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. Jtran Says:


    My first show was also Darien 09.

    When the Wolfman’s jam got going I realized I was at a Phish show.

    I also couldn’t believe how far away I was from the stage at the back of the pav.

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    mike says the other album that was in contention this year was no album at all 🙁

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    nice jtran. are you a youth too?

  4. poop goblin Says:

    Miami 2 was the first show that felt real solid to me out of the first 15-20 I caught.

    the tweezer being the first jam I caught that really took me like an old school Phish jam

    still one of my favorite jams of 3.0

    I’ve seen 40 something shows. by far more than 2.0 cuz I was strung out.

  5. Gavinsdad Says:

    There is an intangible in the uticalope that I’ve been trying to find words for. @neems you’re a student of the lopes so I’m gonna always pay attention on your take. Uticas drifts outside of the mold kinda nicely….that melty psyche breakdown into the peppy rebuild has a LEVITY (there you go) and I don’t mean it in the spirit of humor that the pig teases were all about, I mean it in a “they played the notes in a frisky effortless and groupmind way”. It’s the approach I like here…it’s unique…not gnarly like those tippers from 95 and 97, but this new form, that has movement contained in it that is innate.

    I’ve really been digging the full band autopilot. Like when they lock and its not locking on a them that Trey presented so they hopped on it to explore. This is more like a psychic full band understanding of how to navigate space together, without needing a navigator.

  6. poop goblin Says:

    would have never imagined catching 20 shows a year again in my old age

    it’s been fun

  7. jdub Says:

    Don’t have a specific memory of first live Phish tune I heard but the first moment for me that I remember as being different than other concert experiences was Vultures at the Hartford Meadows on 7/1/00. Kind of a strange tune to leave such a strong mark but a combination of witnessing a bunch of kids climbing over the back wall into the lawn and everyone getting their freak on and settled in toward the end of the first set left a lasting memory. But ultimately it was the Jibboo, Mikes Groove, and Ghost from that show that hooked me in big time if not too late. 3.0 has made me feel better about what I missed in the late ’90s when I very easily could have been seeing a bunch of Phish shows.

  8. Gavinsdad Says:

    ^those tippers from…

  9. Jtran Says:



  10. Gavinsdad Says:

    Fuck. I meant RIPPERS

  11. jdub Says:

    Listening to Further from Saturday night @Gdad. Of all the Phil bands over the years these guys sound more like the GD than any. Not sure if that is a compliment or nostalgia act alarm.

    The wife even commented that the show sounded old. And she knows nothing about the Grateful Dead other than hearing random shows I have played over the years.

  12. bouncin fan Says:

    the AC run is probably the most fun of I’d at a 3 night run yet

    good time to be catching shows. gonna be my first MSG new years since 95. my girl did the late 90s MSG shows but wasn’t out there

    should be fun

  13. bouncin fan Says:

    i haven’t heard a note of further

    live or on tape

  14. Gavinsdad Says:

    Good time to be seeing Phish and as the youths will attest, there’s certainly no shortage of archival music to digest when the band isn’t touring

    To wit, I saw more Phish this year than any other year since I started seeing the band. It’s all been fun as hell. And I will always remember my first show but really I remember dancing near Elise Lockton….whoo boy.

  15. sumodie Says:

    lol, I knew I’d catch a little flak by admitting I’d never spun 11-17-97 Denver before (I’m pacing myself 8)

    only made it thru the first disk (thru Fire) cause I had to play that Ghost again to confirm what I thought the first time: too siiiick!

    Dug the Tweez opener even more on 2nd replay, wow, is that ever a patient, laid back version

  16. Gavinsdad Says:

    I feel a little guilty talking about furthur on this board. I am an admitted fluffer, and like to pull the positive outta most things, but I can say with certainty that Furthur put together a fine effort on Sat nite. And even more blasphemous, I felt that the Fake Jer/Russo combo were in such lockstep from the past year plus of playing together that they were steering the improv ideas moreso than phil. It was such a trip to see how comfortable they were.

