Saturday 09/05/2015 by ColForbin

DICK'S 1: CAN I BUY A VOWEL?

Night one of Dick’s. Home to some of the most storied shows of Phish 3.0, with all sorts of setlist shenanigans. The “S” show. “Fuck Your Face.” “Most Shows Spell Something.” The “Lushington” fakeout. What would tonight bring?

A short but sweet “Tube” opened the show, but the fun thing about first night Dick’s is that even when songs stay within the song’s usual confines, the mind starts racing in crossword puzzle mode: “What could they be spelling?” During Page’s initial clavinet solo, Trey and Mike turned to each other and stood close (as they have several times this summer, notably during the MagnaballTwist"), holding down the rhythm. “Ghost” followed, sending fans scrambling for their Scrabble dictionaries and coming up empty, “tg” not being found at the beginning nor “gt” at the end of many words. Trey's solo during “Ghost" was delicate and patient, and – simply because it wouldn’t be a summer 2015 recap without this statement – seemingly influenced by his time preparing for and playing at the Fare Thee Well shows.


Photo by Patrick Jordan © Phish From the Road

A deep dark slowdown finish to “Ghost” lead into the upbeat opening of “Halley’s Comet.” An allegro tempo and some fun duel-style interplay between Trey and Page started the “Halley’s" jam, which seemed to be going somewhere fast, but screeched to a halt when Trey played the opening riff to “Undermind.” A fun “Undermind,” but – unless they were spelling in Dothraki – it seemed unlikely that either “TGHU” or “UHGT” were at the beginning or end of any words. “Yarmouth Road” followed, and with a fun but relatively straightforward first set underway, “Bathtub Gin” brought hopes of a tentpole jam. One thing that has stood out about 2015 has been the ability of the band to instantly drop into a raging up-tempo jam, with very little noodling to find their way there. This “Gin” is a perfect example of this phenomenon – a very short build to a great raging peak.

After a short onstage discussion, the band decided on “Waiting All Night.” “Waiting” is a departure for Phish – one of several on Fuego that works better in the studio than live. “Horn” set up "The Wedge,” which was stretched out a bit, with a fairly exciting jam tacked on. “46 Days” had the feel of a set closer as soon as it started, got to a point where I thought they were raving up to end the set, and then took an amazing Trey-led turn into type-II territory. Bathed in intense black lights by Kuroda, Page drove the jam with some fantastic work on the organ as the band veered into a spacey place halfway between a "Harry Hood" jam and Pink Floyd’s “Dogs,” before segueing into “Run Like an Antelope.” Page stayed on the Hammond through the opening section of “Antelope,” which gave it an unusual Jimmy Smith feel. This “Antelope” jam was slow to build, with Page back on piano trading licks with Trey, but reached a typically wild set-closing peak with lights from Kuroda to match. During the final “Antelope” rave-up, Trey happily announced “We love Dick’s! We’re happy to be back!"


Photo © @stim_buck

On the webcast, a slideshow of summer tour photos was shown during setbreak, accompanied by music from Neu!’s self-titled debut album. Reflecting on the first set, it was (as they say) first setty, but there were highlights in the brief “Halley’s" jam, the "Bathtub Gin" and the "46 Days" -> “Antelope.” With the first letters from the first set songs spelling TGHUYBWHWFR, it seemed as if the word play from Dick’s in years past was left behind.

Wolfman’s Brother” came down on me to open the second set. While most 3.0 “Wolfman’s” have been good-to-great – often as a centerpiece jam of a first set – the truly extended jamming the song would sometimes see in 1.0 and 2.0 has been absent. I had high hopes that the prime jamming slot placement of this “Wolfman’s” would lead to such an excursion. This jam didn’t disappoint, even if it stayed within the ten-to-twelve minute confines of most 3.0 versions – Mike held down an incredibly strong bass line throughout that Trey used as a launching pad for some inspired improvisation. A very chill end to the jam with some great keyboard work by Page faded into the bouncy opening of “Blaze On.”

