PHISH in MARYLAND (MPP) - REVIEWS
- By Various Authors
- Published on June 14, 2011
|Photo Credit: Holly O'Connor|
As the preeminent jam band in the country ventures off on their 2011 Summer Tour, various fans, Headstash staff writers and even some random, first-time Phish-goers will submit reviews of each night. They'll tell you their favorite songs and segues, how the crowd reacted and whether this show is worth buying, downloading or skipping altogether.
After an epic night in Camden, Phish made a return to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD for a two-night run. Check out what Headstash staff writers and various phans thought of the shows.
For a complete list of tour dates, check out Phish's official website.--
June 11 – Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD
Set I: Daniel, AC/DC Bag, Ocelot, Access Me, Vultures, Wilson, Sand, Roses are Free > Reba, On Your Way Down, Run Like An Antelope
Set II: Birds of a Feather, Tweezer, The Horse > Silent In The Morning, Waves, Chalkdust Torture, Rock and Roll, Albuquerque, Piper > Wading in the Velvet Sea, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Suzy Greenberg
Encore: Show Of Life, Tweezer Reprise
Crowd Atmosphere: The lot party was very tame considering the large police presence that always shows up to Merriweather. The weather held up, though, setting the stage for a gorgeous night and a very excited Saturday night crowd.
Best Song: Reba
Best Jam: Piper
Best Segue: Piper > Wading in the Velvet Sea
Sloppiest Moment: Ocelot
Twitter Recap: Band was gelling – better song placement than night before. Great versions of “Sand” and “Reba” and a standout exploratory “Piper.”
Rating out of 5: 4.5
Other notes: Phish delivered a terrific Saturday show to those who made the trek to Columbia, MD. High-energy jamming throughout, but show really picked up the pace with "Wilson." The sequence of “Sand,” “Roses are Free > Reba,” “On Your Way Down,” “Antelope” was the highlight of the show. The dirty funk in “Sand” was jammed out and exploratory.
“Roses are Free” was executed well and the band kept the rhythm going for a few measures after. Just as the crowd was starting to think we were in store for a full “Roses” jam (circa late 90s) the band abruptly dipped into the opening notes of “Reba.”
The composed section of “Reba” was as tight as it comes and the jam produced Phish’s most delicate playing of the evening.
The second set produced solid versions of “Tweezer, “2001” and “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan,” but the highlight of the set came in an exploratory “Piper.”
The jam kicks off with a short, obligatory scorching guitar solo before Trey drops into some brief rhythm guitar allowing dense rhythmic interplay among the band. After kicking it back up a notch briefly, Trey’s descending guitar licks transition the song into a Mike-led section. “Wah” induced guitar and keys set the backdrop for this improvised piece before winding down and finally settling into “Wading in the Velvet Sea.”
- Andrew Duch
Crowd atmosphere: Well, it's Merriweather so you know you're going to experience a wide variety of folks, ranging from the grungiest of wooks to most entitled of preppy kids. Phish always plays to the crowd, so the shows reflected the spectrum of the audience. Everyone walked away happy.
Best Song: Out of all the songs that weren't jammed, per se, I really enjoyed "Access Me." Somehow I'd never heard that song before, and quickly understood why it is a particularly sought-after bust-out. The song reminds me of "Tela" in that it's sought out for it's beauty rather than jam potential.
Best Jam: Ever since I witnessed the birth of this current incarnation of Phish earlier this May in Bethel, my friend and I have been joking that these dudes are trying to tell us that they are aliens. Listen to the "Columbia Jam" out of "Rock and Roll" and tell me what you think. Jokes aside, truly some "out there" sounds. Something tells me they think we're not ready to handle a truly extended foray into music like this just yet. (. . . Superball!!!)
Best Segue: From an unorthodox point of view, I think "Albuquerque" was an excellent breather/segue between "Rock and Roll" and "Piper." Those two jams packed a punch, and this Neil Young song was a wonderful shoulder to rest on in the midst of this very, very long and raging second set.
Sloppiest moment: The only thing sloppy about this show were the porta-potties. I would say the sloppiest move, though, was cutting off "Tweezer" for some "Horse/Silent in the Morning." I don't care if the Belmont Stakes was on Saturday, cutting off a funky "Tweezer" is never a Mucho Macho Man move.
