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. phoammhead Says:

    loves me some collards 🙂

  2. EL Duderino Says:

    don’t let guyute711 fool ya’

    He’s a Bills fan!!!

  3. sanchothehutt Says:

    Duder, I thought you were originally from Illinois?

  4. Guyute711 Says:

    Special teams Duder, it’s crippling them. To date Rivers has more passing yards than any other QB in history at this point in the season.

  5. guitarpicker420! Says:

    How do you do your shoulders?

    I bring mine up to room temperature, coat them in yellow mustard, then rub “the rub” from McCormicks on them. Smoke at 225 for 12-18 hours (really just looking for 190 degrees) and then wrap them in foil and let them sit in the smoker for another hour or so. They come out jiggling like jello and the bone will shoot out clean as a whistle when I press on it.

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Sancho

    Yep. Arlington Hts. to be specific

  7. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Oh, and baste every hour or so with a 50:50 mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar. I like to use hickory as the smoke wood, soaked in water, add to the fire box every 30 minutes or so for first 4 hours of smoking.

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    coat that with a mixture of habenero honey and pear butter for a glaze and you really got something there 420!

  9. sanchothehutt Says:

    420, I don’t have a smoker, so I had to do mine in the oven. Soaked in Leo’s sauce (that doesn’t sound right lol) and rubbed generously with Leo’s spice mix (tweaked w/ extra cayenne), left overnight. Then 450 for 30 minutes and 5 hours at 310. Came out perfectly. Gorgeous bark, meat falling off.

    Gonna get a smoker for next season.

  10. sanchothehutt Says:

    Duder, flatlander is just a term we Wisco kids call our friends from Il. Just goofin.

  11. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Smoker is the only way to go. I need to use mine more often. I really love smoked salmon on it. Pack the salmon fillet with a 50:50 mix of brown sugar and kosher salt, top, bottom, all around, wrap it tight and put it in the fridge for 48 hours or so. The pack will turn hard and caked on. Crack it off and then smoke it at 225 for a couple of hours. Good luck having any to save because it is the bomb.

  12. Leo Weaver Says:

    @gp420…I’ve got a homemade rub and eastern NC vinegar sauce I use. Sometimes will baste with a mix of apple cider vinegar, bourbon, and apple cider. Indirect grilling (smoking) method for 8 hours. If it’s a small cut, I’ll wrap in foil for the last two hours. Sometimes I’ll also cover with yellow mustard before rubbing with the rub mix.

  13. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Smokers rule. Wifey dialed one up for me this past summer. Have done ribs, shoulder and bluefish. All winners.

  14. sanchothehutt Says:

    Alright, as much as I want to stay and chat, it’s next to impossible for me to get any work done. Been here for an hour and haven’t touched a case yet. I’ll check in later.

    Have a great one, guys!

  15. sanchothehutt Says:

    Yeah. Definitely getting a smoker.

    okay, for real this time, peace!

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    I’m fuckin’ hungry!!!!

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    Re: fluff, I had omitted the word “fluffhead” from the sentence.

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    Chargriller Super Pro is all you need. I still haven’t bothered with the smoker box portion and it’s all good. Only $120 at Lowe’s taboot. And is a little more multipupose than an actual smoker. But I’d like an actual smoker someday.

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    Fixed it

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    Nice review Miner…still enjoying the post show glow from SC2.

  21. Guyute711 Says:

    never had a boston butt until I got down to NC. Pretty damn good

  22. lastwaltzer Says:


  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    check your electrons

  24. Leo Weaver Says:

    re: Habanero Honey…just FYI for you gardeners and foodies: cut up one or two habanero peppers (remove seeds) and drop into a small jar of honey. Use as a finishing sauce/glaze…super good on grilled chicken and shrimp. Careful though, it gets REALLY hot with time.

  25. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Bbq fun fact: Butt is actually cut from the shoulder.

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