Saturday 10/20/2018 by phishnet

HAMPTON1 RECAP: FIRST YOU LAUGH, THEN YOU FALL APART

[Thank you to user @Jsauce, Josh Martin, for the recap. -Ed.]

Greetings from Hampton, everybody. Glad to be back with you all. Truth: I listened to a lot of Phish last summer. I hit the live phish app pipe so hard I thought my brain was going to bleed. A break was in order and a break was had. It was nice to come back to tour feeling hungry for the music.

© 2018 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2018 Phish (Rene Huemer)

I usually think of tour openers as being fantastic for the energy of all of us getting together to do what we do best and love most, but relatively slim on transcendent moments. That being said, Albany first night was fantastic, and the second night had moments. My only complaint was how many of my favorite songs they played the first two nights. Save something for Hampton, dudes!

Speaking of Hampton, I love it. It’s not much of a destination spot, but they always seem to deliver here. In one of those occurrences that probably shaped my future more than most others, 11/21 and 22/97 were my third and fourth shows. I’d never had my face ripped off my skull quite like that before. A truly transcendent moment. It’s the dragon I chased for years. On to it.

It’s nice to see a BD one-off getting a good dusting for the rest of us. “Strawberry Letter #23” worked well in the weekend opening slot. “Blaze On” was a popular choice in the house before the show. Trey was not particularly notey here, but focused and on the attack, and that combination is the hallmark of the best 3.0 jams. A slinky rhythm faded into “Mock Song," which was definitely an unexpected treat to all in attendance. To be honest I hadn’t had a lot of exposure to this song, but was stoked that the band is still, STILL, finding ways to surprise us.

In thinking about flubs of well known songs, I’ve done a mind-numbing amount of it. Yes, there were flubs in “Divided Sky.” I still love the song. I hope that is analysis enough. During the big pause, tons of lighters and phones came out. A very special moment to witness.

© 2018 Josh Martin (taken during "Divided Sky")
© 2018 Josh Martin (taken during "Divided Sky")

Has any song flourished as much in 3.0 as “Roggae”? Ever since the come out version from 8/6/11, it’s delivered a consistent, thoughtful, emotional solo from Trey. This was was no exception. This was the third “Sparkle” I’ve seen in 2018.

Undermind” gets my call for one of the all-time sleeper songs. It can go anywhere. This one featured some really percussive Page, which allowed mike to get up and wander around. “Meat” is a song I’ve never liked, but plenty of people sounded really excited to hear it. A full-on Mike/Trey breakdown ensued, a la “Free” 10/16, followed by a thoroughly (and seemingly intentionally) uninteresting Fishman solo. A very rote “Rift” morphed into a super hot “Walk Away.” They absolutely shredded the ending in a way I’ve never heard them do before. Instantly relistenable and a very solid way to end the set.

© 2018 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2018 Phish (Rene Huemer)

Is it sacrilege to say that I’m not a huge fan of “Carini”? I like them shits dark, and recently more often that not they’ve segued, as this one did, into that uplifting but ultimately unfulfilling space which we’ve all started referring to as “bliss.” [All of us have not started referring to spacey jams as "bliss." -Ed.] This one slid back into a very dreamy minor key feeling before winding down into the Fish countoff for “Sand,”which is my other 3.0 MVP. So many ways to satisfy, here a sudden and fantastic shift from "Sand"-groove to choppy a staccato from Trey before bringing it back in hot.

Golden Age” came off hot and tight, before, for the first of many times throughout the rest of the evening, we dove deep into outer space. Page synth really led the way here, carving out interstellar spaces and gooey, alien red sunrises. From the rudderless deep came “Twist.” Almost immediately the jam dove back into depths from which it came. To my ear, it’s during the still dark waters here and the subsequent segue into “Mountains in the Mist” that the audience starts to lose its attention. (Side note: is it me or does it seem like people are chomping more during songs these days? Has it always been this way and I just didn’t notice? I’m going to go yell at some kids to get off of my lawn).

Whenever Phish find themselves in this situation, jam puddling to an end and not sure where to go, “Meatstick” is always a great answer. We get some dance party funk and they get the chance to pull their heads together, which they did for “Split Open and Melt.” I’m kinda divided on this song. When they do it well (11/21/97), it’s an absolute skull crusher. Most of the time recently it seems as they’ve never really found that edge and the jam tends to just swamp around. It’s a hard song to bring off well, but I always like to hear them try. The back end coming out of the jam was electric and a nice close to an up and down second set.

