Sunday, August 16, 2015

Phish Review from the Merriweather Post Pavilion show on 8/15

That was a great show played by the band last night, however, I must address the fact that the Magna Ball was made to be sold out this week. The band, Red Light Management and whomever else is involved in that production must put tickets back on sale sooner than later. All the sold out status has done is to create extreme hikes in pricing for those tickets. There are only a few more hundred people tops that need tickets for the event and now even Phish heads had driven their price tags to an exorbitant rate. I have seen two sets on sale at eBay for well over $550 (and counting with many bids on them) each. I have seen normal Phish heads now jacking the prices up on Craig's List to no less than say $500 a pop. I have seen postings of people that displayed listings from Stub Hub that are no less than $871 for the three day pass. 

If there is a run of shows not to make sold out, it is this one. I am watching Phish Phans scrambling for sets on Facebook while then getting abused verbally in writing for not having gotten their tickets in a timely way. People even reply to them (girls too) saying that they deserve not having a ticket. There is talk about gate crashing now and its a hot mess. 

That should not be what this scene is all about and in the case of them playing at say Watkins Glen Speedway which can house tens of thousands of motor raceway fans, this is the show to keep open ended. I realize it needs to be capped because of camping but not really because again, there is plenty of room on that site and it is going to be better to contain it rather than to have that trickle out into the towns surrounding it.

Again, all that announcement has done is to open up avenues for people to sell these passes for more than double the amount they should cost. I thought Phish and its people were better than that because if they really want to cut down on scalping of tickets to their shows, please then act that way. This is the one run of shows and event that is 100% in their hands and therefore, the ONLY humans on this planet responsible (besides those people selling the tickets for high prices), is Phish and its management company (aka the actual promoter). If they truly are all about its Phans, they would act that way. If they are all about its' phans, they would allow any Phan to be able to get into that venue at regular pricing which BTW, face value is also very high at $225 plus $15 a pop. I say to practice what you preach by opening up sales so the people that lagged, and so everyone that wants to attend it, can get one at a basic price. If they do NOT want scalping of tickets for their events and at their shows, please act that way.
Regardless of that rant made by me this morning, the first Merriweather show started off great last night and it did not stop until they left the stage at the end of the show. Right away during the opener, 'Simple', Trey's (Anastasio) leads were evident and right on. The band then went into 'Glide' which is always great to hear and during it, they extended that long silence, before the final "Glide" lyric which closed the song. Great harmonies and the crowd at this point inside that venue was rather raucous (in a good way) being overly excited about being able to see the band. I did not hang out much before the show. I went right from my car after parking it in that mall lot across the street from the actual venue, and I went directly into the show to my seat in the lower Orchestra area. It was an excellent seat and the view to see the light show by Chris Koroda was either perfect, or he was on it last night. I assume he is on it every night but the lights were amazing last night. I especially noticed them during the 3rd song in 'Buried Alive'.

Then, came 'McGrupp' and I must ask what is with the deal with the lying down of your back onto the stage while doing bicycle spins with your legs? Mike (Gordan) and Trey did that same thing in Atlanta during 'Monster Martian' and I spiraled on it saying to myself that they must be bored with that song or that they find so easy to play. Because I said to myself then "why would they play that bicycle  game while lying down on the stage?". I would assume that they realize that as far as playing a musical instrument that way, it is not that effective. I also assume they realize that anyone would be held back from doing anything but strum along when you lie down on your back while doing bike exercises. I guess everyone likes that gimmickry. I kinda sorta do NOT get it aside it being a gimmick that takes away from the actual playing of their musical instruments. It looks fun though to do in a 15K seat venue so call it what you want I suppose.
After 'McGrupp' was 'Roggae' and then into 'Limb By Limb' which was off the charts. They cranked both of those songs big time. I was all mixed up and turned around being confused about what song was what or I thought they were still in 'Roggae' but it was 'Limb By Limb' and vice versa because that was some great playing with some sick leads during that part of the set. Trey especially was way on it and it seemed like it was extended or I am not even sure because again, I was all over the place confused during it but it was because it was done at such a high level. 'Limb By Limb' was excellent last night.

