Feeling the Finger Lakes

CMAC Official Poster (Welker)

Reeling in their wide-open exploration of the past few shows, Phish sculpted two sets with distinctly different vibes, delivering a powerhouse performance in the serene surroundings of Canandaigua, New York on Tuesday night. With a laid back first set that matched the feeling of the cool, upstate evening, and a fiery second half, Phish unveiled many crowd favorites en route to a start-to-finish show that will be remembered, above all else, for its stellar “Mike’s Groove” and intimate environs. Upon walking into CMAC Performing Arts Center, the uniquely designed and miniature pavilion immediately gave the show a much cozier feel than the east coast blowouts of last weekend. Many thought this Tuesday night, out-of-the-way affair would explode in a jealousy-inducing show for those not in attendance, but in a very Phishy move, the band played a straight forward setlist loaded with Phish anthems, delivering two flowing sets of music without ever moving to into the stratosphere.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

An uncharacteristic “Possum”opener led off the second set in rocking fashion, prepping the crowd ready for a highlight-reel “Mike’s Groove.” Blasting into the inferno of “Mike’s,” the band entered the lair of the beast with intent to slay. Trey led the band through a series of explosive peaks with snarling leads and filthy volition, scripting a menacing musical tale. As Mike’s bass pulsated at the heart of the jam, the band carved a darker version that shied fr0m dance rhythms in favor of demonic vigor. Coming out of the composed ending of “Mike’s,” for the first time this summer, Phish chose “Simple” to bridge the “Groove,” pumping consistent energy into the set. Deconstructing the feel-good groove, the band entered sparse and melodic segment that gradually morphed into gorgeous ambient space. Briefly sounding like their course was set for “2001,” Page began a piano solo over the space-aged texture, artistically slipping into the night’s big surprise – “I Am the Walrus.”

6.24.10 (J.Thomas)

The transition from “Simple’s” ethereal excursion, and Phish’s take on The Beatles’ classic, worked perfectly, infusing the show with a massive surge of retro-enthusiasm. Feeding off the energy in the small pavilion, the band continued to build out of the song’s ending, getting into a ferocious piece of heavy psychedelia. With menacing walls of sonic dissonance, Phish got straight-up medieval on the piece, as “I Am The Walrus” grew into far more than a straight ahead cover. Bringing the song further out than John or Paul had ever imagined the band carried a harrowing intensity, bringing the entire venue on a sweltering mental roller coaster. Bringing the jam to a head, Phish created another summer highlight while sliding smoothly into “Weekapaug.” All tour long, “Weekapaugs” have outshone their “Mike’s” counterparts, and once again, this version overflowed with creativity, weighting the back end of the “Groove.” Connecting several segments of galloping, rhythmic exercise with scintillating guitar leads, Trey threw down fast-paced licks of all variety amidst this dynamic piece. Moving through a minimalist, percussive section, Trey never relented with his thematic leads, providing a cohesive plot to the entire jam.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

The band pushed “Weekapaug” out of the box and into an abstract, bass-led swamp before the jam disintegrated, unfinished, into “Limb By Limb.” This late second-set version evoked memories of Chicago’s placement; though the band didn’t seem to connect on this outing like they had throughout the set, and the piece ended before reaching an earnest peak. “Joy” filled the late-set ballad slot before Phish dropped into “Harry Hood” to punctuate the set’s improvisation. Picking up a notable pace right away, this version carried the direction and intent of old, moving gracefully and without hesitation, through a fluid, whole-band conversation. The band moved directly to the heart of the matter, side-stepping any meandering in this potent, well-phrased dosage of bliss. Bringing the show to a purifying peak, “Hood” hit the bulls-eye last night, leaving time for an anthemic afterthought of “Golgi.”

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

That was the second set, but the first set felt a whole lot different. Combining choice songs and plenty of structured improv, Phish played a notably laid back set to match the first pleasant evening of summer tour. The pastoral setting of the Finger Lakes region breathed life into the jams of the first set, all adopting a similar musical inspiration. Illustrated most clearly in “Ocelot,” “Reba,” and “Bowie,” this frame was underlined by its improvisational placidity. Each of these central jams sprouted creative roots within this milieu, tying the set together thematically. Trey’s minimalist playing and tasteful whaling contributed to the contour of the opening frame, which took place all under blue-to-purple sky. “The Connection” set the tone for the mellow set whose feel was enhanced by the second “Curtis Loew” of tour – when’s the last time one could say that? “Undermind” was also infused with the laid-back style on display in this non-stop summer stanza.

As we prepare for the final four night run of June, look how far we’ve come. On the third and final Tuesday of tour, Canandaigua provided a lively evening of Phish that set table for the band’s long-anticipated southern run. Ending in Atlanta on the Fourth of July, the first leg of summer is quickly coming to a close, but with four more nights on tap, the adventure is hardly over.

Look out South, here comes the end of Phish tour.

