First Set Jamming

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

The first sets of Phish shows have developed a retro-shape during this era, consisting mostly of compositions and one or two structured jams. A renewed focus on the artistry of each individual song has brought a sense of care to these opening frames, maintaining energy if sometimes lacking adventure. The most exciting parts of these first halves inevitably came with old-school jam vehicles and the band’s revitalized structured (‘type I‘) jamming. Injecting doses of creativity into their sets, pieces that that remained anchored to song structure burst with life for the first time in years. A facet of the band’s playing that had grown stale in the waning years of 1.0 and post-hiatus, has come back in force during 2010, illustrating the renewed focus and intent of Phish.

“Bathtub Gin” is, perhaps, the best example of this progression of summer, as each version provided a first set standout. Beginning with nTelos’ version that broke into a unique groove before Trey annihilated the peak, the song brought blasts of fresh jamming to the four first sets in which it appeared. While all four versions remained tied to the song’s theme, they each stood alone as unique highlights of Virginia, SPAC, Merriweather, and Atlanta.

6.25.10(G. Lucas)

Similar patterns followed for other  first set rotation songs, “Reba,” “Wolfman’s,” and “David Bowie.” Between differing guitar and bass tones, varying rhythms, and depending who led each jam, versions became distinct within structure. Because each version presented a distinct course to the same ending, the vehicles in rotation remained fresh and differentiating versions more often became a matter of musical taste rather than quality. Now, the same songs provided similar, but variant adventures. If one compares the Chicago and Charlotte “Wolfman’s ,” the SPAC and Atlanta’s ” Gins,” or the Hartford and Canandaigua “Reba,” and they will find different playing styles amidst similar themes, another aspect that spiced up this past tour.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Aside from songs  in rotation, Phish also used the first set to drop a couple one-time jams, including one of the tour’s most compelling  first set moment in Camden’s “Timber Ho!” Musical density at its finest, these seven-minutes of psychedelia featured more intricate interplay that many jams twice its length. In another first-half offering, Phish stretched out Atlanta’s “Destiny Unbound” into a smooth, welcome-to-the-weekend dance session. The band dropped only two “Splits,” each coming in the first set, providing divergent dips into dissonance at Hershey and Camden.

While first sets have been largely reserved for songs and longer compositions, when Phish decided to jam they did so with re found focus, exchanging ideas and thematic variants efficiency. Whether attacking “Ocelot” or “Antelope,” they did so in the moment, churning out fresh music like a meat grinder. In an evolution that can only point to greener pastures, Phish can once again spurn excitement with ten-minute jams that don’t veer from their roots. A minor frustration developed among some fans this summer when this type of playing seeped too much into second sets, leaving some shows with little exploration. All of a sudden, for those not on tour, catching a significant open jam seemed like landing a prize winning fish. But hopefully Phish’s structured proficiency will serve as a foundation for more frequent risk-taking as we head into the next phase of tour.

Ten Must-Hear First Set Jams of Summer (in no particular order)

“Timber Ho” – 6.25 Camden

“Bathtub Gin” – 6.15 Portsmouth

“Reba” –  6.18 Hartford

“Wolfman’s” – 6.11 Chicago

“Mikes’s > H2 > Weekapaug” – 6.12 Blossom

“Slave” – 6.15 Portsmouth

“Split Open and Melt” – 6.25 Camden

“Stash” – 6.17 Hartford

“Jibboo” – 7.4 Atlanta

“Antelope” – 7.4 Atlanta


Jam of the Day:

Number Line > 20 Years Later” 6.12.II

This “Numberline” makes a complete transformation from noodly happiness into a menacing encounter with the dark side. Nominated for jam of he tour, this is one of those segments that is so coherent it sounds composed. Top-notch Phish, through and through.




7.2.2010 Verizon Wireless Amp., Charlotte, NC < Torrent

7.2.2010 Verizon Wireless Amp., Charlotte, NC < Megaupload

Official Charlotte Poster

A two-set effort that sparked the holiday weekend. The second set came in acts, with “Drowned > 46 Days > 20 Years Later” forming the first; “Lizards” as an intermission, and “Carini > Fuck Your Face > 2001 > YEM” as the thrilling Act II.

I: Buried Alive > AC/DC Bag, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother, Back on the Train, The Wedge, Mexican Cousin, Stash, Sparkle, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Drowned > 46 Days > Twenty Years Later, The Lizards, Carini > Fuck Your Face > Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself*

E: A Day in the Life

* w/ “Proud Mary” and “Get Back” vocal jam

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v> KCY> Schoeps VMS02IB> SD 744t

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843 Responses to “First Set Jamming”

  1. Foul_Domain Says:

    Morning All,

    This is only my second listen of this 6.12 #line.

