Fish on Marimba Lumina.
 Lyrics changed to "Philadelphia station."
Skin It Back was played for the first time since August 22, 2012 (111 shows). The second Martian Monster of the set included part of the ending of Skin It Back. Bowie, Mule and Ghost contained Martian Monster quotes. Mike teased Mercury in Bowie. Mule also contained a Marimba Lumina solo from Fish. Rock and Roll's lyrics were changed to reference Philadelphia.
We, as fans, like to focus on the BIG and good things. That’s probably only natural and inherent to human nature or something. For example, we hear the Blossom Chalk Dust, say “wow!”, and treat it like an isolated incident. Then right after comes the Blossom Tweezer, we say “wow!” again, and treat it like another isolated incident. Then they bust out Lizards and we’re all “wow!” for a third time. And when that’s all wrapped up we take a look back and are all like “triple wowzers maaan!” and if the rest of the show doesn’t totally blow will call it a good (or even great) show. This is all well and good, and I’m totally on board because I was, and still am, saying “triple wowzers maaan!”, but I also think that looking at things in the micro can blind us from acknowledging the bigger picture.
Instead, I propose we look at things in the macro for a second. The nice thing about the macro is, once we’re viewing something from that vantage point, it strips isolated events of their inflated worth and redistributes* that worth amongst everything we forget about when we’re in the micro (i.e. everything that doesn’t make us say “triple wowzers maaan!”). The macro is why I can call Fall ’13 an amazing tour despite Rochester**. It’s also the reason I consider this a very good show.
Mann 1 might not have the “triple wowzers maaan!” set II that so many shows the past week and a half have had, but that’s ok. As far as I’m concerned if we get a full set on the level of quality that just the CDT > Tweezer > Lizards portion of Blossom exhibits, we’re coming out ahead. Sure that quality isn’t as potent in 80 minutes as it is in 40 minutes, but it’s there nonetheless, and you get a smoother ride taboot.
Most of my reasoning here is fueled by my love of last night’s second set setlist. There’s only one big jam, sure, but that doesn’t disqualify the patience that the band exuded throughout the rest of the set. In the micro, Fuego isn’t strong enough to hold this show up on it’s own. Rock and Roll and 46 Days would each have had to be 17 minutes as well to make people forget that the set ended with Numberline. As it is, many will probably remember the set ended with Numberline and forget that 46 Days > Taste is really damn good! Or that 2001 > Sand is crunchy. And that makes me sad.
I think the lacking of multiple big jams shouldn’t be discouraging. There can be so much to love in a 20 minute Rock and Roll’s place, and this show is a great example of that. Also, dat first set.
We'll take Set 2 first, because it isn't quite as on-paper interesting as Set 1, and because it's actually very akin to the Mann 2014 shows - big jam to start the set (Fuego, even - a Fuego that climbs to the heavens and offers some real bliss), some semi-jamming throughout (both R&R and 46 Days have some neat moments, the latter ending in an ambient space that Taste neatly works its way out of), and a real dance-party feel in the latter half (thanks to 2001 > Sand, both of which have some real grit to them). Given the wealth of riches August has provided so far, it seems churlish to complain about a second set that doesn't quite hit those heights; I mean, it's churlish to complain about that second set anyway, but I'm talking for the sake of argument here.
Set 1, on the other hand, is nigh unimpeachable, especially given how Set 1s have played throughout their history (not just in 3.0, remember). Any disappointment at the shortest Martian Monster to date dissipates when Skin It Back pops up, as not only is Skin It Back rare enough on its own, but when Martian Monster pokes its head back out, we get a Big Birch Cavern/Wilson type mashup that really adds some spice to the proceedings. Dog Faced Boy > Bowie is an inspired combo (Bowie, in particular, is jazzy and shape-shifting and is well worth its 11 1/2 minute runtime), Mule is spooky and weird (Fish has been practicing the Marimba Lumina, it seems, and Page's Martian Monster quote pre-Lumina segment is gold), and the climactic Ghost shows some exceptional fire (thanks both to great band playing and to Page's ghostly sound effects in the song proper). I'm not sure people would *love* it if this had been the second set, but it's definitely beyond what you'd expect for a first set - call it a Type 1.5 first set, maybe.
