Monday, June 29, 2009

Phishing with The Boss

Bruce Springsteen with Phish -  6/14/09 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival,  Manchester, Tennessee ***Click to see BIGGER, if u wish***

Phish -- June 14, 2009
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Manchester, Tennessee
* with Bruce Springsteen

1st Set
AC/DC Bag NICU, Gotta Jibboo, Punch You In The Eye
SparkleBathtub Gin Character Zero
The Horse Silent In The Morning Run Like An Antelope
Mustang Sally*, Bobby Jean* Glory Days*

Set 2
Rock & Roll "Manchester Jam" Light 46 Days,
Limb By Limb, Farmhouse,

Backwards Down The Number Line Prince Caspian, First Tube

Encore: Suzy Greenberg Tweezer Reprise

So what do I know of Phish? They're from Vermont. That's most of what I know. Apparently lead singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio spent some time growing up in the Princeton, New Jersey area. Hey, despite what many ignorant people think, anything New Jersey is usually cool so that's cool. Growing up, Trey dug Springsteen... a Springsteen concert was the first concert he ever saw... and he still does dig Bruuuuuuuuuce.

Some Deadheads jumped on the Phish train and when Jerry kicked the bucket, they adopted Phish as their new favorite band. Me, I never saw 'em. I never wanted to as I'd heard too many bad things about the scene. Take what was bad about the GD scene and multiply it times about 40 and it was pitiful. Range Rover frat boy Phishheads with their cell phones and trust funds? No, that wasn't all of them but that was enough to keep me away.

For whatever reason, Phish went on hiatus (broke up?) several years back and for a short while at least there was the Trey Anastasio Band plus other various side projects from band members. Now Phish is back and they headlined Bonnaroo this year.

There are a couple Phish shows that I'd been meaning to listen to someday, and probably still will -- both at Shoreline and one is with special guest Bob Weir and the other with special guest Phil Lesh. Other than those two shows, I figured I'd never listen to this band. Thanks to a roommate back in Missoula, Montana, I'd heard some Phish once upon a time I and thought their music was incredibly stupid. I never listened to them since. I know some very close-minded people will consider me stupid for my thinking that Phish's music is stupid but if someone wants to think that way, they're free to... but it's a sad way of thinking. Unfortunately I know some Phishheads are going to be incredibly pathetic like that but eh, that's life. Fortunately there are others who will respect my opinion even if they disagree with it. While some [people?] might be close-minded, I'm not going to be -- I've opened my mind to trying them out again; I'm going to listen to Phish. The reason I decided on this isn't really because I wanted to listen to Phish, though... it's because Bruce Springsteen came out and played on a few songs and I'm a pretty big Springsteen fan. I could've listened to those songs alone but I thought I'd give the whole show a chance. Actually, I've been listening to this show off and on for about a week now and here I am listening to the whole thing straight through.

The first two songs of the show left me a little bored but Gotta Jibboo, while perhaps kind of dumb, does get into such a sweet jam!! Holy moly, this got me hooked!

I love the opening to Punch You In The Eye but not the vocals. Is it me or does this sound a little like Sex and The City? Overall it's not bad and I've got positive feelings for that one. Sparkle returns to the dumb, unfortunately. It feels like a train wreck and I just don't get it.

The cool jamming returns in Bathtub Gin. Again I completely dislike the vocals of the song but it gets into a GREAT groove. It sounds like these guys are firing on all cylinders and playing the hell out of this. More of the same on Character Zero -- so sweet!! Another tune which is a minimum of 10 minutes follows -- Tweezer. This features a bit of a funk sound that had me movin' around my living room. When the song is less funk, it seems like it's all jam. Man, oh man... if I was at Bonnaroo hearing these guys, I'd've been dancin' my ass off!

The Horse-> Silent In The Morning I'm not crazy about but Run Like An Antelope is pretty cool. This is one of their signature songs or something like that? No? I dunno. I really like the playing here. This is definitely a song that makes me see how some Deadheads can very easily dig this band.

