25 in 25 of 2015 #16 08/12/2012 The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA (Dave Calarco, @MrMiner)
In 2015, Phish’s most prolific year since their comeback, they littered summer tour with jaw dropping jams. However one stood head and shoulders above the rest exuding mastery, magic and the IT factor that fuels our devotion to this crazy experiment—the Philly ‘Twist.” This jam not only floored the audience, but also stunned the band, as illustrated by their extended pause upon its conclusion. A collective sense of awe pervaded the moment at the Mann, a sense that something huge—something significant—had just gone down. The Philly “Twist” transcended any conventional sense o an awesome jam, touching upon Phish’s raison d’etre while plunging the depths of creation.
This wasn’t just a tour highlight; when the dust settled it immediately vaulted into the conversation of elite “Twists” of all-time. Executed with delicacy and one-minded responsiveness, each and every note offered received a subtle response from the other three band members. There was no lag or sense that any one musician was thinking of what they should play, the sounds flowed effortlessly forming a whole far greater than the sum of its parts.
The jam slipped into a mellow, cerebral darkness right off the bat as the band hit a cohesive stride immediately. Sculpting ideas with a virtuosity that surpassed even their best nights of summer, Phish slipped into a trance-like fluency with which they collectively crafted a complete and majestic journey. Executed with such precision and accuracy, this jam jumped off the stage with vitality, energy and a narrative arc that enraptured the audience’s imagination. Rolling through themes with a connected purpose, the guys wove a musical tapestry that likened the soundtrack to the universe.
And just when you thought they had concluded their voyage through deep space, Fishman started up a slow drumbeat that initiated a second part of the jam that would end in pure triumph. Slowly building over the course of minutes, the jam exploded in a peak in which Trey tore off cathartic melodies that sounded like music you’d known your entire life—familiar, divine and utterly of the soul.
Though Phish unfurled many awe-inspiring jams last summer, none can hold up to the complete command on display in Philadelphia that July evening. Taking a song that had shone all tour and elevating it to the heavens, Phish left a trail of treasure—moments that we love—at the Mann in the unquestionable peak of summer tour.