Wednesday 06/19/2019 by phishnet

TORONTO RECAP: "OH HERE IT COMES LIKE A NATURAL DISASTER"

[We would like to thank Alaina Stamatis, user @farmhose (@fad_albert on twitter and instagram), for recapping last night's show. Please note that the opinions expressed by a recapper for a show on this blog are not necessarily those of any volunteer who works on Phish.net. We are all fans with varying opinions, just like you. -Ed.]

When the border agent asked us what our plans were for our trip into Canada, we probably should have just lied to him. It wouldn't have made a difference, however, because we have 57 stickers on our car, including but not limited to an oversized Stealie with two dancing bears on the hood. At the time of our border crossing, we were also, for lack of a better term, dressed like wooks.

"We're seeing a concert."

"Who are you here to see?" the border agent asked in the most serious tone one can conjure while still having a Canadian accent.

"Phish, man, greatest show on earth! If you have the night off you should-"

A couple SWAT-team-type bros in skin-tight black uniforms approached. This was not my bachelorette party and these were definitely not strippers. They dismantled the car. Luckily (intentionally) we brought nothing of interest. "Enjoy the concert, guys."

© 2019 Terry Evans (twitter Iamhydr0gen)
© 2019 Terry Evans (twitter Iamhydr0gen)

The show was largely a Canadian audience because American Phish fans come in two varieties: "has to work during the week" (and thus can't skip town for a Tuesday show) and "recently arrested on drug charges" (and thus denied entry into Canada). The only people I recognized and knew in Toronto last night were my fellow sober tour rats. We miracled a woman into her first show.

"Now I can take 'go to a Phish show' off my bucket list," she said.

"Or just change it on your bucket list to be, 'go to thirty Phish shows.'"

Anticipation lingered from the band's good showing at Bonnaroo. Has something rejuvenated Trey's commitment to shredding? Did he make a solemn oath to C. Cot that he would tear it up 'til Kingdom Come? Or was it simply that he kept his fingers active all year between Ghosts of the Forest, TAB and acoustic performances?

The "AC/DC Bag" opener reaffirmed Trey's vows to his guitar. This was quickly followed by "555," then "Ocelot," and then "Sample in a Jar," which begged the question: would Canadian fans be happy with whatever they get? The angelic Canadian voices singing along seemed to suggest, "Yes." This question is a little unfair, however, because in reality these are all good tunes and they were expertly shredded; the latter two had their own mini snow-capped peaks.

"Stash" started. The Canadians were psyched. "Stash" went straight into a major key blissful type 2 jam, that was tasty with good energy, though not as long or as profound as the first set "Stash" in St Louis last Tuesday. Next came "the Wedge," and then "Frost," which was a Canadian debut, "Halley's Comet," and then "Ruby Waves," from GotF, which was a Canadian *and* a Phish debut. "Ruby Waves" went type 1.75 (yanno, just shy of 2) seeking to dissolve the new material into the repertoire by heating it up.

The Canadians screamed for "Lawn Boy." Some of them were wearing "Is This Still Lawn Boy?" shirts. The first set ended with "You Enjoy Myself," which had a good tempo and tight musicianship. When Phish played this same venue in Toronto in 1999 and 2000 they also closed the first set with "YEM" both times. Phish didn't play Toronto again until 2013, when they also played "Halley's," "Stash," and "Ocelot" in the first set.

Phish plays Toronto so infrequently that I saw multiple people with Phish tour shirts from the '90s that were in pristine condition because these fans so rarely get to wear them. Also of note: because Canadians are more environmentally conscious there was a complete and utter lack of glowsticks. Little children were forced to play with regular sticks.

© 2019 Terry Evans (twitter IamHydr0gen)
© 2019 Terry Evans (twitter IamHydr0gen)

Second set started with "Plasma" (Canadian debut): "I don't think when I depart, I'll be close to where I start," and with that, they left the minor key of the song and went into a major key jam. It's hard to stay in a minor key on such a beautiful night of outdoor Phish with CK5's beams in the trees. They segued into "The Final Hurrah" (Canadian debut), followed by "Wingsuit" (Canadian debut). Transitioning into "Golden Age" (Canadian debut) Phish reached its Mount St. Helen's for the evening, erupting into a molten sonic act of God that for fifteen-and-a-half minutes destroyed everything in its path.

