Scent of a Mule featured Fish on Marimba Lumina. Moma Dance was unfinished.

Photo © Derek Gregory

Debut Years (Average: 1996)

This show was part of the "2016 Summer Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 2016-07-03


FACTSAREUSELESS The epic Tweezer following Soul Shakedown was predictable but no less scintillating. The build-up was palpable. After two up-and-down shows which bordered on meh (with the exception of one monstrous third quarter), everyone knew that the boys would pull out the stops and rip the roof off the place. After all, it's a Sunday show!

Tweezer and YEM were still on the table and everyone knew they'd be coming....

The exalted 2-hole is awaiting and in drops...Moma Dance. Okay, okay, it's an epic Moma Dance, no doubt, but surely it will segue into, uh, Twist. Right, of course. But Twist will be given the royal treatment and will segue into the inevitable Tweez.......I mean....Joy(?).

Time to heat up some herbal tea I suppose.

I remind myself....I love this band I love this band I love this band..and they owe me nothing.

This too shall pass.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by bl002e

bl002e I've made peace with most of the pet peeves that have occasionally irked me throughout the 3.0 era. Songs like your Tubes, your Gumbos, your Bags, Halley' (Halleys'?), and Momas, jammed to oblivion from '97 to '04, are just not going to be taken for extended rides. Once the expectations were put to rest, virtually any possibility for disappointment vanished. And yet, in those first moments of Moma – following an all-too-rare Soul Shakedown – because I'd long ago put any expectations to rest, I couldn't help feeling a tinge of disappointment creep in. This was quite a meaty slot in which to place a rather formulaic option.

So naturally, they go ahead and play one of the best goddamned Momas ever. As a wise man once said, "Shut up, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-tip."

As for the rest of the show, a haiku will suffice:

For better or worse
Moma was the clear highlight
'16's an odd one
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by PhishPhanRN

PhishPhanRN I've come to the realization that some of you are going to pan a show no matter what if they don't play a 30 minute version of *Insert Song Here*. I've been seeing shows since '97 and all three nights of SPAC were fantastic IMHO. Lower your expectations people and remember that a sub-par Phish show is still the best concert on the planet that night.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by D1Bacchus

D1Bacchus It took 24 shows over the course of 1 year 6 months and a hand full of days for me to truly understand what I am sure many Phans have seen and embraced. In the grand spectrum I feel truly Grateful that my Trip was short due to the incredible speed of my rocket.

2 years ago, The Phish from Vermont were hardly on my radar. At that time I just didn't understand any of it. A chance moment in the universe introduced me to friends I now consider my best. The chosen few who sat me down and told me to really listen to what I was hearing. 12/31/14 was the day it all began for me, and this enlightenment started with Sample in a Jar.

Since then I have felt the amazing energy of Phish and personal feelings their shows left me with that I couldn't quite mentally nail down. Happy to profess that I found great meaning and purpose to all of this last night as the magical weekend of SPAC culminated in my personal favorite Phish show of all time. The timing of every note helped me piece together the puzzle through a setlist that felt delivered just for little ol' me.

The first song I really "got" was It's Ice. A revelation came to me a couple balloons deep listening to Dayton 97 last year. I sent a text to my phriend who first told me to listen to the Phish and vaguely told him I thought I understood what the meaning of It's Ice was. Since that moment I had been chasing my favorite Phish song, which was finally delivered to my mind live last night. In typical Phish alignment fashion, I even told this friend after the Mann shows that I was finally going to get my Ice Sunday at SPAC, a barn burner of a show that would feature no Tweezer and no Mike's Groove. Sunday after noon his text to me was simply "Have fun" and boy did I ever have fun.

