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:

    that’s the thing, I’m not down on the tour at all, quite the opposite

    the pattern of not playing big jams is quite blatant and interesting. and I don’t have a problem with it or anything. it’s not a complaint. just a point of discussion.

  2. beantownboy Says:

    Baning on the beach and still trying to wrap my head around last night.

    That show was so fierce the lady was busting out dance moves I didn’t even know she had.

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    http://www.amazon.com/Alpine-Valley-2010-2xCD-2xDVD/dp/B0047IIYYK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1288538211&sr=8-2-catcorr

    dvd

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    it’s been a steady curve upwards since Hampton…

    What more could we ask for!!!!!

    I wish that would have happened when I was seeing Jer and the boyz.

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i remember that @corey

  6. soam Says:

    but i feel that the way they are constituted today-not doing whole tours actually serves fans better-what I loved about Portland and Manchester were the unique songs they played-songs that are great and have not been played much-I feel with alot of phish songs that since I have seen close to 20-25 3.0 shows-I’m tiring of alot of the old staples-I needed to get some changeups-even if they were kinda sloppy-I D RATHER GET A SLOPPY MOUND THAN A PERFECT POSSUM.DISEASE.

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    Zeppelin can make chicks get down hard in more ways than one…

  8. willowed Says:

    I am in rough shape today

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    @ soam

    I think we all would agree we all like the variety of the “special” tunes and how far back they seem to be going into rediscovering their catalogue

  10. oldskool Says:

    @SOAM, I completely understand what you are saying. However, in retort to your GD reference no matter what iteration and ensemble they had open jamming always remained. I feel like as good as Phish is playing right now Trey is making a conscious effort to stay away from the open jamming. Perhaps this is true or perhaps it is merely my impressions, but I have heard numerous points this fall where the rest of the band seems to be pushing the jams further and into a more open style and Trey is resistant to it and will often chance songs.

    I fully understand we all have our own preferences; I am likely in a very small group that found the Wilson antics in the Bowie t Utica a bit disjointed and out of place. Right before they go into it they start tapping into a really unique piece of improv and then the Wilson snaps me right out of it. Are the Bowie and and Antelope good from that show? Yes, they are. But the Spilt > Have Mercy > Piper > Birds jam > Split ending for me is a completely different level from that. The jam surrounding Hvae Mercy is sick and they way Trey leads into it with the vocals and then the rest of the bands joins in is done extremely well.

    There is no doubt in my mind that with the current level of tightness the band is exemplifying that they could reach some of the best improvisational jamming of their career. Just for my personal tastes despite the numerous high energy shows and well-played execution everything is a bit too inside the box.

  11. EL Duderino Says:

    eat, drink water, nap, and make sure you have enough “fuel” for tonight.

    GO BIG OR GO HOME was our motto for SC 2

  12. soam Says:

    MY POINT IS i WAS LOOOKING FOR ALOT MORE VARIETY
    DWD-POSS.BOWIE,YEM-TWEEZER-GOLGI-SUZY(NOT INDIO) i AM A LIL TIRED OF

    CAPS RULE

  13. plord Says:

    Happy Halloween BB. It’s SNOWING here by the lake. My crazy CA raised children just hooted their way out the door in short sleeves to jump on the trampoline in the snow, and came in shivering 2 minutes later, har har.

    Can’t imagine the energy in the room last night. Couch tour sound was awesome but I’m not sure my computer speakers survived Mike’s onslaught in the Tweeprise. Can’t wait to spin the 2001->Bowie (got called away last night to clean some paintball splats off the house…insert kids/lawn comment here).

  14. willowed Says:

    jtran and silly. You at the hotel?? I have a shitload of beers on ice for the football games. blow up my cell

  15. jdub Says:

    Kind of seems we all have the same feeling on the state of Phish. And the band is giving is lots to talk about and look forward to. All while listening to some hot Phish from the recent past.

    My brother in attendance last night confirmed that Mike did create a small earthquake with Tweeprise bomb. He said he felt the entire building shake. Mike FTW

  16. soam Says:

    There were nights whenthebest jams the dead had were in D/S-There were nights where one song opened up and their were nights it all ripped and nights when it all sucked..in regards to thhe dead…

  17. Robear Says:

    Message from the WW crew chief:

    “We crushed it last night, and so did the Phish. Wish you coulda been here.”

    little do they know, we were boogeying along in our living rooms.

    mooohahahahaha

    Beantown, one thing about this tour:
    new dance moves have to be improvised on the spot to keep up!

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    “I have a shitload of beers on ice for the football games.”-willowed

    I like this attitude!!

    GO BIG OR GO HOME

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    I’m in such a good mood after last night’s audio stream experience and what transpired last night for you folks in AC…

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    um the open jamming the dead were doing in the 80s and 90s was still mostly shorter than the jams phish is doing now

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    @oldskool very on point description of Utica. I would say that I really loved the intention of the Wilson stuff in the Bowie but it definitely broke up the flow. I would call it a brave idea that turned out to be a little too much…

    old school phish is like that a lot for me though. shenanigans that go one step too far and end up getting in the way of the music.

  22. jtran Says:

    Willowed

    I think Silly and jp are still asleep

    Together.

    We’ll hit you up

  23. willowed Says:

    The only thing that will make me feel better is a drink…..Is that a bad thing??

  24. EL Duderino Says:

    @ DF

    except for the Miami DS and a few others… yeah nothing was really longer than 14 – 15 minutes especially mid 80’s onward

  25. jtran Says:

    Kp

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