It’s Only Getting Better

8.10.10 -Telluride (Wendy Rogell)

In a start-to-finish massacre, Phish took New York by storm last night, dropping a two-set showcase that oozed creativity all night long. Opening with “Fluffhead” for the first time since Hampton, last night in Jones Beach had a special feel early on. And once they started, they simply never stopped, playing a show with no lulls whatsoever, and some of the most impressive full-band improv we’ve heard this tour. Over this summer, the entire band has gelled as a whole in large part due to the re-evolution of Trey Anastasio. During last night’s second set, our front man never fell back on cliched phrasings or licks, pushing himself by playing intricate leads woven into the fabric of the jams instead of wailing away on top of them. Illustrated throughout the second set, Big Red is back an ready for business, and as Trey goes, so does Phish – a sign of positive things to come. After listening back to this second set after the show, it became quickly apparent that the band has only brighter days ahead. That full-on sense of balls-to-the-wall Phish creativity overtook the metro area last night it hadn’t in a long time.

Official Jones Beach Poster

The first set brought as much heat as any, featuring non-stop action and several, smoking structured jams. While the band struggled through more than a few parts of “Fluffhead,” the shock-value opener had everyone flying high from the get go, and as the band tackled “Kill Devil Falls,” they had hit the ground running. After a slower take on their new-school track, the set took a decided turn for the old-school in a devastating run of songs that speaks for itself. “Cities,” “Funky Bitch,” “Wilson,” Reba,” “Walk Away,” “Wolfman’s,” “Possum.” And that was the entire set. With tightly-wound and full-on playing throughout each and every song, the band clearly clicked from moment one and their connection carried throughout the night. Though non-stop action ran through the entire frame, and Trey had some fun with a toy guitar during “Wilson,” the indelible moments of groove came in “Cities,” “Reba,” and “Wolfman’s.” While “Cities” didn’t approach Greek status, it did bring liquid textures to the opening frame and provided an idyllic lead-in for a stellar “Reba.” Within the context of this one jam, it is hard to say who stood out the most, a tell-tale sign of an awesome effort by the Phish. Trey’s intricate ideas, Mike and Fishman’s delicate pocket, and Page’s rolling pastures of piano rolled into blissful magic carpet ride over Long Island Sound. Topping the set with a fierce triumvirate of “Walk Away” – with the new end groove, a swank “Wolfman’s” and blistering “Possum,” the band blazed a first set trail of fire that would only grow hotter come the second half.

8.10.10 (W.Rogell)

Building on the retro-vibe that permeated the opening stanza, Phish stepped onstage and opened the second set with “Lengthwise > Maze.” Placing “Lengthwise” in a significant slot for the first time in ages, this version was more than novelty as Fishman coaxed the song into “Maze,” evoking the psychedelia of the early ’90s. Another obliterating version of the renewed song kicked of the second set, giving an nod to the two other scintillating “Mazes” from August. Using “Halley’s” as a launchpad into an overstuffed “Mike’s Groove,” Phish sandwiched four creative jams within their musical suite, and one became an instant classic that sits along the many top-shelf offerings from August 2010.

While Phish tore apart a succinct “Mike’s,” once they segued into “Simple” the musical adventure truly began. Taking the second consecutive “Simple” jam down an original path, Phish broke through into quasi-digital territory as the entire band came together with notes that wrapped around each other in an ethereal, cyclical pattern. Fishman’s outstanding progress throughout this summer was evidenced in the morphing, delicate backdrops provided for this excursion, not to mention his work on every jam in the show. Pushing themselves out of the box, Phish seemed primed to explore new places last night as they moved into the usually-benign “Backwards Down the Number Line.” But last night was a different story all together.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

