Boy. Man. I Saw It Again.

6.27.2010 - Merrriweather (Graham Lucas)

While Phish put together several flowing second sets during summer’s opening leg, one stood head and shoulders above the rest. In most frames of summer, even the better ones, Phish included slower segments, stops for air, and breaks from jamming. While these aspects don’t necessarily hurt sets, the lack of these factors can surely contribute to a top-notch offering. Concluding their tour’ s peak weekend, Phish stepped on stage at Merriweather for the eighth and final set, and spun the most impressive stanza of of 2010. Including choice bust-outs, exploratory improv, and impeccable craftsmanship, no other set of summer approaches the musical cohesion and flow of Merriweather’s Sunday night delight.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

While other halves may have brought higher peak moments, few maintained a similar molten flow, and none carried the thematic unity, non-stop action and utter Phishiness of the weekend’s closing showcase amidst the woods of Maryland. After playing the two most exciting shows of tour on the previous two-nights, Sunday could have gone either way – a reeled-in breather or a blowout that upstaged every other set of the weekend. And in move that resembled the Phish of lore, the band chose the latter.

As Phish stepped onto Merriweather’s deeply-recessed stage, dropping “Wilson” to spark their Mid-Atlantic finale, the Gamehendge opener didn’t indicate any particular direction, hiding the band’s intentions. But as they slipped into the first “Meatstick” of the year, and only the second of this era, the millennial anthem notably juiced the crowd, as Trey wrung emotion from his solo before leading the band into a murky bog of groove. Thickening by the moment, the rhythms began plotting their own liquid course into night, but Trey had other ideas. Coming in abruptly with the opening riff of “I Saw It Again,” he waved off his band mates who continued the bulbous groove, creating the only awkward moment of the set. Finally giving in to their front man, the band broke stride and began “Saw It Again,” a move that seemed odd at the time, but provided the creative impetus for the rest of the night. The elusive Phish-metal quest  became the dark thread, tying together the musical suite of the summer.

6.27.10 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

Digging into the piece’s sharp edge, Phish annihilated the rarity, tacking on a heavy and abstract, post-lyrical segment, where all band members continuously shrieked “I Saw It Again!” over evil textures. Indulging in their sinister brew, the band stretched out the piece, into a harrowing sculpture of dissonant psychedelia. Blending the song’s sonic residue and final screams  into the opening of “Piper,” the band stepped into one of the summer’s defining jams. As Trey sung the song’s initial round, he comically referenced the phrase “I Saw It Again” in rhythm with the climbing lyrics – a theme that would run throughout the set. But when Phish finally let loose, careening into “Piper’s” jam, a stunning piece of creativity was born.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Connected with crazy glue and firing musical ideas like a sawed-off shotgun, Phish locked into, perhaps, the summer’s most jaw-dropping sequence. Without a clear, linear path, the band collectively navigated this jam like a ship bouncing in the white-waters of the open sea. Combining their dense musical style with an improvisational abandon seldom seen these days, the band took the audience for a maniacal magic carpet ride. Just as one member relented, another would introduce a new idea, furthering the aggressive odyssey without losing any sense of union. All four members connected profoundly in this break-neck chase, confirming their lasting ability to rewrite the cosmos on any given night. The electrifying piece ended naturally, descending into a slow groove drenched in ambient effect and harmonies, that soon morphed into the molasses of the long-awaited, second “Ghost” of tour.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Within the composed breaks, Trey, congruently and comically, continued the set’s theme, fitting the lyrical quote “I Saw It Again” within the rhythm of other songs. Launching into the jam with multi-note runs over a deep pocket, Trey soon turned to the whale in some incredibly tasteful use of the summer tone. As the band  built a mountain of momentum, Red alternated tones, as the band wound up in shredding peak. With energy sky-high, Trey unleashed passionate leads over the driving foundation, carrying out the musical intensity. And in the surprise of the set, without letting on, Phish had built “Ghost” into The Rolling Stones’ classic “Jumping Jack Flash,” and all Trey did was step to the mic and begin to sing,  in as a segue that was as seamless as possible.

The band’s take on the Stones’ kept the set moving at a relentless pace, while providing a dark cover to go with an already menacing frame of music. Jamming off the song’s ending, Phish entered a distinct groove and began chanting ” I Saw It Again!”, returning to the song that started this tenacious summer marathon. Peaking the suite with a final gasp of guitar fury, the band calmly dripped into”Contact,” a piece inserted perfectly in its traditional post-psychedelia slot in the setlist. Gordon’s metaphorical, auto-comedy  also featured lyrical teases of “Saw It Again,” setting up a set-closer that could only be “You Enjoy Myself.”

