Friday 11/02/2018 by phishnet

VEGAS2 RECAP: BLAZE ON INTO ROCK

[we'd like to thank guest recapper Brian Brinkman, @howard_roark / @sufferingjuke and @_beyondthepond on Twitter, for sharing what went down last night for the blog - ed.]

Perhaps there are no Phish dates more closely aligned than November 1 and January 1. Both have received scant performances - 5 for 11/1, 3 for 1/1 - and both follow the two most celebrated holidays in the Phish calendar: Halloween & New Year’s Eve, respectfully. Yet the similarities all but end there. While New Year’s Day has been treated as a moment for pause and reflection before moving onwards and into a new year, November 1 has historically allowed the band a moment to collect the new sounds and ideas they’d been secretly brewing up over the last few months, and share them freely with the entire fanbase. One needs only to think of the stunning “Light” from 11/1/09 that displayed the band’s renewed trust and dedication to their own creative future, or the regal peak of “Twist” from 11/1/13 that seemed to signal their elation over debuting an entire album’s worth of new material the previous night, or the “Light -> Dogs -> Lengthwise” from 11/1/14 that contained all the raucous energy and zany Phish nonsense from the previous night’s Chilling Thrilling set to hear how fascinating this night can be and how important it is to their annual development.

It was with all this in mind that I settled into the MGM Grand Garden Arena for my 70th Phish show, first in November, and 5th in Sin City. Following the bizarre mind-fuck that was the Kasvot Växt set - seriously, they crafted an entire non-band’s history to throw their fanbase off and live debut their 3rd new album in 5 years - I had a feeling the band was going to approach November 1, 2018 with an outsized portion of creativity and stress-free jamming. For the most part, I was correct.

Photo © Phish, by Jake Silco
Photo © Phish, by Jake Silco

The evening started with “Everything’s Right,” a song Trey is in love with calling and which receives a lot of BIG calls these days. While the lyrics can come off as trite and lacking a sincere understanding of the state of the world these days - “Everything’s Right, so just hold tight” just isn’t the message we need in 2018, unless you follow that up with: “So long as you vote…” - the song has boasted five incredible jams to this point, and with last night's show opening bliss jam the number is now six. Once they modulated out of the song’s blues strut, we entered that special territory where anything’s possible, and tonight was no different here.

AC/DC Bag” rocked with intention and confidence, and the ‘Wolfman’s Brother” that followed built off a base of laser-guided leads from Trey into a funky, propulsive, and proudly arena rock peak. A half hour into the show and we were all feeling great. It was a normal Phish show, the band sounded tight, and we’d already hit the 2009 - 2012 quota for jams in a run.

The set passed through standard contemplation next with a pretty version of “Nellie Kane” before “Funky Bitch” reminded us all that we were in fact at a rock show, and thus we were obligated to honor the blues, at least for a small time.

When “Chalk Dust Torture” kicked off it saw the set and show at a bit of a crossroads. Here was one of the band’s most reliable jam vehicles over the last six years. The jams alone I’ve seen in that time - 8/31/12, 8/21/15, 7/28/17 - have been among the best Phish jams played in recent memory. However, increasingly over the last two years, the band has tried at times to re-employ the song as a first set power-punch alone. While this version would conclude almost immediately, Trey decided before killing it that he had some unfinished business. Over the next ten minutes we were treated to a psychedelic onslaught of rhythmic manipulation and blissful full-band communication, as well as a “Third Stone from the Sun” Tease, before Trey signaled for a return to the “Chalk Dust” theme with precision. The tightness required the night before came in handy here during this closing section as one would’ve thought a very fun Type I version of “Chalk Dust” was concluding at rapid speed, when in fact they’d been playing it now long enough for two standard versions. Times were indeed good and the Fall 2018 mantra: Set I Jams! held true for another night.

A segment of chatty quips between Trey & Page led to the first “I Been Around” since the Baker’s Dozen before a particularly energized version of “Joy” and explosive “Walls of the Cave” closed out stanza one.

Photo © Phish, by Rene Huemer
Photo © Phish, by Rene Huemer

During set break I chatted with a number of fans in my section about the two standout jams of the set, and all agreed, the time spent writing and rehearsing the i rokk album had clearly left the band inspired, creatively energized, and happy with where they were in their career now 35 years deep. Following a Summer Tour that seemed to lack those three sentiments for at least parts it, this is really all one can ask of their favorite band as they continue to push forward in their career.

