Reigniting the Fuse

10.23.10 (Matt Wagner)

Phish bounced right back from Sunday night with a smashing two-set effort in Manchester, New Hampshire that popped from the very start and never let up. With an opening frame comprised of all but two songs un-played this tour, and a liquid second set that rolled off the stage in a non-stop musical highlight, Phish returned to the magical pastures of last week on Tuesday night. Featuring a stunning open jam in “Light” and a dazzling “Ghost” packaged in a knockout”Mike’s Groove,” Phish crafted one of their most engaging sets of the season. Spring-boarding off one of their best nights of tour, Phish will take a two-day break before they head south to Atlantic City for a three-day extravaganza to close out Fall 2010.

10.23.10 (D.Lavery)

The band surprised the entire audience by opening the evening with “After Midnight,” playing the song for only the second time in history and flashing everyone back to the all-night millennial blowout at Big Cypress. Setting an electric vibe immediately, Phish never looked back as they burst with energy and precision through each selection in the opening half. Continuing with smoking versions of “The Sloth” and “Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues,” “Alumni’s” funk jam took center stage as the band locked together early. A particularly smooth and extended “Mellow Mood” provided one of the highlights of the opening set, while also foreshadowing a special second half moment. The parade of fall debuts progressed with Gordon’s “Access Me,” “Llama” and Trey’s “All of These Dreams.” But the centerpiece of a well-crafted first frame came in 2010’s second-only “The Curtain (With),” whose jam soared with enhanced poignancy, taking “With” to another level of beauty.

10.23.10 (C. La Jaunie)

The other indelible first set standout came in the long-awaited 2010 debut of “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.” Although the post-hiatus piece didn’t jump out of the box, Trey annihilated the song in a nasty guitar showcase. Bringing the edgier jam to several searing peaks, the band collectively cremated the elusive nugget that is so desperately begging to be put into rotation. Capping the first half with the fall’s second “It’s Ice” and another debut, “Walls of the Cave,” the opening frame overflowed with energy and featured impeccable song selection. But all the fun and debuts contained in the first half merely the table for a second set that stands among the tour’s best.

10.23.10 (Dave Lavery)

Kicking open door number two with a minimalist turned raucous “Possum,” Phish gave the song a more hearty run through than the many first set versions we’ve seen, reaching some engaging uptempo territory. But when “Light” dropped in the second slot, the festivities commenced in earnest. Taking the metaphysical piece on, perhaps, its defining excursion of the fall, Phish sculpted a multi-tiered piece of psychedelia. Blasting through the opening segment with intricate and powerful communication, the band seamlessly migrated into a rolling groove that Trey painted with rhythmic-turned-free-form melodies. Passing into an amorphous section of jamming, Phish locked onto each others’ ideas, steadily blossoming in a soul-tugging groove. As Fishman and Mike switched up their patterns, it sounded as though the band was momentarily moving towards “Manteca,” but what materialized was a full-on jam on the “Alumni Blues” funk groove that shined in the opening set – but with a whole lot more accoutrements! Moving right beyond the theme into a series of infectious dance grooves, Phish did back flips amidst IT, as they effortlessly cruised through a spectacular section of music. And just before they came to a conclusion, Trey perfectly inserted the opening lick of “Mike’s Song.”

10.23.10 (Dave Lavery)

There’s nothing quite like taking a massive jam to the dome and then being blindsided by another powerhouse. And with each subsequent version this fall, a powerhouse is exactly what “Mike’s Song” is becoming. Like a musical uppercut, the band tore apart a dense trip to the underworld as Trey unleashed all sorts of creative leads in a crunching heavy-hitter. The entire band attacked this jam with all of the show’s ballooning momentum, completely imploding Manchester’s Verizon Wireless Arena. With intent and menacing urgency, “Mike’s” brought a boisterous end to “Light’s” delicacies while drenching the crowd in symphonic fury. Musical density took hold of this version, as the same eight minutes seemed far longer as Phish bombarded us with sinister ideas. And upon arriving at “Mike’s” closing power chords, the band chose “Simple” to follow. Riding out the song’s melody into a serene musical zephyr, Phish tricked the gentle jam down into “Makisupa Policeman.”

Gregory Isaacs (1950-2010)

While second set stops in Phish’s silly reggae number have been known to derail frames altogether, last night’s version has the opposite effect. Using the piece to segue into the late-Gregory Isaac’s classic “Night Nurse,” the band gave a sincere nod to one of Jamaica’s greatest musicians and vocalists. Isaacs died the the previous day, October 25, after an extended battle with lung cancer, and Phish honored him with, perhaps, their most well-executed reggae cover ever played. Oozing with an authentic roots vibe that often lacks in Phish’s reggae playing, they had clearly practiced this one and wanted to make sure they nailed it. Turning the mid-sized venue into an island dance hall, everyone ate up the tribute, and without missing a beat, the band moved right back into “Makisupa.” Pure cash money.

