Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: Solid “Foam”, High Energy “Fluffhead, Walls of the Cave>Character Zero” set 1 closer, Loved “Gotta Jibboo” in the encore slot.
From Ned Shipley:
For me, Sunday June 17, 2012 was the most important show of the summer. How many three day runs have you gone to in recent memory where Sunday was kind of a letdown? I was seeing a trend of this, minus the exceptional set one on day 3 of Superball, and Halloween 2010 at Boardwalk Hall.
I love Phish but I love the friends I’ve met and the times we can all be in one place maybe even more. This weekend was an exceptional one. We rented a house for our friend’s bachelor party, right in the heart of Atlantic City and within walking distance to the show. We were there with a great group of guys, including two of my oldest friends — Memo and Noid. There were 20 guys in a house, unshowered and sprawled everywhere. Let’s just say this house didn’t look the same when we left. A few of the guys weren’t even there to see a show.
So, as summer 2012 got into full swing, we were all clamoring about what we were seeing and hearing at all the shows. Was it true? Was our band really back? After Sunday’s show, I said, “You bet your ass they are!”
Set 1 was pretty solid with a good “Runaway Jim” but a little short for my taste. A nice funky “Boogie>NICU” followed by a solid “Foam>Wilson>Timber” with a bit of extended jamming. Trey then asked what other songs end with the “My Friend, My Friend” ending, after they had ended “Timber” that way. Next, Trey played crowd trivia and quipped about writing a letter to Metallica. “Fluffhead” was above average and the set ended with a strong “Walls Of The Cave>Character Zero.”
The highlight for me was the set 2 opener of “Drowned>2001>Reba.” I am known for not being a fan of “Drowned” as a set 2 opener. I like the song but haven’t enjoyed it much since it opened the second set at Darien Lake in 2000. Set 1 (of Darien 2000) finished in an outright monsoon and poured God awful through set break and into the night. In typical Phish fashion, they opened set 2 with “Drowned” as a joke of sorts. At Darien Lake in 2009, they opened the second set with “Drowned”as a hat tip to 2000, which I enjoyed. Since then, however, I haven’t really enjoyed the song as a 2nd set opener.
Set 2 starts with a “Fee” chant while Gordo is feeling things out. The band then moves right into “Drowned.” My friends and I grumble about the song choice that is sometimes uninspiring, at best. Gordon sounds great. He must be sleeveless with a scarf and leather purple pants. At about 2:13, Trey comes in with a few light, airy fills. He has really made the weekend by picking his spots and letting Gordo and Page lead the jams. Fish is just on a roll, pushing forward instead of just trying to hijack a song just as it gets going.
Page takes control with a jazzy kind of rock while everyone else stays at home. Gordo and Fish are pumping along. Trey lays down some very well placed chord licks, careful not step on the piano line. I like it and I get the look back, thumbs up, and smile from my friends. They also approve.
Very standard “Drowned” here, hitting all the meat and potatoes parts that makes Phish a great cover band. Make it your own yet keep it on the path at times.
Gordo and Fish are playing as one unit. Outstanding. What is a band without rhythm? They are controlling the song as Page keeps Trey seemingly focused on continuing to sit back and let the jam come to him instead of chasing its tail.
Page takes control here and everyone lets him. While Page starts to get funky on the keys, my friends Noid, Memo, and I make a quick assessment that a “2001” seems to be making its way into set 2. But, if my memory serves me correctly (and it usually does), I see Memo and Noid looking on the ground and celebrating like its Christmas. Memo turns to me, eyes like 50 cent pieces. “Best ground score ever!” The kid is holding $15.
We are laughing because its pretty funny. Memo is getting the beer and 3 straws later at the casino. Anyway, Gordon is so smooth. Man, he is the best.
Trey takes hold with some underlying guitar play. He and Mike are playfully going back and forth without forcing anything. Nice interplay while still feeling its “Drowned” here.
Page and Gordo are now controlling the show, as we all know what’s next… Now Noid and Memo are calling for the “2001,” Noid’s favorite song as well.
