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. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    LOL at waste sign. @completely, love your sign ideas. though i’d go for “dear phish, just jam”


  2. Jtran Says:


    Makes sense.

    Also, I’d like to give Trey a big round of applause for not cutting off jams abruptly (for the most part) after GW. Cheers, Trey!

  3. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    the fact that Phish is playing so many first set requests just fuels the sign fire.

  4. kayatosh Says:

    “after GW”
    ^^^^^ ???????? what’s GW

    dling a new 6/11 source akg

  5. Prince Nabby Says:

    @Flarrdog — there’s a picture in The Phish Book that shows Trey in a hotel room in Boston with a notebook filled with setlists working out the game plan for NYE 1996. So we can date the existence of setlists at least that far back. At the same time, and as you point out, the existence of setlists doesn’t mean that they are Holy Writ. I’m guessing that for much of 2009 they were followed closely. At other periods, I suspect they were much more guidelines than hard-and-fast schedules. And sometimes they obviously threw the setlist out the window. By all accounts, the celebrated Game/Hoist show from Charleston, WV was completely spur of the moment, and I think that the second set Gamehendge from the Crest Theater in Sacramento in 1993 was also unplanned. It sure is fun to speculate what Mike and Trey are talking about when they chat between tunes, isn’t it?!

  6. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    off topic:


    Could be one hellavu movie.

  7. flarrdogg Says:

    ::joins in round of applause::

    Great things. So happy the band is slaying and those of y’all that hit shows on leg 1 had fun and made memories together. Can’t wait for a taste. Greek, DC, Alpine….I’m coming to git ya.

    boy. man. i saw it again.

  8. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    @ kaya –

    Great Woods

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    “boy. man. i saw it again.”

    ^ one of the best micro-moments of tour

  10. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    as for the saturday night rock n roll. c’mon how can you think for a second that that is a coincidence?

  11. Jtran Says:

    I think NTM means the Verizon Wireless Comcast Outdoor Amphitheater at Great Woods Park, Mansfield, MA.

    Or something like that.

  12. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    BTW – Galactic is performing on Jimmy Kimmel tonight.

  13. flarrdogg Says:

    Nabby- Indeed. Seems certain that in the cowfunk, 4 song-set years through the end of 2.0- and other times throughout history- they were all over the grid and reacted to a theme before the segue into a new tune. Regardless of what the setlist may dictate. I’d love to be a fly on the wall!


  14. kayatosh Says:

    ah, great woods – 6/22. got it. it’s late.

    re. micro moment of tour — 6/25, the thriller theme nailed and perfectly placed w/in a discolicious 2001 jam. The billie jean theme is great and almost there, but thriller is so triumphant and on point. it lasts but a moment. sweet.

  15. ChefBradford Says:

    ^Really want to see Inception. Out yet?

  16. Jtran Says:

    My friend was talking about an interview he saw about it today, said it looked great. Commercials look great, so yea, should be good.

  17. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    July 16, @ chef

    the newer trailer has def reeled me in. first movie I’ve actually be interested in in a while.

  18. kayatosh Says:

    found a real winner audience recording, FOB, for 6/11


    tight show.

    taylorc’s 6/11 fob tape was too heavy on the super low frequencies.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    some phish fan that actually knows things about phish told me some time ago that in the old school days there was always a setlist, then in the late 90s funk n jam era they went to no setlist specifically to increase the spontaneity, and now they are using them again. no idea if that’s true, and if it is, when the transitions.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    6/11 boogie on — $$$. ridiculous mike and page.

  21. halcyon Says:

    Really enjoyed their rendition of In the Aeroplane Over The Sea. I was really interested in this as I read the setlist overseas. Great album by a short lived band.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    agreed, halcyon. cool song.

  23. kayatosh Says:

    gonna head to bed w/ 6/11 light.

    tomorrow some deeper examination of the southern run and a respin of 6/26 RnR.

  24. Prince Nabby Says:

    I’m listening to Charlotte for the first time since the show, and it is every bit as awesome as I remember it being. I love it when a recording matches my memory of the in-the-moment experience. There’s something deeply validating about that . . . there’s a thousand subtle grace notes, licks, and frills that I’m catching through my headphones.

  25. GORDO G Says:

    Thank you guys for the welcome….Like I said its been neat to follow along…you all really know your sht… My first show was 12/7/97 Nutter Center…so been with the boys for a little while…ohhh my god what a first taste that was… been chasing that one ever since…. I never knew the depth of knowdledge that could exist for these boys but you all got it….I will have to stay in on the convo….. by the way how good has wolfmans been this tour total jamzyness!!

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