Official Manchester Poster

A juicy stop in “The Wedge” followed up the reggae vibe nicely, setting the table for an extended jaunt through the now-elusive “Ghost.” Long overdue, some began to wonder if the band was holding out for Halloween to drop the eerie funk staple, but such theories were put to rest with a dynamic second-set highlight that straddled the line between groove and rock. Beginning with a sparser rhythmic canvas, the band gradually layered ideas atop the sonic brew slowly bringing it to a boil. Trey and Page worked collaboratively on the top half of the jam as Mike and Fish snapped off a rhythmic pocket as tight as glue. The whole band came together in this piece, illustrating the lightening quick communication and gleaming chops of Phish right now. A harder beat and more forceful guitar leads pushed this version through a blissful bridge and into a mind-numbing sequence of subconscious Phish. The band careened towards a staggering peak as if strapped to the back of a rocket, and once they reached there, they slowly moved down the other side of the mountain with a mystical passage that seamlessly transformed into “Mango Song.”

“Mango” carried the infectious energy of the night through an enthusiastic outing, and upon the song’s ending, Phish burst into “Weekapaug” sans gaudy bass intro. Capping the set with a full-throttle bug out, “Weekapaug” overflowed with musical creativity while the band also lyrically reprised “Ghost” and “Night Nurse” in a set-ending mashup. Surfing a tidal wave of energy and emotion, Phish referenced “Low Rider” on the way to the “Weekapaug’s” ending – an ending that would be promptly blown out into a thrilling “Llama” reprise, complete with the entire first verse! Finishing the set with a final “Taboot, Taboot!” the band put down their blazing instruments, still flaming from the thrilling adventure. Picking them up once more for a “Show of Life” encore, the emotive ballad closed the evening with proper majesty.

10.23. 10 (Ryan Gilbertie)

Treating the mid-week crowd to a stellar performance, Phish’s newest era continued full-steam ahead last night as they put a mellow weekend in Massachusetts behind them, and blasted towards an imminent Halloween explosion this weekend. In another show filled with standout playing, tightly-woven and self-referential jamming, and an overall Phishy spirit, the band placed another golden brick in the road of Fall Tour last night.

And with only three left to go, we have reached the brink of Phish’s Halloween blowout in Atlantic City! Travel safely, wherever you are coming from, and we’ll meet up on the Jersey shore to put a collective exclamation point on a transformative fall tour. See you there! reigniting

I: After Midnight, The Sloth, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Mellow Mood, Access Me, Llama, All of These Dreams, The Curtain (With), Scent of a Mule, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, It’s Ice, Walls of the Cave

II: Possum, Light > Mike’s Song > Simple > Makisupa Policeman > Night Nurse* > Makisupa Policeman, The Wedge, Ghost > The Mango Song, Weekapaug Groove > Llama Reprise

E: Show of Life

*debut, Gregory Isaacs

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1,667 Responses to “Reigniting the Fuse”

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  1. SillyWilly Says:

    Thanks for the write up, Miner!

    really excited to listen to this one.

  2. JMelby Says:

    UTICA, MANCHESTER as I raise my fist in the air.

  3. MangoMan Says:

    WHOAA… !! this is way you don’t skip shows on tour! danmit!… can’t wait to listen..>!

  4. MikesGroover Says:

    Truly hoping that this one will end up in retrospect as one of those “turning the corner shows” that have taken place over the years. I hope it means a new era of greatness is truly beginning, and this isn’t just an aberration.

  5. nonoyolker Says:

    LP App, don’t fail me now. Great write-up Miner. This looks like a barn burner on paper. Blasting off in, 3…2…1…

  6. Mitch Says:

    Just got approval for 1.1 off so I have 12.31-1.3 off. Woohoo! Let’s party!

    That switch back into from mango was slick as shit. Nice!

  7. Mitch Says:

    And the one into mango wasn’t so shabby either.

  8. Ezchef Says:

    When you don’t like the set your a little harsh for me mr minor. When you love the set you gush a little much for me. Having said that last night was w/o a doubt, straight fire. Love the tribute to a great musician. RIP mr. Isaacs.

  9. Foul_Domain Says:

    Nice review, Miner.

    Best ‘Light’ ever imo

  10. rivertrance Says:

    Wait a minute.

    A challenger to the 3.0 game changing Greek Light

    This I have to hear

  11. fat bastard Says:

    on it says manchester, n.h. show started at 12:00 am. phisyness

  12. BeantownBoy Says:

    Great show, last night, and made even greater by an intimate venue that wasn’t sold out. So I was able to get about 20 feet back from the stage and still have room to move.