I was pretty down on “Blaze On” following its debut, mostly due to the stoner-pandering lyrics. But the great jams at Shoreline and especially Magnaball, along with the truly infectious happiness with which Trey sings the song has made me a believer. The Dick's “Blaze On” can proudly stand with those versions and cements its place as a great jam vehicle. A spacey Floyd-esque part of the jam instead ended up being a Trey-led transition into "Golden Age.” The composed section, however, was a bit tarnished, with some pretty harsh flubs. It’s fair to say that even in the beginning of the jam, Trey still did not seem to be feeling it. However, this allowed Page to take the lead, which he did with aplomb, leaning heavily on his electric piano. Trey was seemingly content to remain in a rhythm role for the middle portion of the jam, with mike using his meatball pedal to great acclaim from the crowd. Trey eventually regained his footing, and with some great drum fills and changes from Fishman, jumped back into the lead role, playing some anthemic riffs with some judicious use of his whammy pedal. A fantastic version.


Photo by Patrick Jordan © Phish From the Road

Having redeemed “Golden Age” from a rough composed section, the band started another fan favorite cover, “Roses Are Free.” Unfortunately, it also featured a problematic composed section, with no jam to speak of, just a dissonant rave-up that gave way to “Fuego.” Being a song they wrote, they found solid footing in the composed section, which allowed a climb into one of the more interesting “Fuego” jams, with some dark riffing by Trey that built to a climax. This lead to a tender refractory period, featuring Fishman doing some delicate work on the drums, Trey using delay pedals and a Page-led sideways slide into well-executed “Wading in the Velvet Sea.” Continuing the theme of songs starting with a Page piano riff, “Walls of the Cave” was up next, reprising the same set closing sequence from the second day of Magnaball. “Walls” was a rocking set closer, and I’m happy to see this tune enter heavier rotation as opposed to a typical "Character Zero” to end the set.

The smart money was on a standard “Loving Cup” or “Julius” encore, but instead the band returned to play “Hold Your Head Up” while Fishman and Trey – wearing a "LET FISH SUCK" T-shirt – switched places on stage. Fish, following a bit of banter about Syd Barrett, started to sing an inspired version of “Bike.” This was an outstanding version with a truly great and melodic vacuum solo. Another refrain of “HYHU” allowed Fishman to swing his vacuum hose, jump on the piano, bow excitedly, sprint around the stage and generally act like a madman. Trey and Fishman then made their way back to their own instruments, and proving that the smart money is always right, played a rollicking version of “Loving Cup” to close the show.

The absence of setlist wordplay antics may have led to a more standard song selection than previous Friday night Dick’s shows, but there was a lot to like here. Highlights of the second set were the “Wolfman’s” through “Golden Age” sequence, and “Bike," with an honorable mention to what was a very good “Fuego.” The jams were great examples of 2015 Phish, where the band can seemingly find a happy place quickly, with minimal navigation required. While not quite reaching the peaks of Magnaball, the band shrugged off the 11-night layoff. It’s getting to the point where Phish at Dick’s is one of the surest things in rock and roll music, and this portends great things for Saturday and Sunday night.


Photo © Mike Gordon

Phish Summer 2015 – Setlists & Recaps
07/21/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 1
07/22/15 SetlistRecap – Bend 2
07/24/15 SetlistRecap, Recap2 – Shoreline
07/25/15 SetlistRecap – LA Forum
07/28/15 SetlistRecap – Austin
07/29/15 SetlistRecap – Grand Prarie
07/31/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 1
08/01/15 SetlistRecap – Atlanta 2
08/02/15 SetlistRecap – Tuscaloosa
08/04/15 SetlistRecap – Nashville
08/05/15 SetlistRecap – Kansas City
08/07/15 SetlistRecap – Blossom
08/08/15 SetlistRecap – Alpine 1
08/09/15 SetlistRecap – Apline 2
08/11/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 1
08/12/15 SetlistRecap – Mann 2
08/14/15 SetlistRecap – Raleigh
08/15/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 1
08/16/15 SetlistRecap – Merriweather 2
08/21/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 1
08/22/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 2
08/23/15 SetlistRecap – Magnaball 3
09/04/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 1
09/05/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 2
09/06/15 SetlistRecap – Dick's 3


Commerce City, CO posters by Rich Kelly. 12x24, Edition of 850 each night.

