Thursday 08/13/2015 by phishnet

MANN2: ALL JAM IN NO MANN'S LAND

[Editor's Note: this recap is by phish.net contributor Craig Hillwig. PZ]

Phish concluded their two-night stand at Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts with yet another peak performance in a summer tour that has surpassed nearly all expectations. Let’s not mince words. This show had everything you wanted: late tour debuts, first set jams, and a five-song, second set improvisational tour de force that “type-II” aficionados will be dissecting for years to come.

As last summer’s pair of Mann shows demonstrated, few things have the potential to weigh down a show more than a sweltering northeast shed during the dog days of summer. Mercifully, the atmospheric conditions were nearly perfect for this mid-August evening on Fairmount Park’s Belmont Plateau, setting the stage for fully engaged and energized band and crowd.


Photo © Scott Harris

The tour debut of “AC/DC Bag” – the 300th lifetime performance – had everyone dancing hard right out of the gate. Usually a tour staple, this Gamehendge classic was long overdue after its biggest gap (sixteen) since Vegas 2000. The “Free” that followed kept the crowd rocking. Trey immediately called an audible at the top of the jam, transitioning the band seamlessly into more “Martian Monster” shenanigans before resolving back into “Free.” “Martian Monster” has been a versatile weapon in this summer’s arsenal, but its pairing with the “Free” jam (which also occurred on 11/2/14 in Vegas) seems so natural and obvious given their similar tempos and crunchy power chords on the first and second beats. Spirited versions of “Ya Mar” and “Sample in a Jar” followed, maintaining the high energy level.


Photo © @tweeprise

A couple moments of seeming indecision led to the 2015 debut of the Talking Heads’ cover “Cities” (gap: nineteen). Clocking in at about twelve minutes, this version was like no other in recent memory. Following the final chorus, which typically leads to a short outro jam and soft denouement, the band abruptly pivoted into a staccato funk jam that veered hard into type-II territory before fading into ambiance. A typically (for this tour) solid version of “Stash” followed, with its usually patient build-up leading to its patented explosive ending. Another extended on-stage huddle led to the fourth “Birds of a Feather” of the tour complete with the “They Attack!” sample at the beginning. This “Birds” was of a standard first set variety with Trey’s thematic solos hewing closely to the melody of the song’s chorus. Yet another huddle led to a much needed cool down with a perfectly placed version of “The Line.”

It’s Ice” was next, unleashing yet another staccato funk jam with Clavinet and Mu-Tron that sounded right at home in any 1970’s cop movie soundtrack. A raucous “Character Zero” brought down the house to finish the set. This was no perfunctory set closer, as Trey abandoned his microphone and turned to face the drum riser, egging Fishman on with highly animated power chord vamping. The song soon reached peak intensity with Trey literally bouncing all over the stage with a look of sheer exuberance on his face.


Photo © Jake Silco

Can we talk? I haven’t seen Trey play with such a consistently high level of enthusiasm, confidence, intensity, virtuosity and joy in quite some time. He is fully present and engaged in the music in a way that is palpable to all in attendance, making it seem effortless even when he’s working hard to find the groove and elevate the jams. It feels like a renaissance of Trey, and I personally feel privileged to witness it in real time.

Last night’s second set was no exception, as Phish delivered a stunning five-song masterwork that wove numerous improvisational themes through an eclectic mix of classics and new material. “Bathtub Gin” (13:07) opened the second set for only the second time since Hampton 1998. This version cruised through a fiery but straightforward “type-I” jam until climaxing with a barrage of machine-gun Mu-Tron that foreshadowed the next song, “No Men In No Man’s Land.” “NMINML” (12:07) still seems to be looking for its proper home in the Phish repertoire, as the band has been kicking the new song’s tires in various locations in both sets. This version cooled down a little bit in the middle before picking up steam again and finishing strong before dissolving into “Twist” (22:42 LP timing, though a shade under 20:00 real-time).


Photo © @Feliciafied

Along with “Chalk Dust Torture,” “Twist” has become one of Phish’s most prominent jam vehicles in recent years, and you never know what you’re going to get when the song pops up deep in the second set. This version of “Twist” quickly went ambient, moody and minimalist, with Trey playing delicate leads through several layers of effects against the backdrop of Page’s soft electronic piano fills, Mike’s envelope filtered bass, and Fishman’s rolling rhythms. This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten. At about 14:00 minutes in, Trey switched on the Mu-Tron again and Mike responded with the fight bell, signaling a progression into a much more upbeat, blissful peak before finishing “Twist.”

