***Cover photo credit goes to Dave Vann***
Alright everyone, we’re a third of the way through Phish’s Summer 2015 tour. It’s painful to not be out in the action right now since the band is playing so well, but thanks to show streamers, official Live Phish streams, and quick access to soundboard recordings, those of us stuck at home can still experience the magic that is happening on tour. This summer has started out incredibly strong, and I just wanted to discuss some of the finer points of what has been happening so far.
What do we have so far in Summer 2015?
1.) Trey is playing as well as he ever has in the modern era of Phish
It is evident at this moment that the immense amount of practicing Trey did in preparation for the GD50 shows earlier this summer has payed off. Trey is leading the band in a triumphant manner, and it’s leading to some breath-taking moments on stage. One of the main critiques that our lovely (persnickety according to Mr. Anastasio) fanbase has of the bands playing in 3.0 is that Trey holds back too much at times. A lot of fans (myself included) love seeing shows where Trey is confidently leading the band with his signature guitar style, and this is exactly what we’ve gotten so far this tour. Trey has stepped up in a big and meaningful way, and Phish is sounding much better as a result.
2.) There is an influx of new material
Phish has debuted seven new songs so far this tour (Blaze On, Shade, No Men In No Man’s Land, Mercury, Heavy Rotation (Page solo song), How Many People Are You?, and Scabbard (TAB song)). These songs are coming in immediately following the release of the new album Fuego, and the Halloween set from Las Vegas featuring all new Phish compositions including the likes of Martian Monster, The Birds, The Dogs, etc. All of this new material is incredibly refreshing to hear. The setlists for this tour have been fairly fresh so far thanks to the injection of all of these new songs into the live rotation. Blaze On and No Men In No Man’s Land have both received the Type 2 treatment in the second set as well. Hopefully the band continues to take these risks with their new material, and we get some memorable noteworthy jams coming from these new songs.
Phish has also brought back some of the material from the Halloween set in Vegas last fall. Martian Monster and The Dogs have both been pulled into the live rotation, and there have been several teases of The Birds during Birds of A Feather (see BOAF video below). Hopefully more of the Halloween songs come back into the live rotation. I would love to see a ASIHTOS -> Shipwreck segment.
3.) Incredibly strong Type 1 jamming
This fact should not be downplayed at all. So far this tour we have seen some very exciting first sets due to Phish putting together some very powerful Type 1 jams. There are fantastic examples of Phish putting some extra kindling on their Type 1 playing. Songs like the Bend Maze, Shoreline Reba, Forum Disease, Grand Praire Steam, Grand Prairie HOOD (holy peak), and Atlanta Reba -> Gin are only the tip of the iceberg. Put on any show from this tour and you’re going to find plenty of examples of consistency in the bands Type 1 jamming, which brings me to my next point…
This point is huge. This has been an incredibly consistent tour. Out of the eight shows that have been played so far, only one of them (Austin) could be described as underwhelming IMO. Seven great shows out of eight is a pretty damn good start to this tour. Let’s hope this consistency keeps up.
5.) Type 2 Jams
Amazing type 2 jamming is the stuff Phish fans obsess and dream about. Luckily, we’ve been treated to some fantastic type 2 jams so far this tour. Jams like the Bend Simple, Shoreline Blaze On > Twist > Light, Austin 46 Days -> The Dogs -> 46 Days, Atlanta Kill Devil Falls, Atlanta Tweezer, and the Atlanta Carini (not a complete or exhaustive list, by the way) are what keeps bringing Phish fans back year after year after year. We’re only a third of the way through the tour, and we’re bound to have a much longer list of exceptional jams by the time the Labor Day weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park wraps up Summer Tour.
Here’s a few examples of the fantastic Type 2 jams we’ve seen so far
Happy Tour, Phanners!! Stay safe out there