Monday 07/24/2017 by jwelsh8

SOME PEOPLE LIKE TO GO OUT DANCING (OR, IT'S JUST A RESTLESS FEELING): BAKER'S DOZEN NIGHT 3

Spice company Adams Extract is thought to have spread the red velvet cake throughout the US during the Great Depression by including it on recipe cards as a means to sell red food coloring; the cake was appropriated by the Waldorf-Astoria as the Waldorf-Astoria Cake; additionally, the cake may have seen a resurgence in the late 80s after being featured as an armadillo in the movie Steel Magnolias. (Thanks, Wiki.)

No matter its history as a food, fans began the guessing process following the announcement of Red Velvet as the flavor of the third evening of the Baker’s Dozen. Guesses of Velvet Underground bust-outs to a cover of Velvet Revolver to the obligatory "Wading In the Velvet Sea" glazed over screens throughout the day. But I tried to keep an expectation-free head as I made my way into the Garden (alas, too late for doughnuts but not too late to settle-in a few people back, Mike-side). Having followed the first two evenings — or, shall we say, Coconut and Strawberry — via Twitter, stream, and shitty chat rooms, I was quite ready to get my sweet on in person.

With the lights dimming to a velvet color, fans were met with the sight of Trey taking his place behind the drums. With Mike and Page in their respective spots, fans were briefly left wondering what Fishman had in store for us. Sorry, His Holiness Fishman. With the opening notes of Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning," His Holiness strode onto the stage, complete with mitre and stole. As Jon did his best Lou, singing lyrics originally meant for Nico, he lifted up a censer from the stage and filled the air with incense. He even went as far to fling (holy?) water out into the crowd from an aspergillum. As Mike would later Tweet, “It was a religious experience.”

Photo © {Jeremy Welsh}
Photo © {Jeremy Welsh}

Following Trey’s attempt at the aspergillum (flung Mike’s direction), the opening of “Axilla I” ripped through the crowd, causing us all to move. To the point that the floor was rippling as if it were on springs (oddly, that was the most it bounced over the course of the evening).

Despite its squeals and meows, “Your Pet Cat” helped to settle the crowd with its slight groove. As would become a theme of the evening, Page stood out on keys, rocking the clavinet. Just as he did with the “Back on the Train” that followed, the first “stretched” moment of the evening. With Trey playing with standard blues themes (confidently, I might add), Page moved from clavinet to piano, with the full band dialed in to a nice Type I stretch.

Mike's “How Many People Are You,” while not as open as “BOTT,” featured a little extra mustard with Mike driving a bit on bass (one of the few moments where he really stood out, from my vantage point).

Glide” was well played, with Trey’s fingers deftly running through the Irish-sounding opening. Which was a pleasant surprise; “deftness” isn’t a description that is always included in reviews of composed sections these days.

It felt like the “Theme from the Bottom” which followed had a little something extra. But not as much extra as the “It’s Ice,” which for me featured one of the jams of the evening. A song not known for its exploration, “It's Ice” visited some really interesting places, especially with the interplay between Trey and Page (not to sounds like a broken record). To my ears, parts were even Grateful Dead-like (think, say, “Slipknot!”). The interplay dissolved into slight dissonance before Fishman counted back into “It’s Ice.” Highlight of the set.

More,” a song just written to close a first set, closed this one. Fans sure seem to enjoy vibrating with love and light.

All in all, I found this first set to be quite the win. The band played well and took some unexpected chances. Oh, the obligatory doughnut reference was quite enjoyable.

Photo © {Jeremy Goodwin}
Photo © {Jeremy Goodwin}

The second set began with a slightly slow “AC/DC Bag.” And for a brief moment, it felt like it had a chance to escape its own grips. But alas, it segued into a second-set “Wolfman's Brother.” I found this to be a very good version for 2017; while not terribly long, it featured a strong Type I jam with Page on piano. Then, without pause, the band dropped as a whole into Type II section that reminded me of a Haunted House selection with echoing effects from Trey and Mike while Mike got funky. Then for something completely different (do you see a pattern?), they shifted into a moment of quite beautiful ambiance with Trey offering these snippets of melodies. (That whole section may have been my favorite point of the evening, if I was forced to choose). Not wanting to stick to anything too long, Mike dropped some “bombs” from the bass, vibrating chests, before building on yet another idea, which transitioned into “Twist.”

