Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Psychedelic Backwash

The Tahoe Tweezer


37 minutes of the finest Phish you've ever heard. Apparently this is the longest they've jammed any song out in 10 years, and I was lucky enough to witness it in beautiful Stateline, NV in the most magical parking lot turned concert venue on PLANET EARTH! This is not boring Phish. During the show I had no idea how long the song went on for, could've been 10 minutes for all I knew. It felt like a long time, but it had been a long couple of days, and I was in no state of mind to check the time on my waa, er phone. What's amazing about this jam is that it's driving, directed, spontaneous composition. No soloing, noise rock, funk vamping, gadgets or gimmicks. It always sounds like they're going somewhere, and one peak leads to a brand new valley to explore.

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A few highlights: Around the 12 minute mark they start a jam that reminds me of Wilco's Bull Black Nova, but of course is not really it at all, just similarly dark and nasty. Around the 26 minute mark they find a jam reminiscent of the Uncle John's/Feelin' Groovy jam the Dead would go into during the transition from China Cat into I Know You Rider during those glorious versions from around 73 - 74. Again, it's similar, but totally not the same thing. In fact, in listening back to the whole show, it sounds more like they're jamming the outro of the song Architect which they would play later in the set. But yet again, that's not quite it at all. Whatever this jam was, it lead to one of those moments of magic that Phish and their crowd seem to have mastered: during a start-stop jam in which the instruments all drop out, the audience spontaneously let out a "Woo!" The band immediately pick up on it, they go through it a few more times, build it up, and it leads to an ecstatic musical explosion. The band and audience would revisit the "Woo"s a few more times later in the show, during the set closing Antelope and encore of Tweezer Reprise.


What I find interesting in looking back on the experience, is how distorted time became. This has always been one of the things Phish is great at: taking a song for a walk, ending up in some unfamiliar territory, and then ending up back where you began the journey to finish the song off. With the right combination of mind-altering chemicals, which likely have already distorted your perception of time, it can be quite exhilarating and confusing. So we had the long Tweezer that took up half the set, and ended back where it began. But within that Tweezer, we also had a possible foreshadowing of what was to come later in the set with Architect. And what I haven't mentioned yet, is that the audience's "Woo"s foreshadowed another song the band would play later in the set, the aptly titled Twist. The lyrics in Twist reference things being all mixed up, and include the band calling out "Woo" throughout. Shit's getting weird.

I spoke your name for many days
Pronouncing it in several ways
And moving letters all around
And substituting every sound

And when you heard the end result,
I told you it was not my fault,
If you were here more of the day,
It wouldn't twist around that way

What is the central theme to this everlasting spoof? During great psychedelic experiences, time reveals itself as being non-linear. And on that night in Tahoe, there was some pretty heavy psychedelic shit going down. So, were those familiar jams and Woo's during Tweezer foreshadowing what was to come, or maybe as Terence McKenna described in True Hallucinations, a psychedelic"backwash," like ripples vibrating across Lake Tahoe to us from some future event. I know, sober me thinks it's a pretty cracked out theory too, but you should see what some other people are saying about the Tahoe Tweezer. So while these may be the insane ramblings of a deranged lunatic, at the very least it is some pretty good music.

7/31Official (J.Soto)

Ric Flair probably sums it up best:


Now that summer tour is over, some phishheads put together a best of compilation. Ten discs worth if you can handle that much Phish. Tahoe Tweezer included on disc 5.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

DISC ONE
01. Energy >
02. Ghost >
03. The Lizards (7/21/13)
04. Mike's Song >
05. Simple >
06. Weekapaug Groove (7/13/13)
07. Chalkdust Torture (7/16/13)
08. Quinn The Eskimo (7/17/13)

DISC TWO
01. Rock N Roll >
02. Steam (8/3/13)
03. Sneakin' Sally Thru The Alley (7/27/13)
04. Lengthwise >
05. Maze (8/3/13)
06. Stash (7/14/13)
07. David Bowie (7/22/13)

DISC THREE
01. Crosseyed and Painless (7/10/13)
02. Light >
03. Boogie On Reggae Woman (7/14/13)
04. Undermind (7/27/13)
05. Tweezer >
06. Cities >
07. The Wedge (7/12/13)

DISC FOUR
01. Down With Disease (7/22/13)
02. Seven Below (8/2/13)
03. Scent Of A Mule (7/14/13)
04. Rock N Roll >
05. Heartbreaker >
06. Makisupa Policeman (7/16/13)
07. Driver (8/3/13)
08. After Midnight (7/27/13)

DISC FIVE
01. Tweezer ->
02. Tela (7/31/13)
03. Golden Age
04. Waves >
05. Piper > (7/20/13)
06. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (8/5/13)

DISC SIX
01. Rock N Roll >
02. 2001 (7/12/13)
03. Frost (7/17/13)
04. It's Ice (7/14/13)
05. Gotta Jibboo (7/30/13)
06. Run Like An Antelope (7/3/13)
07. Sanity >
08. Bold As Love (8/4/13)

DISC SEVEN
01. Wolfman's Brother (7/30/13)
02. Harry Hood > (8/5/13)
03. Light >
04. The Mango Song > (7/5/13)
05. Say Something (7/27/13)
06. The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony >
07. AC/DC Bag >
08. Vultures (8/2/13)

DISC EIGHT
01. Crosseyed and Painless (7/26/13)
02. Wilson >
03. Tweezer >
04. Silent In The Morning (7/16/13)
05. Dinner and a Movie (7/21/13)
06. Meat (8/2/13)
07. Energy (7/17/13)
08. Jesus Just Left Chicago (8/3/13)
09. Babylon Baby (8/2/13)
10. First Tube (8/3/13)

DISC NINE
01. Prince Caspian >
02. Twist >
03. Ha Ha Ha >
04. Possum (7/20/13)
05. Light >
06. David Bowie (8/4/13)
07. Cars Trucks Buses (7/12/13)
08. Split Open and Melt (7/6/13)

DISC TEN
01. Energy >
02. Runaway Jim > (8/4/13)
03. Carini (7/6/13)
04. Harry Hood (7/13/13)
05. Walk Away (7/30/13)
06. You Enjoy Myself (7/14/13)

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An alternate video of the last 12 minutes of Tweezer, with some nice close ups showing the band and fan interaction: