Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
Soundcheck: Funky Bitch [Unconfirmed and Possibly Incomplete]
 Tony Markellis on bass and Mike on a second guitar.
 "Mike-O Esquandolas" lyric; bass solo.
 Improvised verses by Trey that led to solos by Mike, then Fish, then Page.
 Intro contained phrases from the previous Makisupa.
 Page on keytar.
Noteworthy Jams: Drowned
Average Song Gap: 10.43
Notes: In what is becoming a Father's Day tradition (see 6/21/09), the show-opening Brother featured the band members' children jumping into a bathtub on stage, followed by Trey introducing each of them and wishing everyone a Happy Father's Day. Gotta Jibboo featured Tony Markellis on bass and Mike on a second guitar. In Antelope, "Marco Esquandolas" was changed to "Mike-O Esquandolas," followed by a Mike solo. The end of Wilson contained a Dixie tease from Trey. In place of a traditional Makisupa keyword, Trey improvised verses that set up solos for Mike, then Fish, then Page. The subsequent Piper intro included repeated phrases from the Makisupa ("Policeman," "House," and "Listen to Mike"). Trey quoted Whole Lotta Love in the vocal jam of YEM. Page performed Frankenstein on keytar.
Songs by Debut Year:
There were many "outer limits" jams throughout the night, Piper was dark and scary, 2001 was an assault on the ears as were Antelope and YEM's peaks. The standout song for me, and the one I've been listening on an almost constant loop is Trey's "Sleep Again". I'd never heard it live before and it just feels so good, it was clearly written to be played with Phish. The main lick is so damn catchy I was humming it the whole ride home and have been trying to pick it up on my guitar since.
A Frankenstein encore with Page on keytar, awesome!
The bottom line is is that this is a great show and worth picking up and listening to from beginning to end, the flow from song to song is perfect. My only complaint is that it was a Sunday show and I had to work at 8 the next day, so that makes it a 4.99 out of 5 in my opinion.
** Little know fact, Page's keytar was bought from the James Brown estate "The More you know"**
Really enjoyed the 1st set... Lots of “Songs” vs. Epic offerings.... That didn't stop the Antelope from running way out of control… Finna R.U.N.N.O.F.T.
Set 2 was an Ever Expanding Bubble of Goodness… Almost a “Burble”
Trey “Dixie” quote at the end of Wilson (Seemed out of place ?)
Type II Jamming during Drowned
Makisupa = No Key Word... Trey improvised lyrics giving Mike, Page, & Fish solo opportunities.
Piper intro laced with random makisupa phrases - House, SPAC, Mke, Policeman etc...
Piper was BIG & Scary !
Set 1 was a great warm up, Antelope REALLY set the pace for the remainder of the night, though. Great juxtaposition of Carini > Mango, a mid set Wilson that set the stage for an assault of Drowned...then, what, Swept Away? Had you told me one of the highlights of the night would be this song, I'm not sure I would have bought it, but what an amazingly tight, engaged and poignant piece. I was entranced throughout. Then the band just let loose with raging Piper, 2001, sick YEM w/ what I would call a duet by Trey and Mike, no real leader during that "solo." Frankenstein was a perfect finale as the band effortlessly nailed the composition.
This is just one of those shows where the energy of the band and audience just wouldn't quit. Being smack behind the soundboard didn't hurt, either, as the neighbors around my wife and I were all feelin' it!
This band is on fire!
I couldn’t really ask for a stronger first set. I know for one that there are a lot more dads in the audience than there were in the late nineties--because I'm one of them--and there was something really kind of poignant and fitting about the Brother opener with all the kids on-stage. I know they did it last year, but the energy and good vibes in the place from the opener onwards really just set the tone for what I thought was an incredibly strong and fun opening segment, with nary a groaner in sight. Didn’t hear a single person call a Cities all weekend, or a Roggae for that matter, and Back on the Train, Jiboo, Antelope all smoked with high energy, focused playing, great tension and release without any aimless noodling.
Would I have liked that Carini to keep going for 20 minutes? Sure, but it certainly sounded *smoking* for however many minutes it was going for. (Fish and Mike just slayed this thing). But I’m not one to complain about a Mango Song. Or a tightly woven Makisupa->(Policeman)Piper->2001>YEM, for that matter. Go and listen to the first of Trey’s two “note” peaks from YEM, the one before he just holds it, where he plays a quick little solo/riff. That was perfect on this night; heartfelt, tight, soaring and unique, and the reason it’s still worth going to see them, even if they’re not doing the whole Seven Below->Ghost->Twist, YEM thing anymore.
Time to go back and listen to the rest of that show!
Review of Set I (Review of Set II to follow)
-Brother: great opener, well played, cool to hear trey introduce phish kids at the songs end.
-AC/DC bag: standard but good
-Back on the train: excellent version, Trey reaches a great peak towards the last minute and half of the song. Good stuff
-Undermind: Awesome choice and continues some of the energy Trey was reaching towards the end of BOTT. Really rocked it out.
