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.


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.




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”

  1. joechip Says:

    Just a quick drive-by…

    I don’t disagree that Amherst was the relative low point of the Northeast swing. But I listened to UMASS1 set II yesterday, and the segment of Caspian>Halfway to the Moon>Boogie On is an extremely slick run of segues, some of the best of fall. That melodic Caspian outro jam is very exciting. Almost ’73 Dead-like.

    From what we saw this fall, it’s unbelievable to remember how much trouble the band was having with segues earlier in the year. Obviously something clicked, but what?

    off to work.

  2. nonoyolker Says:

    Great recap Miner! There are a few first set tracks that I keep going back to:

    46 Days (Broomfield) – Complete shreddfest
    Walk Away (AC) – Sick tweeprise build up jam, similar to the Hartford version, but with more stank on it
    Wolf (AC) – usually not my favorite track, but a very interesting version that isn’t just laid back funk swank
    Stash (AC) – gorgeous
    Funky Bitch (Prov) – In a first set that start hot and cooled off, this was part of the former. Page does some nice work here
    Vultures (Utica) – already discussed, awesome version
    Gin (Augusta) – nothing needs to be said
    Sand (SC) – point where this tour turned the corner

    Fall ’10, return of the first set? Getting there at least

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    Everyone keeps talking Augusta Gin, for some reason I can’t remember it, I’ve been listening to the AC one quite a bit.

    That broomfeild 46 days is my favorite of 3.0 the outro is straight $$$

  4. jdub Says:

    Broomfield seems so long ago but had some definite tour highlights. That 46 days outro jam was nuts. Just listened to the Ghost again and think that gets overlooked as well. Chalkdust to kick of the run is shredding as well. And that is just night 1.

  5. KWL Says:

    great piece today miner

  6. Guyute711 Says:

    I finally got to listen to the costume set on Friday in earnest. I listened to the stream but was exhausted from a long day and it didn’t hit me. I also listened at work the following day but wasn’t able to really pay attention so it went over my head. When I was able to listen back with a good buzz and the proper attention paid I was extremely impressed. The percussion and horns were outstanding to say the least. Day or Night was probably my favorite song with some sweet work on the horns. I am wondering if they could pull that song off without them.

  7. KWL Says:

    silly, you out there? what’s the name of the audio player you use to play flacs? not satisfied with vlc at the moment

  8. KWL Says:

    the costume set is one of my all time favorite moments with the phish

    as miner says, retro dance party. a hot sweaty one at that. some serious grooves and some serious boogie

    the surroundings, both city and venue, merged perfectly with the music, a magical 90 minutes

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    as miner says, retro dance party. a hot sweaty one at that. some serious grooves and some serious boogie

    might we say that it has a high “musical dancity” quotient? 😉

  10. lastwaltzer Says:


    broomfeild was defiantly a solid run. I’ve been putting a mix together for a friend who hasn’t heard any of fall tour and I know I put the Carini>Bowie on there as well as that 46 days.

    I really liked the Tweezer and What Things Seem from night 2 and although they didn’t play golden age as well as they did in albany (although this one did get a nice jam) that whole sequence that follows with piper and camel walk was pretty slick.

  11. lastwaltzer Says:

    Meant to add before sending, I think broomfield is getting over looked due to what followed.

  12. phoammhead Says:

    i’ve got 2 more 12/30 Sec 414 tix

    phoamm at gmail dot com

  13. KWL Says:

    after revisiting manchester yesterday (i’m not as high on it as others, but there are some great highlights of course), up today is SC 2

    no spoilers style, can’t remember a single song that was played off the top of my head – sand? tweezer? or were those night 1? time to find out…

  14. KWL Says:

    agreed on broomfield… good to see someone else pimping that ghost for a change 😉

  15. HarryHood Says:

    At KWL

    I use Foobar for FLAC’s. Not sure if it’s the best one, but I like it.

  16. HarryHood Says:

    lol…. I actually wrote “at” instead of the @ symbol.

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    listened to that Brim II set II last night.

    That ghost is pure money

  18. nonoyolker Says:

    @ LW – totally agree on Broom. By the final night, they were nicely in sync. Carini > Bowie is still in nice rotation and I put the 46 Days on a mix recently for a mild aged dead fan that wants to get exposed to the boys. Just hard to stack up with all the mania that followed.

    May have to respin SC2 today too. I feel like i spun that a lot when it first dropped, but have neglected it since.

    Post fall tour – time to spin, set, rinse, repeat until new years

  19. HarryHood Says:

    Who’s got two thumbs and needs more coffee??? This guy!

  20. lastwaltzer Says:

    I liked Manchester because the first set had so much variety, plus you’ve got the killer tribute to Gregory issacs and the best Light from the fall.

    I really liked SC2’s first but am not as crazy about set 2.

  21. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    I know you asked Silly, but I use winamp for playing flacs. Seems to work pretty good, you can just drag tracks onto the icon to play them. Would be interested to hear others too.

    Getting pumped for Cactus tomorrow night, thanks to reviews like garretc’s.

  22. HarryHood Says:

    “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”

    ^ My only two shows of Fall. $$$.


    Question. Does the future see the return of 20 minute jams? I am thinking not. Maybe occasionally but the norm. I don’t know if it because of my age (same as band members) but I am finding myself really enjoying this newfound musical sweet spot of the 10 -14 minutes. To me it has given them a newfound energy, more song and more fun. Now that they have improve going from one song into the next, it is all in place.

    I am curious if this is an age thing and would be interested in hearing from some of the younger and seasoned folks.


    ^ not the norm

  25. kayatosh Says:

    Such a $$$ October phish tour, for sure. In agreement with all the highlights mentioned by Miner and others today.

    Haven’t seen them mentioned yet today, so I’ll add these fall highlights: 10.20 McGrupp (page) and Saw it again->lope, 10.23 tweezer, 10.26 All of these Dreams and Night Nurse, 10.29 Corrina, 10.30 Undermind (trey + interesting outro), and 10.31 Ghost->spooky (slick segue into a rare gem of a cover).

    Vocals, lead and backing, were $$$ this October as well.

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