The Top Ten of 2010: Part I

Everyone has their own favorites, but here are my Top Ten shows of 2010 in a two-part series. To craft the list, I looked at shows as two-set entities, favoring full nights with quality playing throughout, rather than ones with only one great set or one to-die-for jam. A list of the best single sets of 2010 might look quite different, but for this exercise, I looked at shows holistically. Today, I unveil at the top half of the bracket.


10. 6.11.2010 Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois

6.11.10 (S.LaBrasca)

Fresh off of their practice sessions at UIC pavilion, Phish came out well-oiled and demolished their opening show of 2010. Blazing through two sets packed with improvisation, Phish brought the heat in ungodly temperatures back in June in Chicago. “Light > Maze, Ghost > Limb” provided the opening sequence of the second set and the meat of the show. Each piece featured a unique jam, and “Ghost” would hold up as a tour highlight. The band never lost momentum throughout the night, crafting an entire show of high powered music to kick off the year. Capping a fluid second set with “Antelope” and the debut of “Show of Life,” things were blissful in Phishville after the first show of the summer.

I: Down with Disease, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum, Boogie On Reggae Woman,Reba, Jesus Just Left Chicago, The Divided Sky, Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie

II: Light > Maze, Ghost > Limb By Limb > Prince Caspian > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope, Show of Life*

E: Cavern, Julius   *debut


9. 6.27.2010 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

Merriweather’s second show represented the peak of Phish’s most impressive weekend of Leg I. Completing a four-night stand that started in Camden, the band punctuated their Mid-Atlantic run with a thematic second set. Responding to a sign for “Saw It Again,” Trey chopped into the song amidst the liquid funk of “Meatstick,” and initiated a wild second set in which the band wove lyrical teases of “Saw It Again” in each subsequent song, capping the night with the the unforgettable—”Boy. Man. I Saw It Again!” And smack dab in the middle of this musical trickery was a centerpiece of “Piper,” one of the outstanding excursions of June. Throw in a rocking jaunt of “Ghost > Jumping Jack Flash” and solid first set, and you’ve got yourself a nice little Phish show.

I: Walfredo, Mellow Mood, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Tela, My Soul, Ginseng Sullivan, Sample in a Jar, Bathtub Gin, Brian and Robert, Run Like an Antelope

II: Wilson, Meatstick > Saw It Again > Piper > Ghost > Jumpin’ Jack Flash > Saw It Again, Contact, You Enjoy Myself

E: Fire


8. 8.17.2010 Jones Beach, Wantagh, New York

Jones Beach 2010 (M.Ladd)

This show is a dark-horse of 2010. It’s never talked about much but it musically delivered. Coming off Alpine Valley’s summer showcase, the first night in Jones Beach carried the same energy, precision, and exploratory jamming as the previous two in the Midwest. Following a hit—and improv-filled—opening frame, Phish came out and blew down the house with a combination of musical theatrics in the second. Oozing into things with the retro combination of “Lengthwise > Maze,” the band set the table for a non-stop run through the rest of the set. Launching from “Halley’s” into “Mike’s,” this typical summer ’10 “Groove” was packed with action. Following a quasi-ambient outro of “Simple,” the band sculpted the one of the jams of the season in a pioneering “Backwards Down the Number Line.” Impressive versions of “Caspian” and “Rock and Roll” came wrapped in the monster-sandwich before a smoking “Weekapaug” topped things off. You may not recall this show as one of the best of the year, but go back, check it out, and think again.

I: Fluffhead, Kill Devil Falls, Cities, Funky Bitch, Wilson, Reba, Walk Away,Wolfman’s Brother, Possum

II: Lengthwise > Maze, Halley’s Comet > Mike’s Song > Simple > Backwards Down the Number Line > Prince Caspian > Rock and Roll > Weekapaug Groove,Loving Cup

E: Show of Life, Golgi Apparatus


7. 12.31.2010 Madison Square Garden, New York City

12.31 - (R.Gilberte)

The second set of New Year’s Eve is the musical treasure of this three-set show, and the central reason that it broke the top ten. Nobody can’t deny one of the year’s most scintillating frames of music on the biggest night of the year. And the entire stanza was centered around a sublime “Ghost” that quickly transformed into one of the defining jams of this era. Considering Phish shows as full experiences, the third-set Meatstick Extravaganza was as grand as any. With over fifty choreographed dancers on stage representing countries from around the world, Phish sailed through Madison Square Garden on their Hot Dog of lore, bringing back several New Year’s traditions at once, while ringing in the new year. A ripping “After Midnight” and a gorgeous “Slave” provided celebratory bookends to the succinct third set.

