Thursday 07/17/2014 by phishnet

PINE KNOB RECAP: RETURN TO THE MIDWEST

[For this recap we'd like to welcome guest blogger Ben Hatley) -PZ]

For the first time in a year, Phish has returned to the Midwest. When tour dates were announced, many were hoping for a more extensive run through this region, after just getting the rain soaked Chicago run last year. Alas, that did not happen, but many, myself included, put a big fat circle on their calendar when they announced they would be returning to Pine Knob.

I was anxious for this show, in large part, because I am still a little bummed to have missed the monster show here back in 2011. When they didn't play here again in 2012 or 2013, I was thinking my opportunity to visit this fantastic venue had passed. While Midwesterners will not be getting to visit a lot of their favorite sheds this summer, I do not think there were many complaints about this being the one.


Photo © Phish – Phish From the Road

Pine Knob just may be as perfect of a place to see a Phish show as you are going to find. The inside of the venue is heavily wooded and absolutely gorgeous. Not to mention, after the brutal weather that we endured the last two years, whether it be rain or extreme heat, going to a show with the sun shining and temperatures in the 70's was a treat in and of itself. The stage was set for a great day.

After partaking in a few cold ones, it was time to hit the show. We got to our seats right as “Wolfman's Brother” started. Opening with the same song they opened with here back in 2011 raised a few eyebrows. Many took it as a sign that they were trying to conjure up some of the magic they drummed up here three years ago. Last night's version seemed to follow this songs typically funky path. Along with the “Devotion to a Dream” that followed, these first two tunes served as a good means of getting the guys warmed up.

Now that they felt a little settled in, Trey cranked up “Wilson.” As always, this immediately got the crowd good and gassed up. As they stormed through the raucous that is the back end, Trey shifted shifted gears and pulled everyone into a sharp version of “Poor Heart.”


Photo © Phish – Phish From the Road

The next few songs did not deliver much in the highlight department, but the set maintained good flow and we got a decent sampling of Phish's stylistic versatility, ranging from funk to rock to reggae to lounge. The first set highlight came in the form of “It's Ice.” The middle section opened up to a wildly funky jam with terrific playing from Page. This is one one of my favorite Phish songs, and I feel like it has just kept getting better over the last few years. As “It's Ice” wrapped up, Trey cranked up what would be a rousing set closing “46 Days.” While it did not break any new ground, it was enough to send everyone into set break pretty pleased.

After wandering around a bit at set break, we returned to our seats right as the lights were going out. “Mike's Song” may not be the jam Goliath that we came to know and love in the 90's, but when you are seeing this song in person, it is still fantastic. Few songs can simply suck you in faster. The lights start flying, Trey starts ripping it up, and suddenly, you are in gravy town. This version did seem to have a little extra something to it. They let it have more of an organic ending than some of the screeching halts we have seen put on this song the last few years. As it wrapped up, Mike and Trey push into “Ghost,” which appears to be the new favorite to be sandwiched in before “Weekapaug.”


Photo by J. Maehoffer

This “Ghost” jumped out into some pretty cosmic places right out of the gate. Trey had some great playing on this jam, and he navigated everyone through some mesmerizing passages. As it wound down, he dropped right into “Caspian.” Now, a “Caspian” > “Number Line” pairing is something that I would pretty much actively root against, but last night, it seemed to work alright. “Number Line,” in particular, had some strong playing that led nicely into “Weekapaug.”

“Weekapaug” jumped right out there and may be my pick for highlight of the show. Yes, it was short, but it sure felt longer. Page, Fishman, and Mike all were shining on this one. They put together a nice segue into “Cavern,” but I feel like this created a bit of a fork in the road. Having “Cavern” in the middle of the set was a nice change of pace, but where do you go from here?

Well, they weren't quite ready to pack it in just yet. “Piper,” as always, provided another opportunity to jump out into some type two jamming. Fishman held this one down like a champ while Trey, Mike, and Page came in over the top and offered up some pretty hot jamming. They moved at breakneck speed before settling this into a slow ending. As “Piper” faded into the night, Mike started “Waiting All Night.” This was a standard take, but it fit well here.

