Wednesday, 5 August 2009

We Have Moved!

Due to some technical issues, we have moved to a new site. Please update your bookmarks!

The new address is:

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Phish 3.5

Throughout the evolution of Phish, there have been diverse phases which have altered the direction of the band. '94 is clearly an example of exploratory jamming, '97 is the 'cow funk' period, '03 is the frowned upon period, to name a few. However, no matter which you favor most or whether you dislike an entire period, there is no arguing that each has had an impact on the band. The band's ability to improvise within the context of a new frame has allowed them to progress through each stage, coming out a different and more capable band in the end. There is no doubt that we have entered into a new stage of Phish improvisation. This past weekend at Red Rocks shows that the band has fully taken on its new form, with increased comfort, and will explore it for the foreseeable future.

The transition to this new form has been slow, and most likely occurred in late '99. After the legendary all-night Big Cypress set, the band took a different turn. With a more rock-focused direction, the band entered into the millennium changed. The
band pursued this form in early 2000, however the hiatus would prevent us from seeing any further into the bands' new improvisational approach.

The return from the first hiatus in '03 prevented us from fully experiencing the bands new direction, as they were largely unpracticed and impeded by outside factors. Some highlights from this period offer a glimpse into the exploratory realm that the band would eventually reach. The shows from Camden in '03 and Saratoga in June '04 are particular highlights. These shows exhibit some very outside jamming, reminiscent of where the band is today. There are many more (the two night run in Cinci '03, IT, Brooklyn etc). During this period the band took some exploratory leaps, which many people have criticized harshly. Perhaps because Trey flubbed too many notes during the composed sections, fans ignore the incredible jams and progress that took place.

During the second hiatus, each member was given an opportunity to hone their skills at their respective instruments. Using with an edgier, more distorted tone, Trey continued to develop his new style that he had introduced in '03. Equipped with a bag of new licks, he continued to perfect his sound. TAB offered him the perfect chance to work out the details of his new style before rejoining Phish. Page was offered the chance to lead his own bands, as was Mike, allowing them both to improve their writing and playing. Jon took the opportunity to play with numerous musicians from several different genres of music (including another Ernie Stires student, Jamie Masefield of JMP), developing his multifaceted skills further.

Returning to Hampton in March of this year, the band sounded entirely different than their '03-'04 shows. With a much larger focus on rhythm, and equal-part, concise jams the band made their way through their old numbers. Although the band seemed uptight due to the circumstances, it seemed this was the direction they were taking. Most people know Mike has been critical of Trey's note-heavy solos, and Page has rarely taken the forefront. Thus, when we saw Trey take a step back in many of the jams, and Page take a step forward, we were left thinking this was the Phish 3.0 sound. Concise, funky, equal-part, rhythmic-based jams, along with Trey's edgy guitar tone.

However, the June shows shoved all of these notions aside and presented us with an even newer direction. The band exhibited very rock-based playing, highly focused on Trey's solos (which were note-heavy). Nonetheless, the band impressed us at every stop along the tour. Bringing along some aspects of Hampton's shows (Page's greater stage presence) and leaving others behind, they continued to evolve. Still focused on more concise jams, the Quartet felt as though they were getting more comfortable each step of the way.

By the Alpine shows, the band seemed to have fully evolved, developing their new sound. Each member was representing a greater part of the whole, in-line with their King Sunny Ade approach. In Burgettstown, for the first time, Page would lead the jam in
Tube from the end of the lyrics until the bluesy interlude. This demonstrated the new equal-part mentality. After these shows, mostly everyone was pleased. The jams were extended, more experimental, more psychedelic. The band that everyone loved was back, and making a statement with the experience they had gained.

Then came Red Rocks and the band shoved the June shows aside. Anyone who has
listened to the shows from the past four nights knows that the band has taken yet another step. This time, we are hearing the band with the experimentation of '03, the tightness of 98, only now with greater experience. The rhythmic focus of Hampton was brought along, and appears in many jams. Trey's guitar, still edgy...but tastefully so. The Stash from Red Rocks night 1 is reminiscent of some of the versions from '95, featuring dark, outer-wordly improvisation. The entire second set from night 2 provides a great example of Phish's new direction. Featuring far more relaxed jams than the June shows, the Red Rocks shows are bold statement from the band. The composed numbers were played with precision (other than a little Bowie flub), and the jams were more drawn out than before.

