Friday 08/02/2013 by jwelsh8

IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION: NOTES ON A TWEEZER

Back in the early age of the internet, and before widespread use of cell phones, fans would usually have to wait until the next morning to find out what happened at a concert. I have three vivid memories from undergrad when, while I was sitting at a computer, I felt myself filling with excitement and joy in reading what had happened the night before. One was March 20, 1995, when I read on rec.music.dead that the Grateful Dead *finally* played Unbroken Chain to close the previous night's first set in Philadelphia (stories were coming back that a few chosen fans held up their cell phones for friends; others rushed to use pay phones at setbreak -- it was a big deal). The next was November 1 of that same year when I walked from Studio near the Pantheon to one of the only computer labs in all of Rome, just north of the Vatican, to find out that Phish played Quadrophenia for Halloween. The third was in the Fall of 1996, reading about Phish's famous "M" set from St. Louis, complete with Mean Mr. John Popper (just a week after seeing my fourth and fifth shows).

Fast-forward seventeen years to yesterday morning, when I woke up to hundreds of messages on my phone in the form of Tweets and GroupMe posts describing what had gone down just a few hours earlier in Tahoe. If I had stayed up, I could have even listened along to the Tweezer by means of a fan's stream from the show. Instead, I quickly downloaded the show and was able to listen to the eighth-longest song Phish ever played twice before I even got into work. And by early morning, I was up to my fourth listen (compared to seventeen years earlier, when I was resigned that I would have to wait weeks -- or months -- before I could even hear a note; I remember anxiously awaiting for a tape Vine or Tree for that Dead show . . . ).

Immmediate gratification is a luxury. It also allows you to experience music in different ways. Yesterday, I decided to take notes during my fourth listen to try and chart the 36-minute journey of the Tahoe Tweezer. The music really is stunning, and I wanted to immerse myself in how the band actually progressed over the course of the song. I really don't know enough music theory to match this up with the wipe-board diagram that has been floating around [ed. See below], but I wonder where some of the "moments" below match up with those key changes . . .

[ed. All timings based on the Live Phish release.]

5:06: First hints of leaving the grips of Tweezer
6:47: Great little melody from Trey, quickly picked up by Page
8:00: Opens up with those repeated notes from Trey . . .
9:20: Some cool harmonics (?) from Mike as they drift off into space
10:43: Audible cheering from the crowd as the band continues in the space vein [ed. Thanks to the YouTube video that has been posted, I have matched this to a moment when Kuroda turned off the overhead lights to simply back-light the band]
11:20: Trey slowly repeats a riff, Mike repeats a note, Fish on cymbals . . . and the pace begins to quicken
12:52: Mike and his foot bell
13:15: Really picks up as the band plays off one another into a bit of a more "driving" jam
14:40: Focused jam, all in step
16:30: Mike starts with this fuzzed-out effect on his bass while Trey holds a sustain, Page on piano
17:50: More riffing from Trey
18:10: They all drop out with Page holding a chord on the organ; more openness
19:45: Trey starts in with this pretty riffing (Major scale?); first really beautiful section of jamming, gentle; lots of piano
22:30: Trey starts working on a new theme, with focus; just playing off the beauty of a few minutes before; builds, repeats some notes, Page working the piano, and Fishman is throwing in fills
23:40: Great Page moment as he continues on the piano and starts this organ "flourish" [ed. Thanks, Syd]
24:45: Mike really starts to let go with the "Meatballs" [correct use of the term?] matched by more organ from Page
26:20: A melody just appears out of no where, with every band member on board; really quite something to hear, almost like a Gospel hymn
27:23: The band slows down for its start-stop, elicting the "Woos" from the crowd; last for about 30 seconds before it builds back to the hymn again
27:58: Massive Trey-gasmic release [ed. Thanks, JD]
28:20: Start-stop "Woos" again, and then repeats
30:40: Another change of direction, signaled by some chords from Trey that almost sounded like a new song; band quickly runs through themes, one sounding like the Scent "Russian" section before latching onto an upbeat melody
32:50: Kind of transitions into a bit of a funky Tweezer theme right before the start-stop "Woos" kick in again; more funk than hymn this time
33:24: Changes to more blues-rock vamp by Trey
34:10: Can't you see?
35:08: Oh, hello Tweezer; complete with start-stop "Woos"
36:47: "The sky is burning in this lonely land"

No matter how you choose to enjoy this music, just make sure you do.