    Now, let me be sure to restate that I think Kadelik is an homage player and I missed Jerry terribly. Can’t seem to get over that. Dude was the master at what he did. But if I can get personal for a moment 2 of my best friends died in the past two years and MSG was our home court so damn right I spent some time thinking of them during many a tune on sat and it did my soul some good.

    Nuff on that topic

  17. neemor Says:

    I just typed a whole thing about that HTFD Vultures from ’00.
    It was gushing, long, had a tale about the psychedelic excursion it took me on, how it was the first time I ever heard the song, the time and effort I put into finding it again (well before…all sorts of great shit.
    Computer ate it.

    Anyways, summing up,
    Utica Vultures finally, after all these years, brought a Vultures that measured up.

  18. sumodie Says:

    @neems: I dig your articulate, impassioned argument for what makes a good Antelope, for you

    Utica’s is easily my 3.0 fav, perhaps because it is so different from the raging versions you describe

    Never thought it was missing a gear or two (love that description, btw), which I suppose it was

    Anyway, here’s hoping we’re both in the same room when the next Antelope is set loose (with maximum gears!)

  19. KWL Says:

    just re-spun greek tweezer, now that fall has taught me how to properly listen to 3.0 tweezers

    some nasty, deep groove in that one. great melodic middle section, winds down into a relatively standard last couple mins. great version that i overlooked in the summer b/c it wasn’t as long as previous versions and b/c trey started up fluffhead instead of starting a new section of the jam. (we were still pissed at the >horse then).

    listening with different ears now, after the smoking fall versions.

  20. neemor Says:

    Also, today I had sort of an epiphany during the Utica Wolfman’s.

    That song has become a great narrative of the experience that has been the Phish for me, and I’d bet many others, too.

    “It was many years ago now, I really can’t be sure”
    ~ After all this time following this band now, for many (myself included, it’s not easy to pinpoint exactly when IT happened. But it happened to all of us, many years ago for some, others more recently.

    “That’s when it all began then, I heard a knock upon my door.”
    ~ same veign, also sort of describes for many the incident of someone introducing you to the band, inviting you in with a knock or a call, or over a doob.

    The telephone ringing, handing it to Liz, she said it isn’t who it would be if it wasn’t who it is…
    ~Well, this can be very subjective, but it speaks to me about on one level or another having, again, someone invite you to the party and as the lyrics get a little nutty and twisted, begins to showcase the injection of psychedelic infancy to the experience.

    Meaningless excitement, smooth atonal sound, like a cross between a hurricane and a ship that’s run aground…
    ~ All sort of describing Phish’s music very much at face value, the unique and difficult-to-describe sound that this band produces.

    I found that after years of hearing this song, the imagery it induces has changed form a sort of band referential song (as Trey described at Coventry) to a song that has a much deeper meaning to my experience and again, I’m sure to many others.

    A shift that has been unlocked by the mere passing of time….

  21. sumodie Says:

    @gdad: I love hearing honest thoughts about Further from those who have seen them -sounds like you were right where you belonged on Saturday, that’s awesome

    I’m still conflicted about having passed on them

  22. neemor Says:

    Can’t wait for that Worcester Antelope, 3.0, sumo.
    All I can hope is that I’m surrounded by as many of you cats as we can fit in a row!

  23. sumodie Says:

    have spun a few 92-93 shows recently -seems like the secret language was used non-stop back then

  24. jdub Says:

    Didn’t mean to come across across harsh on Further in my post. Phil and Friends were my band for a long while. No Phish and was too young for Jerry. Have been so appreciative that Phil gave us youngins the opportunity to hear live GD music and experience what I had always heard about.

    @Gdad, those moments are what it is all about!

  25. neemor Says:

    Also, in a very real sense…
    The Mike’s Groove from Providence changed my viewpoint yet again, again.
    Solid Mike’s into the rare Sanity that was clearly designed to melt minds as a good Sanity should into one of the great (Rhode Island!) Weekapaug intros in modern times…this one had it all.
    What a great evening enhanced in a very large way by mind expansion that had been years in the making.
    What a great night that was, from top to bottom.

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