Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
Soundcheck: Dog Log, new Trey ballad, Burn That Bridge, Liquid Time
· Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind tease in Piper
Average Song Gap: 12.24
Notes: Piper contained a Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme tease from Trey. This show was officially released as part of the Alpine Valley DVD.
Songs by Debut Year:
And on another, lighter note, I want to hand it to all of the younger generation of "granola kids" - you are all very friendly and a blast to be around, it reminds me of my heyday. Now that I am established, have kids, a wife, and some money - I can't wait to continue to give back.
I really enjoyed the weekend. Tweezer and Bag were two of my fav's and still are, so I was floored when hearing both to open this show.
I also what to reiterate with what someone else said earlier - I enjoy the new stuff and to boo songs like Joy and TTE, etc...remember what Trey says.."This is your song too!"
First, they're in their mid-40s (like myself). You mature. You're not living out of the back of the van playing shows doing endless bong hits and what not. I believe they are taking their music more serious now than ever before.
Second, Trey's sobriety. (And of course for him I'm hopeful on this.) His playing is more constructed now rather than straight-up psychedelic. Don't get me wrong - he went someplace magical in DWD on Saturday night. But the sweetness of Reba on Sat, the Divided Sky on Sunday, and Bowie were coming from a man at a new peace. The mind anchors your fingers, and if your mind goes to a new place so the fingers.
Finally, these guys own their genre, whatever that is. So boos when Joy arises, etc., frankly, I don't think they give a damn (like they ever have). We need to appreciate that the torch they've carried, bringing jam/improv music into the digital age (LivePhish), bringing total sensory experience to live modern performance with CK5, and the complete dedication to their entire repertoire means that anyone who is fortunate enough to continue to experience this group should be some of the most thankful on this crazy little planet of ours.
Tweezer: Solid opener. Nice tight version, with Mike nailing the bass. Nothing unusual here.
AC/DC Bag: Let's get this show on the road! Flawless version, really got the crowd going.
On Your Way Down: Nice rarity that hasn't been played much. Some would say a momentum killer, but it was great to hear nonetheless. Page is just awesome on the vocals.
The Divided Sky: Also flawless, shows they can play the intricately composed songs as good as ever.
Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan: Crowd seems to be getting into this song compared to others from Joy album. I like it, and it
Water in the Sky: Faster tempo version. I like the late 90s (Walnut Creek DVD) pace better, but at least they're doing new things.
The Moma Dance: Great energy! A couple missteps at the beginning, but otherwise
Farmhouse: Pretty standard, I liked finally hearing it live, but I'm not sure everyone else felt the same way.
David Bowie: Great way to close a set! Awesome outro, as usual. Tight in the composed sections, and nice jam in the middle.
Ghost: Slow, funky in the beginning, the way it should be! I think they used to speed this one up too much. Nice transition at the end into...
Theme From the Bottom: One of my favorites. CK5 had some pretty cool blue/green underwater effect lights on this one.
Big Black Furry Creature from Mars: Not a huge fan of this one, but still is awesome to hear live. The band is clearly having fun with this one, which is great to see. Cactus weirdness at its best.
You Enjoy Myself: A+ on the more structured parts of this song. They are just playing these flawlessly on these. Nothing too interesting with the jam at the beginning but it progressed into a rocker in short time. Mike and Fish were on top of it at the close, with Trey having a good time dancing around. Vocal jam to close it out, seque into:
Piper: Piper seems to be where they are most comfortable jamming lately. Great slower paced start, no hurry to speed it up. The jam turned ambient and then spacey for about five minutes. Seemed like they could be heading for a dead end, but with the lights and spacey feel, it would have just been a waste not to transition into:
Also Sprach Zarathustra: Crowd went nuts, stellar performance of this, with awesome lights by CK5.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps: Crowd didn't seem crazy about it, but I thought it was perfect here. Trey nailed this one, and actually hit the high vocals.
Character Zero: Unbelievable energy on this closer. Trey is in the zone and you can tell. Might have been a short set but every minute of it was quality.
Oh! Sweet Nuthin': One of my favorite covers, and you don't hear this one every day either. Same as On Your Way Down, Page delivers a soulful performance on the vocals. Nice twangy guitar from Trey on a nice summer night.
Cavern: Always lots of fun, and Trey remembered 99.9% of the lyrics! No small feat with this song. Thought they would get to Tweeprise, but Trey hits the opening notes to...
Joy: Unfortunately a lot of people booed when they started playing this. I'm really liking this song, and clearly it's special to Trey. I always like the solo at the end.
Tweezer Reprise: Can't beat the energy on this one. I thought for the encore they would just come out and play this one by itself, but the four song encore was a nice surprise.
If I ever heard anyone boo at this song I would Punch them in the eye.
Treys new guitar has a growl unlike his others
u could really hear it growling on bbfcfm - yem - mikes song - stealing time there were more cant member em all
I had AWESOME seats for the second show, center stage row JJ, great sight lines, right in front of the sound booth, so I could not have picked a better place. The folks around me were abuzz about the first night, one guy calling it the best show of the tour. I respectfully dissent. Night one was a good, solid show with bust outs and great playing (I'm listening to the DWD -->What's the Use right now) but night two was an overall better show. Either way, the folks at Alpine got a great weekend's worth of music.
