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. sumodie Says:

    @zzy: lol about mel laying down the phish law for mia09

    bet you are glad she did too

    i know all about those pesky phish laws 8)

  2. vegas wolfmans Says:

    zz- He lives out here (Redmond I think). I met him at a reading up here in the hammer last summer. Pretty down to earth guy. Kinda surprised me.

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    In other news, Bob Dylan – It’s A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall is a beautiful, beautiful song.

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    No worries dude. Sorry if I made you feel bad, just explaining where it comes from. Teen Wolf was a household staple.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Very jealous Vegas. One of the only people I don’t “know”that I’d love to kick it with. Was he reading B is for Beer?

  6. zzyzx Says:

    He lives up north in La Conner IIRC.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    I love Tom Robbins. He has blown my mind just a couple of times…

  8. Jeffiem Says:

    Hey BB… checkin in late to say that… CARINI HAD A LUMPY HEAD

    loved the old timers chatter… I grabbed the debated shows from 97 ny.

    Tonight I’ve just been spinning 7/2 and laughing at this shit

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    read still life in a day, jitterbug, cowgirls, and dont sleep on another roadside attraction…

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Jitterbug Perfume is an incredible book, no doubt. I’m really liking Skinny Legs, thus far, too. Robbins def. knows how to craft a story together.

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    12/28/98 Carini->Wolfman’s scared me when i first heard it – no joke. Evil, evil Phish jamming.

    ^yes. peak experience. 28th….fresh head…very strong wash…walking through NYC afterwards ridiculously high, we kept wondering why we would go back the next night, because that was so fucking amazing.

  12. vegas wolfmans Says:

    BB- He sure was reading B is for Beer. I’m pretty certain he is sober too, making that book all the funnier. He answered questions and told a few ridiculously funny stories. Very chill. He writes with such perfect prose that I thought he’d be the uptight/perfectionist type, but he seemed totally laid back. Very cool.

  13. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Jeffiem- Awesome.

    Again, good chat fellas. Sleep tight.

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    That’s awesome @Vegas! I’d love to shake his hand.

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    Later Gaters.

  16. ThePigSong Says:

    @BK – if you don’t podcast ‘This American Life’ I’d rec. for sure. He was the ‘not my job’ guest a few weeks ago.

    Still life was a significant book to my young mind ten uears ago. My beat friend still claims most Robbins books as his favorite novels of all time

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    Later @Wolfman’s!

    The rest of y’all still hanging in there? I’m up for some late night Phishthoughts 🙂

    Making my own little Dylan playlist right now – might be switching it up in a few minutes. Any suggestions?

  18. ThePigSong Says:

    Hah! at the iPhone *BEST

    although others might argue otherwise 🙂

  19. Jtran Says:

    7/29/03 Crosseyed. Mmm

  20. fromthetub Says:

    Always checking in from the iPhone 🙂
    Hey guys.

  21. BrandonKayda Says:


    Yeah I’m kinda glad I found him now at this age. Glad I started reading his books, for sure

  22. Jeffiem Says:

    My personal fave is probably I don’t believe you off of blood on the tracks… Pretty personal song for me… a girl is involved, as one might imagine. The version he plays with The Band on The Last Waltz is definitely worth checking.

    Other favorites would have to be Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window and Boots of Spanish Leather.

  23. Jeffiem Says:

    let me know what you end up with there… Dylan is so hard to pick and choose from because there is so much good, original music there. Kind of like picking a favorite Phish show.

  24. halcyon Says:

    Funny banter here tonite…..glad I jumped on before bed….

    Rhythm Devils was cool for a free show on a Friday night. Beautiful Drive to get there, funny people to watch. Keeping the GD spirit alive. Hula Hoopers were in full force tonight which means one thing

    Kang and Co at Red Rocks this weekend.

    Good night everyone!

  25. ThePigSong Says:

    Well brandon, your light years ahead of me at your age.

    Hopefully you can get some of your homies on board this year. Freaks and Geeks style!

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