I thought “Blaze On” was an exceptional piece of song-calling from Trey. The big winner from Summer 2015, this reminded me of when “Fuego” opened 11/1/14 as a clear nod to the forever connection between Wingsuit and Chilling Thrilling. If someone had told you in Summer 2013 that Phish would essentially write five albums over the next five years you’d probably call them crazy, but so powerful has been their creative output. “Blaze On” earned its place as a tour highlight across twentry minutes and three distinct jams, ultimately peaking in a satisfying and life-affirming way. Not as big as the Hampton “Simple,” not as deep as the Chicago “No Men in No Men’s Land,” this was akin to the Hartford “Tweezer” from Fall 2013, as the jam you’d want to give you a hug during a time of need.

The other favorite son from Summer 2015, “No Men in No Men’s Land” followed and, what it lacked in length, it made up for in a space/funk jam that saw Chris Kuroda use the 200s behind the stages as a palette to do his work. The jam peaked with ferocity and we were looking good thirty minutes into the set. “Fuego” is always a tough call. On the one hand it can jam with the best of them, on the other hand, it has something like a .160 batting average. This version didn’t jam a la 7/28/18, but it also didn’t just rock out and close like so many versions. The final four minutes were legitimately fascinating as Trey allowed the last riff of the tune to drone on while playing psychedelic leads atop it before finding his way to “Twist.”

A mid-Set II “Twist” is about as '99/'00 a call as one could make, and this version produced some really thoughtful improvisation that sounded as though it would fall into “Piper” at any second. A demented and driving calypso jam emerged and Trey and Mike began singing atop in many the same ways as the 8/7/09 “Light” and 10/30/09 “Piper.” I legitimately believed we were all about to hear the first “Catapult” since 7/27/14, but found myself enjoying the music they were conducting on the spot all the same.

Prince Caspian” fell into a typical and well-placed “Caspian” spot, even if it did burn a bit of the good energy built over the previous 55 minutes. In the end, it too peaked with a fervor and energy that signaled the band was feeling it as much as you hope they are on a given show, before a surprise segue back into “Twist” making this the second sandwiched “Twist” in a row. Another head-scratching call “Bouncing Around the Room” followed, but as my show mate reminded me, if you were in this room right now, it was probably due, at least in a small part, to the “Bouncing Around the Room” on A Live One.

I figured “Slave to the Traffic Light” would close things out, but Trey thought “Harry Hood,” and his pick won. Good thing he called the shots here, as we were treated to a Type II version of “Hood” that reminded me greatly of the gems from Summer 2014 that blew minds on a nightly basis and made up for the fact that they often refused to jam any other songs that year. The first “Hood” I saw since 8/31/18, this offered far more traditional “Hood” feels, capping off the first show since Phish Face-planted Into Rock the night before. And speaking of Face-planting into Rock, Fish snuck a “We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains” quote into the “Hood” jam, proving that Kasvot Växt is already a part of Phish lore.

For anyone complaining about the quality of the songs debuted on Halloween 2018, Phish presents you with “Contact” for comparison. I found this to be a perfect encore call as it showcased the innocent zaniness of Phish from day one. Always the jokesters, always the pranksters, here they were, still playing in Arenas in their mid-late-50’s, still pulling one over on their audience because they can.

Photo © Phish, by Rene Huemer
Photo © Phish, by Rene Huemer

The night ended with one final message from Trey in “Rise/Come Together,” a song that seems best fit for the Set II segue from a big jam slot, but it worked here as a call for unity, love, positivity, and activism in times of great crises. Like the “Everything’s Right” that opened the show, the optimism here is important and necessary to push through, but the caveat is always: so long as you vote.

So ended the second night of Phish’s 2018 Vegas Halloween Run. When it ended we had a number of excellent jams - “Everything’s Right,” “Chalk Dust,” “Blaze On,” “NMINML” “Twist,” and “Hood” - as well as a better-than-average setlist construction with regards to flow. It was a B+ show from the band and one of their better efforts from the year. With two more nights to continue displaying the lessons of i rokk fans should be feeling quite good about where things sit for the band this year in Vegas. A high-quality Fall Tour preceded an expertly delivered Halloween set, and November 1, 2018 proved that these highs don’t end when the calendar switches to November. I know I’m excited to find out how they close out this great tour over the next two nights!

Brian Brinkman is the ambient enthused half of the Beyond the Pond Podcast, a proud member of the Osiris Podcast Network.

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Comments

, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures Oh keep thumbing me down ... You guys doing that should probably be fueling your CNN addiction instead of reading Phish reviews. OK, let me get this straight ... No one should be writing anything life-affirming or at all positive right now. Fun is pointless, and Trey should be chucking tear gas canisters at the police instead of writing new songs.
Better?
, comment by jsauce
jsauce I agree politics can and should have a place here. Music is life. This was also my 70th show. Congratulations!
, comment by bobcat_gin
bobcat_gin Really enjoyed your recap! Can't wait to listen to the jams called out. Huge thanks.