    I’d have to give Chicaghost the title for jam-of-the-tour, but this is definitely a very close second.

    2010 is a VERY good year for Phish!!

  2. BeantownBoy Says:

    Nothing beats working from home on a Friday answering e-mails while enjoying a hippie speedball and leaving for the airport and vacation just a few hours away.

    Happy Friday Everyone.

  3. kenny powers Says:

    T3 good call

  4. kenny powers Says:

    quote from articled linked on Gadiel’s page:

    “Constructing sonic psychedelic journeys from the earthly confines of amphitheaters all this summer, Phish offers hope as America’s last great rock ‘n’ roll band.”

  5. KWL Says:

    wow, you weren’t kidding miner, we were having this conversation last night!

    great read

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    so is the Tinley Park one, kp!

    there’s two others, according to stat man:

    9.24.88 (Amherst, MA The Zoo)
    11.5.88 (Hamilton College) <- I wore out this tape back in the day

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    More Timber’s please. I liked the one last fall in Albany as well. Can really get yourself lost in that one.

    Reading the newspaper, come a cross this quote from a fisherman in the gulf. ” it’s like putting a band-aid on a dead man”… in re: to the cap.. very sad.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    I concur on the Number Line from Blossom.

    One of my absolute favorite moments of Phish that my young career has led me to.

    I had a personal moment a few minutes earlier during the Hood.

    I wasn’t completely sober, a couple puffs of the infamous AW bane, but I wasn’t spun either.

  9. kenny powers Says:

    T3 – your mention of thsoe 2 shows and the fact that i was sampling some ’85-’89 stuff from the From The Archives has made me want to check out some early stuff.

    i need help, i can’t get away from Phish. when they stop touring, i want to delve into the treasure trove of past shows that i keep grabbing from all over the interweb. O…C…D

  10. yematt Says:

    can anyone direct me to what show has the really slowed down version of “I Didn’t Know” ?

    I think it was part of a jam of the day on here a few months back but I can’t remember

  11. KWL Says:

    chicago ghost, blossom # line, camden chalkdust

    3 completely different jams, displaying the new sounds of 3.0 phish

  12. BTB Says:

    All in all, I was very pleased with Summer 2010 Leg I

  13. BTB Says:

    Hood you out there? any baby updates brah? Hope your good

  14. nonoyolker Says:

    @ BTB – island tour dvds? If you mean audio, i have the SBDs…

    @ Palmer – I was going to mention the Albany Timber. That is high density jam per sq second. I just did the taste test and I think i prefer Albany to the recent Camden effort.

    Walk Away was the most high energy point in the shows i saw and it was in the middle of a really sleepy set. Shredfest at its best

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    RE Summer 2010

    For what its worth, I am a new phan by most standards, and I had a blast for Leg 1.

    I know sometimes we worry about recruiting new energy to the scene, and I think if they keep up the way they are there is nothing to worry about.

    The bus is rolling again.

  16. albert walker Says:


    poop was just bullshitting last night. you college kids aren’t that bad.

    and for the record I hate Wallstreet more than you I imagine. I have to deal with this shit everyday

    I love markets and $$.

    have a good one kids

  17. KWL Says:

    i’m sure many of us have a love hate relationship with the world we work in

    academia is a lot of bullshit no question, for students and professors alike

  18. kenny powers Says:


    great point, and i think that’s why it stood out so much. that first set had a very disorientingly psychedelic (not in the best sense) vibe, with lots of bent notes and “are they fucking with my head?” moments for me, and then -BAM- rock and fucking roll straightaway.

  19. sumodie Says:

    Jimmy Cliff show on etree

    Central Park Summerstage, New York, NY 7/11/2010

  20. Ziggymon Says:

    Shocked that Walk Away from Hartford did not make this list. Oh well. Thank you Mr. Miner

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    the wind is going crazy at St. Andrews right now.

    One of the most underrated places in the world: St. Andrews, Scotland.

    If I was smart (and Im not), I would have good enough GPA to spend a semester of law school at St. Andrews.

    But like I said, they have these things called “grades” and mine aren’t terribly good.

  22. kenny powers Says:

    actually now that i think of it i liked the disorienting feeling i had during 6/17 I because i was pretty much sober, so instead of being freaked out i was inviting more weirdness.

  23. zzyzx Says:

    Sea-Tac has free wifi.

    If people are still pumping the Seattle/POrtland fall rumors, they better happen or I might riot 😉

  24. KWL Says:

    i just want some west coast love, don’t care where

    just paid $$$ to repair a leaking head gasket, i better be driving this damn car all over the west come fall

  25. BeantownBoy Says:

    Logan, in Beantown, just made its wifi free after a few years of charging $6/day.

    In regards to citywide wifi PDX tried that experiment for a few years in its core. It failed miserably with tons of connection issues/slow speeds.

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