I: The Connection, Down with Disease, Sample in a Jar, Ocelot, Reba, Horn, Funky Bitch, Undermind, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, David Bowie

II: Possum, Mike’s Song > Simple > I Am The Walrus* > Weekapaug Groove, Limb By Limb, Joy, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus

E: First Tube

6.24.10 - Camden (Jeff Thomas)

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2,101 Responses to “Feeling the Finger Lakes”

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  1. Little Buddy Says:

    Never been first before…

    Miner hit the nail on the head with his review. The Mike’s sandwich was HUGE and the beauty of the Hood really can’t be understated. The CMAC pavilion made for a very intimate affair for those of us lucky enough to be inside. Although the security was intent on sweeping the aisles during the first set, they relaxed in the second and the aisles were bumping. Great, great night! (Cool poster too.)

  2. m00nshake Says:

    Great write-up, Miner! I just got through second-set of second-night of MPP. Outstanding, I kicked myself for missing that show. I’ll see you guys in Raleigh and Charlotte (sorry, I’ve got worth the 4th)!!!

  3. m00nshake Says:

    typing too fast, I’ve got to work the 4th!!

  4. Luther Justice Says:

    DL’d this show last night and will make it the soundtrack of my crappy work day. Can’t wait to hear this 2nd set.

  5. Mitch Says:

    Me too LJ. Not enough sleep. This should make for nice zone out train ride music. Bring on the ambience!! … Maybe I’ll add the tower jam or flatbed jam for some really out there stuff.

  6. willowed Says:

    I said it a few days ago…If I had to chose an MVP so far this tour

    Weekapaug gets the nod!!
    Piper….a close second!!

  7. BTB Says:

    Glad you had a good time LB.

    Finishing my RFP this morning, got a quick meeting with “the Bobs” and then off to North Carolina.

    See ya’ll down south for the final four!

  8. Paul Says:

    What I got out of last night besides the incredible mikes groove was an item that shows massive potential for future. To me, although it was standout, the weekapaug jam seemed to fall flat on it’s face at the end. Also, like mr. Miner said, they never really could hook up during lxl. BUT, these weren’t because of poor playing. The band was truly taking risks. Like Trey said, if you are going to take risks, sometimes you are gonna play shit. I don’t think it was shit, but the end of paug and lxl seemed out of sync. You really could tell that the band made conscious decisions to swing for the fences and play into the unknown. If you listen back, you can hear the points in which a member of the band or the band as a whole steps into thr unknown without looking back.
    It didn’t work out perfectly, but the fact that they are willing to still do that means it’s only a matter of time before that swing connects with the pitch, and the jam will rocket out of the park. Big things are coming ladies and gentlemen, big things indeed.

  9. Luther Justice Says:

    BTW, the CMAC poster is very nice.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ all!

    just diving into last night’s show. trey seems nice and banter-y. I like that.

  11. hoedown Says:

    Great write Miner. Very happy to hear their was solid heat and exploration in the jams last. Can’t wait to listen. Safe travels and enjoy the southern Blow-Out!

  12. SillyWilly Says:


    I think Trey is enjoying the heck out of this summer. Its great to see.

    I’m really happy to see that Miner’s review is really positive.

    Its so hard to tell what a show is like from the stream that I get nervous sometimes.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    see picture number 1 from yesterday’s post for proof positive of your statement about the Ginger Jedi. It’s very infectious too. You can’t help but smile when you see how much fun they’re having up there.

  14. Brimley Says:

    “Tasteful whaling”… I love you Miner

  15. Little Buddy Says:

    @ Paul

    Great points! Risks were definitely being taken. Very refreshing when no one in the venue, including the band, knows where the music is headed.

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    Thats the picture I was visualizing, TypeIII, when I made that comment.

    You’re right, totally infectious.

    This weekend is going to be unreal.

  17. fat bastard Says:

    “i am the whale-rus, cho-cho-chachoo”

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    anyone know off hand when the last Reba with whistling was?

  19. Little Buddy Says:

    I am very jealous of all of you that will be following the lines going south. Get ready! It’s gonna blow up…

  20. SillyWilly Says:

    I wonder how traveling affects the band’s performance.

    Could someone fill me in on what the band’s schedule must be since last night heading into Thursday.

    Finish playing last night. Sleep at a hotel? Fly out to Raleigh tomorrow morning? spend Wednesday relaxing a little bit? Then Thursday get back into a little rehearsing especially because we know there’s going to be a few bust-outs and/or new covers this weekend?

  21. fat bastard Says:

    i love how the band is debuting all these “one and done” covers. at this pace we’ll look back at 2010 and have around 20 choice songs that they hand picked for us. trick-or-treat!

  22. Andrew Says:

    I as well love the idea of one new cover a night, placed in different spots throughout the show, adding a new dimension to keeping us on our toes. Hopefully NC sees the debut of Hocus Pocus!

  23. fat bastard Says:

    type 3…indio reba? dont know

  24. KWL Says:

    wish i could hit the southern run

  25. the_rizzle Says:

    silly willy I think they just chill on their tour buses – they each got a coach bus I don’t think they fly anywhere.

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