Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
Set 2: PYITEPunch You In the Eye > DwDDown with Disease > CaspianPrince Caspian > Farmhouse > Seven Below > ThemeTheme From the Bottom > HoodHarry Hood > STFTFPStealing Time From the Faulty Plan, CoilThe Squirming Coil
· Dixie tease in Harry Hood
Average Song Gap: 18.09
Notes: This show was webcast via LivePhish. Harry Hood included a Dixie tease by Trey. DWD and Caspian were unfinished.
Songs by Debut Year:
Now that that's out of the way, go and listen to this first set. Very well played. Vultures, HttM, Roggae and Sand all had nice pocket-groove jams with stellar dynamic variety. Meat was great to hear.
I thought the second set flowed extremely well. No insanely long jams, mild experimentation (q.v. Stealing Time), but overall a truly awesome set. Caspian and Farmhouse were both led into smoothly and Trey's solo on Farmhouse is without a doubt one of the most tasteful and soulful of the tour thus far. Coil was a bonus and WOTC rocked. Seven Below had some nice triplet-based themes and was by far my favorite jam of the show. I'll be relistening to this show in full fairly often.
The second set was up and down. PYITE opener was very much so up. Diseas was predictable, but I wasn't disappointed by that choice. However, I'll say something a bit controversial: 3.0 disease jams rarely do "it" for me. They just seem, for the most part, to be very nondescript and (dare I say) directionless. Most of the time what comes after it is what determines whether or not I really like it. For Example: Gorge Disease -> Undermind is awesome. I still don't particularly care about the disease jam itself, but I very much so care about the segue, setlist flow, and Undermind jam. I really like that segment of 7/27/13. An opposite example: last night. I was raging the Disease jam like everyone else, but I was really just waiting for what was coming next! Unfortunately, it was Caspian. Do I like Caspian? No. Do I like Farmhouse? Yes. Do I like Farmhouse when it follows Caspian in the first half of the second set? No. So that little segment was the low point for me, but the rest of the second set was solid.
I do agree with @chief_d that Trey simply couldnt play Seven Below, which is unfortunate because he has that nice guitar melody. That critique not withstanding, the jam was fun and progressed like this: Type-I build, brief plinko jam that gets a little nasty/funky, reprise of the Tahoe Tweezer "woo" jam*. I think Mike has had enough of the "woos" though, seeing as he semi-forced the Seven Below groove back. Theme was fine, Hood was good (personally, I don't remember any major Trey mishaps in the Hood jam), STFTFP is the most extended version I can think of, and Coil was nice as usual (yeah Page!). WOTC encore was sweet!
I wrote this review without a re-listen, so maybe take it with a grain of salt, but my initial impression is that I got a pretty good bang for my buck at this show. I'm excited for the next two nights!
*Also, you could see the "woos" in Reba coming from a mile away.
Back to the Disease....I fail to find it "short", "nondescript", or anything else dismissive. In fact, I thought it just may be the best Disease since last year. As a pure Disease jam, I was completely satisfied by it. As far as the segue in Caspian...if you've listened to this band for any length of time at all it should be clear that Caspian is a VERY good sign that Trey is feeling it.....no "Trey-nwreck" here folks. Just solid playing throughout.
This summer tour will go down as "How the West Was Won".
The second set started out nice, punch was fun, and the beginning of the disease jam I loved. Then Caspian was alright, but farmhouse would've been better if it hadn't been paired with Caspian. STFTFP was an unexpected blast, one of the best parts of set 2. Squirming coil and walls of the cave were both enjoyable.
Overall, good show, but the first set had me really excited for the second set which didn't deliver as strongly as I think most were hoping for.
Regardless, it was fun and enjoyable, I just don't think ill relisten to it a bunch.
Free kicked off an absolutely rockin’, jam-filled first set, though the vocals didn’t gel until the flawless Meat. Mike owned that shit, with an energy and drive that would propel the show and lock the band into a unity that would prove to last the entire evening. They just made it look and feel so easy. So tight it was loose. Meat suggests it; Bag fulfills it. The following night (Sat) NEVER (ok maybe during RnR) achieved such seamless inevitable unity. On 8/2/13 in San Francisco Phish channeled nothing but.
Confession: Vultures is just about my favorite tune. One day I found and played every single version! ←dork So my humble opinion here is both more informed and less objective than most: though I’d like an even dirtier Vultures, tonight’s was cavernous and gorgeously dramatic, with recockulous spirals. Boy, man listen to those four guys each and all!!
