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

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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. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    That Drowned goes out there and I hear similarities in it akin to the BC drowne right before they drop into after midnight.

    Also, 3rd song split. Hold on!

  2. My Fellow Prisoners Says:

    You only think Umass was below par because you know so VERY little; and fLEGIONS less than you think you do. You’re naivete here speaks FAR louder than ANYthing you have EVER publicly said. Know it.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    I actually prefer Hampton ’98 Free > Ha ha ha > Free

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    yay random driveby faceplant, nice failpost

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    “And sorry but there’s no way I’m calling anything from 3.0 best ever maybe ‘cept for the HaHaHa. Far too much competition out there.”


  6. butter Says:


  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    tuscan 99? date? or city please

    your canadianness shines through as always 😉

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Brimley-
    nobody crowned any version anything…please re-read the sentence 😉

  9. BingosBrother Says:


    I don’t know what this is, but it sure looks cool.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Prisoners.

    go somewhere else, thanks 🙂

  11. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Yes PB- the Split, Drowned is a true highlight of that show. Now i’m pissed i don’t have that show anywhere. Thought for sure i had it, must have tossed it somehow.

    Also of Note- one of the only times, pre Augusta, where Reba was an encore.

  12. BingosBrother Says:

    You wanna crown em? Then crown their ass! Vultures are who we thought they were! Etc.

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    That tucson show was a strange one all the way around….including the random fairgrounds venue

  14. voopa Says:

    I saw fLEGIONS open for MGMT last month. I would have bailed, but my drunk ass was having too much making fun of hipsters.

  15. Chuck D Says:

    “My wife who also had great time last night”

    thats what she sai… errr… what…?

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    I think the pause between Silent and YEM on 10/31 II was the finest 2.5 second pause between third-set songs since the Lemonwheel Strange Design/Limb by Limb pause – but that’s rarefied territory

  17. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Miner, another western roofless shed.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ Prisoners.

    If you’re here, why do you like the UMass shows? Please explain your point of view. OR happily take yourself elsewhere…

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    gotta give him some credit. that definition of legion isn’t even one of the top two uses of the word in the english language…

    /point miss’d

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    There was no shed, or seats, or venue. It was a field and a stage, and some chain link fences on the very exterior…

    that’s it.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    but it’s so much easier to blast other people for being n00bs than to express one’s own position meaningfully!

  22. Frankie Says:

    Don’t know if it was mentionned today but it is the 12th anniversary of the world famous 11.9.98 Gin. Take a moment tonight to celebrate it in all it’s glory… it’s in Mr.Miner’s archive. One of my favorite Phish jams ever!


  23. bouncin fan Says:

    That shits been festering for weeks

    Kid loved his amherst

  24. Chuck D Says:

    prisoners has come here to teach us all something very valuable about the use of capitalized letters to emphasize whole words, or any part of whole words, in phrase or sentence. this is a topic that we think we know, but actually, we know fLEGIONS less than we think. so, check it out:

    smoke WEED everyDAY

    see what i did there? see how effective it is?

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Yup, Miner youz correct. I was there, just mis-speaking I can do so ineloquently. 🙂

    So for the record, it is a shedless, roofless shed.

    Same way in 92 when they opened for Santana as well.

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