Yet another cluster of huddles followed. The cheers of anticipation waned, and out of the silence it came: the long awaited “Scents and Subtle Sounds” (15:21), complete with the original introduction that seemed to have been abandoned but for a cameo appearance at SuperBall IX. It seems obvious in hindsight that the band has been wrestling with the “Scents” intro for some time, so it was promising when they began working through the segment during several sound checks this tour (including before the first Mann Center show). The persistence and hard work paid off in spades last night, as they nailed the introduction and took a brief self-congratulatory breath before launching into the meat of the song. Harkening back to the legendary Camden 2003 version, this “Scents” had it all. The jam was gorgeous, a ten minute journey of tension and release that started softly with gentle themes on the chorus, and building slowly with layers of rock riffs before pulling back slightly, only to finish strong and confidently before ending with the final chorus.


Photo © Jake Silco

After a short pause, the only question was what kind of sendoff we would receive. The easy money was on “You Enjoy Myself,” which had not been played since the Starlight Theatre show. But a performance like this one clearly called for the higher peaks that only “Harry Hood” (13:36) can deliver. This classic version had solid and straightforward slow-build jamming that finished strong and capped the night off perfectly.

Before the bows, Trey thanked the audience and admonished us to live in the moment with this year’s favorite catchphrase, “Your trip is short.” A triumphant “Loving Cup” (6:27) sent everyone home smiling after hugging it out with Phish for a solid 76 minutes.

Next up, Raleigh.


Photo © @tweeprise

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


L-R: Adam Scheinberg, Mockingbird Foundation Vice President and Director of Technology; Artist AJ Masthay; Marco Walsh, Mockingbird Foundation President; Jack Lebowitz, Mockingbird Foundation Secretary & General Counsel at Wednesday's PhanArt Presents: A World Café Live One poster show. Visit The Mockingbird Foundation's site to learn more about our charitable efforts benefiting music education for children, and read more about The Phish Companion print series in support of our upcoming book,The Phish Companion Vol. 3, due out this fall.


AJ Masthay signs his posters created for The Phish Companion Vol. 3 print series at Wednesday's's PhanArt Presents: A World Café Live One poster show.

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 white_lightning
white_lightning Awesome recap, thank you. I had been having dreams about Scents, which is weird, so I was convinced I was getting one tomorrow in Raleigh. Oh well, happy for those who were there last night and listening right now on download. Keep it going, boys.
, comment by Jophis
Jophis Nice to see the quality of the reviews of both of these Mann shows lives up to the quality of the shows themselves! Great recap, last night was magic...
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect Bravo, a concise and adroit recap. Thanks!

PHISH DESTROYS AMERICA, PART II
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS It appears strange to me that the last couple recaps have as much if not more to say about the first set as the second. These are heady times.
, comment by Wormtown97
Wormtown97 Was there both nights and can honestly say , the guys are tearing it up right now. Get on tour if you haven't yet! See you at Magnaball, thanks Phish!
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred I, too, enjoy reading about first sets, as second sets so frequently 'speak' for themselves (or a million other people are willing to do so). I couldn't agree more about the joy and virtuosity you mention regarding Trey. Moreover, I really appreciate the insight regarding sound checks (which are a kick to follow). Everything seems totally possible; that much is clear. One thing I wondered (and this before the other night) was if the band might lay some lyrics with a 10/31 tune. For some reason, Your Pet Cat seemed an obvious contender. The idea that this was checked with _Tomorrow's Song's_ lyrics is totally intriguing.

It's fun enough discovering teases. What the band reveals during 'practice' (noted perfectly in this review regarding Scents) raises not so much expectation as anticipation to levels I've not felt since 98. Of course there needs to be 98 and all that precedes it for this to take place, but the point remains: this is some really, really cool and inventive playing.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred There's been some chatter about summer '15 going down as (pick your favorite fall tour).

