Friday, June 29, 2012

Cameo & Bootsy Collins 6.24.12


Chene Park
Detroit, MI

Words By Ben Solis
Photos By Greg Molitor (
ReMIND Photography)

When ’80s funk masterminds Cameo come to Detroit, patrons know that they’ll get more than just a set of great music. They’ll get a venerable party-starting powder keg of a performance, complete with eccentric costumes to seal the deal. Add Bootsy Collins to the mix, the man who made funk music more than just a sound but a cultural phenomenon, and you’ll have one hell of a show on your hands. Slated as the Motor City’s “Funkapalooza,” Collins and Larry Blackmon’s brainchild brought back the spirit of heavy, freaky funk to Chene Park last Sunday, taking the couple thousand fans that had the good sense to attend on a fantastic voyage of galactic groove. Undeniably, this is was the best engagement that the small amphitheater had scheduled for this summer.

Cameo is hailed as being one of the most innovative and popular groups of the late 1980s, with their early material from the ’70s still as crucially important to the genre as George Clinton’s seminal groups Parliament and Funkadelic. I had assumed from my last Chene Park venture that Cameo would ultimately receive a stark stymie in regards to their time slot and ability to jam out the essential songs that made them icons. To do that, the group had to be able to play the material that went beyond just their Top 40 hits – the stuff that really allows them to show off their chops. I was afraid that yet again I would be subjected to songs like “Candy” and “Word Up” without being transported any further past the ’80s. Don’t get me wrong, as popular and chart-oriented as those two tracks are, they make for fine live dance tracks. However, I wanted the slimy stuff that seeped tight pockets and neck-breaking fours on the floor.

Fans like me were not disappointed, with the group throwing down some of the more obscure tracks from their catalog, like the robotic sleaze of “Flirt,” “Back and Forth,” “Cameosis” and a whole host of other hip dancers. The group, celebrating 33 years as a unit, was on absolute fire and the crowd thanked them with gleeful cheers. As the dusk descended on the Detroit River, it was now time for Collins to bring the fluorescent sophistifunk to the forefront, and he did so with the grace and candor of an international ambassador of jam.



Bashing the audience over the head with ostentatious costumes and outlandishly nasty trenches of rhythm, Collins easily stole the show away from Cameo. Aside from banging out extended versions of fan favorites like “Flashlight,” “Play With Bootsy,” and “Hollywood Squares,” Collins’ 10-piece band cooked on high-heat in between interludes when their eccentric band leader stepped off stage to change costumes. It was a great mix of classic tracks and free-jazz aesthetic, and the true heads showed off their appreciation by blazing blunts at every twist and turn (no pun intended). One of the great things about giving the band that kind of room to breathe was catching them kick out medleys inside jams. Out of nowhere it seems, the band began paying homage to founding fathers Sly and The Family Stone with a mix of “Stand,” “Higher” and “Everyday People.” On top of that, long-time Bootsy keyboardist Joel “Razor Sharp” Johnson joined him on stage for the entire performance, bringing up patches of synth to rival contemporary and friend Bernie Worrell.

It couldn’t have gotten better, and somehow, Collins found a way to up the ante on his own set by starting to proclaim his need to “reach out and touch somebody. “I want to go out into the crowd and touch the people,” said Collins to a rush of screaming fans. “I told my security that I wanted to go out and touch the people, and they said ‘You can’t do that, Bootsy. Those audiences in Detroit are craaaaaazzy.’ I told them, ‘Detroit is my security, baby.”’ Upon that one sentence, the crowd absolutely lost their minds. Taking off his sequined robes, Collins exposed his love for the city by wearing a Nickolas Lidstrom Red Wings tee-shirt while making his way into the sea of bodies. Not only did they begin to play an absurd version of “We Want The Funk,” they accented the jam with a chorus line saying “BOOT-SY TOUCH THE PEO-PLE!”

Clearly, Collins respects the city like a long-lost friend. Whether it was the enthusiasm brought forth on that night or just the rich musical history Detroit has to offer, his love was conveyed, and we were all truly touched. I’ve seen a few shows already this summer and was amazed by quite a few of them, but this was one for the record books.

Greg's Photo Gallery

www.bootsycollins.com

Wilco & The Punch Brothers 6.22.12


Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Morrison, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock


If you asked me what my first show at Red Rocks would be this summer I probably would not have guessed Wilco. A dear friend of Amy’s and mine, Marco, called us a week before to let us know that he was headed up and had a couple extras. It turns out that he is an old friend with Glenn Kotche the drummer from Wilco. Glen has been performing one of Marco’s late wife Diane Izzo’s songs solo and Wilco has even sound checked it with the full band. Diane was an amazing songwriter who was taken from us at the staggeringly young age of 43. Marco has taken it upon himself to produce a tribute album featuring Diane’s songs and some stellar musicians including Glen and My Mooring Jacket’s Jim James. I look forward to hearing the album when it comes out in the near future.

We hung out in the Upper North Lot for a bit before heading inside. MusicMarauders made arrangements for me to snag a photo pass. Shooting in the pit at Red Rocks is an honor so I was stoked to be there again. The Punch Brothers came to the stage to start the night with their brand of irreverently beautiful bluegrass. Led by mandolin extraordinaire, Chris Thile, the band opened with a “Movement and Location” off their latest album Who’s Feeling Young Now. This new sound is a woeful and meandering, but the lyrics are deep and thoughtful. Next up was the title track from the new album. The highlight of their hour plus set was a snappy rendition of The Band’s “Ophelia” and their set closing “Rye Whiskey.” I love the Punch Brothers’ take on bluegrass and their relatively new direction of mixing their darker tunes with their classic repertoire. They were a bucket of fun and I was happy they took the opening slot for Wilco.

I headed back down to the pit to shoot the main event. Basked in blue light they opened with “One Sunday Morning.”

SET I: One Sunday Morning, Poor Places, Art Of Almost, I Might, Side With Seeds, Spiders (Kidsmoke)(Acoustic Arrangement), Impossible Germany, Born Alone, Open Mind, Handshake Drugs, Whole Love, I Must Be High, I’m Always In Love, Heavy Metal Drummer, Dawned On Me, A Shot In the Arm

ENCORE: Via Chicago, Remember The Mountain Bed, California Stars*

2nd ENCORE: Theologians, Monday, Outtasite (Outta Mind), Hoodoo Voodoo**

*w/ The Punch Brothers
**w/ Music Tech Josh on Cowbell

Wilco played a massive two-hour set with a double encore that seemed to stretch on and on. Wilco has the ability to play music like a warm pillow and rip into high gear like a rabid bear. Their show on Friday night at Red Rocks saw both. As a younger man I saw Wilco play and didn’t understand the attraction. That being said in my older age I have found Tweedy to be an intricate songwriter and the band consisting of Nels Cline and company to be impeccable. The night was filled with musical highlights, however a few songs floated to the top of the froth. Their rendition of the now classic “Handshake Drugs” got me dancing in a planter during my quick trip up to the top. The rowdy “Heavy Metal Drummer” got the crowd energized.

