Thursday 06/13/2019 by phishnet

ST. LOUIS2 RECAP: LET'S GO BLUES

[Would like to thank user @KipMat Matt Schrag for recapping St. Louis for the blog. Be advised that the opinions offered in a "recap" of a show (or in any post) on Phish.net's blog are not necessarily shared by any of the other many volunteers who work on the site. We would appreciate it if you correct anyone out there ignorant enough to suggest that the "recap" of a show on this site is in any way, shape, or form an "official" view of the show by Phish.net. There is no such thing, and no such thing has ever existed at any time at all whatsoever. Thank you. -Ed.]

I had initially volunteered to write just one show recap for the Blog, but was asked by Phish.net to provide recaps for both nights of the tour-opening St. Louis run. Several well-meaning folks read my recap of last night’s show, and felt that it was lacking, or simply not what they were expecting.

This site is one of several sources on the internet for day-after recaps of Phish shows. These recaps are traditionally linear in form, in that they provide a rundown of the setlist, start to finish, with commentary on each song. I do not prefer this style for two reasons: fluff, and formula. A recap doesn’t have to include an opinion on every single song. Even though sentiments like “I love 'Roggae' it’s one of my 50 favorite Phish songs!” or “I wish I could hear 'Bouncing Around The Room' at every show!” are pleasing and help spread good vibes, they don’t pique my interest. And because recaps are essentially newspaper-style journalism, the writing tends to fall back on tired conventions to fill space. "Song A featured X, then segued into song B which featured Y," or "Phish often does ______ during a show, and tonight was no exception." I acknowledge that there’s an audience for this kind of journalism; I just find it bland.

So let’s talk about last night’s show! @EvenCarlSagan disagrees with me, but I thought the first set was weak sauce up through “We Have Come To Outlive Our Brains.” Everything up until that point struck me as safe, by-the-numbers Phish, while a noticeable portion of the audience was out on the concourse watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the mounted flat-screen tv’s. Nothing from the stage seemed “off," but the music just wasn’t happening for me. The ice was broken by Trey’s acknowledgement of blowing the repeat of the chorus of “WACTOOB” by hamming it up and asking the audience to sing along. The band’s performance seemed to refocus after the flub, and the rest of the set was a distinct improvement to my ears. Of course, the news that the St. Louis Blues had won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history had spread during “Run Like An Antelope," and New Jersey Devils fan Chris Kuroda (pictured here in 1989) was gracious enough to shine bright blue and gold lights on the audience, using the Blues’ team colors to acknowledge the occasion.

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

There were more than a few fans at the show wearing blue t-shirts that read “Play Gloria” in support of the team, requesting that the band further acknowledge the championship by playing the team’s unofficial victory song, Laura Branagan’s “Gloria.” As I am old enough to remember when this Grammy Award-winning Italian Synth-pop song was a hit, I really didn’t think Phish would have the cojones to actually play it; I figured a tease of the tune would be enough.... which only goes to show that I’m a fool for underestimating the greatest band in the history of Earth. “Loving Cup” was also appropriate for celebrating the cup-winners, and few were displeased that they extended the jam to a respectable length for the erstwhile 2nd-song, 2nd-set placement of this popular encore cover tune.

By the time Trey brought the band back around to the closing chorus of “Loving Cup," Chaifetz Arena had lifted off the ground, and was flying and spinning with music and light and thousands of people having a great time, finally landing about 47 minutes later as the “Light” jam wound down. The venerable arena-rocking Phish classics “Suzy Greenberg” and “First Tube” allowed Chris Kuroda to dig deep into his bag of lighting tricks. A blow-up Stanley Cup was tossed onto the stage during the encore, and Trey hoisted it above his head, as he had just done with his Languedoc guitar, before tossing the inflatable replica back into the audience.

© 2019 Phish (Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Huemer)

I’m not a St. Louis resident or native or a St. Louis Blues fan, so I admit that I don’t have much to say about the meaningfulness of seeing Phish play in one’s hometown while one’s home team is winning a championship. I hope that others who do have something to say will provide their take in the comments section below, or on the Forum. It is truly uncanny how the band has managed to continually place themselves in sports history (and earn a little mainstream media coverage from atypical outlets) by playing right-place, right-time shows like last night, or by performing at stadiums hosting teams that subsequently ended long championship droughts; I would expect other long-suffering sports franchises would take notice!

