A Look Back: A Macro View

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Gazing back over the past month, there are many aspects to the first leg of summer tour that deserve discussion in detail. But before delving into subject-specific posts, let’s begin with some general thoughts on a month that represented a huge step forward in the re-evolution of Phish.

The band showcased bold confidence during June and early July, and this re-found musical urgency brought a sense of tension and drama back to their improvisation. Whether they sat amidst a structured or open jam, Mike and Trey routinely led the band with dynamic interplay of the likes we hadn’t seen since the late ’90s. Often starting jams in  minimalist style, Trey allowed Mike to direct improv, as Gordeaux essentially played “lead-bass” throughout the tour. But the beauty of their partnership quickly became apparent – Trey’s chops had finally caught up to Mike’s – a factor that elevated the duo’s output to the the next level and provided an unparalleled core for their music.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Phish began to reach a balance of open and structured improv before reeling things in a bit through the end of tour, favoring energetic forward rock and roll to exploratory jamming. Busting out of the gate in Chicago and Blossom with “Light,” “Ghost,” “Rock and Roll, and a “Number Line” that still sits amongst the most creative pieces of tour, it seemed that experimentation would, once again, become a focus of Phish. But as tour moved on, the band backed off their exploratory mission, leaving “Light” as the only guaranteed sonic experiment, but their playing and their shows remained strong. A Hartford-heavy weekend in the Northeast, led by 6.18’s second set, was promptly blown away by the tour’s peak the following weekend in Camden and Merriweather.

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

In a weekend that featured the most adventurous playing of the month, Phish seemed to reach a breakthrough on the second night of Camden, taking the unsuspecting anthem of “Chalk Dust” for one of the most transcendent rides of its career. Playing a stunning second set, Phish also included a thick exploration of groove in “2001” and one of the tour’s most experimental versions of “Light.” Riding this cresting wave, Phish tore apart two nights in Merriweather with, arguably, the two strongest second sets of the moth. The first night shone with one of the tour’ s top excursions in “Rock and Roll” and a demonic “Tweezer,” while the second night’s main event takes the cake for the most conceptually unified and Phishy set of the summer – not to mention massive exploration of “Piper” that stood at its center. Overlooked in this set is also a swampy “Meatstick” jam that preceded the  “I Saw It Again” sequence that whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

After the weekend in the Mid-Atlantic, the community looked at the final five shows, salivating with anticipation. But while the final stretch of shows boasted consistently strong two-set efforts, with stellar flow, the shows never reached the cosmic liftoff that we experienced the previous weekend. Raleigh’s “Light,” Charlotte’s “Drowned,” and Atlanta’s “Caspian > Tweezer” and “Piper > Ghost” provided stellar musical treks that came as a side dish with the fiery energy, precise playing, and non-stop setlists of the final stretch of shows.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

In conjunction, one of the most encouraging trends of leg one was the revitalization of Phish’s structured jamming, an element of the band’s repertoire that had grown stale in their latter years. This summer, songs like “Harry Hood,” “David Bowie,” “Reba,” “Bathtub Gin,” and “Stash,” have taken on new life, providing considerably more engaging jams than in their recent past. The creativity of their structured jamming has fomented the unknown rather than the routine, providing excitement where there used to be stagnation. This upswing has given the overall contour of Phish shows a huge boost over the past month. The same trend has held true for newer songs such as “Ocelot,” Stealing Time,” “Twenty Years Later,” and “46 Days.” Thus when Phish wasn’t in the stratosphere, their shows always maintained a fresh and creative energy that had lacked through ’09.

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

And then there was the onslaught of new covers. Evoking memories of Summer ’98, Leg I saw the debut of several one-time covers. The question now remains, “Which, if any, of these songs will stay in rotation?” Highlighted by Led Zeppelin’s “The Rover, The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus,” and the now-famous July 4th rendition of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name,” Phish has more than a few choices. Coupled with several new originals, setlists took new twists during the opening stretch of 2010.

With four strong sets in Alpharetta, Phish punctuated a tour that oozed progress and positivity, while forging a new sound for the new decade. With less than a month before the band hits the Greek Theatre, we’ll barely have enough time to inspect the amazing month that was before heading west for Leg II. But every journey has a first step, so off we go.


Jam of the Day:

Chalk Dust > Caspian” 6.25.10 II

This wide-open exploration of “Chalk Dust Torture” in Camden, New Jersey, sparked one of the most adventurous second sets of summer.




6.25.2010 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ < Torrent

6.25.2010 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ < Megaupload

Official Camden Poster

This second show in Camden sparked a three-night stretch that stood out among the rest Summer’s opening leg.

I: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Runaway Jim, Army of One, Free Man in Paris*, Summer of ’89, Split Open and Melt, The Sloth, Time Turns Elastic, Golgi Apparatus

II: Chalk Dust Torture > Prince Caspian > Heavy Things, Alaska > Also Sprach Zarathustra** > Light > Possum, Character Zero

E: Shine a Light

*Debut, Joni Mitchell

** w/ “Wanna Be Starting Something,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller” teases

Source: Schoeps mk4v> KC5> M222 > NT222> Aeta PSP-3 > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz) (Taper: taylorc)

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830 Responses to “A Look Back: A Macro View”

  1. Gratefulcub Says:

    A+ to C’s dead mixes. Nice introduction to several eras. Very kind of him, obviously a labor of love.

