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.

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Jam of the Day:

Reba” 8.7.10 II

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

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/ph2010-08-07t04.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    and how does one pronounce “mwns” pray tell?

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    mitch will start off with an advantage on The Spreadsheet due to his 2:1 ratio, which BTW mad repsect for that right there

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    “moans”

    APT!

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    I put my mind baby up for adoption.Those things are hard to take care of.

  5. Mitch Says:

    Ps if that was dr p’s wife I’ll lose it. Haha

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    going for 3:1 mitch?

    don’t be greedy

    I know they say Noo Yawkers get laid more than anyone else but that’s just mean

  7. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    mmmm, wook baby

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    She only mwns when Summer of 89 comes on. Not that I’d know. Aliens are tough to find when you’re sober.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    Waiting for Columbus Time Loves a Hero > Day or Night = fucking $$$ straight UP, y’allz

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Oh the city she makes
    Sometimes your soul to feel floating just like a leaf in the wind
    Street is stream so it carries you past your present schemes ’til there is no end
    Left right in the alley
    No one catches you but the gentle wind…”

  11. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    actually, Mrs. Pro keeps pestering me to try to find a nice phish fan for our longtime show-going friend on the BB.

    Now that I’m officially pimpin’, does anyone know a good fan in the DC area?

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    Does Mitch really have a harem?

  13. Mitch Says:

    It’s a running joke at my job. The cleavage for the freebie attempt. The best is when they get paired up with a gay dude and have 0 gaydar. They try so hard not knowing they’re getting nowhere.

  14. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    not a ‘good fan,’ a good guy

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    so I keep implying, @Bingos.

    Dr. P: male, female, other, or not picky? I would say “flexible” but that’s always a must

  16. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    I feel dirty now…

    did my wife dose my matzo balls?

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    “The best is when they get paired up with a gay dude and have 0 gaydar. ”

    that sounds priceless. awesome. I’ve seen that play out in other situations but not like that.

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    Is Pronoia Jewish?

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    Dr. P, prostitution is illegal, even on the internet. Stop being a pimp.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    I treasure my ignorance concerning the state of your balls, my friend

  21. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    wanted: male, 30+, must love GD, phish, and beer drinking

    her: cute, half-French, 30 y.o., with a job in the news…

    totally shocking she’s single considering already-discussed mound-to-meatstick ratio at shows…

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    mmmm, half french.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Dr. P are you joking? this person really exists? that seems unlikely.

    If so I’m buying stock in moving companies to get ahead of the rush of male BBers moving to DC

  24. Mitch Says:

    One bedroom in NYC = no harem.

    Ms mango needs her own parners in crime cause, shall we say “were a little dry to non-diehards” when we just talk about what tweezer is the best.

    So now were upping my ratio.

    C, was the 3:1 re:pregnant lady at work?

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    the other half Greek by any chance?

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