I came into night 3 with a head loaded with Love so the first couple songs were mostly awe for me. I was a little uneasy during the Wedge as I thought about not being a great friend to a homie whom stubbed me down to the Pav on night 2. Fortunately I was given a golden opportunity to make all right as during Heavy Things I reached out to him and found out I could save his night, which was on slippery slopes, by simply helping him out with a stub. As I went on my journey for redemption I was catapulted by the infectious feel good groove of Tube. After accomplishing the mission I found my seat in section 12 row KK Mike Side to settle in for the rest of the ride. Shared some olfactory hues with my pals and that is when things really got started for me. My first Sparkle got things kicked off and my perception and focus really tuned in. At that moment the boys go into my first Live Phish track: Sample in a Jar. As if the band was calling out to me to let me know that the festivities are kicking and its time to strap in. The Sample segued into MY track and that is when things got very very slippery. I experienced at that moment complete clarity about this whole thing we call Life. The true meaning of living unraveled as if I cracked some code that was within the music the whole time. I spent the rest of the first set in a battle with my mind and ego.

Ocelot was a bright moment for me in the personal confusion I was feeling after the epic Ice. I couldn't believe we had gotten 2 Dear Prudences since the start of summer tour and not a single "won't you come out to play" from good ol' Ocelot. I played some crazy games with Fish and Gordo through Scent of the Mule, and was relieved and confused at the end of Possum as I was unsure of the reality of the intense thoughts and visions that were unfolding before me.

I regrouped at set break, and Soul Shakedown Party comes railing along at the absolute perfect time. A lot of awe, confusion and emotions going on inside me during the second set, culminating with me bawling tears during Joy, and celebrating my new found knowledge during Harry Hood and my first Show of Life. My first time ever hearing Show of Life actually, and listening back, a better song could not have been picked to wrap up my experience of the show. Rock n Roll was just icing on the cake as I happily professed Rock n Roll saved me life!

Hopefully some of you have also experienced the enlightenment I went through over my short trip. I saw through the light. We truly are the no man in no mans land, and the golden age has arrived. I now understand my role in the whole heaven on earth, and will do my best to live it out. THANK YOU PHISH for helping me discover what the message behind most of my favorite music encompassing many bands is. Thank you to the friends I have made along the way whom I love dearly for helping me to the Light. Maybe I shouldn't hop off tour for a couple shows as planned.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by jessPHenry

jessPHenry 7/3/16 SPAC: Sunday, fun day as they say and today they played the same way! I don't feel the need for a song-by-song review here, just would like to highlight some cool stuff.
They gave us six tour debuts in the first set -- Sugar Shack, Sparkle, It's Ice, Guelah Papyrus (with choreography I might add ladies & gents, and our guys sure can shake it!), Ocelot, and Scent of A Mule. Though we all can agree on what great of a player he is, I felt that Page really asserted his virtuosity on this one. Also Mike's voice sounded clear & good, and it was nice to see Fishman take the Marimba Lumina back from Trey for his cool, synthie solo. Also, after "tasting the horse" Saturday night, it's only fair to "smell the mule" tonight. I mean come on, he has feelings too!
Possum seemed to take the place of where a Tweezer may have gone, but I enjoyed hearing two Mike-led-vocal songs in a row...there is no doubt in my mind that he does in fact come from 'top the mountain where the people come to pray.
Set II Moma was the jam of the night for sure, had us all movin' & groovin' on my living room floor!
The camera man got creative during Twist -- they rotated the shot 360 degrees! I found that to be a fun surprise and there's absolutely no reason why the camera people shouldn't have some fun with their artistic license during the streams, it makes the webcast more memorable and I'd like to see that kind of stuff happen more in the future -- keep it up camera people, you're doing a great job!!
Just a coincidence I'd like to share: my friends and I were talking about the song, Backwards Down The Number Line, and I mentioned that that song was on the album Joy. No sooner did the word "Joy" escape my mouth that they went right into it. These are the magic moments guys, the coincidences, the times when the Universe is speaking directly to us and we're reminded that we're all connected and in this together...I was very happy to hear this song, it brought a tear to my eye!
After my emotional moment, the show kept a'ragin'! I find it incredible that they can even function under those killer lights, let alone melt our faces night after night!! True professionals.
Also, does it look like the top strip of the new LED light rig starts out as a solid strip in set I, but then in set II it breaks apart into tiles? That's really cool and I would like more information on how they do it if anyone knows, I didn't take note of the procedure when I was there in person for previous shows this tour.
In summary, SPAC was a total had tender moments, face melting psychedelic moments, and we got to spend a good time together. My only regret is that I couldn't be there to taste those incredible mozzarella sticks that I've heard so much about :-)
Until next time, friends!
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by CanadianPhan

