31/10. Specifically, at about 7:30, the jam breaks from typical the “Stash” jam into major mode providing a swift and uplifting sentiment. After a mere 45 seconds or so, Page and Trey drop back into minor mode, and the tension spring starts to reload. This trend continues until 9:30, when there is another abrupt shift to major mode, and more inspired improvisation. What’s really great about the section that follows is that Trey stays in major mode throughout, but Page and Mike cleverly underlay the guitarist with mode shifts back and forth between major and minor, provide subtle tension to the otherwise upbeat jamming. By 11:30, Trey starts to bring things home and we are back to wrap up a very fine version of “Stash” that clocks in at 13:42, one of the longer 3.0 performances. I should add that both Mike and Fish are rock solid throughout. “Stash” is rhythmically complex, and though a strong performance by the rhythm section is easy to overlook, let’s give them their due here.

The Ballad of Curtis Loew” seems an apt choice on the aftermath of that heady “Stash.” A great bluesy Lynyrd Skynyrd cover, its appearance links well with the “Skin It Back” earlier in the set. Next we pump things back up with “Kill Devil Falls.” Well executed, but with no bells or whistles, it make sense from a setlist flow perspective to further pull us out of the depths of a deep “Stash.” Remember that little blurb about Kansas City being a once proud bastion of jazz and blues? Well, let’s throw in a nice “Funky Bitch” to pay this history proper homage. I love it when Page busts out the B-3 on this tune, and he does so in great manner here. With a full head of steam now, the final destination for this solid first set is “Run Like An Antelope.” Much like “Stash,” “Runaway Jim,” “Split Open and Melt,” and “David Bowie,” these once proud war horses have largely been kept in the stable and out of improvisational action for a long time. “Antelope” finally made a heady appearance at Jones Beach 1, and “David Bowie” showed encouraging signs of life after death at Bill Graham 3, as the “Stash” here did. Alas, tonight would not be the night for a big step forward for “Antelope.” But hey, “Antelope” is always a great set I closer, sending folks off to intermission charged up and eagerly anticipating what set II will bring.

Tweezer” leads off for the second frame. Beyond the composed section, this “Tweezer” takes a minute or two grappling for direction, and then finally at about 8:45 shifts into major mode, much like the “Stash” from set I, providing a feel-good vibe if not deeply improvisational turn. This section presents some really beautiful instrumentation, even if no seismic ruptures occur in the foundation. But we’re well beyond “Tweezer” proper at this juncture, a good sign, and the band makes no effort to get back to what was. The music cycles down into (good) ambient space, and all of sudden, we’re in the land of “Piper.” Eschewing the drawn out intro, Trey cuts right in with the vocals before some of us are ready for it. Oh well. “Piper” is one of those 1997 - 1998 jamming vehicles that seemed to falter early on in 3.0, but has been on the up and up in the last two years (see SPAC 3 or 12/30/11). This more truncated version would not reach comparable levels of exploration. But at about 4:00, the jam picks up a nice head of steam, a rhythmic pop with a little funk flavor from Mike and Page that moves us nicely beyond the space where “Tweezer” ended. But rather than take this spunky little groove further out, the band again lets things cycle down just a bit, shifting gears swiftly to...

Mike’s Song.” Talk about a show loaded with the once proud vehicles of Phish jamming, in this one we get “Gin,” “Stash,” “Antelope,” “Tweezer,” and now “Mike’s Song.” Would “Mike’s Song” finally make a big move, adding that second jam segment many of us crave? No, it would not. It’s a fine version, just unremarkable. So how about Mike’s Groove, that often shifting combination of songs book ended by “Mike’s Song” and “Weekapaug Groove,” and in which the meat of the sandwich is more often than not “I Am Hydrogen,” or “Simple,” or both. In the next course here, Page sounds the organ for “Hydrogen,” but Fish suddenly starts the drum roll for “Bouncing Around the Room,” a direction shift that has only happened once before, on 7/9/96 in Deauville, France! After this, the band haphazardly leaps next to “Backwards Down the Number Line.” Let me take a quick time out here and say that while I give the band high marks for setlist flow in set I, I lower the grade appreciably for set II at this juncture. Regardless of how I feel about the individual songs (love a good “Mike’s,” don’t like “BATR,” love “Number Line”), my point here is that this lineup of songs makes no sense to me from the perspective of musical flow. “BATR” and “Number Line” are both well rendered, as expected, but with no extra mustard in the case of “Number Line.” Now comes “Heavy Things,” another song I really dig, but placement seems odd mid-Set II, and mid-Mike’s Groove. In fact, if you take out the 14-plus minute “Tweezer,” set II so far really feels more like typical set I material. Some versions of “Heavy Things” feature Trey soloing, others let Page take the lead on piano. We get a little of both in this very good version, Page first, then Trey.

