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. angryjoggerz Says:

    How was the last set? I bailed, too sleepy.

    Michael Phelps at 40’s gotta win the contest, too funny.

  2. butter Says:

    the stash was so uplifting

    to me, a good stash jam represents all the tensions, anxieties and nuances of Phish music

    often after building the tension, the release is some sort of dark explosion

    in this version all of the tension was completely replaced with a beautiful uplifting jam, and when they returned to the theme it was pretty gentle

    i haven’t listened back, so just memories from the experience

    i was so in the mood to be uplifted and free of the tension sometimes delivered with Stash, and Phish answered my headspace

    one of many IT moments from the run

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    Iain B (don’t say his last name or you’ll get caught in a troll trap) is the king of the modern hard-sf “space opera” – he also writes very dark horror style fiction which isn’t nearly as much my thing.

    Not all of his SF books are set in the “Culture” universe which is his most famous creation, but most of them are. While you can read them in any order, since they’re not really related in any linear way, I think reading at least a couple of the early ones first is good because they give additional context.

    I’d start with either Consider Phlebas or Use of Weapons.

    Excession is my favorite thus far, though I am in a small minority on that I guess. But it is definitely NOT the right starting point.

    Enjoy!

  4. Luther T. Justice Says:

    FYI. Dixie Chicken is what inspired the Dixie Chicks to name themselves the Dixie Chicks.

    Now you know and knowing is half the battle!

  5. butter Says:

    Palmer – will get you your xl ww shirt still 🙂

    r u doing NYE?

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    @C

    Yeah I agree, last night’s Stash is gorgeous – I wish the Hood was this good.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    “in this version all of the tension was completely replaced with a beautiful uplifting jam, and when they returned to the theme it was pretty gentle”

    yes it goes right from the major key jam into a very smooth trilled peak and then back to the theme with none of the psych-out push and pull usual in a Stash jam, exactly

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    @BK, the Hood has a lovely build to it but doesn’t peak. I think the most likely explanation is what people were saying the moment – they just got really tired and had to push through to the end.

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah @C – if that Hood had peaked I would appreciate it a lot more.

    In saying that, Gorge Hood from last year is phenomenal.

  10. Andrew Says:

    Thanks Mr. C

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    Last night’s Stash is everything I could ask for. I highly that suggest everyone listens to 12/28/09 Miami Stash again – gets into some Mike-led darkness.

    This year’s Halloween show was a winner for sure. Great Phish

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    mike was behind the beat on the first verse of Old Folks Boogie but better on the second…someone missed the 2nd verse interjection though

    not bad….more insane piano here…oh and there’s that Fishman shuffle beat we had been wondering about the last couple weeks!!!! hahaha!

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    @C

    of all the horse’d jams, i thought they got pretty close with the brother>undermind. Not as bad as some of the transitions we’ve heard into carini. I haven’t listened back yet but the sand>carini really stands out in memory as being really forced and momentum killing.

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    I think a lot of falls new directions stand out more after last night. That new jam on wolfmans seems highly influenced by the feat set.

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Ghost from last night is really nice as well – slow building peak->funk->smoth segue to Spooky.

    Felt a lot longer on the stream

  16. KWL Says:

    i remember both the stash and bowie jams moving back & forth b/t major & minor… bowie especially, seamlessly. great stuff.

    so impressed with the level of improvisation on display right now. it is packed into small spaces (wait, you’re telling me that wilson wasn’t 15 minutes long?), but pretty brilliant communication and interplay going on right now

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    the irony of the wolfmans > undermind bork is that they weren’t that far from having a natural transition to my ear….

    they were locked into that manteca space in the wolfman’s, and trey was like “oh hey I can see undermind from here!”

    but instead of finding a natural path, he just ground in with that lick…

    whatever, no biggie, kind of funny really

  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    “the irony of the wolfmans > undermind bork is that they weren’t that far from having a natural transition to my ear….”C

    exactly. come nye heads will roll.

  19. lastwaltzer Says:

    I thought he tried to blend it in with that effect before launching straight in, just a matter of patience, cause like you said they were so close.

  20. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Butter- no worries. I’ll be @ MSG on 12/30 and 1/1/11.. I saw Mitch at the booth at setbreak on sat. and he said you were on your way up. I hung out for a little while, then my mind started playing games on me and i had to bolt.

  21. KWL Says:

    but the sand>carini really stands out in memory as being really forced and momentum killing.

    forced? yes. momentum killing? helllllll no 😉

  22. butter Says:

    the end of the show was played with grace

    Hood, Horse>Silent and the whole first half of YEM were gentle caressing Phish helping to bring everyone back down

    which worked great, but then they peaked the night again in the funk section of YEM, and with the encore

  23. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Just posted my source review for Manchester. I’m waiting to see if some more sources crop up from AC before reviewing them. Click my name to go to the blog.

  24. lastwaltzer Says:

    @kwl

    don’t get me wrong the carini was good, but that melodic jam on sand was so beautiful, just wish they would’ve wrapped it up better.

    Obviously everyones experience is different but when I hear those quick cuts its jarring and it takes me a minute to get back in the groove.

  25. KWL Says:

    i was surprised at how much the entire house was still rocking during yem. it was a long night of non stop boogie.

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