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed myself over the last two days, meeting show neighbors and hanging out with good friends, and am inspired to return to the city to experience the history and culture and taste more of what St. Louis has to offer. Thanks for reading, and safe travels for everyone going to rage the Phish this weekend at Bonnaroo!

© 2019 Phish (Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Huemer)

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Comments

, comment by FultonSteve
FultonSteve I totally understand your logic as to how you approach writing your reviews, but you got some of the facts wrong...the uproar during antelope was the blues scoring a goal. The blues didn't win the stanley cup until well into setbreak. In fact, both teams scored a goal during setbreak. And the inflatable stanley cup was thrown on the stage during the madness of twist, not during the encore. If you want to write reviews different from the normal formula I'm all for it, but if your going to adopt the view as writing reviews as journalism, then you need to at least get the objective facts correct.
, comment by JRapp
JRapp how do you recap that show with no mention of the monster versions of Twist & Mr. Completely??

no more "recap"s from this guy please, he's bad at it.
, comment by aybesea
aybesea Aside from the novelty of Gloria, Loving Cup and the Blues, this show was all about Twist and Light. They really deserve a special call out. And honestly, for a pretty short version, Waves was super pretty as well. As far as Mr. Completely, I'm that guy who's been calling for it every show since I first caught it in 2003 (Utah). I absolutely LOVE this song... it is honestly one of my very favorites. But, IMHO, this version is no Utah... it's a bit on the pokey side and not all that jammy (which is really too bad and kind of hard to do). Not bad, but not orgasmic (like every version until this one). Oh well.

I appreciate the write up, and respect the stylistic direction, but this recap needs a bit more meat and a little less meta commentary.
, comment by EvenCarlSagan
EvenCarlSagan I'm nothing if not
"safe & by the numbers".
Billions & Billions of numbers.

Excellent job, Chomper!
Love it!!!

What an excellent couple of shows to rage at w/y'all!
, comment by ScratchMoore
ScratchMoore I gotta agree with the overall sentiment here.

I’m glad this reviewer has his opinions on write ups, and as such, I’m not gonna saybhis opinions are wrong.

I will, however, state that it’s fairly obvious that the typical write ups and reviews are what we are looking for. I’m unioressed with this stylistic choice, and while I thank the author for their service, I fully support the idea that we not read another of their reviews again.

Thank you.
, comment by unoclay
unoclay this is a very unusual recap format. I usually dont like recaps anyway, but this feels, i dunno, unfinished.

I dont think this reviewer is for me anyway, since first night, it said the Forrest song was a highlight. I cant have more of an 'opposite opinion'.

To each their own i guess. Maybe.
, comment by DKerwin3
DKerwin3 I appreciate the writing style of these reviews. Well written. I think both of these shows were very solid and hope that some of the type ii jamming we experienced during second set carries over throughout the rest of the tour. I know a lot of folks around me felt that the first set was "an easy one" but i felt it was really nice and while the song choices didn't make a lot of sense it seemed as though the band was having fun with it. The crowd had a great energy going for these shows even if half of them were watching a hockey game out in the concourse or checking their phones throughout the night. I have to say that I was bit upset with the fans though. We should be grateful to get to see Phish in whatever setting on whatever night and be grateful to hear what they want to play for us. I can't imagine what is going through their minds when they come back on for an encore and start to play and the entire crowd lets out a giant sigh. Whatever energy they had going it is on us as the fans to help them to keep that going and not take that away from them. Phish fans are the most supportive and the most critical fans on the planet. A true riddle wrapped in an enigma. Thank you Phish for two great nights of music and see you in July.
, comment by unoclay
unoclay "have to say that I was bit upset with the fans though. We should be grateful to get to see Phish in whatever setting on whatever night and be grateful to hear what they want to play for us. "

Thats simply not true. There is a difference between being a fan of something, and being mindlessly appreciative of anything the artist throws out. I say this as an enormous fan of phish. I'd lose respect for my fellow fans if we simply assume every song is good, or every show is good.

