, attached to 2013-12-29

Review by solargarlic78

solargarlic78 What a difference a night makes. 12/29/13 was a stellar show from start to finish. It started with a beautifully crafted first set. From my perspective, I look for three things from first sets. (1) early composed Phish material (e.g. Foam, Fluffhead, Divided Sky) (2) A jam or two of some significance (3) Interesting bustouts. Last night covered all three bases. Compositional icons It’s Ice, Rift and Stash were all well played. Roggae, Stash, It’s Ice, 555 and Gumbo all contained excellent improvisation. At this point “The Line” and “555” are not “bustouts” per se, but they are new songs that were exciting to see. Ultimately, my enjoyment of first sets is dependent upon the song selection, and I can honestly say I was not disappointed when any of the songs started last night.

“Moma Dance” is a song I must admit I’ve grown tired of – it never varies – but it worked so well in the opening slot (a rare place for it actually) to get the blood flowing. Rift is excellent in the #2 slot and delivered a solid version, even if Trey tried to get too creative during his “second” solo and lost the chord changes in the process. Roggae is a beautiful number and I love the jam (but this version was a bit too heavy on the whale call for my liking). 3.0 Sparkles reveal that Trey does not have the same finger speed/dexterity he did in the mid-90s. Nevertheless, it’s a fun time and great placement. When the opening notes to “The Line” started, I first wasn’t sure which Wingsuit number it was. I thought how exciting/rare it is to NOT know what original Phish tune they are playing within seconds of the first notes. “The Line” is a great song, and while we may tire of it after a while, it was exciting to see its second appearance ever. “Stash” was actually a rather standard/unremarkable/short version, but had dynamic melodic interplay between Trey and Page – and given what came later the set did not need Stash’s jam to anchor the set. “555” is just another ho hum super funky bluesy awesome Mike song that contained a simply nasty wah solo from Trey at the end. “It’s Ice” is one of the hardest songs in the catalogue and they pretty much nailed it. In 2013 fashion, the break in the middle contained a nasty little funk jam with Trey working his echoplex again. Fun! As everyone knows, 3.0 Gumbos have been as standard as standard can be. But, the Glens Falls Gumbo contained a little nice type ii jam at the end, and this one continued that trajectory by transforming Page’s outro into a weird echoplex inflected space jam. Will 20 minute Gumbos return in 2014? A raging “Walls of the Cave” closed out the set (2013 has seen WOTC more firmly entrenched in the rotation – and often as the set 1 closer – a good role).

Set II. As if a sign of things to come, Phish came out and created a beautifully ambient texture, quickly stopped, and Trey commented, “Thank you. We wrote that.” Great fun and before we knew it that same motif was lurking in the Disease intro. Don’t let the heat of the moment persuade you – this was not the best DWD of 2013 – certainly not as good as Reading and probably Atlantic City, Toronto and others I’m forgetting exceed it. Nevertheless, it was an awesome jam. After some melodic type I soloing, the moment the jam went “out” you can hear Fishman playing a “1-2” beat – the beat lurks for 2-3 minutes as Trey tried various melodic or chordal vamps without much success. Eventually, Trey decides to get on Fish’s idea on the 1-2 beat and the jam turns dark and oddly beautiful at the same time. The jam then easily transitions into major key territory with that bliss-Phish melodies that have been the hallmark of 2013. Again, this bliss does not erupt into a joyous peak ala 10/29/13, but, nevertheless, it is beautiful and transitions into a more pentatonic rock feel – and suddenly we can hear the drums shift us back into Disease territory. The only problem is we’re in the wrong key. Trey plays the riff in D a couple times to signal to the band and then they switch keys on a dime back to “A” and the crowd erupts for the joyous return to DWD (I just recently listened to 12/31/93 on the “Helping Friendly Podcast” and the guests were spot on the comment on just how awesome this DWD riff is – and how amazing it was to ring in 1994 with this very riff for the first time ever). I thought we might get a breather, but next came perhaps the best jam vehicle of 2013, Carini. This one delivers yet again with a thick funk groove that just builds, and builds, and builds, until finally, the band is ferociously locked into a two chord vamp by Trey with Page just absolutely GOING OFF on the organ. This is a classic rhythmic “peak” – a peak that does not rely on Trey wailing high on the neck, but just is full on band interplay that the crowd cannot resist eruption. And, then Waves? Wow. Relentless. This is certainly not on par with the Worcester or other type ii 3.0 versions, but the type i jam in Waves is so beautiful it was the PERFECT cool down song – it also featured more excellent melodic interplay between Trey and Page. Twist also did not exceed Fall versions, but was a fun, high energy, rhythmic type i version. The classic Junta song “Golgi Apparatus” was nicely placed and brings a lot of energy to set up the inevitable close of Slave, Hood, or Bowie. And, it’s Bowie we get with another stellar 2013 version that had several interesting diversions from the standard Em dorian jam. As many have pointed out, Bowies have been stale for quite some time, and 2013 has been a resurrection of the song (even if it will never return to its 1994 glory). Encore: Possum. Hey – Possum is classic Phish and a perfectly fun encore song. I’ll actually take it over Good Times, Bad Times, Loving Cup, or Show of Life any day. It was a great high energy choice and continued the lack of covers. Is Phish cooking something up with this lack of covers? We shall see! 12/30s are historically the best of the NYE runs – so strap in.


Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.

Credits | Terms Of Use | Legal | DMCA

© 1990-2019  The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. | Hosted by End Point Corporation