Final thoughts - this one will get lost in the shuffle when the highlights of 2015 are totted up, but don't skip the best of this show, and definitely don't skip a first set this enjoyable and spooky. Halloween's come early this year!
A comment about setlist construction stolen from an earlier review:
Hardcore, I mean *really* hardcore, phishheads focus on 93-95 as being a (if not THE) golden time in the band's history. I won't disagree, but it's not necessarily the era I personally associate with being the band's greatest (that being, for the record, 97-99). I think that has more to do with the fact that I saw more shows in that era, at a more impressionable age, than any attribute of the music itself. Comparing any era (especially those two) is an effort truly akin to apples and oranges, etc.
To the point: when you look at those 93-95 setlists, they aren't packed to the stuffing point with 20 minute ragers. Far from it. They *are* packed with 90 minutes of really tight playing and excellent song flow, even if there are very few true "->'s" to show for it. And there's nothing wrong with that. Far from it. IN FACT, when I think about it, I wonder how challenging it must be sometimes for the band to hit the stage for the second set acutely aware of the expectation that if there isn't at least one 20 minute rager or a truly epic "->" or some incredible bust-out, all the phans are going to say it was just an okay show and not as good as Sunday Alpine set 1 or Shoreline set 2 or anything from Atlanta. "Gosh," I imagine them saying to themselves, "isn't it more important that we go out there and play what what's in our hearts and have a good time? Can't we go out there and play two well constructed and well played sets and people will go home happy and content even if they didn't have to search for their faces afterwards?"
Yes, yes you can. And friends, that is what you get from this show: two well played sets of really good songs played to an appreciative crowd. And also a bustout. And also a couple of really decent segues.
Who knows who reads these things? I am a very critical phish fan and even I can't help thinking that this summer tour is special for the amount of creativity being displayed and, and this is the most important thing, fun being had. I'm really jealous of everyone who gets to hit more shows this tour. You may not have your face melted off, but if you look in the mirror, you may just find it smiling.
I was there last night in the pavilion and thought the show was great. Really great. The one song I really wanted to hear was Martian Monster and we ended up getting the Martian Monster set! The set had a bit of everything: funk, jam songs, breakouts, accapella. Tough to ask for more.
While most people will focus on the uniqueness of the first set, the second set was even better for me. The music flowed from the band so effortlessly. Trey's guitar was snappy and bouncing around the entire shed. Each song was played extremely well.
And while no 25 minute jams, what was there was perfectly paced. The Taste sounded like it was floating around an island and 2001 is always welcome. During the Sand jam and Trey used the mutron and hit a few notes right there from May 77 Cornell Dancin in the Streets (I pretty much know that jam by heart). Some people will question the Number Line choice, but Trey's solo really rocked. My buddy and I shouted out, "Best Backwards Down the Number Line ever!" at it's conclusion.
Number Line has had it's moments.. I kinda like it for what it is currently personally. SPAC 13 and SPAC 12 both faked me out into thinking Number Line was going to explode again.. SPAC 12 especially, but that was also the first show I heard after my daughter was born (pretty much right after the show ended on 7/6) so that Number Line is always going to be my personal favorite.
Of course, SPAC 09 is the Monster Line, running over 20 minutes long.
Bridgeview 09 and Festival 8s versions get pretty weird too, Blossom 2010 or Jones Beach 2010 is probably my favorite Type II out of it.
I don't know why, but I always wish that the Number Line grumpiness was more based in the fact that there are 7-8 type II versions of it and then they stopped doing it.. Seems like a much more reasonable thing to expect Number Line to go deep again than for them to turn the clock back 10-15 years and go deep with a Gumbo, Bag, or Tube, songs the band was really content playing without a type II jam for years before and after their weird period.
First set was really a fun set. Skin it Back -> Martian Monster -> Skin it Back was awesome and the David Bowie jam was a monster of its own. Was my first Mule with the Marimba Lumina, which was cool, and Ghost in the set closer role was interesting (with a nice Grind on top). Go back and listen to that Bowie.
Second set was pretty good...they took Fuego for a ride. Rock and Roll and 46 Days brought the energy up and Taste was performed well. 2001 -> Sand was the highlight for me, serious funk dance parties commenced.
The Phish snob in me wanted more exploratory jams and thought the song choices to close the set were a bit weak (Horse, Silent, Cavern, Backwards) but I still had a great time and tried to get the crowd around me into it....especially during Backwards.
