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. SillyWilly Says:


    yeah. You’re right. For whatever reason (actually there’s plenty of reasons) law school is like high school and everyone gets worked up about sticking out, so I guess I felt over dressed because all of my classmates told me i was.

    of course they would say that because they are competing with me for the job.

  2. phoammhead Says:


    your dress could have possibly kept you from getting that job – you took that factor out of the equation – well done.

  3. phoammhead Says:

    ^i should say being under dressed could have kept you from getting that job

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    Yeah, definitely a lesson learned Phoamm.

    Im pretty sure Ill get the job. My interviewer told me it was great that I was willing to go work in Racine or Kenosha because no one ever wants to go work there.

    now to figure out how the job might interfere with summer touring plans….

  5. phoammhead Says:

    ahhh @Silly – nice – on to the important stuff – love it! 🙂

  6. verno329 Says:

    Got my copy of Coral Sky in today. Now my mission (and you better believe that I choose to accept it) is to digest this Crosseyed>Antelope with bane accouterments. Will report back if I still have the functional capacity

  7. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Nice call on the AC Jibboo, now venturing all the way back to June for the MPP Tweezer.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    funny story

    between my 2nd and 3rd year of law school I interviewed with the District Attorney’s office here in town for an unpaid position – i was, in hindsight, very cocky and a bit above everyone else at the time – i met with a couple of the people in the DA’s office and they were welcoming me on board to work for the summer – later that afternoon i got a call that a lady in the office wanted to meet with me also – i went back in to meet her and she grilled me – she felt like her territory of the DA’s office was special and that prosecutors needed to have a we’ll put these criminals behind bars type A personality – if anything, i was kinda laid back – i became defensive and indignant and kinda like well, if you don’t want me to work then you could “not pay me” – hell, i was going to give up my summer to work for free anyway! – oh well, i left that office beat down – promptly jumped on Grateful Dead tour in the summer of 1994 and saw 15 or so Dead showz! – sold grilled chz and veggie bagels – i wasn’t meant to be a prosecutor, anyway – that lady recently ran for judge – i didn’t vote for her and she isn’t judge – not sure what the moral of this story is . . .

    well, maybe the moral of the story is to treat everyone you face with respect and at least some compassion, even if you don’t hire them or let them work for you – and, don’t be cocky, arrogant or above people > because you’re not!

  9. lastwaltzer Says:

    “I definitely over dressed which was good because I felt confident.”silly

    see what a flat brim can do?

  10. plord Says:

    Evenin’ BB.

    The pre-meeting Fukuoka jams worked like a charm. They revitalized my mad kung fu and I not only rescued a $25m piece of business that was seriously on life support, but it was larger when I got done with it. [insert joke here [AND I’LL MAKE IT LARGER TOO, YAKAWOW]]

    Great advice to Silly today, but I have to mention that I got the first big career-changing job of my life by interviewing with casual clothes, fire engine red hair, purple suede Doc Martin boots, and a top hat. I was clean shaven for the interview but later used that job to calibrate my own personal unit of measure, the “beard-year” (6.5″, by the way [INSERT JOKE HERE]). It’s in the way that you use it.

    If I owned the remote in this house it would be classic Looney Tunes, Schoolhouse Rock, original series Sesame Street, Electric Company, and Muppet Show 24/7. Alas, the Evil Mouse Empire got to my stepdaughter before I could intervene.

    Cartoons: Shout out and RIP to Mike Maltese. Chuck Jones produced all the greats, but within the Chuck Jones catalog, Maltese wrote all of my favorites. I mean, come on, dude did the storyboard for Duck Amuck, Bully for Bugs, Rabbit of Seville, Ali Baba Bunny, AND What’s, Opera Doc? among others. That’s a murderer’s row right there.

    I like Phish. Cypress talk suggests to be that the day that started with the Fukuoka Twist should end with the Cypress Sand. Yes. I think so.

    p.s. MAD KUNG FU, I tell you. I even had my own foot in my mouth about mid-thigh deep [YAKAWOW] partway through the meeting, and recovered. Took the better part of 5 hours and I may not have my voice tomorrow, but I WIN.

