Sunday 07/06/2014 by phishnet

SPAC3 RECAP

For today's recap we welcome guest blogger Dianna Hank.

Being a native New Yorker, the announcement of SPAC shows is always a little bittersweet for me. Sure, it’s easy enough to get to and the crowd will be full of people I know; but it will also be full of a lot of people I don’t want to know who only come up to the shows to party at Lee’s for three days and annoy the rest of us who actually show up to listen to music. Imagine? That being said, after a soggy yet incredibly fun dance party on the lawn the first night with only minor disturbances, this year I was lucky enough to be able to take in the second and third shows of the run from the pavilion. While I am a SPAC lawn defender – the sound and view are great as long as you get a good spot up front and don’t have to deal with obnoxious drunk kids – seeing a show from four rows back in the pavilion is a whole other ballgame. Because of the structure of the pavilion, the sound up there seems to engulf you and vibrate through your entire body. It’s loud but not in a painful way. It’s clear, crisp, and precise and “it feels good.”

Going into night three of the run, I was pretty excited about what was still left for Phish to play. The prior two nights had delivered a number of seriously impressive jams that I can’t wait to go back and listen to over and over again and I assumed and hoped that night three would be no different. My only hopes for the evening were a raging “David Bowie," a blissful “Slave to the Traffic Light” and a funky “Wombat” to complete the track list of Fuego songs that had already been played this tour. Lucky for me, I got not only these three things but so much more!


© Scott Harris Photography.

The show kicked off with one of my favorite show openers, “Crowd Control.” While on the softer, poppier side of Phish, it also gets the show started off in a positive, joyful way and usually brings about something short yet sweet from Trey. Next up was “My Friend, My Friend," bringing the crowd energy up significantly and showing us that they meant business. “Scent of a Mule” continued the energy build, getting everyone doing their best do-si-dos. Page provides a fiery intro to a marimba lumina solo by Fish which makes this version one to definitely check out. While the marimba solo sounded a bit like Phish’s attempt at EDM, I was just happy to see it being used. A few composed sections of songs (such as Mule’s ending) were a bit flubbed by Trey, but the energy and creativity which he brought to the table for the jams made those flubs seem insignificant.

A standard yet clean “Undermind” showed that the boys were still having fun, with Trey introducing Fishman as “Moses Heaps” for the first time since 1988 Short yet efficient, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” brought some heat before we got back to silly Phish with “I Didn’t Know.” Trey introduces Fish as “Moses DeWitt” for the first time since 1991 and Trey’s face during the vacuum solo further proved just how much fun they were all having on stage. “Foam”’s first appearance since last summer was a pleasant surprise followed by the drop into “Wombat” which evoked a huge cheer from the crowd. A massive funk dance party erupted as the final song off of Fuego finally made a 2014 appearance and the only complaint I have was that I wished it was twice as long. “Divided Sky” was standard and beautiful, with a huge glowstick war erupting throughout the venue during the overly extended pause. As someone who has been disappointed by its placement many times in the past, I was actually pretty ok with this slot for “Wading in the Velvet Sea.” It gave the crowd a little chance to breathe after a high energy “Divided Sky” and before the raging, set-closing “David Bowie."

The real meat of this show came in the second set. As soon as the band got back on stage after setbreak, they got to work, quickly bursting into “Carini” and evoking a massive roar from the crowd. After the last balcony-shaking performance of this song, hopes were high that this one would pack as much punch as the Letterman version did. As a “Carini” convert who prefers blissful, beautiful Phish to dark, scary Phish most of the time, this Carini did exactly what most recent “Carinis” have been doing – brought the fire in the beginning of the song before lifting off and floating away into the serene abyss. While seemingly cut a little short by the > “Waves," it was a welcome transition and this segment of music set the tone for the rest of the set. Similarly ethereal, this “Waves” fit perfectly after the euphoric “Carini” jam.



© Scott Harris Photography.

