25 in 25 #6 07/09/2014 The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA (Kate, @decaturkater)
What have you learned from “Chalkdust Torture?” Chances are if you are keeping track of your statistics, this is one of the most common songs that you’ve seen Phish play. Most often, It was probably a straight ahead rocking version, other times this song serves as an opportunity for the band to showcase their very best efforts of improvisation. The version from Camden ‘99 comes to mind. Dick’s and MSG 2013 hinted at the giant versions we’d continue to see throughout the next year. Four days after the Mann Center, ,at Randall’s Island, Chalkdust would be one of the centerpieces in one of Phish’s finest performances of 3.0.
This song is quintessential Phish. I doubt there are many among us who don’t channel a younger version of ourselves while we belt along with the chorus. We still struggle to break free from the confines of the school desk even as adults.
As the second set began on 7/9/14, the band launched an inspired version that was full of searching and eventually dissolved into one of their newest masterpieces, “Wingsuit.” The saying goes, sometimes the journey itself is the journey. Phish traversed a variety of jamming styles throughout “CDT”, anchored by particularly ferocious playing from Fishman. Deep basslines from Mike, reminiscent of drum ‘n bass mixed with prog-rock, fueled the front half of the jam while Trey picked us up and dropped the crowd into bliss territory half-way through.
“Wingsuit” forced a cool down moment onto the crowd. The placement seemed perfect- many people have said that it has the potential for a great “landing spot” from a jam. We saw that pairing at the Mann Center for the first time. The song arose, sizzled, and breathed in the night. While some fans run to the bathroom at the mention of the new album material, others of us are patiently waiting to see how it sounds, how it makes us feel, what the band will do. I welcomed the tune, this was the first time I’d heard it since Halloween ’13. Hearing it underneath a summer night sky felt perfect.
It was a treat to hear “Waste” later in the set. I traveled to the Mann Center to see some East Coast Phish at a classic venue. While I am there ultimately for the music, the experience of travelling and seeing this band has served as personal inspiration time and time again for me. “Waste” is always affirming and usually tear-inducing.
After the show, we set off into Philadelphia with friends empowered by our community, the music, the laughter, and the sense of freedom fueled by sweaty rock music on a hot summer night. See you this summer.