Phish Summer Tour Gains “Steam” in Blossom

Official 6/4 Cuyahoga Falls, OH LE / Poster by DKNG Studios

Literally.

The band from Vermont’s first leg continued over the weekend and instead of losing any momentum at all, they gained some steam. Phish added a song to their rotation on Saturday. Not just any song…but a damn good one. Hell, the competition isn’t very tough these days, but still! With the 3.0 incarnation of Phish we’ve been accustomed to new material but nothing with the game changing status of this new Tom Marshall/Trey Anastasio track. Only a few days removed from the second set in Blossom, word is slowly filtering and the FLAC’s are slowly making their way into the ears of the Phish community.

Here’s the setlist via Phish.net:

Set 1: Kill Devil Falls, Guyute, Fuck Your Face > Foam, Ocelot, Rocket in My Pocket, Back on the Train > Guelah Papyrus, Tube > Run Like an Antelope[1]

Set 2: Birds of a Feather, Possum > Steam[2] > Piper -> The Lizards, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley[3] > Harry Hood > Have Mercy -> Harry Hood[4] > Character Zero[5]

Encore: Slave to the Traffic Light

[1] Streets of Cairo teases from Trey. Different band members’ names (Including Toph) mentioned before Esquandolas.
[2] Debut.
[3] Manteca teases.
[4] Have Mercy and Lizards teases.
[5] Smoke on the Water teases.

Notes: This show marked the debut of Steam. Antelope featured a Streets of Cairo tease from Trey and saying different band members’ names (including Toph) before the “Esquandolas” lyric. Sally included Manteca teases, Hood contained Have Mercy and Lizards teases, and Character Zero contained a Smoke on the Water teases.

Early in on the “post-show” feedback cycle, a negative comment is hard to be found. That, in and of itself, says something of our very critical, sometimes snobby fan-base. Most of us are critical of Trey Anastasio’s post-Joy-ous efforts. Even “Light” has it’s haters with good reason. The closest negative I’ve found on Steam was from @EricWyman tweeting “The “steam” effect is indeed cheesy.” I tend to agree on a third and fourth listen but the effect has segue written all over it. Plus, going over certain Phish historical footnotes would indicate, that yes, our beloved band, especially it’s red-headed leader, is indeed cheesy. The track sounds to me like the lovechild of The Story of the Ghost and Round Room albums. The song’s protruding intro builds and builds to the lyrics and follows a murky bass sound from Gordo. Four minutes in, the lyrics cease and Trey’s guitar rides over Mike like the molasses we crave show in and show out. The way we know it can and should. It’ll be interesting to watch this one develop over the Summer because the framework is there.

Browsing the interwebs (term © Yim Yames) and more notably, good ole’ Phantasy Tour, Tom Marshall posted the lyrics on Sunday afternoon. Here is that highlighted post.

TomMarshall • Sun Jun 05, 2011 04:31 PM

STEAM

there is the tower
like a solitary flower
standing in the snow
as the wolves all wait below
and you’re walking on the ledge
throwing breadcrusts off the edge
as you sing in voice so clear
and my name I think I hear
concealed within the theme
then it disappears
as steam

and I’m standing far below
watching wolves you seem to know
as your voice still carries on
in your never-ending song
and my blood begins to boil
and my bones melt into oil
hissing liquid in the snow
as my body sinks below
and a ripple sends a beam
of sunlight dancing through the steam

my now unfettered soul
has direction I control
to your tower I draw near
but do I see a trace of fear?
the approaching sound of hooves
now scatters all the wolves
you briefly watch the horseman ride
then you quickly run inside
the rider’s weapons gleam
while the horse’s nostrils steam

there’s no time to reflect, who
is this man? I must protect you
in the rider’s hand I see
he holds your prison’s only key
he glances up and glares
and then he starts to climb the stairs
I can tell you’re terrified
so I quickly go inside
but then I hear a fateful scream
and your soul joins mine
as steam

we escaped the dreadful night
and as lovers soared in flight
blissful weeks turned into seasons
but one day without a reason
or goodbye you flew below
back to the animals you know
now you forever sing your song
with the wolves where you belong
now quite alone I often dream
I hear you singing
through the steam

through the steam

You can stream/steam/DL the MP3 from TheBarnPresents.

Finally, we are only 9 shows into 2011 (including 1/1/11) and the band has already:

  1. Delivered a “Golden Age”-d inspired “Manteca Gin”
  2. Connected with the staccato/plinko jam style in several songs (read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staccato)
  3. Took Led Zeppelin “No Quarter” for a spin and nailed it
  4. Dropped a 25 minute Type II-driven “Down with Disease” (Thanks to LivePhish for the post-show video uploads!)
  5. Debuted a promising new Anastasio/Marshall collaboration, “Steam,” a song that has most of us saying “Play it Again!”

What more could fans have hoped for this early in the summer without being called greedy? We still have a solid 10 shows left to this first leg, with 25 more days scheduled down the line. Next up is Tuesday night from Great Woods, MA. With several dare-I-say clunkers being served to Mansfield in 3.0, the area is definitely due for some magic. Maybe Phish can conjure up their opener on 9/11/2000, the Modern Lover’s classic “Roadrunner” one more time…

I’m in love with Massachusetts! See you at Great Woods!