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. gavinsdad Says:

    word Willowed…at some point this afternoon i caught a whiff of patchouli coming off of AW. the band has definitely gotten into his head already.

  2. Jtran Says:

    chocolates hmm..I’d like to find a tab I do believe.

  3. Mitch Says:

    I’ve got a video for you all to watch. ENJOY!

  4. Mr.Palmer Says:

    So where is everyone staying for thurs Hartford?

  5. HarryHood Says:

    I love seeing positive reviews of shows from Adub/poop. HUGE change from last year. Buy that ticket to SPAC, you won’t regret it. Unless Willowed takes some bunk L and rips your heart you MMA style. Then you might regret it.

  6. phoammhead Says:

    talkin’ about “connections” on here is probably not what miner had in mind . . .

  7. willowed Says:

    I will take AW on my side any day of the week. That is why I never cross AW.
    One day i will meet up with AW (you can’t hug him) shake his hand and nod like we’re cool.

    I’ll get the nod and that’s all I need. no talking need.

    Whenever I am in trouble…. I will say I am with that guy (AW)…and all is good!

  8. HarryHood Says:

    @ Mitch

    I needed that.

  9. HarryHood Says:

    Did I mention that 8am interviews blow? I thought that being unemployed meant that I could drink beer until 3am every night and sleep till noon…….. Damn, finding a job is really cutting into my personal life.

  10. Jtran Says:

    I wish there was a show to stream tonight 🙁

  11. willowed Says:

    I think Mr. P is looking for an excuse to zip on down…….You have a place. no doubt.
    I am not just a talker…I mean what I say…Do it!!
    Keep in mind though…If you stay at my place you must stay for the Willowed BBQ.

  12. Mitch Says:

    then they will bring in AW for a dance off!

  13. phoammhead Says:

    @Jtran

    There will be tomorrow night! 🙂

  14. Mitch Says:

    then Robane hops in and dances them both to death!

  15. Jtran Says:

    On an unrelated note: Man Vs. Food (Travel Channel) season premiere is on right now, followed by another episode at 9:30.

    This show makes me hungry.

  16. willowed Says:

    Hood…too funny…….If you hang with me you better cover your heart…especially on Mushroom tea

  17. phoammhead Says:

    I envy peeps like willowed – hope ya’ll have the time of your lives – you will not be disappointed.

  18. poop goblin Says:

    he went from bitchin about the whale to talking about his $10,000 a tour chunk and lot trash junkies

    fuck rich judgmental hippies

    doesn’t make me miss Colorado I tell you

    I do agree with him saying you guys are always suckin each other off and shit

    Ned was killin it today

    I don’t think we’ve seen the lest of old Ned

    we need to figure out what he looks like so we can fuck with him at the Telluride shows

    I’ll pay some kid a gram of H to stalk him all weekend

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

    was surprised when I found out i was familiar with cold water, i had heard railroad earth cover it and love iT! I think i wouldve been grinning from ear to ear! 🙂

  20. Mitch Says:

    now i’m sharing the link with my name for a while

  21. phoammhead Says:

    hilarious! pooop

  22. Mitch Says:

    gram of H you say?

  23. willowed Says:

    Don’t envy me…I am just a regular guy who realizes that we are on this earth for a blip of time (in the grand scheme of things).
    In a 100 years noone will remember who we are.
    live, dance, think, cry, love.
    That will give you a full life!
    Sorry to get all philosophical on you guys.
    Live life…..I hope to enjoy it with as many f you as I can!!!

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    hm been checking for the setlist for an hour now being like “wow they’re starting late.”

    No show tonight eh?

  25. HarryHood Says:

    If I didn’t know better, I think that Robear was the guy dancing in the front row with his arms up during the MSG First Tube…….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVtCdZLtCj4&feature=related

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