A few days ago, I provided the CompuJam Stats for Carini making her case for Song of the Year (link to Part 1). This week, I will deliver the CompuJam Stats for Tweezer arguing his case for song of the year. Prior to doing so, let me just give some quick rational on why I believe these are the top two songs of 2013. Carini and Tweezer epitomize why Phish is far and away the best band in the world, and why I believe they are at the absolute top of their game right now.
1. Quantity. Counting MSG 2012, there have been 42 shows to date. Carini has appeared eight times, Tweezer ten times. Five of the eight Carinis were over 12 minutes. Every version of Tweezer clocked in at over 9:56, three were over 20 minutes. They are in heavy rotation and extended just about every time played.
2. Quality. There are some great jams in nearly every one these tunes. Phish knows how good these songs are as they relied heavily upon them all year long: They were only in the same show once, every version was featured in a prominent position and all were played in the second set.
3. Consistency. Carini and Tweezer have been tremendous in at least 14 of the 18 versions since MSG 2012. That’s a ridiculously high percentage. Put almost any of them on randomly for a listen and you will not be disappointed.
4. Versatility. Phish showed a tremendous ability to take both deep into Type II. They also can veer in any direction – blissful, dark, happy, dirty, funky, groovy, psychedelic, uplifting.
5. Historical. Each offered up multiple versions that will be listened to forever. My Phish All-Time Crushers playlist includes six versions from this battle.
6. Variety. One of the things that blows me away about Phish right now is that most of these 18 jams are so unique…never going back to the same old jam. Nobody else can do what Phish does. Nobody.
Tweezer CompuJam Stats
12/28/12 MSG. The first 20-minute Tweezer in over nine years…this bad man struts out of the locker room at MSG with a limited entourage, calmly steps into the ring and after taking off his boxing robe delivers a master class of jabs, feints and slips. This Tweezer is intelligent, not trying to win the fight in the first round with wild haymakers instead impressing the judges with his incredible and intricate sounds that get better and better as the song goes on. A Money Mayweather style clinic, if you will, on how to jam. A beautiful four man build-up to the middle and then suddenly this Tweezer is gliding along, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a Yarmouth Road. This Tweezer is a seasoned veteran; he’s confident and knows he’s got IT. Slow and steady for most of the jam and then starts to build towards the end to some great rock n' roll guitar licks and a few stretched notes from Big Red. This Tweezer then takes an authoritative step into the Maze.
7/06/13 SPAC. This is only time all year that Tweezer and Carini are played in the same show this year, separated only by Sand. Unfortunately for Tweezer, Carini dominated this round and his cornerman was trying to use the Sand to heal the wounds with gauze. Tweezer goes nowhere so Trey correctly pulls the ripcord. This was a tiny Tweezer, no future at all. He doesn’t have much to offer, SPAC Carini didn’t give SPAC Tweezer the time of day and just dominated him on this night.
7/12/13 Jones Beach. After a lackluster showing in his previous round, this Tweezer was obviously coached up by his trainer, immediately announcing his presence with authority. One bad round does not a phight make. The relentless rain finally subsided and immediately you can hear the confidence in this Tweezer. Hardly a wasted minute, this Tweezer is played with power and like all great athletes makes everyone around him better as he sets up one of the best segues of the year in Tweezer -> Cities -> Wedge (The Right, the left, the right!). This is a professional Tweezer.
7/16/13 Alpharetta. This Tweezer shows up in the middle of the Heartbreaker set. Phish being Phish, you can hear how much fun this Tweezer is having. This Tweezer is having a good time, roaring with laughter, cracking jokes and buying drinks for everyone at the bar. He probably spotted Carini drinking in the corner booth flirting with some guys, thus the Heartbreaker teases. This Tweezer isn’t perfect or beautiful but hot damn this Tweezer is a good time and great fun to be around. He really starts to boogie down and probably left the bar a bit too early with Silent in the Morning. This Tweezer knows how to Party Time.
7/22/13 Toronto. Due to some questionable choices after leaving the bar in Alpharetta, Tweezer needed to get out of the country. This is a fairly standard Tweezer, nothing memorable here. It holds a nice groove for a minute but not much to report. The boys took the DWD jam huge to open the set and then cruised home. After a big night out in Alpharetta and what was in store the next time Tweezer hits the town, it’s not entirely unexpected that this Tweezer took a slight breather from the freezer and went home early. He was saving his Energy (speaking of, gone for good or just took the fall semester off?) for Tahoe, but went home with Silent for the second show in a row.
7/31/13 Tahoe. The Tahoe Tweezer. I think Mike sums it up best: "That Tahoe thing that everyone likes — the Tahoe 'Tweezer.' Was it 'Tweezer?' Whatever the hell it was. I really liked that night, too." We phans have debated thousands and thousands of hours about the significance of this jam. I have read countless essays about it. My crew has had a huge debate on the Tahoe Tweezer causing a schism in the group (aka the "Tahoe Reformation"). This was one of, if not the, greatest songs I have ever witnessed. At the time I remember thinking it was equivalent to watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. This was the highlight of one of the greatest summers of my life. Shit, this was one of the greatest moments of my life. WTF Mike? "Was it Tweezer?!?!?" Was he being cool or was he serious or was he just being Mike? Its actually OK, artists obviously have different viewpoints and whatever works for Phish to get them to the zone they are in right now I am all for. Anyway, this Tweezer is the biggest and baddest dude on the block. This Tweezer definitely carries around the bad motherfucker wallet. This Tweezer isn’t comparable to 2013 Tweezers, this Tweezer is comparable to the greatest Tweezers and really the greatest Phish jams of all time. This Tweezer has it all – versatility, beauty, size, length, depth, strength, tension and release, patience, style, substance, a journey out and back with a perfect landing and of course much debated crowd involvement. While I am anti-woo and encourage everyone that woos to buy the woo-x [/wo͝oks/] patch (of course Trey probably needs the patch more than anyone), patient zero woof fit perfectly for that time and place. The only band in the world that can involve their crowd and have that kind of spontaneous interaction in one of the greatest jams of all time is Phish. This Tweezer flows through different themes and movements with precision and accuracy, moving from beauty to darkness to light to joy to bliss to release to the congregation participation. I was so blown away I barely remember the Tela (or anything else for that matter) that followed.