-Cities: nothing really stands out here. well played, small funk outro, but standard
-Gotta Jibboo: Trey tells a quick story to introduce Tony. The jam starts with a delay loop that quickly fades, and things begin slow and mellow. At this point, the band kind of melts together Things really pick up around 7:30 and then trey cools it around 9:30 with these cool extended whole notes right before going into the song ending. Great segment and good way to end the jam. Nice version, but as many times as I've listened to this, I can't really hear Mike on the second guitar...
-Roggae: Great way to continue the mellow vibe of Jibboo, and Mike really stands out in the beginning of jam with several bass runs. Fishman also throws in a lot of drum rolls and keeps things interesting. The whole band reaches a collective peak around 7:45. Solid version.
-Sleep Again: Never heard this song before, its not bad. The jam starts around 4:00. Very beautiful and Page stands out here. He plays some pretty melodies on his piano while Trey plays long heavenly notes in between a repeated riff that is sort of a focal point throughout the song. I really enjoyed this, mostly because it was unique to me but also because the ending jam is very pretty.
-Lawn boy: Always a fun song, and Mike sounds great. Standard.
-Run Like an Antelope: Mike stands out in the 'prancing' section of the song, then Trey and mike really rage during the rock jam (especially around 6:30, when trey really packs the heat). The build up to the funk section with the lyrics is pretty intense and once the funk begins Mikes bass is booming. Not a best of, but still great fun and awesome!
Overall: From brother through cities, things were pretty rocking, with BOTT and Undermind being highlights here. Things mellow out between Jibbo through lawn boy, with highlights being Jibboo and the sleep again jam. Antelope closer brought back the rock and ended the set on a high note. Review of set II coming shortly...
Review of Set II (Set I Review posted above)
-Carini: Dark start to the set and as per usual, very psychedelic jam. Mike's bass sounds very strong in the jam, and trey adds plenty of wailing and piercing notes, adding some nice effects throughout. Cool jam, but pretty standard. Around 8:00 minutes, the jam dies down and leaving a kind of humming ambiance which nicely gives way to...
-Mango Song: This was a decent transition. The floating and mellow lyrics of this song deliver us from the darkness of carini. Well played, and the typical instrumental section that ends the song (last 1:30 of the song) is very nice... Page and Trey played off each other quite well here.
-Wilson: Good move to get the energy back up, and rocks as per usual. Nails the standard format, and at the songs end you hear the Dixie tease from Trey.
-Drowned: Great choice after the high energy of Wilson! The song starts out very rocking, lots of energy. At about 4:10, the jam begins and it absolutely rages! Trey's intensity is insane from the outset and doesn't really let up until "saratoga jam #2" starts up. At this point, the jam turns into sort of a surreal funk/rock jam. Mike and Fish keep a steady pulsing rhythm to the jam while Page and Trey overlay all kinds of funky and trippy notes with wah-sounding effects and at one point Trey starts looping some notes. Around 4:00 into "Saratoga Jam" the jam dissolves with Fishman playing a minimalist beat and the rest of the band adding an ambient mess of vibration. This quickly gives way to...
-Swept Away>Steep: Wonderful transition from previous song, and nice rarity. Both are well played and make the ambient beauty of the previous jam more meaningful. Excellent placement for these songs. The instrumental section of Steep is pure bliss.
-Makisupa Policeman: Another good song placement. The blissful sounds of Steep give way to the happy, bouncy reggae of Makisupa. Lots of goofy phish humor. Trey's improvised lyrics bring smiles and allow each of the other band members to have a short solo. Fun stuff!
-Piper:A lot of the Makisupa goofiness carries over into the intro of Piper. After several Makisupa quotes from the band, the piper lyrics begin. Around 2:10, the jam starts in its full effect. The energy builds and builds until about 5:45 where Trey really starts wailing. At 7:00 Trey starts alternates between two chords repeatedly for a cool effect and then trails off into spacey wailing notes. Mike and fishman begin to dwindle the beat down into ambient noise which transitions very nicely into...
-2001: A very brief dip into funk, this 2001 was fun and continued the energy of piper, but didn't have any true stand out moments to speak of
-YEM: It sounds like Page jumped the gun slightly on this one, but the band quickly gets back on pace with each other. After the ambient section, Page comes into the music very strong, Mike takes a short bass solo and in general the whole section leading up to "Boy" is very well played. Once they are in the funk section of the song, the beginning is dominated by Fishman and Page (Trey and Mike must be on the trampolines?). Once Trey and Mike come back in, the jam follows its typical funk form. Mike has some intense moments here. Vocal jam not much to speak of. The whole lotta love tease is very brief and almost not worth mentioning
-Frankenstein: Good way to close out a two night stand. Hard psychedelic rock.
Overall: The big highlight from this set has got to be Drowned through Makisupa Policeman. The Drowned jam was high energy, the band kind of all melted together nicely, and the ambiance it died down into setup the Swept Away>Steep very nicely. Makisupa was just fun!