While the June shows' jams often felt like long solos, the Red Rocks shows contain close interplay between each member of the band. Trey and Mike can be heard going back and forth on the
Ghost from night 1, locking in and out of melodies. There is no doubt that the band has taken yet another step in their evolutionary process. It is amazing how Phish continues to evolve. Like Miles Davis, the band constantly breaks new ground, moving into uncharted musical territories each time. Not only is Phish back, they are back in a new and different way. They are constantly trying to use their abundant creativity to push the band forward in new, interesting musical directions.

Anyone who is seeing the band in the next few weeks is brimming with excitement at the possibilities that surround every show. The transitions are becoming smoother, the jams are getting longer, Phish are being Phish again (Trey's musical charades) and things seem to be getting better each step of the way. All signs point to these upcoming shows being very, very good. As Phish continues to develop their new style, it is interesting to look back on the impressive leaps the band has already made this year.

What is your favorite Phish era? Post your opinion in the comments section below.

I have posted the video of the jam from
Stash on Night 1 at Red Rocks below.

(All pictures courtesy of Dave Vann)

Sunday, 2 August 2009

The Gypsy King

Django Reinhardt is one of the greatest figures in jazz music. Throughout the world of guitar, there is an admiration for Django that is so strong, it is almost a religion in itself. This deep admiration is a result of his highly innovative and distinct guitar playing which lead to him becoming one of the greatest guitar players who has ever lived. Django's influence stretches to all types of music (literally), and he can be seen as one of the pioneers of the lead guitar concept.

Born in 1910 to a gypsy family in Belgium, Django learned to play banjo, violin and guitar at an early age. At the age of 18, Django lost the use of two of his fingers on his playing hand while escaping from a fire. As a result, he was forced into developing a new style with his remaining two fingers. During leads, Django would only use his index and middle finger, making use of his injured fingers only when playing chords. The song
Jessica by The Allman Brothers was written as a tribute to Django, as Dicky Betts wanted to write a song he could play with only two fingers. After meeting violinist Stephane Grappelly, Django's playing changed considerably, creating a dynamic which included both rhythm and lead players.

Django's lead work is rich with colourful melodies that express his unmatched creativity. His ability to construct phrases that take the listener on a musical journey is one of the great wonders of the musical world. It is as if the man himself is simply a conduit in which music is passed through. As great as his capabilities as a lead guitarist were, his ability to play rhythm is just as impressive. Django's precision is particularly noticeable, which is suprising considering his handicap.

Django's influence on improvisational music is endless. Trey has said that Phish would always listen to Django's music while in the recording studio. In a 2002 High Times article, Trey is asked who his jazz-guitar hero is. This was his response: "Probably Django Reinhardt. I spend the most time listening to him. I listen to a lot of Django at home.
" Jimi Hendrix is also believe to have named the Band of Gypsys because of Django. His playing can clearly be heard in Jerry Garcia's soloing, who was admittedly a huge fan. Perhaps his musical companion Stephane Grappelly said it best:
"He did more for the guitar than any other man in jazz. His way of playing was unlike anyone else's, and jazz is different because of him. There can be many other fine guitarists, but there can bever be another Reinhardt. I am sure of that."
Below I have posted a few videos highlighting Django's guitar playing. Due to the age of the recordings, they are all audio-only.

Here is a video of Django playing
Minor Swing, a song written by him and Stephane.

This version features Django playing his electric guitar (a rare occurance) with Duke Ellington. They are playing
Honeysuckle Rose, the Fats Waller song.

This next video shows Django's influence. The video is of Phish's
N02 from the White Tape. Listen to Trey's solo at 4:55 to hear some Djangoisms.

Red Rocks Recap

Here are the streams and downloads for each of the nights from Phish's Red Rocks run:

2009-07-30 Night 1
Stream pt 1
Stream pt 2



2009-07-31 Night 2
Stream pt 1
Stream pt 2



2009-08-01 Night 3

Stream pt 1
Stream pt 2


2009-08-02 Night 4
Stream pt 1
Stream pt 2


Red Rocks Night 4

Here is the setlist from Night 4 of Phish's Red Rocks run. The download will be up as soon as possible. This week we will have in-depth reviews from each night of the Red Rocks run. The band heads to Shoreline next. More Dead-member appearances are highly likely.

Set One

  • Roses Are Free
  • Wilson
  • NICU
  • Prince Caspian
  • Back On The Train
  • Reba
  • Grind
  • Beauty Of A Broken Heart
  • Sample In A Jar
  • Sugar Shack
  • Waste
  • Kill Devil Falls

Set Two

  • Boogie On Reggae Woman
  • You Enjoy Myself >
  • Undermind >
  • Drums >
  • Seven Below >
  • 2001 >
  • Waves >
  • Character Zero


  • Bittersweet Motel
  • Bouncing Around The Room
  • Slave To The Traffic Light

Show Notes

Undermind through Character Zero with Bill Kreutzmann on drums.

