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


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490 Responses to “Saturday Night SPAC Attack”

  1. ThePigSong Says:


    Tweezer Reprise-Reprise-Reprise [FILLER] REPRISE!!!!

  2. ThePigSong Says:

    ohhh, brackets are a no no…

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    “now the band owes us two tweezers”


  4. halden Says:

    Cool Fool. I am looking at about 4.5 hours drive down through Syracuse. Do you have tix or grabbing them on the lot? I am on the Lawn.

  5. jtone Says:

    I praised the “whale” after the SOAM last summer in Noblesville when everyone was whining about the “whale”…and now Mr. Miner I couldn’t agree with you more (finally) that the “whale” is AWESOME!

  6. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Has anyone tried to figure out if there are a couple of un-reprised Tweezers from back shows (last year) that these two Tweeprises would be considered to have capped? I wouldn’t put it pass them.


  7. ThePigSong Says:


  8. voopa Says:

    Wow, tonight could be huge…Antelope, YEM, -7, Ghost, Jibboo, Melt…

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    peeps disrespecting the bobby nuthuggers on p4 there

    show some respect, yo

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    pretty sure you’re overthinking the tweepise-fest there marshall

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    really odd dynamics to these recent second sets I think

  12. lastwaltzer Says:

    Wow, tonight could be huge…Antelope, YEM, -7, Ghost, Jibboo, Melt…”voopa

    think you forgot tweezer reprise 😉

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    “really odd dynamics to these recent second sets I think”Mr. C

    I was saying something similar earlier, last year it was more of a problem putting together solid first sets, now its flipped. Most of these second sets seem to fizzle mid way through. Hershey had a well structured second set, hartford 2 looks the same but I haven’t gotten to hear it yet.

  14. halden Says:

    The second sets have been very confusing.

  15. MP Says:

    Can y’all help me figure out what song/group ‘Halfway to the Moon’ resembles. The vocals remind me of something from the ’80s. Maybe I’m just hearing things.

  16. Jimmy Says:

    Mr. Miners analogies that didn’t make the cut:
    Trey’s jamming last night was tighter than a newborn field mouse vagina.

    Mikes basslines likened interplanetary funk collisions while on PCP

    Pages harmonies per-chinkled like subterranean stalactites dripping water in the light of a spelunker’s headlamp

    Fishman fed the crowd like Jesus fed the masses only instead of loaves and fish he provided provided tight rythyms and timely transitions

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    well played @Jimmy

  18. Prince Nabby Says:

    I really can’t get over how well the band are playing these days. They are light years beyond 2009, imho. Mike is just a beast at the moment, and I also like how the band are truly listening to one another and developing the jams sloowly, although like many others, I wish they would wind down as slowly too rather than being cauterized.

    I have to dissent on the whale call, though. Yes, it has its place. Yes, it’s been around for a long, long time. Yes, it’s really hard to pull off, and Trey pulls it off better than almost anyone else. Yes, it’s new sound and Trey is obviously enamored with it. But, really, I think it is being seriously overdone. Posters elsewhere like to point out that Trey has also had intense love affairs with looping, the wha pedal, the mini drumkit, and whatnot. Granted. But I don’t think any of those were used quite so indiscriminately as the Whammy is being used this year. The one exception might be the good old Ross Compressor, which seemed to be on permanently from about 1985 until about 2000. But the compressor, I’d argue, affected tone rather than tune. What gets me about the whale call, other than its grinding predictability in every song outside of straightup compositions, is that often sounds bad to me. Trey is an immensely precise guitar player whose use of pick work, vibrato, and clarity are what drew me to the band in the first place. That has been a constant through the band’s history. The whammy makes Trey’s guitar sound out of tune, and that sets my teeth on edge. That’s just my opinion, and I’m glad that it’s working for Miner and others, but I, for one, will be relieved when the whammy becomes an occasional and well-placed effect rather than the default for every single song. Peace out.

  19. Craptastic Says:

    Mr Miner loves the whale call? Your credibility is ruined…

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    Ken Burns’ The Civil War is on PBS.

    such a chilling documentary.

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    Trey was using some Steve Kimock type circular licks were he explores the groove/jam as if it were a turning wheel

    ^ this. My friend said this the day re: Kimock

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    now the band owes us two tweezers

    ^ was saying this last night… 🙂 One can hope….lol

  23. snowbank Says:

    @Craptastic… please continue to use this handle. It aptly describes your posts…

    So what’s up BB crew.

    Is the delayed show posting a conspiracy to sell sbds? I may have to pull trigger again…

    We were 18th row last night. as perfect a spot as the come since we were just about the same level of the band. The slanted floors at SPAC really cramp my style but I still managed to have a good time 😛

    Here we go…. last time going up the roller coaster hill for a little while.

    BTW.. staying in hotels for shows is awesome. I am so clean, it’s almost weird.

  24. Day Man Says:

    anybody have any extra tixs for the 4th of July??

  25. Prince Nabby Says:

    @Day Man — try the ticket exchange board link on the front of the Miner page or both of which are about face-value sales and trades.

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