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. Prince Nabby Says:

    heh. gotta love a Shakespeare fan 🙂

  2. FNDomination Says:

    I usually really like waiting for minor to post before downloading a show. However, that setlists has got me all sorts of hot and bothered. Do you think I should just pull the trigger already?

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    hush, thou beetle-headed, flap-eared knave. thou art a boil, a plague sore! indeed, the veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth. o gull, o dolt, o ignorant as dirt, thou canker-blossom – I do desire we may be better strangers!

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    (courtesy of the handy Shakespearean Insults Coffee Mug)

  5. Prince Nabby Says:

    Y’all are making this English Professor very happy 🙂

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    no one talks shit like the Bard.

  7. Prince Nabby Says:

    Yup. You gotta hand it to the Renaissance playwrights; they talked smack like the bad asses they were.

  8. Prince Nabby Says:

    I cannot wait to see how Miner writes up tonight. I think his word hoard is going to be taxed to the limit. It really was beyond amazing. Now, I confess, I’ve only heard parts of Camden, but I think it might near it, or beat it hands down. MPP security were hardons of the first magnitude, but other than that, this show was sheer bliss.

  9. Mr. Murph Says:

    MPP was fire, just given the South a little love. When they cross the MD line, hell is freezing over.

  10. She Divides Says:

    Wow.

    What a show – I couldn’t get enough

    Non-stop dance party. Mellow mood was fun, divided was amazing in addition to my personal favorite! But I could reflect on the amazing parts of almost every song played. What a great show.

  11. She Divides Says:

    I almost died when they played jumping jack flash. I love that song but only know it from the jjf movie starring whoppi goldberg!

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    in case anyone missed it, between 11:30 and about 12 minutes is where that Tweezer actually eats your brain.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    Trey breaks out the “brain-eating filter,” you can hear him dial it in

  14. Prince Nabby Says:

    OK, time for me to hit the sack. Long drive home and then it’s time for the Southeastern run. Fun, fun, fun. Night y’all!

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh my god.

    Tonight was INCREDIBLE.

    Walfredo, Mellow Mood OPENER.

    TELA for Christ sakes – I mentioned it last night but never EVER thought they’d play it. I guess my 50/1 ratio was off a bit. 🙂 This was unbelievable. They looked so happy

    Trey was jumping up and down during Divided Sky peak. My Soul rocked hard. Ginseng Sullivan was great – I’ve beeb dying to hear that tune.

    Bathtub Gin was huge – peaked like 5 times. Run Like An Antelope was high, HIGH energy and I couldn’t believe how they dropped into Marcoesq. so well.

    Set II:
    I SAW IT AGAIN!!!!!

    From Meatstick on, the band did not take one rest and every song segued into the next in unreal psychedelica. – I Saw It Again was dark/psychedelic to the nth degree – segue into Piper was perfect

    Thia Piper was UNREAL, folks. Moved through very distinct sections of psychedelica and funk. I danced my ass off the whole night and this was one of the big highlights. I am so honored to be at the first show where they truly stretched Piper out into the stratosphere – the groove was THICK folks, they did not let up.

    Into Ghost, at this point my jaw had already hit the floor about 5 times, so this was bonus. The segue into Jumping Jack Flash was *seamless*, and I don’t mean Drowned->Crosseyed seamless, this was PERFECT. And after a high energy Jumping Jack Flash, they go back into I Saw It Again!!!!!! They screamed “I Saw It Again” throughout the whole set, but this was just majestic.

    Contact came next, which was a fun number before the MASSIVE YEM to close the set. People, my mind had been blown for the past hour of straight playing, and they close it with YEM? Unbelievable. I cannot express enough how amazing this show was. I SAW IT AGAIN!!!!!

    This is gonna be one for the history books folks, HUGE psychedelic jams tonight, makes last night look just okay (it was incredible). I am so happy that I had just witnessed what was probably the best show of 2010 thus far. You got huge bustouts, big jams, EVERYTHING you could want. My mind is melted folks, this was UNBELIEVABLE – It really is as good as I’m saying – I’m not just spewing hyperbole.

    Oh, and I sat right near the SBDs and got to see Kuroda melt minds all night. Was sitting right next to the tapers and got to chat with TaylorC and his wife and Mike Dadeli (taper on bt.etree). What a night. What a night. What a night, what a night.

    I’d also like to give a quick shoutout to the BB’ers I ran into tonight:
    It was real nice meeting you @Henry/@Ain’tNoTele – I hope you guys had as incredible a time as I. @Leo, sorry we couldn’t connect, my phone reception sucked and I could not pinpoint where you were, although I probably saw you without knowing. I hope you had a great time.

    Phish tore MPP to shreds in what might possibly be the best show of 2010 tonight, incredible show with NO lulls to be found. I saw IT again!!!!!!

    I may need to pull a Lauren Pepe, no joke. Tonight was majestic folks, the energy in the room was at an all time high. Thanks to all the kind folks I met in the lots/Waterwheel/pre-show/setbreak, I enjoyed sharing in the groove with you all and thank you guys for helping to make my first Phish shows as transcendent and amazing as they were.

    Most of all:
    Thank you PHISH!

  16. Born Under Punches Says:

    Reading back to all of this Tube talk…

    I challenge you to show me a better version than Nutter Center 97.

    I challlenge you!

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    Camden 1 was great, Camden 2 was crazy, MPP 1 one was super great and it looks like MPP2 was super crazy

    fortunately we get to keep all 4

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    hahaha not up for a Tube challenge

    my perspective is more like even a straight Tube is great as long as it’s crackin’

    @BK psyched for you! Really looks like an epic win.

  19. butter Says:

    Phish is slightly hot right now it appears

  20. Commie Says:

    I thought tonight might be a throw-away show – shit was I wrong.

    That was the best show I’ve been too since post hiatus.

  21. ChefBradford Says:

    BK, good on ya, man, we are all really happy you got such standout shows!

  22. Robear Says:

    phish just punished everyone that skipped camden and mpp in a way only they know how.

  23. Robear Says:

    they’re jamming on the ‘tweezer’ theme until about the 7:40 mark. the jump to the open jam felt like the Millenium Falcon hitting hyper space. no steps, no progressing, just BLAM!

    then there’s a clear tease of ‘horse’ by trey around 14 min. mark. masterful.

    so last year’s mpp tweezer was the tweeznot. memory erased. then the horse>silent ‘exact thing happened to me just last year’.

    unreal crafting of setlists this tour.

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Way to bring it BK! “In the Aeroplane Under the Sky” was/is playing in the background as I read your post. Much love kid. Night all.

  25. Henry Says:

    @BK

    It was great to meet you. What a fucking show.

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