During Mike’s last solo tour, I wrote an article saying how I was disappointed with the selection of his band members. I focused primarily on Scott Murawski, the guitarist, criticizing him for sounding like a “generic jam band guitarist”. He still doesn’t get my rocks off like Trey used to, not even close, but he’s certainly growing on me.
First of all, let’s highlight the distinct differences between Mike’s and Trey’s recent solo tours. Mike is giving phans what they want by traveling all over the USA, rather than just two nights in California. Mike charges $25, Trey charges over $50. Mike, in my opinion, features more impressive and creative improvisation than Trey’s recent incarnation of TAB. Mike, while he plays some songs frequently, changes up the setlist more. Mike is on top of his game, Trey is not.
I’m upset with Trey, I have been for a while. I have tried so hard to find the raisins in the shit since 2009, but I’m getting real sick of it. When I saw YEMblog tweet this review of Mike in Denver, and after my good friend from the area told me this morning, I checked out the following video of Phish’s Mound–a song Mike has been playing frequently on his tour so far. I was embarrassed to watch Scott, a guy I was ripping just months ago, show Trey up in it. A few things to notice when you watch: the guitar work in the intro to the song, the blazing instrumental towards the end, and how crisp and clean Scott comes soaring out of the “time time, timetime” lyrical breakdown at the end.
Trey couldn’t play Mound with that kind of accuracy, creativity, and/or cleanliness. In fairness, Phish isn’t known for playing an extended version of this song; however, just think of Trey playing the ending to Punch You in the Eye in 3.0, a segment that’s meant to be quick, clean, and rocking–it’s awful. If Trey can’t play a relatively simple part of one of Phish’s staple songs, I am confident that I’m correct in saying that Scott plays a better version of Mound than Trey could. Let’s say Trey decided he wanted to show Scott up so he plays a ten-minute Mound at Bethel this summer. Let’s also assume that Trey wails, he nails everything and doesn’t trip over any song transitions. His tone is still obnoxious and loud. Did you notice how Scott doesn’t drown the rest of the band out during his solo? This piercing tone that Trey seems to be in love with doesn’t seem to be going away. Trey used to have so much control over the tone and general volume of his guitar; now it’s always loud and always piercing. I have been in the pavilion at 3.0 shows where it sounded like Trey is going to blow the speakers because he’s so loud.
I’m sorry, but Mike’s band is far more fun and interesting than TAB is now. I love the picture of Mike and Scott mimicing the 1988 Telluride photo by carrying the Kaossilator across the street. Unfortunately my patience of Trey taking selfies with with Jennifer and Natalie has been exhausted. Also, please stop the silly jumping on stage.