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. gavinsdad Says:

    mike is extra chunky peanut butter. he is ruling these days (i know it’s been said…just saying it again)

    @joe – damn man, that was blow the roof off. but i kinda feel like that ghost might wait.

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Birds->Timber Ho

    I’d like to see this on a setlist before the year ends 😀

    I love Birds. Underrated song – good choice Lycan. 11/25 Philly Birds was real nice from last Fall.

  3. jdub Says:

    I really like last nights set 1. Ripping Possum to bring it home.

  4. halcyon Says:

    When are Page’s and Mike’s albums dropping? Any release dates yet?

  5. gavinsdad Says:

    starting last nite’s halleys.

    and the BOAF would be really sweet to open. good fit.

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    Playing 8/13 set I right now – this show is the heat. On Walls right now – Trey playing great, ripping it up.

  7. Frycanthropist Says:

    yeh last nights set 1 was pretty great

    starting up set 2 now..

    but that was a tight fun set

  8. jdub Says:

    Birds is awesome, I like that they play it sparingly now.

    Always brings me back to 2/28/03. Set the tone for the whole night.

  9. jdub Says:

    And a Birds>Timber would be oh so nice.

  10. gavinsdad Says:

    would have dug seeing 2/28/03 live over 2/24 Jdub. Gavin was all of 2 months old when i got to pick a show that winter and more of my peeps were going over to Jersey (i was in brooklyn at the time). oh well…these things happen.

  11. oneshowatatime Says:

    wow, just decided 2 days ago i’m heading to burning man with a bunch of friends and family… coming up in 3 weeks and this is my first burn. anyone else going/gone before?

  12. ChrisFromPhilly Says:

    darkness set 2? 2001 opener?

  13. jdub Says:

    What are you going to do GD, was a great night. My first holy grail. Kept wondering if it was the boomers or if they were always this good as it was my first since they came back and only 4th overall.

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    P&M, If I Could, Fefy for slow jamz

    sup @Chris

  15. Robear Says:

    sorry if this is old news at this point.

    i am floored right now. just listened to the first set of Greek 3 for the first time since that night. just amazed at the drill bit focus. that ’46 days’ might have been the most exciting 7 min. ever. During the ‘snake charmer tease’ Trey smiled at me, briefly sprouted a set of horns and said ‘you’re in for it Robear’ in a really cool way. I thought it was just me, but that set smoked. The tone in Trey’s guitar at the 3:30 mark of ‘Zero’ says volumes.

    onto set II. thanks for indulging. I did listen to ‘light>20 yrs.’ in telly w/ miner. so i knew i didn’t imagine that part 🙂

  16. jdub Says:

    Good for you Oneshow, never been to burning man but have always wanted to go. A real modern day pagan festival from what I’ve heard from friends who have gone. Bring a bike and stuff to trade was the advice given to me.

  17. jdub Says:

    Yeah Robear, that 46 days was just intensely good. That whole show stands out big time. But you were there so you would know.

  18. halcyon Says:


    Listened to that set today too….got lost during light and came to 20 years later :smiles:

  19. halcyon Says:

    I meant :mrgreen:

  20. Oldskool Says:

    What’s up guys? I hope everyone is having a nice night. Wife’s birthday tomorrow so doing the nice dinner out and wine thing but looks like a cool first set. Here’s hoping for no Diesease to open set II 🙂

  21. phoammhead Says:

    this tte set closer from DC1 I is smokin’! 🙂

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sloth opener

    Well shit…

  23. gavinsdad Says:

    the sloth…lil darkness for ya @chris

  24. Oldskool Says:

    I jinxed the Disease. I love the tune but a bit over played right now

  25. ChrisFromPhilly Says:

    unexpected and would enjoy…

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