Deer Creek – XX

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Phish stepped into Deer Creek last night for their 20th show in the cornfields on the 14-year anniversary of 8.13.96 – their first massive freak scene in the storied venue – and one night after playing one of their strongest second sets of tour. The likelihood of of a colossal show last night was all but a given. But instead of delving deep on this special date, Phish balanced out the exploration of Deer Creek’s opener with a tight, song-based show that never quite elevated, and featured scarce open improvisation. Holding back on most of their central jam vehicles throughout Deer Creek’s shows, Phish has set up a two-night blowout in Alpine Valley.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

The first set featured a slew of old school songs, including “Guelah Papyrus” for the first time this year, and “Axilla,” “I Didn’t Know” and “Curtis Loew” for the first time on this run. But the most notable song choice was the 3.0 debut of “Walls of the Cave,” a song synonymous with the post-hiatus era. The piece sounded clean, slower than remembered and quite polished, as Phish switched up the old-school vibe with this mid-set treat. The band moved through the composed half of “Walls” with notable patience, allowing the intricate piece to breathe. Moving the “Silent Trees” section with some creative, breakneck playing, Phish locked in before dropping into one of the set’s improvisational highlights in “Stash.” Containing astute, full-band interplay, Phish pushed the piece through a melodic interlude amidst the sinister build. Some fierce work from Big Ern brought this one to the top, punctuating a succinct, yet powerful version. The other pieces of structured first set improv came in a standout “Ocelot” and a blistering “Possum” that closed the first half. These two pieces provided opposite feels, as the band wove a delicate blues-rock canvas in “Ocelot” and powered through a “Possum” like a locomotive. All told, the first set provided an entertaining string of well-played songs with several high points, but unfortunately, the same vibe permeated the second set.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

The band delivered the second stanza in two distinct sections – first, the dark and improvisational, and second, the light and fluffy. Front-loading the set with a promising sequence of “Light > 46 Days > Maze,” the band had the show in the palm of their hand. But instead of furthering the set by taking another launch pad off the shelf, the rest of the set fizzled into a summertime sing-along with “Meatstick > Mango,” “Fluffhead,” and Julius.” Kicking off the set with “Halley’s Comet” on Deer Creek’s second night, one felt that maybe this would be the time for an outright explosion of the crowd favorite. But in typical fashion, they segued into “Light” out the shortened song for the third time this summer. Following The Greek’s best-ever version of their newest vehicle what lied behind door number two was anyone’s guess.

Opening with a spirited composed jam, the band broke “Light’s” structure and entered a rolling, bass-led segment that brought the band out into earnest experimentation. Trey and Mike hooked up immediately, providing the foundation of the piece, offering symbiotic leads. As this section of another multi-tiered “Light” came to an organic end, the band downshifted into a spacey-ambient plane and slowly climbed out of the placid textures in a sparkling cooperative conversation that highlighted the version. But as the jam began to get truly gripping, Trey took a left turn for the end of the song, bringing back its lyrical reprise. Stretching “Light’s” ending into a drone outro, the band created a sonic bridge into “46 Days.”

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Though “46 Days” has showed up in a few second sets this summer, it has rarely spurned anything beyond bombastic guitar energy. When placed in this central spot, however, one wouldn’t have been crazy to think Phish would weave an improvisational tale. But again the band sat into an energy-based version of the heavy rocker. Instead of bringing the song to a concluding vocal round like previous summer renditions Phish drifted into another section of abstract ambiance that seamlessly bled into “Maze.” This initial sequence illustrated legitimate attempts to make smoother transitions between songs, albeit via ambient passages, but that intention, alone, is a positive sign in the band’s progression. Centering “Maze” in the second set for the second time this tour, the band again tore apart another scorching version showcasing stellar solos from Page and Trey while Mike backed the music with creative bass lines, enhancing the jam’s appeal.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

After bringing “Maze’s” mania to a head, closing the set’s opening sequence it certainly felt like time for some gooier dance music. Taking the road less traveled, a common theme of these Deer Creek shows the band unveiled the second “Meatstick” of 2010, signaling a stylistic turn in the direction of the set. While Merriweather’s version took off into a funk excursion, this rendition never left the song’s structure, but rather oozed into a slick DJ-style segue with “Mango Song.” Layering the two summer anthems over each other, Phish took their time to craft a smooth segue once again. The rest of the set followed a similar jam-less route, pairing “Fluffhead” and “Julius” in an underwhelming ending to the show. But when the band stepped back for a double encore, they capped the night with a magnificent “Slave” in which Trey shone from the first note to last.

Deer Creek’s second night, while entertaining, never gained that undeniable momentum of memorable second sets. By assembling two creative setlists in Indiana, Phish sent their Midwestern circus up to Alpine Valley for two nights with many of their largest musical springboards ready to explode. It’s time to get dirty in dairy land…

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guelah Papyrus, My Sweet One, Axilla, I Didn’t Know, Walls of the Cave, Stash, Train Song, Backwards Down the Number Line, Ocelot, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Wilson, Possum

II: Halley’s Comet > Light > 46 Days > Maze, Meatstick > The Mango Song, Fluffhead, Julius

E: Contact, Slave to the Traffic Light

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

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648 Responses to “Deer Creek – XX”

  1. rick Says:

    “Miner is missing some shows? Really? Drag.

