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. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the highest ABV beer that I can say I’ve consistently enjoyed is Ruination IPA but I tend towards pale ales more than IPAs so YMMV.


    I realized I haven’t even commented on today’s post yet. whoops.
    so RnR has become the saturday night special. ok, fine. at least the setlist predictors have one “sure thing” to use. I have to say that I am happy that they are still putting some energy and creativity into it. the fact that one of the “best jams of the summer” thus far came out of RnR speaks to the fact that with familiarity comes possibility. If they feel comfortable playing it and do it well, then who am I to complain about its regularity?

    it could be worse. they could be doing “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting” by Elton or “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers every week. funny once, maybe, but…

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    PTBM FedEx confirmation email arrived.

    Greek tkts enroute. I imagine Tellurides are shipping out as well.


    Mitch ygm.

  3. Gavinsdad Says:

    Gotcha ZZ. Understood.

    Quick stat req: ratio of west coast to east coast shows since they started playing out west and was that a fairly reliable “yearly” ratio thru 2.0?

  4. albert walker Says:

    about to catch 5 shows out west in my two most favorite states at the most perfect venues I could ever imagine

    thank you Phish

    couldn’t ask for a better little run here

    now just bring the jams!!
    exciting starting

    have a good one kids

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    AW is hitting 2 shows that don’t exist, apparently

  6. albert walker Says:

    3 shows Greek+ 2 shows Telly = 5 shows

    I don’t get it DF

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    is colorado considered west coast?

  8. albert walker Says:

    didn’t say west coast

    said west

    when living there we always considered it to be a western state not midwest

  9. zzyzx Says:

    “Quick stat req: ratio of west coast to east coast shows since they started playing out west and was that a fairly reliable “yearly” ratio thru 2.0?”

    We’re at about half of the normal ratio…

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Just got the email from my amigo who got me the Telluride tkts.

    Tkts enroute!


    Living out west with the best of friends, llama taboot taboot.( my alt lyric)

  11. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    word AW, i’m sleepy

  12. kenny powers Says:

    Good point T3 on not yet commenting on today’s post…

    Although there are many overall better jams from this past tour, perhaps my fave micro-moment is the section from 3:15-ish to 4:00-ish in the “Cuyahoga Jam” part of the Blossom R&R. It’s one of those times where they lock into a groove and Trey does a short, repetitive riff that lodges itself into the pleasure center of my brain and makes me hit rewind a good 5 or 6 times before i can move on with my life.

    Especially when Page creeps in with a synth drone and the peak note of the riff that Trey had been quasi-whaling turns into a solid note around the 3:49 mark….BUTTERY!

    The Onion has an app for Droid, yay!

  13. Robear Says:

    top of the mornin’ all.

    of course you’re invited, Aj. no wireless on the old ass United planes.

    11/29/98 ‘Roggae’ = face melter

    (zzyzx, i share your sentiment and assessment )

    KP, great call on ‘cuyahoga jam’. i mentioned that one a few times as a great use of riff’s and whale by Treyzor.

    ( i might need something new to start analyzing, come to think of it……)

  14. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Morning, BB. Chiming in on high proof beers. I love the stone ruination, and the Pliny the elder. My favorite IPA is from Bellingham, boundary bay brewing. You guys will have to check it out during the NW run 🙂

    As far as high alc beer, yeast can’t ferment higher than maybe 17% I don’t think, so anything higher would have to be distilled. Is it still beer then?

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ::quickly skitters off to droid marketplace to obtain aforementioned onion app::

  16. zzyzx Says:

    BTW, the vegas fading thing isn’t based on anything beyond PT tea leaf reading. Sometimes I get additional information; this isn’t one of those times.

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @Z, where are we at in terms of halloween rumours?

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    Good morning folks! 11 years ago today I started my Phishing trip in earnest…had been listening for a couple of years leading up to my first dive into the blissful dark depths at Lakewood. The Ghost has haunted me (in the best possible way) ever since that fateful night’s 26 minute excursion.

    @T3…vibes sent your way this morning. It can be a real pain in the ass sometimes, but then those truly amazing moments come along and melt any rough times and memories away. Head up bro!

    Re: beers…I’m with you guys, the sweetspot is in the Pale Ales and IPAs with a ABV of 4.4-8%…much higher and it gets to be a little much. I had a Great Divide Hercules Double IPA a couple of weeks ago…only had one…it tasted more like a port than a beer (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE port…but I was drinking beer!). for anyone that can find it, pick up a sixer of Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA…a GREAT crisp and tasty IPA, perfect for summer!

  19. zzyzx Says:

    [a href=””]Couch Lady song history is live[/a], aka way too much information about a song Phish didn’t even play once.

  20. kenny powers Says:

    T3 i’m so pumped to activate my phone and port my old number and contacts tomorrow at the V-Zon store at the Solomon Pond Mall, right before getting face-melted by an Inception matinee…

  21. zzyzx Says:

    ARGH! I made a PT link.

    Correct link

    Halloween… if I had to put down a bet, I’d say the band will be trick or treating with their kids.

  22. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Repost pseudo-pimping, finishing up Friday

    Any Telluriders still looking for accomodations?

    If I can get some folks together I can get a deal on a cabin here:

    a good number would be ten folks to lower to cost considerably. sleeps 12 camps 1000s (camping also an option.)

    Part of my extended family so I play by all of the rules and terminate with extreme prejudice inapropriate behaviors.

    Serious folks email me justino AT azheads DOT com

    If I can’t get a quorum I will wave off and go with plan B, a bivouac position on the side of hill behind the park.

    I need to decide by Friday So spread the word or buck up and get on the bus.

    It’s go time!

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    Damn…my math is terrible…it was 13 years ago today. Not sure where 11 years ago came from. D’oh!

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “Halloween… if I had to put down a bet, I’d say the band will be trick or treating with their kids.”

    but what will their costume be? david bowie?

  25. zzyzx Says:

    Leo – my interest in that show is mainly in the wacky YEM

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