Fireworks On A Friday Night

6.18.10 - Hartford (K.Lindner)

6.18.10 - Hartford (K.Lindner)

Phish capped off two nights at Hartford, Connecticut on Friday with a completely fluid two-set show that, boasted, arguably, the standout set of the summer thus far. Putting an fierce exclamation point on the first half of the weekend, the band played with extreme cohesion and vigor, as Trey led Phish through a non-stop, guitar-led tale of wonder after setbreak. Featuring stretched out, creative annihilation’s of old favorites, without getting too experimental, the band came, they saw, and they conquered. Though Phish left off a big set-closer, they more than compensated with an unprecedented double-“Tweezer Reprise” encore that just about blew the roof off the Comcast Theatre.

The masterful set launched off “Halley’s Comet” into a dense version of “Light,” showcasing the piece for the first time since tour’s opening night. Remaining more contained than than the past few versions we’ve heard, the band built off the peak into a textured realm, engaging in a unique interchange that morphed into a series of tightly-wound percussive grooves. Settling into a short ambient passage, Trey dotted a sparse melody amidst the jam’s final stages. When Page sustained his final effect, Trey tastefully played the intro to “Billy Breathes,” in a stark juxtaposition to the previous night’s entry into “Horse > Silent.” The gentle composition, provided a musical pillow for “Light,” before the house nearly shook to the ground with the second “Tweezer” of summer.

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

From note one Trey took control of this monstrosity, directing grooves like a cosmic traffic cop. While Fishman kept a driving beat going throughout this rhythmic safari, Trey and Mike stepped up, indulging in an extended session of liquid crack. Trey immediately took a rhythmic approach to things, locking into a signature pattern. Gordon backed him with brontosaurus bass lines that sprung off the stage like the smoke monster, devouring all in its path. The unstoppable river of crunchy grooves felt being hooked to an IV of soulful refreshment. Setting sail into the subsequent section, Trey pulled up with a supremely, pimped-out lick, settling the scene to sew together more subtle bending leads in his new, “impressionistic” tone. Building into an addictive, rolling pattern, Trey continued pushing forward in an unrelenting version that became a galleria for his and Mike’s collective genius. If you like to dance, this one is for you. Check it – now!

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

Coming out of the highly-illegal musical territory, it took Phish a couple minutes to properly cool off after such a blazing affair. When a final ambient bulge slid quietly into ‘Theme From the Bottom,” the palpable energy from “Tweezer” overflowed directly into the summer anthem, forming another blistering version of a song with quality full-band cooperation. Phish then book-ended the gargantuan portion of the set with a sprawling and ethereal “Harry Hood.” Featuring incredibly patient interplay between Mike and Trey, again showcasing his new tone and playing style, the two players took co-lead in this sacred dance. Using a more gradual build than Blossom’s intense burst of glory, this version’s beauty came in its slower, haunting quality.

After a classically placed, penultimate “Velvet Sea,” Phish surprised everyone by coming out with “Stealing Time” as the second-set closer. It seems like the band is grooming this song to be a modern-age “Character Zero,” as the blues-rocker has now punctuated a first and second set this tour. Settling into a section of distorted grooves, not all that dissimilar from its older relative, Phish ended with a bang, again giving a fresh feel to their setlist. But the evening’s most bombastic moments were still to come.

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

Amidst the peak of a raucous “Tweezer Reprise” encore, Trey – juiced with enthusiasm – called out that the band played “Tweezer” in Hershey without a “Reprise,” so they would now play it again! Taking it from the top, Phish cannonballed into, possibly, the most face-melting “Tweezer Reprise” ever played. While Trey got on his knees, jumped off of amps, and stomped in circles, the band brought the song to into virtual lunacy. Regardless of what this sounds like on tape, the experience can simply not be replicated. You Tube this clip ASAP, you won’t believe your eyes; a magnificent end to a stellar second half of Phish.

Official Hartford Poster

The opening set got going in earnest when an impressive, technically sound version of “Rift” gave way to the rubber grooves of “Wolfman’s Brother.” A song that has nestled into its ten-minute, first-set role this era, this version got the venue bumping for the first time of the night. An otherwise old-school set was broken up by Trey’s new pop-love song written for his wife, called “Summer of ’89.” Trust me, I love Big Red’s ballads more than the next guy, but on this one I’ve got to say, “Really, Trey?” Making “Jennifer Dances” look like an alien encounter in a dark alley, this debut should bring message board flaming to new heights. Ironically, the final section moves into some interesting improvisation, but I’ll see how this one develops before saying any more. A throw-down “Possum,” brought the crowd way up for a drop into “Moma,” but the sparkling oasis of the first set came at the end in “Reba.” Using his minimalist strokes, Trey’s new technique of laying way back in jams allowed Mike to step up as co-band leader, a situation where two heads are most certainly better than one. These understated grooves became the foundation for Phish’s delicate journey to the top, in another display of an increasingly patient band.