Tahoe Tweezer "Roadmap," thanks to @mikehamad

If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Phish.net. Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.


Comments

, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd Pretty fantastic to have this one thing that we are almost unanimously together on. Phish has somehow managed to transcend internet jadedness. Take that, Al Gore!

When trey rips into that lick at 27:58, it's an absolutely obvious highlight of the song, 3.0, and the band's catalog. There is nothing subtle or nuanced about it, though the band obviously worked to get there. It's pure unfettered joy and release. Rock and Roll. And to have that reflected wholly in the online discussion and meta-discussion is pretty unique and amazing moment in the history of drug band message boards.

27:58 is the crest of the first big drop on a roller coaster.

Its paddling like hell and realizing, yup, I'm on top of the wave. I caught it.

It's chunking through some tight steep trees in deep snow, dropping a tiny chute without knowing whats below, and realizing it opens up into untracked, spaced out forest as far as you can see.
, comment by Dividedsky333
Dividedsky333 Tahoe Tweezer sounds rehearsed and it's not. And that's the stamp of quality improv, and the Phish 3.0 jam.

I'm a fan of the loose rambling long form jams of 2.0, but sometimes the 20+ jams from that era feel like 20+ jams. This Tahoe jam somehow distorts time and feels much more concise than 30+ minutes. It's impressive to say the least.

And any hater who doubted Phish's ability to pull off a jam of this caliber and length in this era is a fool. This is not the Rolling Stones. These guys are professionally educated musicians who are continuing to perfect their craft. If they broke up again and reformed at the age of 70 for 4.0, they'd still be able to bust out music of this quality, because these guys live and breath music. They are students of music, and they're journey of learning is never over. This Tahoe Tweezer is not an outlier.....30 years of playing is producing a fine wine for us phans to drink.

If your cup is full, may it be again.
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect
What, no Tahoe recaps, just a single song send-up? I sort of love that --only for The Phish-- but am still looking forward to reading those show recaps. ;-)

Now, to go listen to this Tweeezer...

, comment by MDosque
MDosque I just downloaded it last night and "forced" myself to listen to the first set this morning during breakfast. I always listen to the whole show from front to back the first time. I knew what was in store for my ride into work. My commute up the Potomac River from Mt. Vernon to Georgetown usually takes me 34 minutes with no traffic. Perfect. I lost my shit when Trey screamed back in in the 27th minute and spent that extra 2 minutes in the parking lot at work slack jawed as Tela started to tinkle. This was an amazing jam. I'm certainly no fluffer and it did just happen the other night with no time to let the dust settle but after nearly 20 years of listening to this band, I can say that this belongs up there with the greats. Inspired, focused, risky, diverse. This jam is there.

Dosque

- thanks for the analysis guys everyone - much appreciated.
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @InsectEffect said:
What, no Tahoe recaps, just a single song send-up? I sort of love that --only for The Phish-- but am still looking forward to reading those show recaps. ;-)

Now, to go listen to this Tweeezer...
They're coming, as a single recap. Things got a little deep in Tahoe.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Deadheads with cell phones in 1995?
, comment by MzRprz
MzRprz Amazing Tweezer! Add it to the ranks of the great ones - Bomb Factory, Mud Island, The Fleezer.... awesome!
, comment by ForgeTheCoin
ForgeTheCoin It's a great jam, and I'm as big of a Phish nerd as there is...... But this is like the 4th dissection I have seen of this jam into it's component parts...

What gives? I don't ever remember the Runaway Jam getting the analytical autopsy... All you had to say was, 'Just get a copy and LISTEN...'