I wasnt at these shows, so i'm only commenting in general. But im glad to be surrounded by smart, opinionated fans who dont always agree like sheep. We'd be worse off, were that the case.
, comment by JMart
JMart A review of the show is different than a recap. If you want a recap, head on over to jambase.com, where the writing is truly AWFUL. It's just a recitation of the songs in order. A review is supposed to provide some analysis, some thoughtful reflection on the material. There was none of that here, either, unfortunately. Half the length is on the connection to the St. Louis Blues; almost nothing on the actual music.

Seeing Phish play at Bill Graham when the Giants won Game 7 of the world series was pretty special.
, comment by DKerwin3
DKerwin3 @unoclay said:
"have to say that I was bit upset with the fans though. We should be grateful to get to see Phish in whatever setting on whatever night and be grateful to hear what they want to play for us. "

Thats simply not true. There is a difference between being a fan of something, and being mindlessly appreciative of anything the artist throws out. I say this as an enormous fan of phish. I'd lose respect for my fellow fans if we simply assume every song is good, or every show is good.

I wasnt at these shows, so i'm only commenting in general. But im glad to be surrounded by smart, opinionated fans who dont always agree like sheep. We'd be worse off, were that the case.
I was in no saying that every song is good. I am a Phish fan and definitely fall into the category of the hard core critique and analysis but to let out an audible sigh that bordered on a boo for a song choice is just poor taste. Really is where I was coming from.
, comment by phishphan97
phishphan97 I stand by my initial thoughts on these writings. As has been stated, these "meta" reviews kinda take the air out of the energy of a show, the living vicariously thru anyone lucky enough to have been there last nite in a 10,000 seat room. I understand the thinking behind it, but agree there should be alot more along the lines of reporting on the actual show.
, comment by sidestreetstairway
sidestreetstairway Phish played Seattle 1995 the night of the day the Mariners beat the Angels in a one-game winner-goes to the playoffs game. Seattle was insane, their first time ever to the playoffs that would culminate with the Edgar Martinez single that scored Ken Griffey Jr and beat the unbeatable Yankees.

Phish played 2 of the lowest ranked shows on phish.net, a hushed secret of shame from the otherwise otherworldly Fall 95 tour.
, comment by rachelmolly
rachelmolly Great review, especially what you have to say about Phish's timing with playing during sports championships. But I disagree, I do believe you're qualified to comment on the coolness of seeing them play in a hometown when the team is about to win the Stanley Cup. Sure, a St. Louis native will have more fervor but you could still make an educated statement about how great that was.

Also, the accompanying photo of Page by his keyboard by Rene Heumer seems to be altered, as I saw its original version on other places on the Interwebs that had the spread of Page's sandwich making station. Someone should look into this, as I imagine that Rene will be pretty pissed to see that his photo has been changed.
, comment by CousinDeke73
CousinDeke73 I’m not a Blues fan - or St. Louis native - but I loved being there last night - there’s always great energy at a Phish show - but them winning the cup took it to a whole new level - the partying out in the streets afterward and just how happy the locals were made it a great night to be in attendance. Feel lucky to have made the trip.
, comment by sickboyrem
sickboyrem Well as a fan of both winners last night, I can’t describe how much fun that show was! We all kinda knew that opener was coming, but Loving Cup and the oh so subtle Tony Twist reference?!?! (look it up). Not to mention the antelope and Gloria teases through the rest of a 90 minute, Type II heavy set? Thank you phish! That will be a “you won’t believe where I was” night for at least 50 percent of that crowd. My only question is, what was plan B if the blues had lost?
, comment by trageikeman
trageikeman I enjoy this review style. I enjoy other review styles as well, but I like this one too.
, comment by puravidaphish
puravidaphish Zero mention of the best song of the run, twist. Embarrassingly bad review! You can’t talk about a show without mentioning the highlights! Were you even there?!?
, comment by Icculus
Icculus Hi folks, I simply wanted to say that the site relies on VOLUNTEERS to step forward and offer to recap/review a show for this site. We do not have ads on this site as you know; no one receives compensation of any kind. The site is funded by donations to Mbird.org (which is an all-volunteer-run 501(c)(3) founded in 1996 and incorporated in 1997 by Phish fans to grant money to music education programs).

You're entitled to a thoughtful opinion, of course, and we welcome "Comments" that offer their own takes, especially those that purport to correct a factual error, but please remember that a volunteer fan took the time to write the recap/review.