As to the 'political commentary' comment, open your eyes... "cause it's all too clear we are on our own."
, comment by dmg924
dmg924 Well, brah....fun is never pointless. But fun is more fun in a participating democracy. So go vote on 11/6 !
, comment by JesusFreak
JesusFreak When you say "so long as you vote," what you really mean is: So long as you vote Democrat. And when you say "unity, love, positivity," what you really mean is: Unity, love, and positivity towards all those who think like us and are democrats.

If you would just unplug yourself from the deceptive faux rage of the MSM for like 5 minutes, you might have your eyes opened to the fact that things aren't actually all that bad. In reality, things are kinda looking up. Everything's right, so just hold tight!
, comment by Matty1222
Matty1222 I always thought it was insensitive of them to play AC/DC bag in 2009 during the biggest stock market crash of our lifetime. Asking people to “put thier money where thier mouth is” knowing that most of America was jobless and didn’t have two nickels to rub together. The nerve!

Similar to most of you, I see Phish to escape politics, world events, and other terrible things that happen on a daily basis....so yes, when I am in attendance...”everything is right” and damn straight I’m “holding on tight” to this moment cause after it’s over, it’s back to reality.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Show was next level. B+? You can't grade this kind of magic man.
, comment by SmurfNugget
SmurfNugget As Wavy Gravy says “Taking a shit is a political act”. There is no “escape” from politics. No, I don’t go to Phish shows to talk about politics either but just like the audience impacts the band, we impact the world around us by our actions (or inactions). You don’t live in a bubble. Even in the MGM. Even on your couch.

Its called participating in life and voting is just another part of it. Encouraging people to participate (like Hood) feels good and YES, I would suggest voting against the party supported by the KKK, Alex Jones, and the Daily Stormer. But that (as it should be) is up to you.

Go Phish!
, comment by Col_Radicones_Ascent
Col_Radicones_Ascent Great review, lots of good points and perspective and some fun home work...now if you dont want a review that's real and includes opinions than go to Jambase...they have actually stepped up their game.
, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy @the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
20 paragraphs, 2,000 words and 10,000 characters in the show review with 99% focusing on you know, the show. Five fucking words on "political commentary". Give me a break. Go stir shit up somewhere else.
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES Great band playing great shows!!
Go Phish...

I suggest that everyone vote and vote their conscience.
If the majority of Americans truly stand with the democratic agenda, then the vote will go that way.
If not, I’m hoping the losing side can learn to accept defeat with dignity.
Personally, I’m Independent. I voted for Obama the first time around and ended up regretting that decision. He gave great speeches and that’s about it IMHO. I passed on voting the second time because I knew he would win and I was hoping for change. One thing is certain. The GOP and it’s base accepted defeat and remained civil for eight years and now it’s their turn. I think it’s time for the DNC to pump the brakes and reduce the rhetoric because it’s not working. Trump has ignited the flames by simply being the first president to ever challenge the media for its bias and Washingon for its deep state corruption on both sides of the aisle. Please vote and remain civil regardless of the outcome. Peace
, comment by suzydrano
suzydrano Thank god there’s someone who likes Phish writing the reviews again
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @TwiceBitten said:
Show was next level. B+? You can't grade this kind of magic man.
Seems pointless to put someone on blast for a B+ when a D- is currently a passing grade in public school.
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @SmurfNugget said:
and YES, I would suggest voting against the party supported by the KKK, Alex Jones, and the Daily Stormer. But that (as it should be) is up to you.

Go Phish!
To be fair, one could suggest voting against the party supported by Antifa, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, George Soros, and The NYT. But that (as it should be) is up to you.

There is no moral high ground! The DNC and GOP are both corrupt to the core and only in it for the money.

There is More! to us as a community of phans than being divided by politicians who truly don’t care about any of US! Peace! Love! Phish!
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @tmwsiy said:
@the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
20 paragraphs, 2,000 words and 10,000 characters in the show review with 99% focusing on you know, the show. Five fucking words on "political commentary". Give me a break. Go stir shit up somewhere else.
The political words in the review is what started the commentary. The one sided words that many “neutral or right leaning” individuals didn’t care to hear in a show review including @the_vultures and myself. What’s really offensive is your tone, anger, and lack of civility. That is the problem. One side thinks they can bully the other side into submission to get their way and it isn’t going to work.