BBFCFM ('Big Black Furry Creature From Mars') started up which (Jon) Fishman I think it was, started screeching out what were cat or Lion sounds during the funky part of the jam during the song. I was confused again because they kept talking about a "beautiful Lion" which is a song I am finding out that is being called 'Your Pet Cat' but then the band went back into BBFCFM after the Lion song.

The band and music finally stopped so we could get some breathing going on because the set so far consisted of them barrelling from one song into the next one the entire way. I thought they were maybe going to do 'Wilson' for a split second, however, they moved right on into 'Horn' which then eventually moved its' way into 'Blaze On', a new tune broken out day one back when this tour started up a few weeks ago. 'Blaze On' had a very nice piano solo before or as Trey yelled out something about "Leo". They segue that into 'Run Like An Antelope' which ended the great first set. The Lope was done at a high level with huge intensity which again, brought the crowd up to that raucous level of excitement. That was a great first set played by them and the Phans were way into it in such a great way. You could feel a huge amount high energy.

During the set break, I drank up a bit before the guys came back out as the lights went to dark again last night. Without an instrument being played, they start up that familiar harmony to begin 'Haley's Comet' which of course in my mind, I was thinking could this be a version like that 31 minute one they did back in da 90s? It was not that long as they went into '46 Days'. That song had this slow and ornery vibe to it mixing guitar licks and keyboard licks that brought us a heavy overall rhythm. There was rhythm jam by Trey that did go into a sweet sounding soaring and winding jam with the lead guitar before they then went into 'Bug'. I was psyched to hear 'Bug'. I love the lyrics in that song.

The lights again by now were just so cool to watch. I still have no clue why all of a sudden last night, I noticed the lighting but regardless of my vantage points, 'Bug' goes into 'Steam' which I said "wow" out loud. I was overly psyched to hear 'Steam'. I do not think that I have heard that song in a while. Unless they played it in Miami which they may have now that I think about it and I may have merely have forgotten about it. I cannot remember the last time I heard 'Steam'. I was thinking that it was from last summer tour. 'Steam' went into 'What's The Use' before it went back into Steam' and I thought that was my highlight so far when it came to the show from last night. That was done so nicely. That melody is so great. The way they play it is also so great. I loved this segue back and forth out and into into 'Steam' too. Excellent stuff.

At the end of 'Steam', they went into 'Piper'. I have to say that the segues in and out of all songs were great last night. The other constant from last night was the exceptional drumming by Jon Fishman. He played so well last night and honestly, I hardly give him the accolades because I take him for granted maybe, but he deserves it and more honestly, he has to be considered to be one of the best drummers that play in bands today. There are never any gaps with him on drums. His drum kit is serious and probably not that easy to play. He is so intricate (especially in songs like McGrupp, etc.). He is one of the best drummers on the planet today. His constant sound was so evident the entire show last night. Piper had yet another high energy jam with such a great groove during it.

Then came 'Tweezer' as Paige (McConnell) gave his sign of approval by nodding that to Trey as he started it up. 'Tweezer' also had some serious music being played and then came the games as they went into a song they call 'NO2'. Out came the megaphones as they started running around the stage with Mike (Gordon) chasing Trey all around the back of the drum set and all around the stage many times. Mike then started asking Trey and everyone for that matter if we/they were "feeling a little jazzy?" and then stating that things should be getting "just a little bit wider (or is weirder?)" before then saying "There You Go" and that things are just a "lil' bit wider (or weirder)" before letting us know that we have it down by saying to everyone, "there you go" and to "just hold that position". Mike then states that he "just needs to go get one thing" and that "this may hurt just a little bit" as he then grabs his drill to start using that on his bass strings. This may have been about the time Mike started chasing Trey all over the stage so pardon my memory please and as fun as that was for them, Trey picks up his guitar. Mike puts down the drill as they segue back into 'Tweezer' before ending it. 'Walls Of The Cave' came next and I mentioned intricate drumming by Fishman, this is where there were some of that happening too. The only excruciating thing about that song is that out of key harmony which I assume they do it on purpose and for some reason, and some how, it works in the song. I am not sure why and I am not sure if normal music people would take to it or laugh out loud about it. But again, there was another high leveled jam that ended the song which in turn ended the second set. 