Where next? “If I Could” emerges after a brief huddle. The band delivered a top notch, beautiful rendering of this song at Worcester 1, a real treat for this recent rarity. Here, we get a more summary version, less of that gorgeous Page ivory tickling. Still, I’ll take this tune almost any day over “Velvet Sea” or “Show of Life” at this juncture in the show. Remember that we’re in the middle of Mike’s Groove? Oh yeah, so well, we need to finish it off, so here comes “Weekapaug Groove.” You really can’t say a bad thing musically about the individual, interior components of the Mike’s sandwich. IMO, it’s just a rather odd meal. As for “Weekapaug,” kind of like the “Piper,” it has some nice, in this case funk-inflected moments. But, it’s still a perfunctory version, nothing deep like say, 12/7/95, 12/2/97, or 7/17/98, to name a few.

After the menagerie that was Mike’s Groove (and I thought the Zoo show was next week in Oklahoma City), dusk is clearly on the horizon for this once promising show. But not just yet. Let’s check in with good ol’ “Harry Hood” first. The “Harry” jam starts with some nice staccato picking by Trey, and nice relaxing Page sounds coming from the Fender-Rhodes. At 8:20, Page is back on the piano, and it’s clear we’re heading home. Trey brings the jam to nice peak, beautiful really, but with the arsenal and musical talent that this band has at its disposal, it’s simply standard “average-great” “Hood” material. One last stop before closing set II, we are treated to the alway fun, always rousing “Suzy Greenberg.” As is custom, we get the funk from Page on jam 1, the hard rocking piano on jam 2, as well as a little contemporary political humor from Fish.

After a brief exit, the band reappears for the encore. Up first, “Loving Cup,” a somewhat predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable Rolling Stones cover. If you want to know how good this version of “Loving Cup” is, you really should ask @Icculus, who has listened to every single Phish performance of “Loving Cup,” at least twice. Sounded fine if unremarkable to me. Last but not least, the band wraps things up with “Tweezer Reprise.” Some people have commented that “Tweeprise” sounds more menacing, more tension loaded than “Tweezer.” Well, there’s a musical explanation for that sense. “Tweeprise” is typically played in the Key of D, rather than A like “Tweezer.” Musically, D is four steps higher on the scale than A. So the underlying pitch for “Tweeprise” is higher than for “Tweezer,” and this elevation increases that sense of tension. Never forget that these guys are learned, well versed musicians.

How to sum this all up? From a purely musical perspective, with the exception of some slip ups by Trey in “Rift,” it is well executed. Improvisationally? You want to look first and foremost to “Stash,” then “Tweezer,” and finally, “Chalk Dust Torture” and “Piper” have moments, albeit brief. There’s also some fine playing in “Funky Bitch” and “Heavy Things,” and I still like “If I Could,” even if it’s not on par with stellar version from Worcester 1. Setlist Flow? I’d give Set I a good solid B+. I really like the blues inflected tunes on the front and back end, with the “Gin” and “Stash” as the meat in the middle. Set II starts off nicely with “Tweezer,” a short but decent “Piper,” but then it kind loses that keen sense of direction. All well played, it just doesn’t flow together well in the same way that things did at Bill Graham 3.

Final word – it’s nice, really great in fact to see the rising Phoenix of “Stash,” especially in light of notable 2012 performances of “Antelope” and “Bowie.” Let’s hope, before summer’s out, that we might see the same for “Runaway Jim” and that elusive second jam in “Mike’s Song.”

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Comments

, comment by ckess22
ckess22 Really great review. Thanks.
, comment by CosmicJamz
CosmicJamz Oh, how we've all been waiting for Mike's Song to explode into the beast it can be. I'm still waiting, still waiting for the 25 minute Mike's. The song simply rocks so much it needs to be stretched out into a shredfest with funktified beats and Gordo bombs.
, comment by homerk
homerk This is an excellent review, well done.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy great recap!

