Jam Central Station 1.18.14: From the Archive - Phish - A Live One Posted by Jeff Modzelewski on 01.18.2014
A look at Phish's first live album, plus a ton of festival news!
By 1994, Phish was making an incredible name for themselves as a live band. They were enjoying tremendous success in the wake of the 1992 HORDE Tour, and they had recently signed with Elektra records. They were harnessing the power of the early internet and had a nationwide following fueled by the tape-trading culture. They were moving out of theatres into larger venues, and they had a following that you had to see to believe. What they didn't have, though, was a live album. The band remedied this by taking some of the best performances from their 1994 tour and turning them into A Live One, an album that is considered not just one of Phish's best live albums, but one of the best live albums of all time.
This album really was a watershed moment for the band. There were plenty of potential fans that couldn't really get into Phish's studio work or who weren't connected to the tape trading community. A Live One captured some of the best moments from a spectacular tour and wove them together in a cohesive way. The album opens with "Bouncing Around The Room," one of Phish's most easily accessible songs. It's a song that's hard to listen to and not bob your head along with the beat. This short and simple song is offset by a follow-up of "Stash." In the first two songs, the band showed off their songwriting sensibilities along with the more classical arrangements. Both sides of the band get ample representation throughout the album. Phish in no way tried to water down their live performances on this album to gain a wider audience. Instead they showed a variety of what they were capable of and trusted that the audience would come to them. Which, of course, they did.
The New Orleans flared "Gumbo" shows another fun and playful side of the band. The breakdown at the end by the Cosmic Country Horns is perfect for the song and almost screams "Party on Bourbon Street." The "Montana" jam that follows is a short segue into a classic "You Enjoy Myself." Even though the two are from different shows (and the "Montana" jam wasn't originally paired with a YEM) the two go together well. "Montana" is more of a trippy jam while YEM is one of the classic Phish instrumental compositions. This is the first song on the album that shows how Phish is able to put together extended songs with improvisational pieces as well as very structured movements. It's the first (and best) example of how Phish is willing to completely ignore any traditional rules of rock music and do whatever they want. Of course, it's also one of their most well-loved and most played songs. While this isn't one of the longest versions of YEM (just over 20 minutes), it's one of the best and most well-known versions that the band has done. I definitely wonder what folks new to Phish thought when they heard the YEM vocal jam for the first time.
The first album ends with another pair of great songs. They go away from the abstract into an absolutely rocking "Chalkdust Torture" and a great "Slave to the Traffic Light." Both songs included solid improvisational jams woven within the songs, again showing how the band can mix up traditional rock songwriting with the craziness that they do so well. I'm a longtime fan of "Chalkdust Torture," and this version is one of my favorites. As for "Slave to the Traffic Light," it acts as a great substitute set closer for this double album.
"Wilson" starts off the second disc by ramping up the energy level even more. The crowd for this song is extremely energetic, and the band absolutely feeds off of that for the song. The "Tweezer" that follows is a half-hour long tour de force, taking what can sometimes be a somewhat straightforward song into a variety of different directions. The initial breakdown (or wild destruction) of the song at about 4 minutes in is just a foreshadowing of the directions the song would go. 11 minutes in brings a very cool, slow, thudding type of jam that leads into some very odd directions. By the time the song is halfway done it doesn't resemble the beginning part of "Tweezer" at all and the jam has become a truly unique thing. By about 20 minutes in, the song disassembled into a "noise jam" with Fishman and Gordon holding down a steady rolling beat. What's most impressive about the song, however, is how effortlessly they transition back into the main riff with about 2 minutes left. After over 20 minutes of improv, the band is so together that they bring it right back to where it all began. You don't have to love jam music to appreciate that talent.
Of course the band changes directions again for "Simple." The straightforward riff and song are offset by very clear and very abstract lyrics. It's classic Phish and it works very well. Each song is multifaceted, and this is one of the most obvious examples of that. Simple fades into "Harry Hood." While I'm not a big enough Phish fan to rank this among other versions of the song, I've been told that this is one of the best "Harry Hood's" that the band has ever done. F rankly, I'm not about to disagree with that. Page, Trey, and Fishman work together to create a layered extended jam that moves through multiple styles and arrangements. "The Squirming Coil" closes the album with the best and most passionate piano solo on the album. Trey gets highlighted more than any other member of the band for this live collection, so it was nice to see Page get to send the band off with this song.