The Return of the Curtain (with)

Last night, the epic Phish tune The Curtain (with) made a prominent return amongst the mountains of Morrison, CO. The song, which was last played almost five years ago (8-15-04), to close out the band's break up festival in Coventry, VT, has been on the minds of Phish fans ever since. Rumors of the song being "shelved" due to its emotional weight, or because of its inidcation as the end of Phish as we knew them, have been swirling since their return. The perfomance of this song at Coventry was disappointing. The song was restarted, and fans were left feeling unsatisfied.

The Curtain (with) is a unique song in many respects. To start, the lyrics are not written by any current member of the band. In 1987, Trey combined his music with Marc Daubert's lyrics to form the song. When asked about the lyrics, Daubert stated the following in a Hidden Track interview:
“When I was much younger, my parents tried to get me to believe in God...They forced me to go to church on Sunday. I rebelled eventually and was left at home on Sunday mornings. This was the best time for me to practice music. So, music became my religion. Eventually, that became confused and entwined with the meaning of this song. ‘Chanting words from a song’ is the correct phrase. ‘Please me, have no regrets’ came from the baby’s mouth. The song that the baby is singing is an expression of sacrifice. There can be no love without sacrifice. This is the greater meaning in these words.”
Listeners can immediately notice the stark contrast of these lyrics to any other Phish song. The lyrics are dark and philosophical, and give the song a very different sound. Another interesting aspect of the song is that the melodic ending was made optional on February 7th, 1988. After that point the song developed two names, adding the "(with)" to the end of the versions featuring the melodic ending that would later be tacked on to rift.
The song was first played on 8-9-87 at Nectar's (this show was also the first for Divided Sky, Fee, Harpua, and the Sloth) and has only been performed 13 times prior to last night. The shortened version has been played many times, however, after '88 the longer version was shelved for 12 years. Returning on July 12, 2000 at Deer Creek, the song would be played several more times on that tour, establishing itself as a latter day fan favorite. A notable version from this period is the one from Columbia on September 17th, 2000.

Last night's version of the song makes an strong statement about the band going forward. There are no limits or boundaries. An
y song can be played at any moment, regardless of its history or baggage. The placement of this song last night (reminiscent of Deer Creek 2000) could not have been better, as it prepared the crowd for the spectacular show that was to unfold as the night went on. The future is looking very bright based on the display Phish has been putting on the past few nights. Looking back on tonight's setlist, it is clear that any song's destiny is unbound.

I have posted below the link to the debut of The Curtain (with) at Nectar's in '87. Also, watch this video of Phish practising The Curtain (with) prior to their show in Brooklyn 2004, and another of them performing The Curtain from 8-17-96.

1987-08-09 Nectar's, Burlington, VT

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Red Rocks Night 3

Phish performed their 3rd of four nights at Red Rocks tonight. By all accounts, this was one of the bands best shows in many years. The download for the FLAC from last nights show is below.

2009-08-01 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO

Set One

  • AC/DC Bag
  • The Curtain With
  • Mound
  • Gotta Jibboo
  • Guyute
  • Punch You in the Eye
  • Tube
  • Alaska
  • Run Like An Antelope

Set Two

  • Rock and Roll
  • Down With Disease >
  • Free
  • Esther
  • Dirt
  • Harry Hood


  • Sleeping Monkey
  • First Tube

Happy Birthday Jerry!

67 years ago today, Jerome "Jerry" John Garcia was born. Although his life was cut short at 53, Jerry will forever remain one of the most important figures in both musical and American cultural history. His work has had a lasting impact on a subculture that cherishes him like no other. Jerry is a cultural icon, as well as one of the greatest and most innovative guitarists to ever live. A man who never wanted to lead a single person wound up leading an entire movement, capturing the hearts and minds of countless followers. Almost 50 years ago, Jerry began making music, and until this day, the music has never stopped.