I had the hope that they would do the 'Tweezer Reprse' after 'Walls Of The Cave' but they ended the set here.
All in all, it was great set. Overall, it was a great two sets of music last night.

The band came back to say that they viewed some web site that ranks Phish songs. He also stated that they went to the parts of that web page that ranked their songs "as mediocre" saying that Paige always asks if they can do this one song while Mike always replies saying "No." Paige evidently wants to play 'Sleeping Monkey' a lot and Trey also mentioned that he is talking a lot (sounded like me when I say that about how much I talk to people) and he mentioned something about Fishmans vocal part when he sings the song. They did 'Sleeping' Monkey though last night and then like they did at Nassau during that Island Tour, they swiftly and harshly segue right into ('Tweezer') 'Reprise' to end the entire show with the double encore.

The band seemed to have so much fun last night.

The show came to an end and there is one more show that will end the tour before of course, they play what is their tenth Festival up at the Watkins Glenn International Raceway in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York. 

They will then play at Dicks Sporting Goods in Commerce City, Colorado for three more shows over labor day weekend which will be it this year before what will be the New Years run that will most likely be happening back at the (Madison Square) Garden in New York City this year.

Have Phun. Please stay in touch. Another review will come tomorrow after tonight's final show back at Merriweather (Post Pavilion).

Here is the set list and below that are the stats from 'The Skinny" and by whomever compiles it for the August 15th 2015 at Merriweather Post Pavilion show in Columbia, MD:


Buried Alive
McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters
Limb By Limb
Big Black Furry Creature From Mars
Your Pet Cat >
Big Black Furry Creature From Mars
Blaze On
Run Like An Antelope


Halley's Comet >
46 Days >
Steam >
What's The Use? >
Steam >
Piper >
Tweezer >
NO2 >
Walls Of The Cave


Sleeping Monkey
Tweezer Reprise

  • Venue Type: Outdoor Amphitheatre / 19,316
  • Previous Shows at Venue: 13 Shows - 07/17/1992, 08/08/1998, 07/09/1999, 09/17/2000, 08/15/2009, 06/26/2010, 06/27/2010, 06/11/2011, 06/12/2011, 07/13/2013, 07/14/2013, 07/26/2014 and 07/27/2014
  • Number Of Songs / Length – First Set: 11 / 7:36 p.m. - 8:51 p.m. (75 Minutes)
  • Number Of Songs / Length – Second Set & Encore: 11 / 9:24 p.m. - 10:55 p.m. (91 Minutes)
  • Total Number of Songs / Covers / Originals: 22 / 0 / 22
  • Biggest Bustout: Glide & McGrupp - 53 Shows (Last Time Played - July 9, 2014)
  • Average Song Vintage: 1996
  • Debuts: N/A
  • Tour Debuts: Glide, Buried Alive, McGrupp, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Your Pet Cat, NO2, Sleeping Monkey
  • Weather: 84°F and Sunny at ticket time
  • Guitar Used By Trey Anastasio: KOA #3, aka Ocedoc
  • Average Song Gap22.2
  • The Spread: Lawn Boy - 1, Picture To Nectar - 3, Rift - 1, Story Of The Ghost - 2, Farmhouse - 2, Round Room - 2, Misc. - 11
  • Longest LivePhish Track / Shortest LivePhish Track: Piper 15:48 / Tweezer (second instance) 1:00
  • AudioLive Phish