Sunday 07/03/2016 by phishnet

SPAC 2 BACK

[Editor's Note: We'd like to welcome Mockingbird Foundation Board Member Matt Sexauer for this recap.]

If you weren’t able to make it to Saratoga, were unavailable to couch tour the webcast, or you were way back on the SPAC lawn, here’s the recap of what you missed for Phish’s second outing of their semi-annual 3-night July 4th holiday SPAC run.

The show opened with a well-performed “Crowd Control." Across social media this tune seemed inevitable to open a show and now was the time. Was it because of Fish’s Bernie donuts? Was it due to the slightly delayed start time to help herd the audience into the venue? Either way, excitement was high, as this tune has served as an omen of a raging show in the past. Listen to this version for Trey’s prowess in melodious soloing.


"Divided Sky" - Photo © Derek Gregory

In the two spot was the Fishman/Gordon driven “555." You could tell by the way Mike was digging into the groove that this set could go somewhere deep and funky, but I felt that the solo section was played conservatively in spite of Mike pushing for more. The “five-fifty-five” outro lyrics came back at the energetic peak of the solo section, so it was time to move on.

The final hit to close out “555” also served as the downbeat to “Seven Below." I absolutely love how Fishman commits to the sixteenth notes on beat 4 throughout this piece as a recurring rhythmic motive. The close up on Fish’s kit showed great form in his left hand fulcrum to create a fantastic multiple bounce stroke. A very solid performance by all led this tune to serve as one of the Set I highlights. Before the vibration on the drum kit cymbals stopped, a visibly happy Trey launches into “Back On The Train," complete with “Sleeping Monkey” quotes. I defy you not to dance when Page’s Clavinet is contributing to the motor rhythm behind Trey’s wah pedal solo. Energy was up, the crowd was primed, and a fist pumping Trey bowed to the audience.

In a position to zig toward keeping the energy up, the band zagged for a breather. “Army Of One” followed the prior three segued tunes, followed by “Divided Sky." Tonight “the note” had a hang time of 1:13:64. Never a tune to dismantle the venue, the solo section had a nice slow burn perfect for a warm summer evening.

Here’s a tip: If you see Page scrambling a bit in his rig while at the same time you hear Fishman’s left foot tapping out time on the hi-hat, chances are you’re headed for Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. Such was the case, when everyone at SPAC was informed that they had been selected as the first astronaut to explore the planet Mars! “Martian Monster” had arrived. And like my grandmother’s license plate border used to read “When Page gets up, you get down!” This version had Trey contributing on Marimba Lumina. “Martian Monster” also is a great vehicle for Chris Kuroda’s new giant Winamp visualizer.


"Julius" - Photo © Derek Gregory

But once again, in a moment where programming groove-based energy might prove successful, the band opted for the through-composed “Rift," followed by the slow poke version of “Water In The Sky." Our trip was short, indeed.

46 Days” started with a playful beginning between all four members, filling in the spaces of the tune before launching into the IV chord together, and launching into a solidly rocked version that very well could have served as the set closer. But that was left up to “Walls Of The Cave." Listen to this one for some cool bluesey licks by Trey underneath the piano and woodblock section. “WOTC” may be slow to get to its energetic peak, but when it arrived, it was where the energy of the night was meant to be.

For the most part, the “Crowd Control” opener prophecy hadn’t been fulfilled. But in Phish we trust. Enter the second set.

For the next 48 minutes and 49 seconds Phish launched into a string of five songs without a break, pause, or committee to discuss the direction of the music. It was the shot in the arm that the first set needed.

The set started off with “No Men In No Man’s Land” and segued into “Fuego," the jam section was sent into alternate keys and whole tone scales giving it an eerie modal feel to it. The jam dissolved and then was revived by Trey back into a driving rock style, finally circling back to the flat-3, flat-2, tonic “Fuego” riff. Without a chance to take a breath, Trey launched into “Light," fittingly because Kuroda’s new light panels had seemed to stop working, and then miraculously began to shine again. Listen to this version for the quintessential polyphonic Phish sound, where you could focus in on any member of the band and hear an interesting and independent musical idea being shaped that just melds with the other three. Page got a chance to stretch out a bit on the Fender Rhodes, and the “Light” jam continued a long and weaving path, where it broke down into more space/modal sounds and a “NMINML” quote.

This jam transitioned with a very slick segue into “Golden Age” that kept the energy of the set alive. But the next time that we all get together and have a meeting, we have to discuss the clapping situation in this song. We must agree on exactly where we’re going to clap when we hear the lyric “Clap your hands”, or to just not clap at all. I vote not to clap.

Taste” finished out the five-song behemoth. Page’s piano solo was absolutely on fire, which is worth a listen.


Photo © @OlkerPhoto

It was time for a breather with “The Horse” into “Silent In The Morning.” In all of my years of listening and watching, I never took an appreciation of the left-handed sixteenth note work by Trey and Mike during the chorus of this song. It’s truly masterful.

Julius” was up next to help SPAC maintain an energetic cruising altitude. They even gave the keyboard some with an unprecedented organ solo!