Jerry met Robert Hunter in 1960, and along with Dave Nelson (New Riders of the Purple Sage), they started a band called the Zodiacs. Performing mostly bluegrass and traditional folk numbers, Jerry would go on to join atleast 3 other bands: The Thunder Mountain Tub Thumpers, The Wildwood Boys and the Black Mountain Boys. After meeting Bob Weir in 1963, Jerry formed Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. With the addition of Phil Lesh and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the band would become the Warlocks until finally settling on the Grateful Dead, a phrase from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. When the band began experimenting with electric instruments, they drew heavy criticism from the beatnik crowd, however, Jerry clearly saw the potential in the electric guitar and pursued it endearingly.
"I'm shopping around for something to do that no one will like."
Using a combination of banjo picking techniques, and downhome style playing, Jerry created one of the most unique sounds yet to be heard on the guitar. In the Grateful Dead's early years, heavy traces of Rolling Stones' influence can be heard. As the band progressed, explored and experimented further, musically and otherwise, Jerry began to develop a unique style. Jerry's guitar playing is unmistakable. Anyone who knows Jerry's playing can pick out his trademark triple-pull-offs or mutron III envelope filter. His powerful lead lines are instantly identifiable, and are the driving force behind so many of the Dead's live jams.
"And as far as I'm concerned, it's like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem."
Jerry's love for music extended well beyond the Dead. Jerry was constantly performing in one way or another whether it be in the Jerry Garcia Band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Old and in the Way, with Merl Saunders or with David Grisman. In each side project Jerry played a different role. In the New Riders, Jerry played pedal steel. They would open for the Dead, and so Jerry would play in two bands on the same night. The day the Dead would come off the road, Jerry would be in a bar performing with one of his side projects.

Today, we celebrate the life of Jerry Garcia who has had such an impact on so many music lovers. Even though his life was cut short, his music has remained timeless, inspiring bands and followers alike. Many will agree that Jerry was cut from a fabric that is rarely seen in this world. His legacy will live on through the countless deadheads that cherish his every note, and through his impact in the world of music. Happy Birthday Jerry.

From the land of the midnight sun
where the ice blue roses grow
'long those roads of gold and silver snow
Howlin' wide or moaning low
So many roads I know
So many roads to ease my soul
Grateful Dead, So Many Roads

To celebrate Jerry's music, here is a show from the Filmore East from May 15th, 1970. One of my favourite shows. This show really flaunts Jerry's ability as a guitarist and that's why I have chosen it. I've also included the February 18th, 1971 show from the Capitol Theatre. Both of these shows have incredible Darkstars, among many others. Enjoy both of these gems on this special day in history.
1970-05-15 Filmore East, New York, NY part 1
1970-05-15 Filmore East, New York, NY part 2

1971-02-18 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY

Here's a great video of the Dead performing Fire on the Mountain below from the
Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ April 27th, 1977.

Red Rocks Night 2

Here is the setlist and link to the FLAC torrent for last night show:

2009-07-31 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO

Set One
  • Runaway Jim
  • Chalk Dust Torture
  • Bathtub Gin
  • Time Turns Elastic
  • Lawn Boy
  • Water In The Sky
  • Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan
  • Split Open and Melt

Set Two

  • Drowned >
  • Crosseyed and Painless >
  • Joy
  • Tweezer >
  • Backwards Down The Numberline >
  • Fluffhead >
  • Piper >
  • A Day in the Life


  • Suzy Greenberg >
  • Tweezer Reprise

Friday, 31 July 2009

10 Phish Jams You Should Hear

To celebrate Phish's return to Redrocks, lets look back at 10 of their best jams over time. This is a list of jams, in no particular order, that any Phish fan should listen to. It is not the "best 10 phish jams", simply 10 jams that you should hear.

You Enjoy Myself (1995-10-31) - Since we've been talking about Halloween so much, I decided to throw in one of my favourite YEMs that just happens to take place on Halloween. After tearing apart The Who's "Quadrophenia", the band launched into this lengthy version of their famous jam vehicle. While the longest jams do not always prove to be the best, this long jam should be considered among them. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, this epic version of YEM is a must listen for all. Listen at around 19:00 when Mike takes a dive into a muddy bass line that Page interlaces with his looped synths. Trey gets in there making for a heavy delay-loop jam, meanwhile Mike and Jon hold the funky rhythm underneath. Around 21:00, the jam slows right down leading into a wild spacey psychedelic adventure.

Download 1995-10-31 Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, IL

Run Like an Antelope (1998-11-27) - One of the best Antelopes ever. I doubt there is any discrepancy on that. This jam is simply incredible. Mike slaughters the bass line in this version, and Trey's tone is incredible in this show. Trey if you are reading this, bring back your old tone. Very nice syncopated jam around 4:00 leading into a ripping solo at 9:00. Listen to this fiery version of Antelope.