8/31/13 Dicks. It took exactly one month for Phish to follow-up the Tahoe Tweezer. This Tweezer is actually quite good looking in certain lights, at times nearly moving me to tears, but also has some flaws. There are moments where this Tweezer is quite a handsome chap and makes the ladies swoon. However there are other moments where he is just not good looking at all. I think the biggest issue with this Tweezer is that he is mostly a one-man show, all Trey. Granted that playing is beautiful, but I prefer it when the four are moving as one. And getting number-lined after a great jam…well that pretty much always sucks (excluding the previously mentioned 12/30 Carini).
10/20/13 Hampton. This Tweezer emerged from Paul and Silas, finally out of jail and ready to hit the town. He got into some trouble with that super slutty Carini on Friday night in Hampton, posted bail and emerged from the can as cool as the other side of the pillow on Sunday. This Tweezer is so smooth, yet he has a certain edge. After posting bail, he picked up his gear from the police station: no phone – this dude is old school cool, vintage leather jacket, Persol sunglasses, money clip with $2,517, one Tahoe Millward Phish coin, 3 magnum condoms, a handkerchief with the initials T.T. on it, a torch lighter and a personalized pocket knife. This Tweezer immediately heads from the cooler to the bar, grabs a seat and orders a single malt scotch with a splash of distilled water. The waitress can’t take her eyes off this Tweezer, nobody in the bar can. This is the type of Tweezer that everybody notices but is so complex and deep that they don’t really get up the nerve to talk or dance with. People are just in awe of this Tweezer sitting at the bar, sipping his scotch, reading the paper – just as cool as they come. This Tweezer then segued into What’s the Use, I don’t care what Live Phish or Trey say.
10/27/13 Hartford. Meet Preezer the preaching Tweezer, giving sermons on my favorite organized religion, the Rhombus of Phish. Preezer is happy, uplifting, makes you feel good about hood. Preezer makes you want to move. Even if sitting, you instinctively bob your head up and down and side-to-side. You can’t help but move your body to Preezer’s lecture. Preezer is a feel good Tweezer. I really like Preezer – he is kind and caring and loving. The rhythm section (aka the entire band for this jam) lays down some really beautiful music. Four band members working as one to create music that is so damn phresh. I love the beat of this jam, I love Mikes work on the bass, I love Trey’s rhythmic playing and well placed licks, I love Page injecting the keys at just the perfect moments, I love Fishman holding it all together. Preezer leads into (in somewhat of a jarring move after such an incredible sermon) Birds of a Feather. But I digress; this is quality, top-shelf, beautiful Phish and was in the concluding set of the best 3 show run this year. Bravo.
11/2/13 Atlantic City. This is Shaftweezer. Shaftweezer is the cold private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks, would risk his neck for Brother man, this cat Shaftweezer has a bad motherfucker wallet, can ya dig it? He is the continuation of the phunky “theme” of the weekend, starting with Wombat, all of the Shaft references, the greatest and funkiest Theme of all time and concluding with Shaftweezer. After the show, Shaftweezer took AC Carini back to his permanent resident penthouse at Caesars where he has a circular waterbed and mirrored ceilings, and made the funk with her. I really dig the way the phunk builds in this song two separate times and then boom, a perfect funky return back into Tweezer. However it actually pains me to talk about what comes after Shaftweezer (what horrific 4th quarter calls by Trey), so lets instead focus on what eventually follows every Tweezer – Tweeprise, aka the greatest four minutes in rock ‘n’ roll. How amazing is it that we get to throw it down one last time with Tweeprise before Phish sends us on our way? The Best. Band. In. The. World. And they are at the height of their powers. We are so lucky to be a part of it.
We will throw out 2 Tweezers in order to make it 8 rounds for each fighter. Seven runs included both a Tweezer and a Carini therefore those will go head-to-head. The only run with a Carini and no Tweezer was BGA. I have selected the Jones Beach Tweezer for that round. The Toronto Tweezer was easy to eliminate. Selecting Jones Beach over Alpharetta was more difficult however I think it is better than Alpharetta.
Lets see how our judges have scored the fight through 8 rounds:
this post on Judges Notes.
This heroic battle between the two warriors will (presumably) come down to the final round at Madison Square Garden in December 2013. Which Carini will show up - happy, dark and dirty or in a slutty mood? Is she clean and off drugs or chasing the dragon down the rabbit hole? Will Tweezer be preaching his sermons to us, will he be kicking back like the cool man in the bar or will he be getting phunky? I am so excited to return to the garden and witness the final round.
Song of the year!Lets Get It On!!!
The #1 Contender vs. the Champion!
The Youngster vs. the Seasoned Veteran!
Lumpy Heads vs. Cold Freezers!
Man vs Woman!
Carini vs. Tweezer!
ICYMI... read Song of the Year, Part 1 here.
Guest post by Fink... our good pal from San Diego. Check out other guest posts by Fink. He wrote reviews of this summer's run at SPAC and his thoughts on the new Phish songs from Wingsuit.