Selection: “If I Could>Weekapaug Groove”
Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: Incredible “Tweezer” a fantastic version!, political statement from Phish during “Suzy Greenberg”
From Adam Pd:
I’d like to start off my piece by thanking LawnMemo for giving myself and 32 other guests the opportunity to be published authors on a WORLD FAMOUS Phish-related website… How cool is that?! To date, my most esteemed writing accomplishment was a book report on Of Mice & Men I got a B+ on in 11th grade. So here goes nothing!!
My musical selection comes from Wednesday August, 22nd 2012 at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO. Unfortunately, I was a slacker and did not sign up for “33 in 33” in time to get a show I was actually at (frankly, I have never even been to the state of Missouri.) I do, however, hear that it’s beautiful this time of year.
I chose these two songs not because they are the best versions of either song that has even been played, but rather because I feel they encapsulate many of the glorious aspects that make Phish PHISH! These songs are masterful at picking the audience up, taking them for a magical ride through the stratosphere of jam for large portions of sets and then gently descending into a beautiful open field of musical bliss. This “If I Could” is a great example of the decent into this magical field. Being a Grateful Dead fan prior to Phish, one of the things I “struggled with” was Phish’s lyrics. “If I Could” offers a song with a palpable meaning even to someone who has never heard a note of Phish in their life.
“Weekapaug Groove” is the first Phish song that I actually liked for its musical quality. (For what it’s worth, my other favorite 1st Phish song was “Walfredo” due to its utter ridiculousness.) “Weekapaug” is also usually the song that I play for people who have never heard Phish. I mean this song has it all, and when the band is hitting on all cylinders during a “Weekapaug,” there is nothing finer in life. While this version stops well short of the greatness “‘Paug” is capable of providing, I rather enjoy the song for what it is at the core. When I step back and think of PHISH in all its entirety (if that’s even possible), all of the people, the places, the car rides, wackiness, and love of all things PHISH – to me, it can all be summarized in the simple yet oh so poignant phrase – SHARIN’ IN THE GROOVE.
Now, onto the selections. The 2nd set of this show opens with a monster “Tweezer” which everyone should check out if they haven’t heard it. They fire through several favorites during the first part of the 2nd set and then “If I Could” seems to give the band and audience their first chance to catch their breath (orrrrrrr go to the bathroom but hey, who am I to judge?) The song opens with Page and Trey playing a lovely duet. The crowd has gone almost completely silent at this point and are gazing so intently on their musical idols while listening carefully to the lyrics. Most everyone can likely relate to the simple yet deep phrase “If I could I would, but I don’t know how.”
Sometimes, a song’s lyrics can take you down a path of thought and you can get lost in the moment, thinking fondly or possibly not-so-fondly of a particular person. You might even think of something completely different. This that is what is great about Phish’s music, the meaning of their songs is what the listener portrays it to be.
The song winds slowly through the first 4 minutes with Gordo and Fish mainly bystanders as Page and Trey do their thing. Then, at the 4:20 mark, the song starts heading into musical bliss as Page and then Gordo delicately enter the situation. This four piece band is really playing off each other perfectly. Trey is leading the way and is really paying attention to his bandmates.
From the 5:10 mark until the finish at 7:03, you can just feel the crowd completely fixated on the band, soaking up each and every note. At the end of the song, the crowd rewards the band with a warm, heartfelt cheer. If you don’t listen to the whole song, make sure to do yourself a favor and listen to those last 2 minutes of sheer musical bliss.
The band then makes a quick transition into the ol’ crowd fave, “Weekapaug Groove.” Gordo and Fish are hammering away in a moderately inspiring intro when Trey jumps in to get the phans moving at a bit faster pace. At the 8:49 mark, you can hear Trey belt a “YEAH!” after singing his line. You can almost picture Trey shaking his orange locks out of his eyes as he gazes affectionately out to the crowd. In those types of moments, it must be so satisfying for Trey to think, “YEAH! I/we made this awesomeness!” How can you not want to just belt out a YEAH?! The first 3-4 minutes are a pretty standard “Weekapaug “. (Even though it is kind of ridiculous to think this band would produce anything “standard.” Pretty much any band on the planet would kill to have the type of cohesion, and seamless flowing of music that Phish displays during this song.) Right at the 12:19 mark, Trey rings the alarm to his fellow bandmates and to the crowd as if to say, “It’s time to pick things up!” And for the next 2 minutes and 40 seconds, all in attendance simply “Share In the Groove.”
Thanks for reading, everyone. Good vibes and safe travels to all & I hope to meet some of you out on tour this summer.
From Adam Pd:
A Damn Yankee from Western New York, down south in Atlanta, GA – My 1st ever Phish show was Coventry. Somewhere in between sitting in a car on the side of the road for 2 days, hiking 15 miles to the venue, sleeping outside on a garbage bag in the mud, and the funeral-like feeling of the weekend, I fell in love with Phish. What a start! Unfortunately, I had to wait nearly five years for my next Phish experience in Hampton but it was well worth the wait. I also have a lot tee idea if anyone wants to run with it. (I expect 1 free shirt in royalties.) It’s Trey in a bubble bath being washed by some bikini-clad women and on the back, “KEEP TREY CLEAN.”
Favorite Ghost: Fuji Rock Fest 07/30/1999