though I think the Tweezer needs a little more adulation! Seriously, one of the top versions without question since 2009 and perhaps even in the past decade.
, comment by phootyjon
phootyjon well put review....
, comment by ProfessorDude
ProfessorDude Wow! Top notch review! Very thoughtful and balanced, and I really appreciated the little history lessons and excursions into music theory. Please review everything from here on in!
, comment by brainstemblast
brainstemblast Great review - I prefer reviews like these that are appreciative and scrutinizing at the same time. One of the more mature reviews I've seen recently (I also enjoy the references to previous versions of songs and their link to the show). Keep it up. And here's to hoping for some deeper jamming from the boys. It may not be on the top of their list with this 2 week outing though so I wouldn't hold my breath.
, comment by betweenbeams
betweenbeams and thorough
, comment by stufunk
stufunk I'm very sorry to be critical, as I do appreciate the work you guys do at phish.net, but as a musician and music educator your statement about Tweeprise vs Tweezer make no sense musically:

Musically, D is four steps higher on the scale than A. So the underlying pitch for “Tweeprise” is higher than for “Tweezer,” and this elevation increases that sense of tension. Never forget that these guys are learned, well versed musicians.

Simply playing something "higher", on its own, doesn't add tension. Saying "the scale" is technically incorrect as well. What type of scale are you referring to? There are many. If you are referring to an A major then yes D would be the higher pitch in ascending order, But if it is a C major scale, then A would be higher than D when ascending the scale.

Either way, I bring this up because I enjoy the reviews on this site, but tend to cringe when I see the references to music theory because many of them are not true. Please be more careful in the future and keep up the good work.
, comment by CorPhish
CorPhish @stufunk said:
I'm very sorry to be critical, as I do appreciate the work you guys do at phish.net, but as a musician and music educator your statement about Tweeprise vs Tweezer make no sense musically:

Musically, D is four steps higher on the scale than A. So the underlying pitch for �Tweeprise� is higher than for �Tweezer,� and this elevation increases that sense of tension. Never forget that these guys are learned, well versed musicians.

Simply playing something "higher", on its own, doesn't add tension. Saying "the scale" is technically incorrect as well. What type of scale are you referring to? There are many. If you are referring to an A major then yes D would be the higher pitch in ascending order, But if it is a C major scale, then A would be higher than D when ascending the scale.

Either way, I bring this up because I enjoy the reviews on this site, but tend to cringe when I see the references to music theory because many of them are not true. Please be more careful in the future and keep up the good work.
Agreed on the music theory. To say that the D is four (whole-steps) higher than A is true but it is also 5(whole-steps) lower. It's not one fixed note. If they modulated from one key to another during a song, you might (might) "hear" some of what you describe. Starting it in a certain key (D, A or otherwise), would not register in one's ear unless one had perfect pitch. Even then, it would not provide the aural occurrence you describe.

Love the rest of the review though.

Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music theory'd
, comment by JLLSU
JLLSU Shut up, dorks.
, comment by gratefulkeith
gratefulkeith If you guys want to hear a shredding mikes grove from 3.0 you should Check out 10/26/2010. I've seen a bunch of mikes grooves but this one is phenomenal and face melting
, comment by antelopehood
antelopehood Good and fair review. I was there last night and enjoyed every minute. My favorite all time Mike's Song has got to be Big Cypress. Big, Evil, Scary.
, comment by gratefulkeith
gratefulkeith Big cypress was awesome too I just liked the morph at the end of weekapaug in manchester it was nuts
, comment by YorkvilleBeerLover
YorkvilleBeerLover this one goes to 11
, comment by PhishMarketStew
PhishMarketStew One of the best years, if not the best, of Phish tour was the highly lauded 1997 stomp across Europe and the U.S. But that year featured some big changes in Phish's rotation of big jamming vehicles. Songs like Tweezer and David Bowie saw less play in favor of new tunes and the emerging maturity of the bands sound opened the door for a much wider range of exploration than they had previously possessed.
I was only 14 in 1997 but my brother & sister were/are phans so I was subjected to constant chatter and argument pertaining to the musical exploits of a band call Phish.
I remember 1997 so clearly precisely because the music being born that year was so enthralling, different and completely fucking unexpected that it seemed to be causing some sort of rift in this community that my siblings were such avid lovers of and participants in. My brother is 15 years older than me and a head from back in the early 90's, my sister came to the Phish around 94'. In 97' my brothers argument was that Phish was selling out there sound and turning to "repetitive, safety net songs that were compostionally unchallenging". He enjoyed much about 97' but felt that Phish was playing it safe. My sister felt the opposite way completely and embraced the "new sound".
Once Phish went on hiatus #1 my brother went back to his 97' and beyond tapes and re-listened to the past few years of music that he loved, but had such deeply mixed opions of. He discovered the nuances of the music and the mental unity that Phish was peaking on, in a way that had somehow evaded him in not so distant past. He talked about it with me and came to the conclusion that after touring with the band through so many of the early years and becoming used to a certain set list flow, song selection and jamming style that the not so subtle shift in 1997 had made him bias and probably even worried about the future of his cherished community.
He would tell me that lots of phans at the time had gone through the same thing and that indeed most things in the Phish scene had changed, music and the people element.
We can see now, in 2012, much the same sort of change and the same sort of attitude seems to have invaded the scene once again. The 2nd best thing about being a Phish fan after the music is the nerdiness of phans to debate, argue, collect stats, etc....It's an exhilarating exercise in communal participation, debate, memory & more all with a single minded pursuit: Phish.
97'-00' was a time of genius music and some pretty hardcore debates and divisions. We can see clearly now that most of the music in those first 2 years was amazing and that it was the disintegration of the "scene" and the music in those last 2 years that really took a toll on so many fans.
In 97'-98' it was more of a "change is scary" sorta scenario that caused some upset among longtime fans. But now we're in the midst of an underlying negativity that seems to be rearing it's head with increasing consistency at the start of any post show review, recap or conversation.
Listening back now to 09'-10' I hear a band that is retooling their sound, coming back off a longgggg hiatus and trying to find a new musical niche that they can achieve relevance in and refrain from becoming the dreaded "same old shit" rehash that so many other bands in their later years have become.
We fans were so damn excited to have our boys back in those first 2 years that I think we overpraised alot of the music Phish was putting out. There are a lot of really great jams and moments from those 2 years that Phish should always be proud of, but when I compare the best jams from those years with the best jams of the past 2 years, 09'-10' really begin to show more flaws than they did the 1st time around. I hear a much more complete band now, a band that is in sync in a way that I don't think they've been since 97'-98'. Perspective is a funny thing.
But there was far less negativity and divisiveness in those first 2 years of 3.0 than there are now. The music has grown and gotten better but it doesn't seem to be happening fast enough for the expectations of alot of phans and the vibes seem to be getting more harsh by the show.
Almost everything I read these days about Phish (and I've been guilty of this too) is laced with unfair qualifications and expectations that they couldn't match in most years of their storied career. Shows are dissected to the point that one feels some people care nothing about the good times, and are only around to act out a cold and calculating form of criticism.
Reviews are filled with comparisons of jams now to jams back in the day and that in and of itself is what we do best, what we love. The music of 3.0 appears to be doomed before it's played in a sense. The lack of 20-min jamming being the biggest bone of contention amongst phans is a ultimately a thorn in our side because it negates the fact that all of Phish's music is a constantly evolving set of songs that by its' very nature defies meaningful comparison. Improvisation becomes immediately limited when we confuse subjectivity for objectivity. It becomes stifled to us and subjected to the biases that our minds create when we forget that there is no such as right or wrong or good and bad when it comes to a subjective experience.
At my oldest sons first Phish show he thought the Tweezer he heard (ATL 2, 11') was the best Phish jam ever performed. Even though I told him he was dead wrong he didn't change his mind. To him it was the best Tweezer ever and really, how can anyone say otherwise? How can we actually qualify subjective opinion? I've heard dozens of jams that are under 20-min in the 3.0 era that totally slay some of their 20-min counterparts in 1.0 & 2.0.
Right now, in 2012, Phish is putting together some of their finest 1st sets EVER. Their are 1st sets peppered with deep jams, bustouts, set cohesion and nuanced playing the likes of which are rare in the annals of Phishtory. You will find no shortage of 1st sets in 1.0 that aside from maybe 1 deep jam and some kick ass high energy playing contain loads of inconsistency and rote renditions of classic Phish songs. But these sort of comparisons don't seem to make their way into the minds of many phans these days. Everything appears to be focused on the ways in which Phish is not performing at certain levels they had before, namely song length, instead of the ways in which they are out performing their former selves.
This inherent comparative cynicism has found a way to infect even a show as perfect as BGCA3. You don't have to look too hard to find people who make mention of imperfection in that show, their opinions based on what song they would have played in favor of whatever choice Phish made and so on. There are only a small majority of Phish shows that are note for note, pound for pound, perfect. Some of their most beloved gigs are deeply flawed in some areas, whether it be song selection, flubs or something else. But think back, or read back if you must, on some of the "best" years for Phish and you wont' find the kind of base dissatisfaction or immediate qualification that is ever present these days.
The band is being judged by such harsh and demanding standards by some fans on a such a consistent basis that it really seems like there is an inherent lack of enjoyment going on for some people in the listening process of Phish and its seriously detracting from the absolute majesty that we all seem to agree to be hearing.
How you listen and critique Phish is obviously an individual choice that each phan makes for hisself, I'm only trying to point out (in the lest self contradicting) way possible that things are different now amongst us nerds and nerdettes in terms of how we are approaching the wonder that is the Phish from Vermont. We used to accentuate the positive and take the negative as the price that it is and now the opposite rules in abundance.
*@Dog_Faced_Boy: This rant was not spurred by your recap of the show. It had just been spinning around in my mind, making an inarticulate mess of things and I had to spill it out into the inarticulate form it now takes, lest I went crazy.
Love the Tweezer & Stash from this show, hope they save my dream Drowned -> Waves combo for ATL this weekend but no matter what happens at the show there will beauty, raging Phishy beauty.
, comment by 90invjcc
90invjcc The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by 90invjcc
90invjcc Fantastic show review. Extremely well thought out and detailed. Please keep your reviews coming for the rest of the tour!
, comment by GHOSTLY
GHOSTLY That stash got REAL PHYSICAL
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect
A really enjoyable and quite scholarly review, @Dog_Faced_Boy! Hope you show up more regularly in the Phish.net recap rotation.
, comment by ElCaballo
ElCaballo Ok these are the reviews I’m looking for!!! You really know what you are doing. You aren’t trying to make waves by saying something drastic, just laying out the basic facts with an obviously great understanding of music as well as the band. Best recap I’ve read, and I didn’t even hear the show. Nice. @Dog_Faced_Boy
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Isn't tweezerep an ascending series of chromatic runs? I agree that whatever key you play something in does not translate into tension/release, but is instead determined by tonal distance from the tonic notes/chords. But, in terms of scales, (and I could eeeeasily be wrong here) aren't you necessarily stepping out of the satisfying resolution notes within those scales once you do repeating chromatic sequences? These are based on a pattern of distance within the group of notes themselves rather than in a larger context of a particular scale. And as you go higher in tone with the repeating pattern the tension naturally builds until there is a resolve, in the case of tweezerep a D note or chord (and gordo bomb).