Next up, “Wingsuit” continued this airy theme while delivering a powerful punch in the second half of the tune. After two satisfying jams with “Carini” and “Waves,” this “Wingsuit” was a bit more well received than the Mansfield version, promising to be a bit more jammed out considering its place in the second set. A beautiful “Piper” continued this dreamlike setlist, followed by a well executed “Fluffhead.” “Heavy Things” threw me for a bit of a loop, coming late in the second set. While this tune can contain a short but sweet little jam from Trey, it seemed to me that it was only in response to the onslaught of glowsticks that rained down on the crowd during the “Fluffhead” peak. Back to business after “Heavy Things," the band dropped into “Slave to the Traffic Light” which I assumed would be the set closer. A personal favorite song of mine, this “Slave” provides all the heart-warming, soul-opening, major chord bliss that most if not all other Slaves do. I’ve never met a Slave I didn’t like.

After a glorious peak, Phish did what they do best and surprised us with yet another tune, the crowd favorite “You Enjoy Myself.” Few things feel better than realizing that not only is the set not over yet, but that it won’t be over for another 20 minutes or so. This “YEM” was the perfect set closer to a dare I say epic set of music from Phish. If it wasn’t apparent through their playing, Trey’s dance moves during Mike’s solo proved just how much fun these guys were having on stage. This is one of those second sets I think I will be listening to straight through over and over again for a while.

Suzy Greenberg” closed out the show and while not particularly a special encore, it felt appropriately celebratory after a weekend of great music. With the first four shows of the tour in the books and highlights from each already evident, I can’t wait to see what else is in store for this summer.


© Scott Harris Photography.

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Comments

, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Was not there for the show so I've only seen it on paper but it looks to be a burner.
Wish there was more musical analysis in the review but I did enjoy the write-up as you did a nice job describing your experience.

I also love the Pavilion at SPAC. Not a big fan of the lawn scene.

Pretty stoked as this SPAC run (I've only heard the first two nights and read about the 3rd) seems to be quite a bit more solid than last year's, and last years wasn't bad.
, comment by SerNelson_TheBrave
SerNelson_TheBrave That second set. Oh my, oh my, oh my. If they killed the second set on night two, which they absolutely did, then what they did to the second set of night three would be the equivalent of killing it, burning down it's house, and salting the earth so no new houses grow there. Everyone needs to listen to this Waves. I'm not going to be over it for a long while.

And if Phish wants to keep not playing covers and still have this much fun and melt this many faces I'm totally on board.
, comment by fluff_hen
fluff_hen That show was pure phishbliss. Loved (and for once agree with) the review; please come back Dianna!
, comment by plICCULUS
plICCULUS Good review....whole run sounded tight for the most part imo....especially night 3!!
Fish was really on point the entire run too...definitely worth noting!
See you at CMAC
, comment by martianfur
martianfur nice review 2Ns!
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 A few thoughts:

Treys dance moves at the end of YEM were above average/great. I think he has been practicing in the mirror at home and it is paying off.

Each night has gotten better and better, which makes me even more stoked for Philly and NYC.

I am hoping to catch a few rare original tunes that may resurface because of no covers.

This band never fails to amaze me.
, comment by poonutties
poonutties Rainbows were blasting all over spac.
, comment by Wintersteam
Wintersteam Great review! I danced the hardest during Piper. It was glorious. Excited to relisten to the shows!!
, comment by LarryLegend
LarryLegend Drunk people? On the lawn at a phish show? No way!!!! Don't worry not everyone wants to know you either.
, comment by lenuto46
lenuto46 When is Chris Bertolet reviewing? Philip Zerbo? Steve? C'mon guys, we need to hear your perspective.
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect I'm loving the "no covers" trend so far this summer. One persistent feeling I've had during 3.0 is that Phish would do well to set aside some heavy-rotation workhorse songs in favor of giving newer material a chance to develop and shine.

By suspending covers and releasing a new album, they've done just that, and as others have said, it's already paying off. It's great to hear Undermind and Fuego songs getting some welcome room to breathe, and I'm definitely excited for the prospect of more bustouts, unique placements and surprising jams as the summer progresses. Spock's Brain, anyone? Mike's band rocked it all winter...

BTW, the soundcheck for this show --included in the phish.net setlist-- looks absolutely ridiculous (on paper)! Is it circulating? Link please!
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Ok let's get the rabble roused for Round Room.

Songs can't have jams that good 2/5 times they're played and then just get forgotten.

I love how I randomly hear a Round Room and then get evangelistic about it for a few weeks. Every time.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Also... I gotta throw this out there.

EDM is gross... Electronic music isn't.

