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.


Jam of the Day:

Piper” 6.27.10 II

The centerpiece of tour’s most exciting set.




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. Corey Says:

    @kaya — 6.29 Mike’s>Simple>Walrus>Weekapaug, no?

  2. kayatosh Says:

    @corey. nope. those are mere > transitions, not ->, which represents a blending of song one end and song two beginning, or in the case of 6/25 alska>ASZ a space in between that is neither song and both at the same time.

  3. kayatosh Says:

    that should be: Alaska->ASZ

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    One of the big things in my mind is that from 2004 to 2009 Trey had no one challenging him as a musician in any way close to the way the other members of phish had in the past. I really think that he is still getting used to playing with them again. Think about it. If you are the best player on your team and everyone keeps telling you as much, even if you aren’t playing up to your own standard you are still the best thing out there. Trey now has Mike pushing him every night, which bodes well for when it all really comes together. It has always been a band of stellar players but until everyone is fully back to form something is missing. Fishman was notably behind the curve last year but now seems to be the same old octopus we know and love again.

    It’s as if it is inevitable at this point that they will get there. At least that’s the attitude and outlook I have for it. No matter what though it is fun to enjoy this journey again!

  5. kayatosh Says:

    glad i found a place for 6/29 in my top ten 2010 set I’s

  6. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    greetings from san bernardino!
    almost done with my route 66 roadtrip.
    on topic, it should be obvious by now that Trey can bring the heat in a right state of mind. can he bring IT as often? give it time. after he got clean, he had to likely find himself all over again, nevermind figuring out jams.

  7. Corey Says:

    ^Hmm, the definition of “segue” is to follow or, to proceed to what follows without pause. It’s used to indicate a direction in music. Your definition doesn’t add up. Perhaps a renaming of “segue” to fit your definition…

    Ghost>Jumpin Jack is the closest, me thinks.

    Still, I just call it all music, so what do I know?
    (C’mon, ask me! 🙂 )

  8. Moby Dick Says:

    Fishman isn’t an octopus

    He is an Octopimp.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Corey, what @kaya is describing is a kind of inside-baseball, more specific taxonomy of transitions…I used to see it > and >> but it flipped at some point to ->

    an arbitrary but well established bit of traditional subculture jargon

  10. The Light Between Says:

    Posted this earlier. No response, I’ll try again.
    Of those who received only Greek tickets from PTBM, has anyone received the email yet saying they have been sent out? Or actually received tickets?
    I bought tickets from someone on ebay in April who seems very reputable but is suddenly hard to reach.
    Just wondering how worried I should be at this point, if others have started receiving tickets or not.

  11. kayatosh Says:

    re. -> I took it right from setlists. these are not my determinations, but I concur with them

  12. kayatosh Says:

    “greetings from san bernardino!”

    ^^^ the zappa tune immediately comes to mind.

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    > doesnt exist. > means -> imo

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @waltzer –

    I’m not selling Trey short, or that’s not my intention

    As I said it’s a tough and super complex subject

    for one thing, “skill” per se almost always declines longterm when an artist is getting high all the time, after a quick peak and plateau

    skill in the technical-execution sense, that is

    Playing technically proficient ensemble improv, it seems, requires a very specific kind of flow mindstate. Kind of hyperaware.

    There’s no doubt many musicians over the decades have suddenly started improvising much more freely in the years right after they start using.

    There’s also no doubt that drugs are neither a sustainable “solution,” nor are they required.

    I like what @gdad said about the “pure” Trey very much. A very accurate way of looking at it I think.

  15. Corey Says:

    Oh, I know the jargon…but the jargon is misnamed.

    A segway takes you from here to there.
    A segue takes music from here to there.
    Mike’s ends, then Simple begins…I get it’s not a segue. But several on that list do not by definition constitute labeling as such…err, segue.

    That is why I added 6.29.

    In the MPP Ghost, the tempo and feel remain constant as the Jumpin Jack guitar riffs begin. The band didn’t alter course but merely continued on the path.

    If one were to label segues, then 11.7.96 Gin would have about twenty.

    Wait, what are we arguing about again?

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    I dunno Miner

    I like using the > in certain instances such as the Mikes > whatever > Groove..

    but when marking my setlists for my own bands, I don’t use ->. The > is only used in the setlists when we actually segue…

    so I guess I am quite contrary of myself..

    Nature of a werewolf I suppose.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    “> doesnt exist. > means -> imo”

    there are definitely some typical styles or methods of transition, some much smoother and more musically complex than others

    doesn’t always mean better, but there is a spectrum or range in terms of how they play out

    but if you’re really getting into it, two symbols isn’t enough for all the subtypes

    need ~> and [[—–>> and stuff

  18. Corey Says:

    It’s more fun to NOT label tapes (err, computer files) that way.

    THAT way, when the “segues” happen you are surprised and/or confused.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    when writing by hand I do a full arrow –> bc it looks nicer

    on the computer I do > bc its one less keystroke

  20. lastwaltzer Says:


    Word, this i agree with this
    ” for one thing, “skill” per se almost always declines longterm when an artist is getting high all the time, after a quick peak and plateau

    skill in the technical-execution sense, that is

    Playing technically proficient ensemble improv, it seems, requires a very specific kind of flow mindstate. Kind of hyperaware.

    There’s no doubt many musicians over the decades have suddenly started improvising much more freely in the years right after they start using.”

    That being said I’m sure you can name a ton of great improvisers who stopped using drugs and continued to make incredible music, Trey has the potential to be no different. Thats all I was saying. And it sounds like you agree with that.

    I just think that now he is more in tune with making sure they are playing everything spot on, he wants all of the jams to be spot on.

  21. lastwaltzer Says:

    in short only a matter of time……….unless they stall.

  22. kayatosh Says:

    just look at setlists to see where they use > and where they use -> in writing out sets

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    @corey, that’s why I intentionally mislabel all my files and CDs. Anything labelled “Phish” is actually Django Reinhardt. My actual Phish CDs are all labelled as baroque chamber music

  24. kayatosh Says:

    I’m in the camp that is frustrated with trey as much as I am delighted by his play. There seems to be too many trey centric jams and trey relying too much on his “bag o’ riffs” to fill space. Granted, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to spontaneously create fresh ideas and lines for extended lengths, and go to riffs need to be employed. but trey can become hackneyed quickly (hence the whale, same riffs with more bend) and needs to let the others step forward too. Or let there be space. a more democratic sound is needed. Mike is making a major effort to step up and make his voice heard, and has made many of these tunes more interesting. I think Page has something to say but gets routinely bulldozed.

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    such is the plight of keyboard players kaya

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