Monday, October 25, 2010

Phish 23 October 2010 @ Mullins Center in Amherst, MA

I was excited to get back into the Phish scene this weekend in Amherst, MA.  I saw five shows this summer, and was definitely feeling a void after a whole two live Phish-less months.

But before I could get to the show, I had to do one of my own...

I sang, then booked it.  After a mad rush and some momentary confusion (where the hell are we?!), I finally made it into the Mullins Center just in time for Big Black Furry Creature From Mars (which I had never seen live before!).  It was short, but exciting nonetheless.  After a little more confusion (where the hell am I?!), I finally settled in and was ready to enjoy the show.  

The next thing I know, Trey's on drums and Fishman's gearing up the vacuum cleaner.  He sang and soloed over the Syd Barret's tune Love You.  There were victory laps.

The band launched into Tweezer Reprise, which immediately brought me back to that awesome ending to the 6/18/10 show in Hartford... But this time around was a little different.  In fact, this version could be more aptly titled 'Meatstick Reprise,' and here's why:

My reaction went something like: ...did that actually just happen? 
It did.  And it was awesome. 

The second set had a great song selection; they were the kind of tunes that I don't immediately jump to on my iPod, but I never end up regretting it when I do.  The set began with the murky bass line of Down With Disease, a great version which segued into My Friend My Friend quite nicely; the DwD jam was showing signs of going nowhere, and the opening guitar riff of MFMF cut right through.  

Maze proved to be the highlight of my night, despite the following Hood and YEM - sorry I'm not sorry.  I tend to gravitate to the songs that I have the strongest visual imagery for, and although YEM is definitely up there, Maze takes the cake.  I see radar blips, giant monsters, and racecars (among other things) when I hear this song.  Normal?  Probably not.

But enough about me.  The song itself was incredibly played on Saturday, with great buildup into a hellish jam.  Page took the lead on this one; he delivered motion, lots of color, and even more importantly, lots of dissonance.  When he finally decided to return to the glorious main theme, the crowd cheered like there was no tomorrow.  Trey slowly took over and led the music into another high-energy jam.  Hm.  I'm beginning to think there's something to this tension-release thing I've been talking about... 

Daddy-o has been promoting the idea that Wading in the Velvet Sea would be a great tune to try out a cappella.  At first I was skeptical (covering Phish?  Are we crazy college kids up to the challenge?), but after hearing it Saturday night and imagining it in terms of arrangement (cue my inner music theory scholar), I'm sort of... bent on doing it.  What a powerful performance that could be.

Unfortunately, I didn't end up feeling too good about Hood that night.  I hate to sound like a jaded old Phan when I say this, but I've seen better.  I just didn't feel anything special behind this one.  YEM was a quite different case.  Not only was it well-played, but there was a ton of energy and really interesting jamage. 

And contrary to what everyone else seems to think, I love the vocal jam.  It's a continuation of the jam that was happening before, but using a different medium.  And I think the way this article describes it as "an eerie, improvised a cappella that finished with piercing, unison screams, then faded to nothing" is incredibly apt (and quite possibly poetic!).

Why does the moss look electric green?


  1. Sounds like an awesome show. Wish I had been there!

  2. Love the Meatstick Reprise video. Thanks for pulling this here.