Monday 09/04/2017 by lumpblockclod

DICKS XXI RECAP: NOT STILL LAWN BOY

Another summer has passed, the ninth since the opening notes of "Fluffhead" kickstarted what has come to be called Phish 3.0. Phish has evolved significantly since then. They are more apt to play extended jams than in those early 3.0 days. They've also built up a significant catalog of original 3.0 material - about a third of the songs played in any given show can be expected to have made their debut since Barack Obama's inauguration (god, weren't those the days?). They've also created a new traditional run of shows: The Labor Day run in Colorado or, as Phish fans more simply call it: Dick's.

Last night concluded the seventh annual Dick's run. Most years it seems like the excitement and anticipation of Phish tour reaches a frothy peak at Dick's. This year was different. The Baker's Dozen was such an exciting event for so many obvious reasons that it seemed like it sucked a little air out of the Dick's balloon. (The same thing happened in 2015 after Magnaball.) There was no way Phish could top (or even equal) what they accomplished in 13 shows at MSG in a single three night run. Of course that made it all the more remarkable that on Friday night they threw down probably the best set of the year (at least in this recapper's opinion). Conventional wisdom was that Saturday was a significant step back from Friday. What would Sunday bring?

Photo © Phish (Andy Mann)
Photo © Phish (Andy Mann)

After opening with expansive type-II jams on both Friday and Saturday ("Blaze On" and "Simple," respectively), Phish went with to the other extreme and gave us a two-minute "Buffalo Bill." There's not much to accomplish musically in those two minutes, but still, of all Phish's anal karma songs, that's their best. The ensuing "Moma" and "Birds of a Feather" were their usual selves. Nothing particularly noteworthy about either version, though the "BOAF," in particular, showed Trey & Co. to be in good technical form for a third consecutive night. Perhaps feeling nifty with the fingers, Trey tried his hand at "Sugar Shack" next. If there was a Phish in-show casino, betting on Trey to nail "Sugar Shack" would be the ultimate sucker's bet. Everyone wants to bet on it, but it so rarely pays off. But last night it did, as it was probably the best Phish version of the song I can recall.

"Most Events Aren't Planned" was next and what a welcome addition to the repertoire this song is, offering Trey a spacious, textural groove to nimbly solo over. "Back on the Train" continued the trend of well played but unadventurous songs before the relatively new ballad, "Leaves," slowed things down. Since we're in the circle of trust, I will confess to generally enjoying "Leaves" (particularly the Maple "Leaves" from MSG). Admittedly, this enjoyment has come without close examination of the actual lyrics, which I'm kind of afraid to do at this point. Maybe we should just move on.

If Phish is playing in Colorado, you're probably going to take the highway to the great divide at some point. "The Wedge" has now been played every year at Dick's. The improvisational meat of the first set followed with "46 Days" and "Bathtub Gin," each of which feature patient builds to full band peaks. Sunday's first set may not have packed the same punch as Friday or Saturday, but still had its moments and, more importantly, served as evidence, that Phish no longer treating first sets as exclusively song-based affairs with little room for improvisation.

Photo © Herschel Gelman
Photo © Herschel Gelman

Before Set II, the smart money was on a "Disease" or "Tweezer" opener. We got the former, and an atypical version at that. After the initial post-refrain jam, we got little of the major key jamming that typifies so many "Diseases." Instead, this was a ride to space mountain. About 10 minutes in, the jam disintegrates into a pulsating, spacey vamp. Trey is content to sit back and allow Mike to lead the way with Page exploring alongside him.

Let's take a minute to acknowledge the excellence of Mr. Michael Gordon on this particular run. I'm not sure we've seen this sort of assertive, muscular jam leadership from in him in sometime (at least not consistently) but it was very welcome and paid off in a big way on Friday night, especially. And, frankly, it's the jam leadership we need. Now back to your regular programming...

