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. Michael Kang Says:

    “Kang of SCI
    Most annoying musician of all time?”

    Coltrane. Without a doubt.

  2. zzyzx Says:

    Heh, my column starts out with a quote from Still Life With Woodpecker

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah @Bingo I read Jitterbug Perfume and loved it, and now I’m reading Skinny Legs. He brings a really fresh, interesting perspective to all of his books from what I’ve read so far. Love it.

    How funny @zzyzx – I guess I’m in the right book club llfa.

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    synchronicity comin straight outta Kangs speaker.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Save Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates for last BK. my favorite book of all time.

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Oh snap!Kangs back on mandolin. How does he do it? Honestly this is the 1st time I’ve listened to SCI, I’m just fuckin around for bouncin fans sake.

  7. BingosBrother Says:


  8. Jtran Says:

    Spinning Scents 7/30/03…downloading some of the shows dropped earlier


    etc etc

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    Dude in the crowd was just playin “air violin”! I shit you not!

  10. zzyzx Says:

    I tell you exactly when I stopped reading Tom Robbins. It was when his book that was written in the second person came out. I was reading it and noticed that like his last 5 books all boiled down to:

    Old mystic professor type ends up in a relationship with a much younger HOT woman.

    I couldn’t get past the wish fulfillment once that clicked.

  11. zzyzx Says:

    Half Asleep is the one that caused me to stop reading.

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’ll have to do that @Bingo’s, thanks for the head’s up.

    I think after I finish Skinny Legs I’m gonna try to read The Plague again (couldn’t get past the beginning last time – wasn’t feeling it I guess). Then after that I’m gonna read Still Life With Woodpecker.

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    who wrote The Plague?

  14. vegas wolfmans Says:

    One vote for Roadside Attraction as best T. Robbins book. Fierce Invalids #2. Is Bingo’s brother Bingo? Or Bingo’s brother’s brother? Or both?

    J Tran- Make sure you grab the aud in Miner’s archive for 7/2/98. An otherworldly recording. Great sound quality.

    Kang is the cheese is my macaroni.

  15. zzyzx Says:


  16. zzyzx Says:

    I do really like Another ROadside, but that was my first one and that happens a lot with Robbins.

  17. ChefBradford Says:

    Loved Jitterbug, Skinny Legs, and Fierce Invalids, Frog PJs did nothing for me. Remember liking Roadside years ago, remember being bored by Cowgirls/Blues and Still Life

    should re-read them all though

    just to make sure

  18. Michael Kang Says:

    my recommended reading

  19. BrandonKayda Says:


    Albert Camus – French existentialist/absurdist writer. I really enjoyed The Stranger, so I guess I figured The Plague was the next logical step. I’ll try it again after I finish Skinny Legs.

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    Who was Kang again? I remember somebody here admitted to making the alt but I don’t remember who it was…


    Yeah, Jitterbug Perfume was my first Robbins and that book floored me.

  21. zzyzx Says:

    So no one else ever noticed the wish fulfillment?

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    @Kang : no love for Giving Tree?

    Thanks BK. Liked The Stranger, I’ll check it out tomorrow. Currently between books.

    @wolf : Bingo is my brother. Keepin his spirit alive through the BlackBoard.

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    “So no one else ever noticed the wish fulfillment?”

    I’m pretty sure its not wishing for Tom Robbins so it never bothered me.

  24. vegas wolfmans Says:

    BingosBrother- Sorry for your lose. My bad on the failed attempt at humor.

    Good chat tonight, team.


  25. BrandonKayda Says:


    I’ve heard some of his other books might be better. But I’d imagine that any of them are good, if not a bit simular after awhile. SillyWilly is really your guy for Camus. Guy knows his stuff. But I’ll give you my opinion of The Plague once I finish Skinny Legs/read the rest of The Plague. You might enjoy it a lot though for all I know. Don’t pay attention to me – I probably didn’t give it a good enough chance.

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