Saturday Night Fever

Saturday - 7.3.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Saturday night – there’s no other portion of the week that conjures up such images of spontaneous adventure and good times. And there is no other adventure and good time quite like Phish. Putting these two concepts together, you’ve got “Saturday Night Phish,” a party like none other. In this modern era, Phish has established their own way of musically celebrating their Saturday night shows by opening the second set with Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll.” A trend that began in ’09 has held true for all four Saturday’s of 2010, giving even the most spun tour kid a weekly reference point. A cycle that began as a bit formulaic last year turned comedic this summer with each subsequent weekend . But as one of the band’s preeminent jam vehicles of this eras, “Rock and Roll” delivers eventful excursions more often than not. Once the band climbs out of the song’s rock stylings, anything goes when Phish breaks structure. Looking back on the four Saturday’s of Leg I, here are short capsules of the versions that that kicked off each second half.


6.12 II – Blossom

6.12- Blossom (Peek Photo.)

Phish launched into the first Saturday night of tour with their popular jam vehicle, and as they entered the “Cuyahoga Jam,” the band started to breakdown the piece into percussive grooves, a la 2009. Mike thumped a stop-start bass line that underlined the unique rhythm, while Trey spray-painted the groove with shorter patterns. As Fish held down a sparse breakbeat and Page backed the jam with layers of effect, all in all, the onset of this piece didn’t veer far from the many versions that speckled ’09. But as Trey began to solo out of these tendencies, Mike jumped aboard, beginning to differentiate Blossom’ s outing. At this juncture the jam grew far more abstract, as the band molded a segment of musical silk before morphing into a collective wall of sound. Trey reprised his solo melody over this drone canvas, providing closure to the jam before rolling into “Harry Hood.”



6.19 II –  SPAC

SPAC (H.Radar)

Instead of dropping into a series of hackneyed rhythmic grooves, Phish built out of SPAC’s “Rock and Roll” into a bass-led psychedelia. The band latched onto Mike’s lines, as Trey mixed in a repetitive lick that led the band deep into the forest right away. Wasting little post-rock time, Phish quickly swam into a sparkling steam of melody, infusing the jam with an early dose of aural beauty. The piece increased in tempo as Mike drove the troops’ wild ride into darkness. Trey continued to offer cyclical, multi-note cries, in melodic support of a staggering soundscape created by Mike, Fish and Page. Towards the latter part of the jam, the band alternated between louder and softer as if someone was turning up and down the volume knob of the jam. Trey continued his role as supporting actor in this escapade, adding his piece to a more complex overall puzzle. The band descended into an abstract pond before splashing into “Free.”



6.26 II – Merriweather Post

6.26.10 - Merriweather (Graham .Lucas)

While Merriweather’s second night presented the tightest set of Leg I, on Saturday night in Columbia, Maryland, Phish served up a jam that, arguably, surpassed anything from the weekend. In this set-opening “Rock and Roll,” Phish dove off a cliff, floating into the sky in a floral-ambient groove of bliss. Knitting some of the most transcendental music of summer, Trey and Mike spun their ideas together with sublime cooperation. As this segment progressed, Trey soloed as if he was emotively narrating a story to an innocent child. The band provided a magical, amoeba-like backdrop to this musical fable, morphing the jam into a soulful piece of spirituality. Concluding his tale, Trey came growling out of this hovering abstraction with leads that implored his bandmates to follow. Together they built dramatic whole-band tension throughout the latter half of the piece. Trey eventually layed down a slick “Moby-Disk-esque” line, and the band fell into a sinister groove session to bring their mission back to earth. Coming to an organic end, Phish bled into a brief, bass-led ambiance that hinted at “2001” before revving  up the beginning of “Free.” Out of the four “Rock and Rolls” this summer, no other version even comes close; and this Merriweather rendition must be thrown in the ring for any discussion about the jam of Leg I.



7.3 II- Alpharetta

7.3.10 (W.Rogell)

After dropping two stellar jams over the past two weekends out of the Velvet Underground cover, when Phish charged up the anthem to open up Saturday, July 3, it wasn’t far fetched to expect something big for the song’s tour finale. Though once the band got going, they simply rode the song’s theme, juicing it for all it was worth. Phish never even veered far enough from the original for LivePhish to label an “Alpharetta Jam,” something done to avoid paying royalties on original  improvisation. With expressive rock soloing, Trey barreled through the straight forward jam that only broke form for a moment before moving into a pre-mature “Prince Caspian.”



Jam of the Day:

Reba” 6.11 I

A gorgeous rendition from summer’s opening set.




7.1.2010 Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC < Torrent

7.1.2010 Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC < Megaupload

Official Raleigh Poster

Raleigh featured a bumpy setlist that featured some big-time bust-outs and one of the deepest dives of summer in the centerpiece version of “Light.”

I: Llama, Roses Are Free, Kill Devil Falls, Time Loves a Hero, Alaska, Water in the Sky, Runaway Jim, The Moma Dance, Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Halley’s Comet > Light, Fluffhead, Have Mercy, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone > Free, Wading in the Velvet Sea, The Squirming Coil, Suzy Greenberg

E: Boogie On Reggae Woman

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> EAA PSP-2> SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

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837 Responses to “Saturday Night Fever”

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  1. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    for the first comment i shall note that 12.7.99 should be released by the band…

  2. garretc Says:

    I texted Jtran at the beginning of set II at MPP I something along the limes of: “hey, they opened a saturday night set II with rock n roll!”

