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. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah – Although I think I’m gonna switch it up a bit – was just listening to some tracks off of Blood on the Tracks.

    I’m listening to Charlie Parker now 🙂

  2. zzyzx Says:

    I’m listening to the Hornings RD show now… Going through things as I write about them…

  3. BrandonKayda Says:


    I’d like that – Can’t really expect to be taken seriously, but what can you do? I’m sure there oughta be some people at my school who would be into it 🙂

  4. fromthetub Says:

    Brandon, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit. Did your dad like the shows?

  5. Jeffiem Says:

    shit, did i say blood on the tracks? i meant another side. Either way, both are great.

  6. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Top 5 Dylan songs:
    Visions of Johanna
    Hard Rain
    It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
    Desolation Row
    Like a Rolling Stone

    bonus favorite, since rolling stone is so obvious:
    If You See Her, Say Hello off blood on the tracks.


  7. BrandonKayda Says:


    My dad liked the shows – yeah. I danced my ass off all weekend – FANTASTIC time. He said he mainly liked YEM/Ghost->JJF/Divided Sky/My Soul/Ginseng/Sparkle/Show Of Life/Tela (probably cause’ i mentioned the tune to him before the show and how there was no chance they’d play it 😉 )

    What an incredible weekend – can’t wait to do it again. BB’ers I met (Ain’tNoTele/Henry) were nice guys. Cool meeting folks on here

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Visions of Johanna is a fantastic song.

  9. Jeffiem Says:

    Desolation Row is great… I came across it at the same time that I was reading T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in Senior English… DR references Eliot and Pound, and it was a great chance to do a little bit of compare and contrast of the two songs with my Teacher, who was an awesome guy.

  10. ThePigSong Says:

    Well I’m bout to be home from work, I might try and seduce the wife (phan) with Summer of ’89 – she loves the band but has no idea what’s been played this tour except the parts I talked her ear off with…

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah I’ve had some really cool teachers. I had a teacher in 5th grade who got me into Floyd, and my Freshman Govt. teacher was a Phishhead so that was really cool. He was going to MPP last time I talked to him before school let out. I think those were going to add up together to be his 70th Phish shows 🙂

    Love it…

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    If I had to do top 3 Dylan tunes right this second:

    It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding
    Hard Rain
    Visions Of Johanna

  13. garretc Says:

    Hey BK, you ever listened to any of Bobby D’s Rolling Thunder Revue stuff? Probably my go to choice for Dylan…

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    I have not. I’ll have to check it out

  15. halcyon Says:

    I want to hear Buried Alive in Telluride.

  16. fromthetub Says:

    @Jeffiem – i illustrated “the waste land” as my final project “portrait” in high school senior year in art class. Hard to explain but very meaningful at the time.

    @Brandon — that is awesome. I was following the setlists and thinking about you. I was 20 before I saw my first show in 92. You’re way ahead of most of us. So happy that you both had such a great time!!

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    Thanks @FromTheTub!!! You hit/hitting any shows this summer?

  18. fromthetub Says:

    We will be at the Greek (hometown show) and Telluride. How about you? I’m getting excited. The last minute trip to Atlanta blew my mind. But that’s kind of what I say after most shows. (Read: Miami, etc.)

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sadly, MPP were my only shows this year unless they come to MD on Fall tour – which I hope they don’t, for the sake of West-coasters 🙂 Hope you enjoy The Greek/Telly shows – they’re going to be ragers (basically what I say BEFORE every show llfa). But you’re in for some serious heat I’d imagine. I’m jealous haha. 😀

    I’m seeing Bad Company, Blue Oyster Cult, and a bunch of “hard rock” bands at a little mini-festival esque thing about 5mins from my house as a Father’s Day present for my dad. let’s see how that goes… 11am-9pm. Hmm…well the important thing is he’s gonna have fun, and I’ve already seen shows this year, so it’s cool! 🙂

  20. fromthetub Says:

    OK, so the old school hard rock might be a lot of fun! Yes, I do think the west coast shows will rage, but no expectations here. If I get a sick Sand I’ll be one happy girl. That will be me down front dancing my ass off. (actually, I will be regardless.) 🙂

  21. Moby Dick Says:

    whoa.. nap for a second and 7 of you have downloaded the last show.

    thanks guys!

  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    whooops forgot to change handles.

  23. BrandonKayda Says:


    That’s awesome! I’m really happy for you. Have a fantastic time for me and all other BB’ers who won’t be there.


    That’s great man, glad to hear people are digging the new show. I oughta start working on the recap tomorrow I think

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    anybody still around?

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    thanks BK

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