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. Leo Weaver Says:

    The MPP RnR was pretty incredible…I was a little meh when it started up, but quickly got over that. It kept me and the Mrs. shaking our butts and cooled down nicely before dropping into Free. Mrs. Weaver looked at me after they’d spent a minute or two in the ambient outtro thing and said, “OK, they better pick it up, they’re losing me here…” Then they drop into Free (and a well-executed Free by 3.0 standards I have to say) and commence to absolutely melt her face for the rest of the night. Good times…

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    if I wasn’t teaching a climbing movement class tomorrow in Hopkinton, I’d be really tempted to join you for that matinee. definitely want to catch that flick in the theater!

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    And what a YEM it was zz. They had my head spinning the whole show. Like I said, I’d listened to old shows and albums for a couple of years leading up to the show, but I really had no clue. Most of first set (pre Split) sucked due to terrible context (people, talking, bunk purchase, etc, etc) but from Split on (after I got away from the negative vibes) blew me away.

  4. Leo Weaver Says:

    Can’t wait to see Inception

  5. sumodie Says:

    RnRoll giving even the most spun tour kid a weekly reference point

    maybe it’s the band’s weekly reference point while on tour?

    I find it amusing that we yearn for more 3.0 jam then criticize one of the most consistent 3.0 jam producers for appearing too regularly

    What are the odds that RnRoll opens set II at the Saturday Greek show?

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    @MPP Rock n Roll : 16:00 – about 17:15 you finally get to the real good shit and then you decide to leave. It took you about 10 minutes to get to that sweet sweet piece of musical bliss, maybe next time you could hang around a little while longer? kthxbai

  7. ColonelJoy Says:

    @Dancing…I’m about 30 miles from Alpine…pleasant drive through dairy land…where are you coming from?

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice write up there. who is involved in all of the song histories stuff?

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @colonel, i’m a pleasant 10 hour + drive away, from toronto. though i’ll be coming from deer creek

  10. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Colonel…you making it to DC?

  11. albert walker Says:

    for me I don’t like how formulaic the RnR jams all have been in 3.0

    last year Drowned and DWD held similar patterns

    Trey would wail, not whale, out on the theme for 9 minutes and then they’d all drop into the more percussive full band groove space and then finish with a little ambience

    def some versions are better than others and the 2nd jam sections have reached some interesting moments but they all kind of follow that strict pattern

    In opposed to a LIght, Tweezer, Waves, or Ghost where the jam progression is more open ended

    my .02c

  12. kenny powers Says:


    i agree that the R&Rs and Drowneds start out formulaic and stay that way for a bit….but almost always the last few minutes get much more interesting (see Cuyahoga R&R and Hershey Drowned)….if only they’d hold on a bit longer like Bingos said and ride the worm to some transcendent shit. It will come….

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    “I don’t like how formulaic the RnR jams all have been in 3.0…they all kind of follow that strict pattern…opposed to a LIght, Tweezer, Waves, or Ghost where the jam progression is more open ended”

    exactly! That’s why I was kinda meh when it started up at MPP…but the boys gave it a little something extra that night!

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

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

    Highly realistic as there were plenty of folks here who could not swing 8 because of the significance of the dates fro the younguns.

    Isn’t Gordeaux’s kiddo old enough to suit up for the big day?

  15. kenny powers Says:

    oh yeah i guess you touched on that

    “and the 2nd jam sections have reached some interesting moments ”


  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    So is Rock N. Roll to Saturday waht Sampson and Delilah was to Dead Sundays….

  17. BingosBrother Says:

    ““and the 2nd jam sections have reached some interesting moments ””

    Exactly. You can hear that the crowd knows they’re THERE. They know they’re THERE. So stay THERE a while.

  18. ColonelJoy Says:

    Agree with AW regarding RNR quality….

    @Dancing…I’ll be at Creek, too…didn’t realize you were Canook….I’ve been listening to lots of Rush lately….more than i have since I was 13

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    @Z : That Couch Lady video from Amfibian is excellent. Ever hear what’s up with Amfibian?

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Last Post pseudo-pimping, finishing up.

    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!

  21. zzyzx Says:

    What’s up with them how?

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    What’s up with them how?

    if that is directed at my question, I was just curious how the whole thing is organized. seems like a lot of time and energy is being put into it and it shows. also slightly curious whether help is needed in getting it all updated.

  23. albert walker Says:

    the drop into the 2nd section is always after the same amount of the Trey wailing jam

    It’s not like the Trey solo leads to the full band space

    before hand Trey just sets the amount of bars the jam on before the drop and they just drop. It’s almost like 2 different jams. No coherence.

    maybe a nicer movement from the 1st part of the jam to the 2nd and like others stated maybe ride out the 2nd jam a little longer

    def some hip jams in that 2nd section but even those tend to be quite similar

    I still don’t mind RnR though. at least you know the set will start out with a jam and let the boys get going.

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Just wondering if they’re making any music or playing any shows?

  25. Angryjoggerz Says:

    Hey all, at airport heading out for a few days. Less than two weeks to Greek! Be well everyone! Long flight ahead for me!

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