Thursday 06/20/2019 by phishnet

BLOSSOM RECAP: "TORTURE OF CHALK DUST"

[Recap of last night's show courtesy of user TwiceBitten, Nick Williams. Note that the opinions expressed by a recapper of a show on this blog are not necessarily shared by any volunteer who works on Phish.net, and there is no "official" Phish.net "take" of a show. We rely on volunteer fans like you to recap shows. -Ed.]

Blossom is perhaps the most beautiful traditional “shed” in the country. “The venue is located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and is administered by the Cleveland Orchestra’s non profit organization,” I told my wife as we exited the highway and made our way towards the T.A.Z. Driving through a beautiful river valley to see Phish is a far cry from your usual trek through suburban sprawl. We arrived at a back entrance to the venue only to find it blocked by a Police barricade. I got out to ask the cop directions and he informed me that I was in luck because he was about to “open this b*tch right up.” Score. We quickly found our way in and were waltzing through security before we knew it.

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

What’s this here? A small black metallic object wrapped in electrical tape laying on the path in front of me. Can’t quite tell what it is but it looks like something someone would want to pay attention to. I want to pick this up and put it in my pocket, so I do.

We found friends, stopped and chatted, psyched-up a few first timers, made our way to the Phellowship table for our stickers, candy and good vibes and finally down towards the concessions for a snack, maybe some coffee, before taking our seats. It was somewhere between the top of the lawn and the pavilion when I remember that thing in my pocket.

Peeling off the tape, finding a moving part, unscrewing the top and revealing a not insignificant quantity of white powder. Uh oh. Time to put a lid back on that for now. Heightened heart rate, sudden nervousness, uncertainty. Should I keep this a secret? Throw it away immediately? Give it to a friend? I figured the best course of action was to tell my very sensible travel partner. While she could offer me some guidance, the choice was mine and mine alone. Back in my pocket it went, unwilling to take any definitive action.

I’d like to say that I could focus on the music during the first set but I tell ya, this thing was burning just a bit of hole into my normally steadfast resolve to abstain from booze and powders 365/24/7. I bopped from the pavillion to the lawn to the water fountain without much direction or focus. “Back on the Train” sparked my interest because it was the theme of the best print I saw on lot. Perhaps another theme was working its way into my subconscious: “Everything is Hollow,” “About to Run,” “Divided,” “I Didn’t Know.” This band has a strange way of speaking to you in not so uncertain terms. The less said the better. Perhaps at this point I was just playing a game with myself, testing my will power. Whatever it was, I was finally becoming more focused on the show. I found the perfect rage zone (the concrete walkway at the front of the lawn), and I was able to let go, dancing to “Walls of the Cave.” Then it was set break.

© 2019 Brandy Davis
© 2019 Brandy Davis

Thankfully a short one at that. Pleasantly spent up on the lawn schmoozing, trying to forget about my untasted mystery powder. Am I really going to keep holding onto this thing? Sure, I tell myself, you can hide it in the trunk, you can bring it home, you can bust it out just when the time is right, you surely have this under control by now. Time to make our way back down to the concrete and let the dance take us away. We’re deep into the spinner circle by the time “Birds of a Feather” starts.

This here is where I might go on at length about the quality of improvisation contained in this version. Perhaps if I were to listen to this “Birds” a handful of times I could analyze the various sections harmonically, or come up with some expressive poetic language to conjure up its musical prowess and send the reader off into equivalent flights of fancy. Instead, I will just say that this is “must listen” music. As good as these guys are, it is only on certain occasions that their muse beckons them so, pushing and pulling the sound in ways that perhaps surprise even the artists themselves. We’d all like to think there are still some places and spaces left undiscovered.

Excellent drop into my new favorite Mike song, “Crazy Sometimes.” Just like last Halloween, this version gets a little jam, but is benefited even more by its close proximity to a major heater. I could see this one going big eventually. Hopefully I’m not the only one. “Miss You” has appeared in a few excellent shows (10/30/16, 7/23/17, 7/22/18 and the somewhat underrated 8/7/18) and it is as a well earned cooldown song that it finds its most comfortable set placement. At this point I again remembered the illicit cannister in my pocket, and I knew what I had to do. As a number of fans began to file to the bathroom, I made a beeline for the trash can and tossed that sh*t where it belongs.

{Hey man I woulda taken that}

Sorry buddy, not tonight, we’re putting this one out to pasture.

I’m back in the dance mania as “Everything’s Right” smoothly slides into “Chalk Dust Torture.” This jam is cut from the same cloth as the “Birds” and deposits us into “Slave” to end the set. “Split Open and Melt” was exactly the right call as there were still some mighty murky depths to mine, and the turned-on and receptive crowd was ready to go there. I love what they’ve been doing with “Melt” lately. This is experimental rock at its finest. It’s great that Trey is getting into King Gizz and the Liz Wiz, Khruangbin and Kikagaku Moyo, but I sure hope all these young psychedelic upstarts are taking notes from the boys from Vermont because it’s nights like tonight that remind us all that they are still the undisputed masters. I’d been hoping that “A Life Beyond the Dream” would enter the rotation and I think this could be a great slot for it, but perhaps they should play it just a tad faster. Everyones a critic, I know...