That discussion aside, what's the best non-fall tour?
, comment by chillen
chillen
This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten.
I agree, while listening live it really felt like they were searching in the middle of that Twist jam. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the hell out of the song last night, but now I'm really looking forward to the re-listen to see if it sounds different. Great point and great review.
, comment by smoothatonalsnd
smoothatonalsnd @InsectEffect said:
PHISH DESTROYS AMERICA, PART II
Phish Rebuilds America. It had been laying in waste since fall 1997...
, comment by smoothatonalsnd
smoothatonalsnd @chillen said:
This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten.
I agree, while listening live it really felt like they were searching in the middle of that Twist jam. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the hell out of the song last night, but now I'm really looking forward to the re-listen to see if it sounds different. Great point and great review.
I've noticed this searching too, but I think that what's happening is that Trey isn't leading the jam, finding a particular riff/progression to settle on. In those moments, everything just sort of swirls around - Trey is noodling or playing percussive strums, Page adding atmosphere and color with electric piano, Mike highly active on circular riffs. That's a lot of what I was hearing last night during Twist. It does sound like they're searching for something to click, but that's only if you assume that every jam segment needs to have that kind of melodic cohesion. In this case, I'd say that the Twist jam had both soaring peaks where the band was totally locked in, but also moments where there was no direction, there was just exploration of a particular harmonic area and rhythmic groove. Those directionless moments are some of my favorite jams, when they are genuinely good and not actually searching for something that isn't there.

In my hearing of their improvisation these days, when the band is searching and nothing is clicking, that's when you get the ripcord into "Light" or "Piper" or "Number Line" or whatever. That's when you get the 10 minute jams that seem like they could keep going but they don't. Last night there was none of that. Whether it's because they were content to sit in one particular musical schema for a while to see how it panned out, or because Trey is just more comfortable being in a jam that isn't going anywhere, it worked in our favor last night.

Exploring harmonic stasis and the edges of a particular structural space are the kinds of improvisation that characterized some of the most psychedelic and far out GD jams, especially think of Playin from '71-74 or a '72 Dark Star. Perhaps Trey let some of his studying of that style of improv into his Phish worldview, since he does seem to be more comfortable at the edges, exploring, willing to find nothing but just poke around nonetheless.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @smoothatonalsnd said:
@chillen said:
This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten.
I agree, while listening live it really felt like they were searching in the middle of that Twist jam. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the hell out of the song last night, but now I'm really looking forward to the re-listen to see if it sounds different. Great point and great review.
I've noticed this searching too, but I think that what's happening is that Trey isn't leading the jam, finding a particular riff/progression to settle on. In those moments, everything just sort of swirls around - Trey is noodling or playing percussive strums, Page adding atmosphere and color with electric piano, Mike highly active on circular riffs. That's a lot of what I was hearing last night during Twist. It does sound like they're searching for something to click, but that's only if you assume that every jam segment needs to have that kind of melodic cohesion. In this case, I'd say that the Twist jam had both soaring peaks where the band was totally locked in, but also moments where there was no direction, there was just exploration of a particular harmonic area and rhythmic groove. Those directionless moments are some of my favorite jams, when they are genuinely good and not actually searching for something that isn't there.

In my hearing of their improvisation these days, when the band is searching and nothing is clicking, that's when you get the ripcord into "Light" or "Piper" or "Number Line" or whatever. That's when you get the 10 minute jams that seem like they could keep going but they don't. Last night there was none of that. Whether it's because they were content to sit in one particular musical schema for a while to see how it panned out, or because Trey is just more comfortable being in a jam that isn't going anywhere, it worked in our favor last night.

Exploring harmonic stasis and the edges of a particular structural space are the kinds of improvisation that characterized some of the most psychedelic and far out GD jams, especially think of Playin from '71-74 or a '72 Dark Star. Perhaps Trey let some of his studying of that style of improv into his Phish worldview, since he does seem to be more comfortable at the edges, exploring, willing to find nothing but just poke around nonetheless.
interesting and insightful stuff, here -
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 Excellent recap from Chillwig. The remarkable thing about this show is that nobody's talking about the fact that No Men in No Man's Land seemed to spread its wings a bit beyond its usual boundaries of nasty funkiness tonight. I mean, I know *why* nobody's talking about it, but it's still pretty cool to think about - maybe the most promising new song of the whole bunch continuing to pupate and gestate (and the jam is nice on its own merits).

