Wednesday 07/26/2017 by phishnet

MSG4 RECAP: JAMLICIOUS

[Recap courtesy of user @Dmg924, Dave Goldstein.]

Let me let you in on a little bit of my creative process. Generally, when I write a recap such as this, I’ll have the first two introductory paragraphs written in advance; this saves valuable time and allows me to focus on the show details more fully. In anticipation of recapping the July 25, 2017 Phish show, I wrote two paragraphs on Monday detailing the “very good” first weekend of Baker’s Dozen, discussing the doughnut flavor gimmick, and stating how a random Tuesday night in New York City feels like bonus Phish. You know, quaintly setting the stage.

I tossed those two paragraphs out because they’re worthless now; this is being written an hour after the encore. Time will ultimately tell how 7/25/17 rates in the pantheon, but let us not mince any words here. I feel confident stating it is easily the best two set Phish show since 8/12/15 from Philadelphia, easily a Top 10 show of Phish 3.0, and if we’re being as hyperbolic as possible, one of maybe three Phish shows of the past five years that you can credibly discuss in the same breath as 8/31/12 and not be thought of as a hapless fluffer. The doughnut flavor was “JAM FILLED;” it turned out to be little more than an afterthought that the jam in question happened to be raspberry (though to be fair, “Raspberry Beret” was the first song on the p.a. post-show).

Photo © Stephen Olker
Photo © Stephen Olker

So “Sample in a Jar” opens the first set, and it initially had the effect of letting the air out of a balloon; this being the first Baker’s Dozen opener to not be a fun cover song, and it’s, uh, a "Sample" opener. One does suppose that jam comes out of jars. But then “IT” happens, and the audience immediately realizes they’ve been the unwitting victims of a troll job for the ages. Phish sings the “simple smiles and good times seem all wrong….” line, but don’t proceed to the final chorus. Instead, Trey flashes the most shit-eating of shit-eating grins, and the band starts up a jam. The "Sample" has gone Type II, thus immediately rendering it the best version of "Sample" ever by default, and it doesn’t take too long for the audience to realize the REAL meaning of “jam filled” on this evening.

Still, when they follow up the 10 minute "Sample" madness with “Lawn Boy,” the full realization of what’s about to occur hasn’t kicked in yet, aside from the fact that it’s awfully early in the first set to drop a "Lawn Boy." And it seems harmless enough at first; Page breaks out the keytar, but otherwise you’ve got your Mike solo, a Page solo, and the usual dosage of lounge lizard cheese. But then Fishman kicks off a shuffling drum beat the likes of which "Lawn Boy" has never experienced, and the next twenty-seven or so minutes comprises the latest classic example of why our favorite band is so, sooo much better than your favorite band. My written notes are akin to the chicken scratches of a serial killer, but of what I can make out: “Dark, syncopated, chilling thrilling like, UNREAL, Disease-style peaks!!, clav-funk over wah wah scratches, FAST! SO FAST!, this sounds like The Real Me! Biggest white light peak explosion since the 8/19/12 Light!!!!” I also seem to have written “flying like an airplane in the sky,” which, while accurately summing up the Garden mind state, was actually a reference to a Daniel Tiger song that it sounded like Trey was playing around 22 minutes. Fatherhood can be very strange.

Photo © Stephen Olker
Photo © Stephen Olker
Nobody on the bus could’ve predicted “The Garden Lawn Boy;” there’s extremely minimal precedent for such a thing. However, in retrospect, nobody was anticipating a 27-minute prog-rock “Simple” on the second night of the tour either, or a “Wombat” jam, or a 17-minute first set “Moma Dance.” The seemingly out of nowhere jamming of the Chicago "Simple," in particular, now seems like a dry run for MSG Night 4, and nearly every show prior contained an unorthodox 20 minute jam, all comprising a breadcrumb trail of sorts leading up to THIS. The ensuing “My Friend My Friend” was 11 minutes and Pink Floyd-y. The “Bathtub Gin” was 13 minutes of rage, though the “Stash” that preceded it was merely an 11 minute Type I version and therefore lame. At the beginning of set break, the 60-something head in the row directly in front of me raised his arms to the sky and, evoking Hyman Roth’s epic “BUSINESS!” speech to Michael Corleone in Godfather II, screamed “THIS, IS WHAT WE CAME FOR!!!”

So seldom has the heralded quotation “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” seemed so appropriate; do you really need me to tell you how incredible a 33 minute version of “Crosseyed and Painless” is? That the meat of the jam featured a smooth melodic glide in the key of D Major and that it was my first time hearing the song in 71 shows? How about that it evolved into an alien moon landing space, and somehow came back around into a quick lyric reprise, before landing on “Makisupa Policeman?” Trey quoted Bob Marley’s “Jamming” during the "Makisupa," too, because he’s a cheeky bastard.