Twitter Recap: Saturday's Merriweather show left me with my face melted and my legs withered away. This "Tweezer" qualified as an excellent injection of dripped-out caveman funk.
Rating out of 5: Upon second listen, this show has some serious replay value, especially if you're getting the mp3s for free. I give this show a 4.2 with a 4.5 if they had explored the "Tweezer" for a little longer. Yes, I like "Tweezer" that much.
Buy/download/pass: If you feel like supporting the band financially, you definitely wouldn't be hurting yourself by buying this show. This show absolutely warrants attention, though.
- Taso Sporidis
June 12 – Merriweather Post Pavillion – Columbia, MD
Set I: Buried Alive, Lonesome Cowboy Bill, Ha Ha Ha, Sample in a Jar, The Divided Sky, Wolfman's Brother > Boogie On Reggae Woman, Gumbo, Halley's Comet, Bathtub Gin, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Character Zero
Set II: Party Time, Crosseyed and Painless, Steam, Light, The Wedge, Alaska, Halfway to the Moon, Harry Hood, Backwards Down The Number Line, Loving Cup
Encore: Sanity, Makisupa Policeman, First Tube
Crowd Atmosphere: Another raucous night that had the crowd still energized by last evening’s terrific performance.
Best Song: Crosseyed and Painless
Best Jam: Harry Hood
Best Segue: Steam > Light
Sloppiest Moment: Backwards Down the Number Line
Twitter Recap: High-energy, tight show that featured some of the hardest shredding of the weekend. A rocker throughout, the show mixed old favorites like “Hood” and “Divided Sky” with new favorites “Steam,” “Light” and “BDNL”
Rating out of 5: 4
Other notes: Closing out the weekend with a high-energy show that featured one of the most ripping versions of “Crosseyed and Painless” we’ve witnessed recently. Trey never let up during the dense rendition.
The “Hood” was strong and featured some standout phrasing by Trey. The “BDNL” jam wasn’t particularly impressive but they regrouped in a terrific version of “Loving Cup” to close out the set.
Overall, the weekend featured some tight, energetic playing. Even if the songs may have lacked some of the exploratory jamming that the band was embracing earlier in the tour, Phish delivered yet another weekend of amazing music. It’s evident they are light years ahead of where they were just two years ago when 3.0 was kicking off.
- Andrew Duch
Crowd atmosphere: Pretty similar to Saturday night, just smaller in numbers. Lot was very tame with a massive police presence.
Best Song: "Steam" stole the show for me. I'm a sucker for thematic songs, and when the improvisation started, the band literally covered the stage with a fog machine and jammed behind the literal steam. It was really cool to watch and the playing was superb. This was the second time "Steam has ever been played and I truly cannot wait to see where they take this song. It has limitless potential.
Best Jam: "Crosseyed And Painless > Steam > Light > The Wedge". The entire segment is great, and while they never really delved deep into Type-II jamming, the playing was incredibly high in energy and very creative. "Light" contained the most balanced and careful jam, even though it seemed to have been cut just a bit short. All in all, this segment is super high octane and very musically dense.
Best Segue: "Wolfman's Brother > Boogie On Reggae Woman." I was in the pit during the first set, and towards the end of "Wolfman's," I saw a huge smile turn up on Trey's face. I knew they were up to something and then Mike dropped that first bass-line of "Boogie On." The segue was so clean. Needless to say, my smile immediately matched Trey's.
Sloppiest Moment: Can't think of one.
Twitter Recap: My favorite show of the three-night run. It was special from the beginning, as Trey picked out a bunch of request signs from the audience before the show started. These were "Buried Alive," "Lonesome Cowboy Bill," (a Velvet Underground cover) and "Sanity.". Aside from the epic playing mentioned above, there were also huge bustouts in "Ha Ha Ha" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago."
Rating out of 5: 4.8
Buy/download/pass: Buy and listen, without a doubt.
Other Notes: So many highlights on Sunday. "Wolfman's > Boogie On" was perfect and super funky. "Bathtub Gin" was on point. A stellar "Harry Hood" and last but not least, an epic encore of "Sanity > Makisupa Policeman > First Tube".
Super high-energy, dense musicality and a truly great crew made for a incredible end of the three-night run.
- John Sporidis
Stay tuned as we continue to publish short fan reviews from each night of Phish's Summer Tour 2011.
What did you think of the Merriweather shows?