I'm guessing this will considered one of The Very Big Shows at the end of this jaunt, even if all the other shows kill it to varying degrees; a five song second set is one thing, but a five song second set with this much quality is something else entirely. And that's not even considering the remarkable Cities and nasty Stash in Set 1.
, comment by tek9rifleskills
tek9rifleskills @smoothatonalsnd said:
@chillen said:
This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten.
I agree, while listening live it really felt like they were searching in the middle of that Twist jam. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the hell out of the song last night, but now I'm really looking forward to the re-listen to see if it sounds different. Great point and great review.
I've noticed this searching too, but I think that what's happening is that Trey isn't leading the jam, finding a particular riff/progression to settle on. In those moments, everything just sort of swirls around - Trey is noodling or playing percussive strums, Page adding atmosphere and color with electric piano, Mike highly active on circular riffs. That's a lot of what I was hearing last night during Twist. It does sound like they're searching for something to click, but that's only if you assume that every jam segment needs to have that kind of melodic cohesion. In this case, I'd say that the Twist jam had both soaring peaks where the band was totally locked in, but also moments where there was no direction, there was just exploration of a particular harmonic area and rhythmic groove. Those directionless moments are some of my favorite jams, when they are genuinely good and not actually searching for something that isn't there.

In my hearing of their improvisation these days, when the band is searching and nothing is clicking, that's when you get the ripcord into "Light" or "Piper" or "Number Line" or whatever. That's when you get the 10 minute jams that seem like they could keep going but they don't. Last night there was none of that. Whether it's because they were content to sit in one particular musical schema for a while to see how it panned out, or because Trey is just more comfortable being in a jam that isn't going anywhere, it worked in our favor last night.

Exploring harmonic stasis and the edges of a particular structural space are the kinds of improvisation that characterized some of the most psychedelic and far out GD jams, especially think of Playin from '71-74 or a '72 Dark Star. Perhaps Trey let some of his studying of that style of improv into his Phish worldview, since he does seem to be more comfortable at the edges, exploring, willing to find nothing but just poke around nonetheless.
I like this comment so much!!!!

I've been hearing this somewhat this tour too, either live at Lakewood or whatever I could catch on webcast. I also would hear this moment you talk of, that roughly 10 minute mark, and the searching or trying to find the thing that clicks and then, the Light, or #line, etc. I've been waiting to finally hear how Trey was going to bring, what was it, 6 months of continuous Dead song playing into summer tour. It wasn't going to be Dead songs, duh. It has to lie deep in his playing and especially jam style.

he's having almost too much fun up there, you can hear it in almost every song he's playing. There's such a light, airy feel to what Trey is playing, and he's making the whole band play around quite a bit with songs. It's the whistle ending during Bathtub Gin set2 Lakewood2 that made me say, "he's like an F'ing kid again up there!!" They have done fun stuff, antics, tucking, etc. always, but the looseness in the playing and the feel of the songs; I am finally feeling like I can say to myself again: "they OWN these songs, they can do whatever they want to with them, I'm at ease" that feeling is back for me.

And he's bringing that to those 10-minute marks and saying, "I'm having fun with this." He doesn't have to play the idea or melody that will set Mike off like no tomorrow, or grab all the juice Page is feeding everyone (man, that guy is absolutely a major idea-maker lately!!!), because Trey has the ability to lay down something that will make you dance and smile hard and make the band go off from his lead almost whenever he probably feels like it. Instead, he's playing all this fun little stuff while the band does the same. I am absolutely loving it so much right now! All the space they are creating, the soundscapes are really intense, and its so minimalist. The twist (sorry for the Lakewood refs still) from L'wood really hit me hard with how subtle and deep it got fast and stayed that way. I was mostly taken aback in a way I hadn't felt in a long, long time that weekend, and Raleigh and MPP should be amazing in their own unique ways, too.

I appreciate the Dead relationship stuff, smoothatonalsnd, it told me what I've been trying to hear and catch this tour, what Trey borrowed, adapted, modified, transformed and creolized. It's all falling into place :)
, comment by lizards95
lizards95 Great show from start to finish- crowd was pumped! Set 2 is straight fire
Worth a listen. Band is playing some of the best music ever. Rock on PHsummer15
, comment by PeteM
PeteM @raidcehlalred said:
@smoothatonalsnd said:
@chillen said: [quote][quote]This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten.
In my hearing of their improvisation these days, when the band is searching and nothing is clicking, that's when you get the ripcord into "Light" or "Piper" or "Number Line" or whatever. That's when you get the 10 minute jams that seem like they could keep going but they don't. Last night there was none of that. Whether it's because they were content to sit in one particular musical schema for a while to see how it panned out, or because Trey is just more comfortable being in a jam that isn't going anywhere, it worked in our favor last night.