Photo © Stephen Olker
Photo © Stephen Olker
And then said "Makisupa" got dreamy, pleasant, and somewhat like the work of the 90’s shoegaze bands that Trey Anastasio unquestionably enjoys. Then Phish played the debut of “End of Session.” Yes, THAT "End of Session," the final sketch of The Story of the Ghost that yours truly played as the last song before going to bed nearly every night of his sophomore year in a Rutgers University dorm room. To put a much more positive spin on what’s sadly become a dire indictment of the state of American politics in 2017, This Is Not Normal.

A raging “Tuesday” continued the new day of the week consciousness tradition that started in Dayton, and a “Cavern” second-set closer is always reserved for the cherry on top exclamation point when Trey knows he just completely mind-fucked the audience. Oh yeah, “Thread” was a hundred times tighter than its shambolic debut, and they played a 20 minute “Fuego” too. Meh.

Let’s be real, this is hardly the first time Phish has played a pantheon show to send the fanbase into convulsions; they pulled a similar trick with 8/31/12 and 2013’s “Tahoe Tweezer,” and they’ve still laid many an egg since then. It’s unfair to expect this level of improvisation every night going forward because, simply stated, the band would collapse. But there’s NINE of these Baker’s Dozen gigs left; is it possible that the peak has yet to arrive? What in the good name of the mighty Icculus is left to do? I have no idea, but suffice it to say, we are in extremely good hands. July 25, 2017 is just the most recent example of when this rather unusual band is ‘on,’ and witnessing them live is a privilege unlike any other. You are on notice.

Photo © Stephen Olker
Photo © Stephen Olker

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Comments

, comment by n00b100
n00b100 Don't miss out on that Fuego, by the way; length or no, there's a good deal going on in it.

As much fun as it is when the band swerves left when we expect them to go right (well, usually), it's doubly more fun when they tell us exactly what they're going to do and then do just that. They told us they were gonna jam. And jam they did.
, comment by soam24
soam24 ::slow clap::
, comment by DrewG
DrewG Best part of that Crosseyed was how much—and how seamlessly—it flew all over the sonic map. That sustained section with the droning guitar that almost sounded like some sludge metal before going back into the Crosseyed theme? Good lord.
, comment by dentrev
dentrev First timer here. Skew a little older than most probably (54). Saw many GD shows and never saw Phish. However, I'm listening more and more. Let me say that the first set last night converted me completely. The Lawn Boy jam got me on the bus/train / other mode of transportation.
, comment by imdano
imdano Great review - light on the editorializing.
, comment by dmg924
dmg924 @n00b100 said:
Don't miss out on that Fuego, by the way; length or no, there's a good deal going on in it.

As much fun as it is when the band swerves left when we expect them to go right (well, usually), it's doubly more fun when they tell us exactly what they're going to do and then do just that. They told us they were gonna jam. And jam they did.
Agreed the Fuego was totally excellent. The "meh" was goofy sarcasm, which I admit doesn't always come off in print. Thanks!
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 @dmg924 said:
@n00b100 said:
Don't miss out on that Fuego, by the way; length or no, there's a good deal going on in it.

As much fun as it is when the band swerves left when we expect them to go right (well, usually), it's doubly more fun when they tell us exactly what they're going to do and then do just that. They told us they were gonna jam. And jam they did.
Agreed the Fuego was totally excellent. The "meh" was goofy sarcasm, which I admit doesn't always come off in print. Thanks!
Haha, I figured it was sarcasm; it'd be real weird to be like "this is an all-time pantheon show full of high-class improvisations, but the 19+ minute Set 2 opener wasn't particularly great". Excellent recap, man.
, comment by burlingtonnuthouse
burlingtonnuthouse Well, wow.
Thanks for fleshing that out. All I got in the looney bin is trying to break ph.net reloading setlists. The songs were coming so slow, I hegan to go more mad. Not easy. But then I began to smile and get glad. Slow coming songs is meaning good things. For the first time in 3 years, someone called and offered a ride/ticket, but the goons wouldnt bust me loose for the night. Didnt stop me from smiling when I realized what must be going down. Thanks for the confirmation. About time to back the bus up to the laundry chute, and go on an old fashioned Field Trip. Yup.
, comment by timkell
timkell @n00b100 said:
@dmg924 said:
@n00b100 said:
Don't miss out on that Fuego, by the way; length or no, there's a good deal going on in it.

