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. Leo Weaver Says:

    I’m with you @C. I’ll take the high-energy, well-played, engaging setlist, phish fire shows we’re getting…but it’d be nice to know we could count on one big open jam each night in that 12-17 min range that seems to be the new sweetspot.

  2. FNDomination Says:

    thanks for the offer Mr. Completely. I have a couple of their studio albums, and I haven’t spun them very much at all. I am guessing a live take will greatly enhance my appreciation for the band.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    Glad you could make it @Mitch…hope you and Frankie (I think he went) blew it out.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    their live albums benefit from “best-of” playlist mixing, @FND, which I have also done – they’re very uneven.

    they were an A+ live band and Columbus is a masterpiece album – if you’re into funky boogie rock

  5. joe Says:

    kids aren’t ready for the big jams yet. phish is bringing them along slowly. need the kids to keep playing shows. you old farts can’t keep up the spending spree and leaving your families/ taking time off in the long run. (actually not my opinion, but my friend’s who is way more cynical than I am. we had a long discussion about the business of phish the other day)

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    sorry I mean their *studio* albums benefit from being cut down obv

  7. Mike in Austin Says:

    Yeah, I figure BDTNL is like Bouncing or Caspian. I never see people go take a piss break during those songs, actually I see tons of people singing along.

    I should use the phone camera to capture the crowds actual reaction. Seeing three fans leaping up and down and high fiveing each other when “Undermind” starts, etc.

    If you see a guy tonight dressed up in Ziggy Stardust makeup with a Hitler Moustache, that’s me.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    also: UO Duck doubters better get your heads right. I’ve been watching those vaunted SEC defenses the last couple weeks and am not particularly impressed.

    Any football fans that are missing these Duck games are missing something special.

  9. FNDomination Says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I have always enjoyed Phish jams that are more focused continuously throughout. Like say, a nice 15 minute stash or something along those lines. I heard one from 98 a couple years ago that blew my mind.

    The Providence Bowie is good, but their BIG jams always have lots of boring parts IMO. I really really dig the way they are playing right now.

  10. Corey Says:

    @joe, caught that reaction from Trey too.

    Regarding the little feat…that record’s been mentioned a lot on this board already, but, thanks for the extra inside info. I like the obscure (to the masses) choices.
    Loaded, Remain, Columbus…makes sense to me.

  11. jdub Says:

    First stop in the Northeast at Augusta the band made a statement with FEFY. They are in it for the long haul and practicing patience, either your on the bus or not. Seems like a lot of people are on the bus.

  12. neemor Says:

    Alright…..
    I’m all dressed for trick or treating.
    Guess what I am and why.

  13. gratefulcub Says:

    Auburn OU has the makings of the most exciting championship game ever. Someone might score 50 and lose.

  14. Corey Says:

    Sorry Mr C., finally got to enjoy a PSU game for a change. But, them ducks look good.

  15. joe Says:

    I fell asleep after USC took the lead in the 3rd quarter last night, so I don’t see what all the hype is about 🙂

    any bb’ers play in the poker tournament?

  16. neemor Says:

    Good point, joe about the open jamming and old farts and such.
    Pretty cynical, though.

    Alright, off to watch football.
    You new Blackboard parents, have a beautiful time with your munchkins today and you Blackboarders that are sans kiddos, go out and Trick or Treat.
    Never too old for a Charleston Chew.

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Ducks look great. I’m not sold on Auburn’s D at all yet. Haven’t really been impressed with Bama this year. I think it’ll be Oregon-Auburn for all the mythical marbles…and I think Oregon runs away with it.

  18. seif Says:

    not sure if anyone mentioned this yet….but live phish has labeled a song wrong! they did not play What Is and What Should Never Be. the song is Thank You.

  19. Kevin Says:

    I actually liked the Number Line last night. At first I groaned a little bit at the placement of it, but I felt it paid off in the end. Also, the lyrics really hit me. Today is my 30th birthday, and I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and looking back on my childhood days, so on a completely personal level it was a really fitting.

  20. neemor Says:

    gcub, great pic of the peppadew, btw.
    Don’t blink.

  21. Corey Says:

    Mmm, strawberry chew.

  22. neemor Says:

    “At first I groaned a little bit at the placement of it”
    ^ this is the problem when they drop it in a weird spot.
    It always pays off, though.
    Sometimes more than others.

  23. gratefulcub Says:

    My boss is an Auburn grad, so I am emotionally involved in in full bandwagon mode. But I got even him to admit the other day, “If Auburn wins a National Championship, it will be the worst championship defense in my lifetime, by a wide margin.”

  24. kayatosh Says:

    back home after two nights of phish. It all seems like a dream now.

    Friday night posed the ? for me: why at age 38 am I still putting energy into seeing phish? Aside from Light up, timber, moma>cities, Sand, and a gorgeous corrina, I was feeling a little unfulfilled. lack of phlow.

    Saturday contained the answer to Friday’s question and complete personal satisfaction. While Friday was more a R&R, head banger vibe, Saturday night was a fine blend of execution, intensity, creativity and hip shakin inspiration. beautiful guelah in the first set and then things really took off with Ha ha ha until set I ended with a gorgeoius coil. Felt hosed several times during 10.30.

    Fat, concise tube. Led Tweezer was seamless, zig zagging, disorienting fun. ASZ was pure dance inspiration. By # line I had to step out to gather my marbles. I was satiated. Went to benevento friedman martin late night, which was a cool scene, but I lasted only for set I. Legs felt like lead.

    Thank you all for making it a memorable 2 day jaunt. special thanks to silly willy, palmer, and AW for ticket hookups. Great seeing many of you there. PEACE

  25. seif Says:

    Kevin – looking back on your childhood at 30?
    you STILL are a child!!!! (says the 39 year old facing 40 next year!)

    happy birthday.

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