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”

  1. butter Says:

    Really Jig, talk about salt in Robear’s wounds

    we love you Robear if your lurking

  2. butter Says:

    yea, i just dl the new itunes, whats this ping?

  3. butter Says:

    total control with this Ghost, could shift on a dime to any style of rock or groove, and back and forth

  4. monsterpus Says:

    On the Beach also has ‘lost classic’ status, because it didn’t come out on CD until 2002. (I think, around that time) I guess Neil’s a big audiophile, and that album was his baby, and he didn’t want it to come out on disc.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I refuse to use any of itunes new ‘features’ trying to turn iTunes into something other than a library app

    Ping, whatever

    fuck off Apple. You had iTunes dialled in pretty well before the Genius thing, now leave it alone

  6. butter Says:

    is it basically trying to be a social network app?

  7. albert walker Says:

    If I see Trey I have to tell him that’s some fucked up shit dropping back to back clunkers when my bro robear flies coast to coast to catch some shows

    Total bullshit

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    basically Ping is facebook for itunes I guess

    sounds pretty awesome huh? just what you’ve been waiting and wishing for all this time


  9. kayatosh Says:

    How smokin hot do you folks feel 10.29 ad 10.30 will be? any thoughts about the prelude to halloween?

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    it is actually pretty fucked up honestly. I get where Robear is coming from. They drop two heaters, then an understandable SNS – fine – but then the Sunday show is kind of inexcusable in that context. Especially since Manchester makes it obvious all that was missing was the thought and intention…even in AM2, it’s pretty obv when after that clunker Lizards Trey’s like “oh shit this show is almost over and we haven’t done shit, the kids all like Brother lets jumpstart with that” and the close with a couple kickdown jams and then out the door…ouch

    If I’d flown cross country to see 2 shows like that bracketed by top level gigs on both sides I’d be pretty annoyed with Trey

  11. butter Says:

    don’t need it, just want my music organized and portable

  12. negev79 Says:

    why am I not on a plane yet? Stupid red eye – I thought the late flight would help me got more work done today, but alas, for some strange reason I’ve been really distracted. Hmmm.

  13. albert walker Says:

    Imo tomorrow will be the one they open it up

    This light is fuckin dirty

    More jams please
    When they decide to its fire

  14. Bigjig Says:

    Dont worry robear you will be there in spirit. And dance

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @butter there was an old adage out of MIT in the early internet days that every program, if it exists long enough, will eventually have email functionality added as a “feature” no matter how inappropriate it is.

    Then in the late 90s it was the same with IRC. I actually had to work with a website editor that had its own build in chat client. WTF?

    Now it’s social networking. Where’s my built in social network for photoshop? How about Excel? I bet that would be awesome. See what your friends are spreadsheeting! Hey, Jimbo is using pivot tables, wow!

  16. tela'smuff Says:

    Mr. C. yeah, when i finally relented and excepted the iTune update i got all this shit like Ping and Genius. Have no idea what it’s about. It seemed Ping was similar in concept to Last.Fm, which is a site I enjoy. So when you mentioned somebody used your iTunes “share” i have no idea what that is, but assumed it must be Ping.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    that’s my favorite Light so far this tour @AW out of lots of good ones

    overall show highlight for me easily, and its a pretty great show

  18. snowbank Says:

    good read on AC police efforts – BL – don’t try to sleep on the beach.

  19. Mr.Palmer Says:

    be a little cold sleeping on the beach i would think.

    being mad at a musician because you don’t hear songs you like seems a little….. Its not like he passed out on stage or whipped his dick out.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @telas, no

    iTunes sharing is an old, basic feature. If there are multiple iTunes on the same network they can talk to each other, if the network admins allow it and you turn it on in preferences. Basically I can see everyone’s library here at work and they can see mine. You can listen to anything but not copy stuff directly to your library, or edit information or anything (read-only access).

    We usually have about a dozen libraries online at any one time. We have a couple really hardcore indie/experimental kids here and one trance/electronica guy whose taste I like so I use it to keep up to date. I first heard pretty much everything from Animal Collective to Deerhunter to Flying Lotus via the work share network…

    There’s a home version, Home Sharing, for networked computers that have the same iTunes account, with that setup you can actually drag files and folders from one HD to another. Very handy for keeping multiple laptops in sync with each other esp. when one is Mac and one PC like I have.

  21. butter Says:

    C – the information age gone crazy, we are pretty much helping to craft machines that think and the robots will take over the world

    is that what ya mean?

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    the space whale will save us @butter

    either that or the mind baby

  23. butter Says:

    home sharing is dope for me as i have the bad internet at home

    i get home from out in the world of fast internet and my laptop is a full and ready to share

  24. tela'smuff Says:

    wow. that sounds awesome. too bad most people i work with suck.

    thanks for that schooling on iTunes. like Butter, it’s a listening and organizational tool, but my interest was peaked if i could follow what you or AW were listening to.

    the new stuff with iTunes just seems to have slowed my system somewhat and i’ve had to remove all that shit to get it back to the way it was before. annoying.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    in my case I have the work PC laptop that I do most of my listening from, but I don’t run torrents or anything on it

    so I do all my downloading on the macbook and without Home Sharing transferring songs from one to the other has to be done by like USB drive or something and you usually lose all the tags and metadata that way

    this way I can just drag over a week’s worth of music to the PC and it transfers through the local wifi, boom

    really a great feature – in fact maybe the last awesome new feature they added before jumping the shark in recent versions

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