Further on Down the Road…
So here we are, half way through the first leg of Phish’s 2010 summer tour. While this tour has yet to appease the jam-hungry masses, there are many indications of progress. The band has taken a major step since last year, but we still have a long road to travel. There are still many questions and many uncertainties – but when has Phish ever let us down before?
Mixed reports are coming in nearly every night (the negative side coming mostly from those who are simply downloading the shows rather than attending them). Phish’s current direction seems to be more about energy, rather than long exploratory jams. But to say they aren’t ‘jamming’ would be completely false. Every song – even the oldest and most standard number – is being recreated on a nightly basis. Trey has infused the jams with his “whale-call”, and Mike has rewritten nearly every one of his basslines. Armed with a tighter sound, greater musical knowledge, and years of experience, Phish is stepping forth into new waters.
This tour has continued to demonstrate a more refined meander-less jamming style. Every jam seems to be about capturing the energy of the crowd and translating it into notes, rather than just psychedelic exploration. And, while Trey is rewriting the book on guitar, Mike has emerged as an equal carving out his own unique sound. Jon is playing like Bill Bruford, and Page is not only showing his improved chops, but also his talent for songwriting.
The first three shows of the tour, discussed in the last post “Weekend Review”, gave us good reason to believe that Phish was ready to take the next step. However, since Hershey the band seems to have tightened up their improv with jams regularly being cut-short by Trey. It seems he doesn’t feel the band is ready yet, and instead is focusing more on the song choice and tightness, rather than the jams. But anyone that has attended a show on the 2010 tour can attest to the undeniable energy present each night. While this has many growing impatient, there have been many positive signs along the way. I have no doubt that when they are ready, the jams will come.
Here are some of the highlights from the first leg:
“Rock & Roll” (6.19.10)
“Gotta Jibboo” (6.20.10)