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 clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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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. BingosBrother Says:

    “Redonkubong”

    Blap.

  2. garretc Says:

    Dammit, I can’t stop now!

    Gotta Jibbong

  3. P.S.H.S. Says:

    Off topic warning: I found a huge toad today, as big as my palm. I moved him about 50′ in the morning so that he wouldn’t get run over by one of my tractors, and whadda know, five hours later he was right back where I found him. I placed him back under a tree but something tells me he’ll be back in the morning.
    “I’m not, not licking toads”

  4. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    @ bingos – I think I have a picture like that around here somewhere…really

    just trying to fulfill C’s dream of the BB bringing folks together

  5. garretc Says:

    Quadrobongic Toppling

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    indeed it is @garretc. go listen to the words again right now.

    and yes, when Trey sings it it’s all about the warm embrace of our happy communion in the show, blah blah blah, and not at all about what the song is actually about…right? right. sure it is.

  7. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    badonkabong is in the running…

    @mitch – no concert necessary. my spot whenever ha

  8. garretc Says:

    NOOOOOOO!

    Damn you Mr. C!

    (Queuing up now…)

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    a picture like what, Dr. P? I missed it in the blizzard of posts

  10. Mitch Says:

    Dr p, in any normal forum you’d get cat calls and hoots but tonight you’re talking to a group of dudes with women and broke daws saving for tour with no money to travel to see her.

    Bring her to a meet and greet and it might be on like donkey bong! Heyooo

  11. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    Blap Boom, a Diggy doom diggity bong!

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    nice @ donkey bong

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    …what’s wrong with that, @garretc?

    I like it a lot more ever since I figured that out. maybe that’s just me…but I don’t think so

  14. Mitch Says:

    A pic of the weeper (dr p’s wife) holding a bong I think is what was meant.

  15. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    ok y’all, Dr. Taopimpin’ is out

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    I heard Dr. P’s weeping Mitch impregnated wife touched the bong’s ass.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh the holding a bong seductively pic!

    plz to post or it doesn’t exist.

  18. garretc Says:

    @Mr. C

    Well, there is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with cunnilingus, but I don’t need to be thinking about cunnilingus and Trey (Or Mick, for that matter) at the same time, yadida?

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    Awesome PSHS. At alpine 09 while walking back to the venue with my cousin to try to find his car keys in the lawn, there was a frog in the road;I tried to grab him but only succeeded in scaring him into the wheel of an incoming car. They mailed him the keys 2 weeks later. Poor frog.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    to be more accurate, iLoving Cup is about gettin’ it on in general, with an emphasis on what one would have to imagine is Mick’s specialty given the way his lips are hung.

  21. angryjoggerz Says:

    good lord

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have to admit, in all the times I have listened to that song, in many diverse settings and situations, I have never once visualized either Trey or Mick.

    but, whatever cranks your tractor, young Jedi…

  23. BingosBrother Says:

    Micks lips would be easy to get at and by lips I mean his beef curtains. Heyooo!

  24. Mitch Says:

    I’m afraid to admit that I didn’t know about loving cup.

    Gratefulcub, you out there? This is one of those times I lie and act like I knew all along.

    Damn that song just for cooler in my book. Play that shit at my wedding and nobody is the wiser. Haha.

  25. Mitch Says:

    PSHS, just put him in a jar in your place and throw some grass in there to recreate his natural environment.

    (god I hope that’s a mitch hedgeberg joke but I’m afraid it’s a Dane cook joke. He sucks)

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