Exploring harmonic stasis and the edges of a particular structural space are the kinds of improvisation that characterized some of the most psychedelic and far out GD jams, especially think of Playin from '71-74 or a '72 Dark Star. Perhaps Trey let some of his studying of that style of improv into his Phish worldview, since he does seem to be more comfortable at the edges, exploring, willing to find nothing but just poke around nonetheless.
You just gotta poke around
, comment by muchado
muchado The best part of the 'Twist' jam was Kuroda! I hope a video surfaces mkdevo style, which is a static shot of the band (which includes Kuroda's lights, he is CK5 after all) from the back center. Kuroda is such an integral part of the band. Phish's announced a breakup in 2004 after playing without him on Vegas. They probably felt like something was way off, and not just because of the heavy drug use which is what a little bird said he wasn't there in the first place. They were missing a band member. Phish, this art band, was missing one fifth of it's live performing artists. The lights during this 'Twist' jam were literally little purple circles twisting, rotating like the sun around the earth. That was just the start of it. Chris used every tool he had during this jam to paint the canvas. If you have read this far you know I am a far from technical person, but he the best way I describe my favorite effect was when he turned the whole backdrop black and lit up the four on stage musicians of the band individually and simultaneously, each painted with a gyrating rainbow silhouette of pointillized colors. And that was just one of the effects! The point of this post is that the recording of this jam is only half of the story of this masterpiece. Hopefully CK5 is recording his work in a static nature and jams like this will be released one day
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose CK5's work nicely showcased here:

(Dig the hands in front of the camera aroud 17 mins)

The Twist jam does kind of meander from minutes 8-13. I quite like the initial stuff right out of Twist that Mike is leading, but is gets less interesting. When Mike and Fish lay down this almost Middle Eastern vibe just before 14 minutes and Page starts prancing on top of it though. Holy hell. The build from that point to finale is some top-shelf stuff. Maybe not as amazing as I thought listening the time, but still great. (I still think the Blossom Cheezer is the tour highlight).

This isn't new though. They used to do this all the time! They talk about it explicitly on the IT DVD, maybe it's Page. Sometimes you have to mess around for a while to get to the sick stuff. The 90s were full of it.

I also loved the Bathtub Gin jam. It was a lot more interesting than most Gin's have been in recent years.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @andrewrose said:
CK5's work nicely showcased here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0MOeM_gVUc (Dig the hands in front of the camera aroud 17 mins)

The Twist jam does kind of meander from minutes 8-13. I quite like the initial stuff right out of Twist that Mike is leading, but is gets less interesting. When Mike and Fish lay down this almost Middle Eastern vibe just before 14 minutes and Page starts prancing on top of it though. Holy hell. The build from that point to finale is some top-shelf stuff. Maybe not as amazing as I thought listening the time, but still great. (I still think the Blossom Cheezer is the tour highlight).

This isn't new though. They used to do this all the time! They talk about it explicitly on the IT DVD, maybe it's Page. Sometimes you have to mess around for a while to get to the sick stuff. The 90s were full of it.

I also loved the Bathtub Gin jam. It was a lot more interesting than most Gin's have been in recent years.
No doubt. And I'm with you on a couple other counts. It's fine that it gets a little lost, but the Gin is absolutely great. Upon re-listening I expected less, but I found a lot more. Trey swings so melodically, and finds all kinds of great notes and little riffs. And while I agree with @noob that the NMINL is really interesting, the end of that Dust is so cool and the Tweezer is fantastic. I realize that it's a standard progression, but in a version scattered with teases, I thought they were going to enter Melt before Lizards breaks free.
, comment by catacea
catacea Great review and discussion here. I was on the balcony rail all night, and that was such a crazy scene during Zero! Besides Trey's shenanigans onstage, the cables holding the balcony up on Mike's side bouncing a good 18 inches. They actually started checking tix for the pav and balc for the first time after setbreak, ending the unofficial go-anywhere crowd control tactic of the previous three Phish shows at the Mann.

Shouts to the Kuroda comments; killed it all night, especially during Twist.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @n00b100 said: considering the remarkable Cities....