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”

I have a suggestion @tmwsiy Consider checking out of the Bitterness Motel
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures @tmwsiy said:
@the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
20 paragraphs, 2,000 words and 10,000 characters in the show review with 99% focusing on you know, the show. Five fucking words on "political commentary". Give me a break. Go stir shit up somewhere else.
You can unwad your goddamn panties, junior. The review started with a comment that I didn’t think was necessary and I am allowed to post my take.
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures @FAHTAPES said:
@tmwsiy said:
@the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
20 paragraphs, 2,000 words and 10,000 characters in the show review with 99% focusing on you know, the show. Five fucking words on "political commentary". Give me a break. Go stir shit up somewhere else.
The political words in the review is what started the commentary. The one sided words that many “neutral or right leaning” individuals didn’t care to hear in a show review including @the_vultures and myself. What’s really offensive is your tone, anger, and lack of civility. That is the problem. One side thinks they can bully the other side into submission to get their way and it isn’t going to work.

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”

I have a suggestion @tmwsiy Consider checking out of the Bitterness Motel
Thank you... that’s how these idiots roll. They swear and holler and try to foreclose discussion with their faux moralism. And I’m a centrist, not a rightie.
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures @dmg924 said:
Well, brah....fun is never pointless. But fun is more fun in a participating democracy. So go vote on 11/6 !
Couldn’t agree more, well put. I wouldn’t have even commented had the reviewer just slipped in a plug for voting, instead of implying that Trey shouldn’t be writing such happy lyrics.
, comment by Happyone
Happyone @the_vultures said:
@dmg924 said:
Well, brah....fun is never pointless. But fun is more fun in a participating democracy. So go vote on 11/6 !
Couldn’t agree more, well put. I wouldn’t have even commented had the reviewer just slipped in a plug for voting, instead of implying that Trey shouldn’t be writing such happy lyrics.
All these phish.net reviews imploring that vote, so i did thank you.
Straight GOP ticket and it sure felt good, everything's right indeed!
, comment by infectedferret
infectedferret Well this is officially the worst comment thread on a show review in phish.net history. Great work, everyone! Reflective of the current climate, I suppose. Blaze on. Or maybe flame on.....
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Trey crushed that show so hard that it made me want to go throw rocks at cops.

Go vote so you can decide the level of stately decorum we employ while vaporizing people in countries that neither "side" of the "news" think are important enough to mention.
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @infectedferret said:
Well this is officially the worst comment thread on a show review in phish.net history. Great work, everyone! Reflective of the current climate, I suppose. Blaze on. Or maybe flame on.....
I personally think it would be wise to keep politics out of future Phish reviews. I respectfully disagree with your statement. The biased review is the issue here, not the commentary that followed.
, comment by bigflopmoptop
bigflopmoptop there are less snowflakes on those mountains in the mist than there are here.
, comment by Spudster
Spudster @the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
It's entirely necessary for people to point out how fucked up and wrong the current direction of our country is.
, comment by Spudster
Spudster " The GOP and it’s base accepted defeat and remained civil for eight years and now it’s their turn."

Sheer delusion. You're not even close to reality on this.

" I think it’s time for the DNC to pump the brakes and reduce the rhetoric because it’s not working."

Women under 35 have abandoned the GOP, as the GOP has abandoned all civic duty.

Sit up and take notice.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown All it takes to trigger the cockroaches is the word “vote,” apparently.

Unrelated aside: I live in CA but with all these Soros registrations I get to vote wherever I want. I voted for Beto 17 times this morning alone.
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @FAHTAPES said:
@infectedferret said:
Well this is officially the worst comment thread on a show review in phish.net history. Great work, everyone! Reflective of the current climate, I suppose. Blaze on. Or maybe flame on.....
I personally think it would be wise to keep politics out of future Phish reviews. I respectfully disagree with your statement. The biased review is the issue here, not the commentary that followed.
The actual recap had one sentence that referenced politics and really didn't even express a point of view. You've posted like six comments litigating it. I personally think it would be wise for you to stop posting in this thread. So stop. Or you may find you can't post anywhere.
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd @bigflopmoptop said:
there are less snowflakes on those mountains in the mist than there are here.
Yeah these trump people sure get triggered easily.
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @johnnyd said:
@bigflopmoptop said:
there are less snowflakes on those mountains in the mist than there are here.
Yeah these trump people sure get triggered easily.
I assumed that was what he was talking about.
, comment by Happyone
Happyone @Spudster said:
@the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
It's entirely necessary for people to point out how fucked up and wrong the current direction of our country is.
“Rise/Come Together,” a song that seems best fit for the Set II segue from a big jam slot, but it worked here as a call for unity, love, positivity, and activism in times of great crises."

