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

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1,365 Responses to “Songs of Summer”

  1. Mr.Palmer Says:

    No love for 7 below ? I used to feel the same way when it first came out. It’s kind of grown on me a bit over the years.

  2. willowed Says:

    I loved that Bag from last night……Something a little specail in there.
    Can’t wait for Hartford

  3. zzyzx Says:

    No, I love -7, which is why it’s best to pretend that Phish didn’t play it.

  4. punkmug Says:

    I know it’s kind of late in the game and it has been hashed over and over several times now. But I just have not had a good opportunity to thank BTB for being so kind to us all last weekend.

    The thing I have discovered over and over meeting you all is that there are some seriously cool people in this crowd. Thanks go out to each and every one of you all for making last weekend be everything I thought it would be. You all lived up to my mind’s hype! Good job!

    I only took a few pictures all weekend. I normally go crazy with the camera trying to capture candid moments but Aquaman had me thoroughly pre-occupied and then I got Robaned at BTB. Either way, I did manage to snap a few shots of BTB and a couple of the spaceship known as Blossom. (Pre-show) I’ll try to throw them up on the Miner FB page or something.

  5. fat bastard Says:

    zzyzx whats the most ahows they’ve gone w/o a repeat? 4?

  6. Mr.Palmer Says:

    hmmm… so your saying it was poorly executed? I haven’t heard it yet.

  7. zzyzx Says:

    Trey was struggling with the riff. Fatbastard – someone said the first 5 shows of summer 2k had no repeats.

  8. fat bastard Says:

    or the record for most songs w/o one? hampton’09?

  9. butter Says:

    morning guys,

    would love to give my thoughts on the show,

    quickly, if you like the energy of the first tube from msg, it was a show of that flavor

    going to go have brekfast with Marshall

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    So, can they do it again??

    Keep in mind if they did go 5 with no repeats, we might be pissed about the lack of jamming.

    What’s still on the table? or how could they string together a flowing playlist ?

    holy shit. i can’t wait to see whats next

  11. zzyzx Says:

    That summer 2000 thing was way off…

  12. zzyzx Says:

    OK it’s fall 2000… no repeats except for “Jam”

    * 9/8/00 Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY
    * 9/9/00 Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY
    * 9/11/00 Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts, Mansfield, MA
    * 9/12/00 Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts, Mansfield, MA
    * 9/14/00 Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Center, NY

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Sure it’s on the setlists and the tapes and stuff, but the night is better if we just pretend that didn’t happen…”zzyzx

    ouch.

    How was Cold Water? Who sung lead?

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    yeah, trey missed the opening riff a tad but once they dropped into the jam it was all business in that -7 (just listened to it). he did the same to an extent for MFMF. not gonna let that little flub bother me.

  15. zzyzx Says:

    Actually, it’s kind of funny, the highlights are less highlighty on tape and the lowlights are less lowlighty. Yeah Trey botched the riff 9 ways to Sunday but this short jam is kind of interesting.

  16. zzyzx Says:

    Trey was the singer for Cold Water

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    Tomorrow night:

    Set 1:
    Tweezer Reprise (its still out there, kids), Llama>Ya Mar, Mound, Ginseng Sullivan, Makisupa>Sand

    Set 2:

    Dinner and a Movie>Round Room>Waves, BOAF>BOTT, Halley’s>Timber

    E: Liquid Time

  18. fat bastard Says:

    no repeats tonite except for TTE! HA screw you TTE haters!

  19. lastwaltzer Says:

    Thanks zzyzx, really excited to hear that.

  20. poop goblin Says:

    Seems like a weird one

    Can’t wait to spin

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @waltzer
    if you dig Waits and Phish, you’ll dig Phish doing Waits. Nothing mind blowing of course, but a really nice first set cover.

    ~~

    this 46 Days really gets out there for a bit

  22. zzyzx Says:

    While the Slave isn’t bad and I can hear why it was blowing me away live, I wish it would sound on tape exactly as it did last night 🙂

  23. THE MAN Says:

    whoever is taking these pics – hats off. they are AMAZING

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    @T3

    Maybe its a little to early but Nothing?

  25. willowed Says:

    Poop Goblin….That name makes me giggle. Call me immature but…I find it funny

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