As much fun as it is when the band swerves left when we expect them to go right (well, usually), it's doubly more fun when they tell us exactly what they're going to do and then do just that. They told us they were gonna jam. And jam they did.
Agreed the Fuego was totally excellent. The "meh" was goofy sarcasm, which I admit doesn't always come off in print. Thanks!
Haha, I figured it was sarcasm; it'd be real weird to be like "this is an all-time pantheon show full of high-class improvisations, but the 19+ minute Set 2 opener wasn't particularly great". Excellent recap, man.
I'm pretty sure that's the best Fuego I've ever seen, and yes, it is quite possible for it to get lost in this crowd of tunes. Crazy night.
, comment by JARdale
JARdale "The "Sample" has gone Type II, thus immediately rendering it the best version of "Sample" ever by default," This is what made last night's 1st set one of the best ever............................. that and the 30 minute Lawn Boy. The first 3 songs were the kind of thing that you joke about in the lot before the show. "Yea..... I'm calling a 30 minute Lawn Boy with Page doing a keytar solo." Then all your friends laugh because there is no way that would ever happen, but they follow their laughter by saying, "...... but that would be sick!!!" It was fantasy land last night for the first 3 songs. Stuff that if you called it in the lot people would look at you like you were either funny or an idiot.............. but it actually happened. Seriously....... think about it......... Sample with a jam, 30 minute Lawn Boy, MFMF with a jam. So much fun.
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose I'm pretty speechless.

On top of all of it the increasingly confirmed realization that they're not gonna repeat any songs for the whole run might be what's blowing my mind most. (Or they're gonna have a recycled donut on the last night and do all repeats, just to troll us one last time).
, comment by del4life
del4life Good job, words couldn't describe that show.
, comment by Phrederick
Phrederick "Instead, Trey flashes the most shit-eating of shit-eating grins..."

Haven't listened to whole show yet, but read this and remembered back to my first (and only as of yet) GA Floor ticket, 7-27-14's Back on the Train. I know that shit eating grin. Great review, and thanks for the homework assignment!
, comment by imdano
imdano i admit that it is pretty unattractive to look for something bad to say in regard to what was obviously a tremendous show. I'm listening right now and it definitely lives up to the hype, without a doubt. It would not be hyperbole to rank this with 1.0 greats, let alone 3.0

But man....this "Thread" tune suuuuuucks huh? like, move over "the line," i think we have our new piss break champion
, comment by moviemike3
moviemike3 They'd better repeat some ducking songs!!!!
I'm going the last three nights and a lot of my big hits and faded cookies have been played!!!!!!
DANG!

@andrewrose said:
I'm pretty speechless.

On top of all of it the increasingly confirmed realization that they're not gonna repeat any songs for the whole run might be what's blowing my mind most. (Or they're gonna have a recycled donut on the last night and do all repeats, just to troll us one last time).
, comment by bbukovitz
bbukovitz I absolutely love a first set jam and now I can say that I absolutely love a 2 set jam filled show as well. Thank you phish.
, comment by G0NEPHISHING
G0NEPHISHING This is not a bad review.
, comment by PLOP_fish
PLOP_fish @imdano said:
But man....this "Thread" tune suuuuuucks huh? like, move over "the line," i think we have our new piss break champion
It might not exactly be their most sprightly tune, but I found it interesting. Trey seemed to be channelling Frank Zappa on his solo in an even more overt way than usual.
, comment by ltbuilder7
ltbuilder7 Awesome review! Even, you know, dropping Daniel Tiger references! Thanks
, comment by Glassman
Glassman I guess it has always been this way but length doesnt always equal quality. Seems like as long as it is lengthy and type II its is automatically "epic". I disagree.
, comment by dmg924
dmg924 @Glassman said:
I guess it has always been this way but length doesnt always equal quality. Seems like as long as it is lengthy and type II its is automatically "epic". I disagree.
If jam length always equaled quality then the Disco Biscuits would be The Rolling Stones, so I agree wholeheartedly. This is a case however in which the Jams are both lengthy AND interesting.
, comment by n00b100
n00b100 @Glassman said:
I guess it has always been this way but length doesnt always equal quality. Seems like as long as it is lengthy and type II its is automatically "epic". I disagree.
Speaking as someone who worships the 7/16/13 Chalk Dust Torture and the 10/28/14 Twist and absolutely agrees with your thesis, I have to say that the two lengthy Type II jams from this show are as epic as epic gets.
, comment by rubbish69
rubbish69 I have not been this excited about phish that I wasn't seeing live for a very very long time. Just wow.
, comment by moviemike3
moviemike3 On the whole concept of no repeated songs the one small blessing is that Thread will not be repeated.
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