I'd rather give them credit and think they're listening to some wacked out Berlin techno or Norweigian space disco than think they're giving a nod to some lowest common denominator jock jams.
, comment by Dianna_2Ns
Dianna_2Ns @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Was not there for the show so I've only seen it on paper but it looks to be a burner.
Wish there was more musical analysis in the review but I did enjoy the write-up as you did a nice job describing your experience.
Finally getting a chance to do a FULL relisten of the 2nd set in order which I unfortunately did not have time to do before writing this recap in my shell-of-a-human-being state this morning so here's some more thoughts and musical analysis!

After the vocals in Waves end, the band immediately dives down into a gorgeous, Page-led jam, with Mike dropping some body-shaking bass bombs and the whole band gelling together so well. They're in a solid pocket together but before the jam can really develop further, it quickly dissolves and they launch into "Wingsuit." Like I said, it seemed to fit much better in this slot, after a blissful "Waves" jam than after a raging "Birds of a Feather" like at Mansfield earlier in the week. Additionally, since it was in the 2nd set, I think people were a little more forgiving of the slow-developing beginning of the song, hoping that a serious jam would develop out of the second half of it. While it does develop a certain a huge sound to it, this jam has a lot of Trey repeating the "time to put your Wingsuit" on notes which isn't terribly creative or exciting. Hopefully this jam will grow and mature the more it's played. After Mike "Drillex" Gordon does his little drill bit, they slowly launch into "Piper" & I secretly hope we're in for SPAC Piper: Part 2. With the intro a little over a minute long, hopes for a slow build "Piper" were quickly destroyed as Trey prematurely starts the vocals after that. Fishman is on fire, pushing this jam at an impressive rate and the other 3 are keeping up. Clocking in at 13:23, this Piper is the longest version since the last SPAC Piper in 2012. Building and peaking numerous times, this jam is an absolute must-hear. Seriously. Go listen to it now.

After an incredibly energetic and satisfying 13 and a half minutes, the segue into "Fluffhead" is smooth as butter and provides a welcome few moments to regroup. The "Fluff came to New York" lyric received it's usual roar from the NY crowd which will never get old to me. Trey struggles a bit with some of the composed section but nothing too bad. Page's playing makes up for it. The ridiculously huge glowstick explosion during the last "FLUFFHEAD!" brings a smile to my face and I'm ready for whatever's next which, prompted or not by the shower of said glowsticks, is "Heavy Things." The usual mass exodus to the bathrooms and or beer tents happens but this version has a nice little Page/Fish duet which is worth hearing.

"Heavy Things" comes to a close and thus begins the "Slave" that I was hoping and waiting for. I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for such an amazing three days of music and really just soak it all in, figuring this will close the last set of the weekend. This "Slave" is unrelentingly gorgeous as it almost always is. The last notes ring and the crowd starts to cheer as if it were all over until Trey counts off and launches into "YEM" which causes the entire place to completely erupt. A couple of botched notes in the beginning had me grimacing a bit but really, it felt like a surprise, extra YEM so I'm pretty happy, regardless. Everything's going well until the crowd starts clapping (still don't understand why people feel the need to do this...) but Trey walks over to Mike and the two of them start to riff off each other which is really fun to watch and even better to hear. Trey starts plucking these high notes which almost sound like Fishman's woodblocks which have been expertly utilized numerous times this tour already. Mike's bass solo at the end is top notch and the vocal jam includes one of those mouth pops from Trey that he was finding so funny the night prior. "Suzy" sends the run off on a high note and that's all she wrote. Looking forward to the Mann!
, comment by LawnMemo
LawnMemo great review!
, comment by FUCKphish
FUCKphish well done....nice read...great show!
, comment by Noze_
Noze_ Awesome review, can't wait to read your next one!
, comment by J_D_G
J_D_G > & I secretly hope we're in for SPAC Piper: Part 2.

Hrmm, not sure i could even stand up to another 6/19/04 Piper, but it sure would be fun to find out!
, comment by JVossATX
JVossATX You guys throw around the word "epic" entirely too much. Now that the band has cut off over half of it's catalog I'm glad to see them finally owning their own songs, but come on really? An epic second set? It was pedestrian at best.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Dianna_2Ns said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Was not there for the show so I've only seen it on paper but it looks to be a burner.
Wish there was more musical analysis in the review but I did enjoy the write-up as you did a nice job describing your experience.
Finally getting a chance to do a FULL relisten of the 2nd set in order which I unfortunately did not have time to do before writing this recap in my shell-of-a-human-being state this morning so here's some more thoughts and musical analysis!

