Chocolate Thunder

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Phish added a large piece to their legacy in Hershey, Pennsylvania last night, throwing down a bass-led massacre in Chocolate City. Throughout two sets of pure Phish fire, Mike took center stage, leading the band through an array of creative jams in which Trey played noticeably more subtle, laid back offerings all night long. Boasting an enhanced creativity through more diverse playing, Trey helped sculpt a show that certainly upped the ante for the rest of the summer. With a bombastic second set and a stellar first, Phish capped the weekend with their strongest overall performance of this summer, which – although hard to believe – has only just begun!

As the sun shone though the clouds of the early evening, Phish came on stage flying high with a groovy greeting of “Jibboo.” Entering the song’s candy grooves, Mike’s presence was immediately felt as his thumping lines bounced though the the wide open field like a kangaroo in the outback. Setting the tone for the show, both Trey wove his lines around his cohort’s leads, eventually bringing the jam to a searing peak of his own. But following the late-’90s TAB transplant, the rest of the first set took on a pronounced old-school persona. While barreling through a roaring, yet intricate, “Chalkdust,” it became very apparent only three shows into tour, regardless of what songs Phish is playing these days, they are simply destroying them all. With a tightness that sounds foreign after the late-’90’s groove era and post-hiatus’ more abstract improv, seeing Phish 2010 is like seeing a renewed band– a bandone that wants to be exactly where it is once again and is having a blast doing IT.

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

The retro-vibe continued with a massive first set “Fluffhead,” showcasing the the pin-point accuracy of Phish’s chops and the intense tension and release that comes along with such precision. Infused with a undeniable urgency, “Fluff” illustrated that the band can once again toy with energy like children in a sandbox, manipulating music as if it were a tangible object. After a seriously cathartic peak, the band dropped into the now-rare “Funky Bitch,” annihilating a version that brought the crowd energy to ferocious first-set heights. From this early point in the show, it became wholly evident that Phish was feeling the flow, likening Loony Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil, taking out anything and everything that stood in their path.

6.12.10 (L.Neuhaus)

Phish continued their scorching opening sequence with the most engaging “Runaway Jim” since their comeback. While remaining within the song’s structure, the entire band oozed creativity as they chugged through the jam. Trey offered delicate licks as opposed to face-melting leads, a pattern that held true for much of the night’s music. This “Jim” proved that the little doggie can still inspire greatness, something it hadn’t yet done this go-round. The show’s only relative lull came in the five-song sequence of “NICU,” “Horn,” “It’s Ice,” “Bouncin” and “Sparkle,” but Phish came right back, punctuating their spirited frame with a demonically abstract “Split Open and Melt.” A version that grew outwards as quickly as it pushed forward, the band, collectively, built a hypnotizing, discordant gem that saw Trey favor tonal bends and washes of psychedelia rather than forceful linear leads. A version that needed a re-listen to truly digest, Phish tapped into a demented realm of darkness as night fell upon setbreak.

Building on the well-crafted second sets of the past two nights, Phish came out in Hershey’s with a musical stanza that flowed impeccably. Lacing together several of their “greatest hits” with creative bass-led improv that just never stopped, Phish crushed a classic frame from the opening note to the last. First the setlist – “Drowned > Tweezer > Twist, Piper > Free, Velvet Sea, YEM” – booyakasha! Or as MC Hammer once sang, “Can’t touch this!” And the playing within matched the absurdity of the visual setlist, one imaginative piece after another.

6.12.10 (L.Neuhaus)

The most expansive jam of the evening came right out of the gates in a multi-faceted jaunt through “Drowned.” Out of the jam’s shredding rock textures, Phish slowed it down into a heart-tugging segment of transcendent psychedelia. And, even in this mellow realm, the band molded their experimentation with Mike at the center of the music. Moving through this ethereal palette as if a daydream, the band soon pushed into a series of lively percussive grooves. Moving in the direction of a dance party, the band wound the jam directly into the first “Tweezer” of 2010. Entering a series of dense liquid patterns, Phish molded a heavy space-aged sequence that seemed that it might launch into the stratosphere. But, ironically, when the dust settled, “Tweezer” stood out as the least exploratory jam of the second set, remaining a showcase for Gordon’s thunder, while Trey spat nasty licks, bringing a snarling element to mix.

