A Wondrous Glow

8.7.2010 - The Greek (Wendy Rogell)

If Leg One of Summer was defined by bust-outs and covers, Phish got back to business during Leg Two by underlining their shows with quintessential exploration. Jumping outside the box right away, Phish returned the focus of their shows to improvisational exploits, laced with new-school twists. For the first off-season since the comeback, we now have plenty of next-level musical excursions to relive and dissect: refined and focused jams that stand up to standards of old on re-listen. This tour, all band members caught up to each other, and when that happened, Phish’s exploratory spirit took over and became a driving facet of their playing throughout August.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

In three shows at The Greek, Phish blew open multiple jams, setting a clear precedent for the rest of the tour. Beginning with “Disease” and “Tweezer” and continuing with “Cities,” “Rock and Roll” and “Simple” during the sequel, the band grew more connected each night. Peaking in full bloom during The Greek’s final set – one of summer’s finest – Phish navigated an odyssey through “Light,” producing one of tour’s  improvisational high points. Playing a Berkeley run during “Jerry Week,” there was a palpable buzz of a possible Dead cover, but Phish couldn’t have given a greater tribute to Garcia than this cerebral and intricate masterpiece that became the defining open jam of summer.

When Phish revved their cosmic launchpad as the second song in the second set, an impending sense of greatness hung in the crisp California air. Growing progressively larger throughout June, “Light” had left off in Raleigh with the tour’s best rendition. But when the band unveiled their current centerpiece in Berkeley’s mythical amphitheatre, it became quickly apparent that Phish would delve deeper than usual – and that they did. Steering a multi-dimensional journey through tapestries of sound, the band merged virtuosic ideas into cohesive musical themes, resonating universal frequencies in their stone surroundings. The pristine sound enhanced the quality of the ethereal experience, as the band set sail on a voyage into the heart of the unknown.

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Phish burst out of the gates with a unique and scintillating composed jam in which Trey wove a beautifully atonal solo. But as opposed to June, he ran up and down the fretboard, accurately hitting every note of his melodies rather than altering his pitch with his whammy pedal. An increasingly twisting trail led the band through a darker passage that settled onto a fresh musical plateau. As if composed, Page began a melody that Trey immediately latched onto, shooting everyone directly into the spiritual realm without warning. As Mike backed their ideas with a low-as-possible bass pattern, Trey and Page wove a stunning tale of beauty with which Gordon quickly harmonized. Morphing into a soul-melting passage of sublime Phish, the band members tossed musical ideas around like a magical hot potato, subconsciously building off each other and stretching the music into the stratosphere. Losing all sense of time and place, the entire band rode a wave of blissful momentum, caring not where they might end up, but knowing that each and every moment along the way felt exactly right.

8.6.10 (W.Rogell)

Showcasing their one-minded jamming, Phish took a swan dive into the void, coming up with their most profound musical statements in quite some time. Feeling no hindrance and pushing further into uncharted realms, the band narrated a sonic fantasy that enraptured the psychonaut in everyone. Darkening the jam with intertwining leads, Trey and Mike organically brought the piece into a section of underworld grooves, where the entire band adapted like chameleons to their changing musical surroundings, never missing a beat while continuing their path of wonder. Flowing into more abstract and tribal rhythms, Fishman urged the band into increasingly dramatic territory, and Mike and Trey responded with furious leads, bringing the jam to a head.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

A monstrous piece defined by its non-linear, yet totally cohesive, journey, The Greek “Light” moved through four distinct sections without ever losing a micro-particle of momentum or flow. With all four members playing masterfully and connecting entirely, the result became an other-worldly piece of Phish music, regardless of era. As the band pushed their newest sound this summer, their most impressive jams stood up to any age in their past, a sure sign that the future is glowing. “Light’s” ornate excursion provided the first peak of tour, while Phish would hit a second high point a week later in Alpine Valley with “Disease > What’s the Use?.” And there were a plethora of surreal jams that surrounded these two behemoths. This week, we’ll look at the most significant musical moments that made Leg Two of Summer 2010 – The Tour We Made Contact.



Jam of the Day:

Harry Hood” 8.7.10 II

Here’s The Greek’s regal version of Phish’s classic amidst a summer that completely revitalized the song. The band’s playing on this rendition set a modern precedent for “Hood” jams, furthering the elegant vibe of the final set in California.




8.13.2010 Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN < Torrent

8.13.2010 Deer Creek, Noblesville, IN < Megaupload

Deer Creek Official Poster

Deer Creek’s finale provided two more balanced sets than the opener, with the second divided into dark and light. The more sinister segment read “Light > 46 Days > Maze” and the lighter half was delivered “Meatstick > Mango,” “Fluffhead,” “Julius,” forming a yin and a yang to a well-played set. The modern era debut of “Walls of the Cave” and a serious “Stash” highlighted a solid opening stanza.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guelah Papyrus, My Sweet One, Axilla, I Didn’t Know, Walls of the Cave, Stash, Train Song, Backwards Down the Number Line, Ocelot, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Wilson, Possum

II: Halley’s Comet > Light > 46 Days > Maze, Meatstick > The Mango Song, Fluffhead, Julius

E: Contact, Slave to the Traffic Light

Source: Schoeps mk4v> CMR> Naiant PFA> Sonosax SX-M2> SD 722

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719 Responses to “A Wondrous Glow”

  1. nonoyolker Says:

    Greek Light – hands down the best jam of 3.0. It is just perfectly orchestrated. It’s the defining jam that I know I’ve been waiting for. I wondered whether they would be able to put together a timeless jam that could compete with any era and boy, they sure did. Most encouraging sign since the comback. Really is the tour we made contact

  2. b-rock Says:

    @lw no Delaware, they live right down the road from the Dogfish brewery and brewpub.