After the vocals in Waves end, the band immediately dives down into a gorgeous, Page-led jam, with Mike dropping some body-shaking bass bombs and the whole band gelling together so well. They're in a solid pocket together but before the jam can really develop further, it quickly dissolves and they launch into "Wingsuit." Like I said, it seemed to fit much better in this slot, after a blissful "Waves" jam than after a raging "Birds of a Feather" like at Mansfield earlier in the week. Additionally, since it was in the 2nd set, I think people were a little more forgiving of the slow-developing beginning of the song, hoping that a serious jam would develop out of the second half of it. While it does develop a certain a huge sound to it, this jam has a lot of Trey repeating the "time to put your Wingsuit" on notes which isn't terribly creative or exciting. Hopefully this jam will grow and mature the more it's played. After Mike "Drillex" Gordon does his little drill bit, they slowly launch into "Piper" & I secretly hope we're in for SPAC Piper: Part 2. With the intro a little over a minute long, hopes for a slow build "Piper" were quickly destroyed as Trey prematurely starts the vocals after that. Fishman is on fire, pushing this jam at an impressive rate and the other 3 are keeping up. Clocking in at 13:23, this Piper is the longest version since the last SPAC Piper in 2012. Building and peaking numerous times, this jam is an absolute must-hear. Seriously. Go listen to it now.

After an incredibly energetic and satisfying 13 and a half minutes, the segue into "Fluffhead" is smooth as butter and provides a welcome few moments to regroup. The "Fluff came to New York" lyric received it's usual roar from the NY crowd which will never get old to me. Trey struggles a bit with some of the composed section but nothing too bad. Page's playing makes up for it. The ridiculously huge glowstick explosion during the last "FLUFFHEAD!" brings a smile to my face and I'm ready for whatever's next which, prompted or not by the shower of said glowsticks, is "Heavy Things." The usual mass exodus to the bathrooms and or beer tents happens but this version has a nice little Page/Fish duet which is worth hearing.

"Heavy Things" comes to a close and thus begins the "Slave" that I was hoping and waiting for. I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for such an amazing three days of music and really just soak it all in, figuring this will close the last set of the weekend. This "Slave" is unrelentingly gorgeous as it almost always is. The last notes ring and the crowd starts to cheer as if it were all over until Trey counts off and launches into "YEM" which causes the entire place to completely erupt. A couple of botched notes in the beginning had me grimacing a bit but really, it felt like a surprise, extra YEM so I'm pretty happy, regardless. Everything's going well until the crowd starts clapping (still don't understand why people feel the need to do this...) but Trey walks over to Mike and the two of them start to riff off each other which is really fun to watch and even better to hear. Trey starts plucking these high notes which almost sound like Fishman's woodblocks which have been expertly utilized numerous times this tour already. Mike's bass solo at the end is top notch and the vocal jam includes one of those mouth pops from Trey that he was finding so funny the night prior. "Suzy" sends the run off on a high note and that's all she wrote. Looking forward to the Mann!
Thanks Dianna! The extra effort is appreciated and worth it! I'll be hearing the show today at some point so your detail on the Waves and Piper is intrigueing. My thoughts from your description led me to think of the Gorge run from last year. I'll be curious to see how it compares. The Fluffhead at the Gorge was one of the best, if not the very best, that I've heard them play in 3.0. The test for me will listening to YEM. The YEM's have been rather weak the last couple of years.

So what does everyone else think? Does this show rank with the Gorge or is more along the lines of MPP '13? Or somewhere in between?
, comment by cmg348
cmg348 @Dianna_2Ns said:
With the intro a little over a minute long, hopes for a slow build "Piper" were quickly destroyed as Trey prematurely starts the vocals after that.
Glad to see that I'm not the only one who thought/thinks so. Is it not the case that the long, slow intro simply makes Piper a better song? The vocals always sound so awkward at the beginning without it, not to mention that it contributes to the we-have-all-the-time-in-the-world feeling that I love to get from the band but, sadly, don't get so much these days.

