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. DocGanz Says:

    West Coast. SeaWorld fireworks going off post-show. Great timing

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    Later, Leo!

    have a good day tomorrow

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    @silly I can’t advise you on the dad thing

    I didn’t know my dad growing up and when I got to know him it was quite the weird relationship, he was a high level outlaw

    so I am forced to just figure out this whole dad thing without any relevant experience

    best of luck though

  4. Andrew Says:

    Mr. C from what many have surely gathered from your posts over the last year or so is you have exactly what it takes to be a good parent – love

  5. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @BK – your reflective attitude about religion is far more mature than many of the people with whom I studied religion and philosophy at the graduate level of a prestigious school. Don’t be surprised if ten years from now you have similar uncertainties and awe at all the possibilities.

  6. DocGanz Says:

    There’ve been times when I wander
    And times when I don’t
    Concepts I’ll ponder
    And concepts I won’t ever see
    God isn’t one of these
    Former or latter

    Nothing I see can be taken from me

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i was 8 (grade 3) when i realized i didn’t believe in god. not sure i ever actually did believe, but there was a distinct moment when i concluded that i didn’t believe. remember it pretty well too.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    “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. ”

    ^^^ well with religion I know it’s deeper than that

    they literally believe your soul is in danger

    with political type beliefs, cultural stuff it’s one thing – but religion takes it to a deeper level

    you don’t have to play their game but understand that aspect of it

    it’s a parent trying to protect their child from Hell

    seems ridiculous from the outside, but to them it’s real

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    @Mr. C

    I am sure you are doing a great job. If you can offer a child the kind of advice and guidance you are so ready to give and so consistently do give here you will be doing better than great.


    get out as much as you want, dude.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    thank you @andrew

    that’s kind of you

    I’m figuring it out as I go along, same as the rest of my life, but the stakes are higher

  11. Skyballs Saxscraper Says:

    I’ve seen people find God, and I’ve seen a few of them lose their faith because of human nature.

    If we can establish faith in other people, in mankind, if we’re strong enough, I wonder where it will take us…

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh I do think I am a pretty great dad, honestly, I guess I have a knack for it, and he’s a great kid

    but I have no perspective on father/son relationships at all

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    I was almost the kid that fell when Cal gave me a huge bear hug on the Alpine Lawn after the Disease on Saturday night.

    I was simultaneously wiping tears out of my eyes and trying not to slip down the mountainside when Cal form tackled me.

    ill never forget that moment in my entire life.

    such a pure feeling.

  14. gratefulcub Says:

    Exactly Mr. C. That’s why I avoid the topic and cut my mom lots of slack. She is fearful for the fate of my eternal soul. I would be offended if she didn’t try to change my mind, knowing that she believes I’m going to hell. But at the same time, I find the entire thing silly. Tough tightrope to walk

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    nice @sky

    I think spirit (including what people call God) is just a manifestation of the better parts of human nature, so all paths end up leading the same direction…in other words I am a spiritual humanist…I think spirit is an emergent phenomenon of human culture…

  16. locust the lurker Says:

    anyone know what happened with the dude who fell tonight or if it really even happened? Is there even a balcony at Jones Beach?

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    word @cub

    it’s so important to them…but I can’t lie…it’s tough

    for me it was grandparents, which is easier

  18. oneshowatatime Says:

    I can relate to the religion/parents thing a bit. Dad was never really a practicing Catholic, but that’s how my mom raised my sister and I. I can remember resisting it from a real young age and never really bought in, just didn’t seem “realistic” or “logical” for me to believe in. Eventually around middle school started drinking/smoking and fighting it like all hell. After 13 or so my mom pretty much quit trying. Then my sister followed in my footsteps, never really could relate to the church.

    Eventually we left for college and then all the molestation shit came out and gradually my mom started going to church less and less. Eventually she stepped back and began really questioning her faith (largely due to that, as well as the anti-abortion issues and anti-gay issues) and now she is completely independent of Catholicism. She still has faith and spirituality but it’s different now.

    Lately I’ve been finding my own spirituality, it’s quite amazing actually. But has NOTHING to do with any organized form of religion. Find your own path, just try not to tread too hard on the P’s while you’re at it.

  19. sanchothehutt Says:

    hey guys, I had to drop out b/c of life, but I’m wondering if any of that shit happened tonight or was it just ramblings?

  20. oneshowatatime Says:


  21. SillyWilly Says:

    maybe the guy who fell had the same thing happen to him that happened to me at Deer Creek.

    Which was…..

    In the second set of Deer Creek Night 1, just about at the Gin, I got into this space in my head where I felt like Mike was holding me up with his bass lines. My mind turned white and it was just me and the bass. If Mike stopped playing I was sure I going down.

    Maybe thats what happened to this kid?

    (i hope the kid is ok. id feel bad knowing he was seriously hurt)

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    I really like when BB goes into these places – such a wide variety of people and perspectives on here. I love it.

    Thanks guys

  23. sanchothehutt Says:

    either way, when it was mentioned, the tears came right away. I’m only 29 but I’ve lost some friends (some to drugs, one to a kayaking trip in Superior, though)

    I can’t imagine seeing something like that

  24. William H. Bonney Says:

    ThisWeekonLot Talked with security. Guy didn’t “fall”. Jumped off. Railing to high. #phish re: guy about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

  25. sanchothehutt Says:

    FUCK, oneshow.

    thanks for the post. Heart broken.

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