The Re-Birth of “The Groove”

8.10.10 - Telluride, CO (Graham Lucas)

When Phish returned to the stage in 2009, they reeled in “Mike’s Groove” from its days as an improvisational centerpiece to its old-school format of “Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug.” Barely extending each piece beyond eight minutes run-thrus, the routine of the modern era “Mike’s Groove” grew quickly tiresome. The opening riff of “Mike’s Song” – once a jolt of adrenaline to the heart – now signified 20 stagnant minutes of music while Phish churned out generic version after generic version of each bookend. Rarely adding meat to the simplistic sandwich, for over a year “Mike’s Grooves” provided little investigation into the unknown. But throughout this summer, Phish bolstered their musical suite in unexpected ways. Though “Mike’s Song” remained a structured descent into darkness, the feats that the band accomplished after the song’s closing power chords brought the adventure back into the “Groove.”

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

Beginning in Canandaigua, New York at the end of June, Phish began to switch things up. Segueing into “Simple” and then into “I Am the Walrus” before bursting into “Weekapaug,” this entire “Mike’s Groove” had gained liftoff, forming a half-set escapade that departed from its played-out pattern. Fast forwarding to July 4th’s tour closer in Atlanta, the band lit the fuse of a late-set “Groove,” and the spark led to an array of Phishy fireworks. In a slot where the band had placed so many cliched versions, this holiday “Mike’s Groove” turned out to be anything but usual. Segueing surprisingly into “Tela,” and then eve more dramatically into “Harpua,” Phish packed significant bust-out action into this patriotic tale. But when Trey’s story led to the cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name,” this tour-ending “Mike’s Sandwich” resembled a monstrosity from from New York’s Carnegie Deli.

When the second leg rolled around, Phish molded larger musical suites, using “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug” to bookend adventurous pieces of improvisation. During The Greek’s second night, Trey abruptly bust into “Ghost’s” jam with the opening of August’s first “Mike’s Groove.” Any memories of the ugly transition dissipated in the vapor trail of Trey and Mike’s fury, and when the band stepped into “Simple,” nobody expected a tour-defining jam to emerge. But to the surprise of most, that is exactly what happened as Phish transformed the anthem into an abstract and melodic experiment. Popping with sonic originality, “Simple” grew into the first breakthrough jam of tour; a jam that blossomed in between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug.” Phish also squeezed in succinct versions of “Number Line” and “Seven Below” into this super-sized “Groove.”

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

In Telluride, Phish beefed up an early-set “Mike’s Groove” by inserting the run’s only “Crosseyed and Painless” before merging with their traditional path of “Hydrogen > Weekapaug.” After ripping the universe wide open with “Disease > What’s the Use?” on Alpine’s first night, Phish laid back into a swanky “Dirty Sally Groove.” Using”Dirt” as an introspective comedown from a particularly sharp “Mike’s Song,” the band wasn’t done with this second-half “Groove” just yet. Feeling the flow, the band dropped into the slithering funk rhythms of “Sneakin’ Sally” and absolutely annihilated the cover. Guided by Mike’s laser bass lines, Trey bounced a lively solo over an ocean of liquid grooves. Bringing this late-set treat to a head and through a vocal jam, Phish set up a blistering “Weekapaug” to punctuate this dynamic musical paragraph.

Only two shows later in Jones Beach, however, the band pieced together the most eventful “Mike’s Groove of the season. Providing the meat and potatoes of the second set, Phish combined a standout “Simple” and a defining “Number Line” with a creatively placed “Rock and Roll” to form the most flowing and vituosic “Mike’s Groove” of summer. Finishing this suite with a spunky “Weekapaug,” the band cranked up the feel-good anthem as they did all summer long. While “Mike’s” certainly took on added life in August, “Weekapaug” saw far more attention as several versions turned into high-flying highlights. Blasting off into lands of melodic percussion, the band magnified the suite-closer with creative jaunts that infused shows with ending momentum rather than methodical motion.

