I woke up for the second time this morning with Oscar licking my face.
"Hey monkey," I groaned, as I tried to figure out what the fuck happened to me last night... wait... Monkey.... Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey! I saw Trey play that last night at the Jammys!!! Rewind...
I was invited to the Jammys last night - a JamBand awards show, where there are a lot of collaborative live performances between stars of the jamband genre, and in general, very good music. This show was special, because Phish, supreme rulers Jamband Land, were supposed to reunite after a multi-year layoff.
Although I was pretty hammered, I have very vivid recollections of several pieces of the evening, which I will try to recount for you in staccato form. For more cohesive, orderly recounts, do not miss this sardonic recap of the event, or this thorough and accurate setlist.
We were on the floor right in front of the stage, and I texted Dr. Pauly: "I am at the Jammys!!" The show got started right on time with Warren Haynes and some girl, who I'd later discover was Grace Potter, ripping through 3 songs, including Fleetwood Mac's Gold Dust Woman. Potter can really wail, and later showed she could hammer on the keyboard as well.
A band I don't know called Rose Hill Drive came out, with a lead singer who was a dead ringer for a slightly pussed down version of Bo Bice. They were joined onstage by Matisyahu, the epitome of six sigmas in the music world. Matisyahu is an orthodox Jew who raps reggae - one of a kind. He left the stage and Leslie West joined Rose Hill Drive, lending his old school guitar licks and even older school vintage voice to a song I didn't know. Then West made some comment about having the game RockBand back stage, and shouted "Hit the cow bell." The combination of the cow bell and the signature opening riff of Mississippi Queen caused my drunken body to convulse in an involuntary standing fetal clench, and wail on my Bud Light bottle playing air guitar. I hit Pauly with another text, "You are uniquely positioned to appreciate this show."
Keller Williams is a talented one man band, but this time he was joined on stage by Chevy Chase - yes - THAT Chevy Chase - Fletch, who played piano while duet-ing with Keller on a comedic "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Wooooooooooooman." Then Chevy played jazz piano as Keller sang a muzak-lounge-lizard inspired version of Sweet Home Alabama, drifting into "Take the Money and Run," and then back to Sweet Home Alabama, almost to show that it didn't really matter what he was singing - that he could sing anything in this bizarre arrangement.
I was psyched when Todd Mohr of Big Head Todd joined Tea Leaf Green on stage, and blues-ed out Sister Sweetly, but most of the people there didn't seem to know who he was. I regaled the guys I was with with the story of the time I saw BHTM in Boston circa 1995, where they did an acoustic version of Peace Train that still remains one of the best live songs I've ever seen.
Between performances, the Jammy awards were given out, and the host started out early in hinting that there would be some very special guests and a magical reunion, which had the crowd buzzing and drooling over Phish hopes. Lyricist Tom Marshall spoke, and got an appreciative ovation from the fans. When Fishman appeared to give an award and talk about his late mother's foundation, people would turn to each other and hold up 1 finger. After Page appeared onstage, jamming with some jazz legends, murmurs grew and people held up 2 fingers. Mark, who had invited me to the show, returned from the bathroom mumbling excitedly about how he'd just bumped into bassist Mike Gordon in the hallway, and jammed three fingers in my face, ranting excitedly. "Duuuuude - that's THREE of them..."
Galactic came out and whipped the crowd into a jammy dance frenzy when they were joined by Chali2na from Jurassic 5, who has silky smooth rap skills - like a Barry White meets a lisp-free B.I.G. When Doug E. Fresh, the Human Beatbox joined the cast on stage to duel with drummer Stanton Moore in a call and response beatbox-drums exchange, I was giddy. Fresh is a true MC - and even though everyone was joking "I bet Fresh has never seen so many white people at one time," his MC skills transcended the fact that crusty jammy audience is probably different from the typical hip hop crowd. "Laddy dahhhdy - we likes to pahtay - we don't cause trouble, we don't bother nobody!" I excitedly texted Big Show and Dirty Dave "I am watching DOUG E FRESH live on stage right now!"
After another award, the Fab Faux - a Beatles tribute band, came out with Joan Osbourne, who wailed through Come Together. They start "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and Mark starts jabbing me excitedly, as we are looking through to the side of the stage, where Trey is easily visible. "FOUR duuuude! Trey is here! They are all here!" Yes - Trey is here, and more importantly, he has a a guitar strapped to his back!
When Trey walked out in the middle of the song, he got one of the most insane reactions I've ever seen in a live show - the crowd went absolutely bonkers. It was like seeing the Pope at the Vatican: Trey in front of his minions, back from the abyss. Trey made his O-face and wailed on the guitar, as they then shredded through "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (except for me and my monkey!)"
Phish then accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award, with all four band members together on stage. I texted Pauly, "Full band. Mania." As the crowd was in a full frenzy, but the band then just walked off the stage, as the Headcount Allstars (Joe Russo, Kyle Hollingsworth, Jake Cinninger, Marc Brownstein, Jon Gutwillig,) a mix of the cream of the crop of members from various bands, came onstage.
When the Allstars pounded the first base twangs of Phish's Wilson - the audience again exploded, and had high hopes for Phish joining them on stage to show them the proper way, but alas, still no Phish. I was about to pee my pants, but I couldn't risk heading to the bathroom and missing Phish's inevitable entry. When the Allstars segued into 2001, I made a mad dash, and returned in plenty of time for them to crush "Run Like an Antelope." I could see a sound manager on the side of the stage giving them the finger across the throat signal for "no more - that's it," but Joe Russo on drums hit the opening percussive cymbals for Maze, and I turned to Mark and guessed "David Bowie?" As that song has a similar opening construction. The kid in front of me scornfully turned around and chided, "NO. it's MAZE," like I was retarded. DYKWTFIA?!?!?!
Maze is no joke - and the Allstars really showed how talented they are by playing the song about as well as Phish could have. After a full 10 minute jammed out Maze, the song ended, and the lights came on abruptly. No Phish.
I'm pretty surprised that Phish came to this show and didn't play - I'd love to hear the reason why, if anyone sees any press on this in the coming days - I'm sure they'll say something.
Anyways, the Jammys was a phenomenal experience - a chance to see musical collaborations from legends and legends in the making, and to see some real top notch musicianship displayed and celebrated.