Saturday 08/08/2015 by TheEmu

BLOSSOM RECAP: GOOD WOOD

I think it’s largely true that how much fun you have at a Phish show is up to you and your ability to, if you’ll allow, “surrender to the flow.” But it sure helps when you’ve got a pristine summer day and perfect seats in one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever seen on your side. This was my first trip to Blossom Music Center, the sonic and architectural gem built specifically with the Cleveland Orchestra in mind, and I was floored. Blossom has everything going for it, from the setting in Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere (and congrats to the couple that got married in the middle of shakedown), but it’s the sound that knocked me off my feet. I can’t imagine a better spot to allow a person to get good and thoroughly hosed than right in front of Chris Kuroda underneath that wood pavilion last night, so to whatever forces conspired to put me there, thank you.


Photo © Jake Silco

Right from the start, the solo in “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing,” you can hear how confident and relaxed Trey has been all tour. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to step up and knock it out of the park for Fare Thee Well, but Mr. Anastasio has been riding that wave since Bend, and we are all fortunate enough to get caught in the spray. “My Sweet One” and “Wilson” have each become something of a rarity, and during the “Wilson” chant I was first struck by the enormity of the sound crafted in part by the amphitheatre. Not only is the music of Phish huge, but the sound of the crowd, and therefore the literal energy of the people is reflected back down on them, and it’s breathtaking. This fierce “Wilson” set up a creative song choice, and third straight 20+ show gap, “Timber (Jerry).” There’s been some deliciously dark Phish lately, and “Timber” fits that mold nicely. To cap off a run of songs not heard since fall 2014, we were treated to “Roses Are Free” as well as a plea – well, less a plea than a statement of fact – that it’s time for Gene and Dean Ween to get the band back together.


Photo © @tweeprise

There were flubs in this show. Quite a few of them. And I saw Trey gesticulating emphatically offstage at several points during both sets, looking frustrated with some technical issue or the other. As a result, there were some rough patches, particularly in songs like “Rift” and “It’s Ice.” I mention this not because these perceived imperfections detract from or alter the experience, but only to point out how even when some things aren’t working, this is a band of supremely talented and professional artists who can lay waste to whole regions of the country with a single jam. And that’s pretty much the experience I had last night, so this will be the last mention I make of “flubs.”

When “Moma” kicked in, I was almost startled by the slow pace, and not in a bad way. It seemed like a deliberate attempt to make things as sticky and funky as possible, and as it turns out, foreshadowed the thick, dark, green, molasses grooves to come. The first “Ginseng Sullivan” in almost two years, the night’s biggest bustout, was next, followed by “Wingsuit” and another powerful Trey solo. Please forgive the focus on Trey, who tends to pull my attention anyway, but the man is seriously on fire right now. It’s also Mu-Tron Madness 2015 right now, which I absolutely love, and which brings the funk oozing into “It’s Ice” while Trey sort-of almost teases “For The Love of Money.” This “Ice” melts into “Bathtub Gin,” the relative newcomer to the first-set closer spot that continues to really thrive in that role. The jam here begins slyly, then gets a jolt from CK5’s effervescent light show, peaks once solidly, and then just blows the lid off the joint. It was a tremendous exclamation point to take us to the break.


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

A second set “Chalk Dust” opener is an exciting thing, isn’t it? Where will it take you? I had to rush back to my sonic sweet spot and made it back in time for the start of the journey. After a bit of exploration and some serene phrasing from Trey, the jam becomes celebratory in the fashion that 3.0 Phish has become known for. From this “Paradise City” peak, the music becomes contemplative again, then begins to pick up pace before executing the most thrilling segue I’ve seen live.

It was “Tweezer” before I knew it was “Tweezer,” on fire the moment it was born. What I can tell you about this “Tweezer” is that the first several minutes of the jam contain some of the nastiest, filthiest, sickest, stickiest Phish I’ve ever experienced, like a high voltage wire coated in psychedelic honey. The slow electrocution of the funk brought us to a dark realm, where the monsters are and where there’s always just a hint of fear that you may not be able to find the exit. But, as always, Phish brings us back again, and as this “Tweezer” took on gentle, lullaby qualities, I was sure were going from the dark to the “Shade,” but no. “The Lizards” is one of those beloved tunes that, even if you’re not the one who has been chasing it, you can’t help but well up with joy for all those who are finally catching one, and it sounded like there were quite a few of those from the tremendous ovation it received.


Photo © @tweeprise

Following this beautiful and emotional Gamehendge tune, time for a little silliness, and Trey has fun in “Makisupa Policeman,” struggling to find the right terminology for vaping. Or maybe “goop in the top part” is the correct nomenclature, I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that this brief humorous interlude was suddenly possessed by an angry sounding “Ghost” that once again saw Trey shred like he was going to turn Blossom into toothpicks. This jam reaches a blistering peak, flirts with “Psycho Killer,” and breaks into a thousand plinko-y pieces from which “Harry Hood” emerges.