After that, I was thinking we'd move in the direction of a standard closing pairing. Trey had other ideas. Let me tell you, this pavilion went bonkers when he cranked up “Tweezer.” No one saw this coming. They laid a nice foundation for what could have been a big dark funky “Tweezer” jam, but instead, they moved this to “Fuego” instead. While “Tweezer” didn't go out as far as many would've liked, this made for a nice deep set pairing. Not to mention, Phish is clearly loving “Fuego.” It's now been played at every venue this tour. They didn't have enough time to give “Fuego” the special treatment they gave it at the MANN and SPAC, but it was played well. It was my first time seeing it, so it was nice to get another new tune under my belt. “Tweezer Reprise,” as always, brought the raucous and allowed everyone yet another chance to rock out before calling it a set.



Setlist pictograms by Joseeen (available at Etsy)

Once again, I think many expected something standard out of them when they came back out for the encore. It was almost a feeling of bewilderment when Fishman dropped the intro to “2001,” the first time it has ever appeared as an encore. We got one more dance party before calling it a night. There are a lot of “Possum” haters out there but I'm not one. I love it in the last song of the encore spot. How can you not leave the building with a smile after that?

Unlike almost every other show from this tour, they didn't offer up one marquee jam or hands down highlight. What they did do is create a consistently good second set with excellent playing throughout. In lieu of one 20+ minute jam, they offered up a fair amount of exploration in three or four different songs. I don't know exactly how this show will hold up over time after numerous re-listens, but I can assure you, it was a blast to attend!

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Comments

, comment by kidrob
kidrob This car concurs. Great review!
, comment by CanadianPhan
CanadianPhan Nice review Ben. I attended SPAC and this was my fourth and last show of this tour. After some momentous and inspired jamming at SPAC and Randall's I had higher expectations for this show.

I was definitely taken aback by the Caspian> # Line pairing after a rocking Mike's > Ghost beginning. Weekapaug> Cavern was nice and brought the energy back up but the short versions of Piper and Tweezer intermixed with the new songs just didn't do it for me.

I was really hoping they would stretch that Piper or Tweezer since these have consistently been great jam vehicles of late. I understand they have new music to play but the set just did not have great flow for me. Night 1 of SPAC and this night are not going to be high on my playlists. I hate to sound like a hater but I am not sure I am going to do many kmore stand alone shows as they seem to try and just get as many songs into the set for the locals that are there as opposed to the buildup and creativity that they seem to exhibit over a three night run where they know they are playing to the same audience and try and deliver a little more. Just my $0.02 and feel free to enlighten me with any other viewpoints. Cheers.
, comment by heals
heals Nice review, Ben!
, comment by spaced
spaced Nice review! I completely agree with everything you said. I'm normally not a fan of the "jukebox" second sets, but somehow everything flowed perfectly in the moment. I'm not sure how well it will hold up on tape, but I had almost as much fun as I did at my last show, which was Reading, so... yeah.
, comment by westbrook
westbrook Thanks for the review. I like how you slipped in the bit about Fuego being played at every venue so far.
, comment by MiguelSanchez
MiguelSanchez @westbrook said:
Thanks for the review. I like how you slipped in the bit about Fuego being played at every venue so far.
I thought that was tastefully placed ;)
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd Nice review, @MiguelSanchez.

How did the crowd react to that Fuego tease in 46 Days? I know at home, I was like, "Whoa, what was that? Did anyone get the license plate?" And I just listened to it about 5 times in a row here at the office.

I know its not everyone's first choice, but I'm glad many fans can still enjoy a song-oriented set or show once in a while, regardless of the inevitable digi-criticism. When done well with good playing and flow, it can lend itself to a high-energy experience, keeping everyone on their toes.

I'd also like to questions whether, while many fans might consider a lack of jamming the result of an "off night" for the band, is it possible they enjoy ripping through like 25 songs in a night on occasion? And that should be an expected, if not embraced part of the package?
, comment by kernalphorbin71
kernalphorbin71 Great review! Speaking of a RETURN to the midwest, how about DEER CREEK 2015?
--fingers crossed--
, comment by goatsticks
goatsticks enjoyed this review, very nicely done! And I'm loving the setlist illustrations, hopefully this becomes a regular thing!
, comment by davidh618
davidh618 @johnnyd said:
Nice review, @MiguelSanchez.