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Comments

, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred GREAT review.... Tough analogy to make, but your analysis is akin to one 'aplomb' Page McConnell rescuing the Golden Age. Love how you all find the shine. And totally get / agree with your take on Blaze. (Plus my young kids love, and are capable, of singing the verse .... chorus .... verse. Nice -
, comment by TomAce
TomAce Trey once said something along the lines,"If I'm still playing these songs in 30 years, someone throw a tomato at me." Well, I've had a beanbag tomato for over two decades sitting with my aging stubs, and I'm more and more certain, it'll never need to be used. Watching Phish live since 1991, I've winessed a great college band transition themselves into master musicians. "4:20" started in the lots as a true "secret language", and turn into somewhat of a commercialized catastrophe. Phish however, has remained our secret. And although their at iconic levels in the history of music, we still have them pretty much to ourselves. It's amazing the things they continue to do that slides under the radar. They may be playing the same songs after 30 years, but they're in no way playing the "same songs." There's ups and downs with any band, or in anyone's life for that matter. Especially when considering decades of time. Right now, in 2015, I feel Phish is on an incredible "up." Still being as creative, awe inspiring now, as they were when I saw first saw them in providence, when we were all still just kids. Phish 1.0, 2.0, 3.0...? Sure great way to categorize for conversation. But I just say Phish. They can play what they want, when the want, and how they want. Because they've always done it right! They're not just on that stage for the gabillions of dollars they've rightfully earned, or to keep a ton of people employed. You can tell they want to be there, and so don't I.
, comment by kipconner
kipconner I keep haring and reading about Blaze On being a stoner song. I think not. The term Blaze On, especially in the context of the lyrics, is about pushing on in life. Come to terms and accept the mistakes in life and find a way to keep moving forward. For the hikers in the forum they've all followed those white markings on the rocks and trees known as "Blazes", they are navigation markers.

Seems like more of an anti-stoner song.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @kipconner said:
I keep haring and reading about Blaze On being a stoner song. I think not. The term Blaze On, especially in the context of the lyrics, is about pushing on in life. Come to terms and accept the mistakes in life and find a way to keep moving forward. For the hikers in the forum they've all followed those white markings on the rocks and trees known as "Blazes", they are navigation markers.

Seems like more of an anti-stoner song.
Of course.

But c'mon, you have to allow for the 'double entendre.'

We get that Trey likes Clif Bars and cool, green tea.

NICU gets half the 'ironic' applause as before.

ColForbin said 'stoner-pandering.' It's a cake and eating it too, kind of thing. Plus the base 'blazes' metaphor is kinda cheesy standing alone. As mentioned: There already is Faulty Plan / KDF and so on....
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @kipconner said:

Seems like more of an anti-stoner song.[/quote]

In the same way Martian Monster is an anti-extraterrestrial song....

Sorry / just messing around: This stuff amuses me.
, comment by kipconner
kipconner Not everything that Phish plays has to appeal to a drug use doctrine- something just are what they are. If this song had been penned and introduced 20 years ago, maybe. It's a different era of songwriting and as songwriters do- they write about what they know and what is current. Sounds like more a song of advice to someone who might be heading off to college.

