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. lastwaltzer Says:

    Almost done listening to Hartford night two, I’m thinking this was the best show since the Chicago opener. Solid show front to back.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    I think it’s very funny that in consecutive posts we see from @prince nabby the *right* way to voice a dissenting opinion – precise, well reasoned, and clearly explaining where his opinion is coming from, well done Nabby – and then immediately after that we get @craptastic clearly demonstrating the *right* way to make a fool of yourself – by flatly stating your opinion as the obvious truth without recognizing it as an opinion, and dismissing anyone who disagrees.

    It’s like a little “internet discussions 101” class in the space of two posts.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    now thats what i call a hood

  4. YborCity Says:

    The difference in band energy and confidence from the Hampton Fluffhead to last night’s Fluffhead is astounding. Whoa.

  5. Prince Nabby Says:

    Thanks, @Mr C. I appreciate the props. I love the way we can all disagree respectfully on this board, and I’d hate for us ever to lose the civil tone. Politeness is totally our ‘brand’, in the same way that pwning is PT’s. Each has its place, but it’s good to keep those places distinct. Happy papa day to all the dads out there!

  6. sumodie Says:

    slow day on the BB…gorgeous day outside here in Saratoga

    Wished I could always stay in as nice a place as the Mansion Inn while on tour. Told Graham this was a one time thang -next time we go all out wook style

    Town has been great to hang out in, lots of fans, but nothing crowded. Definitely a beautiful place

    Earlier today saw an incredible exhibit of Andrew Wyeth’s watercolors in a cool mansion museum just north of here in Glens Falls. Getting all types of culture this weekend!

    Met several BBers at the Local Pub at 3pm: Frankie, Mango Mitch & Ms Mango, Palmer, Doc Ganz, KWL, HHood, may have missed others

    Almost time to head to the Wood Forest. Last night I found my car in record time -hope that holds for tonight. Fourth straight night and my body is holding together….we’ll see what happens this eve

    Liquid Time?

  7. sumodie Says:

    That would be the Wook Forest, btw.

    In spite of whatever was reported about a SPAC police crackdown, I barely saw any of that yesterday. What a wonderful place to hang out and see PH

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Earlier today saw an incredible exhibit of Andrew Wyeth’s watercolors in a cool mansion museum just north of here in Glens Falls. Getting all types of culture this weekend!”sumo


  9. goat Says:

    glad to hear you guys are having better weather than last time… Torrential downpour right as we made the trek from the car to the shed…

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    man it is a dead day on the board.

    I gotta say a few things:

    RnR and Bowie from last night’s second frame were absolutely stellar to my ears.

    So good to see a solid and mucho interesting 3.0 Bowie.

    And I just don’t understand the lack of love for the Hershey Tweezer.

    I thought that was an incredible groove odyssey that landed almost perfect in Twist.

    Anyway I thought it was a nice clinic in groove.

  11. Leo Weaver Says:

    Good afternoon BBers! I’m just about fully recovered from my two great nights in Hartford. A huge thanks goes out to Willowed for hosting the meetup on Friday…he’s a hospitable gentleman and a nut πŸ˜‰ . I’ll throw washers, watch soccer, and eat burgers at his place any time. And thanks goes out to Mrs. Willowed for allowing us phishies to take over her house for the day. It was great to hang out with 12-13 other BBers and some of their peeps – all good people. Just continues to confirm the quality of folks we have here. I also have to thank neemor…he is truly one of a kind and I’m glad to have the guy on my side. With him around, it all works out one way or another…and there’s never a dull moment. He got me, cub, and purps from New Haven to the show and our hotel…then to Willowed’s place and to the second show. And thanks to KWL for the ride back to New Haven yesterday morning. It’s so nice to know we’ve got a community of like-minded folks who are very willing to help each other out in order to share the great experiences that are phish shows.

    Got back to NYC yesterday around 1, baned, ate lunch, and laid down to take a nap (at 3:45)…woke up after 11. Needless to say, I was worn the f out. Checked out the Picasso exhibit at the Met this afternoon…then I checked out the masters from late 19th and early 20th centuries before finishing up with some modern greats. A good day of culture before a nice meal to finish out the trip. Back to Charlotte tomorrow and onto MPP next weekend! WOOHOO!!!

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    “now thats what i call a hood”

    hartford 2? yeah, word. I dug it a lot.

  13. lastwaltzer Says:


    You got it, Really liked hartford 2.

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    So I just made someone a country mix with a quite a variety of stuff. Ended it with “People Like Us” by The Talking Heads, if you don’t know it click this link you won’t regret it πŸ™‚

  15. Leo Weaver Says:

    I thought the Hartford shows were great…I haven’t listened back to anything except Light thru Theme of night 2, so these thoughts are based on impressions at the shows.