Download 1998-11-27 The Centrum, Worcester, MA

Halley's Comet (1997-11-22) - This epic Halley's from the mothership starts the second set of the show, where the band arrives onstage to find the crowd chanting the words to Destiny Unbound. Trey responds by telling the crowd it sounds like a "death chant", because he can't hear, and asks if it is time for the ritual sacrifice. The band jams hard in this funk-laden Halley's, very '97-esque. This jam shows off some nice Page loops and killer lead work by Trey. Listen to Trey's solo around 20:00, absolutely amazing. Over a dark layer, Trey soars above in a modal exploration that leaves the normal confines of a Halley's. Layered with effects, the band sends the song back to the galaxy in which it came.

Download 1997-11-22 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

Down With Disease (1997-12-11) - A classic Phish jam, exhibiting each member's respective talents. The jam weaves in and out of wildness, into a soft dark spacey section around 11:15, which is something not often heard in a Disease. The jam continues this soft groove throughout the rest of the song, a very interesting version. The entire fall '97 tour is incredible, and this is just one of many gems from that period. This Disease is a standout version. This particular version truly shows off Jon's impeccable timing. It really sounds like there's a drum machine going (16:00).

Download 1997-12-11 War Memorial, Rochester, NY

Reba (1995-05-16) - One of my favorite versions of one of my favorite songs. Some amazingly nice syncopated work by Trey in this rendition. The band holds tight taking this Reba in new spacier directions than normally seen (8:15). Amazing work by Page to completely alter the dynamic of the jam. Trey's lead work around 11:00 is simply incredible. The jam builds up from a soft spacey psychedelic groove to a full out rocker. An excellent Reba.

Download 1995-05-16 Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA

6. Ghost (1997-11-17) - Phish in the essence of their "cow-funk" era. the jam is very funky, filled with smooth synth runs by Page, loops, and very heavy bass by Mike. Trey glides atop the rhythm, layering effects, in one of the best Ghosts ever. There is no particular highlight of the song, the entire song is mind blowing. Many consider this show to be one of the best shows, and this jam is certainly a highlight. Another gem from the fall of '97.

Download 1997-11-17 McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, CO

Bathtub Gin (1993-08-13) - This version of gin is tight from the start within the context of a very loose song. The band moves into a vocal jam early (4:00) showing the exploratory nature of the band at this point in time. '93 marks one of the most experimental years, with some very outside playing. This gin is no exception.

Download 1993-08-13 Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN

Tweezer>Lifeboy (1994-06-18) - '94 is probably the best year for Tweezer. Feeding on the now legendary version from the Bomb Factory in Dallas, the band launched into this version mid-second set in Chicago. This is one of my favorite versions (as are many of these choices clearly), exhibiting some amazing guitar work by Trey who launches into a melody around 4:45 that nears upon divinity. He carries the melody through into a ripping solo, which then spaces out and segues into Lifeboy. The transitions in '94 sound very natural, and this is great example.

9. Mind Left Body Jam>David Bowie (1994-06-18) - From the same show as the Tweezer above, this is my favorite Bowie ever. At 4:45 Trey locks into a melody, which carries the jam to an entirely new level. This jam is incredibly melodic, with great playing all around. At 6:45 the song picks up heading into a heavy rocking exploratory jam. Mike's fast bass work is absolutely wild. One of my favorite jams, from an outstanding, highly underrated show. Trey talks about this Bowie in this interview. He says that at the beginning of the song, when they play the first note signalling for the high-hat intro, they spontaneously entered what became the Mind Left Body Jam (this later became Frankie Says). This is an example of how Phish jams have no boundaries, any part of any song can become a jam.

Download 1994-06-18 UIC Pavilion, Chicago, IL

Twist (1998-04-02) - After spending time in the studio writing new material, Phish decided to take their new songs on the road in a series of four legendary shows. The Island Tour took place over four nights in Uniondale, NY and Providence, RI. If you haven't heard all four of these shows, I highly recommend you do so immediately. The entire four night run is magical. This Twist is a perfect example. Completely leaving the confines of the song, the jam enters into places that are unimaginable. The jam is heavy type II, and definitely my favorite Twist of all time. One of my favourite parts in any Phish jam ever is at 6:30. Jon leads the jam as he speeds up the tempo, leading it into all new places. This jam is a journey, and anyone who embarks on the ride is sure to realize how great this jam really is. I can't say enough about this one. Even though it is last, it could be the best jam on this entire list. Simply put, this is one of Phish's finest jams ever and it is rarely mentioned among them.

Download 1998-04-02 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

If you have a favorite Phish jam post it in the comments section below.

