I’ll open with a confession. Before hearing tonight’s show, I had cooked up a snarky idea for the recap. Something cutesy. Something high-concept. I thought it was clever.
Then Phish smacked the smirk clean off my face.
Given what transpired in St. Louis tonight, I conferred with some of the staff and we all agreed that we owe it to you to do our best to describe the show in clear and simple terms. Phish did not show up tonight to mess around, so neither will we.
On September 4, 2011, Phish played a show in Commerce City, CO at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The final show of their summer tour was immediately lauded by fans for its outstanding merits. It was simply, a great show. But a very tiny event on that evening lead to a yearlong battle where friendships were tested as two sides of a heated argument began. Did Phish tease The Modern Lovers "Roadrunner" during a jam in "Piper?"
During the show there were numerous tweets leaving the venue alluding to this connection. In the following days, the Phish.net working group team debated the merits of this claim in a manner likened only to hyenas fighting over fresh kill. On one side, the defense, a group of individuals who argued that the similarity of the jam so obviously harkened back to the main riff in "Roadrunner" that it would be foolish to ignore the similarity in riff. On the other side, the prosecution, who surmised that the two pieces of music were in no way similar when you compared the melody and rhythm. According to my gmail archive, I have no less than 58 threads containing the term roadrunner. That basically amounts to someone bringing it up more than once a week. Needless to say, it was kind of a big deal, and even when someone brought it up as a joke, it really wasn't a joke.
Fast forward to this weekend in San Francisco. Several people tweeted about and directly emailed the setlist team about a Mumford and Sons tease in Sunday night's "Crosseyed and Painless". Like salt in an unhealed wound the Dick's "Piper" came charging back in, this time with the prosecution presenting the audio included above as evidence. And after much deliberation, under the cover of darkness, the "Roadrunner" tease was removed.
So why was it removed? In simple terms, because the majority of people in the discussion felt that it didn't belong. That's not to say that it doesn't exist (it doesn't but you can believe whatever you choose) but rather that we're not willing to put it in print. Hundreds if not thousands of potential teases are out there, but as outsiders we will never be able to measure the intent of the band. In most cases of these obscure teases, I believe that the band has simply played something in the moment that is resoundingly similar to another piece of music, by accident. There are certainly numerous teases listed in the setlist file that fall into this category as well. From an editorial sense all we can do is review people's "ideas" and the rate them based on a comparison with the original cited material. Sometimes it's obvious, most times it's not. The other problem is that once someone plants the seed in your head, the brain is conditioned to expect it and often times leads you to hearing something that may not be there.
But in the end, the activity is pretty fun and many people enjoy it. That's not going to change. This is one of those special little wrinkles that make Phish so fabulous. We spent a year (collectively) arguing one tiny little point, so insignificant that 99% of people never knew it existed, smarter individuals might say this is a symptom of insanity. So, goodbye Roadrunner tease, you had a great run. Don't let the door hit you as you leave.
Phish loves to tease. Not only do you have the endless inside jokes, musical quotes and jams that hint at a song you can’t quite place, the live experience itself is kind of a tease. When I’m at a show and really tuned in, I get fully absorbed and objectivity is dissolved in the magic of being there. I’m still unapologetically awed by being at a show, and will walk out of the venue spewing effusive and hyperbolic praise. I also leave wondering what the music will sound like in the morning, hoping that I’ll hear the same epic moments I enjoyed at the show. So in the interest of full disclosure, please know that when the lights came up last night I was blown away and shamelessly fluffing despite any flaws. Now, with my show ears off any my recap ears on, I’m still reconciling what I heard last night with what I’m hearing in the car on the way home through North Carolina. My impression of Charlotte is of a Phish tease in both the good and frustrating sense; songs that continue to flirt with their potential, a first set with tremendous flow but flawed execution, a Mike’s Groove with both amazing and head-scratching song selection, and a “Tweezer” that on tape can only hint at the experience I had first hearing it.
Welcome to the 112th installment of Mystery Jam Monday Here at Phish.net! As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). A hint will be posted on Tuesday (if necessary) and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Wednesday Answer: Congrats to WayIFeel for being the first to get the 8/15/98 Lemonwheel "Bowie." Monday is Labor Day and the Blog is taking the day off, so we'll be back on the 10th with MJM113.
On the second Saturday night of the summer’s second leg, the stage was set, Phish was back in Hotlanta in the Lakewood hood instead of Alpharetta. It has been nine years since Phish last played at Lakewood (7/26/03).The Lakewood Amphitheatre has a history of producing some stellar Phish performances. Some of my personal favorite shows there include 7/23/97 and 7/4/99.
The second Saturday Night Special of leg two was filled with soulful southern playing, featuring songs that have been played several times on this leg. The song selection for this show would be a mixture of songs seen in SF on 8/17/12 and at this venue in previous years (6/15/95, 7/23/97, 8/6/98, 7/3/99, 7/4/99, 6/23/00, 6/24/00, 7/26/03).
We’re now fully in the swing of tour, show #6 of summer leg #2. Tonight the band returns to an old Phish haunt not visited in thirteen years, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham, AL, a ~10,000-seat all-reserved open-air venue. This was the third Phish show at this facility (10/15/94 & 9/28/99) and the seventh in the state of Alabama. This show was provided as an official LivePhish webcast. Let’s cut to the action.
