The Magic of Ten Minutes

10.12.10 - Broomfield (S. Short)

Once upon a time, Phish jams routinely stretched past the fifteen minute mark, exploring funk textures and various other musical realms before coming to rest. Beginning in 1994 with “Bowies” and “Tweezers,” but more earnestly developing during the groove era of 1997-2000, the long jam became a fixture at Phish shows. Four-song sets, dance marathons, loose ambient experiments, meandering psychedelia; all of these were parts and parcels of bygone eras in Phish history. These days, while the band still drops jams that push fifteen minutes every now and again, highlights of fall shows have most often been their more compact ten to twelve minute excursions. A growing trend of musical density that was born last fall is now coming to fruition with directed, collaborative playing that continues to hit the sweet spot.

One of the most interesting parts of these compact jaunts is how much longer they feel in concert. Bombarding the audience with layers of musical ideas, these living pieces of improvisation create a time warp, stretching a ten-minute period to something that feels much longer. With seemingly effortless collaboration, and without over-thinking, the band is diving into their pieces with urgency, making good things happen right away. This is not to say Phish is being impatient – they are not – they have honed their improvisational conversations and are simply taking less time into the meat of jams. Playing with a precision and tightness unseen since in eras, the newest Phish music has a distinctly retro vibe while simultaneously pushing themselves into the future.

Fall 2010

There have only been two (non-“YEM”) jams that have reached fifteen minutes thus far – Broomfield’s “Ghost” and Charleston’s “Crosseyed and Painless” – and the latter only got there with two lyrical reprises and three segments of improv. More than ever, with current Phish, time is nothing and music is everything. The most intense and impressive jams of the last five shows have landed smack dab in the nine to twelve minute range, something that is always a surprise upon download. There is no need to list all of the highlights that fit this framework, for they are plentiful and everyone has the tapes. But the point is that, now, Phish can be both exploratory and concise in one jam. Some obvious examples are Broomfield’s “Twist,” “Split,” and “Carini,” and Charleston’s “Disease,” “Sand,” and “Tweezer.” The band has made powerful musical statements in far shorter times, increasing the impact of each individual jam on the psyche.

8.5.10 (W. Rogell)

Trust me, I would still love to see the band drop twenty minute jams a la The Greek’s “Light” or Alpine’s “Disease > What’s the Use?” and I’m sure that they will; it just doesn’t matter any more. Phish can just as easily play outstanding shows laced with ten to twelve minute jams a la Broomfield’s second and third nights. With the intensity of their communication better than it has been since their return, these dense pieces are only becoming more interesting. With five down and nine to go, it will be interesting to track to watch the course Phish jams over the second two-thirds of tour and to see if this trend continues.


Notes From the Road: As the scene shifts from South to North tonight, so does the mode of transport from plane to car. Tonight’s show in Augusta, Maine is followed by an all-night cannonball run to Utica, hence, I’m not sure when my review will be posted.

Recent Halloween Rumors:

Frank Zappa – “We’re Only In It For the Money

King Crimson – “Lark’s Tongue In Aspic(w/ Robert Fripp on second guitar)

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1,154 Responses to “The Magic of Ten Minutes”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    nice, jdub.

    personally diggin 10.11 BOTT. group groove at its finest.

  2. BeantownBoy Says:

    Just got down with the FYF>Mike’s>FYF from last night–pretty entertaining.
    And now we just splashed down into Light!

    Looks like the boys are going to roll into Providence in fine fashion.

    Look for a killer Makisupa in Providence in ode to it being the Dunkin Donuts center.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:


    thats just sad. Crazy how the dynamics of politics have changed in only two years.

    You know what? Walter Benjamin, the great Frankfurt School fellow, he said something which we should always bear in mind today. He said, “Behind every fascism, there is a failed revolution.” It goes, more than ever, for us. Like, take—let’s take your own country, Kansas, which is now the bedrock of Christian fundamentalism. As Thomas Frank demonstrated in his book, my god, ’til twenty, thirty years ago, Kansas was the breeding ground of all radical socialist, and so on, mass movements. The same in Europe. This should worry us, not this arrogant—which always has a negative class connotation. When people attack common people’s racism, it’s always like we upper-middle-class liberals dismissing ordinary people. We should start asking ourselves what we did wrong.” Slavo Zizek

  4. Al Says:

    Hope they open set I with Birds of a feather and set II with a loooooong timber or cities.