I won't be able to attend tonight's show and I am bummed. If anyone has extras/wants to sell me a lawn please email me at email@example.com!
If you wish to consider looking at shows at the 'micro,' what remains totally clear (and this buoyed by the fact that the playing is so convincing) is the attention given to set list construction. The fun inherent (and implied) in a string of tunes like Monster, Axilla, Skin, Vultures really does evoke an earlier era.
As far as Set II is concerned, of course it's no Blossom. Aside from the Dust, Tweezer, Lizards, there was, in addition, a great Ghost and Hood. As mentioned, jams don't always have to go huge for a show to be great (or, more importantly, fun). Last night I got a sense of the band playing patiently and deliberately, working through a different version of playing. 46->Taste is awesome. It's cool to see Fuego given more attention. And The Horse and Silent are also welcome. Some of the coolest shows from earlier eras featured second sets with blistering renditions of tunes and odd, or different, set list constructions.
BDTNL is a fine song.
Two years ago at SPAC I thought it was going to get its ride; will it happen? Maybe so, maybe not.
Tonight will be my 34th show (more shows than Jesus!) butt this show was my first. While I had been a casual Phan in high school, by my mid-twenties I had a somewhat ironic obsession with Phish, webcasting their NYE runs as background visuals at parties and even giving live radio commentary/doing Phish karaoke on radio station WFMU.
Early 2015 I shacked up with a 3.0 Phollower (tonight will be his 80th) so my first show was actually an 8-show run (ending with Magnaball). My initial conceptions that Phish shows were about phanphare and phreak scenes were demolished when I realized Phish was just the best fucking live band, playing experimental music on the largest scale. I really enjoyed the first night of Philly and by the second night I was a full-on 3.0 noob.
Night 1 - just a party from start to finish. MM got the dance party started and it just kept rolling from there. Skin It Back had great early placement and the back and forth with Martian Monster had the crowd roaring in approval.
Also, did anyone, even if only for a split-second, think that Axilla II was gonna bust out after it opened Mann1 last year? No? Well, Axilla is never a song that I'll be unhappy to get.
Vultures and Dog Faced Boy came out of left field and was an awesome treat.
For as standard as Bowie has been in recent years, they really had something to say in this version. Very tight playing by the guys.
Mule quietly had an all-star year in 2014 and has really been a bright spot wherever played as of late. This one brought the goods with Page really going to town on this one. Fish showed us the tricks he's been learning on the Marimba Lumina; it's a shame it doesn't get incorporated into more songs as it's clear he loves showing off what the Marimba is capable of. Very space-y, psychedelic effects in this version.
More MM quotes throughout the set plus a sound-effect-laden composed section of Ghost was just a great way to keep the energy going all set long. And just want to take this time to laugh at the "phans" running off to restrooms/concessions as Ghost wound down; being treated to a surprise Grind was/is awesome and in that moment it felt like a demonstration of how much fun the guys were having.
Both nights of the Mann were jam-packed with noteworthy versions of songs that Fuego is almost forgotten despite how great it was. I've never been big on the lyrics, despite how much I enjoy the instrumentals. The Philly Phuego struck again, this time with a very warm, uplifting and celebratory jam in contrast with last year's (7/8) which was very pensive and almost jazz-like in the later portion. RnR was fun with Page providing the crowd with a little hometown flavor in Philadelphia Station. RnR seemed longer than what the official time shows. They fit a lot of music into the sub-10 minute rendition. Don't miss it. 46 Days>Taste was perfect. Nice to get a little flavor on the back-end of 46. 2001>Sand was great. trey has some fun during the 2001 jam, Mike gets down on it right away and gets the groove pumpin. Sand was reminiscent of the 1/3/15 version....pretty straightforward but kept the party going and the crowd dancing. Cavern good; BDTNL was just a victory lap. Julius encore was just awesome. Great way to end the night.
- Trey was very aggressive throughout the first set. He was attacking the songs and did not seem to "sit back" in any of the jams. His presence was felt in a great way.
- Lawn sound was out until halfway through part 1 of MM. The unison chants of "Turn It Up" we're met with rapturous cheering and an immediate transition from protesting to dance party (Crowd Control really ended up being the perfect opener then, right?).