    We then proceeded to agree after the show that: “that was actually a really good jam!”

    As you were…

  3. Mr. Murph Says:

    I wish I got this poster. The next 2 nights were not nearly as cool as Raleigh’s

  4. zzyzx Says:

    If I weren’t so jonesing myself to see the band, I’d just sell my Greeks. I’m just so frustrated with how many people are shut out – I was asked for extras last night by a random stranger at a restaurant who saw my ears perk up when I overheard the words “Horning’s Hideout” – that I don’t know if the shows will even be fun. OK, once I’m in, I’m sure they will be, but I don’t think people back east understand just how much tension there is in the air out here, especially as the rumor mill moves away from there being anything in our time zone in fall…

  5. BlackEyedKaty Says:

    hoping they hold off on another saturday night rendition of rock and roll at the greek. but if they do it, it will kinda be humorous.

  6. sanchothehutt Says:

    crazy shit last night.

    Grandma’s basement flooded, gotta go help out before work. In the words of Willowed, make it a good one, BB! Talk to you guys laterz.

  7. kenny powers Says:

    “giving even the most spun tour kid a weekly reference point”


  8. SillyWilly Says:


    this storm is crazy, but we didn’t get hardly at all here. I mean it was thundering and lightning and stuff but nothing too bad from what I can tell.

    Madison’s only 65 miles from Milwaukee. I’d think we’d have got more of the water.

  9. Litteringand Says:

    Back from AFRICA and i have a question. How do you change you avatar?

  10. bhizzle Says:

  11. bhizzle Says:

    “especially as the rumor mill moves away from there being anything in our time zone in fall…”, really? So there has been some naysaying re: the vegas and colorado after ACL?

  12. zzyzx Says:

    Tons and tons about Vegas. I’d be more surprised if it happens than not right now, but that’s also my defense mechanism for not getting my hopes up…

    Colorado might still be on but if the only venue in the western two times zones holds 6500 people, Greek tickets will look trivial.

  13. SillyWilly Says:


    whats up, man!?

    welcome back.

    you were in South Bend weren’t you? are you back?

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    So what’s your take ZZ? Sorry to make you repeat yourself if you’ve already given the spiel but…seems to me Red Light has a specific marketing plan for this era of the band. Do you think it’s primary purpose is to expose the band to new fans a la their Bonarroo and ACL dates, or to book tours that keep the bands wishes in mind (time to be with family, less travel than in the past, venues that are special, or venues that were goals of the band a la the Greeks)?

    I don’t have any skin in this questioning as I’m spoiled over here in NJ but I am definitely curious. I’ve been a vocal proponent of the “shrinking” fanbase, but that’s a purely selfish thing, and on the other hand I do want the band to continue playing and I’ve been wary of how much they’re actually touring….there is nothing I want less than tour burn to get to any of the members of the band, or their families. I don’t want that to seep in and pull the band off the road again. I get very nervous when I see a mess of Oct dates instead of a chunk of nov/dec rumored dates…I feel like these guys should be requiring more downtime at home these days.

    Just some thoughts…curious to hear yours if u have time

  15. BTB Says:

    “giving even the most spun tour kid a weekly reference point”

    I concur with KP – epic

    Heard that Wisconsin storm was also pretty epic – bummer

  16. Foul_Domain Says:

    Morning all,

    I have to admit. I never really liked R&R (the song section)…but I always welcomed it for the jam. Still not my favorite opener, but hearing it at SPAC changed my opinion a bit. The Saratoga jam was one of the big highlights of the night for me.

    Nice read, Miner!

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ all

    hope this day finds you all well.

    anyone ever have any of this brewery‘s beers? might have to see if my local purveyor can rustle up some of their stuff…

    I particularly like this description of their 32% ABV “Tactical Nuclear Penguin” beer:

    This is an extremely strong beer, it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.

    and then there’s this one. I’ll let the packaging speak for itself.

  18. Luther Justice Says:

    I feel for you zzyzx. The band will have to address the lack of west side shows at some point. I think, at least, they should consider making Indio a yearly event. Sure attendance was low, but if you made it a yearly destination, attendance would improve and give the west side a small amount of love.

    The west coast isn’t as easy as the east to put together a string of shows due to the close proximity of cities, but the fan base is large enough to have multi night runs in the major markets like LA, SF, and even Seattle.

    I wouldn’t worry about the Greek. It’s the Greek and the Greek delivers the goods.

  19. BTB Says:

    Telluride Ticket shipped this morning – getting pumped!!

  20. Foul_Domain Says:

    When might one suppose that fall tour dates will be announced?

    Any hypotheses?

  21. SillyWilly Says:


    Baseball will be bloodtesting minor leaguers?

    thats pretty intense.

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    wasnt until end of september last year, right?

  23. Gavinsdad Says:

    T3: nice find. Hadn’t heard of that brewery/those beers. I dunno if I have enough sack for em actually. Even beers topping 10% have given me some pause (founders double trouble was it?) in that they start tasting less like beer and more like alcohol…I prefer my beer to be beerish, and I don’t really follow the strong/high abv trend. The “end of history” writeup is insane tho.

  24. Foul_Domain Says:

    I think youre right @ Silly

    For some reason I was thinking that they were released between leg 1 and 2 in the summer.

    but now that you mention it, I do recall that it was later.

  25. Foul_Domain Says:

    Anybody know if Trey is allowed to cross the border into Canada?

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