Trey adds some nice ideas to this menacing "Disease," as it continues to build on the dark theme. The last three or so minutes of the jam descend into pure space, with Fish dropping out entirely and Page (mostly) holding a single chord. "Light" rises from the ashes and we quickly get the major-key bliss that was missing from the "Disease." The "Light" begins deviating from the theme fairly early (about six minutes in). Mike is again steering this jam and it doesn't take Trey long to find a pattern that ends of forming the basis for the jam. As the jam concludes, it sounds like it could go into "Steam," but instead Trey opts for "Rise Up/Come Together." I guess the song has a positive message, so it's got that going for it. Maybe not much else, though? For me anyway... YMMV.

"Piper" begins the so-called fourth quarter and, as is typical of so many 3.0 versions, it explores significant terrain in relatively little time. This version centered around some interesting Trey/Page interplay (counterpoint: a friend describes it as "rhythmically challenged") before Trey takes the reins and carves out a soaring solo. "Meatstick" is next, which just seems like a song that has had its day and served its purpose. It certainly seemed purposeless in this spot and was over in 5 1/2 minutes.

Photo © Herschel Gelman
Photo © Herschel Gelman

A standard "2001" follows and crescendos into "Possum." Over the course of 3.0, many fans have soured on "Possum," calling it overplayed and unadventurous... or both. However, I'm here to tell you that the dead marsupial is enjoying a veritable renaissance in 2017. Both last night and the Maple version are delicious and would make a welcome addition to your stew. Don't be put off by the fact that it's "Possum," just enjoy the savory flavors! A perfunctory "Suzy Greenberg" closed the set.

The "Waste" and "First Tube" encore satisfied fans of ballads and guitar pyrotechnics alike. Alas, it may have left those in search of last minute setlist antic heroics wanting more. Yes, it's true: if the "still waiting" message from last year left some fans uncertain, the message had to be received this year. Dick's may still be special, but it's no longer because the band plants Easter eggs in the setlists. No, it's special because it is the longest running tradition of this iteration of Phish, an iteration that remains creative, innovative, and - on the right night - awe-inspiring. Last night may have fallen short of awe-inspiring, but the year certainly has not. We are incredibly lucky for that to be the case in their 34th(!) year.

P.S. Sadly, there are no Phish shows until, presumably, the NYE run. That's the bad news. But there is good news! Think of all the money you'll be saving on tickets! If you enjoy this website (present author's opinions excepted, possibly) and believe in the value of providing children with opportunities for musical education, please consider making a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation.

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Comments

, comment by oh_kee_dono
oh_kee_dono You lost me at Obama. Seriously. I stopped reading. Politics do not belong in a music review.
, comment by kimokool
kimokool I agree with H_K_Dono...
Why bring politics into a Phish show review?
Poorly placed. Most of us go to go to Phish shows to escape that nonsense and enjoy the music...
, comment by Teaser
Teaser Don't listen to these guys...those were the days! It was a benign political sentiment shared by the majority in the scene. Is this Roger Waters' show? No, but lord knows Fishman is a Berner and has never shied away from politics, including becoming selectman himself. Politics is usually a part of music. Just not overtly with Phish.

As far as the show/review, I thought it was well said. Not an awe-inspiring run, but just like 2015 with Magnaball, those of us with jobs/kids/families who has to choose one late Summer run, the money bet was on Magnaball/Baker's Dozen with Dick's the denouement. This run solidifies 2017 as a powerhouse (albeit brief) year in Phish history. I would still have to place the titular 7/25/17 I as the set of the year, of course...
, comment by unoclay
unoclay @oh_kee_dono said:
You lost me at Obama. Seriously. I stopped reading. Politics do not belong in a music review.


Pffft...sounds like some trump supporters getting a wee bit defensive.

Seriously, it's one sentence in a whole review. I have a hard time imagining someone other than a trumper being offended by a passing reference to the good years of Obama. And if you're truly a-political...again, its one sentence in an entire review. You're overreacting.

