Getting The Led Out

10.30.10 - Atlantic City, NJ (Dave Lavery)

Phish primed their Halloween audience on Saturday night with a fun and raucous rock show laced with Led Zeppelin history, crossing the strongest rumor off the never-ending list musical costume possibilities. Filling two sets with ballistic playing, Phish granted the Atlantic City audience an explosive and special show that will go down in the band’s rich Halloween lore.

On the eve of their three-set exclamation holiday show, the band crushed from beginning to end, with much of their impressive improvisation coming before setbreak. Popping through a set-opening trio of “Kill Devil Falls,” “Cavern” and “Foam,” the band clearly carried an extra something with them from the get go on Saturday night. But when the band ripped into what seemed like another innocuous first set “Chalk Dust,” the evening was just getting started. Phish transformed a furiously creative jam into a full-blown stop in Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” before dive-bombing for the ending of “Chalkdust.” At this point, the Zeppelin reference could have been a Halloween preview, or a tease altogether. But when Phish followed up the smoking segment with “Ha Ha Ha,” the joke was clearly on us, and we didn’t even know the half of it.

10/30 Official Poster

“Chalk Dust” began a scintillating first set run that continued with a sticky and percussive “Wolfman’s Brother” that continued to push the envelope of fall versions. Moving out of the composition into a vocal scat over a pulsing groove, the bands musical exploits never stopped while they simultaneously added a fifth vocal layer. Passing into a sparse rhythmic plane, Trey darted through the intricate beats with staccato melodies that Gordon answered with strong counter-leads of his own. Soon enough the band was neck-deep in a pit of percussive quicksand that continued to draw the band down the rabbit hole. Hinting at “Manteca” (as most funk jams this tour have at one point or another) all four members kicked in equitable antes in this rhythmic canvas. A strained, but well intended, transition brought the band from “Wolfman’s” into Fall’s first “Undermind.”

Continuing their rhythm-based jamming, Phish flowed into a standout version of “Undermind” that was delivered with enhanced precision and tightness that has characterized this tour. Trey and Mike entered a dynamic conversation while Fishman held the court for such a discussion to take place. Page comped this scene with organ swells that provided a backdrop for the three-piece summit. Look for some furious work from Red throughout this, potentially, best-ever version.

10.29.10 (J.Weber)

Following the post-hiatus song with two oldies, Phish closed the set with a massive “Bathtub Gin” and “Squirming Coil.” Highlighted by guitar acrobatics – an emerging theme of the show – Phish led “Bathtub Gin” down decidedly dancy road. Oozing right into the thick of things, it took Phish no time to lock into an initial groove that spiraled into a tornado of nasty guitar licks, ballooning bass lines, and collective melodic sensibility. This “Gin” built into a cathartic first set standout that brought one of the legitimate high points of the entire show. Flowing and connected with unparalleled urgency, Phish carried a Mack truck’s worth of momentum through this mind-numbing first half gem.

But after setbreak, Phish built a retro-adventure centered on a “Tweezer” that wove in and out of four Led Zeppelin songs, climaxing with the iconic final verse of “Stairway to Heaven.” As soon as the “Tweezer” jam dropped, Phish went right into tease of “Heartbreaker” before changing back into to “Tweezer” for a stellar couple of minutes that too quickly found their way “Ramble On.” Passing through mere portions of each Zeppelin song, Phish built a classic rock jigsaw puzzle that likened a joyride down high school’s memory lane. After passing through the gorgeous “Thank You,” Phish briefly returned to “Tweezer’s” theme before merging into “Stairway to Heaven.” Turning “Tweezer” into a straight up medley, Phish musically chuckled at any fans that had believed the hype, while creating a wildly entertaining sequence of music along the way.

10.30.10 (Dave Lavery)

Although a smashing and significant “Tube” opened the set followed by a “Possum” that stuck out like a sore thumb, what this show now needed was some pure Phish fire. All teases and jams aside, there was little meat in the second set until the final third. But any concerns were put to rest with an ornate sequence of “2001 > Bowie” that doused the end of the show with some serious improvisation.

