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. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Ah, I need to go back and look at the QM discussion. I was having a great debate about the meaning of the self with a buddy last night. I kept coming back to this old Joe Campbell quote “mythology is the language of the self talking to the ego” And of course, its not in the being, its in the becoming.

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand, you guys should also check out the neuman ak40 source from sc2. I think the bass response is a little bit nicer than the taylorc source, which is also excellent.

  2. plord Says:

    No mention of the Fluffhead? Couch tour response to the ending jam was “whoah.”

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    “the choice is yours whether to leave it at a purely scientific perspective or whether you need a metaphysical quality of truth behind it.”SW

    How can you scientifically come to the conclusion on QM but then throw a metaphysical quality behind it. Isn’t the logic behind doing that conflicting with the original method that brought you to the scientific conclusion.?

  4. phoammhead Says:

    if anyone has an extra Herald Square Hotel reservation that you are not using, please contact me

    phoamm at gmail dot com


  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice, selecta. throwing out a neemsbane reference on the unknowing austinites. if only they knew…

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    “So to me, when someone says QM is simply true, what they are really saying is it is true scientifically and they have chosen to limit their reality to science. (I am one of these people, but the fact remains…We will never know if there isn’t a metaphysical quality behind causality) ”


  7. SillyWilly Says:

    No, LW.

    Because the logic of metaphysics is not the logic of physics.

    two separate systems.

    Just look at Aristotle. or Copernicus. Or Galileo.

    these men were deeply metaphysical and yet they made physical discoveries.

    Im on your side. I don’t see anything behind physics, but that doesn’t mean I can write it off as not “really” there.

    I don’t let metaphysics guide my decisions. But, that’s a choice I’ve made. No amount of empiricism can back my decision up. One way or the other.

    That, of course, is the horror of existence.

  8. KWL Says:

    enjoyed the show today selector

    what was that really long track?

    morning folks

  9. KWL Says:

    gave SC2 a good spin the other day. great first set…don’t love the 2nd set as much as most, but still pretty great

    the tweezer is one my favorite jams of fall

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    everyone should rock the 11.11.98 halley’s today to commemorate a great moment in history. One of the quintessential jammed out Halley’s

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    fourteen years ago today I was rocking the rail page side in Grand Rapids.not the most memorable show of all time, but I had an eye lock moment with page during acdc bag. I’m sure he remembers it fondly. also one of the first shows I went to with my sister who was then a senior in high school.

  12. Foul_Domain Says:

    11.22.94 jam after ‘funky bitch’ is some of the most face-melting Phish I have ever heard.

    I havnt listened to this in ages – a gem that has somehow evaded my usual rotation.

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Because the logic of metaphysics is not the logic of physics. “SW

    Which is why I don’t see the point of people trying to combine the theories, it just seems illogical.

    “these men were deeply metaphysical and yet they made physical discoveries. “SW

    I’ll just get this out of the way, no offense is meant believers but I don’t understand this. These people understood the scientific process yet through metaphysics were making leaps of faith. Just don’t understand someone who can define something through xyz and then make these other claims because “thats the way it seems” without xyz.

    “Im on your side. I don’t see anything behind physics, but that doesn’t mean I can write it off as not “really” there. ”

    I could tell you that the whole universe is a giant platypus, the whole thing.

    There is no reason you should take that seriously, but I believe it. Why should you have to debate or take into account this belief when considering science.

    I realize your not saying you should, but there are many even in the scientific community who think you should. Which scares the shit out of me.

  14. P.S.H.S Says:

    Wow tela, busting out the moby dick ref. That one show sits atop the pyramid for me, the show which all others are compared. Except festivals. Manchester snuggled up close, but… “the phish, from the Vermont” will remain unbeatable

  15. Selector J Says:

    Yea, @T3.
    Austinites got neemsbane’d.
    Everyone will be saying that in 2 weeks.

    Thanks, @KWL. Real tired this a.m. Lucky to have made it through without major fires.

    long track = “Kingdom Rise & Kingdom Fall” by the Wailing Souls
    The album version is on Fire House Rock in my mediafire.
    Incredible track. Top shelf Junjo/Scientist/Roots Radics.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    is it odd to anyone else that the two times phish played Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids it was on 11.11? I think it is just a coincidence but who knows? 😉

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Morning guys…it’s been a while. Hope y’all are all doing well and things are headed in a positive direction. Work’s been very busy here, keeping me from dropping by much though I have been lurking a little.

    SC2…great show. I’m an admitted homer, but top to bottom, all things considered, it’s gotta be a top show of tour. Yeah the jams weren’t as deep or shiny as some others (though they were very solid), but the flow, setlist, and playing were all stellar IMO. Miner’s right, things really took off during Curtain…the excitement really began to build during Guelah, but the rockets were ignited during the With jam. Stumbled a little with some rough patches in Mango, but was pure fiery liftoff starting with Sand. I’ve been blessed with an abundance of Fluffheads in 3.0 so was kinda “meh” when they went into it mid second set…by the end, I was thinking, “I’ll gladly take more Fluffs if they’re all this hot.” Probably top to bottom the most COMPLETE show I’ve been to in 3.0…and I’ve seen some pretty good ones.

    Miner says, “everyone left smiling and without debate”…yep, nothing but smiles, good energy, and agreement that we’d just been smoked to near perfection walking out of that place.

    OK…back to work. Y’all have a good one.

  18. lastwaltzer Says:

    YO LEO!

    Been wondering when you were gonna pop in, hope all well in garden.

  19. lumpyhead Says:

    yeah, silly….see this is why I’m thingin no grad school

  20. dusty Says:

    I am focusing on slacking and hukking b’s today. Get outside if you can!

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    Hey lw…doing pretty good, just busy as hell right now. Garden is in transition. I picked the last of the peppers and tomatoes last weekend, there may be a few more to pick this weekend before I pull them all up. Leaves still on the trees has helped insulate things from the early freezes we got last week which has been nice. Fall garden is growing in nicely…garlic’s up, spinach and arugula are up, kale and collards are doing pretty well, broccoli is looking good, and carrots are starting to show signs of life. Hopefully I can keep the rabbits at bay and we’ll have nice winter and early spring harvests. Gotta have my collards for New Year’s meal…

  22. lastwaltzer Says:


    so envious. That is awesome you get another grow season. I’ve been on an arugula kick lately, as you turned me on to: nothing better then fresh greens. Its amazing how much better they taste when freshly picked.

  23. bigjig Says:

    To all that were talking about QM, I just happened to stumble upon this late last night, thought it might be interesting.

  24. halcyon Says:

    Cactus videos

  25. randomreader Says:

    Splendid writeup as always, Mr. Miner. Feels good, even if it’s completely coincidental, that the boys should turn a corner on my birthday! Wish I could have seen it in the flesh…

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