, comment by bryontreece
bryontreece I've already mentioned this on Twitter a couple of times (using an incorrect reference at first taboot) & will probably start sounding like the schizo in the tin foil hat by continuing to harp on this point, but the riff that starts at 13:53 makes me think of "Devil Woman" by Cliff Richard every time. I'm not saying it's a "tease" (although it very well could be), but it does sound exactly like the main riff in that song.
, comment by Spirit
Spirit Wow this is awesome , very nice breakdown especially the picture map of how it musically went down. What a journey!
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @bryontreece said:
I've already mentioned this on Twitter a couple of times (using an incorrect reference at first taboot) & will probably start sounding like the schizo in the tin foil hat by continuing to harp on this point, but the riff that starts at 13:53 makes me think of "Devil Woman" by Cliff Richard every time. I'm not saying it's a "tease" (although it very well could be), but it does sound exactly like the main riff in that song.
I agree. Thanks for putting your finger on it.
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect
It seems to me that Phish can often do more with 10 minutes in the 3.0 era than they ever could before -- thus many remarkable but relatively 'short' jams of sparkling diversity in recent years.

With this Tweeezer, they multiply that capacity exponentially over the entire length of the jam, creating an improvisational epic with distinct movements and brilliant innovation, rewarding repeat-listening (I'm now totally hooked, like everyone else).

I'd now like to offer a brief prayer for an Official Video.

...and ah, those moments around 10:30, and again at 19 minutes, when, instead of ripcord or warp-speed ahead, the band hovers in patient space, letting the music gestate and emerge in its fullness. Simply gorgeous.

, comment by funkdubayous
funkdubayous Goosebumps, chills up the spine, an increase in heart rate, uncontrollable giggling, perhaps a tear or two as well. it was exciting and beautiful at the same time
, comment by skr213
skr213 Awesome post!! Just one FYI: "meatball" refers to a specific pedal Mike uses. It's an envelope filter made by Lovetone. I know "meatball" has become a bit of a generic term for when Mike gets out there, as you use it ("Mike starts to let go with the 'Meatballs'" ;) , but just wanted to let you know where it comes from if you didn't know.
, comment by jwelsh8
jwelsh8 @ForgeTheCoin said:
It's a great jam, and I'm as big of a Phish nerd as there is...... But this is like the 4th dissection I have seen of this jam into it's component parts...

What gives? I don't ever remember the Runaway Jam getting the analytical autopsy... All you had to say was, 'Just get a copy and LISTEN...'
I *did* get a copy and listened. Three times. But then I wanted to focus on how the band moved from point A to B to C to . . . I have always been analytical, maybe it is just how my mind works. Sometimes I find myself at the end of a conversation, and I think backward to chart how we got to that spot. I enjoy it.

Through the taking of notes, I am forced to listen to the music in a way that is different from simply letting the notes fill my ears -- both "ways" of listening give me pleasure. I know I miss the nuance when I just listen while trying to work or riding the subway. Through the act of writing down what I hear (in mostly layman's terms, I will admit), I notice details that were otherwise missed.
, comment by standard
standard @ForgeTheCoin said:
It's a great jam, and I'm as big of a Phish nerd as there is...... But this is like the 4th dissection I have seen of this jam into it's component parts...

What gives? I don't ever remember the Runaway Jam getting the analytical autopsy... All you had to say was, 'Just get a copy and LISTEN...'
Agreed.. "8:00 - repeated notes from Trey"?
its like..
19:27- cool noises by phish
20:13- mike hits a awesome note on bass
28:25- trey plays 3 chords, (or was it 4 chords i hear? almost sounds like a song i've heard before!)

If you read this, without ever hearing the tweezer, you'd have NO clue what it really sounded like.

Also, sometimes I don't think Trey is "working on a new theme". Sometime's they're just playing. They're really good. There's no way to really know. I know for a fact, however, that the band isn't thinking as consciously about where the jam is going as you may think. Anyone who has played in front of a live audience knows how important it is to let go and just let it happen. Phish is good enough to just let it happen. They aren't up there doing equations in their heads.