6.12.10 (L.Neuhaus)

Following an extended build, the band settled into an ambient section that soon segued¬† into “Twist.” With some of the best interplay between Trey and Mike all night, it was a relief to see Phish take”Twist” for a significant ride once again. With shorter, staccato-esque licks, Trey darted in and around Mike’s heavily effected basslines, creating a musical game of cat and mouse. Boasting sizzling chops, the entire band moved with intent, collectively manifesting a slamming piece of interlocked dance music. It seems that each time Phish busts out a song right now, they are topping any previous 3.0 version, and this pattern certainly held true with “Twist.” And then, after a momentary pause, Phish breathed life into the year’s first “Piper” –¬† an immediately exciting proposition, after the song’s stellar 2009. On this night, the band chugged right out of the searing composed jam into one of the night’s most compelling adventures. With a take-no-prisoners attitude, the band careened into a rollicking case of musical density, following on the heels of Miami’s standout excursion. This “Piper” continued pushing the ceiling for the piece’s modern potential, and became another vivid illustration of everything right in current Phish universe.

Splashing down in “Free,” the time seemed ripe for Phish to take the song to town once again. But in the end, “Free” seems like a song whose purpose has changed permanently from jam vehicle to landing pad in this era, and some things we just must accept. Following the relentless opening hour of the set, Phish used “Velvet Sea” to set up a closing “YEM” that brought the house to its knees with its laid back funk fantasy. Again taking a minimalist approach, Trey sat way back, issuing swanky tickets for Gordon’s multiple bass violations. An example of what “YEM” can be when given the tender loving care it deserves, this version just built on the strong Fall ’09 renditions, providing an indelible exclamation point on a evening of modern legend.

With three shows down and fifteen to go, the sky is once again the limit for Phish shows, a place where the extraordinary music once again happens with alarming regularity. Even though the temperatures can’t get much hotter on Summer Tour 2010, the mercury of the music is rising faster than ever. Look Out, Portsmouth, there’s a storm coming through.

I: Gotta Jibboo, Chalk Dust Torture, Fluffhead, Funky Bitch, Runaway Jim, NICU, Horn, It’s Ice, Bouncing Around the Room, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt

II: Drowned > Tweezer > Twist, Piper > Free, Wading in the Velvet Sea, You Enjoy Myself

E: Bold As Love

***

6.12.10 - Blossom Music Center (L.Neuhaus)

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1,428 Responses to “Chocolate Thunder”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    @LW

    it was.

    it was a gorgeous night (a little humid)

    you’re coming with us if it happens next year

  2. Wilson8or Says:

    Also: Happy Birthday to Dr. Pronia! It’s kind of a milestone birthday for him..he’s being humble

  3. Willowed Says:

    Happy Birthday Dr. P.
    We’ll make it a special week for you!
    Hope to see you at the Willowed BBQ

    Just a quick reminder. Sign up on the meetup page if you need my info.
    I am sending out e-mails this week!!

  4. BTB Says:

    I haven’t relistened to anything, but Blossom BDTNL was pretty sick. I was chilling in the grass by Waterwheel for the Rock n Roll, but it sounded good.

    The boys are playing very tight. I’m actually kind of shocked they’ve come out this strong. Here’s to the rest of June!

    Nice work on the pics KWL

    Not sure if this was mentioned, but the volume for Blossom during the first few songs was about 50% of normal. You couldn’t really hear anything. I’m not sure who is to blame, but it was really annoying.

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    “true that. I would add the BBers are the ones throwin down on the dancefloor. Robear comes to mind. That guy throws down.”kaya

    Exactly, I think there is a lot of talking going on in the crowd which becomes really noticeable when the band drops into say the reba jam. But complaining on this site isn’t going to fix that. I can’t think of “rock” show I’ve been to in recent years where the whole crowd wasn’t talking. I don’t think this is unique to phish just another symptom of American culture, we’ve got an incredibly short attention span.

  6. Willowed Says:

    Plus I need to know how much food to buy!!
    I need to make sure you boys are fed so we have the energy to throw down on Friday night!!

  7. BTB Says:

    ^ on the lawn the volume was low

  8. Guyute711 Says:

    How as BTB fest?

  9. Willowed Says:

    BTB..I know I wasn’t there but I want to thank you for setting up your festi. It’s people like you who make this place very special!!
    I know it took a lot of work.
    Thankful vibes heading your way!!

  10. hoedown Says:

    Wow just wow. Last night was awesome. Super laid back vibe with plenty of room to boogie. Loved the bass led madness. Very tired this morning but well worth the trip. Camden is going to blow up! Mark it dude!