While this might not be considered the best live Phish release, it was the first, and it was a benchmark moment for the band. They were able to get their live performances, the lifeblood of the band, into record stores and out to fans and potential fans. After HORDE and signing with Elektra, the band was ready for a big move, and this was it. It wasn't long after this that Phish was headlining arena and ampitheater shows across the country. The rest, of course, is history. It's not surprising that a Phish, a band that made their mark early on with live performances, used a live album as a major stepping stone. It's also not surprising that they were willing to take so many chances on the album, from having a half-hour "Tweezer" to including multiple previously-unreleased songs. And, in hindsight, it's not at all surprising that the album came out as well as it did. Phish has been doing things their own way since day one, and A Live One is another shining example of how well that works for the band and the fans.
David Murphy leaving STS9
STS9 announced this week that founding member and bassist David Murphy will be leaving the band. The split seemed amicable based on the statement from the band, although no real reason was given. The band is postponing its winter tour, although they are announcing festival dates (see below).
JazzFest announces lineup
Once again, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has an amazing lineup set. The festival will run for two weekends, April 25-27 and May 1-4. The lineup includes Phish, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, String Cheese Incident, The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, North Mississippi Allstars, John Fogerty, and many many others. Other jam bands include Galactic, Trumbone Shorty, Dumpstaphunk, and Anders Osborne.
Lockin' announces initial lineup
The 2nd annual Lockin' Festival announced their initial lineup this week. The festival currently is set to include 2 nights of Widespread Panic, 2 nights of String Cheese Incident, 2 nights of Phil Lesh & Friends, The Allman Brothers Band, and two nights of Bob Weir & Ratdog.
Wakarusa finalizes lineup
Wakarusa announced the third part of their lineup. This announcement includes The String Cheese Incident, edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, EOTO, The Werks, Pimps of Joytime, Dopapod, and many other great bands. They'll join Umphrey's McGee, STS9, The Flaming Lips, Bassnectar, and The John Butler Trio, among others.
Mountain Jam announce initial lineup
The Mountain Jam festival in Hunter Mountain, NY announced their initial lineup this week. Performers include Bob Weir & RatDog, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov't Mule, The Avett brothers, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Pretty Lights, Umphrey's McGee, Pretty Lights, and many others.
Hangout Music Festival announces lineup
The Hangout Music Festival announced their 2014 lineup this week. Performers at this year's Hangout include The Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Queens of the Stone Age, Pretty lights, The Avett Brothers, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, STS9, and many others.
Dave Matthews Band announce "An Evening With DMB" Tour
The Dave Matthews Band announced their 2014 summer tour dates. For the first time ever, the tour will feature two set shows, both electric and acoustic. They also plan on bringing in special guests to some of the shows.
May 16 Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
May 17 Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
May 21 Tulsa, OK – Bok Center
May 23 Pelham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
May 24 Atlanta, GA - Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
May 30 Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
May 31 Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
June 6 Bangor, ME - Darling's Waterfront Pavilion
June 7 Mansfield, MA – XFINITY Center
June 10 Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
June 11 Darien Center, NY – Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center
June 13 Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
June 14 Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Bank Center
June 20 Noblesville, IN – Klipsch Music Center
June 21 Noblesville, IN - Klipsch Music Center
June 24 Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
June 25 Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
June 27 Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center
June 28 Burgettstown, PA – First Niagara Pavilion
July 2 Milwaukee, WI - Marcus Amphitheater – Summerfest
July 4 Chicago, IL – FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 5 Chicago, IL – FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 9 Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
July 11 Hartford, CT - XFINITY Center
July 12 Hartford, CT - XFINITY Center
July 15 Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
July 16 Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
July 18 West Palm Beach, FL - Cruzan Amphitheatre
July 19 West Palm Beach, FL - Cruzan Amphitheatre
July 22 Charlotte, NC - PNC Music Pavilion
July 23 Raleigh, NC – Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
July 25 Virginia Beach, VA - Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
July 26 Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live
August 22 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
August 23 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
August 24 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
August 26 Bend, OR – Les Schwab Amphitheatre
August 29 George, WA – The Gorge Amphitheatre
August 30 George, WA – The Gorge Amphitheatre
August 31 George, WA – The Gorge Amphitheatre
September 5 Chula Vista, CA – Sleep Train Amphitheatre
September 6 Irvine, CA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Widespread Panic announce Spring Tour and acoustic shows
Widespread Panic announced the dates for their acoustic Wood Tour as well as spring tour dates. The band will only do 6 "Wood Tour" dates in three different locations before beginning their full tour.
