Backwards To The Future

10.20.10 - Utica (Michael Stein)

A wide-eyed portly fellow burst out of a stall in the sweltering men’s bathroom at setbreak proclaiming, “Guyutica!” Smothering the already-suffocating room in laughter as he pushed through the crowd, the term struck everyone as clever, spontaneous wordplay to describe the wild set we just witnessed. Little did we know that a masked-man in the front section carried a sign boldly sporting the term that sparked, perhaps, the set of the tour thus far. And the lights hadn’t even dropped for the second set. Phish had just stepped offstage in a cloud of smoke after a snaking opening frame in a tiny room; and electricity filled the air. As if shot back to the mid-’90s, the band had just slammed the door of the first set with an “Antelope” that churned with sonic white-water of yesteryear. Fans were left removing musical shrapnel from their blown minds as the house lights brightened the humid climate of the dated AHL arena. Centered around the tour’s only “Guyute” – a tightly-wound and thrilling rendition – Phish built the first of two masterful sets that placed the past and the present on a collision course on a Wednesday night in central New York.

10.20.10 (J.Reed)

A two-song blues-rock warm up brought Phish to the brink of no return. Once they dove into “Vultures” with a tenacity of the bird, itself, Phish stepped into a show that fused the musical playfulness of old-school Phish with the on-point musicianship of the current band. And the results left the scene in a daze for a day and a half before Providence began. Moving from blues-rock into creative funk sculptures, the band followed up “Vultures” with a unique version of “Wolfman’s” that morphed through a spontaneous vocal jam into a series of creative rhythms anchored by Fishman’s divergent beats. Taking the piece on a varying course for the first time in ages, Phish set the musical tone of the show early. Infused with extra gusto, even towards the beginning of Utica it felt like something different had taken hold of the band. Smoothly hitting some rhythm licks and taking the band into “Cities,” Trey moved in concert with the rest of the band from the show’s onset of this show, rather than moving to the beat of his own drummer. But with the unveiling of “Guyute” that carried the tension and drama of old, the retro contour of the set began to take form.

10.20.10 Utica (Michael Stein)

While Fishman’s cymbals danced into the intro to “Bowie,” Trey continued to play “Guyute’s” triumphant lick with increasingly distorted phrasing, a seemingly innocent move at the time. But these teases sparked a theme for the rest of the set – self-referential integration of one song into another in with the spontaneity of lore. As “Bowie’s” jam dropped, Trey used the same “Guyute” line, phrased differently, to initiate the improvisation. Almost immediately, the band landed in the opening hits of “Wilson” and the crowd caught on just as quickly. In a call and response exercise, the crowd chanted “Wilson” to which Trey answered in Guyute-speak, “He’s bouncing like a new born elf.” Instead of dropping into “Wilson,” in earnest, the band made the far shrewder call of melting back into a delicate, full-on “Bowie” jam. Page’s piano leads wove with Trey’s melodies, pushing the piece in an ominous direction. Mike supported with harmonizing rhythm offerings that catalyzed a darker feel, and the band took off running in a powerful version of their revitalized classic. Passing through an additional “Wilson” tease on the way to a smashing final section, Phish had dropped a twisting tour highlight smack dab in the middle of the first set. And that wouldn’t even be their most impressive excursion of the half!

"Guyutica" (D. Vann via Phish)

The band immediately jumped on their own joke, dropping a “Guyute”- laced “Wilson” as soon as “Bowie” ended. Fully fusing the songs together, Trey jammed on “Guyute’s” lead melody throughout “Wilson’s” brief hard rock vamp. The band hadn’t dropped such tightly-wound musical humor in ages, and both their ability and willingness to do so spoke volumes on their current state of mind. Having as much fun crafting a set like this as the audience had eating it up, Phish took their old-school spirit – last year expressed through bust-outs and on-stage narratives – directly into musical pranks. As a nod to the retro-nature of the set, the band played the Gamehendge-related “McGrupp.” A far cleaner rendition than its counterparts of this era, the composition sparkled with the purity of Phish’s energy, a hallmark of their recent tour. Revving up “I Saw it Again,”the band took another elusive piece off the shelf in this now all-star frame. In another segment of musical gamesmanship, the band built the heavy textures of the song’s ending into a “Guyute”- laced ambient bridge into the set’s most dramatic piece – “Run Like An Antelope.”

In nothing short of a revelation, Phish dropped a version of “Antelope” that represented a improvisational microcosm this show – the fury and creativity of old fused with the mature approach and polished chops of the present day. Taking the usually one-dimensional piece on its most dynamic venture in memory, Phish decorated the jam with several nuanced psychedelic tangents, redefining the possibilities of modern “Antelopes,” let alone what is once again possible from the Vermont quartet entirely. Finishing with multiple teases of “Guyute” in “Antelope’s” final section, Phish proudly signed their collective John Hancock on the bottom line of this set.

As fans foraged through dense fog of the magical musical forest that had sprouted since the show began, the building took on a whole new feel. With the particle board peeling off the floor in a building of another era, Phish had brought us into a separate reality for the night – far from familiar, yet feeling just like home. Though it seemed like the show had peaked, setbreak had only just begun.

