The Comeback Has Ended

10.19.10 - Augusta (Ryan Gilbertie)

Following a year and a half of re-building and re-learning, Phish has finally taken things to the next level. Leaving a vapor trail in their path, the band careened into the future during their three-week fall tour. Standing on a solid foundation, Phish was back up to snuff, doing what they want when they want with unparalleled fluidity. After springing a leak this summer, the flood gates of creativity burst open during October, carrying the band through – easily – their best tour since returning to the stage. Phish’s so-called “comeback” that began in Hampton last year has concluded, and during this fall the band took the first bold step into the next era of their career.

10.30.10 - Atlantic City (D.Lavery)

Beginning in Broomfield, and building throughout tour, Phish showcased a new-found urgency and intent behind their playing that merged with far more fluid communication than we had seen from the band this era. Segues slid seamlessly, jams took no time to build and rarely ended awkwardly, and Phish built music with the single-minded purpose of old. With proficiency no longer a hindrance, the band members held meticulous musical conversations every night that pushed their music in new and spontaneous directions. Wasting no time vamping over funk chords or meandering through minutes of ambient swamps, Phish cannonballed into each and every jam, getting right to business with furious musical density. The band warped time each night, making twelve minutes feel like twenty, as ideas flew off the stage from every angle at a numbing pace. Beginning in Broomfield, Phish seemed to get build upon each and every show, a characteristic of their glory days, with any slow nights due to song choice and not sloppy playing. Once again – in Fall 2010-  Phish proved they are masters of their domain.

South Carolina LE Magnet

Spring-boarding off a tight, song-based show in South Carolina, Phish caught fire on their second night in North Charleston and never looked back, setting the table for a game-changing week in the Northeast. Augusta, Utica, Providence, and Manchester – four shows that redefined modern era Phish. Strewn with scorching jams, slick segues, and self-referential musical play, the twists and turns of old re-emerged within a wholly new and futuristic context. And despite a two-night dip in excitement at UMass, the band was right back atop their game for the final four nights of tour. Highlights are too many to list in one piece, as almost every jam garnered the complete focus and full treatment from the band. For example, amidst Utica’s two-set frenzy, one of the most impressive “Vultures” ever-played dropped early in the opening frame. Do I have the time to mention that?

Needless to say, there is no shortage of listening material from this tour that stands up to any era of Phish. Augusta’s exploratory “Reba” encore immediately danced amongst the all-timers; each version of “Light” took a divergent and unknown path into new-school psychedelia; Utica’s start to finish opus compares to top-notch shows of lore; and Providence’s “Rock and Roll > Carini” may be my favorite musical segment of the tour. The highlights never stopped coming in diverse fashion, each night bringing different adventures into the unknown – and that’s what Phish tour is all about.

10.19.10 - Augusta (Ryan Gilbertie)

Reinventing “Sand” and “Carini,” while awakening a former giant in “David Bowie” and greatly varying their setlists, Phish brought a fresh energy to each piece they touched, crafting many golden jams and sets along the road of fall. “Light” broke new ground with each incarnation, evolving from its melodic, abstract, and ambient summer roots into a vehicle for uptempo, next-generation grooves. Forging unique paths nightly, every time “Light” started, a show highlight was guaranteed. Dashing and darting and turning on a dime, Phish killed every single version, cementing its place as their current cosmic trampoline. When Phish got rolling this fall, however, it mattered little what songs they played, as engaging jams blossomed in the energetic interplay of any piece. See Utica and Manchester for prime illustrations.

But since tour ended, the set I have been addicted to has been Halloween’s Waiting For Columbus. A surprise selection that ran away with Atlantic City’s extravaganza,  Phish’s Halloween performance immediately jumped into any conversation about the band’s greatest musical costumes. With Phish grooves lurking around every corner, Little Feat’s live album transformed Boardwalk Hall into a retro-dance party and a collaborative triumph for the ages. Providing an over-all experience like never before, Phish’s take on the Little Feat’s classic recordings focused on rhythmic interplay and improvisation that invited the audience into a time and place, instead of simply playing an album of songs. Capping the tour with one of the their defining Halloween performances, Fall 2010 couldn’t have ended on a higher note.