How did the crowd react to that Fuego tease in 46 Days? I know at home, I was like, "Whoa, what was that? Did anyone get the license plate?" And I just listened to it about 5 times in a row here at the office.

I know its not everyone's first choice, but I'm glad many fans can still enjoy a song-oriented set or show once in a while, regardless of the inevitable digi-criticism. When done well with good playing and flow, it can lend itself to a high-energy experience, keeping everyone on their toes.

I'd also like to questions whether, while many fans might consider a lack of jamming the result of an "off night" for the band, is it possible they enjoy ripping through like 25 songs in a night on occasion? And that should be an expected, if not embraced part of the package?
I was at the 2011 show and the 25 minute DwD was absolutely epic, along with the rest of the 2nd set. The entire 2nd set last night, I was waiting for the monster jam, but it never came. I found it interesting the longest song played last night was just over 11 minutes. I personally liked hearing 25 songs last night, but certainly can appreciate when the band goes on for 20 minutes. Overall, definitely a great show.
, comment by Sprachtor
Sprachtor Nice review Ben.
, comment by parrott56
parrott56 Nice to see one of my favorite (and most compulsively readable) .net reviewers get the marquee spot here. Right on.
, comment by elephant
elephant excellent review indeed. thanks for giving us a good sense of the music and the show.
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray Nice write-up.

Attended the show and enjoyed it immensely, despite the venue (which I am not too fond of).

Not a setlist I would have expected to enjoy, but they mixed it up enough to keep it very fresh.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM This post might contain pseudo-conspiracy theories and too much speculation about what the band is thinking.

All night Trey had an evil grin on, running around orchestrating things much more than usual, visibly running over to Fish and Page in particular on multiple occasions.

A lot of this tour I think is about confounding expectations from the fans. Messing with setlist order, limiting covers, jamming different vehicles, and especially tweaking the 4th quarter roster. This has made for some highly entertaining and original shows, despite the repeats this creates.

The Mike's> Ghost 'segue' (definitely not a '-> ') was one of the most baffling things I've seen at a Phish show. It caught *everyone* off guard, taking a couple of seconds to process that yes they were hearing Ghost. This is such an unusual pairing (first time ever I think), and just impossible to pull of, that I think this was planned ahead of time. All four stopped on a dime and were immediately in the Ghost 'drop.'

After generally jamming things out like never before (well, starting last fall I guess), this tour has the confident swaggering vibe that again Phish can do anything. We're not all really pulling for them to make the free throws at the end of the junior high b-ball summer league here, this is grown-ass man obliteration of anything they so choose to do. This is Jordan time. Flipping it on and off like a switch--Chalkdust, why not? Gin in the 2nd set? Sure. Jammed out Limb by Limb? Yep.

I know this is ridiculously (even heretically) an overstatement, but that vibe feels like the band I got on board with in '97. Swaggering jaw dropping stuff nightly, like what else did you expect?? This is Phish 2014, where an 'off' night has a stunning 20 minute Hood or a very solid 20 minute Disease. Those are off nights these days, that's just how it is.

So back to Pine Knob, which I consider to be a intentional mindfuck of the audience, orchestrated by Trey to give us the jam blue balls. Every time a pocket was established in a jam (Ghost), or we were headed for some intense dark stuff (Weekapaug) or a gorgeous, swamp-bliss ethereality *with* a beat (Tweezer), or a tempo shift to type II land (Piper), we were unapologetically and JARRINGLY ripped out of the fabric of the enveloping jammy goodness. Brutally so. Much like the pre-planned punch in the eye of the Ghost drop. That entirely set the tone for the night, and led to one of the most bizarre (yet still enjoyable) Phish shows I've ever seen.

There was a massive feeling of WTF? at least in everyone in my immediate vicinity. And Trey (for the most part, but I think Mike did it once too) rushed us out of the jams into the next song in very jarring transitions, harsh-feeling. But the thing was, the next song was almost always something I wanted to hear anyway, another jam song. To me, this indicates Phish is well aware of the 'ripcord' phenomenon and instead of 'Horsing' us, it was Ghost, or Fuego, or Weekapaug.