I may not hear the same musical milestones in a jam as the 30 that someone else marks significant. IDK, maybe I've already seen too many of these second-by-second commentaries the past 2 days, but really, just listen to this wonderful jam. There's so much going on in 36 minutes, everyone is going to have their own experience.
, comment by ckess22
ckess22 Instant gratification is an interesting title. The Internet makes it so easy to get hold of the music almost instantaneously and communicate/dissect it...it's so easy to instantly analyze today,and phishs music is made for nerdy dissection, on some level.
On another level, you can't dissect pure joy...and you could feel that from the band, crowd, etc...a great jam and a supreme moment...well said @johnnyd
The interesting thing about instant gratification is that phishs most gratifying moments aren't instant at all; they take patience from all involved even though you get multiple moments every night. The collective cognition that this was perhaps the moment of recent years is just fun to know about/be apart of. WOW.
, comment by TheDeerman
TheDeerman This jam is IT. As I listened to it develop from stage to stage, it really became clear to me what Trey's been talking about in recent interviews - how listening is so important. If you listen closely, so much of what he picks up on the guitfiddle is pulled from the things he hears Page playing on piano. Call it "theme development" if you wish, but I'm with @standard in the sense that jamming really is something that just happens. I don't get the sense that the guys think about developing themes...it's jams like this that show you how attuned they are to each moment. You can't play something like this while trying to think about how its going to play itself out in the next ten minutes. You have to just listen, and fine tune your piece of it so that it'll fit inside and somehow take it to new levels.

This jam rules, man. And when Trey hits that note...wow. That's just where it's at, right there.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM @jwelsh8

Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'm hyper-analytical myself and always prefer this type of review. For me anyway, it's about forcing yourself to listen as intently as possible more than any particular thing I might write about the music. I grew up on the Dirksen (et al.) reviews in 1.0 and always wondered if these recaps would ever get into that sort of territory. Now we have a jam that simply demands such listening and response. I'm also thrilled people have done the 'surgical' style review of the jam on the actual review page.

This jam certainly changes what the term 3.0 means. To me, it's hard not to get expectations up and assume the corner has been turned and we're back to 20+ minute jams every night. But after some thought, it occurs to me it's not about defining what 3.0 now is and expecting the band to deliver. It's about truly recognizing that this band can do anything and we truly have absolutely no idea what might go down at a show. You simply never know. That, to me, is the end of the 3.0 'box' that seems to hover over what we decide the band's potential is.

That thrill of the unknown and unbelievable that could happen at any moment is what hooked me on Phish. Regardless of what happens the in the future, after this jam, we are back in the land of the unknown. It's hard to put into words. I'm just incredible grateful it has happened.
, comment by ISamHydrogen
ISamHydrogen Might this be... the Twoozer?
, comment by SoStupendous
SoStupendous The funny thing is, is that the exact same thing was drawn on the back of the setlists they had drawn up!
, comment by ucpete
ucpete @SoStupendous said:
The funny thing is, is that the exact same thing was drawn on the back of the setlists they had drawn up!
"What's a setlist?" -- The Phish
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 1. I am NOT trolling
2. I am NOT trying to stir the pot
3. I LOVE Phish...
4. ...and have since 1992

not that any of that means very much...i just want it to be clear that I am asking the following question out of sincere curiosity: how do we know that the 31st's Tweezer jam was NOT composed and rehearsed???...and, for god's sake, no, I don't mean note for note...I'm referring to each individual movement having been pre-outlined...for lack of a better example, kinda like Miles' s concept for Kind of Blue
, comment by DistressTube
DistressTube The author has removed all of the text from their comment
, comment by JahNuhDead
JahNuhDead Mind Left Body Jam starting at 31:00 of the youtube video. Sooooo good. Coming from a 'jaded vet.'
, comment by DistressTube
DistressTube @theothr1 said:
1. I am NOT trolling
2. I am NOT trying to stir the pot
3. I LOVE Phish...
4. ...and have since 1992

not that any of that means very much...i just want it to be clear that I am asking the following question out of sincere curiosity: how do we know that the 31st's Tweezer jam was NOT composed and rehearsed???...and, for god's sake, no, I don't mean note for note...I'm referring to each individual movement having been pre-outlined...for lack of a better example, kinda like Miles' s concept for Kind of Blue
I can understand why you would ask the question...this tweezer seemed like a composed masterpiece. So here are my thoughts and an "answer" to your curiosity question:

The triumphant ecstasy that erupts out of this song is clearly not rehearsed, and the perfect timing and magical execution are like lightning in a bottle. I think everyone will generally agree on that.

