PHISH FRIDAY: The Tahoe Tweezer and Beyond

With just four shows left on the Phish Summer Tour and my 99th show as a fan of the band, I was fortunate enough to witness THE defining moment of the band’s 30th year celebration: The Tahoe Tweezer. On the stateline of Tahoe / California (in a parking lot no less), Phish ‘stepped into the freezer’ for over 36 minutes and crafted one of the best jams most can attest they have ever heard. It was the kind of historical significance fans could sense happening half-way through the song, maybe even earlier. It was similar to the moment when you realize you’re having the best sex of your life — waaaay before the climax. In fact, we all knew it during the early section of the jam, that moment we all finally got horizontal with the song and let the music undress itself. The unique musical foreplay contained in this “Tweezer” relies on several different peaks and valleys of teasing and titilation, and the participation of the crowd (Woooo!) to finally seal the deal and bring the money shot makes the journey that much stronger and that much more rewarding to the listener.

Aside from the obvious that-jam-was-like-hot-sex hyperpole, the ‘Wooos!‘ served as a welcomed reminder of just how much the band feeds off the audience’s energy and uses them to help create the magic, not just be witness to it. Heck, the audience wasn’t done after the first climax and kept on ‘wooing’ through “Run Like An Antelope” and the show closing “Tweezer Reprise” too. It was that good.

If you haven’t heard it yet…

By now you should have already heard the show but I strongly suggest listening (and watching) the FOB Schoeps mk4v kingkita recording featured below instead of the soundboard. It is far superior and gives a real feel to what unfolded in Stateline, Nevada especially the crowd-sourced ‘wooing’, a happy-tear moment if there ever was one.

And throughout Phish’s long and storied history there have been several 30+ minute songs, but in my opinion, most of those can’t touch the focused, yet loose improv the band produced during Tahoe’s “Tweezer.” Amongst fans, the town of Tahoe will now be synonymous with “Tweezer” and joins the No-Date-Needed-Shows alongside The Riverport Gin, The Nassau Tweezer, The Bomb Factory Tweezer and The Albany YEM. Lot t-shirts and pins are already being designed and the song’s LivePhish timing (36:48) is quickly becoming a common shorthand for “OH MY GOD, THAT TWEEZER WAS AWESOME.” High praise so dangerously and quickly removed from 7/31/13 — and yet rightly deserved.

We are not fluffing; we’re just stating facts with a PH.

So what’s next?!

Next up for Phish is Bill Graham’s Civic Auditorium for three nights starting tonight and continuing through the weekend. Phish played the indoor venue for the first time last year and although last year’s Sunday show (8/19/12) is regarded as a highlight, the two shows before it were solid offerings but nothing of repeat value. I don’t predict we’ll have that problem this year based on the band’s early rewards. They are locked in, almost hypnotically, in their current state, even during songs they rarely play like “Tela” on Wednesday.

On a personal note, “Tela” is a song I’ve been chasing my entire Phish career and finally was rewarded at my 99th show. An inspired way (to me) for the band to follow up that magnificent “Tweezer” and let fans bask in the wind from beyond the mountain.

All of this leads up to my 100th in San Francisco, a big milestone for those of us that keep such tallies. I first saw Phish at the age of 16, some 13 years ago in Hartford, CT on June 30th and quickly became entrenched in the different genres, songs and shows the band produced at a rapid pace, instantly recognizing this was my lifetime band. And perhaps a cherry on top of the fact that I’m getting to see my 100th show is that I’ll be enjoying plenty of extra time given to Chris Kuroda and his new light rig. The three shows this weekend are indoors at Bill Graham’s cozy auditorium and the first time this tour fans will be seeing six complete sets in a row without the sun setting overhead. This is also the only time we’ll be seeing the setup indoors until October’s Fall Tour. Can’t wait.

Finally, the band’s deep catalog should serve itself well as we head from Tahoe to Hollywood with four shows left to surprise the audience again with a bustout of epic Gamehendge-like proportions. Here are a few notables that have not been played yet in 2013:
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  • Albuquerque
  • Alumni Blues -> Letter to Jimmy Page -> Alumni Blues
  • Billy Breathes
  • Buffalo Bill
  • Buried Alive
  • Bold As Love
  • Brother
  • Col. Forbin’s Ascent -> Fly Famous Mockingbird
  • Dog Log
  • Esther
  • Fee
  • Foam
  • Fuck Your Face
  • Glide
  • Guelah Papyrus
  • The Horse
  • Icculus
  • Life on Mars
  • Lifeboy
  • Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
  • Meat
  • Mellow Mood

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  • Mock Song
  • My Minds Got A Mind of It’s Own
  • No Quarter
  • Nothing
  • Oh Kee Pa Ceremony
  • Old Home Place
  • Peaches En Regalia
  • Ride Captain Ride
  • Roggae
  • Round Room
  • Sanity
  • Saw It Again
  • Scents & Subtle Sounds
  • Seven Below
  • Soul Shakedown Party
  • Spread It Round
  • Vultures
  • Walfredo
  • Weigh
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • What’s the Use?

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Enjoy the rest of your Friday leading up to the show with a hilarious fan-made video of Ric Flair’s reaction to The Tahoe Tweezer. See you in the show!