    Miner nailed the energy and the music, last night. But Neemor nailed the night by mentioning both Mellow Mood and Scent before the show and then having not one but both of them drop.

    Night Nurse was indeed their best reggae cover I’ve ever heard from them.

    Travel safely to the shore and leave your minds at home.
    This is going to get nasty.

  13. parkerjh Says:

    WOW! Where to begin with highlights? Yes, even the Mango rocked! This was a special show that will be listened to for years, and years to come. Tough to always toss out superlatives, but for certain, this will be one of the handful of shows from 2009 and 2010 that will stand the test of time. Energy was off the chain from the opening notes and Trey was clearly trying to nail everything. So super happy I decided not to skip this one!

  14. munchieez Says:

    if anyone has an extra download code i’d love you forever and all eternity

    mzab atta @ gmail . com

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    A challenger to the 3.0 game changing Greek Light

    ^ a totally diff animal all together…and fwiw, I said nothing about the Greek Light…or best ever… 😉

  16. nonoyolker Says:

    Yeah, a ‘Light’ that shines brighter than Greek has to be heard immediately. To me, that is head and shoulders above, the best jam of v3.0 – if calling “best ofs” is your thing

  17. Jtran Says:

    Reposting this for today’s post, sorry.


    After Sunday night > Monday morning work 3 hours from Amherst I was pretty nervous about another show > work 2.5 hours away from show the next morning. This time I didn’t even have trouble staying awake on the drive home.

    After Midnight????? Ok. First set was great; like plord posted 45ish gap/song, most recently played was Curtain (With). Wow. Loved seeing the boys discuss so much between songs, knew they were feeling it.

    Before Access Me (I think it was) Trey took a couple minutes to just look at the lyrics at his feet and strum the song to himself..straight up relearned it on stage in front of our eyes. All of these Dreams was beautiful. The With jam is my favorite portion of Phish music, first time seeing that. Such a surprise again this tour after they played it in SC, figured I’d still be chasing that one. In a Willowed moment it brought tears to the eyes. Also was chasing Ocean and got that.

    Set II was great, Light jam got a really sweet groove going. I had to laugh when I looked at song times this morning, it felt like they were just up there jamming for ever with no thoughts of ending it. After Light > Mike’s I noticed how tired I was from dancing so hard, then I kept dancing.

    Simple had a nice ambient section at the end, kinda lopped off for Makisupa, but it was beautiful. Wedge, another one I was chasing and got, figured it would be a bit longer until I heard one of those.

    GHOST was great, huge peaky jam, then into a totally unexpected beautiful ambient segment into Mango. Slick segue, awesome, awesome jam. Sorry that it wasn’t the Amherst Ghost Willowed

    During the end of Mango Trey talked to Mike then Page, then Mike tried to tell Phish what was coming up next, but Fish was so blissed he didn’t even notice Mike standing right next to him, so Mike started pounding some sick bass lines away in the last minute or so of Mango..probably can hear it in the recordings. Finally Fish looked over and got the memo, but Mike decided to just stay there and fill the pocket with Fish..really cool moment, glad I caught that.

    Weekapaug was awesome..thought we’d get an After Midnight Reprise but was more then ok with what went down at the end of that set. Ghostprise, some other stuff probably?, Llama.

    Had to finally sit down when Show of Life started up and just reflect on all that had just happened. Another teary eyed moment for me. “I’d like to take this time to thank you all” lyrics was huge..the crowd gave the band an UNREAL ovation after set II. Then at the end of the song Trey actually did step up to the mic and thank everybody.

    I had so much fun last night. I hate to say that’s the best show I’ve caught so soon after it ended, but the memories from that one are gonna last a long, long time.

    So very excited I’m doing AC.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    noone is comparing to greek light….stop the presses here people

  19. Jtran Says:

    Need to relisten to last night obviously, but that Greek Light is IT for me. And I wasn’t there.

  20. thelot Says:


  21. nonoyolker Says:

    Presses -> stopped!

    Through Alumni Blues, they gave that song some nice treatment. I like that Trey ended it with “‘Cause I got a degree… from Goddard College!!”

  22. halcyon Says:

    taylorc’s source from last night is sounding really good so far ….

    haven’t listened or compared any of the other sources, that will left to GP420 😉

  23. albert walker Says:

    My fault was commenting on a fellow poster

    Great looking set miner

    Your piece captured the energy of the boys shredding it up

    Can’t wait to spin

  24. fat bastard Says:

    aw you goin to ac? im heading to N.O. for some wsp. never been there. rumor has it they are going to play ziggy stardust! ha

  25. punkmug Says:

    Great review Miner. +10 Points for using the word “accoutrements”.

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