Saturday 08/15/2015 by phishnet

RALEIGH: THE HOMESTRETCH VIA TOBACCO ROAD

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

The last two weeks of Phish tour have been the stuff of dreams. On the final night of July, The Phish from Vermont threw down a mighty Kill Devil Falls in Atlanta. They followed that up the next night with an unbelievable version of “Tweezer” – the longest since Tahoe. We all know about what happened in Nashville, the return of the second jam in “Mike’s Song” and one fantastic “Weekapaug.” Then came another weekend and with it, “Chalk Dust Torture” -> “Tweezer” > “The Lizards” at Blossom. The Sunday show at Alpine Valley was bust-out city. And the Martian Mannster shows were a pair of peaks, highlighted by the unbelievable “Twist.” It is an amazing time to be a Phish fan.


Photo © @tweeprise

Earlier this year, LivePhish released a classic Raleigh show12/16/99, an all-timer featuring a stellar “Sand” and a terrific “Tweezer.” So what could we expect after an off day and a trip down south for the first Raleigh show since 2011? The last time we were at Walnut Creek, Phish played “Peaches en Regalia” for just the second time in 3.0 and ”Been Caught Stealing” for just the sixth time ever and first since 1998.

The show started off with the sun setting behind the lawn and a mellow but excited mood in the venue. Trey toyed around with the chords to “Llama,” before ultimately starting up the Gamehendge classic in a slower and funkier rhythm. It was a classic moment, symbolic of what Phish is all about right now – taking risks, trying new things, and just having plain old fun. There are no limits. “Llama” was super slowed-down and super funky, a must listen.


Photo © Jake Silco

The unique opener was followed by a rocking “Chalk Dust Torture” and then the typically funky “Moma Dance.” “Yarmouth Road” came next, the first time being played since Shoreline. The 14-show gap for “Yarmouth” is the longest in the history of the song since the song’s debut at SPAC back in 2013. A lively “Tube” at times seemed to really be the one to pop off and breakthrough for a jam, and while it was nice and enjoyable, it was ultimately classic Phish blue balls.

Next came an oreo of chill and thrill. “Bouncing Around the Room” was short and sweet, before upshifting to a raging “Maze” before the mellow mood returned with “Waiting All Night” began. “Lawn Boy” and another Fuego tune, “Devotion to a Dream” rounded out the heart of this mostly uneventful set. The set’s biggest peak came (as it often does) in “Wolfman’s Brother,” a short but powerful version. “Suzy Greenberg” closed out the 12-song, cover-free set, that didn’t quite have the punch or sizzle that we heard at the Mann, but it still had some great moments, particularly that “Llama.”


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

The second set kicked off with “The Wedge.” This was only the third time “Wedge” had opened a second set, the first since Lemonwheel in 1998. The improvisational highlight of the night came in the first cover of the evening, “Golden Age.” The jam quickly began and delved into Funkytown U.S.A. Trey took command of the jam and it resembled the same groove in Blossom’s “Tweezer,” and was also contained strong hints of “Split Open and Melt.” After the jam died down, “Reba” emerged, to everyone’s delight. “Reba” was performed with near perfection and the jam portion featured moving play from all four guys as they worked together unison.


Photo © Jake Silco

Next came “Mike’s Song.” I can’t speak for others but I immediately wanted to know whether there would be a second jam. The jam never came, and now we must wonder if it is gone forever. If so, what a treat the last two are. Mike’s started to fade out and out of it began an angry “Ghost.” While never truly veering too far away from the norm, “Ghost” was filled with several strong peaks from Trey. Another cover was the other big highlight of the night – Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” This was just what the doc ordered to bridge the gap to “Weekapaug.” A fiery “First Tube” closed out the set with the energy and excitement that stands for everything Phish is about right now.