And for the third time this tour Phish performed the music of The Beatles, this time with “A Day In The Life." It was the perfect way to end the set.

Encore opened up with “Bouncing Around The Room.” When are they going to open up this tune and jam on it? Anyway, at 3:41 it is tied for the 54th longest “Bouncing” in Phish history. And appropriately closing out SPAC 2 was “Run Like An Antelope.” If you were following on Twitter you may have seen that Tom Marshall and The Dude of Life were in the audience. They were available to deliver the “Marco Esquandolas” line, but sadly did not.

Bows, a “They Attack” quote prompted by a tee shirt on stage that read the same, and the house lights came up. The roof of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center wasn’t blown off. However, it was nicely loosened for a fully fueled Sunday 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 thebuzzman
thebuzzman Enjoyable show. re: Golden Age - it should be 3 claps as it's the only thing that works rhythmically.
, comment by Hellbornelfchild5
Hellbornelfchild5 That was the fourth time they've played a Beatles song this tour- dear prudence x2, I am the walrus, and day in the life.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish This is a stellar review! Giant Winamp Visualizer! Hilarious! And Fishman is a monster of technique. Glad someone pointed it out. Most underrated drummer out there. I, too, vote not to clap. I also vote not to "woo". Just my opinions. If it's your thing, get down with it! Can't wait to listen to this show now!
, comment by Jophis
Jophis @thebuzzman said:
Enjoyable show. re: Golden Age - it should be 3 claps as it's the only thing that works rhythmically.

Agreed. When all the fans meet to discuss we should listen to the original version together...I think we can figure it out.

Also, "New giant Winamp visualizer" hahaha
, comment by Dankalonious
Dankalonious Fantastic review! I love the bits of music theory knowledge you dropped on us throughout. More like this please!!
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS "...at 3:41 it is tied for the 54th longest "Bouncing" in Phish history."

Amazing...and I wasn't there.
, comment by EvilKingWilson9
EvilKingWilson9 No clap
, comment by smellslikemule
smellslikemule @Dankalonious said:
Fantastic review! I love the bits of music theory knowledge you dropped on us throughout. More like this please!!
I agree with this. I love when a knowledgeable reviewer drops a little education on our asses or points out some elements of the music that we might not have been as keenly focused on. If all you are waiting for in a Phish show is the giant jam, you miss some of the small stuff going on. Phish is really good at the small stuff. Good review. Keep them coming.
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks Every mention of WinAmp is a victory for the good guys!
, comment by LightsWentOut
LightsWentOut I wish every recap was like this. Can we get Matt on board for the rest of the tour?
, comment by zzyzx
zzyzx Correct solution is NOT to clap the first time (because no one else does according to the lyric) but do so the second time around.
, comment by ThinMan
ThinMan last night was a terrible terrible show. people thought SPAC would be the ignition for this tour and actual has made the situation worse. this is not the same band that came out of watkins glen...as an example listen to the 46 day, rager guaranteed. has the power to close a show at MSG, lyrics go by, trey needs to nail the basic solo and he plays quiet. No Man's pales in comparison to last year Golden Age was complete meltdown.
, comment by mikec
mikec Semi-annual = occurring twice a year; half-yearly
, comment by arrows42
arrows42 Green Review!
, comment by strayney
strayney Here is the clap thing: the next beat. It would require us all to be ON IT. If they are playing Golden Age you know it's coming. "Clap your hands" BOOM -bass drum, one clap on the next beat. The 1. Just one clap. Or you could do it 3 times in a row on the 1. Or you could just keep it going, but that's never a good idea when you are dealing with mostly white people.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish @ThinMan said:
last night was a terrible terrible show. people thought SPAC would be the ignition for this tour and actual has made the situation worse. this is not the same band that came out of watkins glen...as an example listen to the 46 day, rager guaranteed. has the power to close a show at MSG, lyrics go by, trey needs to nail the basic solo and he plays quiet. No Man's pales in comparison to last year Golden Age was complete meltdown.
I just have to disagree, pretty emphatically. I looked at your stats, started in 92, 100+ shows under your belt. You definitely have the pedigree to know great shows from shit ones. I wasn't at the show, but gave it a listen last night after work and enjoyed it quite a bit. Not an all-time rager by any means. The first set seemed like a perfunctory run-through, not great, but not horrendous by any means. I really dug the second set though. I thought it flowed well, was well-played and was all together a tight set. For me, I love a 12 song set of well played tunes just as much as I enjoy a 6 song set that melts my face. Well, maybe not just as much, but pretty close. I have changed every year of my life. I've slowed down and grown wiser in my choices as I age, from my personal life to my guitar playing. I expect the band to do the same, and to me, they have. Just my opinion.
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect @Dankalonious said:
Fantastic review! I love the bits of music theory knowledge you dropped on us throughout. More like this please!!
Ditto. My thoughts exactly.
, comment by ThinMan
ThinMan @Jestinphish said:
@ThinMan said:
last night was a terrible terrible show. people thought SPAC would be the ignition for this tour and actual has made the situation worse. this is not the same band that came out of watkins glen...as an example listen to the 46 day, rager guaranteed. has the power to close a show at MSG, lyrics go by, trey needs to nail the basic solo and he plays quiet. No Man's pales in comparison to last year Golden Age was complete meltdown.
I just have to disagree, pretty emphatically. I looked at your stats, started in 92, 100+ shows under your belt. You definitely have the pedigree to know great shows from shit ones. I wasn't at the show, but gave it a listen last night after work and enjoyed it quite a bit. Not an all-time rager by any means. The first set seemed like a perfunctory run-through, not great, but not horrendous by any means. I really dug the second set though. I thought it flowed well, was well-played and was all together a tight set. For me, I love a 12 song set of well played tunes just as much as I enjoy a 6 song set that melts my face. Well, maybe not just as much, but pretty close. I have changed every year of my life. I've slowed down and grown wiser in my choices as I age, from my personal life to my guitar playing. I expect the band to do the same, and to me, they have. Just my opinion.
I appreciate your time to counter my review and will listen to it again in the next week and make sure I wasn't bringing personal baggage to the situation. I am actually a song guy and don't mind short shows or short versions. I actually like Crowd Control and slow version Water In the Sky, but something was wrong this whole weekend and on Saturday night the dam broke for me. And using terrible twice when there is actually a good Fuego Light in the show and very very smooth segue to Golden Age may be a tad dramatic.
, comment by Jestinphish
Jestinphish I appreciate your time to counter my review and will listen to it again in the next week and make sure I wasn't bringing personal baggage to the situation. I am actually a song guy and don't mind short shows or short versions. I actually like Crowd Control and slow version Water In the Sky, but something was wrong this whole weekend and on Saturday night the dam broke for me. And using terrible twice when there is actually a good Fuego Light in the show and very very smooth segue to Golden Age may be a tad dramatic.[/quote]