We'll just agree to disagree.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @kipconner said:
Not everything that Phish plays has to appeal to a drug use doctrine- something just are what they are. If this song had been penned and introduced 20 years ago, maybe. It's a different era of songwriting and as songwriters do- they write about what they know and what is current. Sounds like more a song of advice to someone who might be heading off to college.

We'll just agree to disagree.
Sounds good @kipconner. You are probably more correct than I am, anyways. It must have been tough for Trey at first. I'm happy that he seems so at ease.
, comment by happyhappyohmytela
happyhappyohmytela For me, Blaze On is about "growing up." We acknowledge the different steps we have taken in life as important lessons without regret. We're not perfect and we will continue forging ahead, wearing cooler, nicer shades than the ones we once wore.

Unfortunately, I'm not at Dick's this year but I was happy to see the boys prop it up into the second slot position of set 2 and take it for a little ride. It was a good version and in its most significant set position since its debut.
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @kipconner said:
I keep haring and reading about Blaze On being a stoner song. I think not. The term Blaze On, especially in the context of the lyrics, is about pushing on in life. Come to terms and accept the mistakes in life and find a way to keep moving forward. For the hikers in the forum they've all followed those white markings on the rocks and trees known as "Blazes", they are navigation markers.

Seems like more of an anti-stoner song.
Yes, any slightly sophisticated analysis of Blaze On shows it to be more than just an exhortation to smoke up. I'd say it feels more like a song about Trey's recovery, looking back and looking forward at the same time. But clearly, Trey and Tom know enough about their fans to know that any song saying "Blaze On" to a bunch of people with a bowl (or fancy pen) in their pocket will be taken multiple ways.

Thanks for the comment!
, comment by dipped
dipped How about the decided "Drowned" tease in that Golden Age jam?
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @dipped said:
How about the decided "Drowned" tease in that Golden Age jam?
will you give the time @dipped? this late in the summer i'm in a phish matrix and the jam is awesome but the 'song' discombobulates....
, comment by dipped
dipped @raidcehlalred said:
@dipped said:
How about the decided "Drowned" tease in that Golden Age jam?
will you give the time @dipped? this late in the summer i'm in a phish matrix and the jam is awesome but the 'song' discombobulates....
12:45 in earnest I believe. Tell me I'm not crazy.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred if you're talking about trey's line i can totally hear it: nice! it's all slowed down and gooey - cool call.
, comment by dipped
dipped @raidcehlalred said:
if you're talking about trey's line i can totally hear it: nice! it's all slowed down and gooey - cool call.
It seems as if he picked up the hint from Page, but Page didn't pursue (catch on?). I really thought that was where they were going. When it didn't take, the whole thing seemed to dissolve. Phuck it - let's do Roses!
, comment by STTTL68
STTTL68 All I gotta say is TomAce nailed it with what he said. Not to bore anyone with my credentials but I wholeheartedly agree...they can do whatever they want and still strive to make it revalent and fun and still one of the greatest acts in rock-n-roll no questions IMO. It is a great time be a Phan...and I still get a chuckle when I think I just turned my nephew onto the band this summer and he says to me "I can't believe I never listened to these guys in college". And the band plays on!!
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Really excellent show from the Chairman of the Boards. He's dismantling the matrix with two fists in that Wedge jamlet, love his work in 46-> Antelope and he's just alll over the map in the Blaze On. Consumate glue guy show! Phish's Robert Horry.
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @nichobert said:
Really excellent show from the Chairman of the Boards. He's dismantling the matrix with two fists in that Wedge jamlet, love his work in 46-> Antelope and he's just alll over the map in the Blaze On. Consumate glue guy show! Phish's Robert Horry.
Definitely a great show by Page (and I might add Mike) loved is work in Golden Age as well. Bit of a down night for Trey at times but it happens, at other times he was rock solid.
, comment by FACTSAREUSELESS
FACTSAREUSELESS The Foam keeps getting thicker.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert It'd be cool if the band could play Roses without people needing to reference that it didn't have a jam.. It's had 3.5 jams ever and two were on Island Tour and at Big Cypress, not exactly repeatable moments.. Ya Mar, Number Line, Kill Devil Falls, Caspian, Undermind, Fee are a small handful of songs who have gone deep more often than Roses but strangely don't get tagged with that "And they didn't jam it" downgrade. No shade being thrown towards the reviewer here. It's just a trend. Found it interesting that the entire fanbase threw a bit of a shitfit when Halleys didn't keep jamming, but nobody hears Undermind go through the motions and gets mad that they didn't 8/31/12 it. Despite IMO, that Undermind *crushing* every jammed out Halley's except for the last few minutes of the Hampton one.

