The Final Step of Summer

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Phish closed a game-changing summer tour with an exquisite final statement on the waters of Long Island Sound at Jones Beach Wednesday night. Sculpting one of the defining sets of 2010 with their final frame, the band crocheted a musical tapestry that contained improvisational strength, undeniable flow and setlist fire. Coupled with an opening half filled with anthems from “Disease” to “Antelope,” the tour finale culminated a transformative summer for Phish – a quartet that sounds far different than one year ago.

8.13.10 (M.Stein)

While the band continued to progress all summer long, the season’s final four – Alpine and Jones Beach – saw a new level of sonic cooperation. Finally armed with unabashed confidence and the willingness to play within the context of others’ ideas, Trey has provided the final piece of the puzzle to a fully realized Phish. After this summer’s second leg, we need not talk about when Phish will hit their full stride again; over the past weeks, they have certainly accomplished that. No longer striving for proficiency, the band has freed themselves to explore new frontiers again. And over the past fortnight, they certainly gave us a glimpse of the future with many lead-less excursions stemming from collective musical motion. All of these elements converged on the final night of summer tour in an explosive display of all things right in the Phish universe.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

The band strung together several crowd favorites in the first set, capturing the local Northeastern audience with their only versions of August. The greatest hits vibe of the first set reached an improvisational peak in “Ocelot” and “Bathtub Gin.” In one of the more creative and climactic versions to date, “Ocelot” came out for a significant play session before Phish punctuated an incredibly strong summer of “Bathtub Gins” with one more first-set barn-burner. Hitting an early groove, Fishman, drummer revolutionized this summer, and Mike (a man revolutionized long ago) held down a dancy rhythm while Trey infused several multi-note runs into to mix. Harnessing the full sound of his new guitar – the singular most important treasure in the current state of Phish – Red let his passion flow in a triumphant farewell to summer. The unlikely pairing of “Tube” and “Destiny Unbound,” both appearing multiple times this summer, boosted the setlist’s sparkle, but as the band stumbled through “Destiny,” the show was more than ready to move on from the once elusive piece. Phish closed the set with another strong “Antelope,” one of their most frequent first-set closers of the year. Though so soon after Alpine’s top-notch rendition, this scorching version didn’t quite have the same impact. A strong, but not absurd, opening half set the table for Phish’s last set of an extensive, two-leg tour.

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Much like “The Sloth” led off for a dark “Disease” jam at Alpine, the band employed a similarly, heavy-toned opener with “Axilla” to spark an ominous sequence in “Timber > Light > 46 Days.” The only second-set “Timber” of this era carried a foreboding ambiance and a thunderous jolt of psychedelia to the beginning of the set – a sign of things to come. As the jam peaked, the band likened a collective avalanche with each musical rock tumbling over the next, gathering a single momentum while destroying anything in its path. Merging the last note with the opening hit of “Light,” the band entered the final summer version of their newest classic.

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

Over the past two tours, “Light” has blossomed into Phish’s most exploratory and adventurous jam, entering unknown dimensions night in and night out. An open-ended piece that has traveled so many different places over its year-plus life, Phish showcased their central jam in summer’s final set. Passing through several sections of darkening exploration, “Light,” once again, provided the most cosmic jaunt of the evening. Trey and Mike threw down mind-bending leads as the band departed into the other side, while Page and Fishman showered the piece with the sounds of a shimmering spaceship. Amidst this futuristic canvas, Trey and Mike both annihilated the jam with woven lines of fury, another example of their tasteful co-leadership. Trey began a pattern that sounds like a digital delay loop, leading the band into a completely abstract conclusion of the jam before bleeding into “46 Days.”

Official Jones Beach Poster

Releasing their intricate mind games into heavy rock and roll, “46 Days” provided the perfect splash down for “Light,” a song-pairing that has continued to appear this summer. This brought the first segment of the set to a close, but instead of ending the song outright, Phish drew out its sonic residue as Trey built the opening licks of “My Friend,” fitting congruently with the sinister set. With their personal chops now strapped like weapons, all four band members shredded the complex composition, serving as perfect mid-set interlude. Without missing a beat, the band laughed right into “Harry Hood.” Centering another one of their strongest summer pieces, Phish built a cathartic mid-set version that served as an east coast counterpart to the masterful west coast rendition at The Greek. A song whose jam completely fits the band’s current state of ego-less jamming, “Harry Hood” regained its core majesty over the summer of 2010. Another blissful escapade in universal harmonies, this version blossomed into a sacred sound sculpture that saw Trey unleash several spine-tingling licks. A throwback to the glory days of the song, Phish has recaptured the essence of their early-day opus, crafting transcendent realities every time out.

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

At this point in the set, “Tweezer” seemed like a long-shot, but sure enough, the band build a musical bridge from the peak of “Hood” into the opening licks of their seminal jam. Exploding in surprise and delight, the audience cranked the show up a notch as we, unexpectedly, stepped into the freezer. A perfect illustration of how time is no longer a barometer for great jams, Phish got straight nasty within the course of an action-packed and addictive ten-minute musical montage. The band fully dove in as one, crunching out some urban grooves before Trey hopped into his laid-back ride. Again building, and peaking, a jam without taking it over, Trey left his rock-star persona aside for more group-oriented playing. Without a one-dimensional, guitar-based climax, the piece took on a whole different type of momentum within a ten-minute vortex. Smooth and direct, this version infused the set with a late set dosage of larger-than-life rhythms.

Oozing into “Horse > Silent,” Phish set up the “YEM” closer everyone knew was coming before the tour ever began, But there is something about the New York metro area and “You Enjoy Myself” that always seems to jive. With nuanced communication and a locked-in groove, Phish styled their way through a gritty funk-down to finalize their most eventful tour since their return. Letting loose on his magic guitar, Trey took center stage as he crushed the second half of the jam with a Big Apple sized-solo. Providing a rocking re-entry into the world through “Suzy,” and “Reprise,” Phish put a exclamatory cap on the a summer tour that will not soon be forgotten. Up until this point, the story has been redevelopment, but from here on out, the plot lines will largely be determined by imagination and creativity. Phish 3.1 has officially arrived.

I: Down with Disease, Sample in a Jar, Guelah Papyrus, Poor Heart, Ocelot, Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Tube, Destiny Unbound, Joy, Run Like an Antelope

II: Axilla, Timber Ho > Light > 46 Days > My Friend, My Friend, Harry Hood > Tweezer > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Suzy Greenberg,  Tweezer Reprise

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875 Responses to “The Final Step of Summer”

  1. Henry Says:

    Just found the pre-FM FTA from ‘Roo. The 5/22/00 Ghost sounds sooo amazing in crisp SBD quality.

  2. Absher Says:

    Deer Creek 1 set 2 Buffalo Bill… so nice.. love that song

  3. kayatosh Says:

    gonna retire tonight w/ a relisten of 8/18 hood>tweezer

    peace.

  4. Absher Says:

    I didn’t think DC was that bad. Def. better than Teluride

  5. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Whatever, Miner. ;)

    I hope you are back in your bed catching up on that which your family and home provide.

    Get some rest put some distance between yourself and tour. Get the best sources, then drop us your picks.

    Por Favor

  6. sumodie Says:

    @Henry: hope you have the ‘Past Summer Compilation’ too:

    links here (including FTA Roo 1 & 2):

    http://thealgorhythm.blogspot.com/2010/06/phish-past-summer-compilation.html

  7. hossmaster Says:

    listening to 2nd night jb today at work (mowing lawns, which is a great job for listening to phish all day) I realized that I definitely lost my shit during the Gin. What a great show. Its been another awesome summer. Phish is just so damn fun.

  8. nonoyolker Says:

    Listened to highlights from leg one, then leg two while i was packing and moving (for the ENTIRE DAY today…). The difference between leg one and leg two is staggering… Trey’s new doc/tone and the progress of Fishman as the most improved played is the key to the change. Trey isn’t holding back and leaning on the same old licks, he’s getting out there and getting creative. Fishman is killing the pocket and pushing jams into new territory. There are a lot of “all time” jams. Greek Simple, and especially Light, Cities, and Alpine DWD > What’s the Use, JB Hood – viva la phish!!! Great time to be a fan…

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    Miner – really sorry you missed AV, theres always next summer

    ^ lol..it’s cool man.

    Love the dwd > wtuse…arguably jam of tour, but to say

    “in all my years of listening, I have never heard this caliber of jamming”

    Is quite an extreme statement, IMO…how many years of listening are we talking here? ;)

  10. dognamedwilson Says:

    I can’t access phisho or yawning. Is this related to the taper policy ammendment?

  11. Henry Says:

    @Sumo

    Only had the Theme > Dog Log and a few others. Thanks.

  12. ChefBradford Says:

    I’m having problems with Yawningdrone, as well

    what’s the taper policy amendment?

  13. dognamedwilson Says:

    Came up early today. ‘No live streaming’ was the jist of it, including transmitting before exiting the venue.

  14. ChefBradford Says:

    Ah

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    just starting to really listen back while not on tour…there are many unreal jams from leg II…so refreshing…

  16. Selector J Says:

    Policy stuff is coming to a head. Kinda weird that this is not getting more attention. All the sites I know that had stuff up are shut down… every single one of them… even phishows.com which I thought was all AUDS. Couch Tour and pwningdrone maybe things of the past… Lawyers must be trolling the green board for links or something.