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

After Page noted that Walnut Creek was one of Phish’s favorite sheds, they closed out this phenomenal night with a two-song encore of “Farmhouse,” and then the first “Fire” since 2013. All in all, a first set with some cool jams and fun songs and a really strong second set with no dull moments. Next up, Merriweather. “Tweezer” looms.


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


Raleigh, NC LE poster by Ryan Lynn

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Comments

, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred A very nice way of saying positive things about an underwhelming show. Tough spot to be in, following Mann II, and a couple nights at MPP. Succinct and to the point, and I, for one, appreciate the fairness and accuracy. Clearly the band enjoys playing certain songs, and that's cool; this is just the sort of first set I'd love to see the band continue to steer clear of.

Difficult to discern from the diction here ('also'), but in the event you weren't indicating that the Blossom Tweezer contained strong hints of SOAM, allow me to reiterate that it does. Not sure that this means anything, but I hope that it does, as....

....like Reba* (x2, now), I look forward to to the occasion when Set II becomes even more interesting at the the set list level.

To wit:

I'm firmly entrenched in the 10 - 12 min jams can be (are) totally loaded and musical camp. (Two of last '13s best CDT's weren't terribly long; but Alpharetta and MSG were certainly great.)

This said, in a tour of riches, it'd be great to see Wolfman's* get some extra room.

Not sure what to make of Llama. Certainly agree with two of the three: trying new things; having fun.... That's evinced here. Not sure much of a risk was taken. To be fair, Esther and Sloth, played to form, were risks - not to mention Mockingbird. Fun, but none of these were played particularly well.

I've loved Llama for decades. If it's a one off, cool enough. But don't 'destroy' the suite if the song poses problems (some have suggested at least it'll get played more; Llama won't get played more - slow Llama will).

The second jam.... Be surprising if it doesn't appear at one of the fests. In a tour of surprises, one which could really work well is a full Mike's with H20, or, more fiery, directly into a Paug.
, comment by Lerxst
Lerxst An underwhelming show? You must be daft. A new arrangement of an old standard, for it's 300th, by the way. A near non-stop second set. A perfect Reba. First Tube ending to the second set, with Jedi antics by Trey. Fire played after it's longest gap ever. Everyone around me was quite quite pleased with the show they saw, and certainly no one called it underwhelming. In fact, the reviewer calls it "phenomenal." What were you reading/hearing?
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I can understand why someone might be a little underwhelmed. The direction the tour was heading seemed to be going away from sets like the first one and people were pretty happy about that development.

It would be a bit of a gut punch going to this venue, feeling the cathartic rush of the first notes of Mikes and then not getting that jam.

I'm solely going off the setlist here, so maybe everything was extra crab mustardy to the gills and complaining about one expected jam section only played twice in the last 12 years. But I get it. I really expected Raleigh to be the left field sucker punch show of the tour. Like just when we thought it was safe we'd get the
I: Reba-> PYITE-> Simple-> Reba
II: Mikes-> McGrupp, Weekapaug
E: I Don't Care-> I Didn't Know
, comment by Lerxst
Lerxst If you are complaining about the show based on the setlist, you're doing it wrong. There was no second Mike's Jam, but the tension of "will they or won't they" was obvious. Then to head into that Ghost and then No Quarter...that WAS out of left field.
, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray Good writeup.

And in the above picture, Mike looks like he wants to kick my ass.
, comment by showoflife19
showoflife19 I was there. This show was good. Not great in comparison to the rest of the tour so far.
But very solid. I thought the first set was safe and a little slow. The second was really fun even without any extended jams. As usual for Raleigh, dozens of arrests by a very present police task force. And they listed everyone's names and specific charges in the paper today.
, comment by locutus420
locutus420 @Dressed_In_Gray said:
Good writeup.

