Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: “Party Time” with Gears on trumpet, Rocking “Bathtub Gin”, “Run Like an Antelope” the origin of tucking, fun and well played “Mexican Cousin>Slave to the Traffic Light” encore
From Nate Douglas:
June 19th is your humble correspondent’s birthday and every year, I ask for an hour-long free-form jam that takes my mind into the outer reaches of the stratosphere and back. Phish has been known to deliver just that on occasion but June 19, 2012 was different. At nTelos Pavilion, Phish played a show that answered the question posed to King Wilson by Errand Woolfe — “Can you still have fun?”
Sometimes we get a show that’s light on jamming and filled with antics instead. And though June 19, 2012’s show is often criticized for its lack of improvisation, I maintain that it is important for a number of reasons, best exemplified by “Lengthwise>Maze.”
Coming late in the second set, “Lengthwise>Maze” carried on the “tucking” theme that emerged from “I Didn’t Know” in the first set. Trey introduced Fish as an executive officer in the Air Force and asked him to tuck in his shirt, as an unkempt uniform is undignified for such a high ranking officer. Fish responded by tucking his dress into his underwear and a new running joke was born.
Whether it’s yelling “Cheesecake!” to fool the television audience during Big Cypress, or using the Secret Language signals like “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “All Fall Down” to baffle newcomers, it’s clear that the bandmates in Phish are seasoned jokers. Fishman often seems to be the target of this good-natured jabbing. From his “Hold Your Head Up” intro music to his litany of nicknames, Henrietta brings out the humor in the band. This is critical because a band that is having fun and joking, is going to play better music together. “Lengthwise>Maze” is Phish having not a care in the world and enjoying themselves while making great music.
The audience also enjoys these antics immensely. Fish pulls people wearing dresses out of the audience on stage to tuck along with him during “Lengthwise.” As the intro to “Maze” begins, Trey is wielding a lightsaber, mimicking Darth Vader and Page begins to mock the tucking skills of the audience. The banter and energy reverberate between the band and audience, which leads to a crushing “Maze.”
Listen to “Lengthwise>Maze” to hear Phish having a blast playing together and for the audience. When things get weird and funny while little men are tucking their dresses into their underwear on stage, we get to hear a raging “Maze” from which subsequent shows benefit, too. So take this show and appreciate it for its importance rather than disparaging it for what it lacks.
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@Phish_Forum is a 64 year old former hand model for the Sears and Roebuck Corporation. When not on tour she enjoys Antiques Roadshow and shuffleboard.
11/17/97 McNichols Arena, of course. Followed closely by the 6/13/97 SFX Center OG “Ghost.” The way SFX Ghost glides in from “Chalk Dust” and out into “Olivia’s Pool” like an apparition induces goosebumps.