Building on the revitalized versions of Fall, Phish absolutely went to town on “2001,” tearing apart the space-funk with a flying passion. Turning Boardwalk Hall upside down and spinning it around, the band really gave this version the full treatment, extending its second half into a clinic of groove. One of those versions where the mind shuts off and the body just moves, this one had the venue bumping as one in the middle of the second set. Flying off the chain with furious runs of notes, it had been ages since Trey had been so active and out front in the space-aged realm – and it was straight up glorious.

10.29.10 (J.Weber)

Dropping into “Bowie’s” intro at “2001’s” peak, the band unveiled another resuscitated piece of their catalog that has shined throughout Fall. A dialed-in rendition littered with nuances and intricacies, Mike, Trey and Page played a game of musical tag, chasing each other through a labyrinth of psychedelia. A perfect example of the new and improved Phish, the amount of ideas conveyed within this compact musical cannonball was stunning, as the band never let up from the moment the jam began. Unquestionably the musical highlight of the show, you can take “2001> Bowie” to the bank – top-notch stuff.

“Show of Life” set up a set closer from which the band could have selected a number of successful songs, but “Number Line” wasn’t one of them. Using this enigma of a song as a contained set closer contains very little power, and honestly, leaves the show wanting more. And luckily, last night, Phish had a little more in them, capping the set with a filthy and fitting encore of “Good Times, Bad Times.” Finalizing the evening with a last tease of “Whole Lotta Love” after “Reprise,” suffice it to say that Phish got their Led out on Saturday night, treating the South Jersey audience to a full-on experience. But now that Zeppelin is out, what will the costume be? Nobody knows a thing and the witching hour is quickly approaching! Your guess is as good as mine, but if one thing is for sure, the last night of Fall tour will be one for the books.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Cavern, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, Chalk Dust Torture > Whole Lotta Love > Chalk Dust Torture, Ha Ha Ha, Walk Away, Wolfman’s Brother > Undermind, Bathtub Gin*, The Squirming Coil

II: Tube, Possum*, Tweezer* > Heartbreaker^ > Ramble On^> Thank You^ > Tweezer > Stairway to Heaven^, Halley’s Comet > Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie, Show of Life, Backwards Down the Number Line, Good Times Bad Times

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise*

* w/ “Whole Lotta Love” teases, ^ incomplete

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2,844 Responses to “Getting The Led Out”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    first of all Dr.P, careful of that What To Expect book

    we hated it and our whole circle of friends rejected it after awhile

    it’s a source of neverending paranoia for expectant mothers…the answer to the title question seems to be “expect that every tiny weird symptom you might have is an indicator of your worst nightmare coming true”

    as for fatherhood I have no good suggestions. I didn’t grow up with a dad so I’m forced to just fake my way through it. Um, maybe read “Sometimes a great notion” and do everything exactly the opposite of the way that family does it?

    sorry, really nothing comes to mind

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    indeed @pbs

    mindblowing huh?

  3. willowed Says:

    Oakdale Tab was fun.

    I still spin that Love is Freedome Simple Twist up Dave on a regular basis

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    just over a week till PDX Mike show BTW

  5. plord Says:

    @Dr. P The “What To Expect…” books are a ticking time bomb, use with extreme caution. They’re basically a list of shit you can freak out about if it does or does not happen at the time the book says. Sleep deprived parents using those books as some sort of checklist is a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Ignore it! Your child is fine! Take a nap!

    You want the honest to god truth about parenting, no holds barred?
    _The Poo Bomb_ by Jeff Vogel, which is the published version of a running commentary he kept on Usenet (remember usenet?) about the birth of his daughter. It is the most accurate parenting book I have ever read:

  6. Gavinsdad Says:

    But the love increases. This is some of what I felt in the air this weekend and amongst friends. Just seeing strangers meeting their friends and the general joy in those exchanges was killer.

    Ps – thank you to pigsong and themanatee for hooking up my non-BB friends with tix. Kudos. Another +1 for that sort of thing.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    for another good mom-to-be book check out “Birthing From Within”. a little less omg-everything-could-totally-go-wrong! than WTEWYE (soon to be a major motion picture coming to a theater near you!!). as for dad books, if you find any, let me know 😉

  8. Oldskool Says:

    read Freedom by Johnathan Franzen

    a great look at all the roles of individuals within a family and the sanctity of family as a whole.