"YEM" 6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Punctuating a night that touched the very essence of Phish, the band’s seminal opus presented the clear choice to end the night. And just as “Contact” ended, Trey counted off into “YEM.” As the band moved through the composed half with pristine playing, by the time “the note” hit, Phish had Merriweather on the verge of explosion. Jumping over the cliff and landing in the awaiting ocean of funk, Trey substituted his scream of “Boy!” with “I Saw It Again!”, threading the comedy through the entire second half. Then, as the band vamped over the “Wassha Uffizi” section, Trey stepped to the mic in one of the frozen, micro-moments of tour and sang, “Boy, man! I saw it agaaain!” Bringing an ear-to-ear grin to himself and every last person in the crowd,Trey’s last lyrical nod pumped  the show full of the type of energy only a set like this can; and the band and the crowd bounced upon the tramps together, preparing for the upcoming incineration. As Trey and Mike hit stage, the band inserted a crafty quote of “Jumping Jack Flash” into the onset of their infectious groove. Capping the night with a celebratory dance session, Phish moved from sparse funk into a rolling musical snowball, gathering force through a succinct, yet powerful, version. And they tactfully closed the jam with the same “Jumping Jack Flash” quote with which they had started, ending an evening that was soaked in spirit of Phish.

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Weaving their clever brand of humor into a non-stop set of scintillating improv, the band threw down their strongest musical statement of the early-summer within the cozy confines of Merriweather Post. Leaving the woods of Columbia that night, five shows remained after Phish had redefined their summer tour over the past four. Interestingly enough, however, the final stretch never reached the level of Merriweather, as the band favored straight-forward, rocking affairs. Highlights certainly bubbled throughout the South, but never a set like the one the band unleashed on the Sunday of tour’s most eventful run. Combining all aspects of the Phish experience into a ceaseless adventure, June 27  – set II stands alone as the shining star of tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper” 6.27.10 II

The centerpiece of tour’s most exciting set.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ph2010-06-27t16.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.27.2010 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD < Torrent

6.27. 2010 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD < Megaupload

Official Merriweather Poster

I: Walfredo, Mellow Mood, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Tela, My Soul, Ginseng Sullivan, Sample in a Jar, Bathtub Gin, Brian and Robert, Run Like an Antelope

II: Wilson, Meatstick > Saw It Again > Piper* > Ghost* > Jumpin’ Jack Flash** > Saw It Again > Contact*, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Fire

*w/ “Saw It Again” lyrical teases

**Debut, The Rolling Stones

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

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759 Responses to “Boy. Man. I Saw It Again.”

  1. Robear Says:

    Fat B, pull my finger, I mean click my name.

    Your presence is required.

  2. jdub Says:

    How did caspian become fuckerpants?

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    I love it, a week ago robear was being labeled a communist, this week he is an advertising agent.

  4. joe Says:

    I wish I could chart the “consumer confidence” index of this place. Seems like the further away from the last show we get, the lower the feelings of the current state of the band get. maybe distance gives us the ability to be critical. just funny how it fluctuates. (not singling out aw by any means here as I was already thinking of this before the last turn in the conversation)

  5. lastwaltzer Says:

    @jdub,

    stumps

  6. albert walker Says:

    the feeling for me is the same C except I never saw hot Dead.

    at the dead 93-95 it may not even be a whole jam. just a few bars of a jam, but that machine would get going locked in and you would just feel it. like the old tapes. it would sound right.

    that’s how I feel at these 3.0 shows. For me the Miami tweezer was the first moment where I was really like damn that’s my band.

    this year I’ve had it more than that no doubt and I feel the upward projection so I agree it probably isn’t fair to make those comparisons until this stalls out.

    cuz it is still getting better tour to tour. I guess it’s more my fear. who knows. like lw said I’m not judging this incarnation of Phish until new years 2010. that’s a lot of shows away.

  7. fat bastard Says:

    that seems like a cool festival. manistee is awesome i used to go fishing up there with my dad. i might have to check it out.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    @jdub, it didn’t “become” fuckerpants, it IS Fuckerpants.

    ====

    I don’t think @aw is on the fence at all

    I think he has a nuanced opinion and is both positive in his overall longterm view while being realistic about exactly where we are, “objectively” speaking

    It seems like a dead-on analysis to me

    This year is better than last year; almost every show has something to love; most sets are at least played crisply and with energy; flubs and outright botches are down, but not gone, so that few shows are without them but also few are really problematic overall in terms of slop; the jamming kind of comes and goes, and really varies in terms of how creative it truly is…

    that’s what I haveread in from @aw’s analysis: he almost always has fun, but isn’t sold on this being something more than it is – though that’s good enough for now

    …seems like Miner has a similar opinion, based on his post re: ’95 earlier

  9. albert walker Says:

    shaking walls spinnin this Mudhoney SuperFuzz BIgmuff

    great fuckin album

  10. Jtran Says:

    In my eyes I really do see an obvious upward trend that isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

    I think of it like this..to reach a peak in 95 they’d been playing together consistently and constantly for 10+ years. They’ve been back together playing now for less than two. Obviously it won’t be 10 years to reach a huge peak due to the cohesion and skills they’ve gained throughout their career, but it’s a definite process which we may not see peak until 2012 or so. Assuming the world is still around, I see great Phish in the future.