What really made this show work for me was the almost playful aspect of the set selection. The band basically teased the crowd through the first set, and just brought the house down with the second set. The Tweezer opener was, pardon the pun, just the beginning. Starting out with such a potential blockbuster definitely got the crowd amped up, well at least me, but it never really took off. It was rather restrained, not like they were holding back, but more like they were just warming up. AC/DC Bag pushed the needle a little further along and for me it brought back memories of epic Bags that launched second sets, but again no take off, it was just a nice jam. The bluesy, southern-tinged On Your Way Down was a nice surprise. I doubt it will gain a spot in the heavy rotation, but a good Page feature and songs like that really show that Trey can do it all; hard rocking solos, improv craziness, and tight blues, good stuff all. Speaking of tight, well executed songs, The Divided Sky came next and as always its one of the few songs I literally enjoy watching more than anything. The skill involved in this song is just amazing. Having said that, I seem to see it at every show I attend so I could go a year or two without. While I enjoyed the balance of the set, especially the Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, it felt rather disjointed all things being equal. I'm not a big fan of Water in the Sky, basically I think that song should have been retired after the 1999 Big Cypress show, perhaps the only time I cheered that song. Moma Dance is a nice little funky number, but when the rest of the set isn't really funky, it's as out of place as Water in the Sky is at most shows. Following up Moma with Farmhouse only highlighted the fact that Moma was conspicuously out of place. The set ended like it began with a potential jam vehicle being relegated to a sharp David Bowie set closer. I usually find my way out to the bathroom during the closer, but not this time. I haven't seen a Bowie in a long time so I just had to stick around.
The little group around row JJ was going over what we had seen the past couple of nights and thinking back to setlists to other shows and consensus was that the jam of the set was going to be a Ghost. Like the first set, the supposed center piece started the set and we were correct, Ghost started up. It segued nicely into a Theme From the Bottom, but unlike night one's DWD -->What's the Use it wasn't a performance for the ages. The rest of the set, however, was. Starting with Big Black Furry Creature From Mars really until the encore of Oh! Sweet Nuthin' the set just went for broke. Trey was way out in front for all of it and I saw someone comment that playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a perfect fit for the night. Though they didn't genuinely segue from YEM to Piper to 2001, the songs did work really well together, even if at times it felt like the Piper was going to go off the rails. In what is becoming a more common experience, the encores contain three or four songs and night two at Alpine saw four songs as the encore. Joy was kind of an odd choice, really bringing the high energy down from the second set, especially when we all knew that the Tweezer Reprise was coming to ramp things up at the finish. Reprise of course was the finish, and it felt like the kick at the end of a race, a strong sprint to the finish of a very, very good show.
Overall, it was a great weekend of Phish, with some genuine highlights of the tour. I even got to see the folks at the Phellowship for the first time in a while, definitely an added bonus. I'm so glad that the Phellowship is still going strong and its core really seems to be young. Of course, that's part of the reason I don't stop by as much anymore. Being the really old dude at the set break meeting just reminds me of how long I've been doing this. Even so, a sober break in the middle of a show is always nice, even if I feel a little ancient and out of place.
Tweezer opener (albeit a short one) was a sign of how great this show was gonna be. My buddy that came down to these shows with me is a HUGE Little Feat fan and named his dog Lowell. I am a fan of them too and I just love On Your Way Down. I watched the YouTube version from Albany '09 a few days before this and I was not expecting to see this song and we flipped when they played it. It was funny as well because no one near us on the lawn seemed to know what it was and 2 people asked us what song it was. For me, anything they did after that was gonna be a bonus. And boy it was a bonus. Divided Sky was sweet and I really like the blues soaked Stealing Time. Bowie closer is always awesome to see.
Second set Ghost was off the hook even if it was only 11 minutes or so. Tons of energy. Theme is always great and I got my first BBFCFM in 23 shows. I never thought I would headbang at a Phish show but there's a first for everything. The YEM>Piper>2001 speaks for itself. They just nailed it and the fun these guys are having just permeates the whole crowd. When Mike laid that fat bass solo during YEM, Trey was grooving and dancing on stage as hard as everyone else in that place. Guitar Gently Weeps is a classic and a rousing Character Zero got everyone singing and dancing more than ever.
The encore was one of the more unique ones I have seen in 23 shows. From a nice mellow Oh Sweet Nuthin (which i admit I did not know at the time) to a nice rockin Cavern, then back to mellow with Joy and then rocking with Tweeprise, the song selection was pretty unique. I totally agree with Waxbanks and others on the booing thing. I did not hear any boos when they played Joy from where I was on the lawn but people need to respect that tune as it clearly has some insightful lyrics that really stir up some emotions.
The energy didnt die in set two. The only thing that killed set one was Water in the Sky...never been a fan of that tune. Really starting to dig, stealing time. I'm not stuck in 94, 97, or whatever. That had its place in time. This is phish 3.0. It may be different, but it's the same guys you love. Keep on loving and supporting what makes you happy. The best jam band, neh, the best band out there.
Trey(i think it was him?) teased back home line - in Moma Dance Gordon started singing the first verse early - best YEM I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them! Great solid performance from everybody including the lights
Check this sick little vid put together from all still pics from the Midwest run:
Didn't recognize anything after that until David Bowie which was a great high energy performance. BBFCFM was my first taste of how weird these guys could be, not the biggest fan of that song but it was pretty hilarious.The YEM was really far out and funky, another highlight for sure.Odd vocal jam.Very funny.Beautiful jamming moments in piper, 2001 had a great energy.While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a good cover of a gorgeous George Harrison Classic,I get the feeling as a guitarist that Trey really digs covering this song. My mom had the great idea of leaving in the middle of the encore,at the time oh! sweet nuthin' , to beat traffic flowing out of the venue, resulting in us missing Joy her favorite Phish song.
Great first show, if they play Alpine this year im definitely catching both nights, and I think this time ill be able to enjoy it much more.
Set Break, sitting on the lawn...
Set two! WOW. Ghost i sort of recognized and was rocked by it, I had no IDEA what was going on, then I recognized and loved the entire second set, had no idea they would play 2001 or WMGGW and loved both. what a great first show!