8.9.10 Telluride (G. Lucas)

In a season of revitalization, “Mike’s Groove” fell in line with the larger trend of summer. Finding original pathways to creativity, the band breathed new energy into a stagnant part of their catalog. Not long after many fans called for its shelving, “Mike’s Groove” bounced back resiliently, providing highlights to every Leg Two show in which it appeared. Snowballing with Phish’s over-arching head of steam in 2010, the band’s classic musical combo came into focus during a significant second leg of summer. While the spotlight shifted away from “Mike’s” and onto the rest of the “Groove,” craftsmanship and improvisation came back to Phish’s hallowed sequence during a summer that held nothing but future promise.


Jam of the Day:

Reba” 8.7.10 II

One of three stellar “Rebas” along the trail of August; this one  from The Greek.




10.27.96 N.Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC < Torrent

10.27.96 N.Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC < Megaupload

This is Phish’s second, and last, visit to North Charleston Coliseum, another venue that will host a two-night stand next month.

I: Runaway Jim, Punch You In the Eye, AC/DC Bag, Fee, Scent of a Mule > Catapult* > Scent of a Mule, Split Open and Melt, Talk, Taste, Suzy Greenberg

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Rift, Prince Caspian, Ya Mar, Tweezer, Fluffhead, Life on Mars?, Tweezer Reprise

E: Possum, Carolina

*performed twice during the Mule Duel; first by Mike, and then by Page solo on the theremin

Source: Sennheiser ME-67’s

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738 Responses to “The Re-Birth of “The Groove””

  1. kenny powers Says:

    finally just listened to the JB Light for the first time. Wow! Not all versions wet my whistle….some have the typical Light jam, then dissolves into a few minutes of ambience, but this one is SUPER original. overly nasty and aggressive, then a very cool outtro section. One of my faves fo sho.

  2. nonoyolker Says:

    Waiting for the HUGE Mike’s to drop in v3.0. It will happen. It is inevitable. Hopefully in fall in a college arena where i am in attendance.

    Week’s has been vastly improved upon this summer. There have been some ripping versions. Felt like they were going through the motions with the tune for a long time, but it seems to have new life now.

    Video samples from the upcoming coral sky release, woot!

    New Mike’s solo jawn dropping the same day. Happy days

  3. Mitch Says:

    Dicks Picks 19

    Dark Star > MLB Jam > Morning Dew


  4. TheSloth Says:

    The Mike’s Song have been cut short, which is disappointing given the monster Mikes we’ve seen in the past, but most (the song not the entire “grove” )have featured some intense playing. I’m thinking Cobo Mikes, for example, where the energy level real nice.

  5. mrfergie Says:

    morning all sun is shining, birds are singing, and tour is just around the corner – let’s make it a good one today

  6. TheSloth Says:

    A lot of what they are doing now is “standard” compared to what they were/are capable of but everything is tight and in your face. Like the Blossom Groove or MPP 1 set 2 or any Maze 3.0. I have no problem with it, in fact I love it.

  7. Little Buddy Says:

    @ Tela’s

    Not gonna make it to SC. Utica, Amherst and AC for this guy. So far I only have a ticket for 10/30 thanks to a great friend who scored with PTBM, but can’t go. Should be a “fun” weekend with the public on-sale. Can I schmooze the TM lady on the phone for 5 minutes? Will my speedy university internet connection come through for me? Will I get up at 2 am Saturday and drive to Livenation headquarters to get tickets (and subsequently burn the place down when I don’t)? Oh, the adventures…

  8. gavinsdad Says:

    @bingos: one of the most intense things i’ve ever seen in my life. i praised Him and then went to the show…i was literally crackling with energy when they were playing…being moved by the music. it was like i was wearing a blanket of music….those guys do not fuck around. they were channeling something extremely big. for some reason unbeknown to me, my ears are fine today. strange.