The audience seemed wholly engaged with the band. The people that made it down to this add-on show were truly fans. With their Saturday show almost sold out they added the Friday date. With the late addition the Rocks was only about two thirds full, which still made for a sizeable crowd for the show. They closed their set with a powerful “A Shot In The Arm.” Wilco is famous for performing multiple encores, this night in the mountains saw two sizeable encores, which may as well have been a second set. They invited the Punch Brothers up for an elaborate version of “California Stars.” The entire band came back for a few more and ended the night with “Hoodoo Voodoo” that saw their tech come out to play cowbell with the band. The show was everything a Wilco fan could want. It was a great night that ended with me heading backstage and getting a chance to check out the famed tunnel. It was a wonderful night all around and a great start to my summer at Red Rocks.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

www.wilcoworld.net

www.punchbrothers.com

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stanley Clarke & George Duke 6.20.12


Chene Park
Detroit, MI

Words by Ben Solis
Photos By Greg Molitor (
ReMIND Photography)

While stopping in Detroit's Chene Park in support of their "Bring It On" tour, jazz legends Stanley Clarke and George Duke did in fact exactly the opposite. Set along the backdrop of the Detroit riverfront, the two men known for their furious chops and fusion heavy compositions kept it surprisingly low-key last Wednesday, playing only a handful of spacey tracks and reserving themselves to smooth R&B. It was shocking, to say the least, for many concert goers expecting a cosmic ride of powerful rock mixed with the type of soul and concentrated meta-fusion that Duke and Clarke have been patronizing for decades.

At first we were easily fooled. The opening of their set hit hard with blasting synths and jammy fervor. People were electrified by the first two songs and craved more, especially from Duke, who acted as band leader for the evening. Yes, Duke showed his mastery of composition and execution of solos, and yes, Clarke did throw in his flashy full-hand slap techniques while playing upright bass, but everything from that point on fizzled out into a drivel of baby making music that was both cliched and comical at the same time.



A few of my friends used the term "rainbow lights" to describe not only the goofy stage lighting but the soft nature of the whole performance. It was in bad taste for those looking to catch another classic mash-up in the vein of Chick Corea meeting minds with Bela Fleck, or even Clarke's own adventures with Victor Wooten or Marcus Miller (or both). But that's what should be expected from a venue that is promoted by Detroit's smooth jazz FM station, MIX 92.3. And no one saw it coming.

The way the bill was slated, the promoters gave the impression that both men would come out with their respective bands and then maybe play together. That seemed inevitable if it was the case. There was no ampersand between Clarke and Duke's names, so how would we know otherwise? What we got was absolutely disappointing, and at moments the opening act, Detroit soul group The David Miles Band, brought more charisma and energy that the duo did for the rest of the evening.

When I spoke with Duke after the show, he said that all they had was 70 mins to do their thing, and that they even went over. Then why schedule an opener at all? Why not give the people the spectacle they came to see: a powerhouse keyboardist and singer who has played with everyone from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa, and a bassist who revolutionized what bass could be in both the arenas of jazz and rock combined. However mundane and frankly boring their short set was, there were some highlights. One in particular being a fine showing of Clarke's "School Days," which contains an obligatory jam as is. Not only did "School Days" bring it back for a short moment, it made the rest of the set look like a glorified animated radio program, playing only just the crucial bits and pieces of songs.

I have been able to catch Clarke at least four times now, and had not once seen Duke do his thing live. Maybe next time, I actually will get the chance to do so. As far as I'm concerned, I was listening to a selected mix on a burned CD. Hopefully next time, the two will play to their strengths and give the audience the show they came to see.

Greg's Photo Gallery

www.stanleyclarke.com

www.georgeduke.com

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Phish: Portsmouth 6.20.12


nTelos Wireless Pavilion
Portsmouth, VA

Words By Benjamin Wilkerson
Photos By Justin Scott


Phish takes the stage for night two in Virginia as blank and full of potential as a sheet of paper that would hold their set list for the night – if they made one. In true free-form philosophy that matches their musical stylings, their trick is ‘to surrender to the flow’. Though often made, the only substantive comparisons between this band and the Grateful Dead would be the rabid following, and as Phil Lesh remarks regarding their similar spontaneity, they ‘play the crowd’, or that is to say there is some symbiotic connection made between audience and musicians. Classic rock icon Santana once said to a young Phish in 1992 that when watching their show he ‘was picturing the audience as this sea of flowers, the music was the water, and you guys were the hose.’ That pretty well sums it all up.

Set 1: Sparkle, Ha Ha Ha, AC/DC Bag > Divided Sky, Dog Log, Undermind > Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Cities -> Ya Mar, Bold As Love > Julius

Set 2: Rock and Roll > Tweezer > Free > Guyute, Birds of a Feather, Harry Hood[1] -> What's the Use? > Wading in the Velvet Sea > Possum

Encore: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise[2]

[1] Unfinished.
[2] Sleeping Monkey quotes from Fishman.

To begin, guitarist Trey Anastasio gingerly strums a few opening chords beneath the roar of those in attendance, and the progression from their jumpy jig “Sparkle” quietly pokes her head out of the shadows to signal the rest of the band. With the vocal content matching the music and volume, ‘the pressure builds’ as the lyrics note, and ‘erupts into your lung and heart/you laugh and laughing, fall apart’. The crowd goes wild. Next, the brief rock-mock song “Ha Ha Ha” is slid into for a fitting companion piece to its predecessor and continues to leave the audience smiling, knowing with all but certainty that this will be a extra special show amidst a longer series of more of the same. Also noteworthy, the only other time Phish has ever opened with “Sparkle” was a four-song show as the first act of Buckwheat Zydeco’s tour in March of 1992 that was also taped for airing on West Virginia’s iconic NPR radio show Mountain Stage.

After playing a rousing “AC/DC Bag”, the soaring journey through “The Divided Sky” has a brief pause in the music before the portion of blossoming lead guitar riffs where silence is held only momentarily, but the appreciative Portsmouth crowd cheers and screams applause for a one and a half-minute duration for this, just the fourth song of the day, before they were cut off by the musical rise once again. This crowd loves their band.

