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:

    ill hit it a few times, but i rather not stress out about it,
    i used to be a fiend for it, and always focus on not getting poped,
    now i just go naked free of goods, if they cross my path i may or may not partake…

  2. voopa Says:

    Shoot. Thanks Harry.

    Lousy Facebook. Search for John Fritz Lutz.

  3. GOOCHY Says:

    My neighbor at Toyota got me so baned on hash oil that I could barely concentrate on the concert itself. My memory of the show is vague. I did love the 1st set though. 🙂

  4. willowed Says:

    Hood no need to bane. i used to love the bane…and I mean love it. Never went to work or class without baning.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed shows without the bane.

    Sneak in a few nips and get crunk drunk

  5. Robear Says:

    likes the nTelos ‘Gin’ 🙂

    prefers the cleaner guitar tone on the Miami ‘Gin’ for example. 🙂 🙂

    interested to see how things develop through the year.

  6. HarryHood Says:

    Hmmmm…. Just had a thought. Fungus does not show up on a test. Who’s got my special chocolates???

  7. willowed Says:

    with the way Mike and fish are connected…..all bass led jams will be Epic
    Gin
    Moma
    Twist
    Boogie
    and many others………love the bass

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

    hooo ra! for clean guitar tones!!!!
    its funny, while hes natural tone in certain songs u might not even acknowledge then when he kicks in the whale for a whole song u realize
    aww man the whAle

  9. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Robear- Are you ned?

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

    ya hood but can u travel all night on boomers and abstain from bane?

  11. willowed Says:

    we will find hood…….I assume you only want the fungis for Sat since you are driving on sunday.

    Remember….you don’t have to drive if you can’t…..you can stay with me at the downtowner

    That being said

    Who’s got my special chocolates???

  12. ATL007 Says:

    Damn Mike is “active” in last night GIN…….

  13. HarryHood Says:

    @ Willowed

    I actually did the Cuse show last fall bane free and I enjoyed it just as much as any other show. I was with my younger brother and he doesn’t smoke at all anymore. Not that he would have cared if I had, but I don’t get to hang with him often and I didn’t want to be all baned in the brain….. I don’t need it by any means. I just don’t like not being able to if I want to. That’s what bothers me more than anything.

  14. willowed Says:

    If Robear is Ned……. I will wash my eyes out with Gold Bond medicated

    There is no way

  15. HarryHood Says:

    “Robear- Are you ned?”

    ^ llfa x10!

  16. albert walker Says:

    you can’t pretend to suck that bad

    you cannot create a character like Ned

    that shit was the real deal

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

    what happened to the goblin?

  18. HarryHood Says:

    Robear actually has tourettes and has to use an alter ego to avoid looking negative…..

  19. willowed Says:

    Agreed AW…I thought you were going to give him a little more shit than you did.
    It must be the 2010 Phish cleansing your brain AW.

  20. phoammhead Says:

    Someone said it earlier, but aren’t we too smart to take that bait, even if it was the real deal . . . o)

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    the whale loops in the hershey split are pretty demento.

    Palmer – you gots mail, and a half a day to marinate on it but i think you already know the answer right? don’t be silly.

  22. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    Teenwolf lmao

  23. HarryHood Says:

    @ AW

    Thanks for backing me up on the Ned issue earlier. I felt like I was being a little harsh on him and others were taking the nicer approach more so than I could. After a few exchanges though I really couldn’t play nice with him anymore. That guy is a straight up douche.

  24. poopgoblin Says:

    the fucked up thing is when I created this avatar I use the screen name as the email so I can remember it

    had to go all the way to poopgobiln16

    seems to be a handful of goblins already

    a bunch of sick fuckers out there I tell you

    Chuck is into some whacked ass shit my friends

  25. phoammhead Says:

    Hershey gets my complete thumbs up – wish I could have been at that show . . going to go back and catch 1st set Chicago now

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