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

Tags: ,

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

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah silly that’s heavy

    it’s hard to be honest about differing beliefs

    it must be really hard with religion, that sounds terrible

    my mom was agnostic so I didn’t have that particular issue but I have known many people to struggle with it

    I’m sure it was a reality check for your dad to hear that you are afraid of his reactions, but man, I bet you really needed to say that

  2. oneshowatatime Says:

    so how was the show? checked out just at the end of the first set-ish…

  3. oneshowatatime Says:

    still going?

  4. locust the lurker Says:

    still going oneshow…Suzy encore underway

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I want some of that Leo grill action, yeah

    I am a hack chef in all regards, grilling included

    have mastered a narrow range of simple recipes

  6. locust the lurker Says:

    probably get a suzy reprise>tweeprise– what do you think?

  7. butter Says:

    Amen C

    I got a funny story I have to tell you guys about the two girls in the box next to my parents and I that were Xing and grinding, bumping, and spanking each other the whole show at Alpine on Sunday

    I gotta get off of here but will expand more on my parents experience later this week

    Have a great night

  8. BrandonKayda Says:


    Very proud of you for talking to your parents and being straight up about everything like that – especially religion. That is one of the main things that I feel like I can’t really say much about. Trying to decide if I should wait a few years or come out with it now (that I don’t really believe in God/pray or anything like that).

    I’m going with the former right now. We shall see…

  9. halcyon Says:

    My buddy just texted me raving about this set especially the hood.

  10. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Man this has sounded like a fantastic second set, and the encore will keep throwing down, but I’ve felt absolutely sick to my stomach since hearing about the guy at setbreak. Tragic regardless of the circumstances, substances involved, etc.

  11. Leo Weaver Says:

    Tryin’ to live right @voopa…it feels good.

    @oneshow…pretty damn nice show methinks. Gonna spin it tomorrow at the office.

    @C…hit me up on your next trip east, we’ll make it happen. Otherwise I’ll show up on your doorstep when I make it out to PDX…tongs in hand.

  12. halcyon Says:

    I love tweeprise….talk about an adrenaline pumper

  13. locust the lurker Says:

    no suzy reprise but here’s the tweeprise. final notes of summer ’10.

  14. fee4zy Says:

    Religion is a tough one. Our parents generation saw it as such cut and dry. Our generation is more about adapting to whatever beliefs fit us. I went to a Catholic college, but it was a women’s college, so all the nuns were feminists. Gave me a different look at things. Then when I started reading about Buddhism and went to Tibet, it changed me too.

    Silly – your parents will get over this. You might want to share more about what you really do believe and they’ll have an easier time accepting not going to mass and such. The drug use will also seem less harsh over time to them. I’m sure after this incident, they will have many friends come out of the woodwork sharing about similar kid situations. Hang in there.

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    Mr. C

    yeah. i really needed to. it was the first time i had ever told him that im the way i am largely because of how afraid i was growing up.

    my dad is a good man.

    but i am the classic example of a son growing up the opposite of his father.

    which of course, could just mean, im way more like him than i want to admit.

    i just need to remember all these things if i become a dad.

  16. gratefulcub Says:

    Every show should end with a Tweeprise. From Phish to Yanni to Beiber to the aging Stones. This is how all shows should end.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have been having this conversation with so many people recently it’s weird

    everyone that loves you will be happier in the long run if you just be who you are – and anyone that doesn’t isn’t worth your time, period.

  18. oneshowatatime Says:

    suzy reprise = SUprize?

  19. Leo Weaver Says:

    You know, as good as Tweeprise is in the encore, it sure did hit the spot at the set closer MPP1 set 2…right after Slave. That set had some incredible amazing flow. I recommend you guys give it another spin real loud.

  20. voopa Says:

    *dances to tour closer*

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    bottom line, dishonesty eats away at your soul.

    you can’t be really happy if you’re living a lie.

    that’s really all it is.

  22. Leo Weaver Says:

    “see you guys next…tour.”

    Man that sucks donkey balls.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    “I gotta get off of here but will expand more on my parents experience later this week”

    wow yes please do that sounds classic

  24. gratefulcub Says:

    Big sweaty donkey balls

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    “I’ve felt absolutely sick to my stomach since hearing about the guy at setbreak”

    crap, what did I miss? *sigh*

Leave a Reply