When faced with a barrage of posterboard by fans up front in the orchestra pit, Trey says ‘alright there’s enough of those damn signs up there”, and cranks right into the request on the numerous signs reading “Dog Log”. A welcome recent addition to their repertoire, they follow with the perhaps underrated “Undermind” and this gives us an noticeable appearance and a portion of prominent Page McConnell work on keys and vocals. The bassist is up next with his own “Mike’s Song”, and this gives way to an exceptional fast-paced improvisation by Trey as they begins another recent Mike’s Hydrogen Groove with seamless segues into the short and sweet “I Am Hydrogen” before the popping funk bass of “Weekapaug Groove”. With the majority of the three songs being musical segments, the combo provides substantial space for jamming, and delivers, so if you have to gloss over the recording make sure to aim for these.


It’s interesting to consider the Phish version of the next song when compared to the Talking Heads version, as the former plays about half as many beats than what is on the original, while still maintaining approximately the same tempo and vocal timing. The result is a less frenetic but equally enjoyable rendition of “Cities” which makes another repeat appearance from Atlantic City (6/15/2012; night one), but for five shows in six days that’s not bad especially when most bands play nearly the same show every night.

The grooving island melodies in the subsequent “Ya Mar” sway through as Trey yells ‘play it Leo!’ to cue an organ solo (similarly to their song “NICU”), and Page complies. For another notable treat of the evening, the band strikes up the second Jimi Hendrix song in as many days with “Bold As Love”. To close out what feels like an intimate set despite the thousands of people around, the walking-blues rocker “Julius” solidly finishes out with everyone dancing to every last second before taking another step.

Phish has a Halloween tradition of donning ‘musical costumes’ by performing an entire album of another bands’ work as part of their 10/31 shows, and at least one song from these extended shows frequently seems to be loaded into their canon as big set two openers. This includes songs such as The Who’s “Drowned”, Talking Head’s “Crosseyed and Painless” and today’s opener “Rock & Roll” originally by The Velvet Underground. The airy improvisations on this number land us in “Tweezer” for a funked-up take that ensures the night will close well. “Tweezer” sees a few dropped out bars before the verses finish, as well as laser-charged guitar loops that surface when they come back in, making for a noteworthy version. The jam goes towards a “David Bowie”-esque dark place (the song, not the performer) and sees some hefty low strides from Mike Gordon before he sports some slaps that resemble his other characteristic tones in “Weekapaug” which later loosen and become interlaced with Trey’s airborne samples once again, and this musical movement flies us into “Free”. "Free" sees some more wobbly funk grooves that link it with tonights' other songs before being released into the weightlessness of the resounding chorus.

Since being exposed to the particular mesmerizing rotation of lights during “Guyute” in Camden, NJ on 6/7/2009, I’m always curious to see what radiation 'lighting-guy' Chris Kuroda will have in store during this tune, and although it is hard to linguistically translate for our purposes, trust he peaks right along with the band. “Birds of a Feather” rocks us again as the thoughtful phrasing in this version's guitar solo lead to the first unfinished “Harry Hood” in recent memory, which also consists of many woven ambient layers that then fall into place for a segue to the slow, melodic instrumental “What’s the Use?”. As a perfect continuance on the current thematic flow, “Wading in the Velvet Sea” appears, and for a few short minutes the color-washed crowd becomes the vibrant, waving waters which the band sings of as the notes wade through.

Next, the pace is jumped up for the road-worthy, driving rhythms in “Possum” as this ten-minute version closes out an interesting, front-loaded second set. After a short tease of the Star Wars theme which nods to yesterday’s lightsaber hijinks, the band takes a bow today with shirts untucked. But, the silence from the speakers doesn’t last long as they once again takes the stage for Fishman’s final tucking of his mumu into his underwear while singing “Sleeping Monkey”. Next, the amplifying bookend “Tweezer Reprise” finishes big and then scorches with a squealing, digitized, Jedi-guitar finish to close out two days that could never be repeated even if Phish tried. Thanks in part to the relentless fans, we are shown what ‘the hose’ is all about, that Santana spoke of so eloquently. Afterwards, the fans pouring out the gates once again say of the Vermont stars, “Phish is on fire right now”.

www.phish.com



Notes: Trey introduced Dog Log with "There's enough of those damn signs out there." Dog Log was last played on August 2, 2003 (172 shows). Hood was unfinished. Prior to Sleeping Monkey, Trey teased the Star Wars theme and said "Fish, when you get to the end of this beautiful song, one last time for all of us. One final tuck." Trey added that "it's been a beautiful two days, but It wouldn't be complete without seeing Fishman tuck his dress into his underwear one last time" and "I'm singing this one right to you Fish, because I am your father." Trey proceeded to sing to Fish using Mike's mic. Tweezer Reprise contained Sleeping Monkey quotes from Fishman. (Courtesy of Phish.net)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peter Rowan & The Mosier Brothers 6.16.12


The Handle-Bar
Greenville, SC

Words & Photos By Scott Shrader (
Facebook.com/JScottShraderPhotography)

The momement Peter Rowan walked out onto The Handle-Bar's stage and began softly strumming "A Doc Watson Morning", I knew that this show was going to be special from the first note until the last. Joining Peter on this tour were The Mosier Brothers, along with a backing band that consisted of a drummer, bassits, and fiddler. The group called the 4 night run "Roots Branches Tour" and was hitting four different east coast cities. The Handle-Bar just happened to be the last stop on their run. With it being the last show, I knew we were in for a treat. Rowan finished up his tribute to the late great Doc Watson and invited the rest of the band out on stage. Peter introduced the band and began to get down to business.

They started off with "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and really got the crowd moving. From the looks of it The Mosier Brothers seemed to be honored to play on stage with a legend like Rowan. Jeff Mosier told a local magazine how he felt about playing with Rowan, “It's hard to explain to people. Fame is relative. To us, he's our Beatles,” said Mosier. “To me, he's the person I listened to when I was young and my mouth dropped. I wasn't a pop guy — I listened to bluegrass.” The band seemed to be showcasing a lot of Peter's original material and Jeff went on the even mentioned that they had picked around twenty songs from Rowan's catalog to play for the four show run. The chemistry on stage between The Mosier Brothers and Peter were visible within the first set of music. “We love playing with Peter. He's our hero,” Mosier said. “We have all of his records. He's one of the guys who has kept us feeling good about experimenting with bluegrass over the years."



Rowan played a handful of bluegrass songs including fan favorite, "Catfish Blues" before exiting the stage and allowing The Mosier Brothers to do their thing. I've had the pleasure of seeing The Mosier Brothers play before, so I knew what a treat we were in for. They don't call him "The Rev" Jeff Mosier for no reason. Jeff was the founding member of Blueground Undergrass, one of the earlier "jam grass" bands to hit the scene. Combining bluegrass instrumentation with the energy of rock and roll is what made Jeff the pioneer that he is today. Joining along side Jeff was his brother Johnny Mosier and former Col. Bruce Hampton bass player, Kris Dale. The band began proving to the audience that not all bluegrass music has to be acoustic. The crowd began to find themselves grooving to the sweet sounds of Jeff's electric banjo and being soothed by the sweet harmonies that the brothers produce. I found myself at times with my eyes closed trying to take in everything that the band was throwing out. A bluegrass rollercoaster is the best way to describe the jams that the brothers were creating.

