Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Discuss the Phish studio output.

Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Postby tenniru » Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:50 pm

Some songs are better live. Some songs are better in the studio. Other songs... well, with other songs you can't compare them. A live version might be one thing; a nice composed section followed by an iconic Phish jam you can't get on a record. The studio version of the same song might be the most meticulous, layered thing you'll ever hear, and Phish couldn't do that on stage even if they cloned themselves a few times. Discuss! My picks:

--THE DIVIDED SKY--
My prime example. The live entity is something we all know and love for its spontaneity and suspense; the long pause, the climactic repetition of the end of the song, and Trey just holding (or, to be more accurate, SUSTAINING it) above us for what feels like an eternity. It's a favorite for a reason.

Then you have the thing on Junta. It's easy to overlook, since most longer songs simply cannot make the cut in the studio (I'm looking at you, YEM). However, just the first few seconds of this song draw you in, for good reason; it's beautiful.
The main rhythm guitar part is played on an acoustic, and Page's part is covered by Glockenspiel and tubular bell (which, as a band kid in the percussion section, I have an affinity for). The Page's piano gently swells into the mix, not getting in anything's way. The vocal section is spot on, and from there on we have a spot-on performance of the song augmented by more guitars and keyboard instruments than can be afforded live.
The song lasts twelve minutes, as opposed to the fourteen of a modern Divided Sky, but that really just loses the suspense; something that doesn't really need to be here, because this is more about intricacy than suspense.
It feels like an orchestral piece; even the mixing, with Fish's kit spread far across the stereo field DEVO style, creates the illusion of another handful of percussionists playing alongside the glockenspiel and bells.

--SPLIT OPEN AND MELT--
The one track off Lawn Boy I can listen to. Judging by the non-hideous snare tone, it seems like it was recorded somewhere other than the rest of the album. Sure, there's no jam, but the main song is transformed into something elaborate. The Giant Country Horns make their mark (and do it in tune, too), Trey sounds like an evil demon, and the female vocal chorus just adds another layer of weird. It's intricate and weird, one of the few times the horns seem to get along with Phish and not just act weird like a lot of '91 horn songs (not that I don't love them). The acapella section (although you can tell there's bass here) is almost hilariously reminiscent of the Beatles' "Because", and for the coda the vocals are handed entirely to Christine Lynch as an army of angry Trey sustain pedals blow up a city.
Pure awesome.

--THE ENTIRE RIFT ALBUM--
Live, the individual songs are one thing (although, in my opinion, the studio versions do a nice job standing up to their live counterparts). However, hitting a mid-set Horse/Silent In The Morning or ever playing Lengthwise (ever) is totally different than hearing every song in order. Rift is a concept album, after all, and It's Ice > Lengthwise > The Horse > Silent In The Morning means something totally different than Dave's Energy Guide > Soulja Boy > Maze > Bananaphone. or something.

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Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Postby rage » Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:48 pm

Duh!!
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Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Postby lysasome » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:03 pm

I might suggest that nearly every single song in phish's catalog is performed differently live than in studio. This is probably due at least in part to the fact that, when playing live, they are actually playing in front of thousands of people as opposed to in a studio where it is just them and a few others. I imagine they derive quite a bit of energy and adrenaline from playing in front of thousands of people.

I didn't actually read the OP's post because it was too long for my current attention span, so I hope I didn't repeat too much. Cheers
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Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Postby goldenroad » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:30 pm

I love Trey's voice on the studio version of Chalkdust. I'm glad this thread exists despite the obvious lack of support for it.
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Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Postby Atoms » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:18 am

TMWSIY (the whole thesis, not just the song) is a good example of this.
we are all being pursed. some have been found, some are still running. some will keep running until they get to the end of the road, straight off the proverbial cliff. you don't have to turn back, you just have to turn around.
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Songs That Are Not The Same Live As In The Studio

Postby lysasome » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:02 pm


goldenroad wrote:I love Trey's voice on the studio version of Chalkdust. I'm glad this thread exists despite the obvious lack of support for it.


Me too. Call me evil, but it makes me chuckle when a good, solid, serious thread just gets shut down. ha
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