The band made a strong case for "I Always Wanted It This Way" (Canadian debut) with Trey taking a larger role in it than normal. Then they slapped us with a "Prince Caspian," which opened a line of inquiry: did I risk receiving an unlawful cavity search for this? Before they could really lose anyone they moved to, "If I Could," and again the massive choir of Canadian angels sang along and the moment transcended. The band closed out the second set with a raging "46 Days," keeping the memory of Leigh Fordham bright.

For the encore, they performed the three-part "Drift While You're Sleeping," from GotF (Canadian debut), which fuses elements of "Petrichor" and "More" with dubbed-out reggae.

At first glance it was a weird setlist, but overall the night had a good flow. It pulled from 14 individual albums, brought out a lot of comparatively new material, and the band tried their best to sell these odes to joy. They shredded for the memory of their friends, for the dignity of the songs, and for Canada. Trey thanked the audience and told them he'd see them again soon, so perhaps it won't be another six years. As we left the show we were met with the largest culture shock of all: No Nitrous. No carnies hovered over tanks. No hissing, no balloons popping. And no "No deals." Good deal.

© 2019 Nick Williams (user TwiceBitten)
© 2019 Nick Williams (user TwiceBitten)

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Comments

, comment by hetah
hetah A post-show with no nitrous sounds awesome.
, comment by farmhose
farmhose For space and cohesion reasons I failed to include that Monday night in Toronto was total mayhem. It was the aftermath of the city’s Raptors victory parade in which 1.5mil had descended on the downtown. People were all over the ground crawling like worms during a rainstorm. The main large beer store was on shambles. A man was standing in a garbage can yelling “I’m in the trash!!!!!” Hopefully he was able to find a ticket last minute.
, comment by Ry_storm
Ry_storm Absolutely awesome show. Still trying to find my face after that 46 Days.
, comment by JMart
JMart This sounds like one of those Eastern brain twister things: If there's no nitrous mafia outside on lot after the Phish show, was it really a Phish show?
, comment by Montalbon
Montalbon It's always appreciated that someone takes the time to do a recap and so thanks go out to Farmhose. That said, if the focus is going to be on some kind of perceived "Canadian show" identity, why not have the recap written by a Canadian? Canadians are used to crossing the border to see shows (and Farmhose's experience crossing the border into Canada is, not surprisingly, basically the same as what Canadians experience crossing into the U.S.). I think most Canadian's would also wonder why a song's first performance in Canada is of any more importance or interest than its first performance in Detroit, Nashville, Prague or anywhere else. In my experience, the most unique thing about Phish's TORONTO shows (yes, in Canada, like in the U.S., we also refer to shows by city and venue... seeing that Phish has played in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa) is that they are always single shows and never part of a multi-show run. That makes them really hard to assess or compare against anything except single shows in other cities that Phish travels to rarely. But why compare anyway? We've all seen different shows and we all love different things about this band and its music and that's what makes it all so great.
, comment by doobahstop
doobahstop So nice to randomly meet you at the Angola rest stop @farmhose
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Working on my own review but I thought the band was pretty tight all night, and showed some very positive signs for potential things to come. The jams you'll want to hear are the Golden Age, Stash, Plasma->Final Hurrah, but if you're like me and derive just as much enjoyment from old school soulful, patient Trey solos, please do yourself a favour and check out the Ocelot, If I Could, and Drift encore.Though the setlist itself was one of the more unique I've witnessed in a long time, and the band kept most offerings to 10 minutes or less, I thought the whole show had excellent flow and energy. If they take this game and apply to it to heavy hitters and longer jams, watch out.
, comment by TwiceBitten
TwiceBitten stream codes. please post if claimed. but only if you're Canadian.

7099065321046385

6161453396445493

4397031157240543
, comment by topolewb
topolewb Let’s hope our Canadian friends set the bar for us. Nitrous was out of control in STL.
, comment by yhgtbfkm
yhgtbfkm @topolewb said:
Let’s hope our Canadian friends set the bar for us. Nitrous was out of control in STL.
This. You see nitrous at almost any Phish show, but in St Louis they were 500 feet from the door and all over the place.

Excellent review, by the way. I loved the bit about your experience getting to the show.
, comment by pureguava
pureguava “Little children were forced to play with regular sticks”

Hehe I love this. And thanks for a nice review.
, comment by Mikingbird
Mikingbird You and your "Canadian Debuts"! Great Recap.

Now let's all pitch in and get this band to VANCOUVER!!!
, comment by dirth
dirth Serious: As a longtime border crosser for shows, if they ask who you're goin to see, tell them honestly with no embellishment. If they ask what kind of music they are, say something like DMB or somebody with a, lets say, more commercial reputation... NEVER say GD, joke or try to be cute. your car will get torn apart every time.

