The Night Phish Caught Fire

10.22.10 - Providence (Jim Rizzo)

Phish turned a corner in North Charleston, South Carolina on October 16 this year. After a three-night blast off in Broomfield, Colorado, Phish had yet to drop a show that left everyone in the venue in in blissful disarray. While I, personally, thought the second and third nights of Colorado were stellar nights of Phish, the haters still did their hating, and the detractors still detracted. But after the second show in South Carolina, there was none such debate. Sometimes Phish drops objective bombs that satiate everyone with their song choice, impeccable flow, and jamming style, and Saturday in North Charleston was one of these nights. Igniting the band in earnest, this show sparked the most impressive week of tour as the band took off for their old stomping grounds of the Northeast.

Following a tight, song-based affair on Saturday, Phish came out with something extra in the finale of their southern double-dip. From this night forward the band never looked back, torching the rest of their tour and changing the paradigm of modern day Phish. Visiting the North Charleston Coliseum for the first time since Fall ’96 – another transitional period in Phish’s career – the band returned to the intimate arena with a handful of shows already under their belt, and they left via rocket boosters to Augusta and beyond.

10.22.10 (J.Rizzo

Using two songs to warm up the room, a special sense enveloped the evening with the first “Curtain (With)” of the year. Making it through two legs of summer without dropping their old-school opus, when Phish draped “With” over the indoor crowd, the music transformed into a crystalline reality. Patiently pushing the piece through soaring melodic planes, Trey oozed emotion through only the third song of the show. But the turning point of the night, and subsequently the tour, transpired in a surprise first-set “Sand.” Dusting off the song for the first time of tour, the band tore apart the usually-Trey led piece with notably more democratic jamming. The linear groove gained angles while each band member joined in the fray, and in front of our eyes “Sand” began to evolve. No longer a one-dimensional platform for guitar annihilation, a four-part conversation resulted in a scintillating piece of Phish. Apparently the band agreed as “Sand” showed up in the second set only two nights later in Utica, and again in Atlantic City, becoming a defining piece of season.

This first-set peak in Charleston seemed to awaken the band to their current abilities as they built a silky “Limb By Limb” before busting out the technical “Uncle Pen” and an impressive, hard-edged piece of improv in “Pebbles and Marbles.” Before anyone could catch their breath, the set was ending with “Cavern.” But in one of Phish’s classic double-closers, Fishman initiated the cymbal hits of “David Bowie,” another emerging monster of Fall. All of this top-notch playing in the first set foreshadowed something large to conclude the weekend, and when all was said and done, everyone would leave the same page. That’s what stellar shows will do.

10.22.10 - Providence, RI (Jim Rizzo)

Set two flowed like divine liquid from beginning to end – one of those frames that rolled off your tongue naturally without having to grasp for filler songs – there weren’t any. In terms of cohesion and top-to-bottom flow, few sets – if any – matched the seven-piece puzzle in South Carolina. Phish crafted a frame where everything fell into place – from the surprise “Crosseyed” opener the “2001 > Tweezer > Show of Life, YEM” closing sequence. With unparalleled artistry and whole lot of groove the band played a can’t-miss set that every Phish fan could enjoy. “Crosseyed” traversed three separate planes en route to an extensive, rock-turned-ambient jaunt. The explosive opener set the tone for the set whose only exhale came in a well-placed “Dirt” right after “Crosseyed.” The scintillating peak of a nearly note-perfect version of “Fluffhead” had the venue unified and on cloud nine out as the band took an ambient turn into the intro of “2001.” Blasting off into the most significant modern version up to that point, Phish had the audience popping off as the space-grooves engulfed the arena. Extending this version into a legitimate centerpiece with smashing rhythmic interplay, when the band spilled into “Tweezer” the set took on comic book status.

10.22.10 (J.Rizzo)

In a tour that was light on “Tweezer” this Charleston version turned out to be the only legitimate second-setter of Fall. Littered with accents and playful licks, even the composed section of this version carried an extra zest. Instead of splashing into a pool of lucid grooves, Trey growled out of the gates into a thick, murky jam that carried the distinct vibe of the underworld. But when he switched tones, the band moved into a sparser dance excursion featuring bass grenades and punctuated clav lines that added main ideas to the whole. Taking the jam through another change into a more mechanical texture, the band locked into heavier patterns that continued the energetic interplay that underlined the entire evening. The only “Tweezer” of tour with gnarling, second-set teeth came in the fantastic context of this all-star set. And when the band slid into “Show of Life,” the first-ever combination of these songs felt like a gift wrapped present.

10.31.10 (M.Stein)

And what better piece to drop at the end of a classic set than a fresh, whole-band “YEM” to provide one last improvisational joyride in a set filled with them. Jumping off the trampolines into a minimalist funk canvas, the band invoked the dancing spirit as the swanky grooves overtook the audience. One had to lack a pulse to not be moved by this music, and coming at the end of a scorching set of groove-based playing, this “YEM” felt like a dip in the pool after sitting in the hot tub for a half an hour. Cooled off and completely in sync, Phish collectively slammed down a version that shied from cliche patterns for the duration, giving way to a final guitar peak only at the very top to cap things off.