Poor Waiting All Night. It's strange that Phish is still undecided on the best place to put this song. It seems perfectly suited to being the landing strip after the first big set II jam, or an extra trippy choice for the breather slot ala Roggae & If I Could. Random first set versions are perplexing.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @FACTSAREUSELESS said:
The Foam keeps getting thicker.
no kidding; it was checked at, or right before MB? anyways, it's in my short 'list' of favorite songs. so and then there was one....

it'd be a welcome addition to any random first set -
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @nichobert said:
It'd be cool if the band could play Roses without people needing to reference that it didn't have a jam.. It's had 3.5 jams ever and two were on Island Tour and at Big Cypress, not exactly repeatable moments.. Ya Mar, Number Line, Kill Devil Falls, Caspian, Undermind, Fee are a small handful of songs who have gone deep more often than Roses but strangely don't get tagged with that "And they didn't jam it" downgrade. No shade being thrown towards the reviewer here. It's just a trend. Found it interesting that the entire fanbase threw a bit of a shitfit when Halleys didn't keep jamming, but nobody hears Undermind go through the motions and gets mad that they didn't 8/31/12 it. Despite IMO, that Undermind *crushing* every jammed out Halley's except for the last few minutes of the Hampton one.

Poor Waiting All Night. It's strange that Phish is still undecided on the best place to put this song. It seems perfectly suited to being the landing strip after the first big set II jam, or an extra trippy choice for the breather slot ala Roggae & If I Could. Random first set versions are perplexing.
i agree. what would be cool, though, is if they - especially trey - went a bit more raw. a bit more of the BBFCFM scuzz like the earlier versions. more notes and demented melodic variation. i'm with you that it doesn't need to be this 20 minute excursion. or even ten (Worcester 12). but it's so polished sounding as to be like an easier to execute bouncing or something.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @nichobert said:
It'd be cool if the band could play Roses without people needing to reference that it didn't have a jam.. It's had 3.5 jams ever and two were on Island Tour and at Big Cypress, not exactly repeatable moments.. Ya Mar, Number Line, Kill Devil Falls, Caspian, Undermind, Fee are a small handful of songs who have gone deep more often than Roses but strangely don't get tagged with that "And they didn't jam it" downgrade. No shade being thrown towards the reviewer here. It's just a trend. Found it interesting that the entire fanbase threw a bit of a shitfit when Halleys didn't keep jamming, but nobody hears Undermind go through the motions and gets mad that they didn't 8/31/12 it. Despite IMO, that Undermind *crushing* every jammed out Halley's except for the last few minutes of the Hampton one.

Poor Waiting All Night. It's strange that Phish is still undecided on the best place to put this song. It seems perfectly suited to being the landing strip after the first big set II jam, or an extra trippy choice for the breather slot ala Roggae & If I Could. Random first set versions are perplexing.
ok @nichobert i'd like your thoughts here. i think number line and undermind, while in NO way composed like fluff or foam (you'd have to look to scabbard for that) simply play great as is. they don't need the jam. yamar, when it gets a ride, is cool, but it's got such roots, and it's so punchy, that it think it, too, is fine.

but halley's, roses, kdf (or dust jr.), tube....

