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:

    hmm i used to have so much fun rebelling against my parents with religion

  2. oneshowatatime Says:

    so looks like they took light to the edge again?

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    ^guy jumped like an antelope out of control

  4. Andrew Says:

    BK – Silly – youngin’s…be wise in speaking the truth to your parents, it’s the right step but don’t leave out what you DO believe in. Give’m hope and open their minds to what else may be out there that isn’t blasphemy or mumbo-jumbo. A lot of elders these days grew up with little on their plates. We have the opportunity today of being exposed to multiple viewpoints from around the world, and the right minds will always learn something new.

    Haven’t been on in a while and actually missed out on last night’s show…long story short we had a great week in NJ but plans fell short yesterday, but I was able to send a good friend and his brother whom were in big need of a show. Hope to catch up with the BB’ers in the near future, bring on the Southern Fried Phish!

  5. Leo Weaver Says:

    “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.”

    You don’t know how familiar this is Silly…

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    they took light to the edge but didn’t bring it back from the edge ala greek

  7. voopa Says:

    Thank you too taper420!

  8. halcyon Says:

    SW

    my mom is front row pew sitting devout catholic…..we have had this conversation a few times. It broke her heart at first, and is as ok with it as she will be. She finds strength in it. More power to her. I will go with her to support her as she has been sick for several years. It was interesting at first, then again this occurred 15-16 years ago, and now it is what it is. She believes, I don’t.

    hit me up at s m dot wander at g mail

    Things will be just fine.

  9. William H. Bonney Says:

    sounds like a party

    http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/police-jones-beach-concertgoer-falls-from-balcony-1.2223962

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    @fee4zy

    yeah. i know things will get better now. im going to sleep deep and easy tonight.

    its as if my unconscious is quiet for the first time in awhile.

    @BK

    thanks, man.

    I think whenever you tell your parents just remember that their reactions come from their own issues as much as your own.

    You and I aren’t parents, but, I think parents place so much of themselves in their kids that when their kids reject an idea of theirs they feel a little like the kid is rejecting them.

    I think the key is making sure your parents know that you love and respect them, but that doesn’t mean you have to think exactly like them.

  11. Andrew Says:

    Fee4zy on the same note, nice sync

  12. fee4zy Says:

    Brilliant minds think alike.

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Good points @C

    You guys really do know how to break stuff down.

    It sounds kind of like I am going through the same kind of thing @Silly went through with his parents – as in I don’t want to disappoint my parents by being honest, but at the same time I don’t want to lie to myself either – especially when it comes to religion.

    I’ll have to think this over for a bit…

  14. halcyon Says:

    Good Night All! 4:30 am comes quick!

  15. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @C – William H. just posted the first news item about it, but lots of (crass) information/speculation about what went down floating over the various streams and tweets during the show

  16. oneshowatatime Says:

    whoa, 4:30am what??!?

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Well @BK…one thing you gotta keep in mind – you’re still living under your parents roof. Just sayin’ 😉

  18. Nagarjuna Says:

    getting a dense dose of BB catch up after being offline for a bit

    makes me cackle and really appreciate this spot

    hard to know what’s more impressive, all the deep beautiful shit y’all are sharing or lines like this from @Joe:

    “do you guys pet your cats really slow when joy comes on?”

    it’s all here on the BB.

  19. halcyon Says:

    430 for work one show.

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    Night folks…couple of big meetings tomorrow, gotta get some sleep.

  21. oneshowatatime Says:

    hope homeboy that fell is OK! i’ve heard of similar incidents happening at GD shows when fools dropped a few too many… bummer.

  22. oneshowatatime Says:

    wow, catch some rest Halcyon!

  23. dogmattagram Says:

    Hey Leo, and everyone else. Pretty nice show tonight. just thought tweezer needed to go bigger. not bad though. interesting day on the board today. good group of pholks here.

    perhaps there should be a BBer’s recipe board somewhere???

  24. oneshowatatime Says:

    anybody here up on the west coast or mountain time?

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah @Silly that feels like exactly what is going on.

    I also think that my parents may think that my non-loyalty towards religion is some sort of teenage angst/rebellion thing. I am way past that.

    I just feel that there is so much information out there; so many ideas, so much philosophy, so many cultures, etc – that i am not going to decide on one single thing until I have seen everything else (or until I am satisfied)

    As of right now, I don’t believe in God, or in any sort of religion.

    I just need to explain to my parents that it is not *their* fault that I don’t believe in that, they didn’t raise me wrong; if anything, they raised me better, because I am forming my own ideas. I feel that that is more important than following what people are saying.

    Thanks for letting me get that out

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