“Possum” starts off, a little “early” @ 7:55 local time. Uneventful but fun, a quick break and then “Cities,” an easy call given the “A lot of bridges in... Birmingham” line which received the requisite crowd appreciation. An unusually rough rendition of “Sample in a Jar” was next, about which the less said, the better. “Timber” held early promise but retreated into it’s 3.0 shell before it developed into something interesting, giving way to a solid if concise version of “Back on the Train.”
Recap by Phil Harrison @Dog_Faced_Boy
Phish returned to the Kansas City last night, its 11th visit to the area and first since 7/17/03. The question at the forefront of many fans’ minds was: would the band a) continue the momentum forward from the well regarded Long Beach and BG3 shows; b) falter and provide an uneven performance more like Bill Graham 1 & 2; or c) both. The correct answer in this instance is “c.”
Kansas City was once a distinct and important epicenter for the development of jazz and blues music, home or proving grounds for such influential luminaries as Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. In terms of Phish, the band first performed in nearby Lawrence, Kansas on 4/1/92. While none of their prior performances in the vicinity are particularly acclaimed, you could do yourself a favor and check out the 7/28/98 performance in Bonner Springs, KS. It’s one of those oddball, quirky shows that the band plays from time to time, loaded with unusual song selections, and includes strong versions of “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Brother,” “Maze,” and an “It’s Ice” > “Lengthwise” > “It’s Ice” sandwich. As for last night’s show...
We receive suggestions occasionally that those who recap the shows should have attended the show whenever possible.
We are grateful for these comments as we are for all manner of constructive criticism, and encourage the .net community to continue to suggest ways that we can bring you more content and better content.
That said, let me take a few moments to explain why this specific suggestion will not be implemented.
Written by: Tim Wade @TheEmu
Phish’s return to San Francisco, perhaps the Mecca of the jam band world, for their first non-festival shows there since 1998 came with almost impossibly high expectations. A three night stand in the intimate and historic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium proved to be the toughest Phish ticket of the Summer. A strong first leg that finished with a bang at SPAC and a much-praised, jam-heavy second set to open leg two in Long Beach only added to the hopes and excitement of those lucky enough to attend. With the bar set that high, it’s unsurprising that Phish's first two shows of the weekend would leave many fans feeling disappointed and counting on a big Sunday comeback. And comeback they did.
It's time for the Mystery Jam here at Phish.net... Pauly Edition! This MJ was hand picked by one of the members of the Mystery Jam Faculty and seven-time winner, @pauly7917. As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). A hint will be posted on Tuesday (if necessary) and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Wednesday Answer: congratulations to Kipmat for nailing down the 5/23/88 "Light Up or Leave Me Alone." For a minute there I thought Pauly was going to strike gold on his first MJ but, as the Blog has experienced many times before, it only takes one person to solve even the hardest Mystery Jam. See you all on Monday...
Checking in from the afterglow zone around Long Beach, still marveling and laughing at all that went down on Wednesday. Given the fuel-injected power of recent tour openers, nobody was expecting Phish to phone shit in, but I’m pretty sure nobody expected things to get quite that wonderfully weird, either.
Taking in the first set with Justin Bieber and his entourage? Can’t say that’s an everyday occurrence for me. Nor was the ghostly introspection of “Rock & Roll,” or the rocking party vibe of “Ghost.” Bottom line? You never know what you’ll get when Phish comes to Southern California!
In contrast, Phish and the Bay Area go together the way the Grateful Dead and New York City did for so long: predictably, like peanut butter and chocolate. Since the Warfield gigs in April of 1992, Phish has demonstrated its love for Bay Area fans by crafting dependably smart sets and delivering them with fire, and those fans have demonstrated their love for Phish by knowing their shit and getting down accordingly. Yes, it’s true: San Francisco crowds flap their gums too fucking much. But they’re also smart, seasoned music people, with ears that are even bigger than their mouths.
Welcome back to the second leg of summer tour, Phish fans! This will be a necessarily abbreviated recap so that the recapper may make tracks up the coast of California (“must be somewhere over here”). Let’s get right to it.
Long Beach Arena was far less than full last night as the band took the stage just after 8:15. A rare opening “Suzy Greenberg” starts us off, the first time it had opened a shows since the famous 12/14/95 show immortalized on Live Phish 1. The set then settles into a pleasant if uneventful segment featuring “Cities” > “Kill Devil Falls” and a well-executed “Guelah Papyrus.” “Cool it Down” seems to be easing its way into the rotation and featured an extended ending – not quite “type II” but definitely a little added spice; the band clearly loves this groove.
by Mockingbird Foundation Contributor Chris Glushko
A few weeks ago, I took a look back at leg one and ranked all 20 second sets from worst to first. In addition, Charlie Dirksen also took a fantastic deep dive into the first half of summer. Now that we’ve all had some time to over-analyze leg one in painstaking detail, it’s time to get our Phish nerd on for leg two. With seemingly anything and everything on the table this Summer, what could/should the band do to take it up another level?
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What does today have in common with 109 other Mondays? It's time for the Mystery Jam... #110! As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). A hint will be posted on Tuesday (if necessary) and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Wednesday Answer: Congrats to ucpete on his first win, correctly ID'ing the 12/31/02 "Piper." The Blog will be back on Monday with MJM111 but, for now, it's off to Long Beach!
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