The improv that grew from the “Twist” featured, how shall we call it, a “deliberate” tempo before Page began to push things. They found their footing as Trey followed Page’s lead, strumming out a bit of a funky melody before the interesting stuff began. A friend described what was to follow as “ferocious.” I found it slightly aimless albeit interesting — a bit aggressive, with Trey wrestling out notes, the band building together in waves (reminding me a little of “First Tube,” as an example). It was almost as they were trying to find some ideas through the “Wolfman’s” and first portion of “Twist” and decided to just put their backs into it. Either way, it is worth a listen.

Eventually, the waves would lead to “Waves.” And yet again, the song opened up to snippets of ideas. First with Mike rumbling away on bass, then Fishman on cymbals. Some Page on piano, opening up to an ambient build. (Yet another moment I wished had been stretched just a little bit longer.)

Photo © {Parker Harrington}
Photo © {Parker Harrington}

You know what I noticed with the “Miss You” that followed? It is one of those songs that forces you to move; in particular, to sway back and forth. Just try not to next time. Picture frame.

The “Boogie On Reggae Woman” was a bit unexpected, but certainly welcomed. This Type I echo-y build that had everyone moving — but only for a little bit, as the obligatory “Wading In the Velvet Sea” (complete with red lights) closed the evening.

I found myself contemplating the second set during the encore break, wondering whether we actually were just presented with the show of the year thus far with so many moments of improvisation (like a series of short stories rather than a novel) or did the space and transitions tilt towards aimlessness. Never the less, the internal debate abruptly ended with the opening notes of “Sweet Jane” (and the hugs from friends), and was replaced by a huge doughnut-eating grin, plastered across my face. Perfectly placed bust-out. Well done.

Photo © {Jeremy Welsh}
Photo © {Jeremy Welsh}

All in all, an interesting and entertaining evening. There were moments of indecision, almost as though they were struggling with ideas. But on the other hand, the band surprised as they stretched open “It’s Ice,” amused with their choice of covers (both a debut and a bust-out), offered up a number of moments of creativity, and gave their nod to the flavor of the evening (Velvet, Velvet, Velvet, with the red coming in the form of lights). Still less than a quarter of a way through the box, we all know there are even more great flavors to come. Tuesday is already being billed as “Jam-Filled” . . .

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Comments

, comment by pureguava
pureguava Very nice write-up. Thank you.
, comment by Matty1222
Matty1222 I feel the typical post show review mostly covers the big jams, songs with extra mustard, a little Phishtory, and some concert vibes. Which is more than fine for a usual run. But this run is far from usual. If they continue with "no repeats", I believe this run's reviews should have a little more focus on how tight they played and executed each and every track. Some are estimating that they will need to play almost 250 songs to have a no repeat run. 250! Most of you would have trouble naming 250 Phish songs, let alone know every note and lyric to them. Truly incredible.

There will be many things people can argue when we finally look back at their legacy but the one thing we will be sure of is that this band has the greatest catolague of live music in the history of live music. Not a bad accomplishment to hang your hat on.

Thanks for the early morning review. Always look forward to them. Party on.
, comment by solargarlic78
solargarlic78 I think it's clear that the bliss jam->peak has become a crutch for them and the Twist jam represents an admirable attempt at doing something different. I thought it was awesome.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten thought this was a fantastic show. of the many flavors of Phish we surely don't get this deep space variety often enough. perhaps they were practicing for the "jam filled" show on tuesday? here's hoping!
, comment by waxbanks
waxbanks Nicely done!
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose I'm starting to have doubts about the no repeats. Wondering if instead they'll opt for no-repeats between the mini-runs within the larger whole. The blocks broken-up by the days off, as it were.

I'm still floored that they're even attempting this theme with the flavour-covers each night, and it adds such a fun layer of speculation. Would have loved to see the VU stuff. And I can't wait to learn which flavours they have in store for the three doughnuts lined up at the end of the run.

