I'm short on time. I had to make a choice -- friends or recaps. I chose friends. It was an easy choice to make because I don't get to see a lot of my favorite people IRL on a daily basis, so Phish tour is one of the few opportunities I have to catch up, throw down, laugh at old memories, and blaze new ones.
|Joker blowing shit up!|
The Gorge and Tahoe shows are not easy to get to, and it requires a significant amount of effort, which weeds out the scensters and fake phans. Tahoe is a much smaller venue than the Gorge, and let's be honest, it's a fucking casino parking lot. I spent most of the last decade working in the gambling biz (poker and sportsbetting) and spent more time in Nevada than any normal human should be exposed to, so the Lake Tahoe shows were two of my opposing worlds colliding. Nuclear.
A mini-Shakedown popped up behind the venue. Plenty of shrooms and acid going around. I knew wed be in for a trippy run. I met up with Zobo (I met him on Japan 2000 tour) and he had a cottage 25 feet from the entrance. We sat on his porch and listened to some bluesy-shredding during 30 minutes of the soundcheck. Zobo is friends with Yasu (the Japhan who sometimes streams the shows) and I forgot I had met him a couple years ago in Alpharetta. I got to check out his gear... truly amazing.
My girlfriend and I posted up right in front of the soundboard and somehow most of my friends (e.g. Jesse, Dr. Jellyeater, et al) found us. Sometimes the opener is a throwaway, but a 10+ minute Wolfman's Brah was a positive omen. Funkification from the get-go. Zobo thought it was cool we got Cavern early on. "This is a set closer batting third!" he said. Someone brought their young daughter and she was on her parent's shoulders most of the set and digging the Birds. By Funky Bitch/Cities portion of the show, I had fallen into the mol-abyss and it took several hours before I climbed out. Ziggy hooked me up with some killer party favors and they over-delivered! At the start of Rift, the Joker joked, "So your jaded vet ass hates Rift?"
"Well, only when the fuck it up terriblly," I responded.
"Like now?" quipped the Joker.
The Bathtub Gin was pretty fucking weird. Pretty. Fucking. Weird. I appreciate the fact they took a risk with a dissonant jam instead of playing it safe... but they poorly executed whatever they were trying to achieve and fell flat on their faces (unless they were purposely trying to freak out the acidheads). I'd rather see them try/fail then ripcord the jam for a greatest hits tune. There was an older guy with a plastic-looking face which made him look like he was wearing a mask of some sorts. He was dancing in front of the Joker and kept turning around, which really freaked him out. He had to swap spots and move away from the plastic-face old dude. Tube is getting shorter and shorter. At this point, I'm wondering if they'll do one under three minutes? I decided that the next time I run into Trey, I'm going to go Jedi mind trick on his ass and pull some reverse psychology, "Hey Trey... can you play a shorter Tube?" In hopes that he goes 180 degrees and pulls a 15-minute funk orgy out of Phish's arse. I love Leo covering 70s classics. I'm also a huge fan of Joe Walsh (pre-Eagles and solo career during his stint in the power trio James Gang). I fucking loved every moment of Walk Away, which closed the set.
The second set was a little short for my tastes but they had a curfew lurking around the corner. My take is that the band fell into a time warp for half the set which is why Weekapaug was pushed into the encore. They probably wanted to end the second set with Zero, but due to their miscalculations they had to play Weekapaug/Zero in the encore slots instead of some other hijinks. I dug the earthy jam out of Golden Age, but they kept a short leash on 46 Days and Boogie On, which were songs they could have opened up into jam monsters. Instead, they let it rip during Ghost. I prefer dirty tones and spooky as shit Ghosts. I saw an apparition later that night while walking home, so this Tahoe Ghost was an ominous foreshadowing of some paranormal shit that Phish conjured up. Some nights they're not musicians, rather they're dabbling with the occult as alchemists. Phish opened up another portal to the netherworld and opened the floodgates to alt-dimensions. Carini continued the dark and dirty path, but it was contained on a short leash along with Piper, which bled intoa Coltrane-like modular jam. Check out the Wook Patrol podcast about what we do during Velvet Sea. I don't think I've ever seen Slave as the lunchmeat in Mike's Groove sandwich. Slave was a lil sloppy and cut short due to time constraints, but it's my favorite song and love it so much that I only listen to it at shows... so anytime they play Slave, it's a good show for me. We got a rare Weekapaug encore and the Zero was an exclamation point on the first night in Tahoe.
In Shakedown after the show, Wildo freaked out the nitrous mafia because he shaved down to a Ditka-like mustache, which made him look like a state trooper. One of the spotters freaked out because they thought Wildo was gonna bust them! Too bad we didn't confiscate their tanks. It would have made the after-party a shade more crazier. At the after-party, I was the spirit guide for some friends who wanted to dabble in DMT for the first time. I was still a little jiggy because I saw a ghost while walking back to the cabin. I was holding my girlfriend's hand and thought someone was walking in the road about 10 yards in front of us until they disappeared! Vanished. Poof. Gone.
Yeah, it was one of those nights.
All you need to know is.... 36-minute Tweezer. That's why I blow all of my disposable income on this band and chase them all over America to catch those rare moments when they break out a half hour of improv. They took a risk... and delivered. I won't go into details. Listen for yourself and enjoy the ride.
I played in the Phamily Poker Classic 3, a charity tournament to raise money for the Mockingbird Foundation (which gives grants to fund music programs for school kids). It's one of the many ways this community gives back and I was honored to be a "bounty player." Whoever knocked me out won a Roxy '93 CD box set. My friend, poker pro Jesse Martin played in the event. If you don't know, Jesse won his first bracelet at the WSOP this summer in Vegas. So cool that he scheduled Tahoe into his vacation after a crazy two months in Vegas. We got 104 players and raised over $7,200 for Mockingbird. I busted in 56th place. Wildo almost made the final table, but was knocked out in 12th. My girlfriend (aka @change100) made the final table and finished in 8th place. She was down to 1 chip late in the tournament and survived with her short-stack ninja skills. Phil from Phish.net made the final table along with Scotty Berger. His buddy Schwartz won the whole thing. Well done!
|Phamily Poker Classic 3 - Winer's Trophy|
The entire Tahoe run was anchored by that 36-minute Tweezer. I was waiting for that monolith for some time now. It had three major sections highlighted by audience participation with random wooos! If everyone wasn't cooking on psychedelics, they might not have responded the same way. I seriously had not seen a higher ratio of acid/shrooms to molly in the lot since the mid 90s. Did the Mothership run out of molly supplies? The band fed off the trippy vibe and vice versa. Mellow Tela was one of the only ways they could follow up that monstrous Tweezer. With the intro to Twist everyone assumed we were getting a T-set. The Architect saved us from getting TTE'd. That TAB tune is growing on me. Antelope heat (with wooos) closed the set. Tweeprise also included a few wooos. Check out the Joker's Tweeprise vine. Hell of a show. 36-minute Tweezer is why Phish is one of my favorite bands. That's the kind of hijinks that alienates civilians and music snobs, but it's our fucking wheelhouse. But as our bud Tres joked on Facebook... "What's the big deal? I've seen EOTO play the same song for four hours."
Was it the best jam of 3.0? Was it the best Tweezer of 3.0? Was it a top 5 Tweezer? WHO THE FUCK CARES!
It is what it is... an amazing night with Phish and friends. Enjoy this buzz while it lasts, because it can all be taken away from us in a flash. Someday Phish ain't going to be around and we'll have to masturbate in the dark.
Tahoe is dunzo. The circus migrates to San Francisco.