Great crisis?? Unemployment rate at 3.7% (lowest since 1969) and 250K jobs added in October. Also wages continue to rise (up 3.1% in October the highest rate since 2009). The numbers are what they are, you can either ignore them or accept them. If this is booming economy is a "great crisis" I'll take more please!
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown @Happyone said:
@Spudster said:
@the_vultures said:
Well, that unnecessary political commentary sure didn't take long ... How was the show?
It's entirely necessary for people to point out how fucked up and wrong the current direction of our country is.
“Rise/Come Together,” a song that seems best fit for the Set II segue from a big jam slot, but it worked here as a call for unity, love, positivity, and activism in times of great crises."

Great crisis?? Unemployment rate at 3.7% (lowest since 1969) and 250K jobs added in October. Also wages continue to rise (up 3.1% in October the highest rate since 2009). The numbers are what they are, you can either ignore them or accept them. If this is booming economy is a "great crisis" I'll take more please!
One great argument for voting is the fact that this sputtering tit almost certainly will. ^
, comment by chipre
chipre Wow, this escalated quickly...

To me, it's not about liberals vs. conservatives. It's about right vs. wrong. And you know what? You can vote for whoever you want - or not at all - and I will still love you.

I see you not as a Democrat or Republican, rather as a human being created to be unique and do some great things.

Oh, and Phish is still pretty good too.
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures OK, so I regret my initial comment that sparked such a furor of downvoting and even someone indirectly suggesting that I might be a “cockroach”. I should not have made that wise ass “how was the show comment”, because the rest of the recap is actually well-done. I am not a Trump supporter, nor even what most would deem a conservative. I was annoyed by the suggestion that everyone needs to feel horrible and that song lyrics should reflect this. Please accept my apologies. Signed, the cockroach.
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures And apparently intelligent political discourse on here constitutes calling your opponent a “sputtering tit”. I assume that’s not a songbird. I stand by my apology, but some of you people don’t deserve one.
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @Spudster said:
" The GOP and it’s base accepted defeat and remained civil for eight years and now it’s their turn."

Sheer delusion. You're not even close to reality on this.

" I think it’s time for the DNC to pump the brakes and reduce the rhetoric because it’s not working."

Women under 35 have abandoned the GOP, as the GOP has abandoned all civic duty.

Sit up and take notice.
As a center - left leaning independent, I was trying to say that things like severed head props, black hooded antifa inciting violence, and those in power positions (maxine, deniro, etc) lashing are not helping the cause IMO. We need new ideas, not calls for blood in the streets. I personally hope it’s a clean sweep for the left so the calls for violence will end and folks can enjoy a peaceful meal in public again.

I doubt that every single female under 35 is voting DNC. Places like Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas sill exist...

Peace, Love, & Phish
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @lumpblockclod said:
@FAHTAPES said:
@infectedferret said:
Well this is officially the worst comment thread on a show review in phish.net history. Great work, everyone! Reflective of the current climate, I suppose. Blaze on. Or maybe flame on.....
I personally think it would be wise to keep politics out of future Phish reviews. I respectfully disagree with your statement. The biased review is the issue here, not the commentary that followed.
The actual recap had one sentence that referenced politics and really didn't even express a point of view. You've posted like six comments litigating it. I personally think it would be wise for you to stop posting in this thread. So stop. Or you may find you can't post anywhere.
Seriously ???
Are you kidding me...
I’m still upset that Bernie got shafted by the DNC machine!!
I feel that pretty much everything I have said was intended to shed light and reason. I guess I’ll wait for the hammer to fall on my account... lol
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures @FAHTAPES said:
@lumpblockclod said:
@FAHTAPES said:
@infectedferret said:
Well this is officially the worst comment thread on a show review in phish.net history. Great work, everyone! Reflective of the current climate, I suppose. Blaze on. Or maybe flame on.....
Right?? Trying to discern how ANYTHING you said is anywhere near ban-worthy. Wow.
I personally think it would be wise to keep politics out of future Phish reviews. I respectfully disagree with your statement. The biased review is the issue here, not the commentary that followed.
The actual recap had one sentence that referenced politics and really didn't even express a point of view. You've posted like six comments litigating it. I personally think it would be wise for you to stop posting in this thread. So stop. Or you may find you can't post anywhere.
Seriously ???
Are you kidding me...
I’m still upset that Bernie got shafted by the DNC machine!!
I feel that pretty much everything I have said was intended to shed light and reason. I guess I’ll wait for the hammer to fall on my account... lol
, comment by MexiCob
MexiCob Anyone who thinks the Haloween set is their "new album" in its entirety, has no clue as to how bad the band tricked them!
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