Songs of Summer

6.12.10 (Peek)

If you had told me before last night’s show that Phish wouldn’t play a song longer than ten minutes in the second set, I wouldn’t have believed you. Having featured open jamming in each of their first night of tour one would only expect the band to follow suit. If you had then told me that I would loved the show regardless of the glaring lack of exploration, I probably would have chuckled. But that is exactly what happened last night on the waterfront in Portsmouth, Virgina. Phish played an incredibly high-energy show from note one, but rather than a second set of flowing improvisation, the show resembled an intimate summertime recital for those at nTelos Pavilion. With a complete general admission seating policy, and a huge orchestra pit in front of the stage, security allowed anyone to go anywhere without restriction, creating a free-for-all party atmosphere for the notably undersized audience.

With the passion and intensity that Phish is playing right now, they can pull off a purely song-based show and still provide a phenomenal time for all – a clear step forward from last year when these type of shows often fell flat. While the quantity of jamming clearly places this show behind the other three in terms of listening intrigue, the live experience ranked right up there with all of them. With a first set that was equally, if not slightly more exciting than the second, the show never dragged, while often times approaching implosion with the combined energy bouncing around the tiny venue.

6.11.10 (S.LaBrasca)

Coming onstage on the coolest evening of tour, Trey immediately noticed a large “Tube” cut-out sign held by a fan in the middle of the floor. As soon as the crowd saw the sign catch Trey’s eye, everyone launched into collective “Tuuuuuuuube” chant. And the band was more than happy to oblige, altering their original plans for ballistic opener. Extending beyond most ’09 versions, the fast-paced dance jam quickly got the show bumping, and set up the likely planned opener, “Kill Devil Falls.” Then, dropping a bombshell, Phish gracefully entered a third-song “Slave.” Completely switching up the setlist with the earliest placement of the song since 1995 (10.14.95), the band built a patient version that shimmered in the daytime sun. Trey, Mike, and Page pirouetted their ideas around each others, narrating a triumphant tale as the show had barely begun.

But the no-brainer highlight of the first set – and the show – came late in the frame with the summer’s first “Bathtub Gin.” As Mike stood clearly out front leading the charge, the band slowly built an infectious pattern around his bulbous leads. Taking off like a thoroughbred hitting stride, the band came together in an explosion of groove, with Trey speckling searing phrases atop the ride. Taking his fluid leads to another level, Red took over the second part of the jam, carrying the band and audience to the straight to the mountaintop. In the only open jam of the night, the band hit a game-winner that will no doubt land on highlight reels of the first four shows of tour. Featuring a smoking, “My Friend, My Friend,” and a uneventful Tom Waits debut cover, “Cold Water,” Phish, again, kept things fresh last night, having still not repeated a song this summer.

6.12.10 (Peek)

If the theme of the first three second sets of summer have been craftsmanship and exploration, last night’s second half was defined by the level of energy Phish maintained throughout the frame. Beginning in promising fashion, a bombastic “Wilson” led off for “Seven Below,” a song that created more than a few interesting jams last year. It seemed a given that the band would use the song as a launchpad, however, the theme of the night, apparently, wasn’t experimentation. Instead, Phish blasted through a tight structured jam before dropping into “46 Days.” As the Phish left this song for a psychedelic swamp, it seemed that it would be the cosmic trampoline of the evening. But as the jam crawled through the bog to its deepest point, potentially on the brink of “2001,” Trey came in with a fairy tale melody that signaled the beginning of “Idea,” Mike’s newest contribution to the band.

6.12.09 (Peek)

An impressive song that boasts two separate jams, along with catchy verses that carry a distinctly Gordeaux/Green Sparrow vibe, “Idea” seems primed to be a vehicle for rhythmic escapades. The opening jam features a deep groove with Trey ripping licks over top- a sound similar to “Mr. Completely” with much bigger bass lines. The infectious groove saw Trey throw out several multi-note, licks proficiently darting up and down the fretboard. Following the second verse, Phish dropped into a jam underlined by more earnest funk. Page hopped on the clav, Trey began throwing down rhythm chops, Mike put on his envelope filter, and Fishman added a shimmering beat in what became a virtual Phish disco. Look out for this segment to bulge into some serious dance sessions this summer.

And speaking of dance sessions, Phish followed up “Idea” by breaking into a mid-set “2001.” Keeping things tight and to the point, the band spring-boarded into “Simple,” a seemingly odd combination that, if nothing else, kept the energy coursing through the pavilion. The “Simple” jam is a defining passage of summertime ever since Trey left his heart in the sublime solo at The Great Went. Thus this piece set the lite, summer vibe for the rest of the show which included “Joy,” “Taste” and “Theme” before closing with a randomly placed “A Day In the Life,” a song that usually follows much heavier music. The standout piece in this final segment came in a succinct, yet, poignant “Taste.”

6.11.10 (S.LaBrasca)

Capping a show defined by vitality with “First Tube” seemed incredibly appropriate, and the encore may have brought the evening to its highest peak. Trey used the song’s final plateau as a platform for an emotional monologue, carrying the peak beyond its former walls of dissonance into blistering leads. Closing the song with his famed Jedi act of raising his guitar to the gods, Earnest kept the audience enthralled until the very last drop.