The jam takes a mellow dark tone while we wait for a build up for what has to be “2001.”
“2001!” Yes! Here we go. Didn’t I mention how much I love a “Drowned” set opener? Always good stuff to come from that, and the crowd responds positively to the selection. Trey and Page virtually fade into the background while Gordo brings us into the funk. Fish lays down a solid foundation like a launching pad, if you will. All I ask is that this is not a 3:30 minute “2001” that the 3.0 point era has started to grind towards.
Page come back in to play as Trey lays in the weeds, waiting. Two minutes in and not in a rush to take us to the peak. If they don’t mess this up, it could be one of best “2001”s since their return. Such a smooth bass line. Gordo owns this part, make no mistake about that.
The band is as one, and here we go. Trey does the rail slide and we take a nice, slow build then back to some tasty funk for 30 seconds before the next peak. Another nice smooth build with a funky bass line and the airiness of Page. Now, to the full apex! Smiles everywhere in the crowd. They know this is an awesome “2001” unfolding here before us. The crowd approves.
Page is laying down the funk. His hands are on fire. Gordo is crushing a crunchy bass line while Trey fills in this slow, winding funk. When Fishman is on, this band can take over the world! He moves forward with a usable beat, nothing fancy, but driving along. Trey slides in for a little lick here and there but mostly, he is sitting back. It’s amazing what they do when Trey is patient. Brilliant.
Back into the silky smooth “2001” chorus and this underlying groove that is very similar to the first portion of the song. The funk is flowing. I’ve got some serious goosebumps. My boys and I are celebrating on the lawn. We knew what we just saw — a top notch “2001.” High fives all around and smiles everywhere. Sounds like they are going to take a second and wind down.
REBA! Good call. The song selection is prime so far. I see Noid checking his pockets and his mental wheel grinding along. This Reba is very tight and clean. They are all on point here. I love a good Reba. I hate seeing a Reba with no whistle. I am sure I am muttering this at the show right about now.
This is what I think of as the “chase scene” of any good action movie. It either makes or breaks it. It’s very “on paper” to start which is perfect. I see Noid still digging in his pockets in front of me and then he says something to Memo. They go back and forth for about 30 seconds, appropriately in the part of the song where the band seems to go back and forth as well. Memo hands the $15 over to Noid, laughing hysterically. Greatest ground score ever turned into Noid dropping $15, Memo picking it up, and Noid remembering that he had $15 that was no longer there. Jackasses.
The standard “Reba” portion is going on, but its so smooth and on point. No flubs or errors. We are really getting treated here.
Yes! Back to the funk! This is where it gets good. Fish and Page laying off, letting Gordo and Trey stretch their legs with this sprawling jaunt out to funk city. Trey, be patient then ATTACK at the right time. This is beautifully done. Gordo and Trey interlocking incredibly, the band is so much better when Trey gives up the keys. He doesn’t need to be a flashy guitar rock hero and it really shows here. Page is gliding back into the mix but Trey is taking this one to the rack. So smooth and flowing, nothing seems forced or rushed. A fantastic ending to this classic with an epic build towards the end, Fishman hits the drum beat to wrap it up. Band closes out smooth. Fuck, no whistle! Regardless, possibly a top 3 “Reba” of 3.0? Either way, it’s a sleeper for sure.
This jam and show helped set the tone for the summer. I say that because it has given me faith that you can attend a 3 day run again without considering Sunday a “throw-away show.” Jams like “Drowned> 2001> Reba” throughout the run got us all excited for what was to come for the summer. Jaded vet and starry-eyed noob alike, you have to love a summer full of promise.
Ned is the first person I call when I want to see live music. We have seen countless shows together, and had an even greater number of conversations about music. Ned is one of those guys nobody ever forgets. It also helps when you are 6’4″ and your name is Ned. Hopefully if you find me at shows, Ned is right along side me. I have seen him try and funnel wine twice, one time he actually was successful…
Favorite Ghost: 12/11/97 Rochester War Memorial