    Time to start a b&p tree, I guess. ;)

  17. Tba Says:

    Ranking JB sets for the stupid fun of it.

    8/18 set II – Have not listened to it all the way through again, but
    it floored me. Loved it in every way, shape, and form.

    8/17 set I Fluff opener oh yah. KDF solid chalkdust type jamming from the relatively new song, propels us into Cities for an amzing three pack opener and we’re off. Great seeing Page smile, and get into the music. He’s such a mellow guy, humble, cool, and everything right on about how a person not only in the spot light, but also in general, should carry himself. What an all around nice guy who everyone loves. When Phish involves Page, it ignites the bombs and sonic depth charges laid by the mad bomber Gordo as well as the machine gun rythms from the Chrimson Daygo . There were moments of such intense and awesome funk at JB, that it was just awesome baby, as Dicky Vitale once said about Phish live on ESPN during a UMASS game in the Camby era.

    8/17 Set II What do you call a Mike’s sandwich without a possible Free? awesome, and packed with goodness, but maybe leaving one a bit hunger. Yes, a Free could have made it NY Deli delectable, but it still rocked.

    8/18 Set 1 a bit herky jerky, but some real gems. Main problem is ‘Curity hassled me as some guy supposedly had my seat, although I NEVER saw the supposed guy. Eventually after the music started, they “let me” go to my seat. Bottom line, IMHO, if you are close on the east coast for any major rock band, not just Phish, be prepared for it to be either way way packed with well I am not going to finish, or having room, but also having security so tight, you get an uneasy feeling. My bad, as nowadays, you have to get in early in order to settle into your spot, and get the lay of the land. Not always easy to get in early though, especially on said east coast. More and more I am loving Shoreline as my fave venue, as the seats and rows are so big, and the whole 100 section is awesome and roomy. Yes the lawn is in South San Francisco, but that’s the lawn….

    I bet in a few years, places like the Gorge will again be wide open like the 90’s. That said JB will always be packed. But that energy often leads to some incredible music.

    Great news the guy who took a flying swanny is remarkably way better off than anyone would have guessed after what transpired. Phish dodged a bullet there; Thank Christ. It’s that type of thing that propels Live Nation to tune security up tighter than a drum, and the whole scene gets to be a ticking time bomb. That’s why the best time to see Phish is in a venue the day after a gangsta rap group or some death metal band that dresses up. After certain scenes, a bunch of pot smoking hippies just has security pointing at people and laughing. whatever better than beating heads.

  18. Robear Says:

    Miner, while the band has gelled, your contribution to the community continues gelling. I hope I can speak for others by saying our enjoyment at shows has increased immeasurably from meeting folks from this board.

    and you do it from your heart. thank you.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Goodnight BB

  20. Robear Says:

    nice post @ Tba.

    re: venues
    seeing the band on both coast, and in Colorado since they’ve been back, I feel what you’re saying. some good points, some bad points.

  21. deckie Says:

    re miner
    just hit 20th year as a fan although my devoted fan status took a break 92-98

    I’m not calling 8/14 Disease best jam ever, more that the music they played in that jam was very non phishy sounding (to me) with little or no traditional licks or runs we hear during jams. prob cause Trey is being more democratic about a balanced band sound.

  22. henrietta Says:

    Jones Beach is on the south shore by the ocean and bay…….The Long Island sound is on the north shore.

  23. dusty Says:

    ” JB was top notch. your tour friends are incorrect ;)

    ^ Sorry Miner…your wrong here. Although JB2 had a new leg level of trey hanging back…this incredible laid back pace was more evident in the DC shows sans DC1 set1 than JB’s.

    care to hash this out over plinys at rr in rosa?

  24. butter Says:

    Alpine 2 – when the dust settles it is setlist driven, but incredibly tight

    Kinda like a leap forward on the Hershey show

    The best versions of have Bowie, Theme and Cavern in contention

    But let’s remember in the live setting of a Phish show it’s not about creating a best of playlist…..Alpine 2 had incredible flow

    Right after the show everyone was saying Alpine 2 had topped Alpine 1 but I don’t think you can mess with Tube thru Taste in the first set (Reba, Fyf being the peak)

    And of course Dwd>wtu is the peak! But Alpine 1’s whole second set is heat!!!

  25. Dan Levitan Says:

    I can’t believe what you said about the antelope and destiny unbound Miner! (love your site by the way). Antelope was smoking hot, though there have been many great ones to compare it too. Destiny Unbound’s jam was just stupid funky! Mike laid down this one line that was just ridiculous. Maybe you were ready for them to move, but I could listened to that jam for a good long while. (I’ll have to find a recording and pinpoint time of that bass riff)

    The show was insane though, and if anybody thinks the band is not back to being the best it ever was, I really think its a mental thing and not a phish thing any more for them…

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