There is no escaping politics. Phish are kind enough (to the cons) to leave most of it off the stage, but it would be a strange form of self-imposed ignorance to forget that the band/vast majority of fans are liberal--and that liberal culture/ideologies/ways of living are currently under daily threat from the right.

We don't have the luxury of wishful escapism (i.e. i just go to a concert to forget about the world, man) any longer. I wish we did. But we don't.
, comment by JezmundBezerker
JezmundBezerker @unoclay said:
@oh_kee_dono said:
You lost me at Obama. Seriously. I stopped reading. Politics do not belong in a music review.


Pffft...sounds like some trump supporters getting a wee bit defensive.

Seriously, it's one sentence in a whole review. I have a hard time imagining someone other than a trumper being offended by a passing reference to the good years of Obama. And if you're truly a-political...again, its one sentence in an entire review. You're overreacting.

There is no escaping politics. Phish are kind enough (to the cons) to leave most of it off the stage, but it would be a strange form of self-imposed ignorance to forget that the band/vast majority of fans are liberal--and that liberal culture/ideologies/ways of living are currently under daily threat from the right.

We don't have the luxury of wishful escapism (i.e. i just go to a concert to forget about the world, man) any longer. I wish we did. But we don't.
Not one shred of liberal culture is under threat from the right. Not a single shred. Is gay marriage going to be outlawed? Nope. Is abortion suddenly going to become illegal? Nope. Is the federal government going to take away a states right to legalize marijuana? Nope. The first amendment, however, IS under constant daily threat FROM THE LEFT.

And this is why politics should not be brought into a Phishow review. Because look how quickly this thread is devolving now. I would not bring up politics on this site, but I literally cannot help but respond to this buffoonery.
, comment by melon
melon I knew as soon as i read "barrack obama" in the review that the comment section would look like how it does

Anyways.. I thought your review was great, the only thing i think should be added is that the 2001 had a very intense, dark and spacey buildup in the beginning of it that i think is must hear

Really enjoyed this year's dick's run and i hope they play there again next year!
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks "of all Phish's anal karma songs, that's their best"

#nailedit
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @waxbanks said:
"of all Phish's anal karma songs, that's their best"

#nailedit
I can't take credit for that line as I shamelessly stole it from the esteemed @bertoletdown
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd My main takeaway from Sunday night's show was definitely that the first amendment rights of triggered snowflakes are under constant assault, and the first amendment's primary purpose is to protect individuals' horrible opinions about phish, civil rights, condiments, and other important topics of the day.

In addition, as a longtime 3.0 advocate of the late second set 2001, it is interesting to note that at this point, a little bit of my soul dies with every 7-ish minute version of this song. I think this says a lot about Phish's improvement curve. What was a reliable highlight or even an oasis circa 2010 - 2012 can now feel more like a missed opportunity for extended danceable improvisation.

And of course, anal karma.

It's rare and refreshing when so many of us can agree on the clear message of the music phish performs for us. Huzzah!

4.5/10
, comment by Roundabackcircled
Roundabackcircled The last place I ever expected to see a political thread was on a phishnet review page, and I hate seeing it cause I thought the Phish community would be basically in agreement ideologically. However, against my better judgment I have to respond.

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ asked congress back in June to rescind the amendment protecting medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/13/jeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers/?utm_term=.c36c67462393

The evangelical right voted for Trump, excusing his questionable Christian values, in hopes of packing the supreme court with conservative judges with the explicit goal of overturning Roe v Wade. And then you've got your various "bathroom bills" and bans on transgender people in the military.

So please don't pretend "liberal culture" isn't under attack. I'm sorry you feel freedom of speech is under attack by some Antifa assholes, but I'm far more concerned about the right's denigration of the free press, and on its attempt to remake America in its image.

Of course, everybody here is totally free to their own opinion. I hope as a Phish community we can rally around freedom of expression for all. It's what the music has always been about, and the best part of going to shows. Fascists can get buffalo billed.
, comment by VWPhan
VWPhan It's a fucking review, literally opinion. Get bent everyone.
, comment by oh_kee_dono
oh_kee_dono @unoclay said:
@oh_kee_dono said:
You lost me at Obama. Seriously. I stopped reading. Politics do not belong in a music review.