I can only think this is an intentional reference to the ripcord on the part of Trey. Something like let's build up a number of promising jams (no problem there, these days), and right when everyone gets into them, lets just pull the plug. And in a real jarring way.

None of those songs 'made sense' coming after the song before them. Just like Mike's> Ghost. And the level of verbal communication between them on stage was also way more than I had ever seen. Something you would need to do if you're planning a bunch of stop-on-a-dime transitions. And the shit-eating evil grin by Trey. And the absolute and amazing refusal to just go for the tonic shred in Possum, but to tease us, over and over again, with what we wanted to hear, to almost do it and then just not. Fucking with us. And the control, the mastery over the dynamics required to do that. Possum was this show encapsulated in a single jam.

Also, they ran through nearly all of the jam vehicles. Perhaps to force their hands into something incredibly original and unique for Northerly. I honestly can't begin to imagine what the 2nd sets will look like. And I really feel that that is the point. During their most creative and original periods (97-98) it was really very difficult to call what the jams would be. We are back into that mode again, something thoroughly unexpected. Something I think Phish did on purpose. To give us the joy of the new again, to cause wonder, and in this case to cause head-scratching.

For uniqueness, I'm glad I went to this show but also thank god I'm going to the Northerly run.
, comment by StStephen
StStephen Great review @MiguelSanchez. I know you were particularly excited about this one and I'm glad to see the lack of "signature" jams did not affect your experience or review.

This show reminded me a lot of 6/30/2012, N1 at Alpine Valley. Lots of songs, many I always love to hear, all well-played with good flow, but not the most exploration.

Glad you still had really enjoyed it and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
, comment by 0160mhsihp
0160mhsihp I totally agree with AlbanyYEM. Even Lawnboy had a different feel. I'm glad you caught on too. Total mind phuck. Loved every second of the show. Basically one long jam cut up into songs.
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd I like where your head's at @AlbanyYEM. We might both be nuts, but I dig it.

2 other things I'm pretty sure I heard initially, and confirmed (to myself at least) upon relisten:
1. That was a Fishman ripcord out of Weekapaug and into Cavern. And I use "ripcord" tongue-in-cheek, as opposed to derisively, especially given the context of the conspiracy theory above. But he did it. And I for one welcome our new greezy fizeek overlord.
2. Another Page Fuego tease in Weekapaug. 5:00 - 5:10 LP time. It probably won't make the show notes, its way faster in tempo (obviously) and he doesn't quite stick the landing. But you can't convince me he wasn't going for it right there. Which is pretty cool given the absolutely barbaric way he laid that tease down in 46 days. Great stuff. That one might be my favorite 7 seconds of music this year, were I to choose a single short passage.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @johnnyd said:
Nice review, @MiguelSanchez.

How did the crowd react to that Fuego tease in 46 Days? I know at home, I was like, "Whoa, what was that? Did anyone get the license plate?" And I just listened to it about 5 times in a row here at the office.

I know its not everyone's first choice, but I'm glad many fans can still enjoy a song-oriented set or show once in a while, regardless of the inevitable digi-criticism. When done well with good playing and flow, it can lend itself to a high-energy experience, keeping everyone on their toes.

I'd also like to questions whether, while many fans might consider a lack of jamming the result of an "off night" for the band, is it possible they enjoy ripping through like 25 songs in a night on occasion? And that should be an expected, if not embraced part of the package?
One of the best run of shows I ever saw the band play was the Northeast stretch in Fall Tour '10, which largely were shows similar to this one. The Manchester show in particular was hot. There were no "breakout" jams in any of those shows, just high energy and outstanding flow and musicianship.

My favorite show of Summer '13 was Gorge 1, which another show which focused on flow and precision than long jams.

Additionally, the band has a lot of new material and we need to give them the freedom and space to experiment with it and play around with set placement. Of course I'm making a big assumption that this is what's going on.

I look forward to hearing this show for myself. My gut tells me they're gearing up for Northerly Island. The boys HAD to have been frustrated with last year's run and I'm sure want nothing more than to enjoy a very memorable weekend in Chicago.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @AlbanyYEM

As always I thoroughly enjoy your commentary and perspective.

I haven't heard the show yet so I'll refrain from adding commentary but your thoughts have the scent of one who is dripping with satisfaction at his recent Phish experience.

