|Originally Performed By||Phish|
|Historian||Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)|
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are widely regarded as the explorers responsible for discovery of the Northwest Passage and the opening of the American west to settlement by non-indigenous people. However, it was actually an insatiable thirst for beaver that inspired the brave mountain men to join the Rocky Mountain Fur Company – Ashley’s Hundred – and map out the most comfortable route to the bountiful lands of the best coast. Although the more well endowed trappers – John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company and the Hudson Bay Company – eventually priced Ashley’s Hundred out of the fur trade, these notorious mountain men were widely sought as guides whenever there was a new trail to “Blaze On” through the uncharted wilderness.“Blaze On” – 8/22/15, Watkins Glen, NY. Video by LazyLightning55a.
Considering Bend, Oregon’s location in the heart of the Beaver state and proximity to Portland Trailblazer country, the Les Schwab Amphitheater was a fitting location for the pioneer “Blaze On” experience on 7/21/15. The new tune, infused with a lively “Man Smart (Woman Smarter)” cum “Liberty” vibe, was one of several new Anastasio / Marshall songs debuted in Bend that the duo had penned during a February 2015 songwriting trip to the outer banks of North Carolina. The placement of the song’s debut immediately after “Devotion to a Dream” provided the perfect counterpoint to Fuego’s morose ode to a failed relationship, artfully conveying the message that although we all screw up, there is no point wasting the one life you have dwelling on past mistakes.
The promise of a brighter future was evident all over the lively debut, a promise that was kept no sooner than the next performance, to open the second set at Shoreline on 7/24/15. This second chance effort surprisingly featured two jam segments, and set the exploratory tone for the monster “Twist” that followed. The next two performances captured the essence of their respective shows quite well. The Austin version was flat and dusty, but provided the necessary “oh fuck it!” resignation amidst the “Waiting” and “Wading” relationship angst sandwich. Atlanta’s “Blaze On,” by contrast was smoking hot and paired well with the more cerebral groove of “Halfway to the Moon” which followed. The ensuing Starlight, Alpine, and Merriweather versions are essentially LaserJet copies of Atlanta, with each clocking in at a little over eight minutes and all featuring tight incendiary jams that remain within the song structure.“Blaze On” – 9/4/15, Commerce City, CO. Video via Phish.
Our rugged band of Green Mountain Men chose their Magnaball expedition on 8/22/15 for an extended third set foray into the uncharted wilderness of the Finger Lakes jam space that lay between trailside meals of “Meatstick” and “Possum.” Inspired by the success of the previous mission, the Dick’s “Blaze On” saw Phish bravely ascend several massive hard rock strewn crags as they tracked through the Rocky Mountain front range into the manifest destiny of the tune’s continued territorial expansion.
Demonstrating the strong affection Phish has for their new material, they elected to sandwich “Auld Lang Syne” between “No Men in No Man’s Land” and “Blaze on” as we celebrated the arrival of another year during the 12/31/15 MSG festivities. Clocking in well over fifteen minutes, this one begins veering into uncharted territory somewhere around the halfway point. The jam is largely cerebral and melodic, exploring cool rivulets of crystal clear water cascading out of a deep blue sub-glacial ice cave, before resolving back into a brief reprise and unceremoniously dropping into “Carini.”“Auld Lang Syne” > “Blaze On” – 12/31/15, New York, NY. Video by LazyLightning55a.
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