I think this increase in tension by employing chromatics in a tonally ascending run might be what the original reviewer meant by the tension being higher with a higher tone. Also, from a purely guitar-oriented point of view in the pentatonic the D scale starts on the tenth fret leaving less room to go higher in tone than with the A.

Disclaimer: I know I play a bad guitar. Its been a reeeal long time since I looked up scales/music theory on the interwebs as a highschool kid learning to play guitar.

One question I have to any of the people with actual credentials on here is: don't all modes (Mixolydian, Ionian, Dorian, whatever) have a starting point dictated by the key? 10th fret for D, 5th for A, etc?
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Also @CorPhish and @stufunk I would love to hear a review of the tweezer (and every other jam for that matter) by people who clearly understand music theory. I think it would be edifying for all. Ahem, perhaps next time not only correct any errors but go ahead and do your own...ask not what phish.net can do for you but what you can do for phish.net.
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 Thought this show was a bit of a snoozer. I put it low man on the totem pople along with bgca2. That said it had some moments. Stash was solid and worth a relisten along with tweezer. After this KC show look out for a serious throwdown in Pelham. Improvisation galore is on its way imo. Strap in
, comment by Scissortail
Scissortail @AlbanyYEM said:
Also @CorPhish and @stufunk I would love to hear a review of the tweezer (and every other jam for that matter) by people who clearly understand music theory. I think it would be edifying for all. Ahem, perhaps next time not only correct any errors but go ahead and do your own...ask not what phish.net can do for you but what you can do for phish.net.
My thoughts exactly! I second this request, and tip my cap for the Kennedy-inspired summation. Good point, clever writing. Top notch!
, comment by chooglincharley
chooglincharley worst Mike's Groove....EVER
, comment by ucpete
ucpete Very nice review. Is it me or do the boys just not know what to do with the Piper jam right now? I wasn't even mad about the ripcord for Mike's on Saturday-- to me in attendance, the jam wasn't going anywhere, so why not try Mike's? (This was reminiscent of the Ghost ripcord for Mike's at the Greek two years ago, though the ripcord at BGCA wasn't as egregious and as poorly executed as the Greek abomination). But to see Piper (truncated) > Mike's twice in three shows is a little disconcerting...
, comment by 23piper
23piper Often times metaphors work better than trying to stick close to music theory. I studied music theory in high school and know only enough to know not to talk out my ass about it - unless I am talking with my wife, since she knows even less. @stufunk said:
I'm very sorry to be critical, as I do appreciate the work you guys do at phish.net, but as a musician and music educator your statement about Tweeprise vs Tweezer make no sense musically:

Musically, D is four steps higher on the scale than A. So the underlying pitch for �Tweeprise� is higher than for �Tweezer,� and this elevation increases that sense of tension. Never forget that these guys are learned, well versed musicians.

