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”

  1. HarryHood Says:

    @ Palmer

    It the new LG Ally. LG’s first true smartphone and my first as well. The funny thing is that when I got it, the sales person told me that the only real downside to the phone was that the camera wasn’t that good. I can’t say that I have any complaints.

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    good morning BB

    looks like a prep set for tonight.

    not saying its bad, haven’t even heard it, just saying it looks like they are setting up for the ole 1-2 combo.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Robear…did you make it out east for a few shows? Glad to hear it if so…sounded like you needed a little getaway.

  4. Robear Says:

    Green crystals help bolster Waterwheel donations!

    Band in top form. Can’t think of a better time in Phishtory. They will likely punish the weekend warriors that skip Manchester en route to AC.

    *ting. After ‘Lawnboy’

    Bass boMBS during ‘Tweeprise’ and ‘shine a light’

  5. derossx Says:

    I love you Fish!! It was nice to see you get out of your Chrome Nest to visit the audience last night. Nice socks. Trey- your dance moves have definitely improved from the Robot! I think I fell in love with you all over again after Reggae…NICE. Page, tell Harry Connick Jr. to move over… you’re a better Frank than he will ever be. Love you man….and of course, Cactus, you were the glue that kept the flow just perfect. Can’t wait to see you again tonight. LOVED EVERY SECOND.

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    i mean LAST night was the prep set for tonight.

    Glad to see Halfway to the Moon getting worked out a bit.

    That one is gonna be fun when they open it up

  7. Robear Says:

    By ‘Piper’ I had to come up with new dance moves. Improvise on the fly.

  8. Robear Says:

    Lycan, if u like improv, u would have loved last night.

  9. Mr.Palmer Says:

    i predict that last night’s show will be the most over looked . Some quality stuff here. 1st Set Tweezer is great. Flow of set II is very good despite Caspian and Velveeta. Caspian sounded sweet as hell last night. Going in for a second time now. Beautiful segues in set II throughout. The Maze is a full fledged psych freak out!

    Don’t overlook this show!

  10. HarryHood Says:

    Trey’s new axe is fuckin beautiful by the way. I forgot to mention it after Utica, but I was mesmorized at how amazing that thing looks, let alone how it sounds……. Do yourself a favor if you have a GA ticket and at least walk up and take as close a look at this thing as you can!

  11. jdub Says:

    Great to hear that Phish can deliver a rocking show without any crazy jamming, although that Tweezer sounded majestic through a real good stream, and still send everyone home happy! A big difference from this summer. So happy they have chosen to put Halfway to the Moon in rotation, and it is getting better and better.

    The band loves these 2 night stands, gives them a chance to settle in. Should be a powerful show tonight!

  12. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Great review, Miner.

    @the whole BB

    I humbly request a moratorium on any specific discussion of what is on the table for tonight.

    I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious.

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    reposted from yesterday

    Frank Zappa “jazz era” albums mentioned in Halloween discussions:


    Hot Rats – Waka/Jawaka – The Grand Wazoo – One Size Fits All

    plus Frank and the Mothers live @ Fillmore ’71


    from the band Lowell George was fired from, to the one he founded:

    Little Feat starter kit


    21 song studio track mix
    remastered and expanded live album masterpiece “Waiting for Columbus”


  14. Al Says:

    After an obvious party-night (setlist looks like a planned party) I think they’ll play some serious jamming tonight. >Seven Below, Ghost, Bathtub etc….

  15. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Grabbed that yesterday @ Mr. C- the Zappa that is. I think that Live one is an official release. Sounds similar to something i have somewhere already. Loved Wazoo and One Size fits all. Thank You.

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Palmer

    it’s an official release
    I have it
    great listen

  17. EL Duderino Says:

    Mud Shark

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    sure I can’t keep track of what’s official and what isn’t anymore

    a lot of stuff that used to be boots are official releases now too

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    i posted the Feat because I think a lot of folks have never really given them a full shot beyond the couple best known tunes, and they deserve one…they have a great sound and a lot of really excellent, underrated songs. That remastered and expanded Waiting for Columbus is phenomenal IMO

    anyone that’s into funky roots rock at all should give them a real listen at least once

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    20 years after first getting into them all I listen to Feat 20x more than Zep and Floyd combined

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    Lowell George was just as much of a genius in the studio as a producer as he was a song writer IMO.

    another tragic R & R story

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    Now that Richie Hayward has died…

    It may be Paul and Fred shows from now on…

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    By ‘Piper’ I had to come up with new dance moves. Improvise on the fly.

    ^Rinse and Repeat, Robear.

  24. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Sounds like Mike is playing Maze basslines towards the end of Piper.

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    Still catching up on listening, but Fishman really kills the Utica Vultures ending…just slaughters that bird.

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