A recent similar example of unexpected eruption (although not quite as epic as this tweezer) might be Limb by Limb from St. Louis last year. I also think this was clearly not rehearsed, as both it and this tweezer took so long to develop the triumphant moments in the songs.

An example that I might suggest would better fit your "rehearsed" or "composed" description here would be Super Ball Mound. The joy that explodes at out of that little 2 minute solo at the end of the song has "more" of a feeling of rehearsal. There's no lead up or exploratory build up...it's certainly not composed note for note, but Trey had to have planned that to some degree because it's not a usual spot for a jam.

A final note--I think what can come into play is any member(s) vision for a song or jam prior to really getting into it. Like "hey, let's explore this song or that song tonight." Do I think that they scripted any part of the actual composition of this Tweezer? No. Do I think they sat around at set break and possibly discussed "hey, let's open with tweezer and ride the wave for a while..." -- certainly possible.

Phish explored different themes and managed to brilliantly execute IT. They've made a career out of trying to capture IT and share it with us. In Tahoe, they just simply NAILED IT.
, comment by theothr1
theothr1 Fair enough...it seems that may be the ONLY possible (logical) answer to my inquiry...thank you!!!!....NAILED IT they did....and then some!!
, comment by MikeHamad
MikeHamad They slipped me that chart before the show.
, comment by bryontreece
bryontreece @theothr1 said:
1. I am NOT trolling
2. I am NOT trying to stir the pot
3. I LOVE Phish...
4. ...and have since 1992

not that any of that means very much...i just want it to be clear that I am asking the following question out of sincere curiosity: how do we know that the 31st's Tweezer jam was NOT composed and rehearsed???...and, for god's sake, no, I don't mean note for note...I'm referring to each individual movement having been pre-outlined...for lack of a better example, kinda like Miles' s concept for Kind of Blue
I can sort of see where you're coming from. I made a comment yesterday suggesting that one particular "movement" towards the end of the jam could possibly be something they've worked on for the new album & might have seeped out at an opportune moment. Actually, even if that's not the case, I hope they do use that "theme" to compose a new song. The riff/groove is so good at that point that I would just love to hear it played live again in some form, and as a new tune would be great, in my humble opinion.
, comment by shellycul
shellycul So glad I got to be there for this. Even if there were conversations amongst the band prior (and I don't know how likely that is), the execution is seamless. I do think that this demonstrates that the band is playing together now better than they *ever* have, for real. What a wonderful thing!
, comment by nichobert
nichobert The Treygasm after the first Woo section is the most 1991 Trey has sounded since 1991

The band. They likea the crowd participation.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert NBD. Meat and Vultures in set 1 tonight.

I've been calling a 15+ song set 2 tonight, with 30 minutes of glorious improv broken up amidst the set in little daggers like the 3 minutes of the MPP Stash or SuperMound or recent Steeps coming in unexpected ways and places.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert The riff towards the end feels a little too Frampton/Traffic to be something new...

Kinda like the Dicks Light ended on that triumphant jam that's juuuust a hair off center of Back At The Chicken Shack.. Or that alllllmost Roadrunner jam from Dicks 11.

Roadrunneresque stuff in this Tweezer too.

I'm relistening to every 95-94 Tweezer starting at 12/28/95 and going backwards. I'm not too deep into it, but I'd be lynched if I told you guys how many I think fall short of the Tahoe Bomb.
, comment by jwelsh8
jwelsh8 Just a few quick thoughts this morning.

