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


6.26.09 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

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1,099 Responses to “Progressive Phish”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    maybe a little enchantment under the sea before bed.

  2. Mr. Murph Says:

    Island Tour… DvD??? NEEEEEEEED

  3. Robear Says:

    so, i’m guessing the extra tickets are gone for the next three shows?

    or peeps are not getting it, the scene’s shrinking, and it’s the platinum age.

  4. ChefBradford Says:

    If the Zep thing is in preparation for a Halloween drop (which I don’t really buy), then…well. It’ll be awesome, no doubt, but if they do another musical costume, I’d like (I know, I know, what ‘I’d like’ and what is aren’t necessarily the same) to see them break away from the 30-40+ year old material, scratch that 90’s-00s itch that a lot of people have; just saying. Or not even that, really, just not do a classic rock album buy a hugely famous and successful classic rock band

  5. kayatosh Says:

    why the f are people talkimg over this soft ballad? no wonder trey wails most of the time.

  6. Mr. Murph Says:

    But i love those albums chef. Imagine if they played Animals…the world would stop spinning

  7. kayatosh Says:

    maybe dr. dre’s the chronic

  8. Mr. Murph Says:

    The Entire White Tape

  9. ChefBradford Says:

    Murph, no doubt about that, we love those albums, but it’d be neat to see them try something totally different. Beatles? Check. The Who? Check. Talking Heads (my fave Halloween show)? Check. VU? Check. Stones? Check.

    Just something different. However, a 30 minute Echoes that deviates hugely from the album version would be insane, and Meddle is a record I got into at the same time I really dove into Phish

    Leo, if you’re still out there, I picked up a few LA goodies for you today, going to look around some more tomorrow, too

  10. kayatosh Says:

    somehow i got sucked head first into 6/26 RnR. bed will have to wait while i get my brain melted.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    i like where this one goes at the 10 min. mark

  12. kayatosh Says:

    looks like this place shuts down at midnight EST. either that or i have cyber BO.

    peace yall.

  13. Moby Dick Says:

    just droppin in on the late tip tonight.

    Hope that Tweezer has continued to get the love..

    Easily one of my top 3 of tour. Definitely favorite jam of the last three nights. Although tonight looks pretty spectacular.

    Three cheers for BK!

  14. Prince Nabby Says:

    OMFG. Phish THREW. DOWN. tonight! My 30th show and easily one of the best I’ve seen. No matter how much Miner praises it, it was even better than that. That’s how good it was!!!!

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s #1 for me right now Mobes.

    gonna spin it again in a minute

    i love the high voltage raging that stays light on its feet

  16. ChefBradford Says:

    I actually just hit the Ebeneezer point of that Tweezer on my first listen

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    known in scientific circles as the “E point”

    chef is passing the E point, on his way across the tweezer horizon

    enjoy the next 10 minutes of your life deeply

  18. goochy Says:

    Just got back from MPP2.

    It was insane. Unbelievable. Great fucking show.

  19. Mr. Murph Says:

    I can only see Phish covering albums that helped shape and influence who they are today. It would be neat if they covered a Radiohead album but I can’t see that happening. Led Zeppelin is next on the chopping block. Led Zep 2 or Physical Graffiti would be my 2 personal choices. It would even be a stretch for me to even see them live on Halloween so I hope they just pick something great.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    looked like it from a distance @gooch

    good to hear from you, glad you made it through 😮


    I think that tweezer is the least they’ve sounded like DMB thus far in 3.0

  21. Prince Nabby Says:

    Agreed. Somehow everything just seemed to click this evening. And I mean everything. There was just this locked in energy that spiraled out through every note, every tune, and pretty much every person in attendance. It was utterly riveting.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    still here. got sucked into 6/26 FEFY. soaring version

    now spinnin 6/22 dirt — don’t sleep on that one. mature, satisfying version.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    wow. really excited to hear 6/27. better get some sleep i got a big day of phish epicness ahead. peace yall

    6/26 tweezer – grand cru

  24. Prince Nabby Says:

    gnight kaya

  25. kayatosh Says:

    night, sweet prince.

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