Saturday Night SPAC Attack

6.17.10 (J.Reiss)

In a show book-ended with two more “Tweezer Reprises,” the band dropped a very Phishy affair in upstate New York last night to opening SPAC’s two-night stand. With a first set of early classics and a diverse second half composed of multiple segments, each carrying distinctly different vibes, Phish patched together an impressive evening of music. Suffering from a tad bit of choppiness, the second stanza did manage to maintain a flow from beginning to end, filled with this summer’s locked and loaded jamming, the band’s most promising debut this year, and one of the more exploratory jams of the summer.

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

Sparking the show like a Phillies Blunt, Phish came out in comedic and invigorated form with the third version of “Tweezer Reprise” in a row- “Threeprise!” After capping Hartford with the now-legendary double -“Reprise” encore, the band couldn’t get enough blasting into the freezer for a third consecutive time. Surfing a tsunami of energy from Hartford, the band crashed into a second-song “Chalk Dust,” maintaining the initial intensity. The first set quickly adopted an old-school theme with a series of classic early-90s pieces; each musical link in the first set chain carried its own weight, with the improvisational highlight coming in the late-set “Bathtub Gin.” While not in the same league as the Virginia version, this one nonetheless carries thick groove of its own. Additionally, the bust out of “Yamar” brought a quintessential summer vibe to the set, providing the stage for some percussive full-band interplay.

Call it the whale, call it what you will, Trey’s new style and tone – on full display in “Bathtub Gin” – and just about every other jam of the evening, has taken over his playing. And I must say, I am in love with the whale. Offering a new twist on Trey’s ideas, his pitch bending, sustained notes provide a more laid-back feel to his leads, bringing a completely new guitar element to the mixture. Often beginning in the background with gentle whispers, this minimalist approach not only provides the band with a new sound to build around, it allows Mike to step up as the bold, bass-wielding co-leader of every jam. The combination of these two elements have certainly carved out a new summer sound, but more on the 2010 sound come an off-day. Right now, let’s get to the second set.

6.17.10 (J.Reiss)

As Phish continues their re-evolution, the next logical step will be regaining comfort pushing their music into exploratory realms once again. Even in some of the summer’s most eventful sets, Phish has remained anchored to their song structures, sculpting full-on, energetic jams whose creativity come from the band’s natural chops rather than leading their music outwards. With last night’s “Rock and Roll,” Phish took his a step in the right direction. As the band left the song for the “Saratoga Jam,” their music became more open-ended and psychedelic than it has since Hershey’s “Drowned,” and they took this jam even further. With Mike at the center, the band passed through a slower groove of beauty into an exploration of faster textures, pushing their music without falling prey to typical cliches. Providing the most rewarding part of the evening, the second set opener took us for the most adventurous journey of tour. The multi-dimensional piece could have withstood another few minutes of exploration of straight psychedelia, yet still concluded organically.

Ending in a tasteful pass into “Free,” Trey and Mike seemed like they were about to take the song for the elusive ride through a crunchy dungeon that we’ve all been waiting for. Leaving the bass solo behind, they set up a groove before making that damned chord change signifying the ending just as the piece set its course set for darker realms. Following this opening sequence, Phish dropped a meaningless “Number Line” in the middle of the second set with no improvisation. Playing the contained radio single for the Saturday night crowd, Phish deflated the set’s initial peak rather quickly, but when the band started up a slow, unknown groove, things got very interesting.

6.18.10 (K.Lindner)

Only after the show did we learn the title of Page’s “Halfway to the Moon,” but for the time we became engulfed by the sinister molasses of Phish’s most promising new song. With a particularly foreboding groove and tar-thick, “Moma”-esque bass patterns, this piece foreshadowed nothing but greatness in its world premiere. With an evil, yet funky launchpad, look out when this one opens a second set later this summer; the potential seems off the charts.

But when Trey decides things are over, things are over. And such was the case as the band sat on the brink of something greater when he hacked into the growing piece with “Prince Caspian.” For a band that communicates so well while improvising, Trey could alert his band mates to his intentions when he wants to change a song; but in an all-to-characteristic move, Big Red lopped off another exploration without notice. Though Phish played a solid “Caspian,” the sudden change jerked the set’s momentum like a 747 hitting a large pocket of turbulence, and the lull continued through “Joy.” But everything shifted back into high gear for the show’s conclusion.

SPAC Pollock

Getting visibly excited throughout the into to “Bowie,” Trey flashed the double-heavy metal horns before dropping into the most scintillating version we’ve heard since their return. One-upping Chicago’s first-set closer with heavy grooves and series of blissful peaks, this version got the show back to a torrid level of intensity, while reminding is what is possible from a song that lied dormant for quite some time. The phenomenal version presented itself as the set-ender, but Phish went on to punctuate the frame with their newest cathartic closer, “Show of Life.” Infused with an enhanced energy, the anthem’s growing potential for transcendence continued to unfold in the song’s second incarnation.

One had the sense that a final “Reprise” might have been coming as the band remained onstage during Page’s “Coil” solo, and after a boisterous stop in “Character Zero,” that is exactly what went down – the fourth “Tweezer Reprise” in two nights! This final helping of musical gusto carried everyone into a beautiful New York night with nowhere to drive, as Sunday night’s weekend closer loomed large. As the tour approaches its halfway point, things are only getting better. Stay tuned – same bat time, same bat channel.