Also Serious: DAT 46 Days!!!!
, comment by BozakAxel
BozakAxel Wow, great review! So we’ll written, enjoyed every word. Thanks!
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect That's Prince Caspian, Duke of Magna, KG, KT, PC, ADC, thank you very much. Show a little respect.

Otherwise, fanastic recap @farmhose. Blaze on!
, comment by Mendrix
Mendrix Nice review, well done. Glad you all had fun up here. The border crossing though? As we know well from crossing to go to shows down there...you just can't give them any reason. Keep your answers brief. Play the game the way they want it played. Anyways...It's a great venue. The lot scene is very chill. Lack of a proper Shakedown noted, but that's definitely a border crossing issue for some vendors, while others must just take a pass and move on to the next stop. Not surprised at the "no nitrous", as it's not really a thing up here, and clearly the Nitrous Mafia wouldn't even attempt a border crossing. Very refreshing coming out and not have to walk past that shit. We were disappointed in the no glowsticks policy though...my teenage daughters loaded up on them pre-show.
As for the show itself...I think it's criminal it's sitting at a 2.81 rating. No way this show deserves that. It's ranking lower than the Rochester 2013 show, and that is still, IMHO, the worst show I've been to, and when I say "worst", please know I mean that in a I'll take a "bad" Phish show over almost any other show out there, way. Phish, post-Baker's Dozen, doesn't even compare with some of that 2013 period. The boys are playing way better...less rip-cording, better segues, new material, and on and on. In fact, I'll take last night's show over the random juke-box affair that was Rochester 2016, as well. It was nice to read both review and comments supporting that.
, comment by MeaninglessExcitement
MeaninglessExcitement @Mikingbird said:
You and your "Canadian Debuts"! Great Recap.

Now let's all pitch in and get this band to VANCOUVER!!!
Yes!
, comment by aaronf666
aaronf666 @Mendrix said: "I think it's criminal it's sitting at a 2.81 rating. No way this show deserves that."

Agreed. How the hell is that even possible? Stash, Golden Age, and 46 Days alone were worth the price of admission.
, comment by solestus
solestus Always love your reviews, so glad to read another. Thanks!
, comment by AD333
AD333 Thank you for this review.

In the interest of perfecting the visual record, I will note that there was a microburst of glowsticks in the rear half of the Page-side pavilion during the second set but the storm passed relatively quickly.
, comment by Johnny_B
Johnny_B I was also at that Rochester 2013 show and, with the possible exception of Coventry day 2, it was also the worst Phish show I’ve ever seen. Tuesday night in Toronto was far better than that. It was a fun show, the flow was good, and there were a couple jams that were worth the price of admission.

We had a considerably easier time crossing the border, but then we live in Buffalo and this is the third or fourth time this year that we’ve come over for a concert in Toronto and the second time in a week that my wife had been in Canada.

The venue has changed a bit since the last time I was there (in 1996 for the Sex Pistols reunion tour), but I like the vibe for a Phish show. No good beer, but there was plenty of good food. I’d love to see a multi-night stand there. Two days in a row might make for a better show on one of the nights than Toronto usually gets.
, comment by Mendrix
Mendrix "I'll take last night's show over the random juke-box affair that was Rochester 2016, as well." Just for clarification, I meant the Syracuse show there.
, comment by ChalkDustJoe
ChalkDustJoe That's me in the photo with my arms up. We had such a great time at this show. I hope the boys might finally seen me this time. The Sample and Lawn Boy were fantastic. Met so many amazing new phriends and seen my buddy Eric from Jersey. It was his friend Chris's first show. The Stash, Caspian, Ocelot, and 46 Days were highlights for me as well. Had no problems at the border and everyone we met was super nice and the venue is absolutely a gem. 555 on the money. Thanks Toronto and the Phish community for another one in the books. If the photographer reads this please email me, I would love to buy the photo if it is for sale. My email is intelligenthead80@gmail.com. I'm Chalkdust Joe. Thanks.
, comment by Jempphan
Jempphan @MeaninglessExcitement said:
@Mikingbird said:
You and your "Canadian Debuts"! Great Recap.

Now let's all pitch in and get this band to VANCOUVER!!!
Yes!
Right? It will be 20 years in September since they played here- my only birthday show, 9/9/99. It's a travesty that neither Phish nor TAB has been here in all that time...
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