I: Punch You In the Eye, AC/DC Bag, The Moma Dance, Scent of a Mule, Burn That Bridge*, Weigh, Ocelot, Beauty of My Dreams, Gone, Rock and Roll

II: Wilson, 46 Days, Sand, NICU, Down with Disease > Ghost, You Enjoy Myself > Manteca > You Enjoy Myself

III: Meatstick, Auld Lang Syne, After Midnight, Backwards Down the Number Line, Piper > Free, Waste, Slave to the Traffic Light, Grind

E: First Tube


6. 10.16.2010 North Charleston Coliseum, South Carolina

Charleston Poster

This show kicked Phish into overdrive for fall tour and they never looked back. Featuring an entire night of top-notch playing, one can point to the  first set “Sand” as the turning point of the tour. The band stacked the opening frame with the first “Curtain (With)” of the year, “Sneakin’ Sally,” “Pebbles and Marbles” and “David Bowie,” building a considerable head of steam by setbreak. Taking this momentum into a flawless and flowing second set that began with a multi-dimensional “Crosseyed and Painless,” and ended with the eye-popping sequence of “2001 > Tweezer > Show of Life > YEM,” Phish scripted a seamless tale of wizardry in South Carolina.

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

Stay tuned tomorrow for my top five shows of 2010…


Jam of the Day:

Crosseyed and Painless” 10.16.2010 II

A selection from the number six show on the list.




9.9.2000 “The Knick,” Albany, New York

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

Micahel Ray

This reader request goes out to “Big” Nate who “witnessed the best version of Maze [he] ever saw in Albany” that night. Also recognizing that “this show is probably best known for Michael Ray’s guest appearing in the second set, but the whole show is quite solid.” I’m with you on that assessment Nate, so here you go.

I: Possum, My Friend, My Friend > Jam > Gumbo, Maze, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Roggae, Guyute, Run Like an Antelope

II: Gotta Jibboo, The Curtain > Sand*, Makisupa Policeman*, Cars Trucks Buses*, Funky Bitch*, Cavern

E: Harry Hood*

* w/ Michael Ray on trumpet

Source: B&K 4011 > Lunatec v2 > Apogee AD-500 > DA-P1


549 Responses to “The Top Ten of 2010: Part I”

  1. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    utica = inarguably the best show from start to finish IMO

    i think augusta is going to be in the top 5

  2. Henry Says:

    repost from bottom:

    Can someone explain to me the differences between the mp3 download of 6/27 I purchased back in June and the new, 13 dollar remaster on iTunes soundwise? Is it as good as upgrading to lossless?

  3. Robear Says:

    yeah, my daughter worked out to ’11. ’00+11

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    lossless = good

    mp3 = bad

  5. butter Says:

    Utica is my #1

  6. Henry Says:

    I know that, I’m just wondering where the new remasters on iTunes fall on that scale

  7. angryjoggerz Says:

    Utica is my #1 as well, and I wasn’t there.

  8. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Henry- Main difference is that Kevorkian remastered by multitracking them down. HT has some samples up:

  9. butter Says:

    They’ve got us right were they want us, let’s keep buying the same show as they keep making it sound better

  10. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Butter- No doubt. I’m ready for them to kick the archive door open and start unleashing some older stuff. I think Miner hit the nail on the head recently- retirement $$$. They know we’ll pay for Hampton ’97 (for example) whenever and wherever they decide to drop it.

    AJ- Thanks for loading up your mediafire. I’ve been tapping into it lately. Pulled Live Evil and that MBV EP. I’m gonna set one up someday when I have a few minutes.

    This Albany show with Michael Ray was a good time from what I remember.


  11. sumodie Says:

    Does iTunes even sell lossless?

    Looks like the Leg 2 remasters will be available on Feb 1 (according to Amazon)

  12. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Utica is my #1 by kind of a considerable margin. Also not there.

    @vw, if you aren’t officially gone

    Pulled that Scofield album last night. Awesome stuff, thanks for the rec.

  13. sumodie Says:

    @lycan: 1995 is right! Theme From the Bottom (6-7-95 Boise St Univ Pavillion – Boise, ID)

    The Spock’s Brain that follows is also pretty cool:

    ….from the kp Leaked SBD Project

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh that Theme pulled me into a wormhole while reading the Stand. It was pretty wild.

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    does anyone have the radio city ghost in FLAC?

  16. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    broken social scene live stream. imagine phish playing this venue

  17. ChefBradford Says:

    thanks for that link, @DF. I enjoy BSS, but don’t keep up with them enough

  18. plord Says:

    I guess it’s officially leaked now. Rolling Stone has a blurb about the next GD box: 60 discs with the entire Europe ’72 tour. Every note, remastered from the (as Lemieux calls them) “pristine 16 track masters” over a 2 year period. Late summer release, I reckon.

    I’m all over that like a self-referential metaphor.

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    holy shit no fucking way plord

  20. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  21. plord Says:

    From, quoting the Feb 3. edition of Rolling Stone, page 22.

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    link fail?

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    nvmd, got it, thanks

  24. plord Says:

    Also noted in this brief excerpt: a comment from Lemieux that other complete tours might deserve this treatment, like Spring 1990 (meh) and Fall ’73 (OH SWEET JESUS YES).

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