- While CTSOTHH seems to be firmly entrenched in the arsenal at this point, the MM quotes throughout Set I and the Effect-laden intro to Ghost gave the feeling that Halloween came early this year.
- All in all, that N1 will be considered an average Summer 15 show speaks to the testament of the strength of this tour. Set II demonstrated that you don't need huge jams to make a great show but if you just let each song breathe a little, it can all still flow with the same effect.
- When you have a show like Mann N2, the prior shows in the same city seem to get forgotten (I'm looking at you 7/12/14). Mann N1 may very well get lost in this category but don't miss it.
13 year old brothers first show so it was a blast! that first set tops my all time first set for shows I attended. How fun was Page returning to Martian Monster throughout? The second set was nice with so familiar songs for my brother who isn't very deep into the Phish Catalog. Overall, a great collection of hits, spacey jams, and bust outs. SKIN IT BACK.
I won't add anything original, but I want to remark on the great energy and very fine playing that permeate this show. The first set is a killer, with a really cool Martian running gag, great Bowie and Mule, and yet another handful of uncommon songs (is this the Summer of Rarities?).
Set 2 is also excellent in a surrender-to-the-flow (as opposed to wait-for-the-big-jams) way, like 07/22 or 08/08. The 2001/Sand combo is super funk.
I thought this show was a fun listen. Sitting at my desk, I was only able to half pay attention, but certain parts were really distracting me from work. I really enjoyed the entire first set, especially the Martian Monster, Skin it Back piece. Great to see 2001 pop up in the second and the Sand had a really groovy section reminiscent of the Nassau Jam from 4/3/98. This summer has been a lot of fun to listen to, and it seems the boys are really listening to the fan's desires for bust-outs and varied setlists as of late.
Can't wait for Watkins.....maybe I'll finally get my Harpua....
A solid 4 star show in Phish's new era. I was dead center on the upper rim of the pav, and the sound was loud and great. The venue is spacious, clean, and really a beautiful place overall. The bands enthusiasm was definitely apparent from the get go, with trey putting a fliers jersey on stage in the interest of local support.
This tour especially, there has been a noticable tightness in the bands performance of compositions (new and old). This show was no different, every song played seemed to be draped in the same level of average-great quality of playing. That made it a really nice experience, no bumps or cringe moments whatsoever.
As other people have said, the first said is probably the more rousing of the two in hindsight. They played a few rarities that felt like treats, Martian monster was heavily funky and really ramped up the crowd early. Vultures was nice but didn't soar as cleanly or highly as some others. Bowie was my highlight of the set, with a really murky sounding composed section with crunchy trey, then an expert level but brief jam with great balanced interplay. But on the note of balanced jamming, that was my one slight gripe with their playing. Not exactly bothersome but something I noticed was happening tonight, during jams (specifically ghost, diego, rnr) the band minus trey would lock in to sick grooves, sort of in the style of the late ninties. Although trey would come on top with chords opposed to soloing, his guitar sounds deliberately louder and sharper than everyone else and he seemed to purposely be chopping up and breaking up a groove the band had just neatly set up. Obviously he doesn't always do this, maybe he just felt like playing songs and jamming in a particular way tonight. regardless it was something I felt compelled to include. Interestingly enough, the band went on to play a tight, groovy, downright sick 2001-> sand. maybe it was the rest of the bands call to groove out the second set?
This was a very fun show to attend, with clean playing, cool song choices, and a highly reccomended Bowie and if you have a few extra minutes, fuego through sand.
I was, of course, speaking of the present (and the fake outs - at least for me, and, seemingly, you). Feugo is a poor anology, but it's what I have. I thought that Feugo, due to it's structure, and the band's (inner) affinity for the tune, may become the next sort of BDTNL; and I love the classic album outro, evinced well at CMAC last year, and on one of the late nite shows directly before that. I'm certainly speaking the obvious when I think most of the grumpiness pertains to placement; but Trey's tone* is so spectacular, and his playing so great, that I simply dig it.
*Your reason is FAR better than mine. But SPAC '13.... Despite the history and the fact I was duped, I simply love the tone (I think people who like the tune favor the Bangor version) displayed that night through the present. It just marks a moment for me where something new begins again; even more so than that night's cool Carini.
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