After listening to night 3 and a re-listen of night two. I agree they were off (way off) a few (okay, more than a few) times this weekend. Much like any longtime fan, its tough to take when you know what they are capable of. I started listening in '94 and was blessed to really start digging into this band in their "glory years". I consumed every tape I could get my hands on. So many Maxell XL-II's sent across the country. I loved the ripping fire that was the outro of Bowie when Trey played 32nd notes with an incredible (almost unnatural) precision. The cohesiveness of the structured parts of Reba, The Asse Festival, Oh Kee Pah, YEM, etc.. They sounded like a band that practiced together 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. They breathed together back then. It was so cool to see and as a young musician, blew my mind that a group could be so tight. Then came the cowfunk of '97 and all the greatness that came along with a band at the top of their game. To me, they could do no wrong. Then came the drugs (and families and real life) and we all know what happened from there.

When you were present for those early days it makes the flubs so much harder to take now. I take it with a grain of salt, because I know life gets in the way. I've played guitar for 20+ years and my hands have slowed down and I just don't have the time to practice that I did in my late teens and early 20's. This is not an excuse for the sloppiness because I'm not a professional musician. Trey is. And, for better or for worse, he is the rock upon which Phish is built. I don't know what the disconnect was this weekend. I do know they'll find their way back to form. They always seem to. One of the thing I really love about webcasts is you can see the band and how into it they are. Trey is generally always smiling and moving like the rockstar he is. Mike's head is bobbing just as much as it used too, you just cant see that curly mop flopping around anymore. Page is still jumping all over the boards and killing it. And Fishman is always squarely in the groove, eyes squinted with concentration, absolutely rock-steady.

I don't think you were that far off base after all. A tad harsh maybe, but not far off. I was jumping to the defense of something that maybe shouldn't have been defended. Sorry for the rambling! Cheers brother!
, comment by LlamaTab00t
LlamaTab00t RE: Clapping in Golden Age

I propose ONE clap, on the 4.

"Clap [1] your hands [2] ... [3] ... CLAP [4] If you think [1]"
, comment by Piper72
Piper72 Another great review. You had me at "bounce stroke" and "whole-tone modal". Love it when musicians review and decode the magic.

The claps in Golden Age? Four fits the best as I've been doing, after both "Clap your hands" lines: "Clap your hands" (clap cla-clap clap) "if you think..." For you musicians: For a measure of 4 beats, if the word "Clap" is on the one (in a measure of 4), then the first clap would be an eighth note on the "and" before 3, the next two would be 16th notes on 3 and the 16th after (3 e), and the last an eighth note on the 16th spot right before 4. Clap cla-clap clap. It fit's right in with Fishman's accents.
I know that's a convoluted way to explain, sorry but being a drummer lots of things make sense to me that I can't explain well. For those this works for, go for it, otherwise clap one or three or don't - but enjoy just the same!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Support Phish.net & MBIRD
Phish News
Subscribe to Phish-News for exclusive info while on tour!


Phish.net

Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.

Credits | Terms Of Use | Legal | DMCA

© 1990-2019  The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. | Hosted by End Point Corporation