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    Duke, what is funny is how if you read the comments section of online newspapers about the Christine O’Donnell thing, the teaparty types are coming out in droves saying that actually, the constitution does NOT mention separation of church and state, etc. (because it does not say those exact words). I have never been so freaked out by America as I am now, especially after a visit to the south. My inlaws are totally down with the Fox news crowd and are brimming with babybooming hate for everything. What a selfish generation of people they are, truly want it all.

  6. lastwaltzer Says:


  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    o’donnell video
    you want the 2:45 on mark

    ::avoids getting further sucked into constitutional interpretation conversation::

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    this Light is pretty nuts. at 12:00 min mark, Mike drops a micro-bomb.

    this second set is the evil twin to the crack-like grooves from SC2.

    would have been a good night for The Flying Pyramid. the all seeing eye.

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    A great read on the roots of the Tea Party and all that jazz in the New Yorker. Of course, the New Yorker is a liberal rag for all them educutated types, evil Harvard goers and such, but this one is really well written and based in historical evidence. Death to editorial.

  10. P.S.H.S Says:

    Kaya, saw your post about vertigo the other day. I had a real bad case a few years back. Apparently taking 25-30 roors of sour diesel will do that to a person. Then the cops came by and took my bong, and poof, it went away.

    Ps: my face got fucked last night

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    T3, you are in it now… let’s hear it. I am trying to get as many perspectives on this as possible, because I am pretty rooted in midwestern WASP-y liberalism.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I *heart* Torn and Frayed

    <3 <3 <3

    three heart salute for the boys bringing it with them to Augusta!

  13. P.S.H.S Says:

    ^25-30/day, yes I know, excessive

  14. lastwaltzer Says:


    Did you see this one in the New Yorker a few months ago

    It’s about how the Koch Brothers are funding most of this tea party non sense.

  15. ThePigSong Says:

    Noooooo!! @typeiii – not my hetty crystals!

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    I did, very interesting. I’m not as political as I may appear, but I do think it is good to know what is going on. I am probably better versed in Chinese politics than I am in US, but radicalism kinda freaks me out, no matter what side of the spectrum it may fall.

  17. kayatosh Says:

    10.11 reba — sweet section is $$$. shades of zappa style guitar playing.

  18. jdub Says:

    @Joggerz, as scary as it is with all this crazy resurgance of Christian fanatacism it is also a completely natural response to the opposite end of of the increasingly liberated consciousness of so many people, brought about in no small part by the hyperconnected world we live in now. We just have to ride it out until we stabilize a little. It is the Dao after all.

  19. tela'smuff Says:

    first time i’ve been a little frustrated on an ending of an idea to soon. thought they found a real nice space with about 1:15 left in 20YL. Wish they had explored that a bit more. The segue into FEFY is pretty tight though. Could imagine after some darkness that happened so far in this set that this was well needed.

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    Oh and I pick that really neat Dave song, I think it’s called waste

  21. lastwaltzer Says:

    To carry over all the Zappa talk from yesterday:


  22. jdub Says:

    Miner just posted from Maine.

  23. Luther T. Justice Says:

    I don’t like to bring politics to this board, but as someone who works in elections, I’m freaked out by what I’m seeing on a daily basis. Do these people not learn their history? Our country was founded on the idea of separation of church and state. It’s why most of the people who settled in this country left Europe. Plus, religion is too personal for people to be objective and you need to be objective to make good decisions. It’s that simple.

    A lot of games are being played on voters right now from all sides. It’s sad really.

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    llfa pig 😆

    good choice, considering Dave did it for Sharin’ in the Groove!

  25. Corey Says:

    Well, drive in to the lot for free…sweet.
    Trade my extra ticket…beautiful.
    Walk in early, get a couple Tabs into the show…thirst quenching.
    Get to sit dead center, 10 steps back…incredible.
    Hear your favorite tune after talking about it…awesome.
    Hear said tune as the encore…unreal.
    Hear Fishman sing the one tune you’ve wanted to hear live for 17 years…unbelievable.
    Get to hear that tune INside your favorite tune…PRICELESS.

    Back in Rupp 96, I had a Manteca sign. Page struggled to read it in the front row, then gave me a look as if they didn’t know it. They played the BIKE sign instead.

    Waiting since I started to see them live in 93 for that tune to surface.
    Now, 14 years later from that failed sign attempt, I see Fish go to the Mic during my all time favorite tune – REBA – and sing the lyrics to it….manteca.

    It doesn’t get any better than that, my friends.

    What a set. What a show. What a way to finish.

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