Like many of us, the band has built up a level of credit with us over the last year that sort of gives them a free pass when things don't go to our liking.

I will have to listen to this show to try and hear elements of what you and @johnnyd are talking about, but you know, it could just be the unfortunate return of the "ripcord" you reference.

I'd rather think that you're right, but the scenario you paint does not make sense to me. Again, I'll have to listen for myself.

Thank you, however, for stimulating that. I'll be paying extra close attention this weekend.
, comment by CanadianPhan
CanadianPhan @AlbanyYEM

Interesting theory. Kudos for getting us thinking. With that said, my money did not feel well served by a consistent ripcord/mindfuck for that second set. I never got back on the rails after the Caspian> # Line occupying such prime space as Q3 after the fantastic Mikes> Ghost offered so much promise. The rest of the set seemed rushed and short versions of Piper and Tweezer do not do anything for me other than to hear the lyrics and a quick solo. Granted the It's Ice and Mikes> Ghost and Weekapaug are worth a re-listen and the 2001> Possum is unique to be sure, I could have passed this one up and been satisfied with my SPAC run. I hope Northerly is fun for ya. I odd that last year and really thought about it but SPAC won the day for me this time.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM @johnnyd the Cavern ripcord certainly was pulled off by Fishman, but I'm almost positive Trey walked over to him right before that happened. Could anyone else who was there remember/confirm this?

Also, I love Fish taking charge especially during jams. Pushes the whole band to continue with a counterpoint. He seems to have an especially tight sense of when it's time for new directions.

I'm probably just trying to make too much sense of something inherently nonsensical, but I guess that's the point of reviews anyway.

One thing that I'm really interested in is what the hell is left for northerly night one.
, comment by PennPhan
PennPhan @AlbanyYEM said:
Something like let's build up a number of promising jams (no problem there, these days), and right when everyone gets into them, lets just pull the plug. And in a real jarring way.
, comment by PennPhan
PennPhan @PennPhan said:
@AlbanyYEM said:
Something like let's build up a number of promising jams (no problem there, these days), and right when everyone gets into them, lets just pull the plug. And in a real jarring way.
Oops. Why would you think this is a possibility? Is the thinking that Trey (and Fish) woke up in the morning saying "I'm going to be a dick tonight?"

Doesn't seem to likely.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM @PennPhan I guess for the same reason that they would lock on to amazing moments in jams, especially 93-95 era, that you would want to go on forever and then usually Trey will deconstruct right out of it after a few seconds. For the same reason they played Wingsuit on 10/31 instead of Eat a Peach. Even in the same spirit they played Dark Side to an empty room three days after Halloween. Once a pattern is established, they like to demolish it. Forcing themselves to continue anew and thrive.

I guess it's a fine point, but think 'mindfuck' instead of 'fuck you' to the audience and that's more what I'm trying to say. Playfully evil. Like a satyr or something, I don't know.
, comment by DistressTube
DistressTube @MiguelSanchez said:
@westbrook said:
Thanks for the review. I like how you slipped in the bit about Fuego being played at every venue so far.
I thought that was tastefully placed ;)
I laughed when I saw this. Tasteful, indeed. Nice write up--sounds like the energy helped carry a setlist with unusual flow.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @AlbanyYEM said:
@PennPhan I guess for the same reason that they would lock on to amazing moments in jams, especially 93-95 era, that you would want to go on forever and then usually Trey will deconstruct right out of it after a few seconds. For the same reason they played Wingsuit on 10/31 instead of Eat a Peach. Even in the same spirit they played Dark Side to an empty room three days after Halloween. Once a pattern is established, they like to demolish it. Forcing themselves to continue anew and thrive.

I guess it's a fine point, but think 'mindfuck' instead of 'fuck you' to the audience and that's more what I'm trying to say. Playfully evil. Like a satyr or something, I don't know.
Really think you're reaching quite a bit. You make a compelling historical argument to support your thesis but it just doesn't sit well with me.

Regarding 93-95, do you really think you're portraying things accurately? I mean the band was "out there" for sake of being "out there" many times during that period. They were finding their place still, as it were.

Once a pattern is established, they like to demolish it. Forcing themselves to continue anew and thrive.

