Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mr. Miner: Considering A Smaller Fall

Through the years building to their first peak in ’95, Phish shows were defined by an intimate electricity that was lost when the band made the permanent leap to large arenas in 1996. With the palpable energy that filled the smaller rooms of yesteryear, Phish pushed their music through several torrid improvisational phases in 1993, 1994 and 1995. When Phish moved into the college and minor-league arenas of 1994, the rooms most resembling the venues of this coming fall, their music delved deeper than ever and jams were transformed into mysterious voyages into the unknown. A youthful exuberance drove their musical creativity and risk taking overflowed nightly – not such a different dynamic than in August. By no means comparing the music of these eras, the band’s modern approach, however, has taken a distinctly retro feel. Gaining musical momentum throughout June and August, Phish, perhaps, feels their creativity blossoming once again and they are ready to take on the experimentation that comes with reinvention. Maybe this time around is about getting back to place that they had permanently lost with the collapse of The Grateful Dead. Today, with Dave Matthews and plenty of other “jam bands” drawing young bohemian seekers, Phish just may be able to recreate the feeling they forgot over the late’90s and post-hiatus. With another peak musical era emerging, the band is returning to the type of rooms that hosted their original ascent.

Dog Gone Blog: 1994.11.16 Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

photo via dog gone blog

When I first caught wind of this show, I immediately thought of the Dead’s two-night run at the same venue from ’71 (12.14 & 12.15). Both nights display the band at the top of their game, with the second night’s “Darkstar” easily ranking as one of the best jams from that year. Like Phish, the Dead were also going through a transitional phase when they arrived in Ann Arbor, having added Keith Godchaux to the line-up only months before in an attempt to compensate for Pigpen’s dwindling state. Both bands can be heard breaking new ground in these shows, and as a result, both have remained among my favorites for some time now.


Official Press Release:

On October 19th, JEMP Records will release Coral Sky, a 2-DVD set capturing Phish’s November 2, 1996 performance at Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, FL. The complete, uncut concert was created from archival videotapes of the multi-camera lawn screen feed and the audio was mixed from multi-track masters in stereo PCM and 5.1 surround.

Amid the swaying palms and soft breezes of South Florida, the two-and-a-half hour plus concert showcased some of the most unique and compelling playing of the band’s career, including a transcendent pairing of “Crosseyed And Painless” and “Run Like An Antelope.” Santana’s Karl Perazzo was featured on percussion throughout the show. Perazzo, who had become acquainted with the band members during their 1992 and 1996 summer tours with Santana, added polyrhythms that explored new space within Phish's music in this deeply experimental show. Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks sat in for the encore, “Funky Bitch.”

Fans can pre-order Coral Sky at Phish Dry Goods. Digital audio will also be available at livephish.com, iTunes, Rhapsody and other digital outlets. An audio soundtrack CD will be sold exclusively at Phish Dry Goods.

CORAL SKY Track Listing (Click links for free audio)

Set I:
1. Ya Mar
2. Julius
3. Fee >
4. Taste
5. Cavern >
6. Stash
7. The Lizards
8. Free
9. Johnny B. Goode

Set II:
1. Crosseyed And Painless >
2. Run Like An Antelope
3. Waste
4. Harry Hood >
5. A Day In The Life
6. Sweet Adeline

7. Funky Bitch

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