Simply playing something "higher", on its own, doesn't add tension. Saying "the scale" is technically incorrect as well. What type of scale are you referring to? There are many. If you are referring to an A major then yes D would be the higher pitch in ascending order, But if it is a C major scale, then A would be higher than D when ascending the scale.

Either way, I bring this up because I enjoy the reviews on this site, but tend to cringe when I see the references to music theory because many of them are not true. Please be more careful in the future and keep up the good work.
, comment by smellslikemule
smellslikemule Th reviewer did not mention if they were actually at the show or simply reviewing the recording. Should be mentioned in every review.

This review is fairly shallow.

I think the band would get a good laugh from these reviews.
, comment by smoothatonalsnd
smoothatonalsnd @AlbanyYEM said:
One question I have to any of the people with actual credentials on here is: don't all modes (Mixolydian, Ionian, Dorian, whatever) have a starting point dictated by the key? 10th fret for D, 5th for A, etc?
It depends on what kind of pitch you're talking about. You are correct that the 10th fret of the low E string is D, and the 5th fret is A. But remember that, on a guitar but also on any instrument, there are many "Ds" and many "As". Theoretically, there are an infinite number of them, although a finite number that we can actually hear. If we are talking about pitch-class, then you cannot say definitively that D is higher than A, you can merely say how far apart they are. But if we are talking about pitch, then yes, one is higher than the other.

@stufunk is right, D is both a perfect fourth above and a perfect fifth below A. However, in the case of Tweezer Reprise and Tweezer, the D of Tweeprise is, in fact, a higher pitch than the A of Tweezer. Listen to the album versions back to back and you'll hear this, Tweezer Reprise is higher.

Now, this would require some serious long term structural listening capabilities on the parts of fans, that we might have the ability to "hear" Tweeprise during an encore or set closer as actually higher than Tweezer that was played hours ago (or in the case of the recent SF shows or Hampton '09, days ago!). In reality, I don't think most phans are listening in that way (this has been debated endlessly by theorists and musicologists, whether we can actually recognize large-scale tonal shifts).

So what makes Tweeprise have the tension it does? Part of it is this basic fact: Trey plays the same riff over and over, while Page (in his initial run and the chords that follow) and Mike ascend over the first four steps of a D scale, playing major chords the whole time. The tension is created by the juxtaposition of Trey's stasis over the ascending chords from Page and Mike, and especially because those chords never reach the fifth degree of the scale, which would provide some measure of resolution because our Western harmony is based on fifth relations. When Trey starts ascending too, at the end, he is not doing so chromatically (as @AlbanyYEM queried) but along the major scale. He keeps pushing that higher and higher, and again, never reaching that fifth scale degree, which would provide some amount of resolution.

That's how I think it works. I definitely could be wrong, and would welcome any criticisms.

-Jake, Ph.D. candidate in musicology, CUNY Grad Center
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Ah, I love technical discussions. @smoothatonalsnd thanks for the clarification. Also thanks for the love @Scissortail I know just enough about music to know it shouldn't be me writing these things (as has become obvious throughout the thread). I really is like speaking a foreign language where you might fool fellow non-speakers but its a laugh for native speakers if you try and bs your way through.

I realize people have lives and so forth so I can't expect people to review every jam or anything, but it would be great to listen while reading along while someone explains musically *exactly* what is going on in the jams. I think most casual listeners certainly can tell immediately about dissonance and resolution but there are a ton of what seem to be modal shifts and major/minor key changes as well as rhythmic variations.

@smoothatonalsnd 8/19/12 Light?

-Pete, Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, Marquette University (haha, sorry had to throw that in there)
, comment by chrismcguire634
chrismcguire634 @CorPhish said:
@stufunk said:
I'm very sorry to be critical, as I do appreciate the work you guys do at phish.net, but as a musician and music educator your statement about Tweeprise vs Tweezer make no sense musically:

Musically, D is four steps higher on the scale than A. So the underlying pitch for �Tweeprise� is higher than for �Tweezer,� and this elevation increases that sense of tension. Never forget that these guys are learned, well versed musicians.