After a half an hour of high energy jamgrass the band began to slow down for a quick second. Just long enough to let Peter come back out on stage to join in on the fun. Surprising everyone, including myself, Rowan was carrying an electric Gibson onto stage. The crowd began to realize how unique and special this momement was and took focused to see what was next. With the band still playing they began to slip into the tradional "Working on a Building" with much ease. Rowan wasted no time getting down with the Gibson in hand. Picking solos like he'd been playing in electric bands for years now. Peter put on a musical showcase that would cause anyone's jaw to drop straight to the ground. His style of playing was heavily blues influenced during the jams and solos. Wasting no time they jumped into the fan favorite "Panama Red." Putting a new twist on the song like I've never heard, it almost felt like a caribbean jig. The song had the crowd dancing and spinning to their hearts content. Rowan finger picked the song on electric and gave it the new sound that it deserved.

The night rolled on and the energy never left the room. The band eventually switched back to acoustic and closed off the night with a few sing-a-long's that left everyone with a smile on their face as they left the venue that night. "Midnight Moonlight" & "Walls of Time" were two that really stood out in my mind. I really hope to see more in the future from this line-up. Even Peter made a comment about the band in his interview earlier that week. “I'm excited because this band will be able to go all the way from bluegrass into the more expansive, electric sound that I did. It's really hard to find a band like that,” Rowan said. “I wanted to see what would happen if we did Bill Monroe materials both acoustically and electric. That intrigued me. There's a lot of blues in bluegrass. I'm real interested to see what we can find in there.” He eventually ended the interview by saying “It's a new thing for me, different than anything I've ever done,” Rowan said of the show. “It's a retrospective.”

Scott's Photo Gallery

www.peter-rowan.com

www.themosierbrothers.com

Say Cheese: Summer Tour 2012


Words By J-man

You asked for it and you got it! This week The String Cheese Incident will kick off their Summer 2012 Tour in Rothbury, MI at Electric Forest with three "incidents!" As has been the case in years past, SCI's involvement in this magical fest is huge and is sure to include some incredible antics. Following EFF, the boys will head home to Colorado for three nights at Red Rocks before heading west to Park City, UT then south to Flagstaff, AZ! Closing the tour is three nights in California, from Los Angeles up north to Berkeley, ending at Horning's Hideout in Oregon for four nights with the family!

June 28th - July 1st: Electric Forest- Rothbury, MI *
July 5th - 7th: Red Rocks Amphitheatre- Morrison, CO *
July 10th: Deer Valley Amphitheater- Park City, UT
July 12th: Pepsi Amphitheater- Flagstaff, AZ
July 13th: Greek Theatre- Los Angeles, CA
July 14th - 15th: Greek Theatre- Berkeley, CA
July 19th - 22nd: Horning's Hideout- North Plains, OR *

* = Stay tuned for coverage on MusicMarauders!



For this week's "Say Cheese" we've selected a show from Berkshire Mtn. Music Festival in Great Barrington, MA on August 11th, 2000!

String Cheese Incident Live at Berkshire Mtn. Music Festival on August 11, 2000.



Set: Come As You Are, Little Hands > Jam > Outside Inside, Up the Canyon, Rivertrance, Joyful Sound > Search, Texas

Head over to www.stringcheeseincident.com to purchase your tickets for the Summer 2012 Tour!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Everyone Orchestra, Dave Watts & Friends and Huckle 6.16.12


Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock
Audio By Corey Sandoval (
Kind Recordings)

Everyone Orchestra is always a special treat! Being the fan of jam and collaborations that I am, this band does everything that I hold dear in my favorite genre. EO is always jam-packed with some of the very best musicians in the scene all under the confident direction of Matt Butler who acts as the conductor. This lineup included Al Schnier, Jamie Masefield, Steve Kimock, Jen Hartswick, Marco Benevento, John Morgan Kimock, Reed Mathis, and Jans Ingber. Saturday was the second of a three night run. Friday saw a big turnout and Sunday featured an afternoon set on the patio. Due to the High Park Fire The Motet’s show at Mishawaka was canceled, so Dave Watts and Friends supported Everyone Orchestra. However first was the surprise of the evening; Huckle performed on the main stage.

Huckle is an acoustic rock outfit from Sebastopol, California. They had a down home feel to their delivery like a band around a campfire. However they were both smooth and complex in their performance. Huckle is comprised of Murph on upright bass, Ezra Lipp on drums, and Simon “Huckle” Kurth on acoustic guitar and 10-string slide. Each one of them are multi-instrumentalists and showed their prowess on their respective tools of the trade. A decent crowd gathered to see them play. I found them to be utterly enjoyable and a great way to start the evening. They did an impromptu version of their original song Ramblin’ out on the sidewalk after their set. MusicMarauders was there to catch it.



Next on the patio was Dave Watts and Friends, otherwise known as The Motet. The Motet always brings the heat and this funk filled night was no exception. Dave Watts lead the stripped down group through a series of covers and originals. The highlight of which was a sit in from Jen Hartswick that set the stage on fire. The dynamic between Garrett Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on kit continues to impress me every time I see them play together. They are perhaps the best rhythm section on the Front Range, which is saying a lot considering the pool of talent out here. Jans Ingber was on the mic a lot throughout their two set show, which was woven into the night quite nicely. Matt Grundstad sat in for most of the night on percussion freeing up Jans to play front man full time. He pulled double duty sitting in with Everyone Orchestra as well.



Everyone Orchestra always combines the best talents jam has to offer for a great live event. Super Jams as a rule can be hit or miss. It’s difficult for a group to come together having never played with one another and simply gel. They have to be incredibly talented and Butler has always been a great judge of who can handle this type of pressure. It was great to see Jaime Masefield on the stage. It has been the better half of a decade since I saw Masefield with Jazz Mandolin Project. I got a chance to talk with him and he informed me that he had been taking it easy for some time with his family. Butler began scribbling on his dry erase board and the band quickly got underway.

Everyone Orchestra Live at Quixote's True Blue on June 16, 2012.



