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. neemor Says:

    Talking Head’s walk in music over the PA….
    Psycho Killer teases at least?

  2. phoammhead Says:

    DC1 should rise to the top show discussions for this summer . . . i’m serious.

  3. neemor Says:


  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    There’s Lycan’s Dirt!

  5. jdub Says:

    Dirt out of Mike’s

  6. ChrisFromPhilly Says:

    i like that undermind call…

  7. jdub Says:

    Looking forward to seeing you Neemor.

  8. jdub Says:

    And there is the Sally we all been waiting for

  9. Mitch Says:

    This mikes groove sandwich looks yummy

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Who called Sneaking Sally tonight?

  11. Henry Says:

    ohhh shit. sneakin’ sally

  12. Henry Says:

    I hope we get an Alpine Jam out of this

  13. gavinsdad Says:

    me on page 13 but i didn’t really “call” it:

    “Sally could be real big in a set opening spot. Set that big old lawn on fire.”

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    and i will always take a dirt…jb2 last summer.

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    I know somebody called a Sneaking Sally->Alpine Jam->Ghost or something like that earlier today…trying to remember who it was

  16. Henry Says:

    Man, according to YEMblog that Disease went deep.

    A What’s the Use.

    A Fuck Your Face.

    Dirt – my all time favorite studio Phish song.


    Damn, this is like a dream setlist for me

  17. Mitch Says:

    My .02. We got enough meatstick. Do we really need a 30 min meatstick? That’s one time I’ll give Trey a nod for switching (if anyone felt it was early) and that’s not from a biased mango perspective. I was doing meatstick dance the whole song before Trey gave the que. Just sayin.

  18. Oldskool Says:

    Looks like a very cool set so far. I do wish Mike’s would get a bit more streached out though, once of my favorite tunes when given the proper treatment.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sally->Hydrogen->Paug, Bowie


  20. Oldskool Says:

    About a 6 minutes Sally so I am guessing no Alpine Jam

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    kansas is up

  22. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Has there been a single dull Mike’s Goove played this year?

  23. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    Excuse me, vanilla would be the right word to use.

    They are really upping the ante with that sequence.

  24. Henry Says:

    YEMblog has it closer to 9 i think, but still it went into Week after the vocal jam. Oh well.

    BK – a bowie after this would cement it as one of the best looking set 2’s this summer, IMO. obviously a listen is in order before any true calls are made

  25. Robear Says:

    looks like a good night at the Alpine.

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