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. SOAM Says:

    becasue you know the brothers have never touched that 93-94 Betts -Warren sound…Betts’ voice and guitar are half thebrothers appeal and everything they have done since he has left is half assed…sorry there Derek your pretty good but you aint Dickey “the wifebeater” Betts

  2. butter Says:

    never seen Snoop, not a fan of hip-hop live either for the most part

    when you get a 1 hour set and an f u on the way out, kinda hard to swallow with the concerts were used to

    Snoop has some James Brown antics and performer shit, going to give him a shot

  3. Chuck SWE Says:

    just seeing snoops bling’d microphone is worth the price of admission…

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    I agree, Dicky is the ABB just as much as Gregg is.
    Dicky Betts invented that Southern Rock Major Pentatonic sound plain and simple, and there lies the originality, but Derek Trucks is miles ahead as far as the “player” deal goes. Warren is miles ahead of Dicky

  5. neemor Says:

    Tough undertaking, Miner…well done.
    Some good points to consider along the way and more to come, I’m sure.
    You’re sure to raise a few hackles with this one, intended or not.

    The 9.9.00 was one of the most surreal I can recall, based largely on the venue and it’s darkness (to me) and the crazy Ray romp through the second set, this two night run to kick off that Fall’s Tour was one for the books.

  6. YborCity Says:

    I dig the list Miner; those are all shows I would’ve picked.

    I’m in the midst of the Exile set for the first time in a long while, and the Ventilator Blues > I Just Wanna See His Face > Let it Loose segment is fucking awesome. I grew up listening to the album, and that segment was always my favorite; it’s so raw and psychedelic, and then the blissful melody of Let it Loose always seemed to cap things off perfectly for me. But for whatever reason, the first couple times I listened to Phish’s version I was never as impressed. This shit’s blowing my mind right now. Great execution and emotion throughout. Page nails the vocals in Let it Loose FTW.

  7. neemor Says:

    Looking back, I recall why the Knick seemed so dark that run….
    A few moments made all the difference, despite being with good friends for these two:
    Fish on vacuum for the Gin on 9.8 was crazy.
    The MYMY>Jam was unnerving and spun me for the entirety of that show.

    Phish could get to some really dark places then.

  8. Kaveh Says:

    If Dicky Betts is going to join ABB for Watkins Glen

    ^ That would be a great one to witness…there will be some old-school magic going on; and songs that don’t get played these days would probably get a dusting off the shelf.

  9. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    yea ive been on a fall 2000 kick lately, thanks to miner posting that 9.27 piper the other day.

    miners picks fall 2k = gnarly bones jones.

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    Next thing you know they’ll be saying the remaining members of the Band are performing together as well…

  11. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i heard they were planning to reanimate the corpse of jerry for Watkins Glen 2: Montezuma’s Revenge

  12. phoammhead Says:

    a buddy of mine just said that JamOnRadio said sources say Phish at Watkins Glen July 4

    IT’s ON!!! 😀

  13. YborCity Says:

    The Vegas DVD was one of the main things that got me into the band, which is odd looking back because it’s not necessarily the greatest show in context with the tour or their career. Fall 2000 has always held a special place for me because of that show/DVD.

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    You would think the Watkins Glen Anniversary show would be next year ’12
    to make it 40 years not 39????

  15. phoammhead Says:

    ^strike while the iron’s hot and watkins glen lost nascar race for this year

  16. phoammhead Says:

    ^on july 4

  17. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    when i was little my mom told me that her and my dad wanted to go to watkins glen but my grandma (on her side) told her she couldnt. my mom was always a goody good girl but she wanted to go so badly that she just went anyway without telling her mom.

    good luck trying to keep me from watkins glen this year mom. HA

  18. EL Duderino Says:


  19. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “i heard they were planning to reanimate the corpse of jerry for Watkins Glen 2: Montezuma’s Revenge”

    I heard he will be riding in with Bill Graham on the back of a Wooly Mammoth!

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    Yep I heard that too

  21. albert walker Says:

    I’m already wavering on my no east coast festival decision and it hasn’t even been announced yet.

    No self control.

  22. phoammhead Says:

    you’ll be there @aw

  23. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    aw – youre just thinking of it the wrong way. letting yourself come to a NE festival IS self control. i personally will control myself very carefully to make sure i get to that festival hah

  24. phoammhead Says:

    i kinda hope phish does a multi-band festi – could make it even more interesting . . .

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    my girl’s dad might be getting married over the 4th of July.

    there was never a jedi master that could manage that.

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