CanadianPhan I missed the SPAC run and chose to do Wrigley and Deer Creek instead. Early shows in 2016 are nowhere near where they were only a year ago. Yes they are working on some new songs but fourth quarters of shows are descending into dozefests and we are simply living off a few solid jams to start the 3rd quarter. Wrigley night 2 set 2 was the lone exception to my ears. I realize these guys are in their 50's and not every tour can be "best ever". But I would be lying if I didn't say I was concerned with where these shows are going. Lots of time left for redemption though. Have fun everyone.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by Doopes

Doopes 3rd night of SPAC, best night of SPAC.
First set was really good, even the Heavy Things was played better then the norm ;)
I'd say first set highlights were It's Ice -->Guelah and Fishman on the miramba
Second set? Awesome
Totally hit it off right with Soul Shakedown and a jammed out Moma Dance (definite highlight), Twist was played good and Joy is a decent slower song. I could have lived w/o the new song but whatever. The rest of the set was great, I always like hearing Theme from the Bottom and who doesn't feel good about Hood.
Encore was fitting way to end, I'm somewhat surprised they didn't acknowledge the 4th of July weekend with something but it's ok, last night was a good show and they jammed out some tunes they usually don't. Always keep me coming back :)
Happy Fourth everyone!
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by as_my_senses_bleed

as_my_senses_bleed Not wishing to take sides or split hairs over last night's performance, I'd rather address the building sense of communal disappointment with this tour's overall trajectory as a genuine concern among the fan base for the well being of our beloved band. I myself truly hope all is well in their lives, professional and private. We've been so blessed to experience alongside them a renewed upsurge in creativity and an ever-refined musical prowess in the last 4+ years. I know no one who takes this for granted. And with the world all around taking ever precarious paths into unknown and unstable futures, the fragility of everything is palpable, including the stability of the Phabulous Phour. Fishman's Bernie dress is only one indicator, the tip of the iceberg, that so much is at stake right now. Speaking of Fishman, I'd like to say that to my ears, he is in tip-top form, funneling all his passion, technique, and skill into his kit at such a high caliber, that I cannot keep from being continually blown away by him. As for the rest, the magic is still there. We all know it is. And despite any nagging fears, I still hold fast to the thought that the best is still to come.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by eggsalad81

eggsalad81 Never Miss a Sunday show - Never Say Never

The middle of this show was pretty good. By middle, I mean from around "It's Ice" to the end of "Twist". Once Trey insisted on forcing "Joy" after an incredibly fun "Soul Shakedown" and the best Moma Dance I can remember hearing in recent memory (thanks to the decision by the band to take this song out for a second set ride!).
Then it started. You can keep pushing the ballads til one sticks, but please not late in the second set. It is way easier to pretend we like Joy and your half-baked new songs (Miss You, B&B, etc.) if they are wedged somewhere in the first set when we still have hope for the rest of the evening. I feel like a disappointed parent looking at a bad report card when I hear songs like "The Show of Life". The student has so much potential but turns in work that is lazy and requires little effort for such a smart kid. You are better than these songs, young man!

The majority of the online discussion that followed the debut of Fishman's "Friends" was about whether the song was a joke or not. That's not good.

