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. EL Duderino Says:

    My dad used to boil a smoked butt…

    good eats from when I was a tyke

  2. lastwaltzer Says:


    if your out there, saw you mention those pairs for the new years run……

    m a t t m c 1 9 8 6 @ y a h o o . c o m

  3. phoammhead Says:


    i’ll keep you in mind – won’t know availability until mid-December

    in any case, i’ll offer them up to the bb

    if you think about it, email me early to mid-December to put your name in the hat

    phoamm at gmail dot com

  4. lastwaltzer Says:


    wow think I’m gonna have to do that habnero honey business with some tofu, that could be magical.


    I see you were offering them directly to jtran and silly, sorry not trying to get in the way.

  5. phoammhead Says:

    yeah, no sweat @lw

    i’ll try to remember to give you 1st shot after Silly

    again, if you think about it, shoot me an email early to mid-December

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    I use that habnero honey on the Leo Weaver’s bbq wings

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    I bet it would be good on tofu @lw…give it a shot. When you make a batch, here’s a fun game to play with unsuspecting friends…dare them to lick the spoon after dipping in the honey. Mrs. Weaver was sorry she did. I laughed. And laughed.

  8. lastwaltzer Says:

    Damn leo, you a cruel cruel man.

  9. Spasm Waiter Says:

    I am freaking out over all of the bbq talk. Might have to bust outnthe smoker this wknd.

  10. sanchothehutt Says:

    Leo is 👿

  11. Spasm Waiter Says:

    What’s your operation for the leo weaver bbq wings?

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    RE NYE Tickets

    A friend here in AZ scored 4 for 12/30 and would like to flip a pair for a pair of NYE plus whatever makes equitible sense so he and his gal can see two shows together.

    he is on the exchange board or I can direct connect as I work with him.

    any leads? hit me up justino AT AZheads DOT com

  13. sanchothehutt Says:

    Duder, do you brush it on just before taking them off? Or keep them grilling for another minute or so?

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I am hungry now as well, damn!

    A cookbook would be a good fundraiser for this place, if need be.

  15. Leo Weaver Says:

    @spasm…hit me up at cannondawg at gmail. I’ll trade my secrets for an afternoon fishing next time I’m up your way.

  16. sanchothehutt Says:

    Spasm, hit me up

    sanchothehut @ yahoo dot com

    I’ll forward you the recipe. Just looking to save Leo some time.

  17. Leo Weaver Says:

    @sancho…put it on the wings in the last 5-8 minutes. Just enough time for it to start to caremelize a little.

  18. sanchothehutt Says:


  19. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Liking the cookbook idea.

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    last minute glaze my brotha’

    yum yum!

    I use it on pork tenderloins too!

  21. whole tour! Says:

    I agree 110% with Miner’s write up today. SC2 was one of THOSE shows where as soon as the band hit the stage, everyone in the room could just feel that it was going to be on like donkey kong.

    I have a feeling that the SC1 was the night the band was putting their feelers out into the crowd to sense just who they were playing to and the dynamic of the room. I felt that the sound during SC1 wasn’t quite mixed properly -they had Trey turned up to 11 for most of the second set to the point where we had to move several times to avoid having our eardrums pierced by the excessively loud guitar and it seemed like mike and page had to literally bang on their instruments to be heard over Trey (See the “Suzy” jam with Page banging on the keys to make a point).

    SC2 was a different ballgame all together. The sound and lights were absolutely pristine and perfect the entire night. I have been seeing the band since 96 and when they dropped into my first ever “Guelah” that is when i knew it was going to be a special show for me personally. There is a youtube video that was shot from behind the stage, and during the “guelah” intro there is a loud cheer from the entire crowd and Trey turns around and smiles like a kid on Christmas and gives one of his fist pumps to the rear section which in turn made the section go nuts. The “With” portion of “Curtain” was just astounding. It wasn’t just a Trey solo. It was the whole band acting as one.

    Yes, Trey flubbed one small section of “Mango” but by the time they got to the end jam they were 100% on point and locked in again. The whole first set had a second set feel to it and the “Sand” was on a new level that no one was expecting.

    The second set was just perfect full on whole band interplay. There was none of the volume competition antics from the first night and everything was just like a ball of liquid mercury contorting and reshaping itself to produce the most beautiful full band interplay that I have heard in years.

    The “Crosseyed” opener was clearly a nod to my first show 11/02/96 which also happened to be released on DVD that following tuesday. It was nothing like that 11/02/96 version – this was the future. Futuristic phish with a face melting purpose and fury I had never quite felt like that before. It was like Mr. Toads wild ride.

    The only thing that really sucked about the venue in Charleston was the lack of proper bathrooms that wern’t large enough to handle the lines of people wit bursting bladders from the obnoxious amount of beer being served. People were pissing on the floors, in the corners, in garbage cans, and sinks. Since i couldn;t even get into the bathroom during set break due to the lines i was forced to miss one of the greatest “Dirts” ever played. I could kinda hear it when i was stuck in line in the bathroom. I regret missing it and I don’t have “piss break” songs.

    During the “2001” intro i could of sworn that that kuroda was using some sort of new lighting technique that reminded me of the movie Tron. It almost looked like they were projecting 3d word into the smoke in front of the stage – when i snapped out of it and realized i was full on hallucinating.

    “Tweezer” wasn’t your typical version either. It seemed like Trey was jamming in the composed section like he was eager to bust out of the gate early. It seemed like they had hit the jam early and then went back into the lyrics.

    One thing worth mentioning was the “I been Around” encore. Only the 3rd time played and an obvious nod to Page for being the fucking man all weekend. These were his shows and a family affair for him since his Dad came out the night before and tore up the “Charleston” during “Bailey.” When Page sang “I threw it down awhile” Trey responded with a laughing “You sure did!” When the tune was over Trey also responded with “Thanks for throwing down on us for the last few days.” There was a girl with a sign down in front with “I been around” on the top and “Quinn” on the bottom and they obviously saw it.

    Just a great weekend and SC2 was just an epic show made even better being with the good people of the blackboard. It was so much fun to hang with Leo, El Dude, Marshall, Phoam, Lycan, BEK, Guyute, Tela’s, ect at the pink palace eating Leo’s top notch wings and broil.

    While I am already forgetting my ex-SLF (been a heavy week for me around here) – who i took to her first shows – I will never forget that weekend in Charleston. Phish remains, as always, a constant fixture of my life. Lovers come and go and the river roll roll roll. While it was fun it will be the last time i ever bring a Rookie to a show with me as it seems to weight me down and add extra baggage to the mix. Lesson learned and despite having some extra baggage it was still a great time on the top of the mountain.

    There are some great people who post on here and they are all stand up people. Hope to see more shows with my friends from here in the future.

  22. Spasm Waiter Says:

    What does homer say about pork? Something like, “yeah right, there is some magical animal that yields pork chops, bacon, and ribs…”

  23. whole tour! Says:

    Are collard greens and turnip greens the same thing? because turnip greens with chunks of ham cooked in are the BOMB!

  24. sanchothehutt Says:

    Oh, and Duder, don’t hate on the brussel sprouts…

    Gotta pick em fresh the day of the first frost and they are $$$$ roasted

  25. voopa Says:

    One of those are nights indeed.

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