All that said, an excellent Piper and a pretty solid show all around.
, comment by Dividedsky333
Dividedsky333 I was at this show and it was awesome. ;D

I bought a ticket last minute just so I could hear YEM, cause I knew they had to play it. That song is brilliant to witness live, time and time again. Maybe it was the two hits of Lucy I ingested, but the screaming build up and subsequent release into "Boy, Man, God, Shit" just felt like one gigantic collective group orgasm. I'm gonna cry my eyes out the day this band finally finishes playing forever. A sad day that will be....so everyone that complains all the damn time about every small insignificant detail that disappoints their perceptual faculties needs to use their brain a little and remember that one of these 4 guys will die at some point soon, and when that happens there will be no Phish 4.0. There will be no Phish. It will just be done forever.

So to every fan who doesn't keep the inevitable and final death of this scene in the front of their minds when they see the band live, do yourself the favor of remembering so that you might actually break out of your negativity box and enjoy the beauty of the music. It brings the entire scene down a notch when you open your mouth and speak. Trust me, if you tend to be negative, a lot of people really don't like your emphasis on the dark side of contrast, but being that the Phish scene is generally full of positive people, these people probably will never tell you to your face that your opinions are destroying the very scene that you pretend to embrace. Please, can every fake Phish fan just shut the f*ck up with the negative talk. If you don't like the music, why, in God's name, would you still attend shows? I think I speak for a lot of people when I say we don't need you around if your not gonna bring the mood up in the scene.

Just stay home, watch the webcast alone, complain to yourself about how the music is never up to par, and then go kill yourself, survive the bardo, and maybe if you're lucky you'll be reborn at the tail end of the 20th Century so you can see Phish 1.0 play at Nectar's. After that Nectars show is over, maybe you'll get lucky and remember your last past life when you were a dousche bag complaining about everything in a highly obnoxious detail oriented fashion, and then in your state of zen enlightenment you can try hitting on a local college cutie at the bar, saying, "Hey babe, I remember my past life, which actually took place in the future, and honestly, it's been all down hill for the band ever since they stopped playing Nectar's. Don't get me wrong, I love the band, but for me loving things means hating them. I'm also a fan of logic, and things making sense. Wanna buy a monkey?"
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @Dividedsky333 said:
Maybe it was the two hits of Lucy I ingested, but the screaming build up and subsequent release into "Boy, Man, God, Shit" just felt like one gigantic collective group orgasm.
It was the acid
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @ericwyman said:
@Dividedsky333 said:
Maybe it was the two hits of Lucy I ingested, but the screaming build up and subsequent release into "Boy, Man, God, Shit" just felt like one gigantic collective group orgasm.
It was the acid
no doubt. LMAO
, comment by Fluffhead_ZFG
Fluffhead_ZFG Excellent review D2Ns!
, comment by TheEmu
TheEmu @Dividedsky333

Do lots of acid and love it when the band pisses in my ears, or kill myself. Got it, thanks.
, comment by TheEmu
TheEmu Oh, and also @Dividedsky333, your positivity is an inspiration to the whole community!
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @lenuto46 said:
When is Chris Bertolet reviewing? Philip Zerbo? Steve? C'mon guys, we need to hear your perspective.
I am flattered to be mentioned by name and alongside those two. We have some lined up.

I'm personally on deck to savage the forthcoming 7/15 Canandaigua debacle by comparing everything played that night to the 6/22/95 Tweezer. A few more shows downwind in the summer as well.

In the meantime, we are mixing things up a bit. Honestly, it's really fucking tiresome hearing from the same bunch of 40-something white guys all the time, and I am one of those guys. Dianna did us a solid here and I for one enjoyed her fresh perspective. Wait until you read the one coming up from 2 Chix 1 Fightbell tomorrow... gonna be great, really, ser. And the usual suspects will come back around soon enough.

:)
, comment by phunguy
phunguy Carini could have gone on for 10 more minutes and kept it's tempo, cut way short.

Awaiting a seriously jammed out WOMBAT, I thought they might...next time.

Encore kinda sucked, done with Suzie.
, comment by chooglincharley
chooglincharley 2N!!!! Awesome write-up
, comment by NateSluszka
NateSluszka Great review, although I must mention that Fish was referred to as Moses DeWitt on 8/16/11.
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