Progressive Phish

6.26.09 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

In a vintage case of Phish being Phish, the band came to Merriweather Post Pavilion a day after playing the show of the summer, and one upped themselves, slaughtering a second set that now stands as the strongest frame of 2010. Transformed – literally – overnight, Phish has returned to the top of their game, and based on the progress from Friday to Saturday, there is no ceiling limiting how far the band will grow in this era. Having definitively transformed their sound this year, Phish, once again has their foot on the accelerator and nothing but open highway ahead. Exploration and discovery is again the norm, rather than the exception, and something tells me there’s no going back. Open, unstructured jamming no longer presents a challenge for the band, but rather welcome missions into parallel universes. After the past two nights of musical mastery, any doubts anyone had about Phish returning to innovative greatness can be swept under the rug. This is 2010 – the year we make contact.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

Opening the second set with Saturday night’s assigned anthem, “Rock and Roll,” Phish built upon Camden’s “Chalk Dust”with a piece of improvisation that immediately jumped to the top of summer’s quickly-growing list of spectacular highlights. As if watching a different band than we saw for the first two weeks of tour, Trey and company held nothing back while pushing themselves into a fluid masterpiece. Comprised of more than a couple distinct sections, the band passed through, perhaps, the most blissful music of the summer before organically building into a mind-melting segment of snarling Phish. Through a maze of nasty licks and surreal communication, the band oozed into a menacing final jam around the theme of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick.” Boasting a new and daring sense of adventure, Trey never considered ending this jam before its proper landing. Absolutely ablaze all night long, Big Red played like a man possessed, embracing the moment, playing every note from his heart rather than his head.

“The Merriweather Rock and Roll” gracefully came to a close in “Free,” and though this landing pad boasted a vulgar bass solo from Gordon, Trey steered the song towards the ending immediately upon the conclusion of Mike’s carpet bombing. “Fast Enough For You” staged a dramatic breather, as Trey’s continued his marksmanship through even the ballads of the set. Upon the start of a mid-set “Sparkle,” I turned to my buddy and said, “Sparkle, Tweezer?”, citing the classic Bomb Factory combination. And sure enough, after sprinting through the chaotic piece, the band promptly slid into the into to the third “Tweezer” of summer.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

In a virtual antithesis of Hartford’s grooveasaurus, Merriweather’s “Tweezer” grew into a filthy piece of ominous music that illustrates the band’s emerging musical paradigm. Coupling his hard-edged aggression and killer instinct from the mid-90s with tasteful whaling licks, Trey, joined by Gordon’s murderous bass work, led a piece that can be rightfully described as “new-school/old-school” Phish, or in other words – the future. Trey couldn’t wait to get to the meat of things, improvising throughout the composed section, and when the jam dropped, things took on a completely new life. In a section of purely 2010-sounding music, Phish launched a forward-thinking crusade into darkness that was wrung with musical belligerence. Following a roaring and colossal opening segment, Phish left any semblance of reality behind, traveling to a far off planet of a war-torn alien culture. Providing a futuristic soundtrack of next-level jamming, the band narrated an apocalyptic tale of desperation. Playing with the passion of a wild hyena and the accuracy of a mafia hit man, Trey pushed himself further than any night this summer, and the band stayed with him every step of the way. Descending from pure lunacy into an ambient outro, Trey began to play “Horse,” and pulled back, allowing the piece come to a natural ending in deep space for two more minutes. This was one for the books; Phish hasn’t played a “Tweezer” like this – well – ever.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

“Horse > Silent” provided a melodic buffer before the band ended the set with the colossal combination of “Wolfman’s,” “Slave,” Reprise.” In this day and age, it’s simply a treat to get a second set “Wolfman’s,” but the band blew this one up, packing at least fifteen minutes worth of musical action into ten minutes of thick musical molasses. Chunky and celebratory, Phish funked up this version with a playful vocal jam before crunching a set of strapping grooves that Trey backed with meticulous use of the whale. Stylistically translating their fresh sound through multiple styles of masterful jams last night, Phish’s pressed fast-forward on their reinvention in Merriweather’s first show.

Closing the set with a climactic, beautifully-phrased “Slave,” Phish brought artistic resolution to merciless frame of mayhem. But in a surprise move, the band brought out “Reprise” in the far more dramatic set-ending spot, bombastically closing out the night’s “Tweezer” before the encore even got underway. And quite and encore it was.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

“Show of Life” and “Good Times” juxtaposed the poignant and introspective side of Trey with his all-out rock-star persona. The night’s two final songs provided a glorious excursions in opposite directions, touching the heart with tenderness and then with fire. Surfing the show’s final wave of adrenaline, Trey played as hard on the last song of the night as he did on any other. Displaying his blazing chops one last time on the classic Zeppelin cover, this finale fit right in with the band’s current fetish with the British legends.

Phish showcased some seriously progressive playing last night, building – only 24 hours later – on Camden’s Friday night triumph. After listening back to this set, it is quite clear that Phish is transforming, in front of our eyes, into a whole new beast. Combining the energy of the first half of tour with a breakthrough in improvisational confidence, the band has, once again, made Phish tour is the most exciting place on the planet.

…How many hours ’til showtime?

First Set Notes: A blistering 2010-sounding “Stash” highlighted a well-played, but relatively uneventful first half of the show. Although a late-set “46-Days”didn’t break form, it surely provided an early sign of the six-string combustion that would soon follow. Another new cover emerged from the renowned Indie band Neutral Milk Hotel. (Never heard of em? Me neither.) The cover, “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea” comes from the band’s iconic 1998 record of the same name. Similar in sound to “Earth Angel,” it seemed as though we were at The Enchantment Under the Sea dance, and Trey might start looking at his disappearing hand in some sort of time-space paradox. The heartfelt song provided a bizarre interlude in the set between “Tube” and “Stash, but I’m all for the new covers; keep ‘em coming.