I was awed with the young but capable John Morgan Kimock on the kit. He almost looked out of place until he began playing. Al was a treat, after watching him at Summer Camp with moe. and Floodwood it was great to see him let loose in Everyone Orchestra. Jen split her time between vocalizing the instructions on the boards and playing trumpet. Jans harmonized nicely with her when he came to the stage. Kimock Sr. held back quite a bit, playing in the shadows of the stage. However, when he was given the chance to shine he did so brilliantly. Most notably was a slide solo during the second set. Reed Mathis was simply spellbinding on the bass. He effortlessly dictated the flow like a man herding cattle through a canyon. The bass is so important to the Super Jam as a concept that without someone well versed at the position it can all go awry. Thankfully Reed knows what he is doing and helped keep everyone in check immensely. The entire two set show was a blast. It went by quickly as the crowds shifted from the patio to the inside and back again. Ending just before 2:00am, it was a great experience all around. I would have liked to have seen Pete Wall sit in with the band on Sunday, but alas it was time to head back to Fort Collins. I love forward to the return of Everyone Orchestra to Denver.

www.everyoneorchestra.com

www.themotet.net

www.hucklemusic.com

Phish: Portsmouth 6.19.12


nTelos Wireless Pavilion
Portsmouth, VA

Words By Benjamin Wilkerson
Photos By Nick Xenakis


Phish descends down the eastern seaboard corridor from the Atlantic shores of New Jersey to the windswept rivers of Portsmouth in southeast Virginia for its first ever two-night run in the city. This mid-eastern state holds a special place in the bands heart as lovers of Hampton’s mothership-shaped Coliseum and as grateful musicians to the sail-shaped canopy that covers the pavilion in Portsmouth doubling as a brilliant light canvas. Since many fans spent the previous day clamoring down the NJ Turnpike or through the Eastern Shore, the humming tailgate party outside hears constant mentions of “Cars, Trucks, Buses” as a song the ‘heads’ want for tonight’s show.

Set 1: Sample in a Jar, Party Time[1], Simple > Axilla, Tube, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky > Horn, Babylon Baby, Bathtub Gin > Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, I Didn't Know[2] > Run Like an Antelope[3]

Set 2: Back on the Train > Rift, Split Open and Melt[4] > The Mango Song > Backwards Down the Number Line[5], Limb By Limb, Shine a Light, Lengthwise[6] -> Maze[7], Cavern > Fire[8]

Encore: Mexican Cousin > Slave to the Traffic Light

[1] Carl "Geerz" Gerhard on trumpet.
[2] Trey requested that Fish tuck in his shirt; Fish complied.
[3] Lyrics changed to "Been you to tuck in your dress, man?" "Tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck" and "Tuck in your dress man, you're out of control!"
[4] Lyrics changed to "Split open and tuck."
[5] ‘Dave’s Energy Guide’ tease from Trey.
[6] Lyrics changed to "When you're there, I sleep tuckwise, and when you're tucked, I sleep you really have to tuck" and "I sleep diagonal in my tuck,"
[7] "You suck at tucking" repeated numerous times and Trey speaking like Darth Vader in the intro. Included Trey playing his guitar with his light saber.
[8] Lyrics changed to "Let the Tucker take over!"



Phish dives right into “Sample in a Jar” to gently set the mood for the evening, or at least the first set. Next, and even faking out veteran fans, the band brings out Page McConnell’s warbling organs to pump riffs that resemble the previously-mentioned desired ode to motoring, but this tune turns out to be “Party Time” to the pleasant surprise of the crowd. Mike Gordon delivers hot rhythms on the bass before guitarist Trey Anastasio introduces the bands’ longtime friend Carl “Geerz” Gerhad who toured with them in 1991 as part of a temporary brass section known as the Giant Country Horns, and who is now the executive officer of the military music school based in this region colloquially known as Pentagon South. In what is likely the longest version of “Party Time” to date, ‘Geerz’ gives us a few extra bars of peppy trumpet soloing before he takes a bow – with his shirt tucked in. This last tidbit is important.


“Simple” is broken out for the second time in two venues, albeit with several shows in between, and whose lyrics fittingly reference a band with brass instruments. They take this right into “Axilla” which delivers rocking riffs amidst an especially dazzling and colorful display by Chris Kuroda for the duration before a slight pause. Over a loud crowd, Trey jokes that he and Page will play what they think the shouting requests in the orchestra pit are enunciating. Truly in jest, they of course jump right into “Tube” and the same request happened here in Portsmouth on 6/5/2010, except the muddled ‘ooooo’ of the chant almost comes across as a boo instead of a call for “Tube”, hence the joke, and is also reminiscent of Springsteen’s fans chanting ‘Bruce’. “Kill Devil Falls” provides a bluesy continuance for a southern crowd in a venue where Trey first played with his solo band opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 2006. This rendition gives way to a touching “Water in the Sky” during the painting sunset and into the seldom seen “Horn”.

From the 2010 third solo album by bassist Mike Gordon, “Babylon Baby” makes its second ever appearance at a Phish performance. Mike counts the band off and starts with a low-frequency intro before singing his words, and Trey gives breathing room for the rest of the groups’ groove coming into the solo which makes for a smooth version this is eased into before they delve into deeper territory after the rehearsed movements. Next, a Page specialty and also a possibly reminiscent again of 6/15/2010, “Bathtub Gin” metaphorically shatters eardrums with a spectacular harmonic display on the grand piano introduction before the bubbling bass and drunken, meandering melody get the crowd moving and swaying. “Gin” revs up around the seven-minute mark with a light groove that finishes out big with a unique double-time showing of the chorus melody before the tempo is reset to normal and the song concluded. “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” makes another appearance and another repeat from the previous shows at the last stop in Atlantic City, although it still rocks out in typical fashion and seems to build on motifs begun in today’s “Kill Devil Falls”.



In satirical form of the introduction of their horn playing friend on the second song, and no doubt his armed service affiliation, the quintet shuffles guitar player and drummer as Jon Fishman takes front -stage to tuck his characteristic circle-patterned mumu into his underwear while performing in “I Didn’t Know”. After all, he has to show his respect for the vacuum cleaner solo he is about to play, while Trey now taps along on the drum kit to Gordon’s jazzy walking bass line. They ham it up just long enough to segue into “Run Like an Antelope” for the always energetic closer - but this time with an added bonus of alternate lyrics referencing ‘the tuck’, as it is now being called. They include a ‘been you to tuck in your dress man?’ quote, a ‘tuck tuck tuck’ chant instead of the usual backing vocals singing ‘run run run’, and finally ‘tuck in your dress man/you’re out of control!’ before a rigorous applause for set one is served up from the gracious and ecstatic sold-out crowd.

“Back on the Train” brings us back into improvisation for the second set music after a first set marked by hijinks that also continues a snowballing trend from the three Atlantic City shows prior. The contagious adventure of “Rift” from the 1993 album of the same name carries fans deeper into the set, followed by the first “Split Open and Melt” of the tour and year. “Rift” is the third song from the Sunday’s trivia question ad-lib which contains the ending similar to “My Friend, My Friend” and included the distinct vocal wiggle from the prior show’s “Brother” to jokingly bring it home. Complemented by another throwback from the injection of alternate lyrics ‘split open and tuck’, “Melt” brings us back into the recursive jams with some dark and dissonant movements.

