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. Litteringand Says:

    Im feeling a Birds for the Camden faithful

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    all is good right now but if there isn’t a 15 plus minute jam in the next 4 shows i’m gonna start to get worried

  3. lastwaltzer Says:


    can’t forget bane in general…………..

  4. Luther Justice Says:

    Loving the LP SBDs. Being a bass player, I need to hear the bass jihad to be happy. And I’ve heard they want us to be happy.

  5. lastwaltzer Says:


    Size doesn’t matter, if we get stuff like that #line I’m cool. You can worry all you like though 😉

  6. BTB Says:

    Blossom Hood sound exactly on the AUD as it did there – intricate, delicate and soft…then ferocious!

  7. tela'smuff Says:

    songs still on the table (within reason)

    Crowd Control
    The Connection
    Army of One
    Brian & Robert
    Frankie Says
    Round Room
    All of these Dreams
    Anythign But Me
    My Sweet One
    Dinner & Movie
    If I Could

  8. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    oh i will, i will

  9. BTB Says:

    LW –

  10. Mr.Palmer Says:

    nice work @ Tela’s

  11. m00nshake Says:

    I said it last night when I was driving away from nTelos and I’ll say it agan; I had a blast last nght. The whole band played magnificiently, 1st and 2nd set, and even though the 2nd set looks a bit strange on paper, I thought it was a dance-tastic set of music. The energy in the place was explosive, the venue was fabulous, and I left with an ear-to-ear smile on my face. And that’s all that really counts, in my book.

  12. SOAM Says:

    I’m betting it was a Wilson opener and they bumped it for Tube-which is cool-I have been predicting the Punch opener at Hart night 1-and here is what we are looking at:

    Nelli Cane
    Pebbles and Marbles
    Timber Ho
    Crimes of the Mind
    Framhouse reprise
    Roses are Free
    Mango Song

    E-that been around song>Highway to Hell

  13. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Farmhouse reprise !!! sickness

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    I think they could go another 2 shows without repeats if they wanted to, the boys are on a roll as of now.

    And the big jams will come Hartford->SPAC, trust me, I am just so happy to see that they are having so much fun up there on the stage because when it all comes down to it, that’s what its all about.

    Idea is a fantastic new tune and this show sounds like fire so far. The boys haven’t played one off show yet. Gotta love it

  15. kenny powers Says:


    i didn’t know you played that bass, that’s awesome. “The drum and bass are the foundation of the reggae music!”

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @luther, do you know anything about tuning a 5 string bass to EADGB? i’m about to get a 5 stringer and want it tuned like that

  17. kenny powers Says:


    it is so awesome that someone on this board who is a serious fan is about to see their first show. I envy you and wish i could relive that!

  18. She Divides Says:

    Morning all!
    Sounds like I would have thoroughly enjoyed Portsmouth, thanks for the review Mr. Miner. My brother was there and based on his pics about 5-8 rows from the front page side and he said it was an awesome show to experience.

    @TIII – according to my brother there was a great shakedown somewhere…I don’t have any other details though.

  19. jay Says:

    you forgot Curtain->With tela. Tsk. Tsk.

  20. poop goblin Says:

    Last night seemed like the kind of set that wasn’t for the tour kids or the custies but for the band

    Sometimes they have to play what they are feeling and maybe not cater to the audience as much

  21. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Yay, the poop goblin has arrived.

    I dig that this place spawns new terms.

    Farmhouse Reprise indeed!

  22. flarrdogg Says:

    “We play requests, ya know.”

  23. lastwaltzer Says:


    what kenny said, I wish I could be in your shoes right now can’t even imagine the excitement your feeling

  24. Mr.Palmer Says:

    I personally love how they are mixing up the setlists a bit. 3rd song Slave in Va. 3rd song Fluff in Hershey. Set II song II Hood @ Blossom.

    Nice to see these songs find a new home in the setlists, keeps it fresh.

  25. flarrdogg Says:

    Poop Goblin……only a matter of time.
    Not unlike vegas wolfmans.
    This place rules.

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