If you think you would be adept at recapping a show in the future for the site, PLEASE don't be shy about emailing charlie at phish dot net after a tour is announced, and you expect to be attending it, and offer to recap the show. Typically we do not have a recapper "booked" for every show on a tour until shortly before it begins, at the earliest. Our preference is always to try to have a different recapper for every show on a tour, and for recappers to have attended the show they're recapping (rather than basing their recap on the webcast). But we rely on volunteers, and this year, only one person volunteered to recap both St. Louis (and both Bonnaroo) shows. Also sometimes the only person who volunteers is someone who recaps the show based on the webcast, and this is just how it is; we rely on volunteers. And we welcome and appreciate them for bothering to volunteer at all.

charlie
, comment by Wombat_en_Fuego
Wombat_en_Fuego @JMart said:
A review of the show is different than a recap. If you want a recap, head on over to jambase.com, where the writing is truly AWFUL. It's just a recitation of the songs in order. A review is supposed to provide some analysis, some thoughtful reflection on the material. There was none of that here, either, unfortunately. Half the length is on the connection to the St. Louis Blues; almost nothing on the actual music.

Seeing Phish play at Bill Graham when the Giants won Game 7 of the world series was pretty special.
Interesting, considering the title included "Recap" in it. That being said, I totally agree it should be a review with the analysis you suggested. I always hope the writer can get me to envision being at the show and get a sense of the crowd. I know, it isn't about what I expect. But if we aren't focusing on the show itself, there is no point for a review or recap.
, comment by MH_84
MH_84 My favorite band.
My favorite sports team.
I just can’t express what this night meant to me, but I’ll try: Gloria!!! :D
, comment by A_Buddhist_Prodigy
A_Buddhist_Prodigy I do love how many people spend their time complaining about someone writing about music. Everyone experiences things different, even a Type II jam. Yet folks offer a critique of the critique. Kinda silly and funny. Blaze On!! Thanks @KipMat!
, comment by JMart
JMart @Icculus said:
Hi folks, I simply wanted to say that the site relies on VOLUNTEERS to step forward and offer to recap/review a show for this site. We do not have ads on this site as you know; no one receives compensation of any kind. The site is funded by donations to Mbird.org (which is an all-volunteer-run 501(c)(3) founded in 1996 and incorporated in 1997 by Phish fans to grant money to music education programs).

You're entitled to a thoughtful opinion, of course, and we welcome "Comments" that offer their own takes, especially those that purport to correct a factual error, but please remember that a volunteer fan took the time to write the recap/review.

If you think you would be adept at recapping a show in the future for the site, PLEASE don't be shy about emailing charlie at phish dot net after a tour is announced, and you expect to be attending it, and offer to recap the show. Typically we do not have a recapper "booked" for every show on a tour until shortly before it begins, at the earliest. Our preference is always to try to have a different recapper for every show on a tour, and for recappers to have attended the show they're recapping (rather than basing their recap on the webcast). But we rely on volunteers, and this year, only one person volunteered to recap both St. Louis (and both Bonnaroo) shows. Also sometimes the only person who volunteers is someone who recaps the show based on the webcast, and this is just how it is; we rely on volunteers. And we welcome and appreciate them for bothering to volunteer at all.

charlie
I second this and want to thank the reviewer for taking his time to write this, even if I wasn’t the hugest fan. I can say from experience writing a review is a small but real sacrifice of the show vibe. I salute @kipmat for his effort and encourage everyone to sign up and write a review. It’s an interesting experience and I consider it a privilege.
, comment by Pagegrrl34
Pagegrrl34 Weak review. Twist was such a highlight and this writer completely skipped it. Antelope was fire yet the review doesn’t state this. I like the “regular” reviews.
, comment by babble2thenag
babble2thenag two paragraphs and still talking about yourself...thank you for the link to the show review elsewhere
, comment by Coralyn
Coralyn Antelope was when the Blues scored their 3rd goal - Kuroda flashed blue & gold lights and the band teased Gloria and it brought up the energy on that Antelope so high. The Blues won during set break not during Antelope - how can you get that detail wrong? Did you miss the super full hallways as everyone was packed in front of the TVs watching the last few minutes of the game? Phish was paying attention, and that is one of the 1,000 things that makes them amazing. Coming back from set break and playing Gloria and then Loving Cup was for the fans from St. Louis who had decided to still come to the show even though their team was doing something it had never done before. Being in that room was amazing. The energy in the arena was amazing and Phish was playing off of that. So fun to be there. Twist may also have been a nod to the Blues since they had a very prominent player in the past named Tony Twist. Any review of this show needs to get these details correct - because Phish was doing the thing that makes them amazing - staying in tune with the audience and elevating themselves because of it.
, comment by Mikingbird
Mikingbird A lively effort, but I must say a lot of memorable music was glossed over or not mentioned at all. As mentioned above, the "Twist" was the greatest I have ever heard and it's a shame there was nothing about it, but what about that Loving Cup!? At least there was a footnote about the extended jam, but that was truly a historic Loving Cup - all Cups aside!

