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. Mr. Completely Says:

    Feat’s been mentioned @hal…Trey would have to learn slide and it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t have busted it out at all….but it sounds great to me. There’s more good music in any randomly chosen 4 bars of Lowell George era little feat than the entire genesis catalog put together….

  2. lastwaltzer Says:

    @AW

    LOL! Nope but that wouldn’t bother me. He has quite the mixed bag though, took me a long time to come around to some of his material. That recent record he did with Allen Toussaint was what changed my mind, that and their set together at the roo’.

  3. snowbank Says:

    much love to the BB. Time for the Mt Baker Film Festival. Mmm… boarding to new phish…

  4. albert walker Says:

    Plus Little Feat has song’s like Skin it Back that just have a phishie groove to em

    Zappa Willie The Pimp gives me the same feelings although not at all similar songs

    although Phish has a fairly original sound the grooves of those songs just make me thing Phish

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I love the idea of them coming as their former selves

    I did that a halloween or two ago

    busted out my old tour overalls which are older than I am and composed more of patches than of original material, got a crazy hippie wig, wore the most garish shirt I still own (a batiked Isis out of the storage drawers)…the looks on peoples faces were priceless

  6. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I sense a massive Phish prank looming.”mr.c

    YUP!

    Gamehenge it could be.

  7. lastwaltzer Says:

    alright kids I’m out……………….

    For those traveling……………….

    HAVE FUN!

  8. lumpyhead Says:

    I feel like massive phish prank is the only explanation for a lot of this shit

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    Phish has turned into a pretty legit white-boy funk/groove outfit over the years and Little Feat are the original kings of that sound – punchy rock guitars and piano leads over a syncopated rhythm section – what’s not to like? Figure out a way to get ‘The Fan’ into the setlist somehow and you’ve got some real jam potential…what a sick-ass tune that is

  10. lumpyhead Says:

    for those travelling….don’t just have fun. give that place a new reputation.

  11. albert walker Says:

    I may have to hit those set break fellowship AA meetings at setbreaks just to get out of AC alive

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah I think any tidbit circulating from “band sources” right now should be considered disinformation, especially if it plays into a known fan theory about the costume (zep, bowie, genesis, jimi etc)

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    so butters gonna clam up on the jukebox rumor huh?

    I see how it is. a’ight

  14. albert walker Says:

    it’s Zappa

    I was gonna take some action on it earlier. been feeling it all along.

    I called Exile last year. I’m pretty damn good at this shit

  15. sneven Says:

    this is my ‘poop in the pants’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OafqYNCzq5U

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    a week ago I would have take some Zappa action too but I talked myself out of it

  17. DriveByPoster Says:

    If I may , I believe the album choice is simple:

    It will be a Frank Zappa album. Why?
    1. This was heavily rumored to be the choice for the first “album” show in 1994.
    2.The rumor that this is to be the most “challenging” album to date.
    3.Mike’s statement that this is basically the most appropriate and exciting album so far for Phish.
    4.There has only been one “no royalty jam” so far this tour (saving up that $$ for the Zappa estate?)
    5.Trey’s statement in “Frank Zappa by Trey Anastasio” written in 2005 that “Zappa gave me the faith that anything in music was possible.”

    So now I am sorry I gave away my Halloween ticket. anybody not going hit me up please: marketingfortomorrow at gmail

    Thank you and Happy Halloween

  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    “for those travelling….don’t just have fun. give that place a new reputation.”lumpy

    see i would have said that but I can’t see phish fans topping donald trump and a bunch of toothless hookers, but thats me.

  19. P.S.H.S Says:

    Halloween set 2:
    Harpua>massive prank 60 min sweat your balls off, better have your blue gym shorts on jam>hahaha

  20. albert walker Says:

    good points DriveBy

    I feel the same. more of a gut thing for me but I’ve figured in some of those into my own theory

    great fuckin Ghost also

    this is a really good Phish set. not the band from the weekend before

    I love this set.

  21. albert walker Says:

    I would love Ha Ha Ha in AC

    I love that fuckin tune

  22. P.S.H.S Says:

    So….. Hot Rats?

  23. P.S.H.S Says:

    I was late for the only possible one for me in Hartford 00 I think it was 🙁

  24. SillyWilly Says:

    Id be pumped for zappa. Kids in the airport seemed convinced its going to be a double album

  25. DriveByPoster Says:

    Yes I am thinking Hot Rats

    Phish owes a lot to Frank

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