To be continued…

10.20.10 - Utica (Michael Stein)


Jam of the Day:

Run Like An Antelope” 10.20.10 II

A defining piece of Fall 2010 from Utica, New York.




10.15.2010 North Charleston Coliseum, N. Charleston, SC

FLAC Torrent (etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Charleston Poster

Here is the final download from Fall 2010, Charleston’s song-based opening show. Highlights came in the first set versions of “Bathtub Gin” and “Stash,” while a lite second set’s shining moment came in its opening “Disease.”

I: Punch You In the Eye, Possum, Bathtub Gin, Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?*, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Destiny Unbound, Backwards Down the Number Line, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, Joy, Buffalo Bill, Dog Faced Boy, Run Like an Antelope

II: Down with Disease > Prince Caspian > Twist, Roses Are Free, My Friend, My Friend, My Problem Right There, Tube, Mike’s Song > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Mexican Cousin, Weekapaug Groove, Suzy Greenberg, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Character Zero

* w/ Dr. Jack McConnell

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (Taper – taylorc)

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628 Responses to “Backwards To The Future”

  1. neemor Says:

    “I don’t really listen to the intro, the vocal, or the drop or whatever”
    ^ really?
    Q of the D:
    What does aw do while the music is playing?
    Sort of.

  2. voopa Says:

    Nicks is out? Well if my season wasn’t already gone, it is now. Dammit.

  3. jdub Says:

    I think it’s time the BB start to take AW’s ribbing for face value and not so personally. We all know the deal and I for one find his humor a bit of refreshing considering all the politeness we love this place for. The shit between him and Dude should stay between them.

    Just tired of the same drama being replayed.

  4. neemor Says:

    It’s glaringly obvious that Antelope is a set one closer 95% of the time.
    Some of the favorite Antelope’s I’ve seen or heard come elsewhere in the set (see: 3.1.03 Greensboro, 7.13.99 GreatWoods, 2.21.97 Italy)

    Are we all cool with Antelope being the 1st set anchor or what?

  5. albert walker Says:

    I really only pay close attention once the jams start and stop

    I’m trying to appreciate the whole package of phish more in 3.0 but old habits die hard

    beginning of Trey lead to last note of jam is the only section I’d judge an Antelope if I was judging

    unless it was just totally borked maybe

  6. neemor Says:

    Hey, wait!
    I thought the drama was between both of them.
    So you find aw’s humor “refreshing” but when dude gets involved it’s “shit”?

  7. neemor Says:

    Gotcha adub.

    Also, the adjective “bork” is worth seventeen points.
    Don’t spend them all in one place.

  8. neemor Says:

    Is “borked” in that context a verb or an adjective?

  9. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Bork is a great word. I’ve worked it into my regular vocabulary lately.


  10. jdub Says:

    Getting an Antelope 1st set closer 3 times a tour is fine by me. Not a bad way to close a 1st set any time. That song has caused more spontaneous outbursts of elation for me than any, whether at a show or driving in my car.

  11. Jtran Says:

    I think that’s a verb

  12. garretc Says:

    Could probably be both, I’d say…

    Take your pick!

  13. jdub Says:

    I like edginess Neemor. Him and Dude is a whole other story that none of us know about.

  14. garretc Says:

    Nope, I think Jtran’s right

    Cause if it was an adjective it would still be borked, the intrinsic nature of the passage wouldn’t have changed from borked to non-borked, just because it’s not playing at that exact instant. The use of past tense makes it a verb

  15. albert walker Says:

    Brim from Reba has some amazing Trey work

    I agree Neemor very inventive, melodic Trey all fall.

    during 09 there seemed to be a lot of auto pilot Trey where he just kind of did whale bends over the rest of the band but the jams stayed kinda static. this fall the band seemed very conversational in their jams. a lot of melodic themes passed back and forth.

    how about that Trey peak in the AC Jibboo. amazing.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    @AW you were right when you said before MPP how hot your first shows can be. It may be awhile until any Phish show I go to touches that level again. Wild stuff those two nights.

    AC Jibboo is intense.

  17. albert walker Says:

    the funniest thing is I swear that photo of that dude in that fuckin costume with that sign is what set off my interesting mood today

    the whole Guyutica guy, Guytutica sign was fuckin with me

    is a guyute sign that much better than a waste sign?

  18. Foul_Domain Says:

    I’d take an Antelope opener.

    A Lopener, if you will.

  19. albert walker Says:

    yeah that was a great run man. you caught.

    some heavy jams. good sets.

  20. Foul_Domain Says:

    love the MPP Tweezer

  21. neemor Says:

    ^ this

    Antelope has never opened a show.
    A couple of second set openers in the formative years, encored at least once.
    Never opened.

    That wouls be something. Definitely a tone setter.

  22. neemor Says:

    You always remember your first show.
    Even your first song.
    Good times.

  23. Foul_Domain Says:


    cmon, thats gold baby

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    meh i barely remember darien lake, miami 2 and 3 on the other hand….

  25. Foul_Domain Says:

    1st song – Golgi

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