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”

  1. jdub Says:

    Nice Hood!

    Fluffhead had “Fluff came to New York” line, got everyone charged up. Cities was a nod to the New York/San Fran connection. And RnR with it’s NY rock n roll station created a nice set and setting vibe.

    Drove into JB from the city with Frankie, Mitch, KWL, and Kyra. Tuned into NY top Rock station for the drive getting the classic two for tuesday format with Zeppelin, Floyd, and Beatles combos to take us all back. Pulled into JB with Joe Cocker blasting out “A Little from my Friends”. So a bit of synchronicity to get the reminiscing #Line and of course RnR. Awesome.

  2. BTB Says:

    Nice Hood, but you sound like a hippy…;) Hope everything is going good bro.

    Hey ya’ll, I’ll be in NYC but 3 days too late. Wish I was there to catch the mayhem.

    Don’t let the Man keep you down Neemor / Willy.

  3. SillyWilly Says:


    the cops just scared me a bit telling me everything that could happen.

    drove to eastern PA. got stopped. turned around at noon and headed all the way back to chicago.

    1000 miles by myself to think about that shit.

  4. jdub Says:

    SW, word spread about the mishap yesterday. So sorry to hear about that crap. We are all pulling for you! Keep your head up buddy.

  5. albert walker Says:

    like I said man

    they’ll give you either a 1 or 2 year period where if you don’t get into any more trouble it disappears off your record

    that will be the stresser cuz during that time you’ll need to be pretty careful

    don’t want to get into a little trouble with 2 weeks left like I would do when I was a kid

    good kid, with his shit together, they just want to scare you a little.

    jump through their little hoops and besides having the pockets a little lighter all will be OK man

  6. punkmug Says:

    Silly! Bummer about your encounter. I hope everything works out for you. Bummed I never hooked up with you at AV… but damn, we tried. Its so hard with so many entertaining things pulling one in so many directions. I was rolling with a pretty big crew this year, so it was kind of hard to coordinate meet-ups with you all. I did get to hook up with Aquaman during AV1 set break. I held onto the Blueberry Stout all weekend for you. I will drink it tonight on couch tour in your honor.

  7. nonoyolker Says:

    Damn Silly, really sorry to hear that… Keep your head up pal

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, AW, everything I read is saying about the same thing.

    I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that they released me right away.

    I thought I’d be spending the night in jail for sure.

    The cops seemed to be genuinely convinced that I was running stuff from wherever into NYC. I think they were relieved when they only found the remnants of my personals.

  9. Luther T. Justice Says:

    Eastern Pennsylvania needs to concentrate on their meth & pill problems, not marijuana. I mean come on.

  10. ohhphee Says:

    Fuck, SW! I can’t believe that shit after our mini-convo the other day. I’m so pissed right now for you. If you need to vent, man, just call or email me. o h h p h e e @ s b c g l o b a l . n e t.

  11. albert walker Says:

    welcome to the USA

    where out of state plates is an excuse to shake your ass down

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    Oh Silly. Time to go to war son. You can always make more $, you can’t make more time or freedom. Beg, borrow, or steal enough $ to hire yourself the defense lawyer in that county who golfs with your judge on the weekends. Little, big, whatever, money talks and money walks. Stay positive and beat em at their own game. Good luck brother.

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    PA must suck for that shit. A lot of places you would have gotten a very light ticket.

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    Silly, sorry to hear about that, hang in there my man.

    On a totally different note, last night’s poster was pretty interesting and clearly was influenced by a genre of art that I collect, Chinese farmer paintings. They are naive art from central China, painted by farmers during the winter when the crops are out, and which gained prominence during the Cultural Revolution as an example of the true art of “the people”

    For a cross reference, check out this piece and compare it to last nights poster.

    Nerdy rant over.

  15. jdub Says:

    Profiling sucks.

  16. Eric Says:

    Nothing like the dagger to the head that is walking out of the office at 6 and deciding not to go to the show and then seeing ‘that’ happen. Its gonna be a long day.

  17. treece Says:

    Great write up, Miner. Not enough has been said about that Simple Jam. It was amazing! Mike & Trey were hooking up all night. Can’t wait for tonight. Hopefully the rain holds off.

  18. halcyon Says:

    ::good vibes:: heading SW’s way

    Sucks to hear dude. Keep your head high, and follow the advice given. You have good energy. Hope that will carry over and things will work out in your favor.

    If you need to vent, you can hit me up at s m dot wander at gmail dot c om.

  19. ohhphee Says:

    Seriously, SW, BingosBro is right. Hit that shit with a vengeance. And do. not. let this change your outlook on life.

    You are one of the most positive people I’ve come across. World needs more pholks like you. Just breathe a bit, and use that energy of yours to take care of this shit and come right back at the world.

    It needs you.

  20. BigNasty Says:

    Silly – AW’s comments are truth. Happened to me a few years ago, also out of state at the time. Went to see the judge, pleaded no contest & apologized to the state for my behavior, paid like $700 in fines and fees, met with a prob officer once and the rest was history. You’ll be ok. You seem smart enough to know how to handle it from here. Best to you.

  21. Halden Says:

    What a show last night and a great stream too…

  22. SillyWilly Says:


    you all are really helping me feel better.

    I need all of this in my back pocket.

    Im making the dreaded trip home today to face my mom and dad.

    Silly from Eastern PA: “Dad, um, i need to tell you something…”

    Dad: “You know I own your car, right? Get your ass home.”

    Silly: “Dad, you know how far it is from PA to Iowa?”

    Dad: “Just get your ass home. NOW.”

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    And thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement. Means a lot to me.

    Im going to get ready and hit the road. I’ll keep everyone apprised of my situation as it unfolds.

    Be careful anyone who is coming back through PA after tonight.

  24. Matso Says:

    @ SW – Good vibes your way. I’m sure there are a few people on this board that can help you keep some perspective through this.

    @ Harry Hood – beautiful story man! Not sure where you’re driving from in northern Vermont, but I know a lot of those roads well, so I can just imagine the scenery on a late summer’s morning.

    I had a similarly powerful experience driving from Newark airport along the Palisades Parkway highway to willowed’s pre-Hartford 2 BBBBQ. I had just found out from my wife that we’re having a boy this fall and was on my way to see my first Phish show in 6 years. I popped in the 11.23.94 Fox Theatre Tweezer from Kevin’s Bonnaroo archives, which I had never got around to listening and when Trey got to that incredibly soulful section after the first phase of the jam, I was basically in tears. The music just facilitated such an incredible emotional release. I haven’t relistened to the jam since as I want to hold on to that memory of it for as long as I can.

  25. BigNasty Says:

    Great review Miner.

    Stream was best I’ve heard. PC->ipod dock speaker on the back patio with the firepit ABLAZIN’ was a nice way to hear this show!

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