My 2 on the woos: god 7/31 was a special night. In 20 years, there’s really been nothing quite like it. Where do you go from there? I’m asking *us*. I will say the woo worked for Vultures and during the first passage of Reba, but yeah, started to feel tired or forced at times. What I did like was how the band was experimenting with it by Saturday night: they were PLAYING US! Play the Woo wherever it fits, like Mike’s meatball or Fish’s Toms. It takes a while to master any new instrument. It was our collective idea, but I don’t mind letting the better musicians take a stab at leading how we use it.
How powerfully, how gently does Roggae roll. The ideas were continuous and nearly inseparable. And hey, remember they played a fist night, first set Sand at BGCA last year too, and it worked just as well here cuz da place was on FI RE! Asses were shakin as Trey kept it bad ass and bluesy until Page suggests some staccato, which Trey follows, and then Mike like dominoes and before you know it Page gets gravelly for a syncopated launch that CK seizes to bring the crowd deeply, deeply into the groove. There’s a moment where they start tumbling so fast they stumble, and when Phish is on—and this is the thing—they make every stumble into the first step of the next sweet move. That’s how I wanna be!
Circus—great tune but this placement didn’t allow for its passionate melancholy.
Oh was Reba beautiful!!! At 7:50, (about 1:30 into the jam portion) things got deliciously sensuous. You could see the feeling great in the eyes of seven thousand sexy bouncing smiles.
This was one of those shows that was both propulsive and daring, all the way through. Even Caspian was pretty amazing, thanks to Page leading the charge on some rare edge. That quality segued perfectly into a *lovely* farmhouse that Mike anchored and Page caressed through Fishman’s flourishes. I think Fish is either the leader or the secret sauce. So in quick summary … Punch set the tone. Then Disease started so boiling hot that they needed to turn stove down to medium around the 6:30 mark and another notch at 8:00. But oh those last couple of minutes of urgent quiet exchange! Funny how things smoke at low heat.
Seven Below. Again what’s interesting—and just as important to me as Phish’s caring, daring, and effort—is not that Trey threw the whole band into the headlights by failing to find the intro melody, but that they recovered so beautifully. It’s how Trey, LET his team catch his fall and then seized the confidence of his own truth (I heard insistence and joy tempered with humility and a nice dose of cranky!) to move the conversation forward and actually lift those who had lifted him. Mike grabs the hint and won’t let go, inspiring Fishman to hop right on top of the stack. Dwelling on a screwup is myopic if you're a badass.
Theme was nothing short of glorious and Hood was the prettiest version I’ve heard. And possibly the prettiest jumping, popping, angry uplifting jazz-rocker ever in the history of planet earth. Stealing time is revelatory. A mind blowing edition with sly funk and other stylistic surprises that give it a new-found forcefulness.
The segues weren’t as mind-blowing but they worked, lasted the full set (to Coil), and were unobtrusive. And finally it was a treat to enjoy the well-executed Coil and the soft and open Cave, though Cave did suffer from flawed vocal harmonies (is Page the one having trouble finding notes?).
The band’s communication with one another and with the audience has never been so clear and direct. From set list construction to musical interplay, I have this sense of really hearing them right now, and without any loss of the magic because of it.
Set II was a roller-coaster of miscalculation, redemption and payoff. PYITE was well played, DWD was short and sweet but ultimately will be forgotten. Caspian and Farmhouse are two song I enjoy but feel were misplaced. One could almost feel the energy leaving the auditorium and that's not to say these were particularly poorly played, just the wrong placement in the set. Seven Below seemed to be an affirmation of the "lul" in the set and presented us with the most exploration of the night. Though the composed sections are rough, the improvisation is great. Theme and Hood were standard. I know it sounds unbelievable but check out Stealing Time, my favorite version personally and maybe the best jam of the night. Full of intensity (without being tense) and inspiration. Coil was great, sans the clapping and finally Walls was a great high energy closer.
Not the greatest Phish show I've attended but a solid effort with a lot to go home happy about. Definitely worth a listen and possibly a download as well. Thanks to all the SF Phans for the great times and hospitality! See you at Dick's!!
The bottom line, though, is that this show was mostly a Trey-nwreck. He was making "unforced errors" all night ... vocals sounded awful, he had some obvious equipment issues (tone in PYITE? Was it just the mix on the stream or did he really sound that bad?), and he appeared to be either fatigued or ... ? I mean he had trouble holding a single note at times. He *really* stumbled bad in the Vultures jam, the beginning of Seven Below, Harry Hood ... what was going on? To their credit, the rest of the band sounded damn good and did a great job holding it down beneath a struggling Trey. I'm pretty sure I saw Page and Mike chuckling at times at how "loose" he was ... Enjoyed the show as I always do, but man this one was streaky ...
Bounce-back on Saturday? Maybe they should just play Tweezer again, that seemed to work