10.31.10 - Boardwalk Hall (Graham Lucas)

With almost two months off before an unprecedented five-night New Year’s Run, we have plenty of time to dig into the depths of the most satisfying and eventful tour since Phish’s return. With their comeback now fully in the rear view mirror, things are just getting started. Welcome to the future – it’s gonna’ be a wild ride.

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Jam of the Day:

Spanish Moon” 10.31.10 II

This infectious track took center stage on during Halloween’s second set. One of many Halloween highlights, Phish’s “Spanish Moon” turned out to be twice as long as Little Feat’s version on Waiting For Columbus. Let’s keep this one in rotation please.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/ph2010-10-31t20.mp3]

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.31.10 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey

FLAC torrent via etree, 320 Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

10/31 Poster (Duval)

A Halloween night to rival any in history featured a stunning “Stash” and a silky smooth “Ghost > Spooky” in set one, while dark-horse selections, “Jibboo” and “Wilson” stood out in a celebratory third frame. But this night was all about Waiting For Columbus, perhaps Phish’s best musical costume ever.

I: Frankenstein, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Ghost > Spooky, The Divided Sky, Roses Are Free, Funky Bitch, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Character Zero

II*: Fat Man in the Bathtub, All That You Dream, Oh Atlanta, Old Folks Boogie, Time Loves a Hero > Day or Night, Mercenary Territory, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie, Rocket in My Pocket, Willin’, Don’t Bogart That Joint, A Apolitical Blues, Sailin’ Shoes, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

III: Down with Disease > Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo, Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson > Harry Hood, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Julius*

* with horn section and Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> EAA PSP-2> SD 744t (@24bit/96kHz) (Taper – Taylorc)

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689 Responses to “The Comeback Has Ended”

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  1. garretc Says:

    Repost from old thread:

    @rendog

    Couldn’t agree more!

    Cities was toooooooo dope!

    Mike’s band killed it up there tonight!

    Will this line, like the others, be slightly longer?

    Haha, oh man… Anyways, great show, kids got their Middle of the Road request played, and apparently the Portland ladies LOVE Mike (Soft G) Gordon. Oh, and I got to play Mike’s effect box!!! That’s my solo before Spiral, if anybody is planning on listening from home. Which you should, because it was an awesome show!

    Also, met Mr. C, that was cool. Thanks for getting me in, “step-dad”! Hope you and the missus enjoyed yourselves!

  2. brother Says:

    excellent recap miner.

  3. Matso Says:

    Along the lines of the Utica Vultures, the Manchester Walls of the Cave is the definitive version of that song and not to be missed. They nailed it in a way which I have never heard before, from the composed first section through to the principal lyrics section, the Silent Trees section and then a post-Silent Trees jam (which is unbelievably dense). Fish is the MVP, but everyone absolutely shines and nails every nuance of the song (apart from one slightly early entry by Trey with the lyrics). This is the way it was meant to be played. Maybe not one for the summer sheds, but something I would hope to hear at any indoor show going forward.

  4. Foul_Domain Says:

    Nice read, Miner. That Utica Vultures is no joke – best version ever played IMO. Fish and Trey kill that one.

    Morning All

  5. willowed Says:

    The read just got me all fired up again!

    Nice work Miner!

  6. plord Says:

    Oh hell yes the Utica Vultures AND Manchester WotC were the heat.

    How great is it that we are having best ever discussions about songs played in the last month?

  7. BTB Says:

    Best Vultures I’m aware of…smoked

  8. plord Says:

    So in my own personal travails in Babylon, today’s contract meeting in
    Detroit definitely looks to be setting new lows for cynicism, mendacity, and overall who-gives-a-shit-ism. I need some serious medicine to bolster the facade that allows me to kick ass while wearing this technical sales god costume.