"Lizards" I’ve seen as an encore at least three times and it works well in that slot.

Overall, there some great moments of risk in this show: pushing “Blaze On” during the first set, dusting off “Mock Song,” and particularly the subterranean psychedelic spaces after “Golden Age” and “Twist.” Bottom line: we need this band to continue to take risks in their music. To quote some guy you know, “When you take a risk, sometimes you’re gonna play shit.” Some of those moments were on display here, but there’s more than enough interesting improv to right the ledgers.

Great time. Hungry crowd. Good music. We’ll do it again tomorrow.

© 2018 Phish (Patrick Jordan)
© 2018 Phish (Patrick Jordan)

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Comments

, comment by Slewfoot
Slewfoot An excellent, honest review that echoes my feelings on the show very well. It was a fun one! See you all down there from the couch this weekend!
, comment by AbePhroman
AbePhroman Good times! Nice review.
, comment by CharlestonPhish
CharlestonPhish Shows are different for everyone. I’ve seen this band 50+ times starting in 1995 and thought last night was well above average. Set I was littered with highlights (22, Blaze, Roggae, Walk Away), Phishy comedy (Meat), and beauty (DS despite flubs). As for Set II, the deep Type II in GA may have been without rudder, but IMO was executed with the collective patience we often wished was more than an exception to the rule. All this to say, I thought the band did far more than what is implied by the headline and articulated in the review. In fact, I would argue that they took the night to the edge of “falling apart” only to cleverly and interestingly pull it together to deliver one of the best shows of 2018.
, comment by jsauce
jsauce I’ve said this before here: I don’t begrudge anyone for liking or not liking a show. I’m glad you liked it. I’m glad we all still get to do our favorite thing.

@CharlestonPhish said:
Shows are different for everyone. I’ve seen this band 50+ times starting in 1995 and thought last night was well above average. Set I was littered with highlights (22, Blaze, Roggae, Walk Away), Phishy comedy (Meat), and beauty (DS despite flubs). As for Set II, the deep Type II in GA may have been without rudder, but IMO was executed with the collective patience we often wished was more than an exception to the rule. All this to say, I thought the band did far more than what is implied by the headline and articulated in the review. In fact, I would argue that they took the night to the edge of “falling apart” only to cleverly and interestingly pull it together to deliver one of the best shows of 2018.
, comment by hansokolow
hansokolow I listening to these first three shows from the couch, it seems that they are really focusing on the vocals this tour more than ever before. I think this is a trend all year, but it really struck me in Golden Age that they have finally put some time into the vocal arrangement. This is something I've been hoping for on this song for a long time. They have always kind of fudged the pre-chorus lead-up part, which leads Trey to often totally miss the "Love" lyric, which is the absolute crux of the song. Go listen to the original to hear what I mean. It's been driving me nuts, and last night, they showed that they've clearly worked something out for that part. And Trey seemed focused on getting all the lyrics out intelligibly. Maybe that's a result of the very slow Dicks version, where you could really hear all of the lyrics for maybe the first time.
Anyway, the energy is really good, and it sounds to me like they are excited about whatever they have planned for Halloween. Can't wait to hit the road for Vegas!
, comment by nothingburned
nothingburned In person, I loved the show. Thought the first set was a little uneven in terms of flow, but had some real strong points with a really nice Blaze On, Meat, Undermind, and a firey Walk Away to close it out.

Second set was everything I look for from a Phish show, great song selection and exploratory jamming. Sadly Carini > Sand was fairly standard jamwise, but starting with Golden Age they really found their footing.

The jam out of Golden Age and then continued in Twist is a must hear, truly top shelf dark/ambient/noisy Phish. Just truly demented space noises from Trey and Page, the Shipwreck samples made it even better, especially when Page played them backwards.

Quick breather in Meatstick to keep the crowd moving (I am always happy to hear Meatstick), then an incredibly vicious, deranged Melt that stands out among the 3.0 versions that have mostly struggled to keep it together during the jam.

During the Melt, Trey was taking the lead and wasn’t afraid to dive into dark, dirty, atonal space. Became totally unhinged, but worked its way back to the ending in an organic way.

