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. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @willy, alpine was her first show right? what did she think!

  2. gratefulcub Says:

    Damn Silly, that’s intense. No God?!?!? Sounds like your parents are atleast semi devout Catholics, which makes that tough.

    I will never forget the night I had the conversation with my mother.

    Me: “So, what you are saying is that Gandhi is in hell because he never accepted Jesus Christ as his savior?”

    Mums: “I don’t judge, that is up to God.”

    Me: “Yeah, but what you are saying is that God is going to send Gandhi to hell? Right?”

    Mums: “Yeah, I guess so.”

    Me: “I don’t like your God, even if he is real, he isn’t someone I am fond of. Floods, turning people to salt, and sending Gandhi to hell? I’m out.”

    Things have never been the same since, but that’s a’ight.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Silly…keep your chin up, keep doing what you’re doing, and keep your eye on the ball…one day when your parents give you a little shit you’ll be able to look at them and say, “…but mom/dad, I turned out pretty good didn’t I?” When you’re a successful attorney doing the right thing as a public defender (having your morals and ideals in the right place) they really can’t argue with you on that one. And nobody can take that away from you. You’re a good kid.

  4. SillyWilly Says:



    thanks for telling me that.

    maybe my parents would chill if i brought them to a show?

    im gonna wait until i resolve my incident.


    thanks a lot, man.

    that means a lot.

  5. locust the lurker Says:

    How bright did the Light shine?

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    pretty dark @locust

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    you’re a good young man @silly

    everyone on here knows it

    I am 100% sure your parents know it too

    dealing with those kind of separation issues is weird but important

    it sounds to me like you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about

    your relationship with your folks will be a little odd for a year, maybe a little longer but in the end it will be fine and you can relax knowing that you are actually being yourself around them (to a degree)

  8. Foul_Domain Says:

    Mike is assaulting that poor bass.

    Nice YEM

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    You typed the words right outta my fingers @FD

  10. ThePigSong Says:

    hey ya’ll!

    so tell me…. did we get a jones beach Hood tonight? 🙂

  11. SillyWilly Says:


    you’re right. thanks a lot.

    i don’t know if i got the chance to tell you how great it was to meet you.

    thanks for giving me the tips on the grill (more like correcting my mistakes when I forgot to turn a burger or check on a brat)

    by the way, Leo, those wings you made were phenomenal.

  12. ThePigSong Says:

    how has the set been so far?

  13. Foul_Domain Says:

    Frankenstein encore

  14. gratefulcub Says:

    Yep Leo, you promised me a recipe……..

  15. gratefulcub Says:

    I asked for a Frankie last night FD. I am hoping PosterKid read it later and cued it up for tonight.

  16. Leo Weaver Says:

    No prob Silly…just passing it along. Enjoyed meeting you as well. I’ll do the Grillmaster Yoda thing for ya anytime…we’ll fire up my grill when you make it down this way for some Southern Fried Phish. Glad you enjoyed the wings.

  17. halcyon Says:


    brighter days ahead

    my cat has his ears perked up and is looking wide eyed at me during this vocal jam

  18. Foul_Domain Says:

    the ‘animal sounds’ vocal jam.

    instant classic

  19. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. C

    thank you.

    I think the biggest thing I learned was that I shouldn’t be dishonest.

    I should have been more upfront with my parents about not practicing catholicism.

    My dad wasn’t pissed that I had given it up, he was hurt that I acted like I was still going to Mass.

    But in the end, I finally told him that sometimes I lie to him because Im so afraid of what he is going to do.

    In the end we were both crying. I cry about once a week. I’ve only seen my dad cry three times. And one of those was when we really thought my mom and sister were dead.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s time for highly accomplished people to stop taking shit for puffing

    I had this conversation with a barista today, I was joking with her about how their talk of “floral notes” and “lemon” and whatnot sounds just like weed fanciers

    she told me that “cannabis” is a widely accepted flavor note in coffees now and it led to a good convo

    I was like: I’m a serious professional, a good dad and husband, taxpayer, all that, and fuck yes I smoke weed, period.

    easier done in Oregon than most of the country of course

    but it feels good to just own it

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    Huh, you didn’t forget @cub…expect an email tomorrow.

  22. voopa Says:

    You’re a good man, Leo.

  23. voopa Says:

    Huh…synced w/C again. Small world….

  24. Leo Weaver Says:

    Would love to have that convo at my coffee shop here C…well I do in certain circles but you know what I mean. Not the topic du jour in Bankertown South USA.

  25. gratefulcub Says:

    Damn Skippy C. I like to tell people that there is a drug out there that is highly addictive and destoys families. It’s alcohol. That’s why I smoke pot.

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