6.12.10 - Blossom (M.Stein)

Long known for playing anthemic Saturday night shows that cater to their more mainstream weekend audiences, Phish approached the first Saturday night of 2010 with a playful, self-referential twist. Connecting a sequence of “Saturday-Night” songs that were often characterized by formulaic jamming throughout 2009, Phish infused Blossom’s second set with their re-found intention, crafting an refreshing frame of forward looking improvisation.

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

For the second consecutive night, the band formed a flowing second set of music, this time, with a celebratory thread running throughout. Opening up with a quintessential Saturday night trio of “Rock and Roll > Hood, and Backwards Down the Number Line” Phish pushed the boundaries of these well-loved anthems, creating some of the most compelling moments of this young tour. After a familiar-sounding “Rock and Roll” that moved from a fierce peak into a layered, ambient passage, the band dropped into a surprise early-set “Harry Hood.” Dripping with passion unlike any other of this era, Trey led the band in, easily, the most awe-inspiring version of their early opus since their return. An instant-classic that left more than a few jaws on the ground, this monumental “Hood” set the tables, however, for the jam that would steal the show like the Hamburgler pocketed quarter-pounders.

Re-emerging after a fall tour of relative inactivity, Phish took “Backwards Down the Number Line” further than ever before, launching into, perhaps, the defining jam of the opening two shows. After the band noodled out of the song’s structure, Phish shifted gears into a menacing milieu of secret-agent, spy-mission Phish drama. Without having a chance to hear the show before writing this, I can safely say that this excursion provided the unquestionable centerpiece of the show. Drifting into the same new sound that emerged from “Light” and “Ghost” in Chicago, Phish furthered their leap into the future with this clandestine journey. Check this out with all due speed, as I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this one in writing before too long. Spilling into “Twenty Years Later” in a reprise of the sequence that highlighted SPAC’s ’09 summer closer, Phish merged the two songs of Joy into a concentrated dose of musical psychedelia.

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

After a hearty exhale following this non-stop opening hour of the set, the band took a moment, preparing for what was next. After some clear communication between Trey and Page, in which Page looked ready and willing, if not a bit overwhelmed, Phish launched into John Lennon’s “Instant Karma!” Coming out of the furthest corner of left field, and sounding incredibly authentic to the original, the band opened the door to a brand new cover that will surely work its way into rotation this summer. Fishman’s replication of the strapping, hard-edged drumbeat gave the song its genuine sound, steering away from his usual intricate drum patterns. But the clear hero of the moment was Page McConnell, who absolutely slayed John Lennon’s vocal part, replicating both his tone and intonation, spot on. While the debut remained as the straight song, I wouldn’t doubt if Phish began to jam out of the “Instant Karma’s” unique textures before too long. A uniting song that fits the spirit of Phish 3.0, this comes as a welcome addition to the band’s ever-expanding repertoire.

And putting a stylistic ass-slap to their Saturday night set, Phish broke out the old-school funk in “Oh Kee Pah >Suzie.” And with time for one last scorcher, the band instead chose to split time between a gorgeous rendition of “Waste” and a gargantuan, snarling take on “Character Zero.” Taking their mainstream theme right on through the set-closer, Phish continued to slay their anthems like Super Mario taking out dragons. Crushing each and every piece in their path, Phish left a torrid wake in the Cleveland region as they made the circus made its way through a driving rain towards Hershey. And that was just the second set!

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Phish opened the show in the intimate pavilion with another debut cover – The Band’s “Look Out, Cleveland.” A thematic table-setter, this cover of the one-and-done variety, follows a handful of songs that Phish has used to honor specific geographical locales. Phish followed the The Band’s Americana feel, with a slice of their own in the slowly stretching “Ocelot.” Moving into more delicate, bluesy textures, this jam evoked the sounds of The Grateful Dead, a direction the piece seems to be moving. Again using the first set as a showcase for creative, succint jams, alongside “Ocelot,” Phish also shredded a “Stash” before dropping Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” for the second time in the 3.0 era, and, also, the second time since 1993. But the unquestionable high point of the first set came after time turned elastic in the long-overdue ressurection of “Mike’s Groove.”

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Crushing “Mike’s Song” with a militant musical escapade, Trey looked as if he had reacquainted himself with the ethos of the song, wearing his dramatic motions on his sleeve while demonically setting up shop. The band joined in the heavy hitting improv, which ironically didn’t surpass in time many of 2009’s versions, but the density of ideas was unparalled and anything but formulaic. And even more spectacular than “Mike’s,” for the first time in eons, Phish took “Weekapaug” by the jugular and created a truly original jam. Feeling his mojo, Trey stepped to the front of stage with a swagger with spitting leads of fury in what was nothing short of a modern revelation for the song.

