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. KfL Says:

    man, 12 hour day to welcome me back to the daily grind. rough.

    fuck weddings (first puff post)

  2. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yo kids. so. how strong are the watkin’s glen rumours????? i don’t care about the date, but is there going to be a FESTI there, if you guys had to bet on it?

  3. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “fuck weddings (first puff post)”


  4. KfL Says:

    congrats jdub, and good luck

    you deserve a good break

    if willowed’s suggestion is workable in any way, i’d say that’s the way to go. take the job but keep your shop open for side jobs and stuff you want to do. if that is possible

    that would be an insurance policy (if the job isn’t what you thought it was, you can go back to your shop full time)

    would be hard to take if you regretted closing your shop a couple years down the line

  5. butter Says:

    With ya Kaya on makisup

  6. willowed Says:

    I have no idea DF
    I have to say this though. No North East fest since the return but heavy on the North East shed shows.
    Maybe this summer we will see a bit more West Coast sheds with a reduction of east coast shows – but we get the Festi.
    I have no idea. Would be cool though.

    Our west coast brothers need some love. We need a festi. It’s a nice trade.

  7. Mr. Palmer Says:

    damn kfl! i never checked out your blog before. It is very well done. kudos. It’s even fairly rational, for a political blog. How often do you normally write?

  8. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    i’ll take that trade in a second @willowed

  9. willowed Says:

    I think I would too. My last festi was the festi we do not speak of.

    Then again, I’m not complaining…we have been very fortunate in the Nort East.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    if they do a 5 week nationwide tour, i doubt they play the states in August again.

  11. Robear Says:

    wow, directv is offering a free trial of NBA League Pass. Anyone know if Detroit still has a pro team?

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Detroit Shock

  13. KfL Says:

    thanks mr p. not that often…

    just ‘fairly’ rational? 😉

  14. sumodie Says:

    With a summer fest you can bet they won’t announce any more future dates till the fest is over…while frustrating, I see no reason that phish will announce two tour legs at once unless they don’t overlap/compete

  15. Robear Says:

    Kflizzle, your blog rocks, brotha’! I didn’t want to be the first to pile on the praise, so I guess I’ll be 2nd.

    thx. palmer

  16. KfL Says:

    ha thanks… not much more than random spouting off

    and sorry to hear about the poster ordeal robear… hope the kids are taking it alright

  17. willowed Says:

    Miner, If they start the summer on Memorial Day and end the first leg on 7/4 with a fest, you don’t think they could do a smaller leg 2 inAugust?

    Then again, I haven’t been following the rumor train that much. From what I’ve seen on here Memorial in Hampton would be the start right?

  18. willowed Says:

    Indiana Jones and the Crystal Sculls is a slap in the face to all the other Indiana Jones movies.

  19. sumodie Says:

    Me thinks a Memorial Day – July 4th run means no August dates -that’d be family vac time before school starts

    I’m sold on Watkins Glen on July 4th -older phish fans benefit from that 3-day weekend. The Mem weekend to Watkins Glen sounds like a smart tour plan -way to build the heat. Never miss a fest!

  20. sumodie 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.

    @jdub: so the new job would let you build for artistic/personal reasons? was that what you meant? Sounds like the new job offer may be worth pursuing…best of luck on all fronts -you deserve it

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    i’d tend to agree with you @Sumo…a five week tour could cover the whole country..Hampton > West Palm (so I hear), then I bet they go through the south out west, up the coast and back to Watkins Glen…very similar to Summer ’97’s VA beach > through south > up coast > Gorge > back to Limestone…

    …unless their family vacas are to Europe 😉

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    @willowed its possible, for sure…maybe the festi will be in August…who knows…

  23. plord Says:

    What’s up BB.

    We’re doing 2010 recaps? I had a good year:
    6/26 CMAC
    8/6 Greek
    8/7 Greek
    10/23 UMASS
    10/24 UMASS
    10/26 Manchester
    12/28 Woosta

    Two weekend/multi nighters; two one night guerilla runs, no hotel, with driving help (Manch and Woost, 100% worth the hassle); and one solo shot at CMAC in the middle of moving across the country. Lucky with my choices, for sure, only one real dud and (betting) 3 of Miner’s top 5 for tomorrow 🙂

  24. willowed Says:

    Willowed: Honey, I know we haven’t been on a vaction since we got married but I will be going to Europe this year with some friends.

    Mrs. Willowed: (pulls out knife inserts into willoweds temple) Europe my ass. (wipes blood off with a napkin)

    Mrs. Willowed: (Yells upstairs) Kid’s get in the car, we’re headed to Mexico.

  25. sumodie Says:

    Also digging into 2000 phish recently -though kp’s SBD project has seriously distracted me (just spun a sick Theme today, wowza)

    As for 9.9.00, I’ve ranted before about how much Michael Ray annoyed me -maybe I’ll recant upon first ever re-play

    Almost have all of Japan 2000 too (@voopa: 6.11 finally seeding, thanks to you?) -will post a complete set of active torrents soon

    So what show will be crowned king by Miner tomorrow?

Leave a Reply