The rest of the set following was fairly perfunctory (see Axilla and Hood), somewhat of a downer (see Theme). Rock and Roll is a great encore choice, but the show was over about 30 minutes before.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by jonesgator

jonesgator I love this band. I wouldn't be on this site if I didn't. The show played last night was both entertaining and (for the most part) well executed. That being said, I think we can safely put to bed the adage of never miss a Sunday show. If you take the end of set 1 and splice it with the beginning of set 2 (until Twist), you have a set of music worthy of discussion. Neither of the two sets as presented last night are notable in their own right, and that has been an unfortunate trend in recent years on Sundays. Of course, nothing in Phish world should be predictable, so it's probably best for us to retire these lines of thinking.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by BongYohnson

BongYohnson I'm admittedly biased, this show and the previous night were my first 2 shows that I managed to get to after12 years of obsessive fandom, crippling addiction, and rediculiously bad luck. I went on about it in the forum but I've been a fan since the day after Coventry when a cop me best friend (rip Spence) hated got ran over up there and being dumb pothead kids from rural vermont we sought phish out. Anyway I was introduced to opiates when I was 16 and have been fighting that battle for years. I've always missed seeing phish because of my adiction. I've spent summers incarcerated, had years where I wasn't allowed to leave the state, sold or traded tickets I'd bought for drugs in desperate moments, been in rehab, and had rides to SPAC in 2014 and Utica in2010bail on me at the 11th hour. I've seen every other band I dig, in most cases multiple times. Hell even bands I don't like, I must have seen twiddle 40 times... phish was my white whale.

Anyway I've loved phish intensely for years and this was the weekend I finally got to be there and I'm still on cloud 9. I thought this was a great show. Nothing crazy but it was solid and I had a great time. This show probably wasn't that memorable for a lot of people, but I will never forget it. This is a pretty bad review I'm sorry but I just wanted to share how much it all meant to me.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by hughie46

hughie46 This show is severely underrated. Setlist flow and choices from an outsiders perspective may seem mediocre but it was the quality of playing that made this a special night. the guelah was unbelievably tight, ocelet was surprisingly good (and possum)
people often complain that phish no longer takes improvisational risks like the ones they did back in the nineties. that they only jam DWD or use "jam vehicles", opposed to totally unexpected type 2 jamming on songs that arent expected. well, the second set moma should help make people reconsider where phish is at right now. this was a very special night with tons of glowsticks and a high energy vibe from the crowd. 5 star show to me
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by Phishsx78

Phishsx78 "I remind myself....I love this band I love this band I love this band..and they owe me nothing."

Actually, this band owes you a performance worthy of the outrageous ticket prices they are charging. Not $75 for what essentially amounts to a band practice. This summer has been filled with seemingly low effort performances. If you want to throw your money out to get a plethora of flubbed songs, snoozer set lists, and terrible new music then by all means go for it. I am choosing to spend my money elsewhere until the band starts taking their music seriously instead of playing 6 weeks out of the year with what appears to be minimal practice beforehand.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by DogGone

DogGone The Chalk Dust in Friday's show (and the rest of it) made for an incredible night. Night two's darkness and exploration of new songs/that 'moment' in Light/Trey grinning all night made it worth another listen. Night three, they kinda seemed spent...
2016 new rule: NEVER miss a Friday (1st) show!
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by toddmanout

toddmanout Ah…SPAC. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a wonderfully unique indoor-looking outdoor amphitheatre nestled smack-dab in the middle of the forest in the gorgeous Saratoga Spa State Park, which is itself attached to the beautiful and historic City of Saratoga Springs, a town well-known for its near-ancient harness racing track and horse-racing tradition and (as I am always quick to point out) for being the birthplace of the greatest snack/dinner-substitute in recorded history: the potato chip.

Ah…chips. No…I won’t let myself get distracted. Back to the task at hand:

I suppose an indicator of how much I love this music venue would be to point out that I’ve been there fourteen times, once to see the Outlaw Music Festival (Willie, Neil, Nathaniel, Sturgill, and Lukas) plus a lucky thirteen Phish concerts; single, double, or three-night runs that brought me to Saratoga Springs a half-dozen times over the course of fifteen years. That represents a whopping 11% of my total Phish concert tally so yeah, I like the venue. (Okay…yes, SPAC is the closest regular stop to Ottawa on a standard Phish summer tour so there’s that, admittedly.)

