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. Corey Says:

    ^nope. His group playing is great, but he’s almost always been lost on how to create/build a solo. There are many exceptions, but as far as ability to lead with a line, he is not the phinest.

    For my tastes, I need real improv chops that don’t rely on gizmos and theremins. Although I enjoy gizmos and theremins a bunch. I want Page to blow me away with a solo. Rarely has he. Coil’s cadenzas are great to hear though, but often get a bit musically “wordy,” kind of like my posts sometimes…

    Still, not sure what another player would do in his place. As a 4th group member he fits better than another and I’m not sure that Mehldau himself would work in that chair. But, Page would make me smile a lot if he took another page or two from him, calderazzo, or any of the trad. cats.

    My couple o’ copper…

  2. willowed Says:

    Haly I think age has a lot to do with it. Back in 95-00 I was 21-26 and going to shows was filled with extra things in the system 😉
    Now it’s more about the music and not getting my eyes rolled back in my head.

  3. willowed Says:

    But then again….I still like getting my eyes rolled back in my head with a firm kick to the face. Now I can only handle that once every three nights rather than every night…if you know what I mean.

  4. willowed Says:

    That shit is taxing on the old brain…..but it sure is fun

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    here’s the thing for me

    bands that are on the edge can churn out thrilling moments night and day for awhile, but soon they slip and those are mixed in with really bad nights and soon enough most of the nights are bad and then somehow it ends.

    what they’re doing now, this smooth upward arc they have so far, of tuning up the pieces and getting everyone back in line and getting the logistics figured out and all, a slow accumulation of increasing successes, there’s no reason it couldn’t go on for some time.

    given enough time for things to happen, at some point the pieces may fall into place for a run at history.

    or they may just play a whole bunch of “merely great” shows that are better than anything else you’re likely to be doing that Thursday or whenever

  6. Corey Says:

    @willowed, I thought I overheard your wife telling your kids to aim for the nuts!?!?? jk.

    That second Tweezer Reprise was a firm kick to the face, for sure.

  7. halcyon Says:

    I hear ya Willowed. I run the gamut of wanting long open ended jams, to free jazz, short tight dense jams. The more I think about it, I agree with everyone, and the points they make, and disagree as well. :mrgreen:

  8. Corey Says:

    @Mr. C — or they may just play a whole bunch of “merely great” shows that are better than anything else you’re likely to be doing that Thursday or whenever

    So far, that is to be true…but i would add Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday to that list. Still better than any other rock and roll act out there.

  9. Corey Says:

    What I don’t want PHiSH to do:

    –BP says it has installed a new cap on the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, which it hopes may contain the flow.–

    No caps and no flow containment for PHiSH please…

  10. jdub Says:

    Very nice evening discussion.

    A habit of mine recently after work has been to head to a sweet spot on the river, put on the headphones with some gear and get lost for 20 minutes. Yeah, it’s a bit selfish but after a long day at work I need a break before I go home and give myself to the kids and household items. And that was where I left this convo that resembles the Chalkdust jam, which is what I was I jamming to at the time.

    As an artist/stoner myself I really feel for Trey. And am saddened that Jerry lost control of the beast he helped create.

  11. willowed Says:

    Ok boys,
    I need to run. Great convo tonight. My wife is actually yelling at me to get the fuck off that board and come hang out with me.
    Also. Ortiz The Great is about to win the derby.
    Go Sox!

  12. Jtran Says:

    I’m pretty sure Trey is whaleing during Maze on the Vegas dvd

  13. jdub Says:

    And 3.0 suites my mind set just fine. I haven’t seen the boys as long as others but I have been through the ringer just the same. And the message being sent out this time around is very appropriate and sustainable. The longer, deeper jams will come. Just not as often. Which makes being there even sweeter.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @jdub

    as lifelong deadhead nothing would please me more to see Trey escape the Jerry trap once and for all

    really seems like he is making the right moves so that is very great to see

  15. halcyon Says:

    LLFA Corey!

    Well said Mr. C and JDub…

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    My god, Budos Band and Caribou just killed it at Millenium Park. The crowd took over the stge!

  17. Corey Says:

    @Jtran, listened to 11.14.95 Maze through the tunnel in Beantown and almost hit wall (not really, just used for added drama).

    Trey: “wookies can’t play chess.”

    Had to relisten several times…funny stuff.

    The Immigrant Song hints are wonderful in that YEM.

  18. jdub Says:

    That is how I feel C. And I’d bet that thought has crossed Trey’s mind once or twice. He not only has his own baggage but that of a multi generational scene. So I give him tons of space to do his thing as happy as he wants. Not that my or anyones wishes mean much to him but they do. So let’s support him rather than demand from him. After all the demands had a lot to do with Jerry’s demise.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    i like seeing a work in progress which is all this is

    there is no end state they’re working towards, no perfection to achieve

    just rock and roll music, and a little dionysian ritual to shake your bones

    the creative process is the interesting part and the ritual is the important part

    (for me)

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    i like that perspective a lot @jdub

    it can be a heavy burden, all us crazy people caring so much

    it’s traditional that guys in his role burn out or die young

    since I think most traditions are bullshit I admire his rebellious survival move

    now, if he can do it without dropping into Adult Contemporary land, that’s a real win

    most important thing is he didn’t die from it

    so, uh, y

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    …ay for that

  22. halcyon Says:

    ^ now, if he can do it without dropping into Adult Contemporary land, that’s a real win

    Everyone wins …. well almost everyone

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    JAck Johnson’s waiting to do the duet album, so it’d be a lose for him

  24. jdub Says:

    One day I would like to chill with you C, and other Bbers I have yet to, your last post is right where I am at with whole thing.

    Go to the shows to get down and dirty and dance your face off to real art being created in the moment. Then step back and witness 4 extremely talented musicians recreate themselves after 25 Years of faithful partnership. It is really uncanny. Going back to that Dead/Phish comparison, another big difference is these guys keep writing new and interesting music. Even new jam vehicles. The Dead had a lot of weight being the first to tread such waters and Phish is like the golden child trying to differentiate themselves from their highly succesful yet flawed parents

  25. sumodie Says:

    Whoa….very thoughtful discussions these past several pages

    Something left unmentioned, though, is the impact of the digital age and our almost instant access to the latest phish. I believe this somewhat distorts our expectations of the band, how we evaluate the latest shows, and how we relate 3.0 pH to the previous eras. Perhaps a headier explanation is warranted, but that’s all I got time for tonight.

    Thankfully, the future is wide open, and the boys are still on a 3.0 upswing

    Guess we’ll all have to stay tuned 8)

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