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.

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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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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. butter Says:

    hell yes Nabby,

    total game changer to have the woman fully on board

    happened to bigjig’s wife last year, and we are new and improved Phish crew

  2. butter Says:

    Lycan that link is not working for me

    it shows up orange, just won’t let me click

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    whoops link fail:

    07/01/2010

    try that

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    shit..

    ok here it is:

    http://www.archive.org/details/ChanceFisherBoomBoomRoom07.01.2010

    if this doesnt work..
    just click my name and go to the first show on the list.

  5. butter Says:

    not working for me

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    sorry butter..

    not doing a good job of making it easy for you to listen to us. ;)

    that last link should work.

  7. butter Says:

    bingo

  8. Prince Nabby Says:

    Cheers, Lycan. I am so obsessed with DS these days that it will be a treat to hear that jam emerge. I’ll be reporting back once I’ve had a chance to listen :)

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    word Prince, and FYI that site has it available for streaming…

  10. Prince Nabby Says:

    Meanwhile, I’m rockin’ What it is! and absolutely loving it! Thanks so much for putting this together, C. Is there a list of artists to go with the tracks?

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    7/1 is highly recommended from me – Flowing front to back, with multiple bustouts and deep jamming including History->Da Bears->History, Sun Guy (w/ Dark Star jam)->Rattlesnake->Medicine Daughter->Aluminum Boy, and Plight of My Heart. This might be the best CF since 3/4 in my opinion, and it is definitely filled with dark exploration and overall a HIGH level of tightness/energy. It’s definitely high-level Chance Fisher

    Recap coming soon…

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    Charlotte is a just a hands down fun ass show! Straight to your face, Fuck Your Face, intensity.

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    I saw IT again!!!!

    That was an incredible night

  14. Prince Nabby Says:

    Hey BK: Never got to hear your summation of MPP2. Do you have it available to paste in here? It was the highlight of the tour for me, but I want to get your take . . .

  15. dognamedwilson Says:

    Prince, glad you nabbed a convert nice job!

    lycan, got my premier issue today and me likesý so far. Thanks!

  16. Robear Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ItwERSVTSM

    best ‘harp >kitno’ vid. i’ve found

  17. Prince Nabby Says:

    @ dognamedwilson — well, the thing of it is, I’ve been taking my partner to shows for a while now, so she’s not entirely a newbie, but it was just that all of a sudden she got IT. I have reason to believe that it was a result of Mike’s being so much higher in the mix this year than last. Something about that filthy bass of his seems to speak to her soul. I can’t say I object to it too much either; in fact, I fuckin’ love how prominent Mike is these days.

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    @Prince:

    Here was my post right after MPP2 (—-> LONG)

    ” Oh my god.

    Tonight was INCREDIBLE.

    Walfredo, Mellow Mood OPENER.

    TELA for Christ sakes – I mentioned it last night but never EVER thought they’d play it. I guess my 1/50 ratio that they’d play it was off a bit. ;) This was unbelievable. They looked so happy

    Trey was jumping up and down during Divided Sky peak. My Soul rocked hard. Ginseng Sullivan was great – I’ve been dying to hear that tune.

    Bathtub Gin was huge – peaked like 5 times. Run Like An Antelope was high, HIGH energy and I couldn’t believe how they dropped into Marcoesq. so well.

    Set II:
    I SAW IT AGAIN!!!!!

    From Meatstick on, the band did not take one rest and every song segued into the next in unreal psychedelica. – I Saw It Again was dark/psychedelic to the nth degree – segue into Piper was perfect

    Thia Piper was UNREAL, folks. Moved through very distinct sections of psychedelica and funk. I danced my ass off the whole night and this was one of the big highlights. I am so honored to be at the first show where they truly stretched Piper out into the stratosphere – the groove was THICK folks, they did not let up.

    Into Ghost, at this point my jaw had already hit the floor about 5 times, so this was bonus. The segue into Jumping Jack Flash was *seamless*, and I don’t mean Drowned->Crosseyed seamless, this was PERFECT. And after a high energy Jumping Jack Flash, they go back into I Saw It Again!!!!!! They screamed “I Saw It Again” throughout the whole set, but this was just majestic.

    Contact came next, which was a fun number before the MASSIVE YEM to close the set. People, my mind had been blown for the past hour of straight playing, and they close it with YEM? Unbelievable. I cannot express enough how amazing this show was. I SAW IT AGAIN!!!!!

    This is gonna be one for the history books folks, HUGE psychedelic jams tonight, makes last night look just okay (it was incredible). I am so happy that I had just witnessed what was probably the best show of 2010 thus far. You got huge bustouts, big jams, EVERYTHING you could want. My mind is melted folks, this was UNBELIEVABLE – It really is as good as I’m saying – I’m not just spewing hyperbole.

    Oh, and I sat right near the SBDs and got to see Kuroda melt minds all night. Was sitting right next to the tapers and got to chat with TaylorC and his wife and Mike Dadeli (taper on bt.etree). What a night. What a night. What a night, what a night.

    I’d also like to give a quick shoutout to the BB’ers I ran into tonight:
    It was real nice meeting you @Henry/@Ain’tNoTele – I hope you guys had as incredible a time as I. @Leo, sorry we couldn’t connect, my phone reception sucked and I could not pinpoint where you were, although I probably saw you without knowing. I hope you had a great time.

    Phish tore MPP to shreds in what might possibly be the best show of 2010 tonight, incredible show with NO lulls to be found. I saw IT again!!!!!!

    I may need to pull a Lauren Pepe, no joke. Tonight was majestic folks, the energy in the room was at an all time high. Thanks to all the kind folks I met in the lots/Waterwheel/pre-show/setbreak, I enjoyed sharing in the groove with you all and thank you guys for helping to make my first Phish shows as transcendent and amazing as they were.

    Most of all:
    Thank you PHISH!”

  19. ThePigSong Says:

    yo BB!
    I was mostly disconnected for tour, I would really enjoy a BK review of MPP. So @BK, if ya got one hit me on the email if you don’t want to post it here.

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    oops – nicely done Brandon

  21. Prince Nabby Says:

    nice review, BK! You pretty much encapsulated how I felt too. MPP just kept on delivering, and it kept on getting better and better. I’m so glad your first shows raged so hard. Those are truly ones to cherish!

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure @Prince

    in that main folder with all the zipfiles http://tinyurl.com/WhatItIs-Funk
    there is a textfile with all the artists

    most but not all of my mixes have them

    ====

    damn I hope @garretc checks back

    I want to hear what he thinks of the space trek I sent him on

  23. Prince Nabby Says:

    Thanks, C! Got it now. I really appreciate that. I think this is going to keep me grooving for a while here. Meanwhile, it’s time for me to hit the hay. Gnight, y’all!

  24. Jeffiem Says:

    @ C I just got to the Iko Iko that you mentioned earlier. I’m not sure what the proper GD analog of Face Melting is, but this song is that.

    @Lycan I’ll be sure to check your stuff out.

  25. jdub Says:

    @BK, thanks for posting your MPP 2 review again. Hard to call it a review when it contains so much emotion. It really amazes me that you get it so deeply at such a young age. If only I got it at your age, i would have caught ’92, ’93, 94, ’95…

    kudos to you man, and excellent write up. You captured the music and the experience of a first phish show in the moment very nicely. I found myself getting all excited as i read it. The beautiful thing is you will see it again, and hopefully for many more years.

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