The last two years have been historic for “Harry,” so there’s no shame in this not being one of the best versions of the year. It is a perfect cap for an amazing set… unless, of course, you want to go ahead and “Tweeprise” that Bad Larry right now, in which case, that would really be the perfect cap! Once again, the colossal nature of a “Tweezer Reprise” taken in from dead center of a venue like Blossom is difficult to imagine until you’re there with your sternum rattling. And, to give credit where credit is due, my better half called the “Good Times Bad Times” that Trey then used like a flamethrower to melt any faces left intact, an old-school encore on a night that saw only two songs that debuted in this century.


Photo © @tweeprise

Look, this is the part of my recaps where I always say something about how much I love Phish, how great the show was, and how you should go see Phish this tour. All of that is absolutely true, every time I say it. But, seriously. Seriously. Go see Phish, if you possibly can, this tour. The six years of touring they have under their belt since the breakup, the maturity, the benefits of working with their side projects and being able to balance that with family, it’s all coming together right now. I’m in awe. See you at Watkins, be safe!


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

Phish Summer 2015 – Setlists & Recaps
07/21/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 1
07/22/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 2
07/24/15 SetlistRecap, Recap2 – Shoreline
07/25/15 SetlistRecap – LA Forum
07/28/15 SetlistRecap – Austin
07/29/15 SetlistRecap – Grand Prarie
07/31/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 1
08/01/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 2
08/02/15 SetlistRecap – Tuscaloosa
08/04/15 SetlistRecap – Nashville
08/05/15 SetlistRecap – Kansas City
08/07/15 SetlistRecap – Blossom
08/08/15 SetlistRecap – Alpine 1
08/09/15 SetlistRecap – Apline 2
08/11/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 1
08/12/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 2
08/14/15 SetlistRecap – Raleigh
08/15/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 1
08/16/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 2
08/21/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 1
08/22/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 2
08/23/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 3
09/04/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 1
09/05/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 2
09/06/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 3


Blossom Music Center poster by Subject Matter Studio. Edition of 675. 18x24.

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Comments

, comment by fluff_hen
fluff_hen :: books flight to Dick's ::
, comment by phunkyphil77
phunkyphil77 "put on my cape... pack some goop in that top part and enjoy a little vape.... Strawberry... Bubble Gum flavor"
, comment by Destiny_Bound
Destiny_Bound Fully hosed. And you are right Blossom is a treasure, the environment and sound are unrivaled. Second only to Red Rocks in my personal book of concert experiences for overall show quality. I think there was a hard 11pm curfew, so Hood didn't get its due. GTBT's ended right at 11... great review! feels like I was there, wait, I was!
, comment by SneakinMikesgroove
SneakinMikesgroove Great review of another great 2015 night!

We are all in this together, and we'd love to take a bath!

Or a hosing off!!
, comment by Shangho
Shangho I've been out of the loop for a WHILE because I had NO idea that The Lizards was rare!!!!! I haven't seen Phish since 2010,but saw them HEAVY from 1996-2003 and I've seen The Lizards a lot!!!! And it (along with Spock's and Vultures) has always been my fave,so that is GREAT that people saw their first one at a beauty like Blossom!CONGRATS ALL!
, comment by AGratefulPhish
AGratefulPhish Been 3-LONG Years Since PHiSH Returned to My 'Home Base'...where This Cat got "on the bus/train" back on 9/18/00 (How Time Flies) Leaps & Bounds from that 1st Show to Last Nights #91....Where Has It Gone: Good Times, Bad Times...ALL HAD OUR SHARE ...but WHAT A GOOD TIME INDEED in Cuyahoga County!

Never Miss A Blossom Show, a slight bias being from The O.H-I.O. but NEVER Miss a Blossom Show - its sort of like a Big Reunion O' Sorts (The Wedding on Shakedown was Apropos...One Day 'My Sweet One'...One Day!)

Even My 1st 9/18/00 (Trey BOLTING Off Stage Mid-Halley's Jam, like 4 tunes into Set 2) is such a Distant Memory & Yet LiveBait #11 HAS THAT 'Halley's' for ALL to relive & listen!
The Last Trek in 2012 was Killer & if memory serves well enough I can recall that Last Time Out a 'Gin > Ghost > Roses > Tweezer' were all rehashed Last Night, but who's counting: I could hear that Grand-Slam EVERY SHOW & this IS NOT 2012
....My Oh My, it DEF is Not 2012!