And in the above picture, Mike looks like he wants to kick my ass.
But page is already claiming Mike the victor.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @Lerxst said:
An underwhelming show? You must be daft. A new arrangement of an old standard, for it's 300th, by the way. A near non-stop second set. A perfect Reba. First Tube ending to the second set, with Jedi antics by Trey. Fire played after it's longest gap ever. Everyone around me was quite quite pleased with the show they saw, and certainly no one called it underwhelming. In fact, the reviewer calls it "phenomenal." What were you reading/hearing?
I said the Llama was cool, as a one-off. It would have been cool had they done something with the Bag the other night, but that was done an era ago. So we got the Llama. After that, were you happy with what ensued?

The oreo cookie analogy isn't flattering.

Nor is blue balls.

I tire of toadyism, and I think it's cool when a reviewer - as usual, here - does a great job. There's no need to be a sycophant.

I'm NOT saying you are. If you think this show is whatever, awesome. But I can tell you the review is faint praise. It is.

I can tell you what I heard, if you care. But I was commenting upon a nice review. If you look closely - or look - you'll see that the first set is marked as 'uneventful.' Which is pretty kind.

If you think the show is awesome, I'm not going to tell you it wasn't. I love Raleigh, and was a bit let down. I can't tell you that Reba - my favorite song - was perfect (because it wasn't). I did, however, like it. And I love where the placed it. Most second sets are pretty non-stop; this tour, most second sets have been.... well I assume you know.

And I can tell you what I didn't hear in Mike's.... But I assume you didn't hear that, also. It is what it is. That's all that I meant. For me, this was a total reversion to, say, pre-Atlanta (although probably earlier than that) form.

It's the band's fault for setting the bar so high of late.
, comment by aburtch
aburtch Don't sleep on that Weekapaug, very intense coming out of the Ghost > No Quarter. Excellent high-energy playing from the boys all night.
, comment by makisupaman
makisupaman Good shows seem to get shorter shrift these days, no doubt a symptom of the heights this tour has reached. The alternate take on Llama suggests just how special things are right now. I was immediately reminded of Glide II and Chalkdust Reprise. News of a sell-out for next weekend with certainly add to the already-staggering momentum accumulated the past month as the circus hits the Chesapeake before venturing north. Enjoy these final nights of tour to those attending, and see you all in the Finger Lakes for an exclamation point on 2015!
, comment by Mattisupa
Mattisupa Anyone think there's something to all the post-Mike's Groove song starting with F?

A bit f(ph)ishy if you ask me.
, comment by white_lightning
white_lightning Attended the show. Will agree with the "solid not great" camp. The first set each song was reasonably well executed, but it was almost like they were throwing darts with song choice....no real flow and the closest thing to a few songs well strung together was Llama thru Moma. With individually Maze and Wolfmans being the high points.

Second set was good, fun, reasonably cohesive. Oddly one of my main complaints is the lack of ambient/minimal phish. The whole 2nd set was pretty loud (for lack of a better word) other than the Ghost > No Quarter segue which briefly got spacy.

Heady days indeed when a solid show is seen as a bit of a let down. But in the big picture a 3.5 star (or 4 being generous) show.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @Lerxst said:
An underwhelming show? You must be daft. A new arrangement of an old standard, for it's 300th, by the way. A near non-stop second set. A perfect Reba. First Tube ending to the second set, with Jedi antics by Trey. Fire played after it's longest gap ever. Everyone around me was quite quite pleased with the show they saw, and certainly no one called it underwhelming. In fact, the reviewer calls it "phenomenal." What were you reading/hearing?
My understanding (I don't go quite that far back) is that Llama (one of my top five fav. songs) originally was slow and syrupy, but that this mode was quickly shelved and revamped in favor of the more familiar and speedy version we all know. If this is the case, and I'm pretty sure it is, then this is no doubt a historic one-off, rather than a new way of playing it.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS I think I've gone on record ad nauseum in favor of tight, well-played music with nuggets of gold hidden in the nuance of the playing, regardless of the length of jams.