After only two nights of summer, Phish creativity has been staggering, not only in their cosmic communication, but also in their show-sculpting. Bringing a completely fresh feel to the table, Phish has begun the process of reinvention once again. And things have never looked so promising…

I: Look Out Cleveland*, Ocelot, Water in the Sky, Stash, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Sample in a Jar, Time Turns Elastic, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Rock and Roll > Harry Hood > Backwards Down the Number Line > Twenty Years Later, Instant Karma*, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Waste, Character Zero

E: The Squirming Coil


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644 Responses to “Blossoming”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    so today I was on this long work voyage down a rabbit hole of someone else’s programming that led me to one thing and then the other and then down the wrong path a thousand times until I had this amazing epiphany..

    and the epiphany occurred right at the carousel peak of last nights’ tte.

    So I’m like That’s It!

    But then I realized

    That’s It! meant I’m totally screwed and my day was pretty much entirely wasted.

    So take from that what you will. (or nothing.)

    at least it’s all billable

    good night kids

  2. flarrdogg Says:

    who’s got my hetty sbd link brah?

    flarrdogg at yahoo

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    You got mail Flarr!!!

  4. flarrdogg Says:

    Thank you sir!

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    No problem man, enjoy!!!

  6. Prince Nabby Says:

    Just got the hotel from the Hershey show. I thought it was the heat from start to end. The first set was a non-stop dance fest with enough energy to light up Harrisburg. The band was just beaming. Second set had some memorable and moving jams. The band had the crowd in the palm of their hand, begging for mercy. I was at Blossom too, and it was like night and day. Everyone has their own opinion, but I found the Blossom show utterly mediocre: a discontinuous set-list and way, way too much farty whale calling from Trey. Tonight was a whole other band. The energy was just terrific. It didn’t hurt that we had arguable the best sport in the venue, perfect sound, chill venue staff, tons of room to dance, and tons of tunes to which to dance. It’s only my 27th show, so I consider myself something of a newbie, but I thought it just rocked from start to finish.

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    nice to read nabby glad to hear your take!

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Thanks for the review @Nabby! Glad you had a fantastic time man! 🙂

    I just grabbed the SBDs and loaded em’ up, so I’m gonna wake up early tomorrow and jam this first set, can’t wait! Second set looks like a straight dance clinic as well. Looking forward to it.

    Well, goodnight BB, I’ll catch you all in a few hours. I can’t wait to hear Miner’s take on the show, hopefully he enjoyed it as much as you did.


  9. Prince Nabby Says:

    Good night, y’all!

  10. glennw Says:

    It was the heat. 50 feet out, dead center, dance throwdown. Proud to say I called the Bitch, if only to myself.

  11. DukeOfLizards Says:

    2nd set = set of the tour so far, IMO. Absolute highlight reel.

  12. Willowed Says:

    I have become used to having reviews done by 7:00 a.m. EST. Miner must have had some fun last night. Needs a little time this a.m. to get the cob webbs out.
    Thanks for all the great reviews thus far Miner. Get some sleep….can’t wait for your review to post.
    Thanks for everything you do!!!

  13. Jtran Says:

    Blossom Hood is amazing. Lovin it

  14. Willowed Says:

    jtran…I just sent you a note regarding the Spac meet up. Let me know if that works!!
    I am trying to get this thing rolling!

  15. Aquaman Says:

    @ BTB Festers!!

    I totally forgot about ART CAR!!!

    Did anyone get a few snaps of either ART CAR or the Face Melting Sparkle award?

    Neemor, it came one show too late.

    I will have a picture up soon of the Sparkle Award.


  16. Jake Says:

    I love how the entire crowd pretty much forgets there’s a second verse to “Instant Karma” before the chorus comes in. you can hear a huge audience “Well we aalllllll, shiiiiiiine, onnnnnn” right as Page begins the second verse. hehehe.

  17. jamweb Says:

    woke up friday morning, and new there was no chicago in my future…and of all songs, water in the sky was burning my brain all day long! couldn’t shake it, and the old folks at work kept asking me to stop humming or whistling it…but the trip to cuyahoga and a solid water in the sky was all the redemption i needed. thanks for a great show, boys.

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