Selection: “Rock and Roll>2001>Tweezer->Cities->The Wedge”
From Dianna Hank:
Jones Beach 2013 was the most arduous Phish show I’ve ever attended. Granted, I’ve only been doing this for a handful of years, wasn’t at Coventry, and never had to evacuate a venue halfway through the show due to “severe weather concerns” but still… It was pretty rough. While it’s certainly not the BEST place to see a show (Boo, mandatory beer tent!), Jones Beach is my home venue and it holds a special place in my heart . It’s where I saw my 1st concert ever, my 1st Phish concert ever, and it’s the venue I wrote last year’s write up about, too. So, when I saw it listed on the 2013 summer tour dates, I was excited to get back there.
Upon arriving to the lots that Wednesday, it had already begun to drizzle a little bit. I had “planned ahead” by bringing a shitty old nylon jacket to protect myself and wearing a dress to combat the previous days’ heat and humidity. Fast-forward to two hours later when the rain had not only not stopped but picked up significantly and I was regretting a lot of things…
Still optimistic about the possibility of the rain letting up once the show began, we headed in, already pretty soaked, and took our seats. Once we got up there, we realized something that wasn’t overly apparent on the ground — it was windy. Really windy. That strong, cold wind blowing in from right off the water paired with the unceasing downpour made for a pretty uncomfortable situation. But we were at Phish! So I sucked it up, tried to think warm thoughts, and got excited for the show to begin.
While the “Chalkdust” opener was the perfect, high-energy start to the show that we needed to get our blood pumping and our body temperatures up, the remainder of the set was a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of energy levels. “Ocelot” early on slowed everything down and had most of shivering again, blinking often to try to keep the sideways rain out of our eyes.
I’d kill to be baking like a snake in the sun right now….
The almost tauntingly obvious water references in “A Songs I Heard The Ocean Sing” and “Water in the Sky” were met with somewhat hostile smiles as the bone-dry band seemed not to realize just how miserable conditions were on the other side of the rail. “Beauty of a Broken Heart” followed by “Sugar Shack” solidified this theory and my internal pleas for faster, more raging songs to get me dancing and warm me up continued.
What have we done to deserve this?
“BDTNL” into the summer’s first “Reba” followed by a killer “Bowie” ended the set on a high note but as soon as setbreak started, I realized that I couldn’t just stand there in the freezing cold wind and rain for a half hour or I was going to get sick. We retreated downstairs (along with the rest of the entire audience) into this new “lounge” they had set up which was basically just an enclosed area with a bunch of outdoor patio furniture in it. It was crowded and stunk of wet wooks. I was struggling.
After a half hour of huddling up to strangers like emperor penguins, hoping to generate enough warmth to get us through the second set, we heard “Rock and Roll” start up and figured that was our cue to head back out there. Somewhat reluctantly, we entered the now wind tunnel-esque staircase and began to climb back to our seats. It’s hard to put into words the amount of utter relief and elation I felt when I emerged from the stairwell and it wasn’t raining anymore but it felt something like this:
Page was singing what we all felt — “It was alright!” We were going to make it through this together! We had stuck with it through the first set and these next 52 minutes of nonstop music were our reward for hanging in there. As is often the case at Jones Beach & MSG, the “New York station” lyric provoked a huger than normal cheer from the crowd and you could tell the band was bringing it. Fishman’s intensity was unmistakable and I knew we were in for something special. The intro to “Rock and Roll” is pretty standard but clean and aggressive. Trey takes off soaring at the 5:30 mark into a gorgeous, major key section and the four of them continue attacking this jam together. There is no fucking around going on onstage. It sounds like the song could be drawing to a close around 7:30 which still would’ve left us with an impressive peak but in reality, the end is nowhere in sight. Even Page seems to think they’re done, coming back in with vocals but at 