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. albert walker Says:

    out for the day kids

    my Dad just called me to say Telly passes are in the mail!

    anyone lookin for some non Phish to spin I posted this link yesterday

    great mix of funk, soul, blues, reggae, and jazz tracks I pulled from some vinyl I’ve been scoring the last couple weeks


  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    oh. guess if I had seen Bingos Amfibian question…

  3. zzyzx Says:

    Amfibian – don’t know… I occasionally ask Tom about it but never get much info.

    Song Histories – there’s a working group that writes these things, but we’re always looking for more help. I think there’s an email address on for that but I don’t know where off hand…

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:


  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Thanks Z.

  6. sumodie Says:

    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


    If RnRoll drops on Sat Greek, I’ll laugh, shrug it off, and then start busting moves, all the while sending out vibes to take us someplace interesting (as is my usual ph way)

  7. kenny powers Says:

    thanks for that link AW! bookmarkt

  8. Jtran Says:

    Morning BB

    Good day to spin these RnRs here in dreary VT. Rocked 11/19/97 II and 2/28/03 at work last night. The lady I was working with, and probably the customers, were a little bit freaked out to say the least.

    Have a good one.

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    I used to spin Billy Breathes at work…it was perfect for a slow hangover Sunday. Actually sold a lot of copies of it to a wide range of customers who liked what they heard.

  10. Jtran Says:

    I was spinning 7/3 last week and got a comment from a customer that it was the best music they’d ever heard in the store. That was great.

  11. phishnin Says:

    I still don’t see Miner’s problem with 7/1/10. The show was great, and the tapes are great.

  12. SOAM Says:

    But I am here at least………….

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @phishnin, worst show of tour

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @phishnin, let me rephrase that. can you name a lesser show from the tour??

  15. Lycanthropist Says:

    finally a Chance Fisher article that we actually like:

  16. albert walker Says:

    Miner’s jaded and needs to stop seeing every show. It’s fuckin with his opinions

    He’s just so focused on this type II shit he often misses other hot aspects of shows

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    YMMV @phishnin…I thoroughly enjoyed the show as well. The flow could’ve been a little better I think, but that’s picking nits considering the bustouts. I still think it may be the most unique show of the summer in terms of setlist…not sure we’ll get another like that for a while.

  18. phoammhead Says:

    My favorite headdy beer – Rogue Dead Guy Ale – great rich flavor and the acohlic content suits me just fine. 🙂

  19. halcyon Says:

    Morning everyone.

    I like RnR, it sometimes sounds formulaic, but I love that song, its beats, and always makes me feel good. The Gorge 09 RNR is in regular rotation.


    I have had some of Brewdog’s Porters. They are strong. Real strong. I don’t think I have been that spun after a 22oz as I have drinking that beer.

    Free show tonight in Steamboat Rhythm Devils (Billy, Mickey, Keller Williams, members of the Mother Hips, and more). Now I just have to motivate for a 2hr drive.

    Lagunitas IPA is good beer.

  20. phoammhead Says:

    I like RnR, too, but i don’t necessarily like how it’s become predictable on Saturday nights – not very phishy, imo.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    which then leads to the often talked about debate of:

    does bust outs = good show?

    for me it doesn’t.

    Thats not to say i didnt enjoy raliegh, but a show full of bustouts isnt really gonna set me off that much.

    I am looking for a well played, uniquely improvised show. Which I believe is what Miner is generally looking for as well.

    Although, I enjoy the rock and roll shows as well AKA – 6/22, 7/2

    I thought Raleigh was better than Miner’s opinion of it, but it still isn’t amongst the shows that I have been giving multiple repeat listens to.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    very nice. banana peels, eh? haven’t done that since I read the anarchist’s cookbook in high school. and do they call you “A. Kelly” since you are so much like R. Kelly? inquiring minds want to know!

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “I was spinning 7/3 last week and got a comment from a customer that it was the best music they’d ever heard in the store. That was great.”

    In the strangest of places if you look at it right….

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    haha awesome article lycan

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    and fully agree with you re bustouts @lycan

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