Following this, the band seems to go into random territory with an atypical flow behind the song selection that brings “The Mango Song”, “Backwards Down the Number Line,” “Limb by Limb” perhaps referencing the ‘unglued’ or disjointed choices occurring ‘midair’ and with a big jam, and finalizing with the Rolling Stone’s poignant “Shine A Light” before more hilarity ensues. Just when the banter levels and jabs at the audience reach fever pitch for what seems like the first time since the 2009 reunion (or at least the since the ‘train wreck’ encore of Burgettstown, PA on 6/18/2009), this show sees an increase in crowd interaction and discussion, even compared to the last two. Fans in dresses are asked to come up on stage to tuck it into their underwear and sway along with Fishman, but much to the surprise of everyone, the first volunteer is actually commando and bears his ass for all to see while unable to tuck! A female also joins and quickly jams her Fishman-like blouse into her dress (instead of her underwear) while Trey and Fishman chastise them both with chants of ‘that tucking sucked!’ intermixed with the a capella “Lengthwise.” The first failure then lies down next to Fishman and alternates between diagonal and lengthwise to match the lyrics, no doubt in mild embarrassment. Fishman starts the steady beat that begins either “Maze” or “David Bowie” when Trey grabs a lightsaber from the crowd, and Mike uses his noise know-how to recreate the appropriate humming sound from the Star Wars movies via bass synthesizer. The joking continues as Kuroda kills the lights, leaving an electric blue streak on the stage to slide against Trey’s guitar as he begins a thrilling version of “Maze” with the lightsaber still in his hand as a prop.



Finally getting to Trey’s proclaimed favorite in New Jersey, Phish wastes no time ripping into “Maze”, also from their 1993 album Rift. He uses his foot pedals as a faux-Theremin, and then plucks the overtones that complement Page’s plinko timbre and his own accompanying lyrics. This song typically features a duel between the similar-harmonic ranges of keyboards and guitar, so it’s a fitting enclosure for Jedi horseplay. The two go back and forth before entering some super-psychedelic liquid mercury retrograde that rang out so shrill and heated into the muggy night, even shut-out fans left in the parking lot were still talking about after the show.

An abbreviated “Cavern” follows with what seems like final advice ‘whatever you do take care of your shoes’, but they smoke right into a blistering version of Hendrix’s sixties anthem “Fire” with its Jimi line changed to ‘let the tucker take over!’, which features Trey’s hot leads and big bass bombs dropped by Mike before the uproarious calls for encore.

With an encore of almost fifteen minutes overall, the first song seemingly has friends everywhere arm in arm hollering the lyrics of this Tequila infused drinking ballad right back at the band. “Slave to the Traffic Light” continues this flow gently into a soaring and uplifting conclusion.

After leaving a venue that already overlooks the historic Elizabeth River, numerous fans head over to the slip for a good spot in line to board the ferry across to their stays in Norfolk. The parking lots and gaps between the shanty-town of vendors serving refreshments and trinkets long into the night fill out with people, the bars flood again now just before midnight, and the for the final two hours until closing-time, local band Octopus keeps a cache of energetic fans entertained at the upstairs venue just across the street from the pavilion. A bit of parting Phish trivia for the day: prior to tonight’s show, Fishman’s dress remained untucked for approximately thirty years.

www.phish.com



Notes: Carl "Geerz" Gerhard sat in on trumpet for Party Time. Trey introduced Gerhard as having come to the School of Phish in 1991 and talked about Gerhard's teaching career in the Armed Services. Trey acknowledged the crowd's request by playing Tube. During I Didn't Know, Trey said that they took Fishman on the road in 1983 and he went to the Phish School of Music, adding that he was now the executive officer of the "Air Force." Trey said he didn't think Fishman should be representing the vacuum cleaners without tucking in his shirt (a.k.a. Fish's dress) and asked him to do so (Fishman complied). Antelope included alternate lyrics "Been you to tuck in your dress, man?" "Tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck" and "Tuck in your dress man, you're out of control!" Trey also said that for 30 years, Fish has been leaving his dress untucked and told everybody to tuck in their dresses. Mike, Trey, and Page tucked in their shirts before the set break bow. Split Open and Melt included the alternate lyrics "Split open and tuck." Backwards Down the Number Line contained a DEG tease from Trey. Lengthwise included an invitation for audience members to appear on stage and tuck (a few fans came on stage), contained alternate lyrics "When you're there, I sleep tuckwise, and when you're tucked, I sleep, you really have to tuck" and "I sleep diagonal in my tuck," and Trey wielding a light saber, saying "the force is weak with that one. And that one too. But the force is strong with that one." The audience was subsequently called out by Fishman, Trey, and Page, in part being told repeatedly "You suck at tucking" over the Maze intro. The Maze intro also featured Trey talking like Darth Vader, saying "I am your father, Fish. I am your father." Maze included Trey playing his guitar with his light saber. Fire contained more Tuck references, with Trey saying "Tuck it!" and the alternate lyrics "Let the Tucker take over!" Mike and Trey sported sombreros for Mexican Cousin. (Courtesy of Phish.net)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today in Grateful Dead History: Alpine Valley 1988


Alpine Valley Music Theatre
East Troy, WI

Words By J-man


I'll be honest, the 80's was not my favorite era for the Grateful Dead, or music in general for that matter. How ever, it's important to recognize the importance of that time period in regards to the band's progression. The synth-heavy material crossed with raspy vocals as the Dead's sweet sound took a side-step for raw gritty jam/rock. There is nothing all that impressive about the setlist for today's pick other than it exemplifies the material of that era. The sound is excellent, the instrumentation adventurous and by all accounts that vibe that night was very loose. Enjoy this pick from "Today in Grateful Dead history," Alpine Valley 1988!

Grateful Dead Live at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on June 23, 1988.



Set One: Iko Iko, Minglewood Blues, It Must Have Been The Roses, Me & My Uncle-> Mexicali Blues, Stagger Lee, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Bird Song, Promised Land

Set Two: Hey Pocky Way, Believe It Or Not, Women Are Smarter, He's Gone-> Drums-> Jam-> I Need A Miracle-> Gimme Some Lovin'-> All Along The Watchtower-> Morning Dew

Encore: Blackbird -> Brokedown Palace

www.dead.net

Friday, June 22, 2012

Phish: Atlantic City 6.17.12


Bader Field
Atlantic City, NJ

Words By Benjamin Wilkerson
Photos By Jim Piermarini Jr.