Simply playing something "higher", on its own, doesn't add tension. Saying "the scale" is technically incorrect as well. What type of scale are you referring to? There are many. If you are referring to an A major then yes D would be the higher pitch in ascending order, But if it is a C major scale, then A would be higher than D when ascending the scale.

Either way, I bring this up because I enjoy the reviews on this site, but tend to cringe when I see the references to music theory because many of them are not true. Please be more careful in the future and keep up the good work.
Agreed on the music theory. To say that the D is four (whole-steps) higher than A is true but it is also 5(whole-steps) lower. It's not one fixed note. If they modulated from one key to another during a song, you might (might) "hear" some of what you describe. Starting it in a certain key (D, A or otherwise), would not register in one's ear unless one had perfect pitch. Even then, it would not provide the aural occurrence you describe.

Love the rest of the review though.

Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music theory'd
I never realized Tweeprise was in D and Tweezer is in A. When I see D and A together I first see a tonic to dominant relationship. If this were the musical intent of the band it's interesting to wonder that maybe, just maybe Tweezer (In A) is really a modulation to the dominate that is then resolved (In D) by Tweeprise. Thus being the motive behind the band "resolving" a show with Tweeprise that had Tweezer in the setlist. Hmmm.........

, comment by chrismcguire634
chrismcguire634 @smoothatonalsnd said:
@AlbanyYEM said:
One question I have to any of the people with actual credentials on here is: don't all modes (Mixolydian, Ionian, Dorian, whatever) have a starting point dictated by the key? 10th fret for D, 5th for A, etc?
It depends on what kind of pitch you're talking about. You are correct that the 10th fret of the low E string is D, and the 5th fret is A. But remember that, on a guitar but also on any instrument, there are many "Ds" and many "As". Theoretically, there are an infinite number of them, although a finite number that we can actually hear. If we are talking about pitch-class, then you cannot say definitively that D is higher than A, you can merely say how far apart they are. But if we are talking about pitch, then yes, one is higher than the other.

@stufunk is right, D is both a perfect fourth above and a perfect fifth below A. However, in the case of Tweezer Reprise and Tweezer, the D of Tweeprise is, in fact, a higher pitch than the A of Tweezer. Listen to the album versions back to back and you'll hear this, Tweezer Reprise is higher.

Now, this would require some serious long term structural listening capabilities on the parts of fans, that we might have the ability to "hear" Tweeprise during an encore or set closer as actually higher than Tweezer that was played hours ago (or in the case of the recent SF shows or Hampton '09, days ago!). In reality, I don't think most phans are listening in that way (this has been debated endlessly by theorists and musicologists, whether we can actually recognize large-scale tonal shifts).

So what makes Tweeprise have the tension it does? Part of it is this basic fact: Trey plays the same riff over and over, while Page (in his initial run and the chords that follow) and Mike ascend over the first four steps of a D scale, playing major chords the whole time. The tension is created by the juxtaposition of Trey's stasis over the ascending chords from Page and Mike, and especially because those chords never reach the fifth degree of the scale, which would provide some measure of resolution because our Western harmony is based on fifth relations. When Trey starts ascending too, at the end, he is not doing so chromatically (as @AlbanyYEM queried) but along the major scale. He keeps pushing that higher and higher, and again, never reaching that fifth scale degree, which would provide some amount of resolution.

That's how I think it works. I definitely could be wrong, and would welcome any criticisms.

-Jake, Ph.D. candidate in musicology, CUNY Grad Center
I never realized Tweeprise was in D and Tweezer is in A. When I see D and A together I first see a tonic to dominant relationship. If this were the musical intent of the band it's interesting to wonder that maybe, just maybe Tweezer (In A) is really a modulation to the dominate that is then resolved (In D) by Tweeprise. Thus being the motive behind the band "resolving" a show with Tweeprise that had Tweezer in the setlist. Hmmm.........

-Medical student who loves Phish/Music
, comment by gratephul
gratephul After reading the review, and lots of posts, I have a comment. I was at the 9-27-00 Bonner Springs show in KC (my first), and then the 7-17-03 show. Being that I live in Nebraska, these were my first 2 shows. This last one in KC was my 27th. With that said...

7-17-03 opener was Chalkdust. 7-17-03 second set opener was Tweezer, with the reprise to finish the show. When they opened with Chalkdust, i laughed out loud and said "does anyone else think they're f*ing with everyone?" Being that KC is really in the middle of the states, this is their 3rd performance since 2000 in KC, so I was wondering...do they know they opened with Chalkdust 9 years ago? And if not, would Phish care if someone said "hey, you guys opened with that 9 years ago?" Would their answer be "oh really?" Or would they just smile and say "so what?" Just something to ponder. I wasn't complaining, by any means. I was just wondering if that shed any light on to why they chose the songs they did.

