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 oneĀ  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. fee4zy Says:

    Thanks for the support guys. That’s why I love this place.

    Goodnight. Hope your wife is less pissed than me.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    wow, mindbendingly surreal light show in this foggy sunset from the 17th floor, like something from Close Encounters…deeply weird

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    good luck sister

    be strong but do remember the love, k?

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’m out too. Enough waiting for clients for one night.

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Don’t sell your kids yet either.

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Later gater.

  7. Mitch Says:

    Had to post from the phone while walking the dog re: f the a-hole. Were ignoring but can we at least… Oh nevermind.

  8. Mitch Says:

    I’ll buy one of your kids if they can grow a beard. How sick would a mini me be for the Halloween show?

  9. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    holy shit… harry hood 8.14.97 post-hood-jam jam, incredible! my mind is being blown right now… idk if ive ever heard this before

  10. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    thats on top of an incredible regular hood jam

  11. garretc Says:


    Cause it wouldn’t make more sense for you to shave your beard for the occasion?

  12. Mitch Says:

    Obv purp broke in the mystikal-bong.

  13. Mitch Says:

    Bite your tongue garret. Obv you’ve never had a hetty beard that grew on your face before.

  14. Jtran Says:

    Gonna have to listen to this one right about…now

  15. plord Says:

    @C how curious, there was mindbending sunset light show over lake Champlain tonight too. The sun went behind the Adirondacks and lit everything (4 or 5 discrete cloud layers in multiple greyscale shades) from below. Been like that since the weekend; Earl’s last hurrah?

  16. Mitch Says:

    Plus even in ac they prob won’t serve anyone under 14 and I want my mini me to go on beer runs so I don’t miss the show. Beard helps with passing for older.

  17. garretc Says:

    That’s true Mitch, only custie beards for this guy. I’m hoping to have a heady enough beard to Jedi my way into Mike’s show though, so we’ll see…

  18. garretc Says:

    Woah, great minds Mitch!

  19. Mitch Says:

    We may actually be on to something. Find a local Halloween costume store. Get a beard and walk up with whiskey breath. Shit I don’t get carded standing right next to my buddies that do.

    That could be you’re in. And keep saying “take the ticket! Take it!”

  20. Mitch Says:


    I’m not ignant.

    Ok I’m out. Catch you fools in the morrow.

  21. Prince Nabby Says:

    Good evening BBers. Quick question: has anyone *not* heard yet regarding the lottery?

  22. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Some hilarious work tonight. To my eyes, Bingos takes the prize for his …umm…musings on lactation?

    Just watched Julius and Harry Hood from the Coral DVD release. Really cool stuff. You can hear more verbal communication than is typical for a recording, I thought. Never been one to jump on the DVDs because I just have my laptop and a pair of headphones, but I might pick this one up.

  23. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    for 19 bucks, hasta be worth it. if youve heard the crosseyed, its worth it for that video alone.

  24. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    The Antelope ain’t bad either

  25. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    And amazon has it for 13.99 if you don’t care about the bonus audio soundtrack that comes from Dry Goods

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