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. lastwaltzer Says:

    “10/30 was Phish Rock and Roll fun.

    The execution was another story.”dude

    I agree.

    Like spasm said the wolfmans>undermind, gin and cdt were soild as was the 2001>bowie but the rest of the show has me saying meh,.

  2. lastwaltzer Says:

    “10/30 was Phish Rock and Roll fun.

    The execution was another story.”dude

    I agree.

    Like spasm said the wolfmans>undermind, gin and cdt were soild as was the 2001>bowie but the rest of the show has me saying meh,.

  3. lastwaltzer Says:

    Just out of curiosty, what shows did everyone hit? I wonder which show (outside of new years and halloween) had the most boarders in the house.

    I hit:
    Camden 2
    Deer Creek 1 & 2

  4. willowed Says:

    Great Read Miner
    I have some dark stories about this Albany weekend. What a great time:
    The night before. 9/8/200

    I am sure some of you have heard my story about this Albany show. This was the infamous show in which me and my buddy almost crossed over to the “insane”. We took this liquid that turned our brains inside out.
    Leaving the show we couldn’t really see or speak so we just followed people’s footsteps towards the light (the exits). Once we got outside it was like a 100 lb brick hit us in the face (the air. the lights, the noise).

    We ended up sitting on the street curb for 3 hours or so motionless. No clue where the car was or who we were. The time came for us to walk around so we wondered aimlessly thru downtown Albany. What do you know, we stumbled across the 1985 Celica GT (The Wonton as we called it) my car.

    Jumped on the highway and zipped off to the hotel. On the highway my buddy says, you’re going pretty slow, I was driving 30mph, cars wizzing by me like the Milenium Falcon (sp?). Found the exit to the hotel, couldn’t find the hotel though. Pulled into a gas station, asked the attendant if he knew where the hotel was. It was right next door.
    What a night!
    This DLOD show was the next night. I was in pain.

  5. BTB Says:

    Still amazed the first show of 2010 was so solid (Chicago)

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    When I think of epic CDT’s I think Camden 7/10/99…

    Or if we’re talkin Phish R&R fun I’m thinking’ DC ’00

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    Deer Creek 1 & 2
    Charleston 1 & 2

  8. lastwaltzer Says:


    there have been some monster cdts but the 10/30 did have that smooth segue into whole lotta love.

    Obliviously the camden one will be the one thats remembered from this year.

  9. Jerz Says:

    The Albany sand w horns was one of my favorite jams I’ve ever caught live. It is plane old nasty

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    I hear ya’ LW

  11. lastwaltzer Says:


    I agree that show led to most of leg 1 being a bit of a let down. Shit was hot. That first set definitely deserves some respect as well. The show was definitely the best of the whale.

  12. lastwaltzer Says:


    you got any good shows coming up?

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    Robert Plant and Leo Kottke are coming to Charlotte…

    The Duderino’s and the Weavers may be going to Asheville here in a couple of weeks for a 2 day getaway. Would like to see something while we’re there.

  14. EL Duderino Says:

    I want to go to the Columbus TAB show with Tela’s and Luther T. Justice but that’s kinda a pipe dream

  15. tela'smuff Says:

    nice list Miner. SC2 indeed was the turning point. you pointed out all the highlights, of which there were many. Pebbles is the darkhorse of that first set.

    Deer Creek 2 is one i need to go back and revist because at the time i thought it was really a great show.

  16. lastwaltzer Says:

    Nice, I really would like to see kottke but he’s only been playing old town latley and almost every time their members buy the house before the public on sale.

    We’ve got the flatlanders and scofeild. Just found out my buddy is opening for george clinton so were hitting that, although will say that george was the worst show I’ve ever seen last time 😉

  17. lastwaltzer Says:


    don’t get me wrong I liked deer creek 2, but I thought the first nights second set was better and the second nights first set was better :). Regardless that was a great weekend.

    The drowned from night one still gets tons of play at my place.

  18. HarryHood Says:

    @ Sumodie

    You were the first person I thought of when BTB said pics of me were floating around! I’m thinking to myself, “That damn Sumodie……..” llfa.

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    Clinton is not my bag so I don’t blame you for saying it was the worst.

    I love the OTSOFM. Seen many Hot tuna shows there, Peter Rowan and Tony rice several times. The Del McCoury Band several times. I really like the vibe there, and the staff are very friendly.

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    DC ’10…

    Pretty successful I thought.
    We got 3 out of 4 sets that were really good.
    Set: I Night 1 was the worst 3.0 set thus far IMO

  21. HarryHood Says:

    @ Willowed

    Last time my brain got turned inside out it had nothing to do with L. Instead, it involved two double jointed women, a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and a Slinky. Seriously, think about it.

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    Caught Doc Watson at the OTSOFM as well

  23. lastwaltzer Says:


    Old town is my spot these days, no place I’d rather see a show. Good beer, great sound, relaxed atmosphere. Saw Peter Rowan with AW and SW last year.

    Doc would have been great, I wish he’d come to chicago but I hear he’s not doing so well these days. I saw him at the Newport folk festival a few years ago and he still put on a great set.

  24. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Spasm’s 2010

    JB 1
    JB 2
    AC 10/30
    Worcester 2
    MSG 3

  25. tela'smuff Says:

    @LW – the second set and encore of night one was the best of DC ’10, but that first set was so awful, that I had some work to do to shift my attitude. not to mention, the heat took me down a notch after basking in the cool mountain air of Telluride for 4 days.

    DC2 had a really fun first set, and the second had some decent exploration, good energy, hot Maze, and one of the best Slaves I’ve personally seen. This version is somehow forgotten in “best of ’10” discussions.

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