No Looking Back

Utica, NY - 10.20.10 (Michael Stein)

Building off an insane night in Utica, it only took one mellow set before Phish blast things right back into the future with a second half of music dripping with free form creativity. After Utica showcased two sets filled with ingenious twists, turns and teases, Phish turned on the fire hose for the second set last night, blasting the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence with stellar open jamming in full-on affair that was underlined by a sky-scraping tour highlight in “Rock and Roll > Carini.” Meanwhile, Phish filled the rest of the set with a furious “Mike’s Groove,” a deep dive into a late-set “Light,” and a surprise closing triumvirate in “Character Zero > 2001 > Loving Cup.” Say what you will about the first set, but Providence’s second half stands up to anything played this tour – the next chapter of Phish music. For the first time in a long time, tour is a place where psychedelic fantasies are realized each and every night, and the band is locked into something magical. The comeback is over and we are firmly planted in the next era – Phish is now.

10.20.10 (M.Stein)

Kicking off the frame with the first “Rock and Roll” of fall, one knew things would become interesting, and with the level of the band’s playing having completely changed, the meaning of “interesting” has greatly evolved as well. Without stepping on one cliche in a song once filled with them, the band sculpted one of the indelible pieces of improvisation this fall. Even the “composed” jam was filled with originality as Trey’s playing took on a life of its own amidst a band cohesive and shredding. Exiting the upbeat textures and entering a sinister piece of avant-garde jamming, Phish displayed a collective intent to come right back after a stellar show and move right beyond it. Flowing in a full-band journey, Phish took this jam far into cutting edge territory. Trey played eerie, hypnotic leads as Mike navigated abstract bass leads for the duration of this oceanic space groove. With virtuoso beats and fills, Fishman’s offerings, per usual, were integral to this ultimate triumph of this piece. If open-ended psychedelia is your thing, crank this one is your headphones and bask in the bliss that is the razor’s edge of modern Phish jamming.

10.20.10 (M.Stein)

When Trey dropped the opening chords of “Carini,” he ended the stratospheric excursion and started a second, equally impressive jaunt. Building significantly upon Broomfield’s version, Providence’s “Carini” soared into a cathartic realm that showcased sublime melody over the usually dark groove. Trey wove a melodic theme into this jam which he not only became a significant part of this jam, but would later reprise in “Light.” Moving into a blissful section of legitimate free form improvisation, the band swam in IT, finding their way into a section of final of outright groove that concluded the wild ride. This brand new direction for “Carini” continued the set’s unparalleled creativity, and concluded a serious, top-shelf segment of new school Phish. Listen immediately and at all costs, as this the type of stuff that we’ve been waiting a year and a half for. And to use an overused, but incredibly appropriate quote – “It’s all happening.”

10.20.10 (M.Stein)

As the band drifted into “My Problem Right There,” it sounded – for a moment – like a segue into “Ghost,” but that would have been pushing the comical. Instead, the band inserted their new Americana piece as a landing pad for the opening sequence of non-stop improvisation. Building each time out, “My Problem Right There” brought a mellow mid-set interlude to a raucous set that took no time getting back there. Without skipping a beat, Trey started up a mid-set “Mike’s” that brought far more engaging play than we’ve heard from the song in quite a while. Tearing the jam to smithereens, the entire band played with a precision and passion that only comes when thinking ceases – something that has clearly happened over the past week of revolutionary music. Taking the always-linear piece into a tangential section, I almost thought we were about to here the ever-elusive second “Mike’s” jam, but instead, the band bridged the “Groove” with an enthusiastic “Sanity” that featured a dissonant, wall-of sound, outro, setting the table for a scintillating run through “Weekapaug.” Littered with nasty licks and percussive breakdowns, this was vintage “Weekapaug” –  what should sound like. Tipping their cap to Rhode Island with the song named after a district in the state, Phish punctuated a mid-set “Mike’s Groove” with its most significant piece.

10.20.10 (M.Stein)

“Suzy Greenberg” followed “Weekapaug” with a feel-good piece whose jam actually took on a real direction rather than generic funk wankery. Then out of left field, Phish dropped into a late-set “Light.” The band is sticking with the new arrangement, giving the piece a far more open-ended vibe, as the lyrical reprise never comes until the improvisation is over. This breathes life into the intial build, as we no longer know that it is heading for a pre-designated peak, but it is now the opening section of today’s most exploratory Phish jam. Taking last night’s version on an fully-synched and intricate ride through the cosmos, Phish sounded like the band of the future. Floating through gorgeous, mind-numbing soundscapes, the entire band contributed equally to open improv. Gaining an edge during its second half, Trey let himself go in a never-ending melodic lead that underlined the latter portion of the jam. Likening a modern day “Dark Star,” “Light” continues to be Phish’s portal to the outer realms of the universe as all members engaged in a four-part psychedelic symphony. After such musical drama, Phish could have walked off the stage to an ovation after “Light,” but instead dropped into a crunching “Character Zero” that was strewn with the same creativity as the rest of the frame, and would surely act as its closer.

10.20.10 (M.Stein)

But as the song came to a end, Trey walked over to Page and Mike, signifying that Phish wasn’t done just yet. Sustaining the final note in a faux climax, Fish kicked the band into a shocking “2001.” Tearing through a torrid session of grooves, Phish continued to breath new life back into this piece as well. No longer five minutes of generic funk, Phish followed Charleston’s centerpiece with another impressive run through. After bringing the show to a peak, the band capped the night with a perfectly-placed “Loving Cup.”