© 2019 Phish (Blossom soundcheck; Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Blossom soundcheck; Rene Huemer)

Can’t say there’s really an “in conclusion” for this one...

There were 20,000 stories in the Phish City tonight.

This has been one of them.

Feel free to tell us yours.

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Comments

, comment by farmhose
farmhose Dang I’d love this even if we weren’t married! Never miss an Ohio show.
, comment by bobo697
bobo697 Glad you were able to ditch the powder and stay strong.

Great show last night. Great energy from the crowd and band alike. Lot scene was very casual and friendly. Shakedown looked good. Weather held off for a perfectly mild summer night. Another unforgettable blossom show in the books. The music speaks for itself. :)
, comment by ekstewie1441
ekstewie1441 Every show review should read like a summertime mystery novel.
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 Well done, man.
, comment by Timpanogos
Timpanogos That BOAF!!!!! A sign of great things to come this tour!
, comment by jaredprox
jaredprox Damn — proud of you for resisting the pow. I'm not sure I could have. I read these recaps to get a better sense of the vibe (band/crowd), but enjoyed reading about your personal experience.

The Birds>Crazy Sometimes had THAT sound. Ohio got the goods...here's to more to come.
, comment by ShaughnessyPhishKid
ShaughnessyPhishKid Great review man! Everyone is dif, and you’re strong to resist the temptation! At 42, phish shows are still the safest place on the planet for me, the only place where I can loose my sh*t and feel totally safe! I would of railed that, on my own accord, and let the journey begin. Kinda feel like that is what was suppose to happen with that mystical geocache hahaha! Anyways, hope to see a lifeboy this tour
, comment by A_Buddhist_Prodigy
A_Buddhist_Prodigy That is one of the best review ever. I have really enjoyed all of the reviews thus far. Way to be strong!
, comment by Phunkopotamus
Phunkopotamus OSAAT, my phel.
, comment by miller_david
miller_david Phenomenal review!!! Excellent evening last night from start to finish.

10 things I loved about this show:

1) Great lot vibe (loved The Alchemist‘s Focal Banger) perfect weather when it has been raining constantly this season.

2) Early start and short setbreak. You don’t need more than 22 minutes to get your life together after set 1.

3) Soul Planet opener...great spot to get the party going.

4) Trey’s vocals and solo during About to Run. Ravishingly strong.

5) I actually liked Divided - for some reason it was not a set killer like it has been for me at other shows.

6) BOAF - another towering, mind-altering Blossom jam. Mike and Page receive a shared MVP here. 2015 delivered an awe inspiring Chalk>Tweezer and this Birds is the real deal.

7) Miss You - Let Trey Sing.

8) The lights on the woodshed during Slave. A magical tapestry.

9) 4th quarter Chalkdust - so much musical density squeezed into just 10 minutes.

10) SOAM encore

A speedy return to this epic summer venue!
, comment by Spudster
Spudster @miller_david said:
You don’t need more than 22 minutes to get your life together after set 1
You must not have seen the men’s bathroom line to the left of the stage. Feel bad for those who didn’t duck out during Walls or some such.
, comment by RunawayTangerman
RunawayTangerman Man, I was waiting for the package to be unleashed with you and our friends. No worries though, we all get a little crazy sometimes. Would’ve loved to have been there and sooo glad you all had a great evening with the band. Much love!
, comment by solestus
solestus Awesome review! What an amazing blend of show description with ambience and intense personal experience. We are all going to listen to the music, so reviews that set the scene and provide real insight on the energy and experience, revealing details we won’t hear on the recording, these are reviews worth reading and re-reading. So now I’m going back to the top of this page. Thanks for sharing!
, comment by spac_melt
spac_melt As a fellow fan in recovery, I just want to say how much I love and appreciate this review. That is one difficult situation you found yourself in - right in the middle of an epic show at that! You are a very brave soul, and I'm incredibly proud of you, man! Thank you for sharing, and keep fighting that good fight :)
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks Thanks and kudos to you, @twicebitten -- both for staying strong and for dropping some Hakim Bey. Stay solid.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten Wow, thanks for the nice comments everyone! I hope you all enjoyed this music as much as I did. That set two is the reason we all Phish. After a few playbacks I can say that the BOAF was probably more interesting and multifaceted than the last 3 JOTYs. 2019 is going to be legendary. Have fun this weekend and I’ll see y’all in Bangor and beyond...
, comment by tedp19
, comment by CreatureoftheNight
CreatureoftheNight @twicebitten
Great review. I had a similar experience on my first sober tour in 2015. Twice at the final Dicks show, my drug of choice made its way into my hands. The final time helping an extremely attractive female find it in her purse after the show and asking me if I wanted to party the night away with her. I still can’t believe I’ve made it this long without succumbing to the disease. I applaud your honesty and descriptive review, no matter what your decision and hope to meet you at the table this summer! Keep coming back!!
, comment by TnJedHead
TnJedHead I'm not sure this was a show review but I really enjoyed your prose. Great decision too.
, comment by jaredprox
jaredprox @waxbanks said:
Thanks and kudos to you, @twicebitten -- both for staying strong and for dropping some Hakim Bey. Stay solid.
I want more waxbanks reviews. Your shit was A+.
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