8:20, Trey tells them differently. They start to dive downwards, a common starting point to many awesome jams and it sounds like the song could be coming to a close again at 9:45 but we’re still far from it. More exploration and diving downwards follow. By 11:20, they’re starting to get spacey. Trey is still leading but the whole band is gelling together well. Glorious loops from Trey start at the 13 minute mark with Page backing and adding to the uplifting mix. This is exactly the euphoria-inducing kind of jam the audience needed after the bone-chillingly cold 1st set. The goosebumps on my arms are not from the freezing wind anymore but rather, from this beautiful groove they’ve settled into together. This is what I came here for. Around 17:25, Trey takes an evil turn and yanks us down from that floating, blissful happy place. We’re back to the lightness by 18:30 but then things begin to dissipate. It sounds as if the jam is coming to an end and then…
BOOM. Positively seamless drop into “2001”. This feels like the most perfect thing that could’ve followed those last 20 minutes. “Rock & Roll” got our blood pumping and this will keep us dancing. The band sounds tight with Fishman particularly on point. This crowd pleaser is certainly lifting morale. Page on clav with Fishman on cowbell is making it extra funky. The only complaint I had about this 2001 was that it was too short. At 5:45, it clocks in at a fairly average length but I was appreciating the opportunity to dance and warm myself so I didn’t want it to end… Until I heard what was to come next!
The band had to have planned this set backstage during setbreak because, before the final “2001” peak has even finished ringing, Trey sets off into “Tweezer” and the crowd absolutely erupts. The whole band is locked in. By the drop at 28:19, everyone’s ready to get this thing started. A little bit of Page McFrampton on the vocoder-like talk box adds a nice touch. They nail the return and Trey takes the reins on this jam. At 34:31, they begin to float upwards towards that blissful airy place again and by 35:11, we’re solidly amongst the clouds. Trey’s laying down these beautiful loops accompanied by Page’s tender ivory tickling. Listening back to this section knowing what was coming next, you can hear “Cities” begin from Trey around 36:26 but it’s very subtle & then disappears before the segue.
By 37:26, Fishman has begun “The Wedge” drums but Trey says no & starts “Cities.” Fishman still seems to be playing “The Wedge” drums almost 20 seconds into the beginning of “Cities” until he finally gives in. This segue (aka forced, Trey-led detour) seems a little bit abrupt although still fluid. Throughout almost the whole song, you can still hear Fishman playing “The Wedge” drums. After a little fun interplay from Trey & Page around 42:15 and a riff from Trey at 43:13 that will get stuck in your head, everyone descends together at 43:38 and settles into something really beautiful. I’m pretty sure Page is teasing DEG at 44:11 but that’s up to @bizarchive to decide.
Fish returns back to the full-on “Wedge” drums & Trey finally succumbs. This segue is really smooth. While the previous water references had annoyed me, I happily sang along with “the ocean flowing in our veins, the salt that’s in our tears.” This “Wedge” peaks multiple times, signifying the culmination of this awesome, 5-song start to the set, and they close it out nicely together. The end of this song marks their first stop in playing after 52 straight minutes of music! Pretty impressive for a bunch of old men, if you ask me 😉
From Dianna Hank:
Dianna has attended the last 20 Phish shows & will be attending the next 7, as well. (She has as wedding she has to go to on the night of Randall’s 2 that she’s pretty bummed about…) She thinks you should give this one Phish tribute band, The Lawn Boys, a chance. She can’t wait to hear (Sing) Monica again this summer. She owns a wingsuit and is still pissed about the album title change. She makes lots of noob-ass observations over at @Dianna_2Ns on Twitter.
Favorite Ghost: Since I already did this last year (and said 12/31/10), I’m going to instead say my favorite Ghost I saw last year and that would have to be Hampton 2. What an awesome set 2 opener!
A serious Phish lover and friend to all friends of Phish. Dianna brings great energy to the community and to the shows I have seen with her. She also helps out The Daily Ghost whenever I need something!