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    That’s a great story, Phoamm. Dead tour was wayyy better than a DAs office anyway.

    Except for it’s tempting me to turn down the PD office and hop on Phish tour!

  12. Lycanthropist Says:


    “I like Phish. Cypress talk suggests to be that the day that started with the Fukuoka Twist should end with the Cypress Sand. Yes. I think so.”

    an epic day indeed.

    enjoy your spoils of war my friend.

  13. KWL Says:

    yes, long live the flat brim

    (and also mad kung fu)

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    and let me also bid good evening to the board…

  15. plord Says:

    @C isn’t it Angus McGonagle, the *argyle* gargoyle? Am I remembering wrong?

  16. phoammhead Says:

    nice @MrP on the AC Jibboo

    @verno329 – let me know if your copy has a hiccup in Stash – mine has one after the first verse or so – can’t remember exactly – it’s not a real big deal, but El Dude was talking about it and mine certainly has a hiccup in stash – i haven’t done anything about it such as return it or otherwise, but wondered if other’s copies has the same hiccup

    i believe it is after “The sloping companion I cast down the ash”

    and cut out and omitted is “Yanked on my tunic and dangled my stash”

    actually, this is a big deal! 😉

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    looks like i missed another solid day on the board..

    toon talk

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    Somehow, I think the flat brim will accompany me to the rest of my Phish shows.

    When Im a famous Phish fan people will call me AC Silly.

    But you guys will know the truth. Im not really from AC. and my name is not really Silly.

  19. GhostPhunk Says:

    way late to the party here but this post is full of win. I love that the notion that the comeback is over got it’s own full on post. I love reading things like this

    “Needless to say, there is no shortage of listening material from this tour that stands up to any era of Phish.”

    Coming from Miner and some other close friends that have been on the train much longer than me, these statements carry some serious weight for me.

  20. GhostPhunk Says:

    Silly, I knew your “famous” campaign would just fall into place…

  21. plord Says:

    That Top Hat I wore had some flat brim, and some curved brim. But it all worked out. I wore that shit every day in the Haight from 1995 – 1997 or so. It finally succumbed to the ill effects of the completely worlds-destroying Bacchanalia that was a Crash Worship concert in their heyday.

    For example. I was at a Crash worship show. Music is a primal tribal noise assault, 10-25 drummers (marching band gear), 50″ scale 2 string bass, horn section, guy playing a toy midi saxaphone sampler loaded with wolverine mating calls. There are 20 or so people playing with fire. They have a 20 foot tall viking ship on wheels, with half naked cheerleaders pouring box wine on the crowd and throwing fruit from above. We are in the warehouse district in Oakland and there are raves all over the place in adjoining buildings. So the band takes the boat across the street, *breaks down the door*, and invades. The drummers go in and take over the middle of the floor and completely drown out the gabber shit the candy kids are flopping to. Having shanghaied a few dozen raver kidz to their own mad beat, they returned to their own warehouse. Cops try to shut the place down by turning on the lights; giant mardi gras puppet runs out from backstage and breaks all of the lightbulbs. They pull the power to the building; band fires up a generator and the drums are all acoustic anyway.

    It was like that. My hat never stood a chance.

  22. cal Says:

    Hey folks, how’s life on the BB?

    SW–Missed the part about what kind of job you were interviewing for? I wouldn’t worry; just look at that face! How could they not hire you?

    I admit, I haven’t read today’s comments, but am I the only person here who’d take summer leg 2 over fall overall? Just more exploratory overall. Fall was tighter for sure, just not as consistently interesting IMO.

  23. SillyWilly Says:


    I figured the first step to being famous is pretending you are to yourself.


    Maybe Ill just be famous for knowing all of you guys.

  24. Lycanthropist Says:

    hasn’t really worked for me silly 😉

  25. SillyWilly Says:


    I interviewed for a placement in a Public Defender’s office somewhere in Wisconsin this summer.

    I requested to be placed in offices in either Racine or Kenosha, but I could be anywhere.

    If I get placed in Eagle River, my buddy has a cabin up there and thats where Ill live, and you and J will have to come spend a weekend of Walleye fishin’ and New Glarus sippin’.

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