  11. Jtran Says:

    I may also be more optimistic about things because I never got a chance to see the band during their peak years, but I’m also by no means a fluffer.

  12. Jtran Says:

    But I like what someone said a week or so back…Why is Phish 3.0 better than 95 Phish? Because Phish 3.0 plays tonight.

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    this ATL Possum really got flattened!

    daaaay-uummm

    fiery

    I usually swerve Possums

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    at this point the trend is what it is: upwards

    hard to deny that

    @joe, I would say it’s a different kind of discussion

    now is more about weighing the technical after-the-fact stuff

    really that pales in comparison to the show experiences people had

    I think most folks here are sophisticated enough to know that we’re talking about something different now than we were a week or 2 ago

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah @lycan

    not my song either but that one goes KABOOM

  16. albert walker Says:

    some of my more negative opinions I keep to myself Palmer.

    Let’s just say Trey is the band’s worst enemy as always IMO and I’ll keep it at that.

    The let’s play the hits. bust outs not substance that has been going on can get old.

    I’m just still where I’m going to shows to have fun and get down with friends. It’s not like I’m hearing tapes the next day and going damn I need to get on tour to hear this.

    getting there. I could see it easily stalling out or hitting a new peak so from that aspect I would be on the fence. I’m not convinced yet this is going to turn out great but haven’t seen much to say it won’t either.

    have enjoyed every show I’ve attended but spinning them afterwords they just aren’t extremely interesting to me as entire performances yet. little pieces here but not in its entirety.

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    cant wait to see what makes the cut on Miners Picks: Summer 2010

  18. fat bastard Says:

    i’m pretty sure the band has a plan going into each leg of the tour. i could see trey saying “i don’t care if we play divided sky every night, lets get it right.” same with some of the other songs heavy in the rotation. i’m sure next leg will focus on some other songs that they’ll be working on till fall. and no RnR at either to-hell-you-ride or the greek.

  19. jdub Says:

    Let’s not forget that the BB is a very small sampling of critical yet optimistic fans. Go to PT and you have threads suggesting the band calls it quits after this year. Find a group of young fans just getting on the bus and this is a slice of heaven where the sky is the limit.

    As long as these guys are happy playing and feel creative about their music then the sky is the limit. It never will be like the ole days regarding music style but it seems everyone is getting off in a big way at all these shows. Hell, even the road tested Miner gave major thumbs up to 16 of the 18 shows. This is good, they are playing better music than just about anybody, and 3 years ago we just wanted this band to play again more than anything. I for one am a very happy fan right now.

  20. albert walker Says:

    but I’m the most pessimistic cat on the planet and have had a love hate relationship with Trey forever so it is what it is

    I’m actually quite positive of 3.0. has surpassed my expectations to this point for sure.

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    “For me the Miami tweezer was the first moment where I was really like damn that’s my band.”

    I can appreciate this thinking *and* how different everyones personal barometer is. My excitement at JB2 last year (my first back in 3.0) had me thinking the show was the tits. it wasn’t necessarily. but the “power and grace” that i’ve been talking about since last Fall….when they’re playing with passion, momentum, precision, nimbleness, “the music plays the band”-ness, turn-on-a-dime-flow, all that….i’ve been seeing hints of that kind of majesty.

    so many of you have really keen eyes and ears…it’s one of the real benefits of hanging around this place…i’ve tightened up my personal criteria as a result…but sometimes AW’s baseline gut feel is all you need….i definitely got some “hey, that’s my band” feelings this summer…CLT Carini (even tho that’s just a funky rave-up….sinister but not too challenging) had me remembering their real command of music. true command.

    when they have their nutsacks out for a full set or a show we’ll all know it. they certainly had fun and went big this summer, but we haven’t necessarily seen the neutron bomb.

    i think the idea that’s been put out there many times this past year plus is “they have the ability to flatten entire cities whenever they want…why don’t they do it every time?” is still a mystery to me…and a reason i try to get as many shows as i can. the fact that they might push the detonator when i’m there (camden, CLT were pretty fucking sick).

  22. albert walker Says:

    that Miami tweezer line didn’t give enough love to the RR Tweezer

    cuz although I do think the Miami was hotter the RR was def the first taste of that funky, slick, sticky, jazz shit

    and my new tweezer. that atlanta tweezer. Fish is just fuckin beating that shit.

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    MPP Tweezer still holds up as my favorite 3.0

    then Miami
    then RR
    then ATL

    I like my Tweezers dark and menacing…

  24. kayatosh Says:

    pretty sure I like 7/3 tweezer best, then 6/18, then 6/26

  25. jdub Says:

    Miner’s reviews are fun and give a fantasticly colorful description of the music but AW gives a very realistic perspective on the music. Very on
    point, backed with reason, and minus the emotion. Judging from your recent opinions on this tour I would say the trend is looking good.

    Trey seems to be the major x-factor right now. The other 3 are playing at very high levels but the jams and the band go as Trey goes.

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