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. lastwaltzer Says:


    check out “sailin shoes”

  2. albert walker Says:

    Phishies fuckin suck. always have always will

    they bitched at Loaded, They bitched at Remain in LIght, they bitched at Quad

    these dumb fuckers want to hear their jimi or their zep or whatever the fuck their narrow minded asses listens to

    love Phish but the majority of their fans make it hard to enjoy the experience at times

    just stay with the tight crew that has a fucking clue. rage it hard and enjoy what the band is giving out

    like I said before if you have reasons to not like what they played go spin your MGMT records

    laterz kids

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    more jazzy, progressive stuff as the years go on, @bk

    none in the first couple albums really then a little bit more all the time

    the extended Columbus in my mediafire has an example of “Day at the Dog Races” which is as far as they ever took it

    That’s one reason Lowell left the band, he wasn’t into the prog direction at all

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    the jazzy/progressive side never really became dominant in Feat, I really like those in-between songs like Day or Night that have some jazzy flavor but aren’t just a fusion jam like Dog Races

  5. oldskool Says:

    Mr. C, you ever read any China Mievelle?

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    no…I associate him with the steampunk sub-genre which I cannot abide in any way, shape or form…is that an unfair judgment?

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    my hatred for steampunk is one of my most treasured arbitrary peeves; something about it just annoys the crap out of me

  8. butter Says:

    its not lame if people want to stand in the hall during the show

    if they don’t like what they are hearing, at least they aren’t jading out the room

    more room for others who are enjoying

  9. oldskool Says:

    I understand the association but I think it is a bit unfair. He has a lot more literally skills than that genre typically contains and is truly skilled at creating worlds in an abstract and in excruciating detail.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    Saw steampumks at Alpine last year, had no idea what they were until later on. Strange tribe for a phish show and thats saying something.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    I’m always interested in SF of literary merit and worldbuilders in particular. I’ll scoop one up sometime if you want to recommend a starting point.

  12. butter Says:

    i need some sleep, what a run

    peace guys

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    What is modern space opera?

    Reading Middlesex right now myself. Excellent thus far.

  14. BingosBrother Says:

    Make good dreams Butter.

  15. Mitch Says:

    Just got home to all my MSG tix. Just in time to stir my already uncontrollable excitement! Woo!

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    used to love the Jerrycize bumper stickers…need one made for “Treyzercise” cause that’s what i did all weekend. knees are still sore. my feet got it the worst but the advils came to the rescue.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    “space opera” was originally a derogatory term for old-school SF with awesome stuff like space battles and planets blowing up and complicated plots and stuff like that. Star Wars is classic old-school space opera.

    new-wave SF took over and its emphasis is more literary – science fiction as the Literature of Ideas, exposing the truth of human nature by putting people in these imaginative situations. Anything by Philip Dick falls into this category, to name an author folks might recognize.

    IMO the very best SF books combine both. For instance Dune is very much a space opera, with a convoluted plot, lots of weird alien names, tons of fighting and giant monsters, etc. But it’s also brilliant and thougtful on many levels, from the scientific to the philosophical. That combo is why it’s my favorite work of fiction (science or otherwise) ever.

    There’s a modern revivial of space opera these days. Most oldschool space opera is really badly written and super cheesy. Some of the modern authors make it kind of awesome. At his best, Iain B. combines the wacky exploding-planet, intelligent-spaceship-as-character shenanigans of space opera with some pretty thoughtful passages….but the emphasis is always on writing books that are fun and exciting to read….

  18. gavinsdad Says:

    you ever had one of those moments where you’re sure that 80% of the crowd isn’t realizing how hard and demonic the band is playing? like they are playing so fast and powerful but it’s not translating to the crowd? that happened a little at these shows at the start…but once everyone started clicking (i think it was once people heard what Mike and Fish were really up to) that’s when the place started levitating. and it happened a bunch. the sheer mayhem almost mosh pit during “whole lotta love” that was happening around me was hard to even soak in.

  19. gavinsdad Says:

    ^ps…utimately creepy starting point for iain B A N K S that isn’t yet dealing with that subject matter is the disturbing “wasp factory”. his first book. very good, but very dark.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    that being said, there are some new-wave SF books with hardly any plot or action at all that are just brilliant, like PKD or especially Stephen Delaney, the absolute master of the english language in an SF context…reading Delaney can be like reading James Joyce, a bit…

  21. oldskool Says:

    @Mr, C. You probably should start with Perdido Street Station. It is not my favorite Mievelle but it what a lot of his other stuff is built around as far as developing the city in which a lot of his works take palce

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah his SF varies from the “mildly dark” to the “fairly dark” and the non-SF stuff mostly seems to live in the “very very dark indeed thank you very much” kind of area

  23. lastwaltzer Says:

    peace kids. can’t wait to spin last night again when I get home.

    Just don’t forget about…………………………………

    THE FAT MAN IN BATHTUB, cats got the blues.

  24. GhostPhunk Says:

    Just got back to Buffalo, so much to process. About to hit some personal highlights before a full on relisten.

    Night I – Completely metaphysical punch to the gord for me. That Light Up about put me down for the count. 46 days seemed to be an aggressive trek from my seat, but in the end 10.29.10 holds the piece of music that made the trip for me. That Sand is something special… idea after idea they just keep killing it. KWL and I were listening back to that and he kept shaking his head saying “we’re only ‘x’ minutes in and we’re already off!” Sand was monumental for me.

    I’ve got Spanish Moon Fever like Willowed. Loved that ride. The entire set was just perfect. After Oh Atlanta I realized just how much that set was working for me. The a political sent me over the top. Always loved that tune and to hear that deep blues I, IV, V played by Phish was a yet another personal homerun.

    Seriously, I really need to jibboo…

    Great meeting a bunch of you this trip and hanging with some of you I haven’t seen since summer. Great crew.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    anyone wanting a short, sharp SF shock to the mind should check out Delaney’s “Babel-17.” It’s unsually linear for his work, and quite brief. It’s a phenomenal book that almost perfectly combines conceptual mindfuckery with a super-cool plot and setting. A+ sci fi and one of my favorite recs to hand out.

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