I: Crowd Control, Kill Devil Falls, AC/DC Bag, Sugar Shack, Tube, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea*, Stash, Backwards Down the Number Line, NICU, 46 Days, Suzy Greenberg

II: Rock and Roll > Free, Fast Enough for You, Sparkle, Tweezer > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Wolfman’s Brother, Slave to the Traffic Light, Tweezer Reprise

E: Show of Life, Good Times Bad Times

*debut

6.26.09 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

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1,099 Responses to “Progressive Phish”

  1. bodi Says:

    I saw it again is right. Down in the pit we were chanting “I saw it Again” over and during the YEM vocal jam, the whole pit was chanting it in unison in counterpoint to their own vocal jamming. I don’t know if the band picked up on it, but it was a trip to be collaborating with the band like that. Only at a phish show, and goddamit, that’s what I’ve been waiting for, having the strong possibility of seeing those shows where you say walking out, “only at a fucking phish show.” I think there’s been flashes of that here and there, but this was one of those meticulously crafted mindfuck of a shows from start to end.

    also have to say, it was the hottest mofo i’ve been a part of heat-wise. freaking sauna during set 1 tonight. i was starting to have flashes of Veneta 72, and we’d need to get sprayed down with a fire truck, filled with “water, from the crick”. “this is a note from action central: conserve your water!” so play it safe in the heat kids. the good thing is, the heat did not hinder these old farts on stage, they seemed to be thriving in it!

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    if i had got an automatic avatar as cool as bodi’s I wouldnta had to get this ridiculous Phil thing going.

    just sayin’

  3. voopa Says:

    bodi, that’s fucking great. As is this Gin jam.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    starting Gin in 2.

  5. Mr. Murph Says:

    Mr. C, that picture is Phil??? Hahahha i can totally see him now if that is. Phil is such a dork, but you gotta love him. Master bass player i try to follow. My bass skills pale in comparison, maybe some day….

  6. bodi Says:

    hey man, phil abides. and i’m seeing more phillishness in gordo, especially some of the lines he was pulling in set 2 camden 2. overall though, mike’s become his own bass beast, and i’m so glad to see all his hardwork pay off. he’s been ready at the frontlines to carry the charge into the battlefield, just waiting i think for trey to go to war, and bad lieutenant put his stripes back on this weekend.

    speaking of phil, i think last year one of my rare posts alluded to the dead/phish comparison of post-hiatus quality, where phish 3.0 equals dead post 75. 76 dead, with many moments of blinding brilliance and potential, and then came 77 dead, and by that second year back they had completely rebuilt their engine and were reaching new pinnacles by the day in the spring. phish is now in their dead 77 days, imo, so perhaps this weekend was their cornell? or not just cornell, but maybe boston>cornell>buffalo? If so, there is plenty of May 77 dead magic phish can embody for the rest of the summer.

  7. voopa Says:

    Nice B&R teases in the Antelope intro

  8. voopa Says:

    I would hope that Phish’s “Cornell days” extend toward 2070.

  9. Mr. Murph Says:

    Anyone have a link for the show?

  10. bodi Says:

    @voopa, have fun with this one. it’s still ringing in my ears, i’ll have to try to avoid listening for a few more hours to regain my foothold.

    actually, listen to the rye rye rocco part, i think trey mentioned being you to have any spike, man. that’s the first time in a while i’ve heard a ganja reference there. maybe spike had a little something to do with the sudden burst of brilliance this weekend…. naaaaa, can’t be.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure is Murph

    wish I could find the original, great shot

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    we have to keep the linky talk off Miner’s board, sorry

  13. Mr. Murph Says:

    Ah, I’m sorry. Someone spoke of this another time, but I had no idea what he was talking about. Does Miner not archive any new shows?

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    sorry I thought you were phishing for sbd links. It’s not a big sin or anything but Miner asked us not to.

    he absolutely is still doing the “no spoilers” links the next day

    http://phishthoughts.com/nospoilers/

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    amazing Gin. full hose, maxed out trilling crescedo jam, but short.

    I can’t think of a way to put ‘Meatstick’ and ‘hose’ together in a sentence safely, but it almost is that.

  16. Mr. Murph Says:

    Ah, that’s what im looking for thanks Mr. I am actually against downloading music, unlike my roomates. It sucks when the horde the bandwith at night because they must have a fresh 20 gigs of music to not listen to ever.

    Almost done with this damn essay. Looks like a B paper, hopefully theres a curve and I get an A. I signed up for this summer class because I thought it would be a joke. Now its gonna lower my gpa :(

  17. Mr. Murph Says:

    Downloading High Time Vol. 1! hope its a goodie

  18. Runaway_Joker Says:

    Hey I’m new to the bb just saying hi

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    if you like brent era dead your chances of liking it are fairly high.

  20. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    very impressed with tonights show.

    was just blown away once again by that dang 7.25.99 birds jam. and now just getting into the 11.17.97 ghost now. allll righttt

  21. ReidIcculus Says:

    I bet there was some serious face-meltage…

  22. Ribbit65 Says:

    @Exree Hipp: agree with you about Loveless…Trey’s apparently such a fan of Kevin Shields/MBV I’m suprised they never went for it. Could have been an earth shattering hour of ethereal, Phishy bliss.

    Maybe one day in the future?

  23. philej Says:

    wow. I’m listening to 6.25 bbf. don’t front. keep trey sober.

  24. Hidden Track » Phish Summer Tour 2010: The First Leg Says:

    [...] Hidden Track, Phish Thoughts, [...]

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