    Hartford 1: I thoroughly enjoyed the first set of H1. There is some personal “attachment” to this show as chunks of the setlist were very appropriate to the recent loss of my grandmother. Div Sky, WtCCtT, Alaska, Farmhouse, and Shine a Light were all apt and fit the personal context. Of course that enchanced my experience some, but I thought it was a good show nonetheless.

    – Ocelot and Alaska, both of which I’ve really enjoyed, were both slowed way down and each had this big full round sound…they’re coming into their own now IMO.

    – Stash…I really enjoyed it. It got a little dark, but didn’t really dive into the deep like I typically prefer. But Trey whaled it to a soft peak before the whole band built and built and built it to the big peak at the end. They seemed to have the crowd in their palms.

    – Sugar Shack, a song I haven’t really gotten, finally worked for me. Trey nailed his parts (for the first time I think) and Mike, then the whole band, changed things up or something…it had more of a calypso sound than I’ve noticed before. My comment to cub was “this may be the new Yamar”…interested to see how it continues to develop.

    – Disease and Sand…these were awesome. IMO they have the Phish 3.0 sound. I danced my ass off…”disco Phish” at times for sure. I looked at cub at one point in time and said, “this is the fully developed 3.0 sound.” Can’t wait to listen back too see if I was right or if it’s just the extra curriculars.

    – Folks have said enough about the back half of set 2 so I won’t go there except for a couple of points. Main thing…it really did suck the energy out of the place (and me). Once Mike’s started up, it took me a while to find my groove again.

    – Farmhouse follows me (or did in 98-00)…when it started I thought, “really? Farmhouse? is this ’99 again? Great πŸ˜‰ ” and kinda laughed it off. But the boys really pulled off an exceptional version. Trey’s work during the solo was about as good as it’ll get for that song IMO and they all built it to a nice finish. (Flame away)

    – Mike’s was a dense version…lots going on as I recall. I kept thinking, “Mike’s has new life.” Though the Week wasn’t as strong as Blossom, it was still a lot more fun than any of the 2009 versions I saw or can recall.

    – Horse through Farmhouse really hurt the flow…however, looking back, that Farmhouse would’ve worked great if it hadn’t followed up the others. Guilty by association IMO…well and the whole “it’s farmhouse” problem. But again, the solo and jam made that version.

    – First set was full of energy…DWD and Sand def made up for the stinker middle third of the second set though. As I think Miner said in his post, the highs were really high and the lows were really low.

  16. arbitropia Says:

    “Halfway to the Moon” sounds like “Even the Nights are Better” by Air Supply.

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    I really dig Halfway to the Moon

    that has way more jamming potential than Stealing Time if you ask me.

    of course thats after only two listens.

    But I really do dig that tune.

  18. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    Hey everybody – just back from my Summer leg 1 experience – Hartford 2 and SPAC 1. Great, great, great shows.

    Haven’t read what folks have been talking about from these, but I’m assuming the Reba, and Tweezer-Theme-Hood from Hartford 2 and then the Fluff-Gin, and Rock&Roll and Bowie from last night. All are going to be in heavy rotation for me in the next couple months.

    Beautiful weather, relaxed security despite scary SPAC rumors…the security guy at the gate actually told my wife “I’m going to pretend like I’m looking in here (her bag) and you will tell me there’s no camera, ok?”. Now that’s the kind of security I like!

    My major fail for the weekend was meeting up with exactly zero BB’ers. For Hartford I texted with Purple and Willowed some but couldn’t find each other, and plus I was with a group of 7 or so guys that I didn’t know very well at all. That was all the new-folks I could handle at that point.

    For SPAC, it was more a weekend show with my wife for my birthday, and luck cooperated. After Enterprise screwed us over and delayed our departure by an hour yesterday, they hooked us up with a 2010 Tahoe with leather and everything. Added to the upgrade to a suite from our hotel, completely random, it was by far the highest I’ve ridden at any show. Had a great time w the Mrs. all over the lawn. I’ll have some more coherent thoughts about the music and whatnot after I’ve had the chance to listen back to last night…

  19. stitchstash Says:

    Happy Father’s Day! There’s a lot of awesome dads who contribute to this site and help make it so amazing. I hope all of you enjoy your day to the fullest.

  20. Bobby Says:

    50 bucks on nicu opener

  21. themanatee Says:

    happy father’s day mr. miner!

  22. sneven Says:

    What a great Father’s Day! Breakfast at the park by the Maumee River with my in-laws, then a nice braised beef tenderloin at my parents house.

    Also celebrated my little girl’s 4th birthday, which is tomorrow. Now I get to sit and watch some US Open golf, have some cocktails, and follow the setlist with y’all… in my book, a good day πŸ™‚

    Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there, young and old, hope you enjoyed your day as much as me!

  23. Moby Dick Says:

    so there is a show starting

    and our very own pooper scooper called the brother opener last night! great job you wee little shit goblin you.

  24. Moby Dick Says:

    where is everybody?

    It is showtime and they opened with Brother and the waters are empty like Hyrdra is in it.

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    is there a stream Moby?

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