A Phishy 4th Finale

"Ghost" - July 4, 2010 - Atlanta (Wendy Rogell)

Phish wrapped up summer’s first leg of tour with an explosive holiday affair that glimmered with setlist glory and was underlined by the band’s tongue in cheek humor, “honoring” America’s birthday. Playing a second set, split into two halves, Phish displayed their improvisational acumen throughout the first, while flexing their comic muscle, poking fun at American history in a classic Independence Day cover. Unveiling two sets of entertaining songs, the improvisational centerpiece of July 4th emerged at the start of the second set in “Disease > Piper > Ghost.”

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

Opening patriotically, Phish stepped on stage and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” before earnestly kicking off the evening with the “Punch You In the Eye.” “The Landlady” posed some technical issues for Trey, but the urgency the band displayed illustrated that their intent was clearly for our delight on this holiday occasion. Dropping right into “Colonel Forbins’s > Mockingbird,” the band continued their Southern jaunts into Gamehendge, albeit without a narration. The band’s classic compositions brought a special feeling to the holiday evening right as the show began, a thread that would run throughout the show.

Continuing the retro-vibe with the tour’s second “Camel Walk,” the band rolled out their third consecutive animal-themed song with the modern-era “Ocelot.” Loafing along with long sustained whale calls, the band lifted a creeping, bluesy excursion as the show’s initial jam. “My Friend, My Friend” brought a menacing interlude before the set picked up with the closing combination of “Bowie,” “Jibboo.” Undulating through a bass-crafty “Bowie,” Trey played along with flowing, yet intricate, lead melodies. A dynamic version capped a month that saw the resurrection of “Bowie,” a song that had grown routine since the the turn of the millennium. Balancing the audience’s darkened head space with the glorious guitar acrobatics act of “Jibboo” Phish left the audience on the highest peak of the set as they hit the break.

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

While the first set was song-based, the second set was backed by concept – first musically celebrating the holiday, then performing a Phishy skit within “Harpua” in recognition of the America’s skewed history. The opening sequence of the set started with the holiday “Disease” that almost everyone knew was coming. Only breaking form for a few minutes, the band delved into a groove as Trey began speaking in his gritty, uncompressed tone. Phish began to build outwards, momentarily, before Trey aborted the jam in favor of keeping the show moving along, pushing forward into the stellar second-set highlight, “Piper.” While not as exploratory as Merriweather’s sprawling epic, this version grew more cohesive, while still packing an improvisational wallop. Sculpting a dramatic piece of densely packed music, Phish squeezed quite a few ideas into the post-rock section of the song. Migrating through a musical forest, dropping bass notes as breadcrumbs, Mike led the band’s path into the woods, as members sculpted their offerings around his core. Notably shying from extended improv, Phish wrapped up a succinct”Piper,” slipping into the third and final “Ghost” of tour.

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

The beginning of this version became a synergy of whale rock and groove as Mike and Trey anchored the jam with their interwoven thoughts. Growing in momentum like a downhill snowball, this rendition vaulted into a high-speed shred-fest. Shying from thick groove all summer, last night’s “Ghost” followed suit, capping the night’s central highlight in tightly locked and climactic fashion. Each segment of this three-piece sequence holds individual merit, but the “Piper > Ghost” is truly where it’s at for the show’s center cut of jamming.

After this flowing opening half of the set, the band juxtaposed a benign musical buffer of “Waste” and “Julius” before dropping into “Mike’s Song.” A particularly short rendition dropped off into “Tela,” the once elusive bust-out that has now been played three times in the past 20 shows. Again referencing Gamehendge, this time within “Mike’s Groove,” little did we know how Phishy things would soon become.

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

With the opening “Oom Pah Pahs” of “Harpua,” the saga of Jimmy continued for only the second time this go-round. Getting analytical in his narration, Trey began discussing the lies of American History that are taught in schools, and how the real truth of the nation’s history is secretly woven into the lyrics of all Phish songs. The story soon turned to Jimmy’s ancestor who traversed the Atlantic, becoming the first settler of our great land. As the pilgrims soon came over to the New World, and “civilization” began to destroy the pristine landscape, Jimmy’s old relative sat in his house listening to his favorite music from “the only band other than Phish that won’t bullshit you,” imploding the venue with Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name.” A clear musical jibe at the glorification of our country’s murderous and bloody foundation, Phish chose a perfectly symbolic cover for a nation whose history is mired in hypocrisy; who throughout their past has said “Fuck You, I Won’t Do What You Tell Me” to just about every country and international force in the world. And they also nailed it. In a summer of one-time covers, this ’90s anthem of angst vaulted to the top-shelf as Fishman carried the vocals while the band perfectly mimicked the intense, punk-rock stylings of Zack de la Rocha’s outfit. Coming back around to “Harpua” and closing with break-neck”Weekapaug,” the band wrapped up a classic set that will go down in July 4th legend.

While carried by songs, Phish still carved a chunk time in their holiday show for jamming, ending tour with a crowd-pleasing evening that put a premium on fun to close out a significant month of music. Providing show highlights with multiple dips into the Gamehendge mythology, bust-outs, jamming, and comedy, the band put on a show that left everyone glowing for their post-tour holiday parties. With a month off before the Greek, there are many moons to break down the incredible month that was; but for now it’s high time for some rest.

Miner – over and out.

I: The Star Spangled Banner, Punch You In the Eye, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, Camel Walk, Ocelot, Heavy Things, My Friend, My Friend, Lawn Boy, David Bowie, Gotta Jibboo

II: Down with Disease > Piper > Ghost, Waste, Julius, Mike’s Song > Tela, Harpua > Killing in the Name* > Harpua, Weekapaug Groove

E: First Tube

*Debut, Rage Against the Machine

7.4.10 - Atlanta (Wendy Rogell)

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484 Responses to “A Phishy 4th Finale”

  1. sumodie Says:

    psyched i still have the last 5 shows to spin

    and less than 30 days til my next one

    but so much real time to take care of first

  2. Chez Rolez Says:

    First of all, why do some people have to get so friggin inebriated to go to a Phish show… I mean, go to a goddamn meeting or something. Don’t come to the show and stand in the middle of the walkway, or in the general admission area and flail yourself like a whirling dervish with no regard for people’s personal space. Go to the top of the lawn where you won’t annoy anyone. If you’re one of these people you’re a FUCKING RETARD and you annoy EVERYONE!! I don’t like my wife being (accidentally) hit in the face by a (very) sweaty mollied out shirtless hairy dude with a pacifier around his neck. I mean, COME ON. You’re like 35yr, and you have a pacifier. Remember, most people came to see Phish, not your dumbass. That being said……. sorry for the rant. Ok, now as far as the music.

    I was completely, COMPLETELY blown away by the 2 night ATL run (my only of the tour). These two ATL shows were my wife’s first Phish shows. And although, as she puts it, “I think they’re alright but it’s just not my thing,” she danced her ass off, and sang the lyrics that (unbeknown to me) she had picked up while riding in the car. Tonight she asked me to burn her a copy of the shows. I think that speaks volumes about just how GREAT Phish sounded, well since i’ve now listened to most of it, this whole tour.

    I tried to explain to her and one of our friends (her 2nd show) that one could go to 20 or 30 random shows and not hear Forbin, Sanity, Harpua, Detiny Unbound, etc… and we heard them on a two night run. Not too mention the stellar performances of all the rest.

    Sure there are “flubs”, but come on… Phish isn’t about perfection, they never were, but rather they are about journey and having fun. In that light, every show is perfect despite their obvious occasional flubs.

    To all who while on tour ARE respectful and courteous, and there are many, THANK YOU!! Again, sorry for the rant…

  3. Robear Says:

    @ sancho

    It’s Phish, people. Christ. Quit taking yourselves so seriously. All the bickering on the first couple pages today is READICCULOUS

    ^sancho’s opening statement this morning. thanks for telling me how to take myself.

    if this was a “life evolving experience” for you, you need to lay off the Robane and do a little more reading.

    ^do i need to list the history books i’ve read? phuck off

    and for the record mister positive, i was mostly referring to the flack that naked guy was throwing my way.

    done with this space for awhile. had an incredible time with the phish and the scene. managed to avoid meeting the wrong ones.

    Thank you so much, Miner.

  4. BTB Says:


    Got work to do today but I’ll be around.

    Big thanks, fist pump and ass slap to Leo Weaver and the rest of the southern crew!!!!

  5. BTB Says:

    1 more thing,

    “Killing in the Name” of rocked the fuck out!! Never rocked that hard at a PH show ever. period.

    Not sure what the chatter has been about regarding this song, but I couldn’t care less, no one can take away that amazing PH moment for me.


    Also, as I told others that night, I heard a collective “gasp” when Trey said started up the the Harpua speech about the founding of the country. It made me nervous for a second too, but I think peopled were worried about a “liberal agenda” moment, but I don’t think that’s what went down. That was good natured PH at its best. AND IT ROCKED!!!!

  6. Mr. Murph Says:

    This guy was next to me on the lawn. Was asleep the whole first set, and laid on his back the 2nd set. Threw up during MitM. Apparently he ate 2 gooballs and thought he was dying. I have a problem with that. Your wasting your ticket. Someone outside the gate could have enjoyed the show, but no, you were on the ground the entire time like a chump ass custy.

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