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”

  1. angryjoggerz Says:

    Happy Fathers Day to all my fellow dad BB’ers! My first one!

  2. HarryHood Says:

    Thats one way to teach your tourmate to be ready on time….. Just leave. Next time he won’t be late! llfa

  3. kayatosh Says:

    hey now. way to go, joggerz. It’s a tough job, but it can be soul warming.

  4. GhostPhunk Says:

    Its a good night for a ghost story…

    Happy fathers day

  5. kayatosh Says:

    Foam’s comin along nicely in 3.0. Best version yet on 6/18

  6. HarryHood Says:

    @ Willowed

    The Downtowner is the classiest dump of a hotel I’ve ever seen. Hung there with J-dub yesterday……

  7. Chris Says:

    Bending notes the old fashioned way > whaling b/c then Trey isn’t constantly out of key.

    But, hey, to each their own.

    That aside, I thought it was one of their better shows this tour

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    @kaya,

    agreed.

    I was thinking its yesterday how funny it is that these first sets have been so solid where last year the complaint was reversed. A lot of the more complex tunes are being done much more justice this time around.

  9. willowed Says:

    You got it

  10. sumodie Says:

    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 the whale.

    Here here -long live the whale, err…whammy pedal 8)

  11. Moby Dick Says:

    @HH

    I hope you watched that video.

    Considering your love for ned

  12. kayatosh Says:

    exactly, LW. they practiced, they care, they want to do these great songs justice. great time to be a phan. currently respinning 6/18 — on possum. Love that Egyptian theme tease trey slips in there seamlessly around the 4 min. mark. geniius.

    Back to back camdens — i’m going to savor it. so grateful to have this awesome band back and to have great people to experience it with at the shows and ex post facto. hope to see some of you there. thank you mr.. miner et al.

  13. BTB Says:

    Hood – what’d you think of the show? Good times?

    Once again I am left to the smartphone refresh option as real life is cramping my couch tour. Can’t a brother watch an iphone pod cast of PH show in peace anymore? damn.

  14. Luther Justice Says:

    Happy Father’s Day BB! And a thank you to the baby mamas who put up with you!

  15. kayatosh Says:

    ain’t that the truth, looth.

  16. sumodie Says:

    Funny to compare my own show notes to what Miner et al are saying today. Seems like my being up close for 3 shows then last row upper balcony very end of Page side last night changes my perception.

    First 3 shows I was inside the music, especially Hartford. Last night the music washed over me (and it was beautifully good) but I was not grooving inside the music. Still walked out with a soaking wet tank top though.

    2010 is such a good year to be on tour -so very grateful I’m still on the bus

    Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddy-Os 😀

  17. pagesidehighschool Says:

    Last nights show was a big ole tweeprise sandwich! The first set was the meat and cheese, and the second was all the fixins. I liked the first set a lot more, but oh well, the vibe last night was much better than the drunken frat boy vibe in hartford. halfway to the moon was awesome! Check this out asap. And show of life is here to stay, so familiarize yourself with this one.
    When leaving the show, I was waiting for my fiancé outside of the bathroom, and my phone picked up a wifi signal from…… Mr Miner?! Strange!

  18. kayatosh Says:

    Sumo: your location has a direct effect on your experience. no doubt. what you describe is real.

    I was back of the arena for 11-24-2009 and up close on the side, fishman’s, for 11-25 and I felt like i was more “in” it on 11-25 and found it much easier to get absorbed in the show.

  19. Phamily Berzerker Says:

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

    Was the police state in force lot stylie yesterday?

    “2010 is such a good year to be on tour -so very grateful I’m still on the bus”

    ^
    Here, here! 2 years ago this was not going on. Alot of change has happened in 2 years.

    Hooray for the phish!

  20. HarryHood Says:

    I thought last night’s show was top-notch. Possibly the best first set that I’ve seen. But when you open with Tweeprise, you know it is going to rage. Completely agree with Miner’s write-up. Second Set was up and down for me. I guess I was expecting a little different setlist after the energy that spilled out of the first….. Rock and Roll and Bowie with the highlights in my book.

  21. lastwaltzer Says:

    @kaya,

    Word on the rehearsing. Its funny hearing people try to peg down what the bands intentions are. Last year so many folks said they were just “trying to nail the songs down” but it appears a year later that they’ve either put even more emphasis on this or have become to feel comfortable again.

    I like to believe that they put more of an emphasis on nailing tunes which has led them to feel comfortable again which is why we haven’t seen many big jams. My line of thinking is now that they are playing the material so well they have room to bring in new things. Rather then force jams on old crutches they are slowly trying to bring in a new direction and having the songs down makes it easier for them to take a new direction.

    In short I don’t they were kidding when they said they are in it for the long haul.

  22. BTB Says:

    Blackboarder’s – Today I pick up my Little Brother in the Big Brother Big Sisters program. Neither of us have fathers, but he’s 14 a fully aware that today is Fathers Day. I feel a big “car talk” coming on with little dude.

    To all of you who are Fathers, I’m sure you are aware, but never forget how important you are to your kids and cherish every moment with them. Fathers day has always been a rough day for me, but now I have a responsibility to help someone else through the tough/confusing times. I actually feel blessed that I can turn my personal negative into a positive.

    Vent over! Happy Fathers Day BB’ers!

  23. Luther Justice Says:

    BTB is a saint. I’m serious.

  24. plyPhisher Says:

    The last part of the rock and roll jam opened a door into the world of which I long for. The way the music rose and fell from the depths is a sound Ive never heard before. If only they stayed there. This is what Phish is all about for me. I wouldn’t care if they stayed in this realm for the whole show. It was a moment of pure Joy for me.

  25. kayatosh Says:

    Right on, BTB. Miss my dad today, for sure.

    peace. spread that kindness and let love rule.

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