My favorite part of the show is when Bruce Springsteen is introduced as Trey's childhood hero. The first song they do isn't a Springsteen song but it's one Bruce knows well. Bruce's voice sounds kinda like crap on Mustang Sally but it's cool to hear him and Trey trading guitar licks. They have a lot of fun with this as I doubt the E Street Band ever jams it out to ten minutes! I don't often think of Springsteen as a guitar player but he surely knows how to play and he doesn't do a bad job. Mustang Sally really shoulda been the last song of the three they played because it smoked whereas Bobby Jean was a little tired. It wasn't so E Street Band great only because these guys don't know it like they know their own songs. The pros they are, they were able to do a decent job with it plus there's a nice guitar solo in there... which I'm not sure if it's Trey or Bruce. In this case it could be either as maybe Trey stood aside for a moment to let Bruce wail on his own song. Glory Days wraps up the trio of tunes. The band seems to have a slightly better grasp on this than they did on Bobby Jean. Trey lights up a guitar solo that Bruce, in about a minute, joins in on but eventually Springsteen settles back into a rhythm player mode while Trey momentarily completely launches that sucker into freakin' orbit. Holy crapola, what a blistering finish!!!! That was way cool. Since it wasn't the E Street Band, it wasn't perfectly Springsteen but they had fun and the guitar work was sometimes better than what might be offered up at a Springsteen show, not to mention, other than an official live album release, there are no recent Springsteen soundboards to listen to so for the Springsteen fan, this should be some cool stuff! Or not. Hey, whatever floats your boat and it sure floated mine!

Set two starts off with a cover of the Velvet Underground's Rock and Roll which flows incredibly into something labeled "Manchester Jam." Here is Mike Gordon's strongest bestest Phil Lesh-sounding bass playing of the night so far. What an incredible thirteen or so minutes of music. I didn't care much for the following Light until they set off into jamland... then it got interesting. Trey's guitar is amazing. Everybody here is just awesome. Gordon's bass is non-stop while Jon Fishman on drums and Page McConnell on keys keep the pace crankin' full blast. When they finally slow it down you get a healthy heaping helping of Gordon's bass while Trey kinda noodles along for awhile. Fantastic stuff! And then the way they find their way out of the jam to begin 46 Days -- epic! Maybe not of true epic proportions as far as Phish is concerned (I have no clue) but it's so classically Grateful Dead, like how when the boys are deep into a jam and so far gone but BAM all of a sudden out of nowhere they're so perfectly making that left turn into something we all recognize. That's what happened here, it appears. Holy cow, 46 Days is sweet!

That's all I've got for now. Perhaps I'll finish writing later.

I should add that listening to this hasn't turned me into a Phishhead and I'm not gonna start regularly posting Phish shows 'round here. I'd be surprised if I listen to them more than once or twice a year... three times tops. I kinda dug this, definitely dug the jams, but I'm not sure I'll warm up to the vocal parts of the songs. None of that really thrilled me. But again, the jamming, that's a whole 'nother story! Awesome stuff!!!

Download The Show Here

(320 kbps)

Phish - 6/14/09 - Bonnaroo - Part 1

Part 2 Part 3

Source & Lineage: Digital Soundboard > FLAC

free digital mp3 download with setlist 6-14-09 a.k.a. 06-14-09 a.k.a. 6/14/09 a.k.a. 06/14/09 a.k.a. 09-06-14


Dogstarz said...

It is funny that most of the songs that you didn't like were the new songs.(Sparkles, Light) I like Phish ok. Haven't really cared too much about this tour though. I was streaming this concert that night. I watched Springsteen and then a little of Phish's second set. I believe it was during Light that I just stopped caring. I will give this another listen sometime. I think I prefer The Dead over Phish myself. Great review!!!

newelectricmuse said...

Great - thanks! I like Phish, but haven't enjoyed them as much since they lost much of the quirkyness that (I thought) made them special and fun. I'm glad they're back with us though. A big thank you for the music - I'm not a particular Springsteen fan, but recognise the importance of his presence - is he the biggest guest artist they've had? An even bigger thank you for taking the time to add a really interesting review - good to read something from someone without a lot of fan baggage (if you see what I mean).

Sugarmag said...

This was in interesting review. I haven't listened to this show and probably won't but I have seen Phish a few times and I have to agree about the jams and the lyrics.

Kid Charlemagne said...

thanks for this. agree with you somewhat concerning the scene that is why I do not go out of my way to catch them any more. but the times I did it sure was a blast...

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated