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. kayatosh Says:

    among many amazing sets.

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    it might be harder to pick best first set?

  3. albert walker Says:

    Toyota bowie is my fav bowie

    Light maze needs more love

    Such a great tour
    Band sounds great

    Not as big a fan of mpp rnr
    Need to go back and spin again

  4. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Chicago best set 1 probably

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    best first sets off top of my head …camden1, charlotte, atl1

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    7/3 is pretty on fire.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    def chi…

  8. kayatosh Says:

    They own this Rage tune. shit! not my taste, obviously, but done well. oh my, trey is good.

    @aw: thought you were sleepin? agreed i gotta respin some early tour, especially 6/11

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh Camden I Set I is pretty incredible

    Totally forgot about that Timber.. that is definitely on my top tier list.

  10. albert walker Says:

    Every light was great though

    Trey was getting his shred back on jibboo gin and possum

    Great energy

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    though mpp2 has the thematic unity, mpp1 r and r and tweeze are hotter than anything the next night….i’ll save my thoughts for future posts…i also love mpp2 II

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    MPP Tweezer still holds overall tour crown for me.

  13. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Is there a comparable to KITN from any shows past? I can’t think of one.

    I felt like I was at a Rage show for 5 minutes.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    I don’t know about that kaya. Pretty rough around the edges until the end when they pretty much have it locked in. Must have been unreal to be there though, would have loved to see it. Trey used to love him some Rage though. Was listening to that shit all the time for a while. Glad he came back to it.

  15. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Can’t say enough about Gordon’s playing. Trey tends to defer a lot more to Mike now, and he’s taken the ball and run with it. He’s shines throughout the show. Man is thumping out there!

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ NTM…we were discussing this…not since Sabotage at MPP ’98, but they didnt pull that off quite as well…

  17. voidboy Says:

    Gordon has seriously been o fire… nice to see Trey “back off” a bit and let him “come up…”

  18. albert walker Says:

    I disagree bingos

    The opening chorus seemed tight as fuck to my ears

    I didn’t hear slop in harpua at all

    I’ve heard 4 or 5 and this one to my ears was one of the stronger versions

  19. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    In years’ past (way, way back) I used to catch Jane’s Addiction, Metallica, Sound Garden, NIN, etc., and from where I was standing, Phish could absolutely blow up in that genre, if that was what they wanted to do. Thankfully, they don’t. But if they wanted to, they proved they could.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    harpua’s lately have been pretty rough in general (e.g., 7/4 there are some noticeable flubs @ the 5 min mark of the post Rage harpua), but there are moments.

  21. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    And the crowd was literally all over the top of it. Like they bought their ticket for that reason.

  22. albert walker Says:

    Oh you mean the rage

    For a phish cover in a live setting it worked
    Tight enough

  23. kayatosh Says:

    i believe gordon is practicing a little carpe diem.

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Harpua was on point for sure, thankfully. I was referring to Kaya saying they owned KITNO, which was owned in spirit, but not execution.

  25. sumodie Says:

    @ NTM…we were discussing this…not since Sabotage at MPP ’98, but they didnt pull that off quite as well…


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