    I wish I had a more traditional rec for you but like Mr.C I find most of the established “baby book” to provide no real insight and only serve as a vehicle for paranoia or to subliminally tell you that life will be impossible without a diaper heater or some other sort of ridiculous device that they would be happy to sell you.

  9. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    that’s funny C

    I’ve certainly heard plenty about what NOT to do. And I’ve near maxed out my patience and anxiety management methods in counteracting the What to Expect book…

    I know there a ton of fatherhood books on Amazon but no one has ever told me about one that describes the HUGE transformation in self-concept, goals, EVERYTHING that seems to be happening…

    I guess I’m one to turn to books when I’m uncertain about stuff. I do trust though that life and instincts will do the job just fine…

  10. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    ^^^ that’s funny Oldskool. I read Freedom this past August right when it came out and it freaked me the hell out.

    great book, but it shook my inherent optimism considerably

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    if you want a somewhat humerous diversion, check out something like this one. a guy I went to college with wrote it. some funny stuff in there.

  12. pbs Says:

    @ C – This really is a huge adjustment for Trey, with respect to phrasing and tone. Amazing adaptation.

  13. plord Says:

    Yes, if the title wasn’t enough indication, _The Poo Bomb_ is a humor book. But it’s also the whole Treeth. The Truth and the Treeth.

  14. neemor Says:

    Love that sundog, was just talking about it the other day to sumo.

    I just now realized that Mike sings a Skin It Back (LF) vocal jam during the Tower Jam.
    Or was it the soundcheck at IT?

    “Runnin around with the shoes of a clown….a low down desperado…”

  15. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    thanks III and Plord. Funny is always good

  16. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Subjectivity Jam[1] > Show of Life

    Later, folks.

    [1] Contained objectivity teases

  17. Oldskool Says:

    @Dr.P, would love to engage in a discussion with you sometime about Freedom. I think there is so much positive to take away from it. Not only from a perspective of positives but also from questioning core fundamental beliefs that go unnoticed in the hustle of day to day life and ensuring more priority on that which truly matters and now allowing it slip away in an almost undetectable away one day at a time.

    Sorry, dont get me started on that book or we will be here all night 😉

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s just decentering really @DrP

    you used to be the center of your circle of concern, which you expanded over time to include your loved ones and friends, as you became more understanding and compassionate

    now you’re not really the most important thing even to yourself anymore

    it’s a true perspective shift and quite disconcerting – but really it’s nothing but a blessing

  19. Diron Baker Says:

    ummm… what happened to Minor? 5:30 and still no review?
    Im sure this has previously been discussed, but ive checked in at least 3 times today to see his comments…

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    I really need to read that book. but I’m not in a fiction mood much these days, and there’s a new Iain Banks coming out that might get in line ahead of it.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol wax’d

    I really need to read that book. but I’m not in a fiction mood much these days, and there’s a new Iain Ba nks coming out that might get in line ahead of it.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol w a x’d

    I really need to read that book. but I’m not in a fiction mood much these days, and there’s a new Iain B a n k s coming out that might get in line ahead of it.

  23. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    I’ve got the opposite problem C. Always make other people the center of my concern (just ask Mitch, who cannot despite so many attempts find a night when I can hang out)

    and oldskool. I agree with you. it was a great book. I pimped it hard when i first started it. The homage to DFWallace was heartbreaking I thought. I guess I read it right after Shteyngart’s new one and another recent novel and they were all about how everything’s going to hell in our culture, nothing’s what it seems in relationships, etc.

    Taken singly they were each good and mostly funny/positive. Taken together, during my month off from work, they added up to a mild form of despair

  24. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    I’m reading Lush Life, the Richard Price novel right now.

    If anyone wants to read a 400 page novel version of the Wire, set in the lower east side, it’s a great, addictive book

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    ah Dr.P it will just be the same challenge as always then, only magnified

    how to take enough time for yourself that you don’t burn out – if for no other reason, so you can continue to help people in the long term

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