March 6 Richmond, VA—The National (Wood Tour)
March 7 Richmond, VA—The National (Wood Tour)
March 8 Richmond, VA—The National (Wood Tour)
March 11 Birmingham, AL—BJCC Concert Hall (Wood Tour)
March 13 Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium (Wood Tour)
March 14 Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium (Wood Tour)
March 17-20 Punta Cana, DR—Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
March 25 Seattle, WA—Moore Theatre
March 26 Portland, OR—Schnitzer Concert Hall
March 28 Oakland, CA—Fox Theatre
March 29 Oakland, CA—Fox Theatre
March 30 Reno, NV—Grand Sierra Theatre
April 3 Santa Barbara, CA—Arlington Theatre
April 4 Los Angeles, CA—Orpheum Theatre
April 5 Los Angeles, CA—Orpheum Theatre
April 11 Wilmington, NC—Azalea Festival
April 12 Wilmington, NC—Azalea Festival
September 4-7 Arrington, VA—Lockn' Festival (two nights)
January 4-9, 2014
Performers include: Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Bootsy Collins, Galactic, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Keller Williams, Galactic, and many others.
One Big Holiday
January 26-30, 2014
Riviera Maya, Mexico
My Morning Jacket will be performing 4 nights at this event.
Aura Music & Arts Festival
February 14-16, 2014
Spirit of the Suwanne Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Performers include: Papadosio, Lotus, Conspirator, Zoogma, The Werks, The Revivaalists, Particle, Marco Benevento, Dopapod, and many others.
February 19-23 2014
Hard Rock Hotel, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Performers include: Multiple shows from the String Cheese Incident, EOTO< Kyle Holingsworth Band, The Motet, and Prophet Massive.
February 21-23, 2014
Performers include: Greensky Bluegrass featuring Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Fruition, and many others.
Jam in the Sand
February 28-March 4, 2014
Dark Star Orchestra will host the event. Other performers to be announced.
Panic en la Playa tres
March 17-21, 2014
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Widespread Panic will perform four shows during the event.
March 20-23, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Southern Soul Assembly, Donna the Buffalo, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others
Hoopla in the Hills
Poston Lake Music Park
Performers include: Papadosio, Keller Williams, EOTO, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Cosby Sweater, Rumpke Mountain Boys, and many others.
April 10-12, 2014
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Tortuga Music Festival
April 12-13, 2014
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Performers include: Sheryl Crow, Train, Slightly Stoopid, Ziggy Marley, Brett dennen, Delta Rae, Moon Taxi, The Revivalists, and many others.
April 25-27, 2014
Kingston Downs, GA
Performers include: Outkast, Pretty Lights, STS9, Foster the People, Krewella, Big gigantic, Thievery Corp., Griz, Shpongle, Moon Taxi, and many others
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 25-27 and May 1-4, 2014
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Phish, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Santana, String cheese Incident, John Fogerty, Galactic, Avett Brothers, and many others.
Hangout Music Festival
Gulf Shores, AL
Performers include: The Black Keys, The Killers,Outkast, Jack Johnson, Queens of the Stone Age, Pretty Lights, The Avett Brothers, STS9, The Flaming lips, Modest Mouse, Zedd, and many others.
May 22-25, 2014
Three Sisters Park
Performers include: moe., Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Bassnectar, Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus, EOTO, and many others
Dark Star Jubilee
May 23-26, 2014
May 29-June 1, 2014
Performers include: The Avett Brothers
June 5-8, 2014
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, STS9, Umphrey's McGee, John Butler Trio, Flaming Lips, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Lettuce, Dr. Dog, Papadosio, and many others.
June 5-8, 2014
Hunter Mountain, NY
Performers include: Gov't Mule, Bob Weir & RatDog, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov't Mule, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Umphrey's McGee, Pretty Lights, and many others
June 6-8, 2014
New York, NY
Performers include: Outkast, jack White, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Skrillex, Interpol, and many others.
June 12-15, 2014
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 19-22, 2014
Performers include: Sam Bush Band, Bela Fleck & The Colorado Symphony, Brandi Carlile, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Del McCoury Band, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.
Firefly Music Festival
June 19-22, 2014
Performers include: Foo Fighters, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, Weezer, Girl Talk, Tegan and Sara, and many others.
July 3-6, 2014
July 23-27, 2014
Performers include: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Ms. Lauryn Hill, ray LaMontagne, Thievery Corporation, Ziggy Marley, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and many others
Gathering of the Vibes
July 31-August 1, 2014
August 8-10, 2014
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Lockin' Music Festival
September 4-7, 2014
Performers include: The String Cheese Incident, The Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, Widespread Panic, and Bob Weir & Ratdog
September 5-7, 2014
Thanks again for stopping by. I'll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!