That's an interesting perspective but, I think, a little unlikely in this case.

More likely is that Trey had a classic relapse into the impatience which characterized earlier 3.0 tours. Last year Trey chose to be patient rather than excercise the "ripcord" and the result was wonderful.

I really hope you are a savant in this but I find it really improbable.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish I think sometimes everyone on here forgets that at the end of the day these four are up there for themselves. Its great we all get to come along for the ride, but these dudes would be playing their asses off to local bars if they had never become the monster they have. There is so much thought everyone puts into why they do one thing or another. I think they really enjoy giving the fans a great show, but I don't think for a second that they give a shit about "ripcords" or if everyone is happy at the end of the night. As a musician myself, those guys are up there because there is nothing in the world they would rather be doing.

I love reading some of the stuff on this site, but once in a while, it seems everyone on here is a little too arrogant in the wants and desires of this group of gentleman. I don't give one shit if they play 40 songs in one night or if they play a 70 minutes Gin for the first set, a 90 Jim for the second set and follow it up with a Sleeping Monkey encore. I'm happy to be along for the ride.

This is their life. They do this constantly and have been for so many years now. Its not all going to be bust outs and locked in jams. They're going to play it straight sometimes. They're going to get wild sometimes. They're going to fall and they're going to fly. Just like we all do in our own lives. Every single day. Turn off your brains once in a while and enjoy the ride.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Jestinphish said:


I love reading some of the stuff on this site, but once in a while, it seems everyone on here is a little too arrogant in the wants and desires of this group of gentleman....

This is their life. They do this constantly and have been for so many years now. Its not all going to be bust outs and locked in jams. They're going to play it straight sometimes. They're going to get wild sometimes. They're going to fall and they're going to fly. Just like we all do in our own lives. Every single day. Turn off your brains once in a while and enjoy the ride.
Of course you're quite right and I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph, however the speculations here are not the result of "arrogance". Rather, it's the musings of genuine long-time fans of the band who find it enjoyable to speculate, offer conjecture and discuss our experience with our favorite group of musicians.

Saying that this behavior equates to "arrogance" is pretty strong.
, comment by CanadianPhan
CanadianPhan @jestinphish

Arrogance or not, our hard earned $$'s allow them to live a very comfortable life and live their dream. I love Phish because the realize this and are not arrogant musicians who simply play their show for themselves. Bands that do that toil in bars as you speak. We pay our money and we expect a certain quality of show for the ticket, travel, hotel expenses we put out.

Agree not every show is going to be bust out but that's what make less than average shows sting that much more when you invest time and energy and your show is not consistent with the rest of what the tour displays. If I had not done SPAC and only done DTE, I would not feel to happy and that's my right because of the money I'm laying down. Bands always need to respect their audiences and that does not make us arrogant. There is no show if people aren't in the seats.
, comment by Destiny_Bound
Destiny_Bound AlbanyYEM - absolutely correct analysis on the ripcord theory. Trey had something specific in mind and it seemed to be a concerted effort by all. VERY good playing, Trey had a purpose, so the jams, although slight, were very on point.

RE: Ghost, I felt they played a 'Paug solo in the jam segment, which was essentially omitted from the actual 'Paug, as it was a choppy and funky take on the song. The soaring guitar solo was absent, but seemed to be accounted for prior in Ghost.

It was certainly an interesting show. Very well played, but true to be lacking that signature moment.
, comment by Ravinus
Ravinus Though this show lacked in protracted jams, everything was played really well. Call me crazy, but I really liked the Caspian. All 5 1/2 minutes of it.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish Good points from both of you. Arrogance is too strong of a word. After rereading my post it comes off as too negative. Point was expectations are sometimes too high and need not be. We're all humans. The boys included. This site started years ago as a love fest of the band. Sometimes these days it tends to lean towards the quote-unquote jaded vets trying to recapture the glory days. Much like athletes that talk about how good they "used to be". I never used to read so many negative comments. And CAPhan. Any money I've ever spent on this band has been money well spent. Period. Phish is like pizza. Even when they're not the best, they're still pretty fucking great.

