The Phish 52: Prince Caspian 8/20/2015

I’ve seen a lot of discussion of this being Tweezpian or some such mash up and I won’t disagree.  I do think, however, the Prince Caspian can also stand alone and vise-versa.  A couple of opening notes on this jam as well.  So far, I’ve only review stuff from the 1990s, so it feels good to get to something more recent.  In this case very recent!  It is, yet again, a jam that I was witness to.  Truth is, I don’t own a lot of stuff that I didn’t also attend, but I hope to branch out a bit more as I do this project. Speaking of this project, and one post for each week of the year…um yeah about that… Well, I’m giving it my best shot.  Even if it takes 70 actual weeks to get to 52, I’m doing 52 reviews.  Just read them once a week 🙂 On to Caspian!

caspian

When Prince Caspian came out of Tweezer, I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting much.  We were just treated to a very good Tweezer and Caspian seemed to signal a coda to end the set, or at least a lead in to the final closer of the set. I remember when people would collectively groan when this song was played and some on the old rec.music.phish referred to it as Prince Poopy Pants.  While that wave of negativity has subsided (pretty much in general, really) I don’t think I’ve ever seen people react with great joy when Caspian was played.  It might be time to rethink that reaction.

2:30 The lyrics come to an end and it very much feels like they will be playing out to the end of the song, maybe another few minutes.  From about the 2:10 point, I urge you to listen to Page’s playing.  The fills and highlights he is throwing around in the early part of the song are just fantastic.  Trey is playing very well, quite spirited.

4:40 Something is going on. It still sounds like Caspian, but things are changing. At 5:10 Trey is really pushing things away from the Caspian structure and at 6:00 minutes, the last tethers of Caspian are gone.

6:35 After some very heavy playing by Trey, Mike starts to bring back the Tweezer riff. At this point, Page is on the synthesizer and Fish is playing a steady rock beat.

8:05 Things start to move away from the Tweezer riff and it starts to become its own jam.  Around 8:20, Mike comes to the fore. This segment shows off how the band moves around the music. Mike is dominating right now and Page is in a supporting role.  Even though the guitar is the traditional lead instrument, Trey does such a great job of adding to the sound, but not throwing things off.

8:55 Trey is playing around with some effects, getting some great echo sounds. It could start to get spacey, but instead Trey settles into a nice fuzzy groove at about 9:15.  This is were the dance party starts for me. A nice funky feel and about 10:24 Trey starts to solo, with great a great intro from Page.  After that, Fish takes over the breaks, almost mini solos, before the focus goes back on Trey.  At 11:08, Trey starts placing some echoes again, but the groove isn’t lost and they settle back in after a minute or so.

12:20 It sounds like they are getting ready to wrap things up.  If they did pack it in here, it still would be a memorable Caspian and with the Tweezer preceding it would be a classic jam, one of the best of 2015.  Of course it doesn’t end here.  Instead at 12:30 Trey punches it really high and starts to bring it.

13:50 It is the jam that is going to lead to the end, with Mike playing some think, chest thumping notes.  The end that they are working toward here is triumphant, no other word for it.  Everyone, band, crowd know that they have just nailed the last 30 or so minutes of music.  As they start to just pound away for the last minute and a half, it’s like they are fist pumping.  Honestly, I’m pretty sure that was what I was doing as the song came to a close.  It’s for moments like these that I keep going to see this band.  Everyone expects the big moments to come from Tweezer, but it’s in moments like this, in songs that don’t have a history, songs that, let’s be honest, are often seen as breaks or good times to go to the bathroom, that makes every show an adventure.  In the spirit of adventure, next week will finally be a review of a jam I didn’t attend.  Keep on jamming…

 

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