In 3-Short Years 'The Boys' went from 3-Years BACK to a 6-Pack ON & are simply En Fuego...Page SHINED Last Night, heavy on some Page-Side Love after all this FTW & GD talk...kind of over-playing this Trey-Ful Dead, let it be...its PHiSH Tour & There's No Place I'd Rather Be (Children of the 90's, We're All In The Same Boat: THIS IS OUR BAND & OUR TIME 'IN THE POND' IS ALL TOO SHORT)

Set II Simply Put: BRILLIANT! Anytime a CDT opens a Set strap on your seat-belt.... 'Lizards' was and is one of my Fav Trey-Comps - his solo is amazing - not IT Quality, but still who's complaining! Due for a 'Hood' and was right on the Nose with the Call...TweePrise that followed was due in thee encore slot, but I heard a Crew state it was a Late Start & that called for an Early-Exit...'GTBT' - hey - who else sends you back to The Lot thinking about Building a Phucking House with all that Energy just flowing through your Mind, Body & Soul.

We Press On for Alpine, another Historic Destination-Station - Now, Come Sunday (The Day The Music Died) - What Will Be In-Store....See You There Kind-Pholk!

Peace & Love From OH.IO
'Z'
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Great review. Appreciate the photos too, they're great.
, comment by aikon
aikon Excellent review! One thing, though -- upon several listenings, the 'celebratory' jam you mention in Chalk Dust (kicking into gear around the 10:00 mark) feels to me like it has a strong resemblance to the 'beautiful jam' section of the Providence Bowie (21:00 to 25:00).
, comment by Yessir
Yessir Great review, thanks! Was also down in the pavilion all night and it was one of those shows to remember! my thoughts:
This show was absolute fire and was my first time back to Blossom since 9/2000 when the Phab 4 played a fine show . The boys eased the crowd into what proved to be an incredible 2nd set that was a seamless gem of the Phish at the top of their game. When the first set closed with an extended and jammed out Gin I turned to my buddy from our perch in the center of the pavilion and we both agreed that we were just getting primed for a 2nd set for the ages and the boys did NOT dissapoint!!! We snuck down Page Side/Rage side 10 rows back and the cat in front of us correctly predicted Chalkdust as the Phantastic Phour strolled out for what proved to be the best live set of Phish I have seen yet (and I saw shows in 1.0 and 2.0). Tweezer> Lizards> Makisupa> Ghost> Hood> Tweezer Reprise, ENCORE: Good Times Bad Times with barely a chance to catch your breath. At some point during Tweezer they blew the lid off the place and all present and tuned in were blasted to that special and sweet place where the music coming from stage paints a picture of the collective spirit of the band and the crowd. The energy from the crowd was palpable and the band seemed to feed off of it all night. 8 + 7 =15 wasss special and I will never miss a Blossom show again. A+++ Put the kiddos to bed, the boys are back in town!!!!!!!
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred Great review.... Thank you....

My intent is not to argue.... The show was rollicking along; then I hear Rift. I turn to a friend I finally get in, and mention that this tune presents problems in spots; let's see how it comes across. So I get you there.

But re:

There were flubs in this show. Quite a few of them.

I didn't (I had been waiting to hear it this year, so I was listening carefully) - and don't - hear it in Ice.

I was chilling by a tree - seems like you had a better POV. I was really curious what Trey was doing; I thought he was conferring on song choices.

To be sure, I saw him animated once or twice; but from my spot in the lawn I couldn't tell what was up.

Would you mind clarifying? (Especially Set II - once it became very dark, I really couldn't see much at all.)

Thanks - this sort of stuff interests me is all....

Let's see what's up any minute now -
, comment by dedhed511
dedhed511 This was my 16th show since 1996 and my 3rd trip to Blossom. I had awesome seats down front Mike's side rack right in my face,still a little deaf. I was also fortunate enough to see the Band in Atlanta this tour and they are on ABSOLUTE FIRE!!! The intensity and flow are overwhelming the best they have ever been. These guys love playing and it shows in every note played. Under the wood at Blossom is a religious experience at best. Its one of those times you really wished the band did 6&7 Sets instead of 2 ...you just don't want it to ever end. I truly can't wait until next time around.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @raidcehlalred said:
Great review.... Thank you....

My intent is not to argue.... The show was rollicking along; then I hear Rift. I turn to a friend I finally get in, and mention that this tune presents problems in spots; let's see how it comes across. So I get you there.

But re:

There were flubs in this show. Quite a few of them.

A bit - recoverable though - in the cool Ice.

I was chilling by a tree - seems like you had a better POV. I was really curious what Trey was doing; I thought he was conferring on song choices.

To be sure, I saw him animated once or twice; but from my spot in the lawn I couldn't tell what was up.

Would you mind clarifying? (Especially Set II - once it became very dark, I really couldn't see much at all.)

Thanks - this sort of stuff interests me is all....