not only do 'jams' emerge from them naturally - as opposed to dust / the 'jam' segment is totally tacked on - they really add something to a set. especially if you get a set that contains a couple of these tunes. i'm not one who goes crazy, but i think it's reasonable to say this latter set can be a bit redundant....

whereas, musically, number line, undermind, caspian (that got the bad rep cause of placement) have enough going on to 'separate' themselves and remain interesting.

didn't you think that four or five minute tube the other night was rather perfunctory.... on the heels of dozens very similar versions. i think there was one more.

i'd toss gumbo into the mix, too. it doesn't have to go 20 mins, like some tack on to fee, but something extra, like we saw somewhere last year down south....

and again with fee.... it's got enough going on that it doesn't need the jam.

just thinking
, comment by steve_and_em
steve_and_em @nichobert said:
It'd be cool if the band could play Roses without people needing to reference that it didn't have a jam.. It's had 3.5 jams ever and two were on Island Tour and at Big Cypress, not exactly repeatable moments.. Ya Mar, Number Line, Kill Devil Falls, Caspian, Undermind, Fee are a small handful of songs who have gone deep more often than Roses but strangely don't get tagged with that "And they didn't jam it" downgrade. No shade being thrown towards the reviewer here. It's just a trend. Found it interesting that the entire fanbase threw a bit of a shitfit when Halleys didn't keep jamming, but nobody hears Undermind go through the motions and gets mad that they didn't 8/31/12 it. Despite IMO, that Undermind *crushing* every jammed out Halley's except for the last few minutes of the Hampton one.

Poor Waiting All Night. It's strange that Phish is still undecided on the best place to put this song. It seems perfectly suited to being the landing strip after the first big set II jam, or an extra trippy choice for the breather slot ala Roggae & If I Could. Random first set versions are perplexing.
I can think of a good place for Waiting All Night...on the shelf. To your point, every time they feel like playing it. Stop. and Play If I Could or Roggae or any other cooldown instead.

Maybe if they can't find a good place for it for long enough they will decide the best place is just on the shelf as it doesn't fit anywhere and there is never a time a song is going to drop into it and yield anything but disappointment that it didn't drop into something else.
, comment by zzyzx
zzyzx I liked the spelling rumor I heard on PT, that it was a backwards one that ended with UGHT (ought? Thought? etc) but during Undermind, they noticed that they flipped Ghost and Halley's so they punted.
, comment by raidcehlalred
raidcehlalred @zzyzx said:
I liked the spelling rumor I heard on PT, that it was a backwards one that ended with UGHT (ought? Thought? etc) but during Undermind, they noticed that they flipped Ghost and Halley's so they punted.
ha. if so, much, then, to be said for a pen and a piece of paper.... admittedly, my dad's got ten on trey, but his two left's are a glass or two of merlot.
, comment by nickdrum
nickdrum I dig waiting all night live. Reminds me of Pink Floyd. Very ambient and layered.
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin @zzyzx said:
I liked the spelling rumor I heard on PT, that it was a backwards one that ended with UGHT (ought? Thought? etc) but during Undermind, they noticed that they flipped Ghost and Halley's so they punted.
I think we know the answer to this one now!

, comment by Mr_Draned
Mr_Draned @kipconner said:
I keep haring and reading about Blaze On being a stoner song. I think not. The term Blaze On, especially in the context of the lyrics, is about pushing on in life. Come to terms and accept the mistakes in life and find a way to keep moving forward. For the hikers in the forum they've all followed those white markings on the rocks and trees known as "Blazes", they are navigation markers.

Seems like more of an anti-stoner song.
Thank you. I agree that it's about mistakes and moving forward, blazing on, in life. Especially for Trey and the battles he has fought to get where he is now, or for any of us who have fought battles of some sort.
Regardless though, it's a good song.
, comment by emturner25
emturner25 Sounds to me like there is a pretty clear Crosseyed and Painless tease at the beginning of Trey's solo in Tube.
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