Lizards encore sent everyone home happy, perfect capper for an amazing show.

See you there tonight!
, comment by dipped
dipped You lost me when you didn’t spend at least 5 sentences on the Golden Age.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Sparkle is funny, once a year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, none in 2015, a whole bunch the other years
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES This excellent Divided Sky featured an intentional intent to slow the tempo. It may have occurred due to early flubbabe but the version is held together by Trey, and after the silent solo, the band pulls off the next section in slow hand goodness... The tempo builds during the finish and Trey’s playing is furious. Interesting version of my favorite Phish song ...
, comment by hdorne
hdorne This Golden Age is absolutely stellar. The song is played beautifully, with Trey and Page singing with a lot of passion and heart. I hope this continues, the focus on vocal delivery. I personally think they have lovely voices. Not Jeff Buckley lovely, but they sound true, and when they sing with conviction it’s really endearing. Then there’s the jam. This is my favorite Phish jam, when they just let loose and get really weird without worrying about linearity. By the end of the jam, the listener is awash in a wall of noise. Best-ever version of the song, perhaps tied with Vegas ‘16 but in a completely different vein.

Don’t sleep on this “Blaze On,” either. I’m not a big fan of the song itself, but Trey absolutely melts the beams of the Mothership on this one. Serious guitar heroics. His tone these days is just insane. Same goes for “Walk Away,” which features some incredible vocals from Page before Trey once again torches the place with fireballs of shredding glory.

This show rules.
, comment by phishyeducator
phishyeducator My first trip to Mothership Hampton was a success! I really enjoyed so so much of this show! The Blaze On jam just kept giving, and when they returned to the vocals it seemed like they hadn't got the jam out of their system so they returned to the jam for another 4 minutes. Divided Sky was awesome, Roggae felt just right, and the Walk Away blew us away! The Golden Age jam into Twist was pure deliciousness, and the Mountains was the perfect cool down to get us ready for the SOAMelt that ended the set after Meatstick. And a Lizards encore? Yes please!
, comment by curleyfrei
curleyfrei So many things to say about that incredible GA jam, but I want to point something out -- it sounds like Trey has finally figured out that he CANNOT hit that little high note flourish in the "Comin' 'round, comin' 'round, COMIN' 'ROOOOUUUNNNDDD..." part, and this version finally sounds pretty solid in that area! He just hits the ONE high note on the 3rd "round" and that's it -- and it sounds just fine. Sounds way better than hearing him struggle to sound like a much different singer in that little bit.
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES It was my 1st trip to the mothership too! took me 80 shows but I got there... Great run!
, comment by brooklynbarman
brooklynbarman Having been at the show as well, I made note to my crew that, "someone's been practicing his vocals for Halloween," once the end of Undermind came around. From the gate, during Strawberry Letter 23, (no small feat with the falsetto) Trey nailed it stronger than the debut in BD. It carried through the entire show, certainly strong vocals in Golden Age, and continued throughout the weekend.
, comment by FAHTAPES
FAHTAPES @brooklynbarman said:
Having been at the show as well, I made note to my crew that, "someone's been practicing his vocals for Halloween," once the end of Undermind came around. From the gate, during Strawberry Letter 23, (no small feat with the falsetto) Trey nailed it stronger than the debut in BD. It carried through the entire show, certainly strong vocals in Golden Age, and continued throughout the weekend.
Our crew all noticed how great the vocals were on this run.
The sound mix in the mothership was excellent!
I really need to get MSG in my diet...
, comment by jsauce
jsauce I’m relistening to it right now. It’s much more intentional and dark and shredding than I heard it at first.

@CharlestonPhish said:
Shows are different for everyone. I’ve seen this band 50+ times starting in 1995 and thought last night was well above average. Set I was littered with highlights (22, Blaze, Roggae, Walk Away), Phishy comedy (Meat), and beauty (DS despite flubs). As for Set II, the deep Type II in GA may have been without rudder, but IMO was executed with the collective patience we often wished was more than an exception to the rule. All this to say, I thought the band did far more than what is implied by the headline and articulated in the review. In fact, I would argue that they took the night to the edge of “falling apart” only to cleverly and interestingly pull it together to deliver one of the best shows of 2018.
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