    @jdub – quadruple helix – that a great descriptor of the way the sound weaves all between the 4 of them.

  3. gavinsdad Says:

    also, the landing in 20YL is perfect.

    i listened to the greeklight in full on the way in to work this am and didn’t exactly note 20YL in the jam…but i did feel some of what AW referred to…a little bit of the GD-esque dark/light nods in there…especially as they transition to the distinct sections of the jam…i pictured parts of the jam being right at home in a dark star or a bird song….i know…it’s a stretch but not that far. again, 20YL…perfect landing pad.

    i too am feeling the JB #line…and i like the Greek Simple and Cities but Simple gets the edge for where it traveled…cities is really awesome but i feel like it was still stayed within it’s funky wheelhouse…

  4. gavinsdad Says:

    hey! i didn’t even see that AW called out dark star or other one…other one is a better call than my bird song mention…i shouldn’t skim!

  5. gavinsdad Says:

    @telas: that halleys is extraordinary.

  6. jdub Says:

    Miner referred to the music as a quadruple helix in a previous post.

    So I googled psychedelic quadruple helix to see what pops up and what do you know, Miner’s review of 8/7/10 is the first link.

    And then I googled the same quote in an image search and a bunch of photos from Wendy, Grahame, and others linked to Phishthoughts were on the first page.

  7. b-rock Says:

    @telas and gd – hell yeah on the Hampton Halley’s. Thinking of that makes me a little sad that it’s become a shell of its former self — but I guess the jammy goodness is coming from other places now.

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    11-22-97 – encore. one of the classic audience reactions. it’s a mix of most of the ladies screaming with excitement, and a collective groan from the dudes. at least that’s the way it sounds to me. i say that in the least sexist manner possible. 🙄

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    halley’s has done nothing but return to where it came from. it didn’t become a vehicle until the phunk era, iirc. do I miss that type of halley’s? yes, but if they get “there” by other means, halley’s can stay where it is as far as I’m concerned. works well as an opening for light, honestly.

  10. KWL Says:

    morning all

    nicely done miner

    gotta actually get back to work today, listening to leg II highlights

    greek dwd gets into some nice textures

    going to see how leg I highlights stack up later today

  11. KWL Says:

    i hear ya t3, but i really just dont get halleys right now

    its 5 minutes of hard work to get into a really sick jam with built in key change, i mean the thing is rockin…

    and then it just stops

    why all that work for just 30 seconds of sickness?

  12. lastwaltzer Says:

    “cities is really awesome but i feel like it was still stayed within it’s funky wheelhouse…”GD

    Absolutely. I loved it and its a step in the right direction, but thats one of those “it should be the norm” kind of thing. Hopefully we get more of that in the fall.

  13. KWL Says:

    gumbo, on the other hand, makes more sense to keep a short rocker with the ragtime outro

    even though we would all like to see it stretch out, i get that one

  14. lastwaltzer Says:


    I asked the other day but think you missed it, where does that painting at the top of your blog come from?

  15. KWL Says:



  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    see, halley’s for me is about the lyrics and overall bouncy vibe of the song. it never was a jam vehicle in my estimation but became one in the minds of phans due to the Hampton and other examples from that era that made people think this was the norm.

    I caught the 12.28.97 one which, while not as pronounced as Hampton, did contain a great jam that bled eventually into Slave. but I see that more as a product of what they were doing at the time and less as a result of the song itself.

    I think the band has decided it is now a better launching pad than vehicle. the fact that of its five 2010 appearances it went directly into Light three times speaks to this pretty openly. and if that means we get another mind expanding Light out of that “short” Halley’s, then sign me up every time.

  17. Guyute711 Says:

    “halley’s for me is about the lyrics and overall bouncy vibe of the song. ”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Maybe they haven’t always stretched it out but for me if they don’t I would rather not hear it at all. It’s just a waste of time for me. To each their own.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that wasn’t me saying the lyrics/vibe are why I like it, but what I esteem the intent of the song to be.

  19. b-rock Says:

    I’m with Guyute on this… I know that the extended Halley’s is an aberration, but part of the appeal of Phish to me is they start a song and you never know where it’s going to go. It has such a different feel and tone than the “jam vehicles” so when they have stretched it out it’s gone to unique and different places.

  20. Guyute711 Says:

    I hear you T3

  21. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’m with t3, halleys was only a jam vehicle for a period. I actually like the structure of the tune better then the blues jam at the end. That being said I think there was only one time I thought transition from halley>light really worked, can’t remember which show it was, maybe great woods.

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I think you are thinking of Hartford.

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    I’d rather hear Esther into Light, I won’t hold my breath.

  24. lastwaltzer Says:


  25. lastwaltzer Says:

    I’ll be honest I don’t think Light works as a segue song.

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