My highlight of the show was how much my wife enjoyed it. This was my 27th show, and while I consider it a safe setlist, songs like Piper, BRTR, and If I Could really made her smile. So thanks to Phish for playing in KC again. I've known the fans of KC to be morons at times, so I wasn't suprised to hear the groans during Kill Devil Falls or Loving Cup (let them be, I say). In fact, on a side note, Pearl Jam played in 1998 and didn't even Encore, b/c the crowd was so bad, which is something I'll never forget. But I digress.

As for the review, I liked the critique on the setlist flow. I also was a bit lost in the flow at times. But the venue is just gorgeous. It's like you're floating on a cloud castle, the weather was perfect, and my group had a blast. I know all my phamily will be at the Dicks' shows over Labor Day, so I hope they bring it again! I will be at the DSO Jubilee in Ohio, so my 28th, 29th, and 30th will have to be somewhere else. > .<

Much love to .net for all you do, and to all of us for keeping it alive!! <3
Dave Tothetrafficlight
, comment by ZapRowsdower
ZapRowsdower Spot on write up.
, comment by aquaman44
aquaman44 D is the fourth tone of the A major scale (A/B/C#/D/E/F/G#). It is 2 and a half steps above A. Simple.
, comment by safetymeeting
safetymeeting @AlbanyYEM said:

-Pete, Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, Marquette University (haha, sorry had to throw that in there)
WE ARE! (clap clap) MARQUETTE!!

Signed,
-E, Someone who barely graduated from Marquette
, comment by straitouttacomptonterrace
straitouttacomptonterrace A simpler way to describe the difference in keys between Tweezer and Tweeprise would be to say that Tweeprise is up a 4th or Perfect 4th up from Tweezer. Though the terminology used is not quite clear I think the reviewer's point is well made about the tension aspect of Tweeprise being in a higher key. As ascending musical lines have the natural effect of giving the music direction toward a resolution, I think since the key of A is so well established in the original Tweezer groove the transposition of Tweeprise helps to create that same type of effect. In this case, the key of D as it relates to to the original key of A is also brighter sounding, a fact that is clearly not lost in Kuroda's presentation. Trey also utilizes this same technique in the melodic content of Tweeprise. The composed part of Tweeprise, before the vocals enter, features Trey playing an ascending d minor scale in octaves. When the vocals enter Trey shifts up (ascending again) to the highest position on his guitar to play D in octaves. That in combination with the driving rhythmic pattern he plays is the reason we all need to pump our fists like a Jersey Shore cast member on crack when Tweeprise is coming home.

That being said, this was one of the better reviews I've read on Phishnet. Thanks for your thorough and thoughtful review.

@CorPhish said:
@stufunk said:
I'm very sorry to be critical, as I do appreciate the work you guys do at phish.net, but as a musician and music educator your statement about Tweeprise vs Tweezer make no sense musically:

Musically, D is four steps higher on the scale than A. So the underlying pitch for &#65533;Tweeprise&#65533; is higher than for &#65533;Tweezer,&#65533; and this elevation increases that sense of tension. Never forget that these guys are learned, well versed musicians.

Simply playing something "higher", on its own, doesn't add tension. Saying "the scale" is technically incorrect as well. What type of scale are you referring to? There are many. If you are referring to an A major then yes D would be the higher pitch in ascending order, But if it is a C major scale, then A would be higher than D when ascending the scale.

Either way, I bring this up because I enjoy the reviews on this site, but tend to cringe when I see the references to music theory because many of them are not true. Please be more careful in the future and keep up the good work.
Agreed on the music theory. To say that the D is four (whole-steps) higher than A is true but it is also 5(whole-steps) lower. It's not one fixed note. If they modulated from one key to another during a song, you might (might) "hear" some of what you describe. Starting it in a certain key (D, A or otherwise), would not register in one's ear unless one had perfect pitch. Even then, it would not provide the aural occurrence you describe.

Love the rest of the review though.

Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music theory'd
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten whoah..thanks for the 7.28.98 recommendation. What a cool show, everyone should head over to the spreadsheet if they haven't heard that yet.

, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten I'd also like to say, this show had some fantastic moments, but some of these performances on Leg 2 are showing the troubling return of the ripcord. That piper jam was getting so hot and as soon as it died down for just a second, Trey started a new song.

The really outstanding Tweezer that came before kind of makes up for it, but I felt this show going on a different trajectory until Mike's.
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