The thing I appreciate most, though? That they're taking a least one (often unexpected) song in the first set out for a walk. The Caspian, Moma, It's Ice (which has in fact been a vehicle for exploration going back it's earliest days) ... it makes for a much more interesting front to back show experience, imo. Plus it allows the shorter more standard offerings more opportunity to shine when they're not stacked up a baker's dozen deep themselves in one set.
, comment by unoclay
unoclay Phish Church on Sunday Night. What a band.
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 Pope Fishman hit me with the holy water last night. The demon is gone. Thanks.
, comment by dte421
dte421 @andrewrose said:
I'm starting to have doubts about the no repeats. Wondering if instead they'll opt for no-repeats between the mini-runs within the larger whole. The blocks broken-up by the days off, as it were.
My takeaway from these three was the complete opposite - they left the Tweeprise on the table (saved for night 13), 5 debuts, 12 songs that hadn't been played in at least 20 shows (compare that to Northerly Island where the longest gap was 18 shows), and several standards that almost never miss a 3 show run in 3.0 (Hood, Gin, Antelope, Possum, Chalkdust, Bowie, Divided Sky to name a few) are on the sidelines. If anything, these three shows made me MORE confident there will be no repeats.
, comment by cman3002
cman3002 I have to agree about the 2nd set, and its lack of focus. I don;t think I'd call it aimless, there were some good ideas there, but the band never really settled into a groove. I think this was especially true on the Wolfman's jam, although it started off with as a pretty decent type A. Twist was also struggling early in the jam, and finally did settle into a decent groove. Loved the spacey Waves outro, too, but, again, it felt like it was trying to go somewhere, and instead just faded away. Then again, I'm willing to accept that maybe I'm expecting too much from a band that's trying to play 13 nights without any repeats.
, comment by SilentHorse
SilentHorse When (not if!) they pull it off, they will have accomplished the greatest feat in the history of live music. I have complete confidence!
, comment by burlingtonnuthouse
burlingtonnuthouse Advance apologies, but if you want an 'AssHanded', I have found from this group of boys, you actually have to hand them their ass, so here goes.
That Fourth of July party, like '88, in Warren, where you guys blew fireworks over us while we were breaking down our gear? Super lame-o.. And when Hunter jumped off the table to bearhug ? me, I coulda used a moment alone with the guy, did you really need to be sitting over there strumming his guitar? Douchey. And lastly, when we were in the homeless (Wilson!) shelter, we ALL had nice sweatshirts with Dan Resinballs logo embroidered on the chest, we wore them very proudly. I dont see the shelter people with phish schwag anymore, did you stop caring? And, oh Fish, Maine has asked me to thankyou, I dont know why, I said, You're his neighbors, you thank him. Maybe they are shy. Anyway, Maine says ThankYou.
Okay, here comes Nurse Ratchett with my Thorazine, must go drool. Tomorrow I slip it under the tongue and spit it out later, so I can stay up for the show. Cuz crazy folks like phish, as well as you functionals!
So, since I'm staying up tomorrow, if I have properly handed ass out, blay be by tong!! Blease?
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose @dte421 said:
@andrewrose said:
I'm starting to have doubts about the no repeats. Wondering if instead they'll opt for no-repeats between the mini-runs within the larger whole. The blocks broken-up by the days off, as it were.
My takeaway from these three was the complete opposite - they left the Tweeprise on the table (saved for night 13), 5 debuts, 12 songs that hadn't been played in at least 20 shows (compare that to Northerly Island where the longest gap was 18 shows), and several standards that almost never miss a 3 show run in 3.0 (Hood, Gin, Antelope, Possum, Chalkdust, Bowie, Divided Sky to name a few) are on the sidelines. If anything, these three shows made me MORE confident there will be no repeats.
You could be right. Especially given that tomorrow night's donut is "jam-filled".

As for @burlingtonnuthouse welcome to .net, Randle. Are you the new Mike's Corner or are you really that nuts?
, comment by ShaughnessyPhishKid
ShaughnessyPhishKid "Mini honey dipped donuts with raspberry jam filled center".... prince raspberry beret?
, comment by Nigel_Tufnel
Nigel_Tufnel I need to write about this "It's Ice" jam, if for no other reason than my own therapy:

It's incredible.

Everybody likes something different, and everybody hears something different, but for ME, this jam instantly went right to the top of my "go-to" jams of all time list. They are so hooked up, it's telepathic. As a musician, perhaps I geek out the nuances more than I should - but the interplay between Page and Trey in this jam gives me goose-bumps and makes me whisper "Jesus" to myself. True story - it just happened again. I don't judge jams by how long they are, or how many bombs Mike drops.... I judge them by how hooked up they all are, together on the same page, during an improvisational excursion. There may be tighter, more hooked-up jams out there, but I haven't heard any that blatantly top this one....and I think I've heard most of them.

If you tend to dismiss "It's Ice" as "worked" song, as opposed to a jam launch pad (which would be almost understandable), DO NOT dismiss this one.

Thanks for listening,
~Nigel
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