In the song’s short history, Phish has now blown out the song exactly four times. But differing from ’09’s versions in Chicago and SPAC, and Blossom’s secret mission in June, last night’s summer highlight actually built out of the “Number Line” jam, itself, as opposed to dropping into a completely separate realm to explore. Taking the song’s actual theme on a ride like never before, all four members of the band played as fluidly and creatively as they have all summer in crafting an immediate epic. Riding through a multi-faceted odyssey, the band once again crafted an forward looking piece of collective patience and acumen. As the jam organically progressed through many blossoms of beauty, the band subtly teased “Maze” more than a few times, en route to a spectacular second set centerpiece. Once again, all members shone amidst this jam, crawling through creative wormholes like all major Phish jams should. Fishman’s break-neck and ever-changing beats on this piece reminded us of a troll of old; one who has crawled out from under the bridge and began using his kit like a rhythmic romper room once again. This jam is a true benchmark of Phish’s progress this summer; get in on your headphones now.

8.13.10 (M.Stein)

Coming down beautifully into “Caspian,” Trey took a minimalist perspective on this joint, knitting a jam with low key licks instead of wailing in traditional fashion. The band followed his lead and laid back in a divergent and refreshing take on the second-set anthem. Likening his playing throughout the set, Trey wove creative lead melodies into the fabric of the music in an ego-less display of axemanship. Instead of finishing the song, the band’s creativity led them outwards into a musical doily that brought memories of Phil and Friend’s version at the Warfield of April ’99. Transforming the open jam into “Rock and Roll,” Phish finally used the eternal set-opener in a far more spontaneous placement. Riding the jam into a legitimate shred session, the band took the cover on an adrenalized mid-set jaunt. After an extended period of psychedelia, “Rock and Roll” gave the show a shot of energy in the form of a searing throw down. And lest anything be standard last night, the band took their cover for a rollicking ride before coming back to the refrain that soon morphed into a vocal-ambient bridge into “Weekapaug.”

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

Capping the “Mike’s Sandwich” with a totally original “Weekapaug,” Phish proved again that they are looking for new ways to go about things. Much like “Caspian,” Trey left his signature solos behind in favor of more intricate, yet shredding, leads that kept the show pumping with new ideas. This type of playing facilitates more full band interplay, as Trey, himself, brings far more original ideas to the table. Getting straight percussive on the jam, this “Weekapaug” entered a furious territory that we haven’t seen from the song, despite its summer revival. Often putting a lens of their most successful pieces of the summer, one couldn’t help think about the new life that has been breathed into the “Weekapaug” while listening to, perhaps, the greatest version of the season. Punctuating the frame with a “Loving Cup” that simply slayed, Phish had just finished quite the set of music.

Hitting on all cylinders from Alpine, and moving full-speed into Jones Beach, Phish are certainly hitting a new stride as this tour comes to an end – a beautiful omen for fall. With only one show left on their summer slate all signs point to a mid-week blowout tonight at Jones Beach for the tour finale. With a clean slate and their only east coast audience of the month, anything is possible. And based on how Phish played last night, the possibilities are endless. If we are looking at concerts at games, last night was a huge win for the Phish, and tomorrow they look to sweep their twin bill in the Big Apple. Be there…

I: Fluffhead, Kill Devil Falls, Cities, Funky Bitch, Wilson*, Reba, Walk Away, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum

II: Lengthwise > Maze, Halley’s Comet > Mike’s Song > Simple > Backwards Down the Number Line > Prince Caspian > Rock and Roll > Weekapaug Groove, Loving Cup

E: Show of Life, Golgi Apparatus

* w/ toy guitar

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1,354 Responses to “It’s Only Getting Better”

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  1. Little Buddy Says:


    Why is tour ending again?

  2. Mighty Quinn Says:

    Tonight is going to be unreal…

  3. tela'smuff Says:

    what makes this even better is that i feel they’ve been hitting all cylinders since Greek 3. The one bad set at DC (thank the heat), but for me, all the shows since Greek 3 have been throwdowns.

    either way, this review makes me happy. well done Miner. now I just need to hear the music!

  4. willowed Says:

    What a night with so many great people. The toy guitar was hillarious!!

  5. willowed Says:

    same time same place gdad Lot 5 Pole T
    Can’t wait to do it again
    # Line
    Walk Away
    Lenghwise>Maze set 2 opener….wtf???

