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”

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    its all about set 2 in that show. We called it the “Full Treatment” set because the band gave every song the full treatment. (well, except Roses of course) but that goes without saying. Gin > YEM was a awesome way to end the tour…that Gin is bomb.

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    and that Simple is nuts

  3. joe Says:

    ok. I know I was at that one for sure. The only thing I remember from that is the kid playing the end of the first set with them and quite possibly the night before was my only time in the front row. but that could’ve have been another time and place.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Isn’t that revolution solution evolution song now on a Gatorade commercial?

  5. joe Says:

    keep your stubs kids (and a diary, or kick ass website) so you can actually remember if you were at any given show. my prime show going years also matched my different apartment every year or two life, seemed to lose or discard something like ticket stubs each time I moved.

  6. El Duderino Says:

    @ T3PO


    It comes on the tube and then I end up singing it all night!

  7. JP Says:

    super curious to see if the band comes out in berkeley with a leg 2 smashes leg 1 style a la 09 vs continuation of leg 1 style

    if i was paying $800+ for the shows, i would certainly be expecting something special

    wanting fall dates so badly – hear any new rumors Mr. Miner?

  8. snowbank Says:

    Mr miner-

    I have an idea/request for you. Have you ever thought about putting together a phish cannon? It would be the essential shows that every phan should know. The trick is that it would need to be something like 20 shows so a person such as myself could really learn the shows.

    Just a thought…

    thanks again for letting us all run wild in your comments section. it is for better or worse a large part of my life these days. even if no one will comment on my desire to have Phish give Turd on the Run the full treatment..

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    if i was paying $800+ for the shows, i would certainly be expecting something special

    ^ faulty logic here

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    I have an idea/request for you. Have you ever thought about putting together a phish cannon? It would be the essential shows that every phan should know. The trick is that it would need to be something like 20 shows so a person such as myself could really learn the shows.

    ^^ this is just so subjective….i think the companion has such a list…not sure if it goes through post-hiatus though

  11. Mr.Miner Says:


    there’s a start… 😉

  12. Mr.Miner Says:


  13. snowbank Says:

    yeah, it’s totally subjective. That’s why I want you to do it. 🙂

    It’s the same thing with any other cannon. And, ya know, it’s never going to be perfect. and there is nothing that would keep you from updating/changing it.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:


  15. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @snowbank – I love the Stones version of Turd on the Run but I don’t know if Phish can do it properly. They’d be without the backing vocals and horns, and they’re already without the harmonica that helps the Stones’ track work. Doing the “lost a lot of love over you” chorus would be fun but they’d have to add a part or something to replace the harmonica/horns, plus the vocals. I think it could get boring without that kind of change.

  16. snowbank Says:


    ::copying dates for safe keeping::

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    there’s 27…oops too many…

  18. Lycanthropist Says:


    I am sorry if I have over extended CF.

    I will surely pull pack.

  19. zzyzx Says:

    One n in canon.

    Bomb Factory!

  20. snowbank Says:

    @ramblin – I hear ya. I think the F8 version is rippin and the horns barely play.

    I figure it’s up to the chairman of the boards to make up for the lack of horns/harp.

    I hadn’t even thought about the chorus. that could make for some fun.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:


  22. zzyzx Says:

    I got talked into making a similar list a few months ago, and one thing I did was to try to era balance it. Half of Phish’s entire history is missing from those 20-odd shows.

  23. Mr.Palmer Says:

    I love 12.11.99. not sure it cracks your top 27 though.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:


  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    i just thought off the top of my head zzyzx…i also think beginning -91 doesnt belong in any top 27.

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