When I think back I guess I’ve stayed at, what, five different places? The Hilton, a non-Hilton near the Hilton, a mysterious downtown motel where I broke the bed-frame, the cheapo strip motel next to the barbecue place out by the highway, and the old downtown farmhouse B&B-looking place with the big friendly front porch and the auxiliary building out back. I think the strip motel is my favourite. I’ve stayed there twice – maybe three times – and the food next door is quite great, the venue is just a hop, skip, and a jump along a pretty, forested path through the park, and most importantly the motel is just so darn social, with pretty much everyone pre- and post-ing in plastic chairs in front of their open doors.

On July 3rd, 2016 I was at my second-favourite – which by no coincidence is also the second-most social – of the resting places, that old farmhouse with the big deck that steps right down to the busy downtown sidewalk. I really love sitting out there with a beer and a guitar and speaking with the tie-dyed and smiling passers-by and stoppers-in, of which there are legion.

This was the third evening of a triple-header and if I’m not mistaken this was the threefer where m’lady and I went too far the first night and were left to pay our dues in subdued numb reverie on the second night, leading us to hit our stride for this: a perfectly executed final night. It’s the sort of strategy borne out of plenty of experience and constant trial-mostly-error. Anyway, we came out on top on a good night, because Phish was rockin’ a Saratoga dance party. The first set had a fun LawnboySparkleSample one-two-three punch and ended with a Possum singalong while the second set kept the vibe going from the opening Soul Shakedown Party and Moma Dance through Twist, Theme, and Hood right up to the liberating Rock and Roll encore.

I don’t know if my life was really “…saved by rock and roll…” but it sure feels like it was when I sing that line at the top of my lungs in one of my favourite venues along with my favourite band and 20,000 good friends at the end of a fun-filled weekend of music, friends, and very good times.

Ah…SPAC. Ah…Phish. Ah…music. Ah…chips.

, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads Tube has a nice bit of Echoplexing going on during the funk portion. Not much else for me to say about the first set--though it's well-played-- except that Scent of a Mule was pretty interesting, with the Marimba Lumina and so forth, and Possum was its usual ripping self. Soul Shakedown Party is a bigly chased song, so that's nice for anyone who was there. The real story with this show is the first big The Moma Dance for quite a while, maybe since 2003. It features a tension-and-release peak-building jam that resolves into another peak before exploring some ambient bliss-out territory that I dearly wish had been explored more thoroughly. Hood is great, but not an all-time version in my opinion. Rock and Roll encore is cool, too; I just wish Rock and Roll as well as Drowned would get the 20-min. jam treatment again some time soon. Maybe throw in a few of those to open second sets instead of Down with Disease once in a while. 3 stars.
, attached to 2016-07-03

Review by bonnie_franklin

bonnie_franklin This show was fun to listen to overall but generally nothing special. I rated it 2 stars.

Set one: 3 things---some overplayed tunes, some very sloppy playing, and some well played stuff towards the end. Highlights were ocelot through possum. Sugar Shack is a complete disaster. Lol. Time to send it back on the shelf. Its Ice was also flubbed badly. Some of these numbers are just too difficult and too infrequently played (or practiced) for public consumption.

Moma Dance is obviously the highlight of the show. Twist has some tasty jamming but the composed parts (including the vocals!) are very sloppy. Joy and Breath & Burning are well done. Axilla is 3 minutes of your life you won't get back and Theme also suffers from poor execution. Hood is well done. Rock n Roll as an encore is not the best option imo.

This show points out both the strengths & weaknesses of phish circa 2016. When they open it up and jam they thrive and excite. Their newer material should be played more often in place of older placeholders that bring neither taut execution or any surprises. Imo, phish is starting to sound old. Personally i think they should cut down their rotation of songs and jam a lot more.
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