Father’s Day shows for Phish have a running tradition, so for the fourth year in a row, the children of all the band members appear on stage in a tin wash-bin for the duration of the first song “Brother”. The kids of Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Jon Fishman are introduced one by one, with the newest addition to the McConnell clan coming in at 8 months old, prompting Page to play “Charge!” on the organ like you would hear at a sporting event.

Set 1: Brother, Runaway Jim, Dogs Stole Things, Boogie On Reggae Woman > NICU, Foam > Wilson > Timber (Jerry), Fluffhead[1], Walls of the Cave > Character Zero

Set 2: Drowned > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Reba[2], Roses Are Free > Chalk Dust Torture > Prince Caspian[3] -> Silent in the Morning, Bug > A Day in the Life > Down with Disease[4]

Encore: Gotta Jibboo > Quinn the Eskimo

[1] Contained brief ending similar to Brother.
[2] No whistling.
[3] Unfinished.
[4] Ending similar to Brother mixed in with normal DWD ending.

The second of many fitting nods and song placement, “Runaway” Jim gets the crowd’s amperage up while seeming to reference the lengthy, runaway nature of the weekend’s improvisation, or even the ever-increasing number of children in the bathtub for “Brother”. “Dogs Stole Things” is then played by request for a young lady holding a poster with the name on it.

Next, Mike demonstrates his expert construction of unique low tones as he plays what were originally keyboard parts recorded by Stevie Wonder in his Motown smash-hit “Boogie On Reggae Woman”. As the band lightly experiments within a few instrumental measures, Page descends into the down-tempo again like yesterday, perhaps as a cue to for the rest of the band to drop out giving Mike Gordon a few measures solo, and this move is executed flawlessly before they jump into “NICU”.

Another Father’s Day nod, the NICU acronym for a hospital’s post-partum Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can also serve as a pun on the phrase “and I see you”, or even Nickel and Copper which sit side-by-side on the periodic table (NiCu), perhaps referencing small change. This special version contains many emphatic elements to no doubt tie in all the double and even triple entendres to the holiday and Atlantic location as the lyrics mention ‘A slipper, a sand dollar, day at the shore’ prompting crowd cheers. Trey even gives a little giggle when the crowd shouts and cheers for the line “back in those days when my life was a haze”. The singing trio puts extra emphasis in for the lyric ‘swim with the Cactus’, prompting the crowd to scream even more for the bassist’s desert nickname before Trey shouts the song’s customary ‘play it Leo!’ at Page to start rocking out the piano solo.


The avant-garde jazz of “Foam” comes up next and Mike playfully throws in some of the funky bass licks from “Brother” in the beginning. Another song with crowd-participation appears as the audience again chants the songs name in coordination with the band for “Wilson”, and this performance also has the vocal wiggle from “Brother” which is added when the band screams the song’s pining question ‘Can you still have any fun?’.

The blues song “Timber” was originally written in the 1930s, re-recorded in the 60s and re-emerged in the late 80s as a part of the Phish catalog. Also spontaneously including an ending like “Brother”, this new mutation leads Trey to ask the audience a trivia question regarding how many of their songs end like that and he notes that ‘tonight is a special day’ because “Timber” is the fourth song that now ends like that. The band continues with more silly banter as Trey asks Page to end “Lawn Boy” like “Brother”, and they try it out. With Metallica playing the same venue in a few weeks, Trey, still conversing, notes that they have no songs that end with a vocal wiggle, and if we all wrote them they might end “Master of Puppets” like that. It appeared that the ever-quiet Mike Gordon leaned over to Trey to whisper a song name, and finally they launch into the opening notes of the fan favorite “Fluffhead”.

“Fluffhead” contained more vocal wiggles for the chant of the song’s title and many fans join in singing and shouting along before Trey shreds a triumphant closing guitar solo with some complementary piano duet parts thrown in by Page. A rare appearance is made by the lengthy and introspective “Walls of the Cave” which lyrics recall ‘those you couldn’t save’ in one of its two distinct musical segments. In keeping with the lyrical theme of quirky people, “Character Zero” closes out an interactive set full of hijinks with a head-banging lead and shouting vocals.

The Who’s “Drowned” is a classic set two opener that typically foreshadows big improvisations. Notable occurrences of this are 7/20/2010 which led to a piece of music simply known as “Charlotte Jam”, on 8/12/2010 leading to “Noblesville Jam”, and several other mid-second set appearances like 6/20/2010 and 5/31/2011, according to phish.com. The band smokes through another cover song with a definitive, funked-up rendition of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (commonly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, or “2001” for short).

Another crowd favorite, the nursery rhyme lyrics of “Reba” are sported in a non-repeating chord progression (think a musical version of the number Pi) that culminates in a beautiful improvised peak. This song contains a quintessential element of Phish: accessible surface elements like musical wordplay which can serve to capture your attention while leading to tight compositions like the emotive and tear-inducing solo in “Reba”. Another cover is unveiled as the band strikes into Ween’s “Roses are Free” which is another tune that is quintessentially Phish-y despite not being their own, and its essence also helps summarize the bands’ unique appeal. Another energetic rocker, “Chalk Dust Torture” jams into ambient space before landing in the sing-along ballad “Prince Caspian”.

The scrapped song “The Horse” from Saturday is nearly always followed by its companion piece “Silent in the Morning” but today “Silent” makes its appearance in the segue from “Prince Caspian”, and without “The Horse” for an occurrence that has happened only a half-dozen times in history. During this number and under the rest of the nighttime darkness, Chris Kuroda’s new addition of LEDs to the light show which debuted this tour appear so bright, piercing and powerful that it renders glowsticks practically obsolete and they are visible as lifeless white plastic flying through the air when the crowd is basked in the new rigs’ vibrant luminescence, which at a show like this is nearly constant. Kuroda displays his new techniques during the harmonious layers of “Silent” and into the contemplative yet energetic “Bug”.

Still showing off their complex chops, Phish nails The Beatle’s “A Day in the Life” while throwing in more vocal wiggles among the spacey-noise created in the dissonance of its bittersweet lyrics. This song is often a set closer or encore, but to the audience’s surprise, Mike mucks right into the swampy bass intro for “Down with Disease”, and then Trey opens up his staccato lead riff into a high energy closer. The lyrics seem to shout out to the crowd once again on the final eve of this stop in New Jersey with the lines ‘this has all been wonderful/but now I’m on my way”, before comically ending once again in the manner of “Brother”!

For the encore, Bob Dylan’s “Quinn the Eskimo” acts as a giant cherry atop the triple-layer cake that was this run of shows. A fitting end for an exciting weekend, it follows the first encore song “Gotta Jibbo’s” cries of ‘mama sing sang’ and ‘papa sing sang’ that again note a memorable Father’s Day.

