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. Henry Says:

    Might be the best 2001 of 3.0

  2. jdub Says:

    Nice Mike in Austin, great review and I agree with your couch tour friend. Stream was $$$, with a +5 for coming through in the clutch, and a bunch of Minerisms for getting the word out amongst fans.

    And I don’t fully understand why BDTNL gets so much lack of love. Yes it would be fun if they took it out more often (huge fan of JB#Line) but that tune is such a feel good anthem representing the joy of Phish’s return. And when they peak it out nicely like they did last night I am nothing but smiles. Trey’s work at the end of that is a great example of him listening intently while playing a delicate rythm around a nice groove; playful and sweet.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    @jdub…I enjoy BDTNL very much, just makes me smile. Like I told duder last night, in my mind it conjures up images of riding down the road, windows down, blaring phish, glad to be alive…very much that feel good anthem you note. But placement and treatment are critical IMO…stretched treatment (JB, Blossom) works for mid and late second set. The standard contained ones like last night work much better in first set, or maybe to open a second set, a la Hampton.

  4. Leo Weaver Says:

    2001 and Bowie have been on a steep upward arc this tour from tours past. Tough for me to pick a fave 2001…they’ve all been solid, tough for me not to go with the SC version. But I am a homer.

  5. joe Says:

    not going to get into the open jamming discussion but I did want to say that they are harnessing more energy than a nuclear reactor right now and the core is ready to blow tonight.

    wear your radiation suits if you are in the building tonight. it will double as costume and life saving device.

  6. neemor Says:

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

    ^ this is hilarity to me.
    It’s so true.
    I don’t recall dancing through a show so entirely that I absolutely consciously tried to find different ways for my body to get down!

    Crazy.

  7. RandomReader Says:

    Report from the front lines: a deadhead waiter at Johnny Rockets in AC claimed inside info that tonight’s album will be Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus. No reason to think it’s more legit than any other guess, but if he’s right, you heard it hear first!

    Also, if it hasn’t been noted, I’m fairly sure Trey teased the psychedelic guitar freakout from the middle of Whole Lotta Love during Bowie’s intro. I never noticed before, but the drums there are almost identical (the repeating hi-hat thing).

  8. neemor Says:

    FND
    The most energetic Carini is from Providence out of that Rock N Roll madness.
    To my ears

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    Good tip joe.

    The energy has been pretty incredible this tour based on the shows I attended and what I hear on the tapes.

  10. joe Says:

    small comment about the drugs thing: it was funny to see trey kind of sheepishly cracking himself up by saying the line smoke another nug in makisupa the other night. kind of like a middle school kid instead of a 44 year old man with a history of battling addiction.

  11. FNDomination Says:

    Thanks neemor!

  12. Mr.Palmer Says:

    this just in.. Last night was good. Almost feel normal, except for the cold sweats, lack of hand eye coordination, and just overall feeling of mind numbness… ok then, time for trick or treat with the kids.. Daddy got his treat last night..

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Random…yeah, it’s there re: WLL in Bowie intro. Pretty loud and clear.

  14. neemor Says:

    The 2001-Bowie last night followed Miner’s mention of songs that are “Highlighted by guitar acrobatics”, It was truly incredible to listen to the Lieutenant light them up last night.
    Gorgeous work.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    great questions and posts this AM incl those by Jeffiem

    “are we expecting them to drop the Providence Bowie a couple of times a tour? or are people asking them to *try* to drop something that could turn into the providence bowie on most nights?”

    I’d love to see them just try taking it deep and open once a show.

    But really I’m just asking them to keep kicking ass however suits them best.

    There is no problem here.

  16. neemor Says:

    Ha.
    Palmer got spinded

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Bowie was pure crystal guitar goodness from Trey. sweet, soulful, delicate.

  18. joe Says:

    I’m still guessing something trancy/electronic drum and bass heavy, although I dont’ have any guess what it could be specifically.

  19. FNDomination Says:

    never heard that little feat album…thinking of buying it on amazon right now…mmm…i have to watch two hours worth of video though…dilemma

  20. neemor Says:

    Oh, and everyone should be changing their avatar today into their costumes.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    fwiw my personal distinction between the manchester light and a true open jam (in my mind) is definitely splitting hairs – manchester light is $$$$$ it’s just a linear progression of themes

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    @FND it’s in my mediafire if you want to check it – click my name, go to “rock” folder

    or just buy it, it’s awesome

  23. joe Says:

    they are using a musical gps instead of driving around and stopping at the gas station to ask for directions these days.

  24. jdub Says:

    Totally agree Leo about placement. I do think if they put that in 2nd set it kind of needs to go big. Otherwise first set to get the everyone feeling good.

    For me

    10/30/10 Bowie – just pure Bowie gold
    10/30/10 Sprach – sounded like a condensed ’97Sprach
    10/22/10 Carini – evil pyschedelia at its’ best

    but they have all been good in one way or another

    off to paint the bedroom trim>family time>Trick or Treat>stream

  25. Mitch Says:

    I love it when the show was so hot that the review doesn’t start at second set and have a little snippit of “first set highlights”

    I told you all to watch out after what happened to the show I bailed outta work on last year (-7 > ghost) last night fracking killed. And I didn’t have any ticket woes. It all just fell into place (granted with stress on my end)

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