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. phoammhead Says:

    When you listen to the last part of STFTFP, you can hear the crowd lovin’ it – easy to see why . . .

  2. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    they get along with w00ks, afterall they let fish be in the band… 🙂

  3. Mitch Says:

    not off work til 630 and dont have a car. i’d have to take the train up there and then it would be too late. id have to work 7-4 to make it on time. ride back in the am for work.

    i totally would do this but there are a number of things holding me back:
    1. shift switch
    2. ride
    3. $$
    4. leaving ms mango with the dog when im doing that for the camden shows too….

  4. bouncin fan Says:

    yeah Kaya

    I’m already in holy grail jam chain mode

    I didn’t really dig the setlist at blossom but that jam alone makes it one of my favorites

    That Ghost is some pretty shreddy pre millenium style Trey work

    like Robear said Miami is Mike’s Ghost and Trey owns that one

    Hershey was the perfect set but got robbed on the huge jam

    haven’t heard the Gin from last night
    spinning the set now

  5. Mitch Says:

    amazing offer tho. yeah i’ll be at jones. lets go to the beach and get drunk and get sun burns.

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    LLFA @ JDub

    Yeah Sample Fan everyone could use some life coaching once in a while.

  7. willowed Says:

    I got you…SPAC will be her soon. I’ll save you some energy.

  8. punkmug Says:

    I just posted the few pictures I had taken of BTB and Blossom up on BTB’s “Thank You Mr. Miner” Facebook page. It’s not a lot, so don’t get your hopes up to high. I was severely lacking on my picture taking. Either way, I at least got a couple decent shots. The shot of Neemor is the best of one of you cats. There are also a couple really decent shots of the Blossom Pavilion.

  9. willowed Says:

    We sure will Mich!

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Diggin Idea as well.

    Deadhead in the ofice wanders over, ” is that some dead?”

  11. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    punk got a link?

  12. punkmug Says:

    Linkage: http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=322053335256&view=all

  13. vegas wolfmans Says:

    ned hates vegas wolfmans….and kittens.

  14. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    sweet!

  15. willowed Says:

    Very cool punk mug. I will be snappin some pics as well. My little meet up won’t be as big, but we will have a nice little crew!

  16. kayatosh Says:

    ditto bouncin. hershey was good but a tease as far as jams, as you said.

    been listenning to phish like it’s my job.

    6/15 is a decent show. for future listening, I axed lawnboy, poor heart, gin and STTFP from set I.
    All of set II works for me. much prefer 46 days to STFFP. same tune, really. 46 days jam is fully developed, IMO. short but dense jam.

  17. phoammhead Says:

    Trey’s guitar work on 7below is so very nice, indeed! 🙂

  18. punkmug Says:

    Only regret of the weekend is not taking a few more pictures. Its just so hard to do when you’re living the moment.

  19. jdub Says:

    In case there was confusion @AW, I wasn’t Flanders or Kingboy. Just tired of the persona game.

  20. leo weaver Says:

    chillin at the sister’s place with a cold beer and sampling some kind west coast leftovers from the msg run….delicately potent 8)
    enjoying the thought of meeting and hanging with some (more) of you fools for the next couple of days…see y’all tomorrow in Hartford!

  21. Robear Says:

    where is zzyzx?

  22. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    Man really diggin the flow of last nights 2nd set
    simple>joy was beautiful

  23. bouncin fan Says:

    typing out his notes

  24. leo weaver Says:

    oh, and Idea > sugar shack…and it’s not even close IMO

    so much potential. and it’s quirky, but more phish-quirky, not quite Mike-quirky (sugar shack for example)…if that makes any sense. it’s a better example of mike’s quirkiness integrated into the phish sound…or something.

  25. willowed Says:

    OK boys,
    Need to settle in for the night. Long day of prep in the a.m.
    Can’t wait to meet you Leo!!

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