    “It’s only the noodles” seems like an appropriate mantra.

    (More specifically, the Twist through the end of the Walk Away jam)

  9. Al Says:

    This Fall tour brought the best versions of REBA (Augusta), VULTURES (Utica), BOWIE (AC2) and STASH (AC3) they’ve played in a decade. That’s for sure.

  10. Matso Says:

    Let’s not forget the SC2 Pebbles & Marbles while we’re at it…

    Given current form, the one tune which I really wish they had played – and hope that they play in December – is Waves. I think everything about the way the band is playing right now, especially Trey’s tone and phrasing, provide the right conditions for an absolutely astounding version.

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    funny @Matso…when I read your first post today I immediately thought of Waves and recently pondered here on the board as to how it would fare indoors. perhaps we’ll see during late December.

  12. jdub Says:

    New Years run is gonna be a blast. My old man wants to see what it’s all about. So looks like he is in for Worcester 1 to kick it off.

    MPRT also had its best version ever played this tour, I say Providence but YMMV. And don’t sleep on TTE, made some great strides this fall. No joke.

  13. BTB Says:

    Have Mercy jam ( . Y . )

  14. plord Says:

    Yeah, I think a lot of us are waiting for the Waves to drop.

    The ASIHTOS, when if finally came, was mildly underwhelming because we all had such high expectations, but even that comment doesn’t do it justice. Even the contained version of that tune was interesting, which is a testament to how well the band is playing right now.

  15. Matso Says:

    Anyone else really like the AC2 BDTNL? Lovely interplay between Trey and Page. Proves that the song does not need to go Type II to be interesting (although I think we already knew that from the RR2 version last year).

  16. Matso Says:

    @plord –

    The ASHITOS may not go too far out there, but Trey’s somewhat slinky and cool solo is really nice nonetheless.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ all

    matso, you are the truth speaker today. I am finding myself nodding at your posts. wait. that might be the WotC jam making my head move….

    @miner
    nice post. it is great to think that we are hopefully only arriving at the horizon of this new era and that we have so much to look forward to in the future. go phish!

  18. plord Says:

    Yeah, my point exactly 🙂

  19. neemor Says:

    Miner, good stuff.
    But put down WFC and step away slowly….
    Just for a bit.
    I’m worried we might lose Miner’s board when he frantically morphs into a Feat fan.

    Dallas Alice’s Feat Rememberances

    I get the love though, it’s spinning often here and I’m sure coast to coast.

  20. neemor Says:

    There’s a first set version oif songs and a second set version.

    ASIHTOS was born in Deer Creek ’09, IMO and reborn this Fall.
    To a different mother.
    Reincarnate’d

    Also,
    How ’bout them Steelers?
    Spasm sightings this morning?

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sometimes the inner workings of this planet are simply awe inspiring. powerful and terrible at times, but definitely worthy of wonderment

  22. Jtran Says:

    From the darkest depths of Mordor

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    funny you write that, jtran. I was listening to the TweeZeper yesterday and when Trey does that part I was thinking how clever it would have been if he had replaced the LotR reference with a Gamehendge reference.

    Mine’s a tale that can’t be told
    my freedom I hold dear
    How years ago in days of old
    when magic filled the air
    ’twas in the darkest depths of Mordor Gamehendge
    I met a girl so fair
    but Gollum Wilson and the evil warg Sloth
    crept up and slipped away with her

    or something…

  24. neemor Says:

    That’s like a triple-geek mashup.
    I always find myself imagining ways for the band to insert GHendge in one way or another.
    “Ooh! Maybe they could deconstruct TTE to become the new intro through the ice!”
    No.
    Enjoy the day, all.

  25. Jtran Says:

    TTE > Gamhendge > TTE

    Nice neemor 🙂

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