I love this site because of the discussions it creates and the speculations. I just would like to see a little more positivity when doing so. You know... like the good ol' days... the way it used to be!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Jestinphish said:
Good points from both of you. Arrogance is too strong of a word. After rereading my post it comes off as too negative. Point was expectations are sometimes too high and need not be. We're all humans. The boys included. This site started years ago as a love fest of the band. Sometimes these days it tends to lean towards the quote-unquote jaded vets trying to recapture the glory days. Much like athletes that talk about how good they "used to be". I never used to read so many negative comments. And CAPhan. Any money I've ever spent on this band has been money well spent. Period. Phish is like pizza. Even when they're not the best, they're still pretty fucking great.

I love this site because of the discussions it creates and the speculations. I just would like to see a little more positivity when doing so. You know... like the good ol' days... the way it used to be!
Good counterpoint. I think I'm with you.

But your original premise that we are thinking way too hard....it appears from the folks chiming in that @AlbanyYEM is truly on to something with his analysis. I, for one, find this sort of chatter to be wildly amusing and greatly adds to my enjoyment of the scene. I love hearing and reading the thoughts of other fans who have a different perspective.

The perception of sound and experience is so incredibly subjective. All we can ever hope to do is share our view and see who it connects with. "Did I really hear that?" "Am I the only one that thought (this or that) was awesome?" That sort of thing.

Your point on the "jaded vets" resonates with me and I've stood on my soapbox a few times to herald that sentiment on this site, but I've come to appreciate the admin team here (I've only been on the site for a couple of years) as a group of truly diehard fans who have suffered and rejoiced with this band through all the various periods.

I've come to understand that many of the folks who initially came across to me as "jaded vets" were actually just trying to maintain a sense of perspective and balance. Memories are precious and almost living organisms and when it feels as though someone is pissing on them we all get defensive to a degree.

Raving about an average show as being an all-timer will almost always generated a "jaded vet" response. We do have an element of obnoxious "jadedness" within the community, however, which needs to get poked in the chest once in a while and reminded of reality.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish Amen... I'm as jaded as the best of them, but I got grounded when they went away. First show was Halloween '95 when I was 17 (talk about a hot fucking start, how many people can claim Icculus as the first song they saw live???). This band came into my life before
I really knew my place in the world and gave me a sense of home. I was so bummed when they called it quits the first time. I'm a huge Panic fan... Umphreys, Moe., Biscuits and some of the newer bands are quite good. Nothing has ever hit me from a musical standpoint like these four. To this day there is nothing better to me than when that slow Eb-> F starts in Reba. I close my eyes and sink into the sounds.

Long story short... I don't care what they play anymore, nor when or where they play it as long as the play and I can find a way to listen and catch a few shows a year (stupid life and bills always getting in the way). Everyone can have their opinion. And I do love where the heads of 99 percent of the people on here are at. I just get deeply offended by the few that seem to take it for granted once in a while.
, comment by senorpabst
senorpabst This show is a fun listen no foul words from me. Thanks for writing the post.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Hey it seems like you guys @Jestinphish and @FACTSAREUSELESS pretty well have it covered in terms of the whole jaded vet aspect.

I'd just like to say that I certainly don't consider myself a jaded vet by any means. Somebody like @n00b100 is more of a 'vet' in my book because he clearly knows what he's talking about when it comes to Phish even though the moniker lets you know his stats say 'noob.'

It's all relative and hopping on when I did makes me really respect the people who've been around forever and still are so passionate. They've earned the right to be 'jaded,' even though most of them aren't if jaded means disliking current Phish.

But what I mean about the DTE was that Trey is damn well aware of the 'ripcord' phenomena just as he was aware people wanted a cover set for Halloween. Phish has always been highly self-referential and playful. I mean, that to me is why they play Neil Diamond songs with a vacuum solo. It's about having fun up there on stage, and in that respect I completely agree with @Jestinphish

Actually, I think Trey's intentionally poking fun at people who have demands for the band, much like those same jaded vets' arrogance you were talking about. Pure pranksterism. I don't pretend to know what's really going on in Trey's head, I can only speculate based on the music, the tour context, and their behavior on stage. I certainly didn't mean to come off as bitching about the show but more like someone taking the facts available and hypothesizing about some bizarre natural phenomenon.