After Wednesday off, Phish enters their home turf of New England where things will everything take on a whole new magnitude. With the first four under their belt, things are only gonna’ getting crazier from here. See you in Hartford!

I: Tube, Kill Devil Falls, Slave to the Traffic Light, Lawn Boy, Poor Heart, AC/DC Bag, The Moma Dance, My Friend My Friend, Cold Water*, Bathtub Gin, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan

II: Wilson, Seven Below, 46 Days > Idea, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Simple > Joy, Taste, Theme from the Bottom, A Day in the Life

E: Heavy Things, First Tube

*debut, Tom Waits

Tags: ,

1,365 Responses to “Songs of Summer”

  1. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Hoodstream playing last night. 7 below now.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    4 shows in
    82 songs played
    4 phish debuts
    no repeats

    love it.

    and fish is definitely back. trey rightfully gave him the nod in the Antelope the other night, and it was really apparent with the sparse percussion lines in the Bag from last night. good stuff.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’ve been CONNED phish.com didn’t list a bunch of those first set songs all last night leading me to believe Stealing Time got its due as a set closer…………womp womp

    But then I come on here to find they’ve played a song off of one of my favorite records “Mule Variations” if ya’ll don’t have this one jump on it. A few years back trey did a take on the song “The House Where Nobody Lives” with David Byrne which is awesome, another song I wouldn’t mind seeing added to the repitore.

    oh and morning all!

  4. lastwaltzer Says:

    @marshall,

    good to hear you had a good time, I was wondering where you’d been lately.

  5. punkmug Says:

    On the sbd from last right now..

    That little Fishman drum ditty during Bag was super tight. Loved it.

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    46 Days gets pretty dark in set II. I thought it was going to segue into Carini

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    that’s an interesting setlist. the 1st in particular looks great. this is the year of all years that you cannot judge the shows by the setlists because they are simply playing each and every tune so damn good. this is turning out to be a special summer.

    that’s pretty awesome there hasn’t been a repeat over the first 4 shows. i imagine that ends in Hartford Thursday. but it would be great to see if they can keep creating killer shows with what they have left on the table.

    Set I: PYITE, Mound, Burn That Bridge, Birds, Vultures, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Farmhouse, Fee, Sloth, Pebbles & Marbles

    Set II: Crosseyed & Painless>Makisupa>Timber Ho!>Undermind, Roggae, Lizards>Fire

    E: Sleeping Monkey>Tweeprise

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    The 46 Days->Idea was done very well. This new Mike tune is nice so far, very bouncy

  9. punkmug Says:

    @tela’s. I would love to see that second set. Wowza.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Idea has a great jam on it as well – really like the tune for it being a debut. Sounds pretty promising, I know I wouldn’t mind them opening a second set with it sometime 🙂 Seems like a jam vehicle in-the-works. Just listen to that clav funk jam in the end -> DAMN

  11. zzyzx Says:

    Stealing Time WAS the set closer.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, sign me up for that second set too @tela’s! If we get something like tomorrow I’ll be a happy kid.

  13. punkmug Says:

    The end of of MFMF was pretty intense. It gave me goosebumps.

  14. SillyWilly Says:

    @Luther Justice

    I read about that Jesus getting struck by lightning. My phone was blowing up yesterday from my UD peeps letting me know about it.

    Thats hilarious. We used to hope that would happen, then it did!

  15. Litteringand Says:

    listening to the YEM from chocolate city… pretty pretty good

  16. kenny powers Says:

    just listened to the SBD through My Friend, man the boys are on FIRE! Just playing so relaxed and confident, sparse almost. And the SBD sounds unreal. Mike is so juicy and the whole mix is fabulous.

  17. fat bastard Says:

    fun, fun has begun. no repeats tonite book it

  18. zzyzx Says:

    Epic fail in the mix of last night’s “Taste” as you can’t even hear Page’s amazing solo.

  19. lastwaltzer Says:

    @zzyx,

    I KNOW it WAS the set closer, I was just saying that phish.com had the first set listed as 8 songs which led me to believe Stealing Time finally wound up with a big jam not just a rocking set closer.

  20. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Yeah, Phish.com left out Cold Water and Gin making it seem like the set was either real short or they jammed the fuck out of something.

    zzyxz- thoughts on the show? Seemed to be right up your alley from accounts i’ve heard.

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    @zzyzx

    Im getting enough shows under my belt to understand the addictive power of your website.

    so, thanks a lot for running that thing, man!

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    whoever told me to download that new(ish) cypress source, I LOVE YOU

  23. zzyzx Says:

    I really really liked the first set. Second set was just kind of weird and all over the place. I’m not sure it’s holding up on tape though :/

  24. kenny powers Says:

    punkmug

    i was thinking the same thing as i listened to that Bag this morning! I like how instead of building the jam right away they break it down and just let Fish groove for a few.

    I like the little variations on song so far, most notably the vocal jam after the Limb. It had a very African quality to it. Reminded me of this track from the Art Ensemble of Chicago CD i have.

  25. zzyzx Says:

    Oh and Phish did not play Seven Below last night. Sure it’s on the setlists and the tapes and stuff, but the night is better if we just pretend that didn’t happen…

Leave a Reply