Red Rocks Night 1

Here is the setlist and torrent link for night 1:

2009-07-30 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO

Here are the no spoiler downloads, they come as one long mp3 for those of you who don't like FLAC. They also download extremely quickly, however it comes in multiple sections:

Red Rocks Part I

Red Rocks Part II

Red Rocks Part III

Red Rocks Part IV

Set One

* The Divided Sky
* Ocelot
* The Wedge
* Poor Heart
* The Moma Dance
* Horn
* Stash
* The Horse >
* Silent in the Morning
* Possum

Set Two

* Mike's Song >
* I Am Hydrogen >
* Weekapaug Groove
* Ghost
* Wolfman's Brother
* Limb By Limb
* Billy Breathes
* The Squirming Coil
* David Bowie


* Loving Cup

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Red Rocks Stream

For a live stream of tonight's show, check out this site: Hood Stream Show time: 8:30 Mountain Time. Enjoy the show!

Modal Exploration

Many fans of jam music are intrigued by the improvisational techniques used by the bands they listen to. Those without a musical background may or may not have heard of the musical modes, however, simply put a mode is a scale. Most people have heard someone voice the syllables "Doh, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti", which is essentially the seven notes of the major scale. The major scale is simply a mode. Without going into too much detail, scales and modes are a particular selection of notes within a particular key or octave. Modes act as a guide, letting the musician know which notes to play, and which notes to avoid in order to attain their desired sound.

The ancient Greeks believed that music had the ability to evoke moods and behaviors. The Greeks defined these moods into seven musical scales, known as echos. The Romans later adopted the system renaming it modus. It was felt that each mode evoked a different emotion. Major modes were said to evoke happy, lively moods, whereas minor modes communicated feelings of sadness or seriousness. Plato recommended that soldiers going to battle avoid listening to music in certain modes as it would interfere with their bloodlust. Similarly, Plato and Artistotle both felt that a persons affinity toward a particular musical mode was an insight into that person's character.

Modal jamming is largely felt to have originated with the release of Miles
Davis' "Kind of Blue." This album features Miles Davis and John Coltrane using the modes as a framework for their jams. Modal jams typically involve less changes in key, allowing the musician to solo more fluidly. John Coltrane (who plays sax on the album) would go on to explore modal jamming to an all new level and is considered one of the great modal interpreters. For an example of this early modal jamming, check out this clip of Miles Davis' So What, which is also covered by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman on their album "So What":

Let's now take a look at each of the seven modes, how they are used in jam music, and what types of moods they evoke. Without any further ado, I present to you:

The Musical Modes

1. Ionian - The Ionian mode is the major scale. It evokes bright, happy feelings. It should also sound more familiar than some of the other modes. Here are two examples of how the Ionian mode can be used in a jam. Fittingly the "you can feel good about Hood" jam is in Ionian. In these examples you can see how Trey and Duane both use the same scale in different ways.

Phish - Harry Hood

The Allman Brothers Band - Blue Sky

Dorian - The Dorian mode is a minor mode that evokes melancholy, yet soulful moods. The final note of the scale does not resolve itself, leaving one feel as though there are questions left answered. Santana is an avid user of the Dorian mode. Here are two examples of the Dorian mode with Trey and Dicky (many people believe this part of the solo from the '71 Filmore show is Duane. It is not. I have watched the video, Duane comes in later. Dicky is very modal in his playing):

Phish - David Bowie

The Allman Brothers Band - In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

3. Phrygian - The Phrygian mode has a very dark Spanish/middle eastern sound. It is not commonly used in jam music, and it offers a strong contrast to the rest of the modes. It is also used frequently in metal. I won't post it, but if you're interested check out Yngwie Malmsteen's Heavy E Phrygian. Here is a more suitable example:

Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit

Lydian - The Lydian mode is another bright and happy mode, but in a very different way than the Ionian mode. Zappa was known for using it in his solos and Dicky Betts uses it very frequently. It has somewhat of a jazzy, unexpected feel to it, and so it works well in jam music. Here is an example of one of my favorite solos using the Lydian mode. It almost sounds as though Trey's notes are soaring through the speakers:

Phish - Reba

5. Mixolydian - Jerry Garcia's favorite mode. It is commonly used in blues and rock, and has a bright feel with a dark side. It is an interesting sounding mode, and is often used in guitar solos. Here are two examples, one of Jerry, the other of Clapton.

Grateful Dead - Fire on the Mountain

Eric Clapton - Let it Rain

6. Aeolian - similar to the Ionian scale, the Aeolian mode is a natural minor scale. Thus, it conveys feelings of sorrow, regret and despair. It has a very dark sound to it, and is often used in Rock. Listen to this example by Jimmy Page:

Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven

Locrian - The Locrian mode sounds very odd, and is not frequently used in jam music. If it is, I can't think of an example. The Locrian mode sounds dissonant, and spacey, almost wrong. The previous six modes are used most often in jam music.