  2. Jeffiem Says:

    I will definitely check that out, Mr. C

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    the hip part of the younger generation in portland are huge on reading

    one of the cooler elements of the hipster scene here


    the big GD studio album track mix is almost ready to post too

    much, much better than the stereotype would have you think

  4. butter Says:

    benefit of vaporizer:

    i don’t burn holes in seats listening to Fuck your Face

  5. DukeOfLizards Says:


    That is wild. I don’t know how it keeps happening but it’s definitely one of the reasons I love PH.

    There are many, many other reasons.

  6. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Mr. Completely Says:
    July 7th, 2010 at 7:14 pm
    From the Desk of: Mr. Completely
    ========= W00K STATUS REPORT =========
    Subject: Tzara’s Ghost
    [ ] w00k
    [x] non-w00k
    Confirmed? YES

    ^score! Luckily you didn’t fill out a custy report.

    Great to meet you, C.
    And no, folks, he is not a wook.

  7. Frankie Says:

    Montreal Jazzfest finally over… Trombone Shorty, Allen Toussaint & fireworks last night in a New Orleans special closer (I have to make it down there soon!)

    I have a few days of rest before goin’ back up north to wrap up this treeplanting season… I’ll buy an ipod and put only Phish 2010 on it…

    Meanwhile, beware the power of the wook!

  8. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Mr. Completely Says:
    July 7th, 2010 at 7:14 pm
    From the Desk of: Mr. Completely
    ========= W00K STATUS REPORT =========
    Subject: Tzara’s Ghost
    [ ] w00k
    [x] non-w00k
    Confirmed? YES

    Just glad he didn’t fill out a custy report.
    Great to meet you, C.

    And no, folks, he is not a wook. Saw a few in PDX though.

  9. jdub Says:

    As a post Jerry fan I have relied on a couple of long time fans to share and educate me on the ways of the Dead. Mr. C has been a cyberblessing for GD knowledge and insight. I am so grateful for all GD info you put out there. I was GD fan before I got into Phish and craved that experience. Phosh was dead in the water by the time I realized they were offering a similar experience. So I am so psyched that Phish is back and attempting to transend GD and just as psyched that my favorite Phish watering hole has GD regulars.

  10. garretc Says:

    Hey Mr. C, if you’re still around, I remember you mentioning a few days ago a couple Drums > Space that were required listening for the kind of people who believe such a thing exists when talking about drums in space, but I don’t remember what you called them nor the dates, if you even provided them? So if you could point me in the right direction I’d be much obliged!

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    i know i keep showing up late to the game.

    but i also throw out my support of Mr. C’s mixes.

    Great stuff.

    Very helpful for an uneducated, but interested blooming GD fan such as myself.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    and also, if you haven’t got it yet, his What It Is! funk mix is pure party.

  13. flarrdogg Says:

    “I SAW IT AGAIN!!”

    that is all.

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    easy there Vince..

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    calling all lurkers….

    whats happenin out there?

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    well @garretc

    I was referring to a couple of back to back nights in 1982

    they are not “standard” drums and space but they are certainly worth a spin. I would say do them in order and DO NOT read any of the comments on the pages I link to before listening.


    you may ask yourself, after listening to these, “Self,” you’ll say, “what exactly the fuck was going on backstage at these shows?” And, you will not be the first to have wondered this.

    In addition to the “no spoilers” admonition above I would suggest not merely a normally altered music-appreciation kind of perspective, but indeed as deeply shifted a mentality as you can easily achieve within the context of your existing evening schedule…for maximum enjoyment, I mean.

  17. Prince Nabby Says:

    Hey Lycan: What’s up? I’m just sitting here, playing with Expedia, trying to figure if I can afford to fly in to Indianapolis and out of Milwaukee to do the DC>Alpine run. How’s tricks with you?

  18. butter Says:

    daughter is bathing

    just finished dinner

    28 days of rehab left before Greek

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    so @butter what you are trying to say is that “28 Days Later” you are gonna be a rage zombie?

    Hell yes.

    Prince –

    I been doing good, staying pretty busy musicwise, which is why I missed Phish’s epic southern swing this year.

    However I feel like we have been developing quite nicely, in which it was well worth it to be playing my own music.

    Hope all goes well with you and it seems you had a blast in your run of shows.

  20. Jeffiem Says:

    Soaking up this Terrapin Station, and doing very very early LSAT prep… probably not doing either very effectively.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    for “normal” drums and space I’d have to really think about it

    my favorite drums to listen to is the Hart/Moreira/Purim album Dafos

    don’t bother on MP3 though


  22. butter Says:

    how are the bands going @Lycan?

  23. Prince Nabby Says:

    @ Lycan — I’ll definitely download some recent CF shows if you have any specific ones to recommend. And, yes, the first leg of the summer was magnificent musically, on top of which my gf had something along the lines of a religious conversion to Phish which just generally makes my life better than ever 🙂

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    glad you guys like the mixes.

    wasn’t actually fishing for compliments but it’s nice to hear.

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    re: bands

    going well..
    posted this a few days back:

    07/01/2010: Boom Boom Room

    I am particularly fond of this show..
    Really pleased with the unplanned Dark Star jam that developed in the second half of Sun Guy. Very flowing show from top to bottom.
    Very worth checking out IMO.

    I also have started up a CF mailing list that will keep you updated with downloads, BK’s blog entries, and hopefully dates around the country…

    if interested hit me up:

    lycanthropist DOT kelly AT gmail DOT com

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