I: Tweezer Reprise, Chalk Dust Torture, Funky Bitch, Runaway Jim, Ya Mar, Sample in a Jar, Axilla > Fluffhead, Bathtub Gin, Suzy Greenberg

II: Rock and Roll > Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Halfway to the Moon* > Prince Caspian, Joy, David Bowie, Show of Life

E: The Squirming Coil, Character Zero, Tweezer Reprise

*Debut

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490 Responses to “Saturday Night SPAC Attack”

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  1. BenHoadley Says:

    first???? I’m jealous I’m not out in Saratoga tonight! See you all in Mansfield, and I hope that the band continues to bring the fire!!!

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    “Trey and Mike seemed like they were about to take the song for the elusive ride through a crunchy dungeon that we’ve all been waiting for.”

    I love “the crunchy dungeon”!

    thanks for the write-up Miner. Can’t wait to hear Halfway to the Moon.

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    Someone said the other day (Maybe it was Miner. I can’t remember.) that it seems that Mike is emerging as a co-leader of the band.

    I really like Mike’s increased presence and I think once Trey and Mike can work out Mike’s bigger contribution to Phish’s sound then summer tour will really explode.

    I started to have this realization at Blossom. I usually try to sit Page side, but my pavs were Fish side at Blossom. In the first set the sound was bad for a few songs, but in the second set I was blown away but what I was missing from Mike by sitting on the other side.

    Not sure Im going to make the permanent switch, but it was a nice change-up.

  4. Lily Says:

    Nice write up, miner. Last night the balcony was shaking so hard I thought it might fall down…the rock & roll and Bowie were highlights, as well as two more tweeprise! Think tonight is gonna be laid- back molasses jam funk…have fun today resting up for it, everyone!

  5. Redson Says:

    Thank you Mr. Minor!! I really appreciate your write ups of the shows…your descriptions make it easy to imagine what went down musically. You’ve definitley got it down when it comes to understanding why so many of us love the band’s music.

  6. willowed Says:

    I hope you guys had some fun….I am sure you did. see you boys and girls tonight.
    Packing the car richt now!!

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    Thanks miner. Happy Fathers Day to you and the rest of the BB dads!

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    and to you gd.

  9. butter Says:

    great circular guitar jam during the “Rock and Roll”, very fresh, super excited that this common tune strayed from the formulaic jam we’ve seen out of this one

    Mike was ready to take “Free” and all of us on the ride we’ve been waiting for, Trey was even locked into the bass groove , then bam , like Miner says that “damn chord change” back into Free, oh well, proof its there, now just gotta drive down that road

    the sound in the pav where we were was phenomenal last night

    loved the new Page “tune 1/2 way to the moon”

    awesome to hear them breathing some life into Bowie,
    it’s seeming like it’s once again becoming the vehicle that is able to punish tripping kids

    had a great time with ya last night Miner,

    Happy Father’s day, Dads

  10. KWL Says:

    $.02 last night was better than hartford 2

    more exploratory, more exciting, more energy–but miner is right on about the caspian>joy lull.

    and i thought the # line was a slick little jam, worked perfectly in that spot for me.

    happy father’s day dads!

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Trey could alert his band mates to his intentions when he wants to change a song; but in an all-to-characteristic move, Big Red lopped off another exploration without notice. ” mr. miner

    This is so true, I dont get it at all.

  12. lastwaltzer Says:

    @silly

    gotta sit mike side! Always.

  13. G-Man Says:

    The thought that ran through my head all night was:

    Mike is the greatest bass player in the world! In the f—ing world!!!

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all on here!

  15. Moby Dick Says:

    Re-post:

    For those of you who want the true story of what happened to ned:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWxpbrWh408

  16. sumodie Says:

    @neemor: r u at spac?

  17. Pitts Says:

    Bathtub Gin was the surprising star of this
    show, memories of early 90s at SPAC last night (e.g. Sample),
    Miner perfectly characterizes Trey subtle come on
    “whale”. Lot of energy with that Bowie intro and
    show of life and the new debut were nice to here. Pretty humid and
    hot out there folks – seemed like it only cooled down a little
    midway through the second set (northeast summers). SPAC, please put
    up big screens on the pavillion walls so those of us on the far grass no
    what’s going on down there. Packed house on Sat nite.

  18. willowed Says:

    Happy Fathers Day guys!!

  19. Wharblgarbl Says:

    4 Tweeprises in two nights? Sounds to me like the boys are having fun. Bummer that Free got cut off.

    Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

  20. kayatosh Says:

    morning. happy father’s day, dads.

    lovin 6/18/2010. you smile and I’m there.

  21. HarryHood Says:

    Yea, where the hell was Neemor yesterday!?

    Sumodie, Frankie, J-dub, great running into you guys…… Hopefully you all make it to the Pub and Teahouse this afternoon.

  22. willowed Says:

    Hood I am still at my fucking house thanks to my tour mate today.
    I am leaving in 5 minutes. ETA 2:00 p.m.

  23. willowed Says:

    and we’ll dance all night……

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Hood I am still at my fucking house thanks to my tour mate today.”

    unacceptable.

  25. HarryHood Says:

    Willowed,

    The Downtowner isn’t far from our hotel but we have to check out at noon. We will kick around here until you get into town. Shoot me a text when you are checked in.

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