Hopefully this has shed some light on how modes are used in jamming, and why they are so important. As you can see from the examples above, the modes are a strong tool and can be used to control the mood of the jam. The following is a video of Suzy Greenberg from 10-21-95 at Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, NE. Notice how Trey plays the solo from
Stairway to Heaven using the Aeolian mode at 2:45. Enjoy, as a bonus I've also included the Harry Hood from the same show. Notice Trey teases Beat It in both songs (as was mentioned a few days ago in this article).

On the Road Again...

As Phish are back on the road again tonight for a run of shows up the West Coast, things are getting back into full gear in the Phish community. People are traveling remarkable distances, from all over, to see Phish at one of the most coveted venues in the United States. Dog Gone will be providing setlists after each show, as well as links to the "no-spoiler" and AUD downloads. Check back here after each show as we will try and have the links up as soon as possible. Post comments to discuss the shows with other phans.

To get back in the groove, watch this video from the last leg of the tour in Noblesville, IN. Amidst a storm of epic proportions, after an hour long rain delay, Phish took the stage for their second set feeling the energy within the pavilion. The entire crowd from the lawn, in an effort to avoid the rain, rushed the pavilion, altering the energy of the show instantly. With the crowd intimately packed in to the pavilion, and emotions running high, Phish launched into a fiery version of A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing exhibiting some heavy type II jamming. This jam is easily one of the best from the early summer tour, and a good indicator of what is to come. Download the show from Noblesville below, and watch video below of 2001, another highlight of the night. Check back tonight as the band rolls back into Red Rocks for first time in 12 years!

2009-06-19 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Noblesville, IN

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

More Musical Costume Speculation

Last week, Rolling Stone asked readers to vote for the album they would like Phish to cover on Halloween. These are the results:

1. Radiohead – OK Computer
2. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
3. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
4. Radiohead – In Rainbows
5. Guns n’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I
6. Guns n’ Roses – Use Your Illusion II
7. Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic
8. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
9. Boston – Boston
10. Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage: Acts I,II & III
11. Tool – Aenima
12. Michael Jackson – Thriller
13. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
14. The Who – Who’s Next
15. Yes – Fragil

The consensus seems to be Radiohead's "OK Computer". Not my first pick, but nonetheless, Phish would do an excellent job covering it. As Rolling Stone points out, Fetival 8 with coincide with the 25th anniversary of the release of Prince's "Purple Rain", from which Phish has covered the title track in the past. Great prediction. But, the fact that Rolling Stone is predicting it should be reason enough for Phish not to do it. Regardless, speculation is heavily underway and I can honestly say I haven't been this excited for Halloween since I was...five. Click HERE, to read the Rolling Stone article. Below is a video from Phish's '96 Halloween show (musical costume, Talking Heads "Remain in Light") at the Omni in Atlanta, GA.

On This Day in 1966

On this day in 1966, three important events took place which had a large impact on musical history.

In Manchester, England three young English lads, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton,
would perform their live debut as Cream at The Twisted Wheel. After leaving the Yardbirds, Clapton joined Cream. It was his tenure in Cream that would propel him to stardom, and truly allow him to exhibit his guitar talent. Cream's early crossroads jams are also considered to be some of the first extended rock jams. The band would leave the stage as Clapton would solo for twenty minutes by himself, to the extreme delight of the crowd. It was with Cream that Clapton made his US debut, performing nine shows at the RKO Theatre in March of 1967. In October of 1968, the band broke up, performing a final show at the Forum in LA. Some of the songs from this show were released on their final CD "Goodbye". The music Cream created during their short period of time together is some of the finest rock music ever made. Below I have posted the link to the download for Cream's show from Detroit on October 15, 1967. Download the show, and watch this video of Cream performing the Robert Johnson song Crossroads:

1967-10-15 Grand Ballroom, Detroit, MI

Also on this day, The Grateful Dead would leave the United States for the first time, venturing to Vancouver, BC, Canada. In Vancouver, the Dead would play three shows at the P.N.E. Garden Auditorium. These shows are classic '66 Dead, with
amazing sound quality. The Dead clearly are not well known in Canada, as it sounds like there are very few people in the audience. Or perhaps just very few clapping. When they are announced, no one claps and Phil says "Our fame has proceeded us". This show is a true testament to Pigpen's abilities as a front-man. He truly was great, and this show personifies his greatness. I have posted the links to the SBDs for the shows in Vancouver from the 29th and 30th (the 31st is hard to find). I have also posted the streams for both shows. Enjoy this classic show from 1966 marking the Dead's first trip to Canada.

