33 in 33 #18 07/06/2012 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY (Andrew Rubin, @andrewrubin)
Selection: “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley 07/06/2012”
Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: “Tube->Psycho Killer->Tube”, Blistering “Light Up or Leave Me Alone”, Another good 2012 “Sand”, Fun “Run Like an Antelope”
From Andrew Rubin:
“Sneakin’ Sally” drops for the first time since Bader Field (14 shows) after a set-opening sequence of “Chalk Dust Torture > Carini > Sand, Roses Are Free > Punch You In the Eye.” Trey breaks the vocal jam cleanly at 4:39 and Page continues with his strong work on the clav. Mike is fantastic in this segment (typical to 3.0). A prime example is the brilliant run starting at 4:59, continuing until he locks in with the Chairman of the Boards at 5:16. This is where the jam is born in earnest.
By the way, I’ll throw you a curve-ball in a couple paragraphs, but for now – it’s my opinion that Mike is typically the one in 3.0 who drives the big jams. The Dick’s “Light,” the MSG “Tweezer” – Mike is the quarterback of 3.0, no doubt, and he leads those two monsters (if you’re interested, I’ll find you the timings on “Light” and “Tweezer” where Mike takes over and half-invites, half-forces the band to follow his lead). Anyway, Cactus is going good here, and it’s worth a couple listens to check out his subtle genius.
Trey finds the groove at 5:26 and overlays on top of Page’s still-stellar clav work. Fishman is steady with those snare hits on the three. (Snare hits on the three really open up the jams for Phish – think about a typical “Gotta Jibboo.”) At 5:54, check out Mike again – tasty runs all over the place. Trey and Fish lock onto Mike, then Fish adds some fills and Trey takes his chance at 6:24, with a brilliant run up the neck of his instrument. Fish continues crushing the fills from 6:35-6:50 and then something different happens.
At 6:53, Trey decides he wants to, well, be Mike.
He picks up the pace and finds a descending lick that he hammers fifteen times in a row, before seamlessly moving it up an octave and peaking (pretty much by himself) at 7:30. Then at 7:48, an empowered Trey makes a left turn if I’ve ever seen one and takes matters into his own hands. He’s leading the band into type II territory! For this 75-show non-vet (I’ll be near, if not at the century mark by year’s end, but all in 2.0/3.0), that’s big – I’ve seen it out of Mike plenty, but it’s rare that Red is the one out in front of the type II jams in this era. My musician friend Dave turned to me at this point and said, “Trey really wants to jam this thing out.” It’s a sentence I wouldn’t mind hearing early and often this summer!
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”-like wails from Trey at 8:02 bring out Page’s piano (like LawnMemo, I have lots of love for Page on the baby grand) and he plays just the right chords from 8:15-8:27. Again, subtle – but perfect. Trey is loosening up in the hands here, and Page is continuing his mastery of the piano through the 9:00-minute mark. Trey puts away his AK-47 at 8:59 in favor of some flavorful chording and waits for someone else to step up and take the reins. To this fan’s ears, 9:00-10:00 is a full minute where not that much happens – and it somehow sounds amazing (Page does throw some change into the cup at 9:34, but he doesn’t stay too aggressive with the piano fill). Honestly, how many bands do you know that can play the same thing for a minute straight and have 20,000 people getting down like it’s a 1979 Shakedown Street?
Trey happily chords along while Page changes to the Rhodes and Mike grooves along splendidly after the 10:00-minute mark. This part (10:00-10:45) takes a few listens to “get”, but both Page and Mike are crushing it here. It is easy, but incorrect, to overlook this part on a first or second listen.
Trey takes control at 10:45, changing his chord pattern. Between the chord he’s strumming, and Mike’s strong undertones, it sounds like something you’d hear in the Radio City “Ghost” (it’s short, from 10:45-10:51, but notable in a LawnMemo publication, to be sure).
Trey stays aggressive at 11:16 before handing the baton off to Page at 11:55. Page’s ears are impressive here as he switches to his piano, recognizing that Red is relinquishing control of this one, and he adds his own coda to the jam. It’s a soft landing, and as we descend to the end of this tune, ready for a breather, Trey plays the opening notes to…Ghost.
No rest for the weary at SPAC.
My Phish career went as follows – I got into the band summer 2002, saw my first show 12/31/02 and by the finishing notes of Bowie I was hooked (I was probably hooked by the cheers I heard leaving the subway on 34th street before the show even began). My 3rd and 4th shows were Nassau ’03 and Star Lake ’03, which were two of the best shows I’ve seen to date, and helped fuel my obsession with Phish. Did 20 shows in 2.0, 55 shows so far in 3.0, with 13 more planned this summer (SPAC, PNC, Jones, MPP, Chi, Dick’s). Craziest Phish concert moment is a tie between Harpua at Star Lake (the bustout, first time since the DSOTM show) and getting Sweet Jane at Deer Creek, having discussed it at breakfast that day (first time since Halloween ’98). I can’t include Destiny at 2/28/03 because I didn’t know the song at the time, but Tweezer was very much appreciated, even as a young fan. I immediately went home and talked about it on Phishhook, which is the better, friendlier version of PT. Don’t worry, someone still called it “barely a top 50 version of the song”. Even on Phishhook, your favorite version of a Phish song sucks. I did Ghost Month on Phishhook, where I chose 31 versions of the song (one for every day of March 2012) and reviewed them. I used many LawnMemo-recommended versions of the tune, which is my second-favorite Phish song after Tweezer, and after the month was over, it was clear to me that my favorite Ghost is 11/17/97. The thread is linked here: http://forums.phishhook.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=890747