Fear of Music is one of the best records going. One thing Heads' purists always pointed to when hearing Phish cover the band was tempo.

It was like: That song's not supposed slow, they're doing that on purpose?

I love the 00 Cities from Japan. I think it's under ten minutes, but it's really, really chill - enough, in my opinion, to offset the discrepancy between their take and the 'real' version.

And then there are the big rides.

This probably won't be a popular opinion, but I didn't particularly care for this version. Tack the jamming onto anything, and it's rather pedestrian. Since the band has there groove going, I'd like to seem them give this tune the album treatment. Fish and Gordon are up for it.

Trey would have to do something with his into. Like going into Roses, it's just this series of 'power' chords that sound inferior to so much of the new work (Scabbard, NMINML) he's producing. This Cities was cool, but it was sort of in-between in terms of how it could be played / interpreted. Hearing NMINML, I'd love to see the band give it full-on disco treatment.

I believe this was noted elsewhere. Trey's voice - which I think sounds great - is often turned way up (at least it comes across this way at certain points/venues).
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Ok, I've listened to the set two more times.

Stand by and raise my praise for the Bathtub Gin. Trey's playing is superb.

The Twist jam, after the hangover listen (ie. the second listen following the high of the live first listen), it's getting better again. It's amazing even from 4 minutes with Mike leading the way. And the mid-section sounds less meandering now. And the stuff around 13:30 is so, wait for it, unique, and slick. I love this jam.
, comment by gingerphish
gingerphish I agree, while listening live it really felt like they were searching in the middle of that Twist jam. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the hell out of the song last night, but now I'm really looking forward to the re-listen to see if it sounds different. Great point and great review.[/quote]

I'm in the same boat as you. I thought that the first 10-13 minutes (I haven't relistened yet either so this may be wrong) were a solid progression which Mike ONWED. In the middle though it did feel that they were grasping for a new theme that was eluding them. We'll see what a relisten brings.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @andrewrose said:
Ok, I've listened to the set two more times.

Stand by and raise my praise for the Bathtub Gin. Trey's playing is superb.

The Twist jam, after the hangover listen (ie. the second listen following the high of the live first listen), it's getting better again. It's amazing even from 4 minutes with Mike leading the way. And the mid-section sounds less meandering now. And the stuff around 13:30 is so, wait for it, unique, and slick. I love this jam.
It's sublime. I kept thinking of Roses from Island Tour for some reason.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @smoothatonalsnd said:
@chillen said:
This was a patient jam and, while it felt like they were actively searching for a launching point at times, it comes across as effortless and sensual on relisten.
I agree, while listening live it really felt like they were searching in the middle of that Twist jam. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the hell out of the song last night, but now I'm really looking forward to the re-listen to see if it sounds different. Great point and great review.
I've noticed this searching too, but I think that what's happening is that Trey isn't leading the jam, finding a particular riff/progression to settle on. In those moments, everything just sort of swirls around - Trey is noodling or playing percussive strums, Page adding atmosphere and color with electric piano, Mike highly active on circular riffs. That's a lot of what I was hearing last night during Twist. It does sound like they're searching for something to click, but that's only if you assume that every jam segment needs to have that kind of melodic cohesion. In this case, I'd say that the Twist jam had both soaring peaks where the band was totally locked in, but also moments where there was no direction, there was just exploration of a particular harmonic area and rhythmic groove. Those directionless moments are some of my favorite jams, when they are genuinely good and not actually searching for something that isn't there.

In my hearing of their improvisation these days, when the band is searching and nothing is clicking, that's when you get the ripcord into "Light" or "Piper" or "Number Line" or whatever. That's when you get the 10 minute jams that seem like they could keep going but they don't. Last night there was none of that. Whether it's because they were content to sit in one particular musical schema for a while to see how it panned out, or because Trey is just more comfortable being in a jam that isn't going anywhere, it worked in our favor last night.

Exploring harmonic stasis and the edges of a particular structural space are the kinds of improvisation that characterized some of the most psychedelic and far out GD jams, especially think of Playin from '71-74 or a '72 Dark Star. Perhaps Trey let some of his studying of that style of improv into his Phish worldview, since he does seem to be more comfortable at the edges, exploring, willing to find nothing but just poke around nonetheless.
Couldn't agree more. Excellent analysis.
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