Selection: “Sand->Nellie Kane”
Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: a jammed “Roses are Free”, Jazzy “Julius”, Excellent “Maze”, Non-standard “Bathtub Gin”, “Down with Disease”, and a great “2001”
From Parker Harrington:
With 14 performances at Worcester’s venerable DCU center (previously and still commonly known as “The Centrum”) it makes for one of the Top Ten most played venues by Phish. Included in this hallowed group of course are such legendary haunts as The Front, Nectar’s and Hunt’s as well as heavy hitters like MSG, Alpine, and The Mothership. Making a highlight reel from anyone of those venues would produce an abundance of “top shelf” Phish tracks and several hours of enjoyable listening. Worcester is no exception.
Hosting shows starting with New Year’s eve in 1993, memorable shows from the Holiday Runs of 1995, 1997 and 1998 and one of best unheralded shows from 2.0 in 2003 there’s scores of songs that could make the highlight reel including memorable guest performances and debuts. However there are several songs that must make the cut including an hour long Jim, a raucous encore in “Them Changes”, an incredible Chalkdust Torture with “Wipe Out” and “Mirror in the Bathroom” teases, and a handful of others. And now we have 2012’s Sand -> Nellie Kane in the list of “musts”.
Phish is often unpredictable and that’s much of the fun isn’t it? Even this venue choice was a curveball. Who saw this coming? While some fans were disappointed for a Summer Tour to kick off (the night before) in an indoor arena, it sure created a different vibe. With a swirly mix of lawlessness in the grossly understaffed venue, heightened expectations after 06/07’s outrageously good Carini>Taste>Ghost>Boogie>If I Could and cautious trepidation after a relatively unremarkable first set barring a stand-out version of Roses are Free, the crowd was eager for the lights to dim for second set.
Immediately launching into an energetic and unfinished Down with Disease, the band was ready to deliver segueing nicely into the oft-jammed and always welcome “Sand”. A patient groove develops with a confidant Anastasio precisely and methodically building up the funky dance beat in earnest leading into the 5:00 mark. By 6:00 min the forceful power of Sand was on full display complemented by Gordon’s bass and the full-on band staccato jamming that wasn’t overwrought or forced and just seemed to gracefully bounce off the walls and ceilings rather than get lost in the lawns of most outdoor venues. An infectious dance vibe that had the Centrum enthralled, the urgency of Sand’s jam was palpable by 8:00 min mark and the crowd wondering what was next. A “Worcester Jam”? A monster second set staple like Rock and Roll? No. Another Phishy curveball (perhaps not a curveball for the astute listeners the picked up Trey’s teases earlier) in the bluegrass, fan-favorite “Nellie Kane”. The transition being so seamless and butter smooth, fans dancing in the aisles to the ferocious Sand jam were confused. Dumbfounded as to how they went from Sand’s explosive power to Nellie Kane’s laid-back, campfire, banjo-picking feel, it simply didn’t matter. The silky-smooth transition worked flawlessly as Fishman and McConnell didn’t miss a beat and Phish’s unpredictability was on full display again. While the remainder of Nellie Kane was, well, just Nellie Kane (and leading into a fairly pedestrian remainder of the set), the transition from Sand is most certainly worthy of the accolades that it received that night and when looking at highlights from the entirety of the Summer Tour. As an aside, an incendiary Character Zero closed that set that thrilled many non-Zero loving fans (like myself).
Parker is a phish.net administrator and writes an awesome section for Hidden Track called Technology Tuesdays. He has given me advice on things to purchase and every recommendation has been spot on. Always, taking the time to answer questions on twitter. You can follow him at @TMWSIY
From Parker “My favorite Ghost, hands-down is Radio City Music Hall which is simply captivating and hypnotic. Displays everything that I like about Phish and gives me hope for humanity.”
Video Courtesy of Parker Harrington