A Saturday Night Smoker

10.20.10 (Casey Boire)

Powered by a second set of with rock anthems, Phish played a song-driven, Saturday night show that succeeded in droves in Amherst, Massachusetts last night. Boasting a definite flow and undeniable energy, the second set featured enough improvisation to carry the show, not to mention a monster “Tweezer” that anchored a choppy opening half. Pulling off the type of show that six months ago wouldn’t have gone over nearly as well, the band’s colossal progress was wholly apparent. Phish can pretty much do what they choose at this point and crush it, it’s just a matter of what type of set they want to put together. Last night they chose a super-charged rock-based show to the delight of Mullins Center weekend crowd. And when the dust settled, it may have not been as exploratory as the past several nights, but the first night at UMASS was undoubtedly filled with high grade Phish.

10.20.10 (C.Boire)

One night after opening Providence with “Down With Disease,” the band came right back and inserted the crowd favorite as the second set opener. Obviously juiced to explore the song, the band took an extensive excursion, favoring high octane and intricate jamming. Phish quickly digressed from the main theme into a more dissonant and abstract path with Trey and Mike leading the charge playing intertwining lead lines in a ever-expanding piece of psychedelia. Moving into a more earnest experiment, Phish dropped into a sparser realm with Trey continuing to seethe atop the music. Before long, Fishman picked up the beat again, launching the band back into high-speed rock and roll jamming. As Page added more bizarre sounds, the jam took on a heavier feel which the band latched onto. Slowing into a snarling groove, the band wound down the jaunt with a section that would have been best to continuing for a while.

Mullins 10/23 (Pollock)

But instead, the Saturday setlist kept moving into “My Friend, My Friend” and “Prince Caspian – not exactly prime placement by Big Red. “Caspian,” however, continued its trend of interesting versions, this time featuring stellar, whole-band interplay and an abstract outro whose course seemed charted for “What’s The Use?” But when Phish finally made their transition, they, instead, stepped into another welcome second-set version of “Halfway To The Moon.” Infusing Page’s dark groove into the rotation this fall, this version built upon Broomfield’s outing as the band proceeded to jam out of the song and into a very slick, bass-led segue with “Boogie On Reggae Woman.” The Stevie Wonder cover stayed wholly contained, completing a non-stop run of songs and segues to kick of the second set.

At a time when the show really could have used a significant jam vehicle, the band chose a retro-route, unveiling the first “Maze” of fall. Tearing into the second-set version with abandon, the song peaked furiously with standout solos from both Page and Trey, but it didn’t quite provide the shot in the arm the show needed. After finding their way our of this “Maze,” Phish cooled off in “Velvet Sea” before taking the show home with its most engaging segment – “Piper > Hood, YEM” – all outstanding versions.

10.20.10 (Casey Boire)

Opening this final sequence, “Piper” continued the electrified rock vibe with a disgusting version that featured a passionate opening segment bordering on the musical embodiment of desperation. Phish finally broke down the full-on sonic surge into a series of scurrying percussive patterns that built into a reprising the “Maze” jam. Revisiting the high speed chase of the set’s centerpiece before dropping into “Harry Hood,” Phish dropped a clear self-reference before moving forward. Coupled with the band’s balls-out playing right now, a delicate piece like “Harry Hood” becomes far more nuanced and multi-dimensional. Not only did the band spice up the intro to the song, the jam transformed into one of the most cohesive and poignant passages of of the entire show. Trey and Mike danced their lines in rolling pasture of melody as Fishman backed the climbing piece with effervescent beats and masterful cymbal work. Patient and tranquil, yet driving and emotive – this version fit the song’s archetype perfectly. And as the band sustained the peak, Trey counted off a set closing “You Enjoy Myself” that everyone could see from a mile away.

10.20.10 (C.Boire)

Getting into their second full-band “YEM” of tour, Trey has shied from guitar hero in favor of formulating more interesting rhythmic collaborations. Jumping off the trampolines and into a pool of pristine groove, the band dove into a sparse pattern where each band member virtually took turns playing. Morphing into a more conventional build, the jam was chock full of nasty guitar licks and rhythmic dynamics from Mike and Fish.

Capping the night with “Shine A Light,” Phish finished their least exploratory show of the past week with no truly groundbreaking material, but still succeeded in tearing apart the Mullins Center nonetheless. When the band can pull of a song-driven affair with the energy and creativity involved last night, everyone leaves happy.

See ya’ll tomorrow.

***

10.20.10 (C.Boire)

First Set Notes: The show popped open with “Meatstick” and “Party Time” and an energetic “Kill Devil Falls,” but largely consisted of a string of songs with a massive “Tweezer” in the middle. Everyone felt a “Tweezer” coming last night, but Phish surprised the entire building as they rolled it out as the fifth song of a mellow first set. Regardless, the band played a version that could have been placed in either set, leaping into a multi-tiered journey. Opening the jam with a hefty dose of swanky grooves, the band played with a swagger early on, a vibe that permeated this entire laid-back rendition. Bumping with some earnest dance patterns, the band got super thick for the first part of this show standout. Once rhythmic experiment passed, Phish swam through a brief channel of ambient tonality on the way to a extended pimp ride with the top rolled down. Playing with incredible restraint, all band members offered minimalist phrases that combined to form something far greater. Trey surfaced the seemingly-extinct whale for parts of this section, blending his notes perfectly with the smooth soundscapes. This intricate minimalism continued for quite a while as Mike cut the path through the forest, allowing Trey to emerge from the trees with a gorgeous solo. Bringing this segment into a more traditional “Tweezer” build to cap the run through, Phish went to the retro wind-down ending before continuing a slow set of songs. The band did cap the frame, however, with the ever-elusive first-set “Reprise” bringing the first half to a fierce close. And to throw in some extra fun, Trey layered “Meatstick” lyrics in place of “Step into the freezer,” enthusiastically bridging the set full circle.