We stayed next to the newer airport that replaced the aging runways of the venue, Bader Field, a 142-acre site which was formerly the first U.S. municipal airport for both land-based and sea planes. The next morning I awoke to the noticeable rumble of jet engines lumbering by overhead, hearing them for the first time all weekend, undoubtedly carrying swaths of Phish fans home while still grinning ear to ear.

www.phish.com



Notes: For the fourth Father's Day in a row, "Brother" was performed and featured all of the band's children on stage and subsequent introductions (which included a Charge! from Page). After "Timber," Trey sang the ending notes to "Brother." Trey then said he had a trivia question for the crowd and asked "how many songs end like this?" and the band sang the ending of "Brother" again. He answered the question by saying the songs were "My Friend, My Friend," "Rift," and "Brother" (all of which had their endings "sung"). Trey added that tonight was special because from now on, "Timber" would also end with the "Brother ending" (which was sung again). Trey said Page could also end "Lawn Boy" that way from now on, prompting a "Lawn Boy" quote from Page. Mike then teased Ha Ha Ha. Trey went on to say that Metallica would be playing at Bader Field soon after Phish and that he didn't think they ended a single song like the ending of "Brother" (Trey sang the ending). Trey said if everyone wrote Metallica a note saying "Dear Metallica, please end 'Master of Puppets' like this" (singing the ending one final time), if they got 20,000 notes, they just might do it. "Fluffhead" and "Down With Disease" subsequently had endings similar to "Brother" mixed in with their normal finishes. "Reba" did not contain the whistling ending and "Caspian" was unfinished. (Courtesy of Phish.net)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Phish: Atlantic City 6.16.12


Bader Field
Atlantic City, NJ

Words by Benjamin Wilkerson
Photos By Jim Piermarini Jr.


Congregating fans amass outside the gates in the lots of Bader Field under the pleasant New Jersey sun and around food trucks, picnic tables, and parked cars. With many planning attendance for all three nights, they are no doubt waiting in anticipation of what should be another colorful and exuberant evening with Phish.

Set 1: Mike's Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove[1], Gumbo, Halley's Comet > My Friend, My Friend, Wolfman's Brother, The Horse[2], Lawn Boy, Possum[3] > Punch You In the Eye > Ocelot, Suzy Greenberg

Set 2: Crosseyed and Painless > Slave to the Traffic Light > Light[4] -> Manteca -> Light[5] > Theme From the Bottom > Golgi Apparatus > Sand[4] > Backwards Down the Number Line > Run Like an Antelope

Encore: Good Times Bad Times

[1] Nellie Kane tease.
[2] Aborted.
[3] Lawn Boy and Stash teases.
[4] Crosseyed quotes.
[5] Manteca tease; Crosseyed quotes.

The band kicks off with a musical selection that feels more like a third set of one show and a true continuation of the day before with the song-sandwich known as Mike’s Groove. The first of the three tunes, “Mike’s Song” has only been played in the first position of the first set a handful of times in Phish’s twenty-plus year career. “I Am Hydrogen” serves as the filling for this three-hit jam combo, and is only played as a standalone in Mike’s Groove about one in every four appearances in recent years. A succinct “Gumbo” is served up next before the food-for-thought of “Halley’s Comet” blasts off and lands into “My Friend, My Friend.”

The ubiquitous giggle at the end of “My Friend, My Friend” sets up a series of repeats and throwbacks throughout the weekend (akin to ‘Woo!’ shouts from the previous days’ “Twist”, and even their “Saw It Again” spoof on 6/27/2010) and this sound later prompts some hilarious banter when the mere thought of the noise causes Trey Anastasio to kill the intro to “The Horse” and start talking. In a set already featuring Mike Gordon prominence and with drummer Jon Fishman volunteering his opinion of the ending being discussed, Trey poses the question to Page McConnell which spontaneously brings them all into his favorite, the lounge ballad “Lawn Boy”, which he sings. After a deep bass solo in “Lawn Boy”, “Possum” re-launches the big improvisations and includes teases from “Lawn Boy” and “Stash” played the previous day, then segues in “Punch You In The Eye”, and finishes with a definitive version of “Ocelot” that clocks in alone at over eleven minutes and easily stands out as a set highlight. Finishing off round 1 (or is it 3?), “Suzy Greenberg” is presented as a classic bookend and also featured some hot licks on the keys by Page ‘The Chairman of the Boards’ to close out the first set.

Since playing the entire Remain in the Light album as a Halloween “musical costume” by eighties new-wave legend Talking Heads, Phish has added songs like “Crosseyed and Painless” to their vast repertoire. With Fishman singing the characteristic rap/rant, the band jams right on through the ‘Still waiting’ lyrical chant, includes more musical throwbacks to the last three sets, and even inserts some more ‘Woo!’ yells a la yesterday’s “Twist”. Phish holds no pause for applause and jumps right into symphonic melodies of “Slave to the Traffic Light”. They continue the segue trend through the rest of the entire set; next into “Light” which seamlessly blends into a brief take on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca”, and then flows right back into the ending of “Light”. The second portion of Light sees more big improvisation that has “Stash”, “Birds of a Feather”, and “Manteca” riffs and ‘still waiting’ quotes from “Crosseyed and Painless” before Page hits keys on the down-tempo, leading the music to ambient spaces and then into “Theme From the Bottom”.

After running through fairly standard renditions of “Theme From the Bottom” and “Golgi Apparatus”, the band shifts gears up high into ten minutes of the funk vehicle “Sand" that sees more “Crosseyed and Painless” quotes among the oozing organ and popping bass. A poignant ballad, “Backwards Down The Number Line” lyrically captures the happiness of longtime friendship and Trey even laughs a little while singing the chorus before his solo. The silly energy of “Run Like an Antelope” caps off a stellar set, and Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times” rocks the encore crowd out into the night and streets of Atlantic City, once again. Judging by the comedic banter alone, the band is clearly relaxed and having fun while still delivering a dazzling performance, and this leaves many fans very excited for the finale of day three.

www.phish.com



Notes: "Weekapaug" contained a Nellie Kane tease from Trey. "The Horse" was quickly aborted with Trey saying instead of playing "Horse," he started thinking about how stupid the ending to My Friend, My Friend was and it threw him off. Fishman said that he thought the ending was the greatest ending in rock history, that he loved it, and it was his favorite ending. Trey said "Maze" was his personal favorite, prompting quick teases of the end of Maze by himself and Page. Trey asked Page what his favorite song was and Page responded with "Lawn Boy," which the band subsequently played. "Possum" contained "Lawn Boy" and "Stash" teases. "Light" contained a "Manteca" tease from Page and "Crosseyed and Painless" quotes. "Sand" also contained "Crosseyed and Painless" quotes. (Courtesy of Phish.net)