If I am not mistaken, the band has NEVER taken this classic cover into the abyss like they did in St. Louis. It was truly an iconic Loving Cup jam IMHO, filled with all kinds "twists" and turns and fuelled for sure by the Cup magic in St. Louis. An extra sentence would have been nice.

I'm not trying to hop on the bandwagon giving this fella a hard time. I also agree it is important to get a vibe of the whole experience, but there was definitely a bit too much about your night and not enough about the band's night.
, comment by Mikingbird
Mikingbird Thanks a lot. Now I feel all guilty about my giant sigh in my living room. Hope they didn't hear me.

@DKerwin3 said:
I appreciate the writing style of these reviews. Well written. I think both of these shows were very solid and hope that some of the type ii jamming we experienced during second set carries over throughout the rest of the tour. I know a lot of folks around me felt that the first set was "an easy one" but i felt it was really nice and while the song choices didn't make a lot of sense it seemed as though the band was having fun with it. The crowd had a great energy going for these shows even if half of them were watching a hockey game out in the concourse or checking their phones throughout the night. I have to say that I was bit upset with the fans though. We should be grateful to get to see Phish in whatever setting on whatever night and be grateful to hear what they want to play for us. I can't imagine what is going through their minds when they come back on for an encore and start to play and the entire crowd lets out a giant sigh. Whatever energy they had going it is on us as the fans to help them to keep that going and not take that away from them. Phish fans are the most supportive and the most critical fans on the planet. A true riddle wrapped in an enigma. Thank you Phish for two great nights of music and see you in July.
, comment by ALCVT
ALCVT This comment thread is littered with some of the ideas and mentalities that I find very distasteful about today’s “phans.” Coming on here to whine about how the VOLUNTEER recapper didn’t give enough accolades for a very standard Twist and a slightly extended Loving Cup (best ever?? You really need to listen to some more shows, kids). That’s great you liked it, but far from objective fact. Give the guy some credit for spending his precious time between shows trying describe his experience. He’s probably on the second draft before you took your first piss, which incidentally would likely describe the talent level of any piece of creative writing you took a shot at on your best day. Misrepresenting facts like when the stupid fake cup was onstage or when who scored hardly ranks as a capital literary offense. Possibly he was busy listening to the music per his unpaid “job” requirements?? Tired and embarrassed by all the snark that pops up here when the review isn’t what people want it to be. I’m no hockey fan and definitely not from Missouri, so the histrionics related to this show meant NOTHING to me; it’s just another average Phish show at the beginning of a tour that hasn’t hit full stride yet. Maybe the author of this non-helping or -friendly review felt similarly and instead of focusing on a setlist-based format that would’ve been, well, totally boring, wandered off into more abstract territory. Don’t shoot the messenger bird!
, comment by phish728
phish728 As someone who didnt get the chance to be at the show or watch the webcast, its nice to read reviews that make you feel that you were there - ones that delve into the musicality, the jamming styles / highlights, the flow throughout the set. Trust me, ive read many terribly boring reviews that just go through the setlist 1 by 1 and say literally nothing interesting about anything. So agree with the author there. Frankly, i liked the Authors idea from the onset, it got me excited to read the review, but what followed was poor execution - no meat and didn’t tell me anything about the show other than what everyone else already knew - Gloria, The Blues winning etc. I heard that people thought that they would spell Gloria throughout set 2, but then they threw a “twist” in there instead. Anyway, appreciative of all review writers and people that do this for the love, maybe this is just constructive criticism for next time! I welcome the author to develop further his stylistic preachings and try again. Go read some Mr Miner for inspiration! Best of all time
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