Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: Top version of “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters>Back on the Train”, Fun “Weekapaug Groove” with Fish on guitar
From Mike Guzaski:
TSUMANI THREAT IMMINENT!
2012.06.28 – WAVES
“Waves” remains a budding 2.0 composition off the much-overlooked Round Room album that I view as a classic and one of Phish’s best studio releases. The song emits a feel of a cool breeze accompanying a sunrise or sunset, with toes spread out on the sand. There are open and majestic opportunities in the jam sequence that have yet to be capitalized on a routine basis. Phish has used it in a focal jam spot on many occasions, either as a set 2 opener or deep in set 2, hinting at their desire to allow it to cosmically find its spot and organically grow when the tides deem it able to do so. The song has yet to turn into the real improvisational centerpiece it is capable of becoming, as a short resume of only 24 offerings exist.
The most notable version exists in soundcheck form, a pre-Bethel Woods performance that remains an oft-visited Turntable.fm spin. “IT” contains the only other 20 minute version (depending on your inclusion of the soundcheck for statistical purposes), but in 2.0 fashion as well as “IT” is very spacious yet wandering. 2003 saw “Waves” appear regularly without tchotchke flair buttons, and 2004 saw a glimpse of what its forces were capable of being used for on 6.20.04 at SPAC. 10 versions have been played in 3.0, skipping 2010 altogether. While the Red Rocks 2009 Billy Kreutzman version is nice, “Waves” really didn’t make its introduction into current Phish as a jam litmus test until back-to-back nights starting with “The Bethel Waves Soundcheck” followed by the beautiful version on the opening night of summer tour 2011.
UIC 2011 night 1 saw “Waves” serve as a transitional piece that requires the accompanying “Undermind” as much as the “Undermind” requires “Waves” (or, for that matter, the entire “Elements set”). The first of 2012’s two versions was dusted off amidst cornfields in Noblesville, IN on June 28th. Phish took the tarp off this “Waves,” priming the engines before pulling it out of the barn for a test drive to see what muscle it had in it. This version reminds me of this scene from “The Watch” and the effects of what Phish can bestow upon an unassuming song, set, or crowd on any specific night. Based on where this song has shown it’s capable of going and the transcendent nature of how it can affect the before and after moments of its presence, I really hope it becomes more of a catalyst for these opportunities.
Leaping deep into set 2 at Deer Creek, yet another glanced-over “Mike’s Song” left mouths watering. But a “McGrupp” locked the band and audience into a ride that continued with “Back on the Train,”a “Psycho Killer”/“HYHU” near mash-up and finally gliding into the serene “Prince Caspian.” At a point where the band seemed like they might take “Caspian” for an extended outro, Trey’s guitar acts as gear shift from the unfinished “Prince Caspian” into those fluid repetitive notes of “Waves.”
At 2:21, Trey begins delicately dancing on the froth being churned below from Page, Mike and Fish. The knife was sharpened and blade ready to exact pinpoint accuracy on its attack of the jam. You could hear it developing by 3:15, as Page starts nudging into the spotlight beside Trey with powerful licks. This charges Trey into another realm as Page follows on his heels. Their play swirls with a frenzied pace as they build off one another until 4:56, where the first distinct deep dive of the jam occurs. Trey begins to build some really strong ripples of trills as this “Waves” has gone weightless in the blink of an eye. Lock down the hatches! As Page hammers away on his keys, supplying a layer of delicate thunder, Trey delves into his pedals and effects.
At 5:38, Trey has subsequently wrestled the helm of the entire spacecraft into his control and veers it into murkier and funkier waters by the 5:58 mark. Kicking up sludge, Gordon throws on his mudders and head bobs his way in search of the Swamp Thing right after Trey. Page’s grand piano remains the last semblance of Type I “Waves” as he digs into his arsenal of toys, and we’ve gone full Type 2 at 6:52. The funky sludge hits you like a foul odor until 7:27 where Gordon takes to the jungle with his machete, carving openings for all to follow. Page squirts on the mustard, leading this jam into the ethereal and another substantial shift in theme occurs. At 8:19, Trey dances back in subtly, while Gordon has emerged as a more prominent navigator. Trey builds a sonic whirlpool as Gordon carves notches and pockets that Page and Fish fill seamlessly. Trey’s whale call makes a graceful appearance, breaching the waters aside Paul Watson’s “Sea Shepherd” until the Nisshin Maru sends a meatball harpoon into the waters at 9:40. The two tangle shortly while the whale wins out and arches into a wash of colorful hues at 10:30. This leads to a cry from the depths at 11:30, as a few more fireballs from the afterburners are shot by Gordon. But that’s the last thing you see, as the craft begins to slowly drift into the distance as “Bug” appears from the heavens. On the wind and underwater.
Caution: Mike will break into dance. A weekend barista, mix-tape extraordinaire, wanna-be sommelier, craft beer addict, and uncanny parallel parker. Mike is awaiting baseball cards to become traded again so he can cash in on his early years of nerdism. He enjoys buffalo wings, and pizza. His mind was blown when someone decided to combine these two tasty meals into one. He also likes gadgets and writing things that make him laugh. He currently has acquired about 7 different sets of ear buds, yet never has a pair when he needs them most. In recent years, he’s made the shift from boxers to briefs.
Occasionally, he has a thought he feels he should post to Twitter, but usually forgets what it was before having the ability to do so. The Onion awaits his services. His work has been featured on thebarnspresents.com and he can be followed on Twitter at @312mrg.
Favorite Ghost: Copenhagen 07/02/98