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:

    7/2 is a top show from tour. as far as great first and second sets, charlotte could be that complete show. i don’t love the lizards placement, or execution, but tough to find issues with this solid show.

  2. kayatosh Says:

    6/11 light – it’s that good. more a textural study. the conclusion is hypnotic and segue into a sharp maze — $$$. wow.

    right out of the gate of 2010 tour.

  3. kayatosh Says:

    i like some of 7/1 too — set one through water in sky and halley’s> light

  4. Prince Nabby Says:

    @ Kaya — curious to know what you didn’t like about the execution of The Lizards? It does seem to lack that light touch the song demands. Was that what you were thinking of?

  5. kayatosh Says:

    and have mercy

  6. Prince Nabby Says:

    Oh yes, and the lyrical flub in the final verse. I’m just catching that now.

  7. Prince Nabby Says:

    OK, gonna turn into a pumpkin if I don’t hit the hay now. Night all!

  8. kayatosh Says:

    nabby: re. lizards — will have to relisten. I remember page shining but also some Off moments. Lizards is a feel song that cannot be forced. it seemed to work better in the old days. (ducks)

  9. ChefBradford Says:

    Lizards had one or two flubs, but I liked the placement and the overall execution. Plus, Lizard right before that dark, sick Carini>FYF? Sweet. I really, as in illegally, love that song though. Ditto Have Mercy, although I’d prefer it not be a standalone piece, especially if they aren’t playing the entire song (they omitted a verse or three)

  10. dognamedwilson Says:

    I’m right there with ya, Gordo. First show was atl 98 and I realized I had some serious catching up to do. Been following the blog for awhile but never had anything to say until folks started hating on my sign. Anyway, the show was amazing and replays better than my last (reunion2) and wifey got her song so I’m stoked. And glad to read that there are other peak-3.0-and-beyond fans here.

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    Welcome Gordo and dognamedwilson

    DNW- what’s the deal with people hating on your sign? Just out of curiosity

  12. kayatosh Says:

    chicaghost just rolled into my dome. gonna see if it’s as good as i remember from my listening back in June. I now have a balanced, clean aud. too work with


  13. butter Says:

    you guys need to quit lookin for flubs

  14. dognamedwilson Says:

    As to other noted issues, we were close enough that I could clearlý see Trey calling out/proposing the next song. I saw him say “gumbo” and was certain that was coming. (Also better than reunion2) I saw someone say basically the same thing a few weeks back and was looking for it.

    Also saw someone ask if Mike was turned up on this tour. I’m curious about that, too. I’ve never heard him as well as I did Sat but always sensed these crazy sounds and vibrations eminating. So I don’t know if he’s louder or if it was just a product of being that close for the first time, but Mike was fucking loud and sick!

    Lastly, we did not feel the pit was overcrowded at any point. We started about 10 rows back from the rail in the first set and had only 3 between us and the rail in the 2nd. When the music started and people started moving everyone had the space they needed. Very respectful crowd in that way.


  15. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    If you look for flubs, flubs will find you.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    reconfirming upon listen that mpp rock and roll takes the cake…

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    for me 😉

  18. butter Says:

    you back in the bay Miner?

  19. GORDO G Says:

    Minor I fell ya… by the way anyone ever tel your the MAN lol….. that whole second set was the goods… a bit underated imo from the boards… mpp 1 set 2 was for realllll!! jams song placement..segues…flow…and great encore…dam near perfect for me.

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ butter yes – quite tired. don’t remember a lick of the flight after buckling my seatbelt

    @gordo. I also love that set…one of my favorites of tour.

  21. GORDO G Says:

    Dam got to work on this thing called spelling…and my Mom teaches English,, Think I might have it down… but obviously not,,

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    and that flight wasn’t pharm-aided, just dead sleep

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    love the lizards placement, after a jam before some dark craziness. the looseness just means they need to play it a little more. they have cleaned up some tunes this tour, others not yet. most interesting thing to me about the lizards was how it was part of a late tour blast of GH tunes. nice of them to kick all that down.

    you know, phish should just say Fuck It, the next festival instead of a costume set we’re doing Gamehendge, if you want to see it come to the fucking festival, we’ll do all kinds of crazy art installations around the GH theme, just really throw it down. I know it’s the opposite of the sneaky you-never-know-when Phish bustout thing, but come on, you have to admit it would instantly elevate it to the most hyped event in phish history. It’d be fun.

    Imagine how awesomely, with all of their Pimp My Festival experience, they could pimp out a motherfucking GH themed festival. There’d be no way to keep such a thing secret, so just come right out with it, and go for it.

    Note: GH is not my thing when it comes to Phish. But IMO they need to eventually do it one more time to close the cycle on it. It seems strange to think it won’t happen, really. And if you’re going to do it, why not do it right?

    Again – this is not me wishing for me. I’d rather see them do a festival dedicated to open collaborative jamming with other high level improvising musicians. But GH is the ultimate fan payoff and it seems like the band is kind of working their way into that kind of mindset.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    jam of the tour for me is the Merriweather Tweezer still, after all is said and done

    just suits my tastes, even though it never goes fully open away from Tweezerspace. I still think it sounds like you’re being attacked by a giant dancing robot made of lava and laser beams….just me?

    Favorite “Phish moment” is definitely Carini >FYF

    just what has clicked most for me, here a couple thousand miles from the action

    By far the biggest thing I have noticed – by far – is how many tracks are in my favorites playlist. Massive, and going to get bigger as I go through the shows again.

  25. sumodie Says:

    ^word on that GH halloween throwdown -that would def drive fest sales. and i never go to shows hoping to catch one (already got one @ great woods 94 though i didnt comprehend it at the time)

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