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. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Great review, but left out mention of one vital component of that magic from that night .

    Sneakin’ Sally

    It added further fire to that first frame, for freakin’ certain.

  2. SillyWilly Says:

    When talking about truth LW you must understand its subjectivity. The only way to say something is simply true is to define it within the system that produces that truth.

    Quantum mechanics are true scientifically.

    Quantum mechanics can never be simply true if simply means absolutely or for all things.

    The world is free play. We can only talk about things if we designate starting and ending points.

    Now I agree with you. We can set up a hierarchy of knowledge within generally accepted systems. But we cannot posit their universality.

    Qm may remain scientifically true for all time. I suspect it won’t but even if it does it does not change my argument. True for science. Not for everything.

  3. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Page eye lock moments are the best.

  4. lumpyhead Says:

    eye lock with you or with the band?

  5. Leo Weaver Says:

    ” nothing better then fresh greens. Its amazing how much better they taste when freshly picked”

    this is the absolute truth. I can’t describe the difference…ya just gotta taste it.

  6. Leo Weaver Says:

    Auntie Em’s right on about the SC2 Sally…she was one hot tight bitch on that night!

  7. lastwaltzer Says:


    I agree with that.

    Although I think its easier to apply the ideas of science into other aspects of reality since there was a process that brought people to the original scientific conclusion which can then be related to a, b or c.

    Where as metaphysical beliefs are based from thought, not findings. So I guess I’m trying to say the idea of bridging the metaphysical with the scientific bothers me (I understand you aren’t arguing for this).

    Which brings me back the initial statement I commented on:

    ““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

    I don’t see how these two CAN be reconciled, because as you pointed out “the logic of metaphysics is not the logic of physics, two separate systems. “.

    So I don’t really think there is a choice to reconcile the two, its either one or the other.

    I recently read Francis Collins book about the human genome project, in which he tries to argue the discoveries made through the project justify a belief in a creator. To me its a stretch between “two separate systems.”.

    I just don’t see how you reconcile the scientific with the metaphysical or philosophical.

  8. DukeOfLizards Says:


    With you – T3 made a reference back on the last page, I was just kangfirming.

  9. lastwaltzer Says:

    Also, I’ve been reading back through last night’s post-chilian miner talk, AWESOME display of ideas and beliefs, highly recommend folks go back and check this discussion out.

  10. Leo Weaver Says:

    @T3…congrats I think is in order maybe? If so, congrats! Hope things pan out for you.

    @all…so are we still BBers or are we now fLegionairres?

  11. lumpyhead Says:

    yeah, yesterday’s post prompted the best discussion since halloween

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Neither, Weaver.

    We are the peoples front of judea.

  13. Chuck D Says:

    fLEGIONNAIRE (case sensitive)

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    not quite yet. phase one of the operation is complete but the real fun comes now. deploying operatives as we speak to spread my propaganda agenda to targets. anticipate full conversion to take a while before all objectives have been verified as complete.

    in less confusing news, if anyone wants to see where I was during the shows I would have hit this fall, here is a repost from last night of pictures from that trip.

  15. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Judean People’s Front!

  16. Leo Weaver Says:

    word…thanks for the updates guys. So Judean People’s Front…think I may use fLEGIONAIRE when flying solo and incognito.

    @t3…sounds like your ducks are lining up in order…best of luck!

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    Pretty impressive piece of dirt there T3…maybe even more sublime than the SC2 version.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    totally random request:
    does anyone have any recordings of any of the Bad Hat shows from days gone by? for those who are unfamiliar, Bad Hat was a Burlington band made up of Jamie Masefield, Stacy Starkweather, Trey, and Fish. I know there’s some out there but I haven’t had the time/energy to look myself…

    yeah, you have no idea. that red cone thing with the antler pile up top is very difficult to get to and totally mind blowing when you get there. offers the best views in the park too since you are up on a hill on the top of the mesa. I’ve never seen another “structure” like it in canyon country.

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    Goodness gracious the QM flows on into the next day.

    You guys and your heady metaphysical debates..

    I accomplished my Quantum Mechanic last night and drank myself into the Uncertainty Principle.

    In fact I am still pretty uncertain on how I pissed off my wife…

    Maybe if I believe that I didn’t strongly enough she won’t be mad anymore.

  20. Spasm Waiter Says:

    just tried a new salad recipe that is $$$.
    blanched outer leaves of brussel sprouts, plus arugula, and endive.
    toasted sliced almonds
    Dressing: lemon, evoo, s&p
    grated pamesean

    It is simple but dope.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    @ t3

    I have 4 shows in DSBD

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    lust you forget

  23. Robear Says:

    Everything in life I need to know, I learned on Star Trek

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you don’t say, dude…

    in what way could I possibly obtain said dsbds?

  25. Guyute711 Says:

    Judean People’s Front!


    It’s all about molecular reincarnation

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