PS: Fall photos needed! Hook it up…send contributions to mrminer@phishthoughts.com!

I: Meatstick, Party Time, Golgi Apparatus, Kill Devil Falls, Tweezer, Lawn Boy, Sparkle, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Possum, Tweezer Reprise*

II: Down with Disease > My Friend, My Friend > Prince Caspian** > Halfway to the Moon > Boogie On Reggae Woman, Maze, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Piper > Harry Hood, You Enjoy Myself

E: Shine a Light

* w/ Meatstick lyrics, ** unfinished

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880 Responses to “A Saturday Night Smoker”

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  1. Foul_Domain Says:

    Nice review, Miner.

    Looks like a weird 1st set.

    ‘Phish swam through a brief channel of ambient tonality on the way to an extended pimp ride with the top rolled down.’

    ^ nice!

  2. phoammhead Says:

    second!

  3. HarryHood Says:

    I’ve still got two extras for Manchester if anyone needs them. BoireC@Hotmail.com

  4. Mr.palmer Says:

    Nice pictures @ HarryHood

  5. HarryHood Says:

    @ Palmer

    Thanks! I took them on my phone, so I wasn’t sure at the time how well they would come out, but I was pleasantly surprised once I uploaded them to my computer.

  6. Mr.palmer Says:

    What phone do you have? They look good

  7. willowed Says:

    Nice pics Hood!
    Great read Miner. Another typical Saturday night greatest hits show.
    4 song second set tonight with a 25 minute Halley’s!

  8. snigglebeach Says:

    Meatstick opener was sick. first set was fire in my opinion.

    I don’t even really drink beer but the lack of beer sales left the Mullins as the quietest venue i have ever been in. that really allowed the band to build a terrific vibe and soft flow that i have not heard in years. (is that what west coast shows are like?)

  9. Monsterpus Says:

    At the risk of sounding like a Wook, a little too much to drink and bane left me on the sidelines for the 1st set last night, but by the 2nd I was back in the game. It was a fun show, I don’t think it’ll hold up as a highlight by the end of the tour, but a good rocking show for the kids on a Sat night.

  10. joechip Says:

    Great writeup. Couldn’t agree more. The segues in the Caspian>Halfway to the Moon>Boogie On segment were indeed very slick. I liked it.

  11. willowed Says:

    Different perspective. What the band see’s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz9SZNsOTZE

    Minute 5:58 gave me chills.

  12. ThePigSong Says:

    SLF and I are doing a review of FEst8 this morning- damn we wish we were going back this week!

  13. jtran Says:

    Great review. First set through tweezer flowed very well, monster jam, loved it.

    Set slowed down after that, but reprise got us up again for set two.

    Could tell the band was pumped when they played dwd again…loved that jam too. segues were all slick, caspian actually ripped and I’ve been hoping for halfway since spac.

    Piper was superf high octane, into hood which soothed the soul. Very beautiful version that went and went. Yem was the most interesting version I’ve seen. Was sick of it this summer, but it’s totally dif. When you don’t see it for two months.

    Shine a light encore worked for me in a big way. Loved the show, i found IT again last night set two.

    And I wish that tweez jam went on forever.

  14. BeantownBoy Says:

    Nice review, Miner.

    It’s good to read that the boys can now take what would have been a straight forward rock and roll show a few months ago and turn it into a psychedelia journey.

    Spinning the Donuts Light to wake up on a cool morning in new england.

  15. Acupunk Says:

    Nce review, miner (as always). I didn’t really feel the energy last night, but there were enough highlights to keep it fun. No gamehendge other than Possum… … …

  16. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Might be my favorite Tweezer yet. Setting themselves up perfectly for next weekend’s Tweezer bomb.

  17. BeantownBoy Says:

    I have an extra barcode for Providence if anyone wants to grab the discounted lossless version ($5).

    Hit me up and it’s yours: beantownboy35@gmail.com

  18. tela'smuff Says:

    thanks for sharing that willowed! that’s awesome.

    i was a little drunk last night so may have been a little meh by the end of the 2nd set. but i do recall that the Caspian>HTTM was really nice. Miner’s review tells me I need to give a closer listen.

    have a great day all. Go Bears!

  19. Robear Says:

    Danced next to Miner for ‘Tweezer’. Adjectives kept pouring into my head like osmosis.

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    I love the Sunday Football morning Hippie Speedball…

    Makes you feel glad to be an American I say

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    adj…

    Good one Robear

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    There’s a picture of the band on LL’s “cover page” from DDC…

    Is Trey using a teleprompter now?

    3 things on the ground in front of him and 2 of them are monitors…

  23. Robear Says:

    ‘5 songs in and we’re already knee deep in the psychedelic soup. The band opened a fresh can of improv to paint an aural rainbow soundscape. Moving through unique musical ideas in seamless fashion.’

    ^what happens when you boogey near our host with the most.

    Awesome ‘YEM’

  24. HarryHood Says:

    Robear,

    You gonna stick around for Manchester?

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    Morning guys. Back in the saddle for some Phish after a quick and crazy trip to DC for a wedding on Friday. Looks like the boys have kept the bar set pretty damn high. Haven’t hear anything to speak of since Utica’s stream…lots of homework to do. Thanks for the reviews Miner.

    @HH…nice photos!

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