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. willowed Says:

    And Gdad made a great comment to AW a few pages back. It got a little unnoticed. In regards to an RV

    When Watkins drops…what North East BB’rs are going in on a Winny (Winnebego (sp?)) with me?

    Let’s go in style.

    Please…no wooks.

  2. jdub Says:

    Oh man Willowed, if your wife ever saw that post… A lot of CT bachelors would be chomping at the bit.

  3. jdub Says:

    Been pushing hard for a family RV trip to the Glen. Kick it grown up style in the family lot. It is the only way I can consciously slip away for 4 days of Phish this summer. Plus my son and daughter would have a blast, my wife is the big question mark.

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    well my cousin has a wedding booked halloween weekend now. FML

  5. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    better be a muthafuckin festi at watkin’s glen anytime this summer

  6. willowed Says:

    jdub..if she saw that she would kick my ass. she is a tough son of a gun.

    On another note. I was on the treadmill spinning the 1/1 set 2. This Twist is one dirty jam. There is so much smooth conversation going on. It must be discussed as a top 5 jam of 2010.
    I know we reserve top jams for “outside the box” type jams but this truly is a modern marvel.
    I nominate Twist for top 5 status of 2010…shit, I mean 2011.

  7. willowed Says:

    Family RV Festi
    I have thrown that I my wife too jdub. She would never do it.

    I think I am cool with it. I tend to use Phish to free myself from the other things. I feel the kiddos would add a small layer of stress for me. Even though it would add a huge layer of hapiness too.

    This is me speaking for me only. I dig the family vibe at Phish. Just want to make that clear.

    I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a bad dad. I feel I am pretty kick ass in that department.

  8. albert walker Says:

    agreed 100% Willow

    I don’t hear type I or type II

    just a sick ass jam. top shelf status in my book.

  9. jdub Says:

    My problem right here is my work is way too consuming. Often spend weekends in the shop, minimal vacation (of which is spent on Phish recently). Family time for me is limited. And my son has taken a keen interest in this thing called Phish. Started drum lessons, requests Phish videos, and emphatically announces Jon “Fisherman” when he sees him on the videos. What I have I done?

    Kind of big news on my job front though. I have been offered a nice job that I would call cushy. Kind of torn with the thought of shutting down my business. But it would give me much more stress free family time.

  10. willowed Says:

    The more I spin it the more I fall in love with it.

    So patient, so crisp.

  11. Robear Says:


    Type O (the letter, not zero)

    isn’t that the blood type that fits with all blood types?

  12. jdub Says:

    The whole New Years run is filled with high quality contained jamming. 1/1/11 set 2 sums up the run beautifully.

  13. willowed Says:

    Jdub…take the job and have your shop for side work and personal fullfillment.

    Just my thoughts.

    I spent 9 years working 12 hour days. Never saw the family. I changed careers and have so much more time to play with. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
    Relationships have grown by leaps and bounds

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    make-a the donuts

  15. BingosBrother Says:

    “I nominate Twist for top 5 status of 2010…shit, I mean 2011.”

    I’m down with that. Used to dislike twist. No more. Twist it up.

  16. jdub Says:

    Exactly what my ideal plan is Willowed. I want to build things for pure artistic/personal use reasons. Tired of slaving in a shop for nickel and dimers.

  17. kayatosh Says:

    1.1.2011 makisupa — so good, even those who dismiss the tune as filler must take notice. dubbed out $$$. had to spin it before reporting for bedtime duty.

  18. BingosBrother Says:

    “the few people i know who were always adamant about not joining Facebook, and who i picked on for being paranoid and nonconformist….they look really smart now.”

    Why am I smart KP?

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    While listening at home, I dubbed that the Hungover Makisupa. Zoned out on that one, in a good way.

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sounds like a good deal @ Jdub. Always nice to have options.

  21. jdub Says: makes one wonder… Will our whole lives become public info? Can we police this crap without infringing on freedom of information? Kind of scary. This site offers info that I would never give out, like the details of my home. Fucked up shit.

    On that note, family time.

  22. jdub Says:

    I feel fortunate @Palmer. The job market is incredibly tough and this literally fell in my lap.

  23. halcyon Says:

    Good Evening Everyone.

    Read back a few pages and noted the lit. talk. If anyone is interested in White Jazz by James Ellroy, I will pass along my copy to you. Email me if interested.

    I was talking with my slf about summer plans and we are planning on being east in July. We are hitting up Greyfox Bluegrass, and I mentioned to her that July 4th at Watkins Glen is an option. Not too sure how we will swing it, but hoping this comes to fruition.

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    Watkins Glen, here I come. Wife can use this while I’m gone.

  25. Mdawg Says:

    Gordon has some sick dance moves in that tour announcement video.


Leave a Reply