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. willowed Says:

    This AC Ghost has really grown on me.

  2. EL Duderino Says:

    I have the blu-ray release of Friday and Iron Man II right now from NF

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    thats crazy…

    looks more like something from Aliens rather than IM

  5. sumodie Says:

    kottke ftw..imo

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    Too bad about missing Leo Kottke. In the meantime, try as a substitute.

    just a long-running blog by a guy who posts things that are interesting, with a much higher rate of “actually interesting” than most

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    Solid performance by the dude @palmer like everyones said. My wife thought it a tad depressing but I like that sorta thing in a film or book.

    PS – I know he’s on here but Robear was asking me about NJ hotels to use for the NYE run. If Anyone has locked down a solid set up with convenient commute, short commute, and cheaper side of rates do let him know. Much obliged.

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    That’s a long running mans blog that C just mentioned. No kid stuff there.

  9. Mr. Completely Says: has stayed in my regular browsing list the third longest of any site, after the Astronomy Picture of the Day (since 1995) and Slashdot (since 1998)…I think I first hit kottke in about 2000

  10. Spasm Waiter Says:

    @leo- Burning me up some brussels right now.

  11. P.S.H.S Says:

    Miner got a shout out on xm jam on. More specifically, no spoilers.
    He’s a celebrity, does that make us his entourage? Or just groupies?

  12. Leo Weaver Says:

    How’d you know I just jumped on @Spasm? Well played. don’t burn ’em too much or they’ll get bitter. salt, pepper, olive oil…and a dark heady beer

    Carini, Sand, and Bowie easily tour MVPs for me. Great to have Bowie back.

    Kottke…no question

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    evening gents

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    evenin’ lycan

  15. neemor Says:

    Carini was the biggest surprise for me.
    A relative rarity for a long time now, really stepped up.
    Spinning this 2001>Tweezer now for the first time.
    Wish me luck.

    There was talk yesterday about the “AC flat brim”.
    Was this an actual hat or more of an idea?
    Today at work, I found some hat samples…nice ones.
    I grabbed a few of them that say on them
    (I kid you not)
    AC on the front.
    And they are as flat as flat gets.
    I’ll bring them for the NYE run if anyone wants them for reals.

  16. neemor Says:

    I’ll go with entourage.
    Groupies has a very negative connotation, to me.

  17. Mr.Palmer Says:

    actual hat. I witnessed it with my own 2 eyes, courtesy of Silly and Jtran.

  18. neemor Says:

    Evening, Lycan, everyone….

  19. neemor Says:

    Well, I have two more.
    Dark Green with navy ‘AC’ on front.
    Back embroidery also, mascot or something.
    Someone please take them.
    Flat brims not my style.

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    Enjoy it neems…helluva pair. really like the single tease licks trey throws in 2001. and yes on entourage vs. groupies

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    Do you make hats Neemor?

  22. neemor Says:

    Page @ 6 minute mark in 2001?
    Swanky Also Sprach.

    I do all that shit, Dude.
    Screen printing, embroidery, etc.
    Sporting Goods store.

  23. EL Duderino Says:


  24. neemor Says:

    Trey’s new Tweezer go-to?
    I love it.
    He does it more often than not, now.

    Also, anyone ever watch how Trey has to move his one finger up the fret board to play that repeating phrase in Tweezer?
    I love it.

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    flat brims?

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