A different landscape than only months ago, a Phish show is again a place where skulls are crushed nightly; a place where you don’t know if you will necessarily be the same after the lights come back on. With fascinating musical intrigue unfolding nightly, Phish has regained that unnameable magic to come out every night with something that leaves us floored. The last year and a half has built to this very point. Proficiency is an issue of the past, and creativity is the sole force guiding Phish music again. The future is now.

It’s all happening. Again.

***

Official Providence Poster

First Set Notes: A particularly slow, song-based frame got off to a hot start with “Disease,” “Funky Bitch,” “Fluffhead,” then stagnated for the duration. Phish played everything perfectly fine, but chose a set of songs that didn’t go well together and the entire set kind of fell flat. “Ocelot” provided the high point of improvisation in a mellow opening half. A fine set of singles, nonetheless, the opening frame provided the necessary exhale after Utica to prepare the band to continue their mission after setbreak.

I: Down with Disease, Funky Bitch, Fluffhead, Roses Are Free, Rift, The Moma Dance, Ocelot, NICU, Sample in a Jar, Julius

II: Rock and Roll > Carini > My Problem Right There, Mike’s Song > Sanity > Weekapaug Groove, Suzy Greenberg, Light, Character Zero > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Loving Cup

E: First Tube

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1,018 Responses to “No Looking Back”

  1. Jtran Says:

    Thanks Mitch, good lookin out.

    Conveniently Moss and these remixes are about 69 minutes long. Road music for the day:

    10/22/10 set II
    Moss
    Moss remixes

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    @purple

    was reading back and noticed you talking about National Anthem

    Chance Fisher has covered that one quite a few times. It is indeed very fun to play.

    That is one of the few Radiohead songs that gets out of its box in their live concerts as well.

    I love the album version with the out of control horn section on it.

  3. willowed Says:

    Jtran
    I got in at 7:30 last night. I could have walked rightup to the front.

  4. krivraq Says:

    So, is it now safe to say the “next era” of Phish is now 3.1 ? (or even 3.2 given the transformation from this Summer’s Leg I through Summer Leg II? )

  5. tela'smuff Says:

    i need to move to the east coast. had an offer for Albany last year and passed.

    think i’m going to cease the summer shows (except Deer Creek) and save my money and time for fall runs from now on.

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    Happy birthday jTran and Gcub

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    You say that now Tela’s but when summer dates are announced it’s a whole notha’ story…

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh no doubt Tela

    Fall Tour brings the heat.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    I hope there’s a March/April TAB tour in ’11

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    @el dude

    yet another reason to come to NC 😉

  11. phoammhead Says:

    i don’t know – summer showz this year brought the heat, too!

    smart man makes some of both, me thinks! 😉

    if the progression continues and there’s no reason to think it won’t, then next summer will be even hotter than this summer

    phish will do a run out west next year, no doubt – probably extensive run

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    @phoamm

    yeh i am still kickin myself for missing those Alpharetta shows

  13. Robear Says:

    Last minute stealth mission pays off big. I love Miner. What a guy! I just woke up and he already has a stellar review up. Coffee they had. No donuts. Tale of 2 sets.

    1st= mellow rock show
    2nd= turn Gonuts Center phans on their ears

    Chock full of surprise. And another show with a very unique feel. Thought about Mango Mitch. We missed u bro! Held it down though. Out very own Little Red was the onstage camera man. We were proud.

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    nicely done Robear!

    so glad you were able to catch a show!

  15. phoammhead Says:

    @Robert

    awesome – you makin’ another show?

  16. phoammhead Says:

    ^robear

  17. nonoyolker Says:

    Interesting show. Miner pretty much nailed it. First set was a complete throw away after fluffhead. Just didn’t do it for me

    2nd set more than made up for it though. R&R > Carini was bad ass. Really great improv. Mikes was hot and sanity had a spacey little jam at the end. Seemed like the week, Suzy, Char 0, and cup all had a little extra oomph than usual. Light and 2001 were nice late set treats. Excited to hear the 2nd set again. Prolly will never spin the first

    Hope everyone had a great time! Venue was really chill. No hassles the whole night

  18. Robear Says:

    Worked butt off last two weeks and snuck out east. Got to meet Warm-Hearted Willowed and Jdub-Star. Lots of nOObs with melted faces. I forget how powerful a first set like last nights is to a 1st timer.

  19. nonoyolker Says:

    Caught the post show max creek show at lupos. No mike sit in but an excellent show none the less. Great way to come down from seeing the boys

  20. Robear Says:

    Doing Amherst then back home to finish the big move. Stop by the Waterwheel Booth. Tough economy everywhere.
    Me ” Help Save the Narraganset Bay”
    Crowd “I am broke. Someone save me”

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    looking at the order of songs…

    different, very different looking…

    interesting.

    kinda reminds me of SC1, and I mean that strictly in the set list manner.

  22. Jtran Says:

    @Robear

    I’ll be sure to swing by and say hi. Are you free earlier on this afternoon for some beers?

  23. phoammhead Says:

    Nice, Robear – I’m happy for you! 🙂

  24. EL Duderino Says:

    These next 2 shows are gonna be crazy!

  25. EL Duderino Says:

    All you “Ground Zero” pholks and gonna get the hometown treatment!

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