    ^ you’re telling me 😉 ”

    Sounds like he missed the one last night

    Sorry Miner but the second set last night was out of this world

  2. oneshowatatime Says:

    Wendy, your photos are INCREDIBLE. Where can i see more/buy more 🙂

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    miner needs a break

    ^ ummm. what is this supposed to mean?

  4. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, you foolz pokin’ at Miner are off base, period – lay off the personal attacks – seriously!

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ rick, can you please frame your opinion of the show without personally commenting on me. I didn’t think the second set was exciting. Out of this world, well…I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    grow up.

  6. phunklounge Says:

    Although the 2nd night DC perhaps lacked some of the exploratory jamming we’ve gotten accustomed to I still feel this was a solid show. Super tight playing all around, and phenomenal versions of WOTC and Stash.

  7. JerZ Says:

    I wish it was not the case because I don’t want to be the negative guy but this was one of the most disappointing shows I have ever been to. this one was a sort of milestone show for me.so I had pretty high expectations. I hope I’m not just becoming an old grouch. I have very little positive to report on this one. can’t win em all

  8. Robear Says:

    miner, i’m going to work on getting in better shape. sorry I missed the post show hang outs at T’ride. thanks for the invites. was pretty cool seeing your texts pop up while standing still in the gondola line.

  9. neemor Says:

    The lyrics to Twenty Years Later are Tom Marshall’s best effort since…Waste.
    Remarkable. Haunting.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    word @ Rob….had a great time that afternoon….but no apologies necessary…

  11. Robear Says:

    ‘SAnd’ from T’ride, so slick. so much going on under the surface.

  12. neemor Says:

    .” this one was a sort of milestone show for me.so I had pretty high expectations.”

    ^ That’s the problem, right there.

  13. Gregg Says:

    @robear – ya got me – I was hitting reload all night hoping to post “First!” 😉

    Why are you missing them, Miner? Surely nothing is more important than Phish at Alpine! Do you have a guest rep going to the shows?

    This messes up my couch tour big time, man. Please try to think of the rest of us who patiently await your take on the shows (and I guess those of us who need a new post in hopes of being first). Where am I supposed to go for reviews now? Twitter? “Just drnk 14 beerz and roxxed out to Caspian – my gf’s fave – puked in Port-O-Let at setbrake” doesn’t quite cut it 😉

    Seriously, though, thanks for your always-engaging analysis. Cheers!

  14. neemor Says:

    Robear/Miner.
    After Light>Twenty Years Later, what’s the next must hear from the second leg IYO?

  15. Kevin Says:

    Well, crap. Which shows are you missing, Miner?

    Just so I know which days I’m gonna be bummed when I have nothing to read while drinking my morning coffee:)

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    a wedding i can’t miss and send my wife alone…but yes, not an easy thing.

  17. neemor Says:

    People getting married.
    Screws everything up.
    Except when it doesn’t.

    Must be a special couple.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Neemor Greek Simple

  19. Uncle Ebeneezer Says:

    All told, the first set provided an entertaining string of well-played songs with several high points, but unfortunately, the same vibe permeated the second set.

    Front-loading the set with a promising sequence of “Light > 46 Days > Maze,” the band had the show in the palm of their hand. But instead of furthering the set by taking another launch pad off the shelf, the rest of the set fizzled into a summertime sing-along with “Meatstick > Mango,” “Fluffhead,” and Julius.”

    The rest of the set followed a similar jam-less route, pairing “Fluffhead” and “Julius” in an underwhelming ending to the show.
    —————–

    The disappointment in your posts is obvious, sir…the whole sing along comment is what got me, it’s like you’re above the rest of the custies that might actually enjoy singing along to meatstick or something. Don’t get me wrong, I had a couple disappointing moments myself, ie the sloppy train and trey in the wrong key for his first run through mango, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think this much exposure leads to too lofty expectations. can you still have fun miner?

  20. neemor Says:

    Sand openers are legendary.

  21. Robear Says:

    miner, the all nighter following saturday greek put me behind the 8 ball for the trip. i managed to squeeze enough rest in to rage each show. but crashed hard afterwords.

    top 3.0 ‘Sand’ right here.

  22. butter Says:

    Deer Creek night 1 set 2 + encore

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    @Kevin – alpine…I may write thoughts in a different way after listenting to the show “no spoilers” with the sbds…obv not the same…but the board members will weigh in I’m sure.

  24. Kevin Says:

    I’ll write a review of the stream.

    “Either Fishman started playing vaccuum, or the streamer flushed the toilet — either way, it was a downright sinister turn in an otherwise straightforward Sparkle.”

  25. Robear Says:

    neemoah, the greek ’46 days’.

    the t’ride ‘Piper’.

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