1966-07-29 P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, Canada (SBD)
1966-07-30 P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, Canada (SBD)

The 29th Stream

The 30th Stream.

In addition, today marks the 43rd anniversary of Bob Dylan's famous motorcycle accident. The accident, which occurred near his home in Woodstock, NY, is not musically significant itself, however the events that unfolded as a result are. After the crash, amidst a great deal of speculation, Bob Dylan went in seclusion for a number of months. During this period he created a number of recordings, however, it was not until 1975 that these recordings were released as Bob Dylan and The Band's "The Basement Tapes" (a possible phish musical costume). This is some of Bob Dylan's finest work, working with the Band prior to their debut "Music from Big Pink" in 1968. Posted below is a show with Dylan and The Band from the Forum in LA from February 14, 1974. This show is full of Dylan and The Band classics, such as Lay Lady Lay, Up on Cripple Creak and The Shape I'm In. Enjoy these moments from this day in '66.

1974-02-14 The Forum, Los Angeles, CA part 1

1974-02-14 The Forum, Los Angeles, CA part 2

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Summer Jam at Watkins Glen

36 years ago today, three of the most prolific bands in rock history came together for an outdoor festival. The Grateful Dead, The Band, and the Allman Brothers (sans Duane and Berry) performed at the Grand Prix Racecourse in Watkins Glen, NY to a crowd estimated at 600,000, the largest gathering of rock & roll fans in history. Only 150,000 tickets were sold, and as a result the majority of the attendees witnessed the show for free. And what a show it was.

Pigpen had just passed away in April causing the Dead to scramble for a new sound to compensate the lack of harmonica and organ. Without Pigpen, the dynamic of the band changed significantly, causing Jerry to take more of a lead role, and Bob to direct the underlying
rhythm. The summer of '73 largely functioned as a period of transition leading forward into what many feel are the Dead's best and most exploratory years.

On the day prior to the show, the bands took the stage for a soundcheck which the fans were permitted to watch, courtesy of Bill Graham. Fans quickly gathered as The Band soundchecked a few songs, however, Robbie Robertson who is known to have terrible stage freight (hence the name of their second album), became confused at the growing number of people. The Allmans took the stage next playing fiery versions of both "One Way Out" and "Ramblin' Man", warming the crowd for what was to come next. By the time it was the Dead's turn, the numbers had grown substantially and the group decided to play an extended set. This soundcheck has now become quite well known (even more so than the show the following day it seems), even landing an 18 minute jam on the So Many Roads box set. The soundcheck, in particular, has incredible sound (as it should). The link to the torrent is at the bottom.

The show itself took place on July 28th with all three bands delivering stellar performances. In the midst of heavy rain The Grateful Dead performed first, playing two sets over five hours, of incredible music. The setlist is great, as is the music. What is oddly surprising is the sound quality. While not quite as good as the soundcheck, for a festival with 600,000 people the sound is amazing. One might even say better than the quality of recent livephish releases.

The Band performed next, and the recording of their show would later be released as a live record, "Live at Watkins Glen". Robbie Robertson would go on to say that this was the first "100 percenter" The Band had played. Those who are unfamiliar with this CD should check it out, as it really is a phenominal show. Prior to Watkins, The Band had failed to fully rise to the occasion when performing their own material.

Third came the Allman brothers who played a three hour mindblowing set. By 1973, Dicky Betts was the lead guitarist and legendary piano player Chuck Leavell had signed on to replace Duane. Instead of bringing in another guitarist to replace Duane, the allmans hired Chuck, who is known as "the sixth rolling stone" by many. Their sound is different during this period with a single guitarist. There is significantly less harmonizing, less slide, and a great deal of intricate lead work by Dicky. The band delivers a high-energy performance, per usual. To see the setlist, click HERE. The encore featured members from all three bands, r
esulting in quite a magical combination. The "Mountain Jam" is a highlight, showcasing Jerry and Dicky on a classic Allman's jam tune. The encore is included in the stream below.

Posted below are the links to the torrents for both the Grateful Dead's soundcheck and concert at Watkins on July 27th and 28th, 1973. Be sure to give both a listen, the "Playing in the Band" from this show is a personal favorite. The stream for the 28th show is also posted. In addition I have also included two videos (audio only) with the Allman's soundcheck, quite a rare treat. Enjoy the music, as so many people did 36 years ago today.

1973-07-27 Watkins Glen Racecourse, Watkins Glen, NY (Soundcheck)

1973-07-28 Watkins Glen Racecourse, Watkins Glen, NY

Click HERE for the Dead's setlist from the 28th.