Pffft...sounds like some trump supporters getting a wee bit defensive.

Seriously, it's one sentence in a whole review. I have a hard time imagining someone other than a trumper being offended by a passing reference to the good years of Obama. And if you're truly a-political...again, its one sentence in an entire review. You're overreacting.

There is no escaping politics. Phish are kind enough (to the cons) to leave most of it off the stage, but it would be a strange form of self-imposed ignorance to forget that the band/vast majority of fans are liberal--and that liberal culture/ideologies/ways of living are currently under daily threat from the right.

We don't have the luxury of wishful escapism (i.e. i just go to a concert to forget about the world, man) any longer. I wish we did. But we don't.

I'm not a trump supporter. Just tired of hearing about politics on music sites. And it was just one sentence but what if that one sentence was a dig on Obama? Would it still be ok?
, comment by JezmundBezerker
JezmundBezerker @Roundabackcircled said:
The last place I ever expected to see a political thread was on a phishnet review page, and I hate seeing it cause I thought the Phish community would be basically in agreement ideologically. However, against my better judgment I have to respond.

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ asked congress back in June to rescind the amendment protecting medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/13/jeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers/?utm_term=.c36c67462393

The evangelical right voted for Trump, excusing his questionable Christian values, in hopes of packing the supreme court with conservative judges with the explicit goal of overturning Roe v Wade. And then you've got your various "bathroom bills" and bans on transgender people in the military.

So please don't pretend "liberal culture" isn't under attack. I'm sorry you feel freedom of speech is under attack by some Antifa assholes, but I'm far more concerned about the right's denigration of the free press, and on its attempt to remake America in its image.

Of course, everybody here is totally free to their own opinion. I hope as a Phish community we can rally around freedom of expression for all. It's what the music has always been about, and the best part of going to shows. Fascists can get buffalo billed.
Roe v. Wade is never going to be overturned. Medical marijuana is never going to be outlawed. Trump actually disagrees with Jess Sessions on that particular issue, btw. Furthermore, the left has completely hijacked the "free press." The press hasn't been free for a long long time. The press is a democrat machine, with very little exception. The pundits are all actors who pretend to be journalists. The MSM is what is destroying the soul of this country and dividing us, not our current administration. The right is actually expanding the "free press," through online independent media. The right has had to go underground and primarily use the internet to disseminate accurate information, because conservative views simply are not welcome in the MSM or even in our universities. This administration has been far more inclusive in terms of the media outlets they allow into the press core, than any past administration ever has been. As for transgenders, I think we probably disagree ideologically on this issue. I care far more about the physical safety of the children in our bathrooms and the men and women in our military than I do about the emotional sensitivity of a tiny fraction of our population.

I urge you to take the red pill and come out of the Matrix...
, comment by treys_carpet
treys_carpet long time reader first time posting, the politics made me do it! I couched (and airplane seated) the last show of Dicks in an airport and on a airplane then in another airport and it got me thru what was what is undeniably the worst day of flying I've ever experienced. That being said this was a special year for me got to 8 of the 13 bakers and that last Dicks show in many forms of travel reminded me how magical the boys are and how fortunate we are to have had this year with them. Please lets leave the petty politics at the door. Hope NYE is everything wants it to be! That is all
, comment by Roundabackcircled
Roundabackcircled @JezmundBezerker said:
@Roundabackcircled said:
The last place I ever expected to see a political thread was on a phishnet review page, and I hate seeing it cause I thought the Phish community would be basically in agreement ideologically. However, against my better judgment I have to respond.

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ asked congress back in June to rescind the amendment protecting medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/13/jeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers/?utm_term=.c36c67462393

The evangelical right voted for Trump, excusing his questionable Christian values, in hopes of packing the supreme court with conservative judges with the explicit goal of overturning Roe v Wade. And then you've got your various "bathroom bills" and bans on transgender people in the military.