    sorry for the hijack but if anyone wants to experience something holy from a genre they never thought they’d touch (stoner rock) go see one of these Sleep dates (and make sure you get extremely lifted and bring earplugs):

    09.08 New York, NY – Brooklyn Masonic Temple
    09.09 Chicago, IL – Logan Square Auditorium
    09.10 Austin, TX – Mohawk
    09.11 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
    09.12 San Francisco, CA – Regency Ballroom

  9. Kaveh Says:

    Good morning everyone. Ticket related post, so please excuse the interruption. I’m wondering if anyone needs help with the on sale shows on Friday. I’m at work with pimp internet and will gladly help out. So let me know either here or email me kjrahimi at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

  10. negev79 Says:

    Good morning board! Hope everyone is well!

    Finally got my email from PTBM. I got two 10/30’s. Need two for the 29th and 31st now. C’mon ticketmaster!!

    Strategy question…

    On Saturday, do I try for two three day passes from TM, or do I try for 2 tickets to Halloween and then hope to find Friday? What say you wise ones? I can’t decide which more people are going to go for., but whichever it is, I want to go for the other one.

  11. negev79 Says:

    @Kaveh, I could definitely use the help! I only will be able to use one laptop to try to get tickets on Saturday. I’m in charge of trying to get tickets for me and my friend, who is coming from London, so I am feeling lots of pressure. Many karma points to you for the help if you can do it!

  12. negev79 Says:

    oh wait, never mind. My onsale is Saturday, not Friday. Thanks though!

  13. BeantownBoy Says:

    @ Negev

    Congrats on the 10/30s.

    If I was in your shoes I would go after 4 for the 31st.

    Because the 29th should be the easiest of the 3 to get and you definitely would be able to trade a 31st for a 29th. Also, the 3-day passes are going to be the hardest of them all to get, I think.

  14. Kaveh Says:

    @negev79…sounds good. We’ll touch base on Friday morning here. Anyone else need help? I’ll need Broomfield help. Thanks.

  15. willowed Says:

    Hey boys and girls
    I will trade my 2 Providence GA Floors for 1 ticket to 10/30 and 1 ticket for 10/31

    Hope you guys are doing well. This is posted in the exchange board

    I am going to be away from the board for most of this week. Sorry I am posting this here.

  16. negev79 Says:

    @beantown, thanks! I agree. For some reason I thought I could only go for two tickets per night, not four. If I can try for 4 10/31’s, that definitely makes the most sense.

  17. Kaveh Says:

    @negev79…just noticed…I’ll be busy with Broomfield Sat. morning. We’ll see if I can work two systems at once. Anyone for Friday help?

  18. negev79 Says:

    Where is the exchange board? I saw yesterday someone mentioned a spreadsheet or something?

  19. negev79 Says:

    @kaveh, no worries. I appreciate whatever you can do, but realized after I posted that you said Friday, not Saturday. It’s cool. Thanks though.

  20. halcyon Says:

    Morning folks

    Something is telling me that Manchester is going to be a dark horse show. Had that thought listening to Hood last night.

    Anyone want me to try for Utica for them, or Augusta?

  21. plord Says:

    Negev, hit the PT main page and scroll down the right side, “Phish Thoughts Ticket Exchange” is a Google Apps spreadsheet linked in right there.

    Mediafire seems to be up and running again today.

  22. Mr.palmer Says:

    Halloween for your 10.30. Let me know.

  23. Mitch Says:

    talk about a pain in the ass touring schedule. ny > chi-town > austin > west coast. wowzers.

  24. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Kaveh…we need some help with Charleston Saturdays down this way. Looking for 2, could use up to 5 or 6 total I think.

  25. Robear Says:

    Top of the mornin’ all!

    ‘Dark clouds a-risin’ and it surely looks like rain’

    hey emailers’:

    learn the difference between CC (carbon copy) and BCC (blind carbon copy)

    DON’t reply to everyone on the list! I am no help with anyone’s tickets, sorry. When I go to shows, I volunteer. I am no help with fall tickets!

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