Phish had played one of those sets that leaves you standing and staring amidst blissed out awareness; this one felt different than any show thus far on tour. Never losing focus from note one – and never wavering for a millisecond in the second set – Phish left their indelible stamp in South Carolina. The band went on to play other stellar shows and more impressive jams throughout the fall, but no frames fit together quite as nicely as Charleston’s second set. After Phish finalized the evening with “Quinn The Eskimo” and “Tweezer Reprise,” everyone left smiling and without debate; it was one of those are nights.


Jam of the Day:

2001 > Tweezer” 10.16.10 II

The centerpiece of Saturday night’s second set in North Charleston, South Carolina.




10.16.10 North Charleston Coliseum, South Carolina

FLAC Torrent via etree, Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Charleston Poster

Here is the the show that sparked Fall Tour in proper; a two-set smoker with highlights galore and a gorgeous second frame.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Guelah Papyrus, The Curtain With > The Mango Song > Sand, Limb By Limb, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Uncle Pen, Pebbles and Marbles, Cavern > David Bowie

II: Crosseyed and Painless, Dirt,  Fluffhead, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Tweezer > Show of Life, You Enjoy Myself

E: I Been Around, Quinn the Eskimo, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (Taper – Taylorc)


515 Responses to “The Night Phish Caught Fire”

  1. butterflyeffect Says:

    Flacco has been money since WK 3, rather.

  2. Leo Weaver Says:

    But like butterflyeffect says, Flacco has been $$ for a few weeks now…tough to not start him. But the SF D has been pretty craptastic I think.

  3. butterflyeffect Says:

    @Leo, I would go Flacco over Bradford.

  4. Robear Says:

    leo, ryan and flaccjack go head to head tonight. the start of thursday night football!

    ‘crosseyed’ enters a really slick space at the 4:20 mark. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

  5. butterflyeffect Says:

    Niners pass D has been bad; Falcons pass D has been worse. Flacco since WK 3: 11 TD, 1 INT. Flacco over last 3: 120 QB Rating, 8 TD, 0 INT.

  6. Leo Weaver Says:

    Yeah, still up in the air about it…gonna be a gametime decision. Bradford’s been pretty solid for a rookie (at least for points in my league)…been ridin’ the pine on my team except Flacco’s bye week.

    Game on TV tonight?

  7. voopa Says:

    NFL network, I believe

  8. Leo Weaver Says:

    Has the falcons pass D really been worse than Niners? They’ve got a bunch of picks and sacks as I recall, just not that familiar with either D except neither is particularly good.

  9. Lumpyhead Says:

    Robear, is it the longest non-TTE?

  10. Lumpyhead Says:

    Obviusly Reba was longer..but besides that and YEM I think it may be.

  11. Chuck D Says:


    i know the feeling of mentally wanting to change up the scenery and not smokin is a great way to do that if you puff on the reg. i feel like chron takes me to a very familiar place; which, is often why i dont smoke on L (i’m trying to go somewhere new, not back to the couch)…

    …on the flip side of that, after a long day of work, sometimes getting back to the couch and zoning the world out is exactly what i’m looking.

    so swe on, if you please.

  12. Robear Says:

    yes, the augusta reba nudges c&p out. good call lumpy. not counting tte’s or yem’s, which are longer by nature.

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    Currently reading an article with jerry from around the time “Built to last” was released.

    Looks like jerry wasn’t as into the tape trading as I had thought:

    “deally, the thing we would do is record the shows, and after the show is over you can get a cassette of the show you just went to. We wouldn’t have the tapers. We’d cut all that loose, but we would still be able to provide music to anybody who wanted it from any given show. That’s kind of our idea, but then implementing that kind of an idea is totally out of the question. It can’t be done. That’s one of the reasons why we still let the people tape and so forth”jerry garcia

  14. Lumpyhead Says:

    well reba’s are naturally longer than C&P’s, so it’s still a significant fact.

  15. Oldskool Says:

    @Beantown & T3,

    is Red Bones preferred over Blue Ribbon?

    been hearing a lot of buzz about it recently. Not sure which to try first. I love BBQ but dont have high hopes in Boston…

  16. Lumpyhead Says:

    I was raging that crosseyed all day yesterday too…

  17. Monsterpus Says:

    Does anyone know why when I listen to Pandora on my phone while walking around the city, it works fine-but the LivePhish app cuts out so much I usually have to give up on it?

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @old skool
    I can’t speak to Blue Ribbon but I’m willing to try it in the name of science.

  19. Lumpyhead Says:

    Did anyone else happen to notice that all the pics in today’s post are f*cking ridiculous?

  20. Spasm Waiter Says:

    There is a cool deal in nyc. There is a jazz club underneath Blue Smoke where you can order bbq while grooving live music. Saw charlie hunter their w the wifey. Just decent bbq, though.

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    Howdy all!

    looks like snow is hitting the midwest soon.


  22. Guyute711 Says:

    I am thinking about putting Ryan on the bench and playing Cassel. I worry about Ryan playing well against the Ravens D. Matty Ice is not very consistent either.

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    Have fun with that Silly. I think it’s around 70 here.

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    boston peeps:

    Jimmy Herring is co-headlining with John McLaughlin at the HOB on 11.16
    not sure I can make it, but should be a solid night of top notch guitaring

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    Not cool, Guyute. Not cool at all.

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