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    Two unrealted to phish posts:

    This interactive map shows the oil spreading from 5/24 to 6/12 and where it has hit land: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/27/us/20100527-oil-landfall.html?ref=us

    +_+_+_+

    I’m sure many of you have herd of the child soldiers being employed by rebels in Somali, well it looks like the government is now using the same tactic on our dime: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/world/africa/14somalia.html?hp

  12. jdub Says:

    Great opening weekend! As far talkers go, do as AW suggests and smoke em into a comatose state.

    Had a chance to listen to Jibboo and Chalkdust this morning. Pure fire! There really is no fat with their playing right now. They excude confidence and control. I think Gordo is sounding so good because Fishman is rising to his challenge and they are laying down some seriously thick and creative grooves.

    Portsmouth is going to be the heat, they are doing a beautiful job with song selection and placement. Leaving many opportunities for another fresh couple of sets tommorrow night. So excited. Hard to focus this week but I’ve got so much to do before I float away for 5 days.

  13. KWL Says:

    thanks guys, i’ll pass on the compliments to the lady

    @silly, nice meeting you too, i had every intention of hitting up the WW booth, but we went in & out on fish side (saw mitch at that table), and at set break, well, gp420’s culinary creations had me in no mood to fight the crowds!

  14. bouncin fan Says:

    I leave tour and they drop bouncin sparkle and wading

    Damn

    At least I got sample

    Thanks for calling butter so I could hear the bouncin through your celly

    Fun stuff

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    BTB fest was great!

    BTB is a stand-up gentleman.

    not only did he organize a great meet-up, but he drove the 30 miles home from Blossom in a big van after the show.

    I was in the van, and at one point I was the only one awake. Then, I fell asleep.

    So, mad props to BTB for the whole weekend.

  16. BTB Says:

    It was fun – great people. It was a lot of work, but mostly b/c of the layout of the land. I’m really sore and actually kind of sleep deprived and have a sore throat. Not exactly a great Monday morning at work, but I’m still pretty stoked about how everything played out.

    I’m a qualified 15 person van driver now! Barely any traffic. The National Park was as green as ever.

    The funniest and most frequent question was, “so…what is this place?”

    Pretty funny. A big thanks to all of you who came. This community is filled with fantastic people. My intent was for your delight, so I’m glad people had fun and got to chill out.

  17. Willowed Says:

    I hope the first 2010 Gin will be epic in Portsmouth!
    With Gordo bringing his A+++ game, I see the first Gin of 2010 going down in the anals of Phishtory!

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    EPIC FUCKING WEEKEND

    day of ohio, crew was talking about how they should play a band cover. smiles wouldn’t fade when they opened with one!!!!

    how was BTB fest??

  19. KWL Says:

    BTB definitely deserves all the thanks and praise headed his way–pretty awesome!

    was great to meet new folks and reconnect with a few I met through this board last year

    i never even made it up to the main tent that BTB set up, up the hill a little ways from where people were parking & camping. I never got very much past my car, b/c so many interesting people kept walking by & I just kept stopping to talk to them all. then before I knew it, it was time to head off to lot.

    all in all a great time.

  20. KWL Says:

    monday morning

    not even close to prepared to teach today

    better find some good videos to show the next few mondays

  21. G-Man Says:

    @ Wilson8or

    I don’t disagree with anything you said. I also talk to my companions during the show. My frustration is not directed at that kind of behavior, it’s the people who talk loudly during the ENTIRE show. No exaggeration, I moved 3 times during the Blossom show, everywhere I went someone blathering on loudly and continiously. If this was a one time thing I would “relax” but it’s happened to me at multiple shows now, and I know I’m not the only one bothered by it.

    I also agree with LW that probably 99% of the people here are trying to hear every note just like me, but there isn’t a Phish message board for the people who go to the shows to talk the entire time. My post was not intended to be directed at anyone here, it was a plea for help to a group a people that I thought might share my frustrations.

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    mike is so loud on the boards. awesome! but i think page is a little low lol

    pretty sure i can hear myself on the chicago boards yelling “go flyers” after trey’s speech haha

  23. BTB Says:

    Oh, and there was a late night 2am mandolin jam courtesy of GP420’s brother. This was awesome.

  24. Mr.Palmer Says:

    hoodstream is cranking last night as we speak. It’s Ice now.

  25. KWL Says:

    funny, i did not make it to the 2am jam, also courtesy of gp420’s brother.

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