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. SOAM Says:

    If you need a lawyer-hire a local one…it’s not about the money it’s about relationships within the local court-in fact a judge is more apt to favor a local public defender who has been in front of him alot as opposed to a rich-high end city lawyer…it is really about relationships in local community courts-they work-they really help.

  2. She Divides Says:

    LB–definitely sending you good vibes.

    I saw some bad stuff go down in the Hershey lot. hang in there.

  3. Little Buddy Says:

    Anyway, I’ll be stepping away from all things Phish for a while. Got some stuff to work on. It’s been real fellas. Met a lot of great peeps thru the BB (BTB and Bhizzle, I’m looking at you). Maybe I’ll be back around for fall tour – we’ll see. I’ve had a good run since 94 but its time to step away to figure some things out. Reality check. Please be careful and take care of yourselves.

    Much love, fellas!

  4. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    @ Willowed – just added my name and info last night. I’m only going to Saturday’s show, and the meetup looks like it’s on for Sunday. I’m hoping we can last-minute something to all meet in the lot or in the show on Saturday, since lots of the same folks will be there

    @ Purple – What’s up man? You on Long Island lately or are you in the city? I’m hoping to hang with Mitch some time next week. Would you be around to join?

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    Willowed and LJ hitting that hot pocket

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Every band needs a Type III.

    I think I may have to make a t-shirt out of this statement…

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Reading the comments under that SPAC police article, pretty absurd.

    one quote: “how do you hide money form a hippy?, Under the soap…”.

    I am personally, not going to fuck around in the lots at all. Sorry to hear about your misfortune LB.

    One person on there makes a great point. Over zealous police state for the Phish show, but you can drag a car-sized cooler into the racetrack next to your baby stroller and drink all day. That’s ok though.

  8. Chris Says:

    I thought Trey was rougher than I’ve heard him in a long, long time. It was a fun show, especially the first set. But it was a bad night for a “Trey” show. If there’s been a night when old red needed to stay in the background for the good of the band, it was probably last night.

    $.02

  9. flarrdogg Says:

    humpy- you got mail.

  10. Little Buddy Says:

    SOAM – Yep. Local. Former Asst. DA. Super smart and connected.

  11. Robear Says:

    tumbolite’ satchamogot

    Chicago = Trey’s Ghost

    Miami = Mike’s Ghost

    Robear = loves ’em both

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    Kick ass LB.

  13. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    @ Dr. P – im commuting to the city every mon-wed. i could meet up with you guys when i get out of work one of those days next week if that works… i usually get out around 5

  14. Little Buddy Says:

    Thanks for the vibes everyone.

    “But I’ll get back on my feet someday,
    The good Lord willin’, if He says I may.”

  15. GOOCHY Says:

    Trey wailing on this 46 Days from last night. It starts out rough but gets better as it goes.

  16. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    thanks flarr

  17. flarrdogg Says:

    LB- Stepping away for a while and “figuring some things out” can be a GREAT thing. At least it was for me. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Hit me on facebook if you ever feel like bullshitin’.

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    Trey really uses the whale to great effect on this Gin. once he gets a real handle on that thing, it will be used to destroy.

  19. Robear Says:

    peace, LB. hit me with an email iffin’ you need to talk.

    ran into trouble ’95 Deer Creek Dead. The ensuing results helped shape my life in ways I never imagined, and helped land me in Nor Cal in a crazy round about way.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    what up BB? Got an aud. recording of the show dled and will listen later. right now watchin a 2.5 yr. old. little different from my typical morning routine.

    Little buddy: best of luck to you. not sure what happened but i hope it’s not too serious.

    peace

  21. Robear Says:

    ^agrees with bingos re: the whale

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    @Purple

    You got mail

  23. BeantownBoy Says:

    @ Flarr

    Thanks except no mail received.

    beantownboy35 at gmail dot com

  24. flarrdogg Says:

    ‘95 Deer Creek Dead

    What a nightmare that was…

  25. lastwaltzer Says:

    So I went back to the SPAC #Line and have yet to decide which take I like better, regardless though I think both the Blossom and SPAC jams take the cake for best jams to come out of a new song so far. I definetly was not expecting that. I remember saying last year that I though #line would be a good opener but thats about it………………….wrong 🙂

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