So please don't pretend "liberal culture" isn't under attack. I'm sorry you feel freedom of speech is under attack by some Antifa assholes, but I'm far more concerned about the right's denigration of the free press, and on its attempt to remake America in its image.

Of course, everybody here is totally free to their own opinion. I hope as a Phish community we can rally around freedom of expression for all. It's what the music has always been about, and the best part of going to shows. Fascists can get buffalo billed.
Roe v. Wade is never going to be overturned. Medical marijuana is never going to be outlawed. Trump actually disagrees with Jess Sessions on that particular issue, btw. Furthermore, the left has completely hijacked the "free press." The press hasn't been free for a long long time. The press is a democrat machine, with very little exception. The pundits are all actors who pretend to be journalists. The MSM is what is destroying the soul of this country and dividing us, not our current administration. The right is actually expanding the "free press," through online independent media. The right has had to go underground and primarily use the internet to disseminate accurate information, because conservative views simply are not welcome in the MSM or even in our universities. This administration has been far more inclusive in terms of the media outlets they allow into the press core, than any past administration ever has been. As for transgenders, I think we probably disagree ideologically on this issue. I care far more about the physical safety of the children in our bathrooms and the men and women in our military than I do about the emotional sensitivity of a tiny fraction of our population.

I urge you to take the red pill and come out of the Matrix...
Hey brother, I was really trying to leave this on a positive note. And I still am. There is no liberal conspiracy to take away anyone's rights or control information. I truly believe it's made up paranoid fantasy from these so called "independent" media sources your referring to. But you'll believe what you want to believe. Have a good one, and I hope you change your mind one day.
, comment by JezmundBezerker
JezmundBezerker @Roundabackcircled said:
@JezmundBezerker said:
@Roundabackcircled said:
The last place I ever expected to see a political thread was on a phishnet review page, and I hate seeing it cause I thought the Phish community would be basically in agreement ideologically. However, against my better judgment I have to respond.

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ asked congress back in June to rescind the amendment protecting medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/13/jeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers/?utm_term=.c36c67462393

The evangelical right voted for Trump, excusing his questionable Christian values, in hopes of packing the supreme court with conservative judges with the explicit goal of overturning Roe v Wade. And then you've got your various "bathroom bills" and bans on transgender people in the military.

So please don't pretend "liberal culture" isn't under attack. I'm sorry you feel freedom of speech is under attack by some Antifa assholes, but I'm far more concerned about the right's denigration of the free press, and on its attempt to remake America in its image.

Of course, everybody here is totally free to their own opinion. I hope as a Phish community we can rally around freedom of expression for all. It's what the music has always been about, and the best part of going to shows. Fascists can get buffalo billed.
Roe v. Wade is never going to be overturned. Medical marijuana is never going to be outlawed. Trump actually disagrees with Jess Sessions on that particular issue, btw. Furthermore, the left has completely hijacked the "free press." The press hasn't been free for a long long time. The press is a democrat machine, with very little exception. The pundits are all actors who pretend to be journalists. The MSM is what is destroying the soul of this country and dividing us, not our current administration. The right is actually expanding the "free press," through online independent media. The right has had to go underground and primarily use the internet to disseminate accurate information, because conservative views simply are not welcome in the MSM or even in our universities. This administration has been far more inclusive in terms of the media outlets they allow into the press core, than any past administration ever has been. As for transgenders, I think we probably disagree ideologically on this issue. I care far more about the physical safety of the children in our bathrooms and the men and women in our military than I do about the emotional sensitivity of a tiny fraction of our population.

