26 in 26 #19 08/02/2013 Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA (Kenny Mitchell, @kernelforbin) #phish
Selection: “Seven Below”
From Kenny Mitchell:
Out West. What an absolutely amazing time. The only time we (my girlfriend Julia aka MillyGrace42) and I had been ‘out west’ for Phish was for the past two years of Dick’s (and that is damn near in the middle of the country). We started off with a simply perfect Gorge experience, on to Tahoe for two nights we will surely never forget, and then capped it off with three nights in San Fran. Phish out West is different and it is hard to imagine missing them out there ever again. Music aside, you have a whole different group of tour rats bouncing around with you place-to-place, lovely weather (which was quite welcome after the slew of storms we had in the East), and stunning scenery throughout. Who the hell knew Oregon was one of the most beautiful places on Earth? Don’t answer that, plenty probably did.
Bill Graham was an excellent cap to our string of shows. It was great to be in such a historic and intimate venue. Free was a perfect opener for our good buddy Matt (aka RockyBoulders) as it was his first show of the tour — he finally made it, free at last! Plenty of highlights throughout this show, but won’t bother going through the whole thing. I’ll just move along to what I came here for… “Seven Below.”
“Seven Below” is one of my all time favorite Phish songs. Every single jam out of it is worth hearing in my opinion. I will never forget my first one at MSG in 2009. The lead riff ringing out will forever be associated with yellow and red lights in my mind. I just love that damn riff. Because of my love for that riff, you can imagine my disappointment when Trey just could not hit the damn thing at BGCA! Most of the composed section had me going…
C’mon Trey… you got this… just get it… no, okay, I forgive you. It’s all about the big payoff anyway, and I knew it was coming. The whole place, the band included I’m sure, let out a heavy sigh of relief around 2:25 when the last notes rang out and they sprung into the jam section. One go around of the rhythm riff and Trey begins layering patiently.
The entire band hangs back (other than Mike with extremely tasteful fills) and they lay a rock solid base for Page to work his magic. I love when Page has room to breathe like this, absolutely beautiful music from him. He really took the reins in the beginning of this jam and got everyone on the right foot. Pure joy sings out of his rig as he delicately hits all of the right notes to bring us in to ethereal bliss, and then… Page moves over to the baby grand and begins mashing away. No longer is he playing subtly. While still as delightful as the beginning of the jam, he is now attacking with much intent. Mike is still doing his thing, as he does, effortlessly dropping fill after fill, slide after slide, run after run.
This whole time Trey is back there, building, building, waiting for his moment to strike. He let it go for about two and a half minutes before he found the perfect opportunity. He comes in with a few muted notes and lets it rip with a slicing bend at 4:50. Trey goes after the wheel but Page isn’t ready to let it go. Trey responds amicably by following right behind every move Page makes. After a bit of a copycat session, Trey begins honking away and the other members keep at what they’re doing. Mike still back there… bass line after bass line, endless creativity. Page hammering away, crisp, clear and deliberate. Let us not forget Fishman, who has been working his ass off with the lightest of touches and superb snare work.
The band picks up on Trey’s direction around 7:00 and falls into a more staccato, or plinko, jam. This carries on, Page and Trey still right on each others’ heels, until Mike drops the big bombs o’ fuzz he has been known for as of late. Fishman briefly moves to double time and then it all drops out. Mike leaves a lot more room for Fishman to take over the fills with more top notch snare and tom work. Cactus has completely cleared the air as he descends the fretboard, fuzz thick and resonating.
The band is operating together now, playing back and forth in a groove akin to “Undermind.” You could feel what was coming next. You knew it was going to happen. CK makes the space between the notes stand out like a sore thumb. The crowd begins to casually chime in at each turn around. Some people are resisting. Resistance is futile, it is inevitable at this point. Trey’s ear catches the half-hearted attempts from the crowd then turns around to Fishman. Yep… here it comes.
Now we know this wasn’t the first WOO since the “Tweezer” back in that casino parking lot, but it was the first inside of a ‘Type 2’ jam. Love it or hate it, this was happening and Trey was absolutely energized by it. Much like the ripping notes that came out of the Tahoe Tweezer woos, Trey unleashed riffs that cut through the air like a razor sharp knife. Something about those woos really inspire Trey to get after it. In-your-face simple rock riffs that somehow land so perfectly. Three minutes of WOO-fueled rock that you can’t hate, no matter how hard you try. Okay, I know that’s not true, plenty of people won’t have to try at all to hate it, and that’s okay! Seems like Mike has had his share of WOO’ing for the night and pushes “Seven Below” proper. The band begins to wrap things up… except at super speed.
Final Thoughts: If I may echo what I said to start this thing, “Seven Below” is just an all around killer song. It can be under 9 minutes or over 25 and it will still bring the heat. Only one version comes to mind that was completely cut short and that would be Greek ‘10 but man, what a cool segue into “Weekapaug Groove!” The version from BGCA 2013 is no exception to this rule. It gets everything done that I want out of a jam. It may not go on and on, but it does explore, the band does jam together. Completely unique and cohesive music was played and well, it’s hard to ask for much more.
From Kenny Mitchell:
The Denver “Ghost” is one that I really just can’t get enough of. It seems like a crime to have to choose between Denver and Radio City, but if I must, I choose Denver. The Radio City “Ghost” is full of great blissful Phish. The Denver “Ghost” has a very blissful section and then a full on funky-as-hell segment. It pulls ahead for me, however slightly it may be.
Kenny has proven to me and many others what a valuable part of the Phish community he is. He spends countless hours remastering, setting up full show replays, and helping to improve the listening experience for Phish fans. Kenny is the creator of the Turntable Phish Room where many projects/ideas have formed. Check it out, a great place to listen to great Phish and meet some remarkable fans.
I can’t thank him enough for all the work he does to help me.
Kenny runs an insane amount of Phish content…Here is the list