- Thanks for reading, and for the discussion. What I was hoping for in sharing my thoughts . . .

- If you would like to read a review of both Tahoe shows from someone in attendance, please visit our National treasure Dr. Smarty's wonderful piece. My post was never intended to be that.

- I thought this went without saying, but what I shared in this blog post were my own personal notes, that I typed out on Notepad in a small architecture office, while listening and relistening to this Tweezer. They were not meant to be a review of the experience or even a description of what people may actually hear. I am not versed in musical theory (although I did play sax for about six years growing up). I realize my notes were rudimentary at times, but the words make sense to me. (You don't always know what a baked good is going to taste like looking at the recipe or the linear directions.) And this sort of "note taking" or analysis is nothing new to me; I have been doing it for years, for the music of a number of bands. (As someone mentioned above, it may have roots in the Dirksenian YEM reviews dating back to 1.0.)

- This idea of "intent," or being planned, went through my mind as well Thursday morning. I am in the camp of "maybe." I would not be surprised that the band huddled up during setbreak and decided to muscle past ripcords and open the door to possibility. And if during that process of taking it past where they are currently comfortable involved one of the band members to introduce a "theme" that they had been thinking of previously, I do not think it takes away from the music as a piece of art. Some bands find success with simply opening up the hose, where others actually create wonderful music through the interesting intertwining of existing melodies or ideas.
, comment by tat2727
tat2727 27:59 = HOSE (Kermit the Frog noodle dance!)
, comment by Aiken
Aiken really nice drawing !!
, comment by Aetaram9
Aetaram9 Thanks for the awesome breakdown. I thought I heard a little Frampton towards the end there of "do you feel like we do".

Anyway you put it Tweezahoe was amazing!!!
, comment by TelaJewel
TelaJewel I was commenting on the exact same thing following the Gorge shows. It's pretty amazing to have the whole show right there on your phone (not trying to plug the LivePhish app but hey) moments after leaving the show. I remember people scribbling down set lists with pencil and paper at shows and trying to piece it all together on the way out. Waiting months to get cassette tapes.

I was able to listen to the Tweezahoe EXTRAVAGANZA! twice before going to bed the same night they played it. Talk about sweet dreams :)

On a related "WOO" note: I've been slowly digitizing my collection starting with all the shows that I've attended and was listening to the Stash from 11-16-1994 Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI trying to track down the first Stash I've heard with the clapping (I miss the wood blocks) and this one was IT. Interestingly and pretty synchronistically if you ask me it also contians . . . you guessed the "WOO"! Must have been short lived but funny how things like that evolve and re-surface over time. Damn, I feel like an old lady now.
, comment by jwelsh8
jwelsh8 @TelaJewel said:
On a related "WOO" note: I've been slowly digitizing my collection starting with all the shows that I've attended and was listening to the Stash from 11-16-1994 Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI trying to track down the first Stash I've heard with the clapping (I miss the wood blocks) and this one was IT. Interestingly and pretty synchronistically if you ask me it also contians . . . you guessed the "WOO"! Must have been short lived but funny how things like that evolve and re-surface over time. Damn, I feel like an old lady now.
Hey. My first show! :)
, comment by TelaJewel
TelaJewel @jwelsh8 said:
Hey. My first show! :)
Nice! Great first show. Peppered with bluegrass. I remember being excited to see them at Hill Aud because the acoustics are really great. I relocated to Washington shortly after that and it took me years before I actually had a tape from that show.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS thanks for this site. I'm once again reminded of why I come to it by the frustration of the moronic debating going on at livephish.com, of which I find myself an unfortunate participant.

Glad that here we are not actually debating whether or not this was an "all-time" performance, but rather basking in the glow and trying to gain some real perspective.

Thumbs up
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Support Phish.net & MBIRD
Phish News
Subscribe to Phish-News for exclusive info while on tour!


Phish.net

Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.

Credits | Terms Of Use | Legal | DMCA

© 1990-2019  The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. | Hosted by End Point Corporation