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. Stupendous a.k.a The Beasel Says:

    ya, now lets hear a 25 min kdf like the CDt from it!

  2. willowed Says:

    If I get a Cities I will crap my pants.
    i also want a Birds and a Vultures and an Axilla and a ……well this list could go on and on

  3. Robear Says:

    community is 0 for 4 on calling openers.

    you cats are putting your money on PYITE?

  4. fat bastard Says:

    willowed i anticipate your bbq to be a very cool place. nicely done sir. try not to crap your pants.

  5. fat bastard Says:

    how bout a foam opener i’m o for 2 years with that call

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Roses bitches. 1-5

  7. willowed Says:

    I wear dipaers to shows. have been since 1996….. 😉

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

    Camel Walk!

  9. willowed Says:

    It should be a good crew FB. Wish you were in town.
    I also need to hook up with Robear one of these days…..I feel like I know him like a long lost brother

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    this is all a warm up…just dont know if theyre gonna need to warm up a little leg 2. leg 2 could be complete annihilation.

  11. jdub Says:

    KWL had Kill Devil Falls called if they didn’t take the Tube request. Punch feels right but ya never know these days.

  12. willowed Says:

    They always start old school in Hartford.
    Punch…NICU…something like that.

    Bag was played last night so that’s out.

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    I think them doing Camel Walk with their new riddim section would be niiiiice.

  14. Robear Says:

    NICU @ Hershey.

    Hershey ‘YEM’ a real nice offering.

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Punch is a good call to open Hartford.

    A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing->Waves->Light->Timber Ho->Undermind, Antelope wouldn’t be too bad either, but that’s just a fantasy set 😉

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    was it mean when my friend was trying to talk to me about tea leaf green and i told him i have no interest in mediocre jam bands when phish is on tour?

  17. willowed Says:

    Thsi will be a Leg 2 set list

    Set 1) Ambient Jam 90 minutes
    Set 2) Funk Jam 100 minutes
    Encore: Camel Walk>Sanity>Antelope

    Face = Melted

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @BK i like your fantasy sets better than most others

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    though willowed’s there takes the cake!

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    the hartford>spac 4 pack is gonna be sickness. every plan i hatch to make additional shows seems to end in divorce.

    giving this hershey Jim another listen.

  21. willowed Says:

    No it wasn’t D Fool

  22. phoammhead Says:

    Diapers to shows . . . so funny 😀 I know someone who recently has been wearing “diapers” / depend undergarments to shows – hilarious, but it works for her – she doesn’t miss a moment of the music! Neither do I, for that matter. I didn’t go to the bathroom for the entire Chicago show – I was down on the field about 25 paces back in front of the soundboard. 🙂

  23. gavinsdad Says:

    BK is definitely not gonna be able to sleep next week

  24. angryjoggerz Says:


  25. Jtran Says:

    Was reading PT to pass some time. Interesting post from someone in regards to SPAC:

    Hey all. Last year I posted some info about SPAC and what not and was pretty spot on. My old college sport team mate is a trooper in the Albany area.

    He is a good kid and actually saw a good deal of phish shows with me. I just spoke with him regarding this weekend.

    He basically said DMB was to scare people and limit teenagers drunk driving. He said basically Phish at SPAC for the cops is a money maker…The cops will be out hardcore. A few things to remember.

    1. in NYS PARK POLICE have the same authority as State Troopers. You can thank 9/11 for this. So if yo usee a park police car it is the same as a trooper.

    2. If you can do whatever you do at your hotel or camp ground before you get there.

    3. Leaving the show…There will be several checkpoints with K-9’s. He does not know yet where. But when they have them I will let you know. (please dont drive drunk! you shouldnt anyway)

    4. The State Park Police, Troopers, local cops, etc will all be there. Pretty much every trooper in the area and park policeman in the area will be there. He thinks their directive will be more for looking for drugs than booze with the older Phish crowd. The booze will be the conduit for searching for drugs. These cops arent dumb. THey know how many people carry. They see you drinking beer from a red cup, dip their little stick detector in there, and boom they can now search you.

    5. The local Saratoga police have given flyers to local hotel owners with a direct # to call should anything get unruly or they suspect drug use. On the flyer it has a description of what nitrous is and what to look for.

    My buddy also said..The State parks in NYS are on the brink of bankruptcy. Any fines written on State Park grounds by State Park police are paid to the New York State Parks. They need to keep the place open and need to get paid.

    Basically it is a perfect shit storm. The SPAC crackdown is more about $$$$ and keeping the park open as it is law enforcement.

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