With two shows already under his belt, Mike Gordon’s tour so far seems to be going pretty well. Gordon has played 4 Phish songs in these two nights already (well one of them “Cities”, but you know what I mean); Makisupa Policeman, Cities, Meat and Sugar Shack. In Mike’s Fall Tour last year, he also played Sugar Shack along with Meat (pretty frequently). As of the time of this post, I have not listened to Mike’s recording from the past two nights, but it will be interesting to hear if his guitarist, Scott Murawski, plays Sugar Shack better than Trey. The song is fun and interesting but Trey, more often than not, butchers it.
I was excited when I saw Mike was playing Meat last tour, I had forgotten about the song all together until I saw it popping up on his setlists, wondering why Phish had not played it yet. Some people love the song, some people dislike it much. I’m proud to say that I’m not in the latter group. My favorite was always 8/11/1998’s–up until they bust the song out on 11/29/2009 in Portland, ME for its first and only appearance since 7/21/2003 at Deer Creek. Meat doesn’t change too much from version to version, which is why I like 8/11/98’s for trey throwing his funky wah pedal in there. 11/29/2009’s blows any other version out of the water, though. For a year where songs didn’t get as exploratory as they may have been in the past (see Bathtub Gin [not Gorge’s], Wolfman’s Brother and Tube to name some) they whapped us with the most improvised version of the song to date that night.
Maybe Phish should hold back on Sugar Shack until Trey is willing to take the time to play it correctly (which probably doesn’t make Mike happy) and let Mike’s band play it. In the meantime, please bring back our Meat.
This Post’s Related Shows:
Notes: This show marked the Phish debut of Trench Town Rock and the return of Time Loves a Hero (first since November 5, 1988, or 1,022 shows). Runaway Jim included a tease of Maria from West Side Story.
Soundcheck: Dog Log, Undermind, Glide, My Friend My Friend, Uncle Pen
Notes: Nellie Kane was played for the first time since July 1, 2000 (137 shows). Before Meat, Trey announced (in a reference to Meat’s lyrics) that Mike had changed his name and is now “The Artist Formerly Known as Cactus” and “The Artist Presently Known as Prince.” Subsequently, during Meat, Trey introduced Mike as “Prince,” Fish as “Prince’s alter ego on the drums, ‘Princess.'” Free Bird was played for the first time since June 22, 2000 (144 shows) and was performed a cappella for the first time since December 29, 1998 (223 shows).