    What a show what a time. Great BB’rs
    Anyone else get nervous when they started # Line after Simple. I thought that had potential to derail the flow…

    If I only knew what they were going to do with that jam.

    Caspian played really soft and patiently.

    How about Trey using that little kiddie guitar during Wilson. That shit was funny!!

    See you all tonight!!!

    one update. I was able to snap a bunch of pics of the BB meet up. Will post when I get home tomorrow after the run!!
    We had: Gdad, Dr. P. Jtran Purple Jdub Neemor Frankie Mitch Spasm Sumo KWL KP (me and KP rocked that place all night. What a time we had). I am sure there were more of you guys. Sorry if I missed you.

  6. halcyon Says:

    Great write up….

    Couch tour stream was cooking last night. Z-Man hooked up the stream last night. Sounded so good. Couch tour’s future is looking bright. With quality this good, I think we will be seeing official streams in the future.

  7. willowed Says:

    Thanks for the review Miner. Truly appreciate the effort!!

    Make it a great one people.

    BB’rs I’m off to the beach with Mrs. Willowed. Call me if anyone needs to be picked up from the train or whatever!!

  8. BeantownBoy Says:

    I love how Phish continues to blow out the tour closers and then they’ll drop Fall tour on us early next week.

    Good times in the land of Fun.

    To all the BB’ers at the beach, you better burn that place down tonight with your kinetic energy.

  9. butter Says:

    Wow, looks good

  10. Zodabo Says:

    Totally agreed… One of the most gentle but tight and concise Reba jams in a very long time. The second set was monstrous, indeed. At first, the BDTNL felt oddly placed, as I wasn’t sure if it would get the treatment it should. I love when I’m wrong – it was the highlight of the night.

    See you all tonight!

  11. nonoyolker Says:

    Hope people are raging it down in strong island!! Had to get rid of my tix because life got in the way. Going through a move into my first home, trying to get repairs and packing in order and have also had some health issues where i’ve had important doctor’s appointments all week. Stings not being down on the ‘isle getting down with my crew. Going to have to continue to rock couch tour to its fullest! Last night looks like a burner – can’t wait to spin

  12. Guy Forget>Piper Says:

    For what it’s worth, it seems that Alpine 2009 (6.21) and 2010 (6.14) were launchpads. Easy to say that 2nd half of summer tour wasn’t more affected by the extra month of practice and the comfort of having a tour under their belts. But there is something mystical with Alpine that seems to hone Phish’s big show appeal, and for 2 years now, seems to be Phish’s slingshot.

  13. neemor Says:

    Brilliant evening, last night!
    Didn’t love the Standing Room only situation as it didn’t lend itself to good sound or sightlines, but wandering around the venue, I found pockets to groove in often…despite “The Man” trying to keep me down.

    Blossom’s #Line twin was fun as hell…didn’t stop dancing the second set through.

    It was awesome to hang with you guys again, some for the first time.

    Makes the show so much more special sharing it with you all.

    See you again tonight, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

    Leprechaun tonight, after a monster Disease to cap the summer.
    Can’t wait!

  14. jdub Says:

    Great write up Miner, really a spot on run down.

    A very chill lot meetup, was great to casually hangout and chat with so many familiar BBers.

    The band did not let up one bit from Fluffhead to Golgi. Reba was just a beautiful, entire first set raged with no breaks to speak of. It felt like the whole show was a sort of a kick down for east coasters, a chance to get down and dirty with band and their very creative playing.

    Holy #Line batman. I joked about it a few days ago, mentioning it would be sweet to get a tour book end #Line jam that melted faces. And we did, and contrary to Willoweds reaction when I heard them sink into the song I felt they would go deep and they wasted no time pushing that one out there.

    KDF, Reba, Cities, funky bith, Wolfman’s, Possum, Maze, #Line, Simple, RnR, Weekapaug all were really creative and broke their molds in one form or another. RnR was so much fun, they took that jam for a ride dropping into Maze, Possum?, and KDF themes while never staying in one spot. Almost sounded like a reprise of the nights rockers.

