Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: Biggest bustout in Phish History “Skin It Back”, second “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, Ripping “Run Like an Antelope”
From Dianna Hank:
Jones Beach is a venue that holds a very special place in my heart. Not only is it the spot where I saw my very first concert (Blink-182, Green Day & Saves The Day in 2002, so punk rawk) but it’s also the place where I first saw Trey play (with G.R.A.B., opening for Phil and Friends in 2006) and where I was lucky enough to experience my first Phish show on 8/17/10. That being said, I was pretty psyched to hear that the boys were coming back to my “home venue” for a 2-day run on July 3rd & 4th last summer.
Being fortunate enough to have caught the hit-the-ground-running tour opener at Worcester and having had the time of my life over the 3-day semi-fest in AC, I knew this band was playing unlike any of the other times I had seem them. I was ready to pack my bags and go on tour! As it were, Jones Beach and SPAC were the only 2 remaining runs on my agenda for the entire summer and they were happening almost back-to-back. 5 shows in 6 days. Oh boy.
After wandering the Jones Beach lot the 1st night, my boyfriend and I trek up to our mezzanine level seats (thanks a lot, Ticketmaster) and wait for the show to begin. The house music quiets, the lights go down and the crowd’s cheer gives me goosebumps. The show opens up with an unfamiliar tune that seeing the dude in the pit with the “Skin It Back” sign absolutely LOSING HIS SHIT, running up and down the aisles, highfiving people leads me to believe might be “Skin It Back.”
The second set opens with a pretty standard version of “Chalk Dust Torture” followed by the tune everybody figured had to be played at Jones Beach — “Sand.” After a 1st set lacking in any real solid funk, I’m pretty excited for this always-super-funky dance tune. Mike’s solid bassline begins, followed by Trey, and I know I will be humming this for the rest of the evening. By the time we “Sliiiiide like the silicone,” I’m moving like this:
It’s impossible not to groove to this tune. I close my eyes and begin to get lost in the music when a familiar lick at 1:53 brings me out of my hypnosis. I smile as I recognize the tease as “Izabella” and optimistically wonder if we’ll hear that in full by the end of the night. By 3:15, we’ve already launched into the jam. Trey does his usual noodling with some jazzy licks around 3:56. I am bopping all around, comfortable in the groove they’ve settled into together.
A key change from Mike at 4:43 brings us to another level with Page and Fish continuing to back solidly. Gordo starts a little funk groove as Trey climbs and climbs. Trey sneaks in what I like to call his usual “Alley of Cairo” tease at 5:03 and continues playful soloing through the 6:17 mark. Then, he creates a little earworm of a lick that you will be singing for the rest of the day, trust me. Fishman catches on and drops perfectly at 6:33. I love when they connect like this! They continue with this theme for a bit and the crowd grooves harder to match the increased intensity. Page is giving off a very Doors-y sound from around 7:00 to 8:02. Trey gets plinko-y, letting Fishman takes the spotlight for a bit. Gordo steps up, securing the groove and Trey sends out some wobbly notes.
Around 9:03, Page starts tinkering on the clav but by 9:37, Trey can’t stand being out of the spotlight and starts what I call the “beeeeeeeeeeyows.” (Those are the super high-pitched, long, drawn-out, laser beam notes.) With Page continuing to tinker and Trey’s beeeeyows becoming spacier, it appears as if a spaceship has landed and they are opening the hatch door. This is the part when I’ve opened my eyes, having lost the dance groove we were in before, and really focus, trying to figure out where we’re going next. By 10:43, Trey loses his self-control & gives away the next song with the opening notes of “Golden Age.”
Due to the nature of the beginning of this song, the segue is a bit rough but I am excited to be heading there regardless. Back to the funky dance grooves! “And the vibes that rise like fireflies” dances off my tongue much smoother than the words seem to be doing so for Trey but it’s ok. This is a sing-along tune and everyone knows the words. As cheesy as it is, we belt out “LOOOOOOOVE, DON’T YOU FALTERRRR!” and clap our hands, out of sync, because we know we’re in the right place.
Move your body, you’ve got all you need…
They’re gliding along with the usual funky, bright joyousness of “Golden Age” until 17:30 when Trey decides we’re taking a sharp turn into the dark funk. Fishman begins to attack the woodblocks at 18:28, solidifying the beat even further. The four of them sink into a nice, dark silky groove. Fishman is still carrying that familiar upbeat pace of “Golden Age” but we’re slowly and not-so-subtly drifting away from it. Mike drops a bass bomb and Trey’s notes begin to get longer and more drawn out. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a dark, underwater place. Again, I am torn from my earlier funky dance groove to a point of intense listening & focus.
The band’s overall tone suggests they could be hinting at “No Quarter” or “Ghost.” And then Mike, with the brown note. BYOWWWW. I’ve lost any clear vision where they might be going and “Golden Age” feels light years away. The crowd cheers at 22:20, sure it must be over. “No Quarter” seems undeniable now, but it could be a slow build into “Twist” or “2001,” too. Yet out of left field comes “Wolfman’s Brother.” Expect the unexpected!
While the segue between “Sand” and “Golden Age” was not the greatest, I feel that “Golden Age” is a particularly significant song to describe the 1st leg of Summer ‘12 tour. After a less-than-spectacular showing at MSG ‘11, many phans were left with a bad taste in their mouths. But as the summer tour progressed, skeptics were pleasantly surprised to see how well the band was playing together again. As a result of hearing some jamming and interplay that had not been typical to the rest of 3.0, terms like “4.0” and “golden age” were tossed around the Phish internet quite a bit. I don’t know if I’d exactly call it the “age of miracles” but it most certainly was an age of Phish’s sound that I had never heard live before. Whatever it was, I hope they bring that same level of excitement, energy and connection back to summer tour this year!
Favorite Ghost: I hate to be “that guy” but I’m going to have to go with the “Holy Ghost” and say 12/31/10. As I’m sure you can see from this review, I prefer light to darkness and that jam is just pure bliss.
Although relatively new to the scene, Dianna feels that her relationship with Phish is getting pretty serious… At any hour on any given day, you can find her little pink monkey head bopping along to tunes in ThePhish room on turntable.fm. She credits much of her Phish knowledge to those crusty, old 1.0ers in there who have taught her the ways & let her borrow The Book. She likes to tweet about mostly Phish at @Dianna_2Ns on Twitter and has no shame about admitting to being The Lawn Boys’ #1 fan.