Hartford’s second night showed what a difference a day can make. 24 hours after their only inconsistent night of Summer 2010, Phish came back with a first-rate show that featured, in my opinion, the defining set of the six-show tour. As we sail into the second half of the weekend and into the woods of upstate New York, SPAC will likely bring more special evenings, but will Phish top such a powerful endeavor? They’ve been known to…

Answers are only hours away.

I: Fee, Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Summer of ’89*, Foam, Possum, The Moma Dance, Julius, Reba, Cavern

II: Halley’s Comet > Light > Billy Breathes, Tweezer > Theme From the Bottom, Harry Hood, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise, Tweezer Reprise


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822 Responses to “Fireworks On A Friday Night”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    summer ’89 is a new trey ballad I guess, haven’t bumped it yet…clone wars for now 😮

  2. Luther Justice Says:

    How can you get pissed about a song you’ve never heard before?

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    I’m supposed to read about the first set after amping me up with the two-prise?

  4. El Duderino Says:

    I’ve been disconnected from the internet since a week ago Friday. Sorry for the ignorance I’m trying to catch back up. Need some serious debriefing

  5. Mr.Palmer Says:

    It’s better than Bryan Adams Summer of ’69 at least. I thought it was decent. I’m sure plenty will hate on it, its the fashionable thing to do. Getting my wife out of the house is close to impossible. arghh…

  6. butter Says:

    Summer of 89 is a love song written for Trey’s wife, that Trey band has played, i believe

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    basically El Dude none of the other shows in between stood up to Chicago though every show has had excellent moments, but last night’s gig seems to have been back at a high level. That’s my $0.02 based on listening to the SBDs.

  8. Luther Justice Says:

    Ah the summer of 89. Had a girlfriend w/huge 80s hair. This new song takes me back…

  9. JP Says:

    loving the hartford DWD

    nice review of night II Miner, definitely look forward to getting a sense of the vibe the morning after, albeit from just one perspective

    so hard to miss these shows, but livephish definitely takes the edge off

    SPAC will go off, boys are having fun

    Mike as co-leader is a HUGE positive development

  10. butter Says:

    the chorus goes something like

    in the summer of 89…..

    and we danced into the night

    it actually had a nice little creative jam at the end of it,

    i dont mind hearing new tunes

  11. Jtran Says:

    Looks like the show of the tour so far, wow.

  12. Luther Justice Says:

    Sing it butter

  13. jay Says:

    gcub is exactly as I pictured him. Hilarious.

  14. butter Says:

    i still consider Chicago more solid front to back

    but the peaks where much higher last night

  15. El Duderino Says:

    And what’s the consensus on this summers SBD’s???

    Better? Worse? More Mike in the mix?

    I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to download both 16 bit and 24/96kHz HD files.

    Still have not heard one note as of yet.

  16. Luther Justice Says:

    SBDs are much improved. Mike is sounding nice.

  17. JP Says:

    would be very interested in your analysis on the SBDs and the 16/24 breakdown

    get listening el dude!

  18. butter Says:

    summer sbd are kick ass

    some murmuring that Page isn’t loud enough

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    el dude…i must confess, I’ve been lost with out your recs for the best aud every morning.

    you’re Gandalf and Im one of the dwarves wandering around Mirkwood Forest getting attacked by wolves, spiders, and Elves.

  20. Luther Justice Says:

    “wandering around Mirkwood Forest getting attacked by wolves, spiders, and Elves”

    No, that’s what Dude was going through living at the inlaws

  21. Robear Says:

    All I can say is, sucks to have gone to Hershey and missed this one.

    ^no it doesn’t.

    Sounds like they were back in the zone. Simple enough. Another big victory. Now if pawning zone could get the stream up! Anywhere else to check the show?

  22. Kaveh Says:

    Anyone have any luck finding a video of the T. Reprise from last night yet?

  23. Robear Says:

    C, go spin the encore. Stat.

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    nice, Luther!

    I’d like to take credit for the assist on that but that was a masterful play from you

  25. willowed Says:

    I am never pissed to hear a new song.
    I liked it
    And we danced all night……..
    And we danced all night……..
    This song made me smile!

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