Phish's playing this tour has been at an all-star level, compared to most of 3.0, and certainly to last year (which I contend was a down year, or to be more generous, a transitional year), with generally very competent and engaged playing every night. This tour has not had any real clunkers, though there has been inevitable ebb and flow, which cannot be anything but expected.

My point is simply that I agree with @Lerxst above...these days it is a collossal error to judge a show by the setlist and by song timings....this has always been true but especially so this tour.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS Sorry...meant to add that I'm so thankful the boys are indeed "mixing it up" with the song choices, set placements, etc. What a wonderful and rich development. So happy our favorite band truly cares about its fans in such a tangible way.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@Lerxst said:
An underwhelming show? You must be daft. A new arrangement of an old standard, for it's 300th, by the way. A near non-stop second set. A perfect Reba. First Tube ending to the second set, with Jedi antics by Trey. Fire played after it's longest gap ever. Everyone around me was quite quite pleased with the show they saw, and certainly no one called it underwhelming. In fact, the reviewer calls it "phenomenal." What were you reading/hearing?
My understanding (I don't go quite that far back) is that Llama (one of my top five fav. songs) originally was slow and syrupy, but that this mode was quickly shelved and revamped in favor of the more familiar and speedy version we all know. If this is the case, and I'm pretty sure it is, then this is no doubt a historic one-off, rather than a new way of playing it.
The debut is played at a slightly slower tempo for sure. Slightly. The record states that Trey was influenced my ARU and so forth. I hesitate to call what happened here a new 'arrangement.' As usual, the band, aware of everything, probably got a cool idea, checked it a few times, said yup, and opened with it. A totally cool move.

Man. I'm not bashing the idea, the performance, or even the show. Given the band's stated penchant for the venue, some of the music I've caught there, and what's gone down so far, I simply thought the first set was off. I don't have a watch out or anything. But the Dust was short, the Tube was short in real time. (And the latter felt like it really could take off). If that makes me daft, well so be it. I am curious, however, regarding set list construction; and I think it's fair to question what happened here. Just seems like a much more Page-oriented/driven set. Especially when contrasted with MPP I.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS @raidcehlalred said:
@FACTSAREUSELESS said:
@Lerxst said:
An underwhelming show? You must be daft. A new arrangement of an old standard, for it's 300th, by the way. A near non-stop second set. A perfect Reba. First Tube ending to the second set, with Jedi antics by Trey. Fire played after it's longest gap ever. Everyone around me was quite quite pleased with the show they saw, and certainly no one called it underwhelming. In fact, the reviewer calls it "phenomenal." What were you reading/hearing?
My understanding (I don't go quite that far back) is that Llama (one of my top five fav. songs) originally was slow and syrupy, but that this mode was quickly shelved and revamped in favor of the more familiar and speedy version we all know. If this is the case, and I'm pretty sure it is, then this is no doubt a historic one-off, rather than a new way of playing it.
The debut is played at a slightly slower tempo for sure. Slightly. The record states that Trey was influenced my ARU and so forth. I hesitate to call what happened here a new 'arrangement.' As usual, the band, aware of everything, probably got a cool idea, checked it a few times, said yup, and opened with it. A totally cool move.

Man. I'm not bashing the idea, the performance, or even the show. Given the band's stated penchant for the venue, some of the music I've caught there, and what's gone down so far, I simply thought the first set was off. I don't have a watch out or anything. But the Dust was short, the Tube was short in real time. (And the latter felt like it really could take off). If that makes me daft, well so be it. I am curious, however, regarding set list construction; and I think it's fair to question what happened here. Just seems like a much more Page-oriented/driven set. Especially when contrasted with MPP I.
I never called you daft. I simply commented on the Llama opener.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred indeed, you're cool - the other fella did (and i'm sure he's cool too). my hope was that he glanced back - i wasn't trying to wreck his show....

i'm limited in terms of hanging at / after shows. i was hoping to chat here w/out irritating anyone. feel like i've done that more than anything. never the intent at all.
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