    Great time hanging with Palmer and KWL at the show.

    Let’s do it again.

    RnR was

  15. jdub Says:

    And I just checked to confirm my thoughts, no Screw Lou Reed jam thanks to Phish keeping in touch with the integrity of the song and coming back to that nice vocal jam while pushing it for a rocking run. Way to go Phish.

  16. HarryHood Says:

    Just a quick story to share…… Try to picture this as you read……

    Since I have almost an hour drive to work and back each day, I’ve used my morning and afternoon commute to catch up on Leg II since I don’t have much time at home anymore to listen. This morning, I finally dove headfirst into Set II from Greek 3. Wow. Fuckin wow. Picture this……. I’m driving south through Northern Vermont towards Burlington. At one point you have to cross over Lake Champlain and on either side is wetlands for several miles, with the Green mountains in the distance. The sun hasn’t quite come up yet, but the sky is litterally exploding with colors. Reds, oranges, purples, etc…. A clear horizon is brightening things up while the clouds high overhead reflect the light from the impending sunrise…… The random trees along the marshes look black as night with the enflamed horizon as a backdrop. Looked like something that you would see in a painting….. At this point, I’m halfway through the Light from the Greek and several birds are flying along beside me……… Just as the song peaks, the sun explodes from behind the mountains.. Unbelievable moment. I kept thinking to myself that this is why music is so powerful. It took that moment and that image and captured it in my mind forever. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to Light again without having that exact picture in my head and feeling in my heart…….. Truely amazing experience. Thank you Phish.

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    Good morning, all.

    wow. what a week.

    saturday was perhaps the best day in my life.

    yesterday was easily the worst.

    If anyone could share with me some thoughts about what is going to happen to me after an encounter with Pennsylvania’s finest and bane, it would really help me out.

    no need to discuss on board.

    falkwilt AT gmail

  18. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Can’t wait to listen to this one! Especially Simple, BDTNL & Paug. Best tour since the return hands down.

    So much to be excited about with this band right now. The ever evolving approaches to the music has been fascinating to follow. I think in 3.0, Mike has been there all along and the others have had to find their way again. Of course, Trey has had the biggest learning curve, but this 2nd leg has shown he’s back and showing creativity beyond anything we could have hoped for. Even when he falls, the ensemble playing of this band can catch the music and move it forward. This has been key IMO, because Trey knows he has a safety net and this gives him the confidence to go for IT.

    Long live the Phish!!!

  19. verno329 Says:

    Hola BB! Listening to the Fluffhead (thanks to yawningdrone) as I start what is gonna be a very, very long day. I’ll be needing some good vibes so any you could send my way would be greatly appreciated. Wishin’ I was at Jones Beach tonight!

  20. albert walker Says:

    that sucks SW

    fuck this country and it’s bullshit prohibition of the herb

    send me an email man if there is anything you want to know. unfortunately I know a bit too much about that shit.

    first offense I assume. they will get you probation where if you don’t get into any trouble it will never go on you record. just disappears.

    sorry to hear it man. it will all get worked out.

  21. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Damn SW. I think Little Buddy might have some insight for you. Pennsylvania has always been tough on our kind.

    Sending good vibes your way my friend.

  22. Guyute711 Says:

    Oh No Silly!!! You should be ok though. Good Luck.

  23. Monsterpus Says:

    Last night was one of the best shows I’ve seen, period. Great songs, no lulls, just ripping, high-energy fluid playing. Even compared to the last show I saw at Hartford, the playing was kicked up a notch and Treys tone seems so much cleaner. A great night with a lean and mean Phish

  24. albert walker Says:

    just thinking about those state trooper fucks is fucking with my morning now

    fuckin hate pigs

  25. BeantownBoy Says:

    @ Silly

    Damn, dude.

    As someone who lived in PA for quite sometime my thoughts are with you.
    That state is more backwards than most people know. Their liquor laws are akin to that of Utah’s and their cops don’t ‘eff around.

    Find yourself a good lawyer (as much as you can afford) and just remember to look at this as one pothole on your journey.

    Hold your Head High!

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