25 in 25 of 2016: #7 07/01/2016 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY (Craig Hillwig, @chillwig)
7/1/2016 – SPAC “Chalk Dust Torture”
When I heard that the Baker’s Dozen run would start on July 21, 2017, I immediately had a flashback to the Summer ‘97 U.S. Tour that started on the same date twenty years earlier in Virginia Beach. Summer ‘97 was a pretty magical time to be a Phish fan. After using two Europe tours to refine a slew of new originals in small venues, the band took the U.S. by storm with an ambitious tour that skipped westward through the Southern States, up the West Coast, then through the Midwest before the climactic Great Went. Naturally, the new tunes were in heavy rotation, and several such as “Ghost,” “Piper,” and “Twist” quickly became jam vehicles.
By halfway through the tour, however, pretty much all of the new songs had been played but one. We didn’t know the title for certain, but we assumed from the Europe tapes that it was either “Lucy With a Lumpy Head” or “Carini Had a Lumpy Head.” Regardless, we really wanted to see it. One of our crew saw Mike in the lot at the Gorge and asked if they were ever going to play it. We were more than a little deflated when Mike responded, dryly, “It’s not a real song.” And sure enough they didn’t play it that Summer. Nor did they play it that Fall. But if you were at MSG on 12/30/97 when they blew past curfew and encored with it, the exhilaration of that moment made it more than worth the wait. Twenty years later, “Carini” is now fortunately part of the Phish jam pantheon.
Today’s installment of “25-in-25” is not about a “Carini” per se, although it segues out of the very good version that Phish played at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on July 1, 2016. Flash back with me, if you will ….
“CDT” T-Minus 5:40: This “Carini” is great after that “Sand.” Is Trey is doing some licks from “The Rover” here?
“CDT” T-Minus 1:30: Some similar LZ-sounding licks here but it’s more like ….
“CDT” 00:00: “Chalk Dust Torture!” In the 3 slot after two good jams? Could go either way….
“CDT” 00:52: Unhurried tempo allowing Trey to emote a little more on the lyrics.
02:28: Trey’s getting feisty with some extra emphasis on “plug the distress tube up tight!”
03:03: Can I live while I’m young?
03:14: Jam starts. Let’s do this.
03:49: Trey switches effects. Multiplexer/octave divider? IDK but listen to Fish’s break beats!
05:50: Trey switching effects with greater frequency before finally dropping back with some delay loops. Over the next several minutes, smatterings of mutron and digital delay. And the crybaby.
09:00: Trey is hanging back and laying textures while Mike and Fish talk it out in the space he’s creating. Patient or passive aggressive? Page on piano.
09:30: Mike layers on some phasing and Trey comes back out front and just like that the jam is out of the murk and into the sunlight. Page settling in on Lil’ Punkin. Love that guy.
10:37: Sounds like the ripcord is upon us. Wait no. Just got weird. Not giving up on this yet. Oh yeah here comes the plinko. And some wood blocks. And some straight up synth from Page. Looks like we’re getting a sampler jam.
13:00: Ok now it’s settling back into a rock beat and beginning to pick up steam. AND WE’RE OFF!!!! Trey with a high clean soaring melodic solo, with Fish picking up momentum.
14:00: Wait I know this jam … soaring … climbing … [FLASHBACK TO CAMDEN 1999]
16:15: Marimba Lumina is too tempting for Trey. Shift to moody but not for long. Trey latches on to a note sequence that sounds like it could have been lifted from The Lion King.
19:15: No sign of slowing at almost 20 minutes as Mike sits down at the piano accompanying Page on the Hammond. Percussive dance party.
21:54: Trey and Mike back on their respective guitars. Looking like the set of the tour so far.
22:35: Oh snap is it Caspian? Yup. Caspian.
About Craig Hillwig: You may know Craig from his negative show recaps on phish.net. These days, he barely gets by on his self-promoted reputation as an “old school taper” and defunct Twitter parody accounts.