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. Jeffiem Says:

    walk away has a whole lotta sizzle.

  2. Robear Says:

    Oldskool, they’re giving really wide open improv a rest this tour, in favor of musical segues, and mash-ups. Head to New Year’s run for more of the improv, me thinks. This is more of a song based tour. The playing has tightened like a noose.

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “Tonight’s the Night”

    a clue?

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @robear, are you hitting the new year’s run?

  5. EL Duderino Says:

    @ DF


    No not the album just the attitude!

  6. Corey Says:

    ^Greek II was the best show in decades. Dis>Use was right up there too.
    But, the most inspiring Reba was in Augusta. Not into that number line…sorry fans.

    This tour has been closest to the great PHiSH of old. But it’s new. And that makes it that much more…refreshingly good.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i can’t believe phish is releasing a dvd of a show i was at. i’ve always dreamed of that. and it’s at alpine valley, i’ve always dreamed of that too. so cool

  8. Robear Says:

    dF, does not look good for NYE run. So enjoy the big jams. I have my kids over the holidaZe. Trying to figure out how to convince my mom to meet me in NYC for the week……..

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    in terms of musical taste I agree @oldskool

    I’m an open jamming guy and they’ve really kept that on a leash this fall

    still a lot of music to enjoy from this tour. a whole lot. best of 3.0 versions of many, many songs, and a fair number of really clean segues…

    but no signature open jams

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    I told Leo last night…

    After all the “jam bands” from the ’90’s the cream rose to the top…

    I made the right choice

  11. Corey Says:

    Alpine dvd? Really?

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    lol, i’m listening to this show and now thinking zeppelin would have been a great cover

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    don’t get me wrong by that. the tour has been great with even the “down” shows being well played. great energy and a huge jump in execution across the board esp. in terms of full band communication and interplay

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yes corey, it’s on amazon already

  15. Mr. Completely Says:


  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i agree @completely. though i still think ya’ll are underestimating that augusta light

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  18. soam Says:

    I think it will be hard for some to let go but this just aint the phish you knew 10-15 years ago-no one stays the same-the band and musicians that played 40 minute songs are not here anymore=it’s that simple. They are born anew in a way-and open ended jamming is a like a mountain they climbed-not a long lost place they are searching to get back to but I thing that they did and is done. People are still hoping for the old band to pop in and clow our minds with a 4 songs set and three 20 minute jams in a second set..I feel those days are gone… can’t play it the same way-you gtotts change withit as you change-dig?

  19. gavinsdad Says:

    “a huge jump in execution across the board esp. in terms of full band communication and interplay”

    ^couldn’t agree more C

  20. Robear Says:

    Alpine DVD = Cha Ching:

    largest venue they’ve played and still play in 3.0, and a great wknd. taboot.

    Funny thing about Amherst leaving me so hungry:

    ‘Tweezer’ from night 1 might be one of the best ‘open jams’ of tour.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    Will that AV ’10 release be in blu-ray though????

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    …….so why did they do that last year in albany little soam?

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    @ soam

    I think most would agree, but it’s nice to dream of 30 min Tweezers, isn’t it?

  24. soam Says:

    I feel Hartford 09 (doubleprise)-albany night 2 set 2 09-Portland and Manchester have been the best I have seen since comeback….

  25. Robear Says:

    SOAM with an extreme example that misses the point.

    Top 3.0 jams clocking in around 14-17 minutes. A few more of those won’t hurt.

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