The context for me was that this band is at the absolute top of their game. The jams all were going places and ended intentionally abruptly. This isn't a struggle for the jams to find legs, this is cutting them off full stump. Add Trey running around communicating changes and absolutely having a blast doing it. Again, there's no huge moral judgment here just an attempt to explain what the hell happened.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish Agreed completely my friend. Didn't come off as bitching at all... I think you're pretty spot on in your analysis. They like to keep things fresh. They've always liked going against expectations and a little bit of mind-fuckery (for lack of a better term). That was the whole point of the secret language back in the day. All fall down was exactly for people who were at their first show and all the sudden half the audience hit the ground. It was meant to have people who weren't "in the know" going "What the hell just happened? What'd I miss?" My rant was just a little personal griping about negativity in general. Not pointed in any one direction or another... ( with the exception of a previous post where someone made the comment about listening to a show being "worth three hours of their life... I just don't get that statement) I'll keep my personal issues to myself from now on, or I'll try to at the very least. I hope they continue to leave us a bit confounded once in a while, just as much as I hope to catch a 20 minute Reba at Dicks. There's a reason I've spent thousands of dollars on tickets and travel over the years and a reason that anytime I have a few hours of time I put on a show I've yet to listen to. My favorite band in the world. They can piss in my ears anytime they want. As long as you love 'em too, I'm down to listen to what you have to say!
, comment by joecahill
joecahill @AlbanyYEM said:
@johnnyd the Cavern ripcord certainly was pulled off by Fishman, but I'm almost positive Trey walked over to him right before that happened. Could anyone else who was there remember/confirm this?
He did walk over to Fishman and say something to him right before this. He did the same thing with Page during Tweezer right before they broke into Fuego. I also felt like the entire jam portion of Possum was a gigantic c**ktease, with Trey just dragging it along super-slow until well into the song.
, comment by jb1111
jb1111 Love the phrase "gravy town"
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Everyone is jaded about something.

I saw my first Dead show in '81 as a teenager. I remember when there were stickers circulating the East Coast that said "The Fat Man Melts", in reference to Jerry's weight problems.

In the mid-eighties we were just happy to have him get through three songs without losing his voice.

Never used to listen to anything but the Dead for a long time. I thought Phish were punks in the mid-nineties until later in the decade when I caught the 50+ minute Runaway Jim at a show I was dragged to be a Phishhead who wouldn't shut up. I made a couple more shows but really wasn't a big fan yet, though I was starting to warm up to them.

What did it for me was Worcester '03. It was the YEM that opened the show into Clone. And the 15 minute Moma Dance later in the set (still the best I"ve ever heard). THEN I took an interest....

Anyway I was so disgusted by Jerry over the last 10-15 years of his career that I couldn't listen to anything after 1973 anymore without hating him.

Now I rarely listen to the Dead. I like String Cheese, Railroad Earth, and Phil Lesh. Never got into Panic. I do like Moe, but I need to be in the mood for them.

There is no one on the planet who produces the consistent quality of Phish. They are the masters. So I agree with you @Jestinphish. We are Birds of a Feather.

As for @AlbanyYEM, he's pretty much ruined any hope I have of a productive life, because he keeps making me go back and listen to segues over and over and over. Freaking guy. I'm supposed to be working.
, comment by Destiny_Bound
Destiny_Bound The stage antics and Trey's shit eating grin do not come across in the listen. Those who were there know exactly what @AlbanyYEM is saying. Trey was 100% locked in on this show, and right when the jams got to a point of frenzy, he looked around and found somebody to help him sabotage it. The crowd was very into the show and hanging on every note, so with this obvious control over the emotions, Trey was playing a game. There was something must deeper afoot here, and to simply dismiss by using a historical perspective and opinion of his playing in recent years is unfounded. The band is firing on all cylinders, they did not simply mail this one in. I myself was disappointed to an extent, having not gotten a '97 Palace Tweezer, or something along those lines, but we were also treated to a display of control over the music and emotion that was astounding to witness and borderline disturbing in a sense. The control this man has over the flock of birds is amazing.

Trey the wizard, keep keepin' it fresh my man.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I think it's much more likely that someones like "you guys want to get real weird tonight?" and someone else is like "nah i just kinda want to rock out" and after a little discussion they hammer out a vague balance
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