I urge you to take the red pill and come out of the Matrix...
Hey brother, I was really trying to leave this on a positive note. And I still am. There is no liberal conspiracy to take away anyone's rights or control information. I truly believe it's made up paranoid fantasy from these so called "independent" media sources your referring to. But you'll believe what you want to believe. Have a good one, and I hope you change your mind one day.
I love it. When someone from the left expresses their political opinion, it's called "positive." Even when the last words they say are, "fascists can get buffalo billed." But someone from the right expresses their opinion, and, well... it is simply unwelcome. Oh well. Feel free to remain in the blissful ignorance that is the Matrix.

Phish is a good band.
, comment by Ramble_On
Ramble_On forget the politics, this writing just sucks. wish I never saw this post, what a waste of time.
, comment by hseamons
hseamons "...since Barack Obama's inauguration (god, weren't those the days?)."

Not really. Obama is way, WAY overrated. Horrible foreign policy abroad and harmful "progressive" agendas at home. He really wasn't all that.
, comment by Wilsonwasframed
Wilsonwasframed @oh_kee_dono said:
You lost me at Obama. Seriously. I stopped reading. Politics do not belong in a music review.
Agree 100%. There are PLENTY of us that believe Obama was a horrible President that didn't accomplish much of anything except stirring racial division. #MAGA
, comment by Army_Al
Army_Al These comments are a huge bummer. I want a t shirt that says "Is this still the comment section for the Dick's recap?"
, comment by Wilsonwasframed
Wilsonwasframed @oh_kee_dono said:
@unoclay said:
@oh_kee_dono said:
You lost me at Obama. Seriously. I stopped reading. Politics do not belong in a music review.


Pffft...sounds like some trump supporters getting a wee bit defensive.

Seriously, it's one sentence in a whole review. I have a hard time imagining someone other than a trumper being offended by a passing reference to the good years of Obama. And if you're truly a-political...again, its one sentence in an entire review. You're overreacting.

There is no escaping politics. Phish are kind enough (to the cons) to leave most of it off the stage, but it would be a strange form of self-imposed ignorance to forget that the band/vast majority of fans are liberal--and that liberal culture/ideologies/ways of living are currently under daily threat from the right.

We don't have the luxury of wishful escapism (i.e. i just go to a concert to forget about the world, man) any longer. I wish we did. But we don't.

I'm not a trump supporter. Just tired of hearing about politics on music sites. And it was just one sentence but what if that one sentence was a dig on Obama? Would it still be ok?
Of course not! No criticism of King Barry is allowed at any time.
, comment by Happyone
Happyone I was at the Sunday night show and is was good...but not up to Friday that's for sure.

Anyhow, forget about Obama - this writer lost me at his "best Sugar Shack version".
This was a cringe worthy moment for me and my buddy on the floor, with Trey fumbling around as
the energy got sucked out of the crowd. I'm really not sure why they even attempt to play this song anymore. In fact the only recent good version I even remember was at BGCA last year.
, comment by Wilsonwasframed
Wilsonwasframed @Happyone said:
I was at the Sunday night show and is was good...but not up to Friday that's for sure.

Anyhow, forget about Obama - this writer lost me at his "best Sugar Shack version".
This was a cringe worthy moment for me and my buddy on the floor, with Trey fumbling around as
the energy got sucked out of the crowd. I'm really not sure why they even attempt to play this song anymore. In fact the only recent good version I even remember was at BGCA last year.
Well said. Sugar Shack(along with Winterqueen) was probably the 2 lowest points of the entire weekend.
, comment by bunnny
bunnny I absolutely love your reviews. I brought my account back from the dead just to tell you. You've got a reader. I hope the suits at dot net give you lots of airtime.
, comment by 87easyed
87easyed Totally agree with your side note on Mike. He ripped it all weekend!!
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Better than your Chicago2 recap. Thanks for keeping it posi.
, comment by Funkywurm
Funkywurm Lost me with the title. The "Lawn Boy" wasn't that unbelievably amazing to warrant a reference in the title of a Dick's recap. Just cause it's long doesn't mean it's good. Let the downvotes rain upon me.
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Trey Anastasio Band: November 17, 2005
12 years ago
NBC Television Studios, Studio 6A

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