Let's see what's up any minute now -
, comment by TheEmu
TheEmu @raidcehlalred said:
Great review.... Thank you....

My intent is not to argue.... The show was rollicking along; then I hear Rift. I turn to a friend I finally get in, and mention that this tune presents problems in spots; let's see how it comes across. So I get you there.

But re:

There were flubs in this show. Quite a few of them.

I didn't (I had been waiting to hear it this year, so I was listening carefully) - and don't - hear it in Ice.

I was chilling by a tree - seems like you had a better POV. I was really curious what Trey was doing; I thought he was conferring on song choices.

To be sure, I saw him animated once or twice; but from my spot in the lawn I couldn't tell what was up.

Would you mind clarifying? (Especially Set II - once it became very dark, I really couldn't see much at all.)

Thanks - this sort of stuff interests me is all....

Let's see what's up any minute now -
Thanks!

I think I saw him gesturing for someone to be turned down in his monitor. It looked like maybe three or four times, with the last couple times being rather forceful, like "seriously, turn that down!" but that's purely speculation on my part.
, comment by odonnellsp
odonnellsp Nice review! For what it's worth, the "Paradise city "jam in chalkdust was really very similar to the same chord progression as "Jesus Christ superstar quote.
, comment by gpain
gpain Dig your review! Makes me wish I was there.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred to the degree that these things matter, dust-> tweezer should be 'green.' as one long, thoughtful, deliberate piece of music (with a lot of moving parts coalescing), it really is noteworthy.

i think it was fine 'against' time/era.... but i think similar attention should be bestowed to ice.

i appreciate not lighting up the lists like christmas trees.

but some of the playing here sticks out - and ought to on the jamming chart.

nice work though .netters (i thought too many songs were highlighted in the past couple years).
, comment by FrancisAllen
FrancisAllen I believe Crosseyed and Painless was teased in Timber. What do you guys think? It was about 18 minutes into the show. It seems Trey tried to tease two lines but messed the first one up a bit so may have gone unnoticed. Take a look and let me know.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
Great review. Appreciate the photos too, they're great.
what'd you make of the tweezer?
, comment by AGratefulPhish
AGratefulPhish cant believe nobody mentioned the BALLROOM BLITZ tease in TWEEZER
*13:39 - 14:50... picks up again HEAVY at 16:10 - 17:45*
'BALLROOM BLITZ'
correct if wrong and i have a slight tone-bias in watching 'Waynes World' last Wednesday but relistening to This & Its Bright, Powerful & SCHWING....Clear As Day!

Cheers For Tonight: What Will Be In-Store up in Elkhorn, Wisky!!!
"Z"
, comment by FrancisAllen
FrancisAllen Mr. Agratefulphish, I hear you. I haven't got that far, I heard multiple teases that night and I am slowly sifting through the show again. That Tweezer was wicked live....look forward to checking out the ballroom blitz.
, comment by CanandaiguaRyan
CanandaiguaRyan Nice summary TheEmu.
A general rule of my life is "only read .net stuff." But, I will participate here, briefly.

BG: my 1st show of tour. This show was my 22 phishanniversary (Darien Lake). We ponied-up for VIP and this was our first time to Blossom. I spent over $200 on Fat Tire so I can take cans to MB, where i turn 40 on 8/21 (yes, i turn 40 at a Phish Festival, which is fucking cool).I'm a lucky Husband with 2 boys, 6 and 3 yrs old. We are finally getting out more.

This show was awesome for several reasons: two bluegrass tunes in the first set; good set lists; acoustics were amazing (although Trey's mic was a tad off for the audience); vocals by all 4 were pretty dam good; transitions were pretty good; second set was solid CDT thru Reprise (and, i always want a 11/4/90 Hood); but the energy of our band was soooo good that it seemed too good to be true. So, i had to relisten, which i did 3 times today. The band is on top of their game. Seriously. If they want to do something, i think they can. Slow Moma, check. Crowd pleaser, check. Kill it, check. The improv is, again, like it did for me in years past, keeping my attention, and taking me on a journey. I love it.

Flubs. Yep. There has ALWAYS been flubs. What i love about flubs, is when Trey or Page or Jon start smiling right after them...the humor is key! Always has been! (Mike is my fav, but that guy seldom smiles on stage) Our band seemed super giddy, happy, and energetic. That's the goods fellow fans!! This was a solid show, and I could not ask for anything more (except a blasted Fluffhead, for crying at christmas, or for gods sakes, my first freekin Alumni, how many fuckng shows do i need to go to to see an al.....sorry)

TheEmu is right, you need to see this band. If you are old, dont sweat it, 98% of the crowd is, and i'll tell ya, i (we) can still rage harder than most.

Dear band: keep eating them wheaties. See ya'll in the pit for mpp. And, Play alumni on 8/21.
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