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. El Duderino Says:

    Plus Fishman is singing so it’s kinda kooky to me

  2. albert walker Says:

    I dig Roggeae

    funky, psychedelic, pop

    agree doesn’t quite reach face melting status but I don’t know if I’ve ever used that term

    I love it late 1st set. Trey’s been playing some cool guitar work at the end of some of the 3.0 versions.

  3. hoedown Says:

    Wow, never thought I hear people calling Roggae a Face Melter. Its cool and all but come on now, if we heard it every other night people would be pissed…

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I really thought we’d get the “Triple Big Top” at Hartford since Circue de Soleil was right down the street, but we only got a double.

    You know:
    When the Circus Comes

    kind of like the Triple Nipple but different.

  5. zzyzx Says:

    “to me Roggae does not have that dark element to it. More like cotton candy, pin wheels, and very: Ages 3 and Up kinda feel.”

    So my question is when did people expect Phish to be dark all the time? This is a band that has a drummer in a dress, sings silly lyrics, and had a wacky secret language.

  6. El Duderino Says:

    I’m one that is very pleased with the lack of When the Circus Comes to Town’s played since returning. Needs more rest IMO.

  7. negev79 Says:

    @ El Dude – I feel the same way about songs Fishman sings. With two exceptions – the Sweet Virginia at Indio and, for whatever reason, Moma Dance (but only if he stays on key – e.g. Gorge last year). Otherwise – it’s all Sweet Caroline and Purple Rain to my ears. When he started singing Sweet Virginia I thought “oh, uh, really?” but I was surprised. Pleasantly.

  8. negev79 Says:

    Oh, but I should probably say that I have no problem with “light” wacky Phish. I prefer the dark jams, but with this band, if you only expect dark all the time you’re going be frustrated and disappointed a lot. They are silly silly men. It’s what drew me to them in the first place.

  9. phoompapa Says:

    “giving even the most spun tour kid a weekly reference point. ”

    This is the greatest thing I’ve read in weeks.

  10. albert walker Says:

    FIsh killed it on Happy also on Exile
    nothing like FIsh singing Keith

    agree Sweet Virginia was great also

  11. El Duderino Says:

    “So my question is when did people expect Phish to be dark all the time? This is a band that has a drummer in a dress, sings silly lyrics, and had a wacky secret language.”

    Not sure if you were around last week about that GD jamming and Phish Jamming? I proposed the statement that when the GD jammed they could do/be both light and dark simultaneously while Phish IMO was more either on element or the other but not both. We all cited examples and such. Remember this?

  12. hoedown Says:

    I freaking love when Fishman sings. Spoof or not. Always a sign the band is having Fun imo.

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I really like the way Fishman sang Happy. I’d love for them to play that again, but it may be one they leave in the Halloween bin along with the other ones I want to hear again but probably won’t.

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    Agree re: Circus…

  15. El Duderino Says:

    Yeah, Hairs on End, Bike, Whipping Post…

    That’s fun Fishman IMO

  16. zzyzx Says:

    I remembered that, but I don’t really think of Phish as really being a dark band other than in the years that I’d largely rather forget.

  17. El Duderino Says:

    “I don’t really think of Phish as really being a dark band other than in the years that I’d largely rather forget.”

    This is very true!!!

  18. Robear Says:

    i’m jonesing for a good ‘Roggae’ now.

    don’t have all my musak with me 🙁

  19. El Duderino Says:


    Gov’t Mule

    Road Runner Mobile Amphitheatre
    Charlotte, NC

    Source: DPA 4023 (FOB, Section 102, Row 13, Seats 18 & 19, 8′ up, DIN) > Sonosax SX-M2 > Edirol R44 (24/48)

    Transfer: SDHC Card > PC > Wavelab 6 (EQ, Fades, Resampled via resampler 192, MBIT+ Dither) > CD Wave > FLAC
    Taped and Transferred by: Brian Hadella

    Set One:

    01. Brighter Days >
    02. Larger Than Life
    03. Have Mercy On The Criminal
    04. Game Face
    05. Birth Of The Mule
    06. Lay Your Burden Down >
    07. Smokestack Lightning >
    08. Lay Your Burden Down
    09. Steppin’ Lightly
    10. Broke Down On The Brazos

    Set Two:

    01. Railroad Boy >
    02. The Shape I’m In
    03. Temporary Saint
    04. Effigy >
    05. Hey Joe >
    06. Effigy >
    07. Folsom Prison Blues Jam >
    08. Drums >
    09. Effigy
    10. Fallen Down >
    11. The Other One Jam >
    12. 30 Days In The Hole

    13. Ol’ ’55 *
    14. After Midnight with Jackie Greene #


    * with Jackie Greene, First time Played
    # with Jackie Greene

  20. halcyon Says:

    how about Torn and Frayed? I think this needs to be played in Telluride.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    “Hairs On End” is one of the “better” horribly incorrect song titles seen on old tapes.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    and by “better” I mean funnier.

  23. hoedown Says:

    Lonesome Cowboy Bill- now that’s some Fishman vocals right there! Which brings to mind the Camden 2003 show. I have been spinning that Scents recently and boy is that some sick ass jamming. I cannot get enough of it. We need some jamming like that this summer!

  24. El Duderino Says:

    You N.E. people keep an eye out for the Levon Helm Band. They were in Glenside, PA. last night. Might be headed your way

  25. El Duderino Says:

    Now that I’m lookin’ closer to this Mule set…

    I have to say looks pretty Frickin’ Sweet IMB!

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