Blowing Off Steam

6.4.11 -Blossom (Michael Stein)

Phish followed up their Friday night vision quest with a fire-filled, song-based affair that took a little while to truly get interesting. Until Phish debuted their newest song, “Steam,” as the third song of the second set, the band had played with precision and fire, but their song selection felt haphazard and the show had yet to elevate. But from his point on, however, the band flowed quite well for the he rest of the set and encore, crafting an engaging latter part of the night.

Official Blossom Print (DKNG)

The band began the second half with the now-elusive “Birds of a Feather,” and when it came off the shelf as a second-set opener amidst Summer 2011, many felt like we would be in for a ride. But as the band tore through standard “Birds” territory, an exploration wasn’t to be. Instead, Phish decided to drop the second, second-set “Possum” of this young tour, a decision that made a discernible bump in the flow of the show. The band, however, attacked “Possum” in a spunkier than usual outing which saw the band vocally toy with the song’s ending—one of several examples of light-hearted musical fun laced throughout the night. After “Possum,” it sounded like Trey might rev up “Seven Below,” but instead the band debuted “Steam”—a soon to be crowd favorite—in the middle of the set. A song whose lyrical verses climax with the word—and musical imitation of—steam, immediately jumped off the stage. An sparse and infectious groove that sounds like it could be a Little Feat outtake from “Waiting For Columbus,” Phish’s newest tune moves at a menacing pace and could become a centerpiece jam before the summer is out. Highly danceable and with a chunky bass pattern and interesting lyrics, the band hit a winner with “Steam’s” debut, and as the song dripped into “Piper,” Phish crafted in the first cohesive musical combo of the night.

6.4.11 (M.Stein)

When “Piper” launched, the band only briefly remained at a breakneck pace before veering away from conventional realms and into a melodic, whole-band ambient jam. It was a pleasure to see “Piper” move away from its routine, high-octane path and into something more experimental and patient. Using this jam to weave an artistic segue into “Lizards,” Phish took out the “Gamehendge” piece for the first time of the summer. But the atomic bomb of the night came next, out of left field, in the form of “Sneaking Sally.” Following the song’s vocal jam, Phish turned this version into an exercise in hyper-funk as Mike and Fish held down a tight pocket for Page, and especially Trey, to go ballistic. Weaving together crack-like lines, Trey and Page strutted out front in this four-part conversation that soon transcended the cover into an all-out throwdown. After the band touched on “Manteca’s” textures briefly, Trey began to play effected and “delayed” notes, signifying that things were about to get far more abstract. Building the jam with dissonance and effects, the band was soon amidst a grungy experiment with Fish holding down the rhythm behind the bubbling psychedelic brew. Growing in scope of sound, the band then left the groove behind for a beatless, extra-terrestrial plane that was broken with the opening dumroll to “Harry Hood.”

6.4.11 (M.Stein)

As the band flowed naturally through the opening part of the jam and were navigating gorgeous version of the classic song, Trey decided they were going to play “Have Mercy,” and pushed the band into a quasi-forced transition. My mind immediately shot back to Utica, thinking what it might sound like to hear the band jam “Have Mercy” back into “Hood,” but it wasn’t to be. As they finished the song, the band collectively dissolved right back into “Hood”—an interlude seemingly executed for setlist purposes more than natural jamming. But in the final stages of “Hood,” Trey wove in sublime “Have Mercy” lines to his melodic climb as he and the band played through an intricate final section and peak of the jam.

Phish finalized the night with a crunching “Character Zero” to close the set and a particularly delicate “Slave” that made rare encore appearance. Beginning with “Steam,” the band turned on their creative juices just in time to avoid another night of pure safety, and when they did—like most everything they attempt these days—they succeeded. Coming off a show so heavily-drenched in cosmic improv in Detroit, this one carried the feeling of a well-played Phish concert rather than a journey into center of the earth. But as Cincy awaits, something tells me Sunday night might be a different story…see you in a few hours….

First Set Notes: The opening frame saw several songs taken off the shelf for the first time this tour, including the first rendition of Little Feat’s “Rocket in My Pocket” since Atlantic City’s Halloween extravaganza. The song was played a part of an Americana-based triumvirate with “Ocelot” and “Back on the Train.” The grooves came out a bit in return to Page’s house in “Tube” and a legitimate “Antelope” to punctuate the set. But all in all, the first stanza, though tight, fun and played with the quality of the band’s current chops, amounted to a bunch songs that carried little flow or cohesion.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Guyute, Fuck Your Face, Foam, Ocelot, Rocket in My Pocket, Back on the Train, Guelah Papyrus, Tube, Run Like an Antelope

II: Birds of a Feather, Possum, Steam* > Piper -> The Lizards, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley > Harry Hood -> Have Mercy -> Harry Hood, Character Zero

E: Slave to the Traffic Light



615 Responses to “Blowing Off Steam”

  1. Monsterpus Says:

    Dude, I’d like to hear a Halfway to the Moon>Steam combo

  2. butter Says:

    sumodie – i dont see that “download helper” for firefox, helping on vimeo?

    works with youtube no prob

  3. Monsterpus Says:

    Yep, it’s true

  4. butter Says:

    Miner thanks dude 😉

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    I had only planned to soon the disease, but I can’t stop now.

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    taking w a x out of the vernacular is one thing but i don’t think i’d be able to go without typing ‘dude’ ha

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    lookout cleveland (or wherever the hell i am right now)

  8. Robear Says:

    On location. Beautiful day and venue. Need printies for pavilion at Ww. Lawn looks to have pinner soundsystem.

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    what side you on tonight robear?

  10. butter Says:

    have a great show tonite, all

    and go fuck your face, you fluffers 😉

  11. voopa Says:

    Butter- you may have to let the video load for a bit before the DLH icon is available, esp. W/ a slower connection.

  12. [Not Tom] Marshall Says:

    Robear – will you be at the Alpharetta shows this year?

  13. butter Says:

    so your saying it works with firefox’s dl helper, voops?

    there is and icon that turns colors and rotates when your on a website it can help you with

    nada happens on vimeo

    help porfavor

  14. kayatosh Says:

    great slave (6.4) $$+.

  15. Robear Says:

    No Tom. Enjoy.

    dF, we are behind the lawn. Cactus Zone.

  16. sumodie Says:


    “Download Youtube videos +”

    The add-on installs a button (that looks like a moving film strip) at the top of the Firefox browser, just to the right of the “home” button

    For the video I want to dl, I hit Play to start it

    while the video plays, I click on the film strip button, which should reveal the name of the video currently playing. I click on the name of the video and the add-on begins dl’ing it

    (btw, the video will be dl’ed much faster than it takes the video to play)

    that’s really all I do -once the video clip is dl’ed I can drop it into iTunes or wherever

  17. sumodie Says:

    I dl videos on home laptop -not on my phone. PC system

  18. kayatosh Says:

    revisiting 5.31 sand. love the little extra sumpin fishman puts into the beat at the outset.

  19. kayatosh Says:

    may have to get a sbd of the 5.31 show. not entirely satisfied by the audience tape available.

  20. butter Says:

    sumodie – i have it working with youtube, but the livephish plays with vimeo

  21. kayatosh Says:

    any spare 5.31 dl codes?

  22. Foul_Domain Says:

    Possum up on vimeo

  23. butter Says:

    sumodie – THANKS GOT IT

  24. sumodie Says:

    There is zero debate this disease is best jam of 3.0, right?

    Talk about touring the cosmos! Perfect! Landing! In! Fluffhead!

    Dunno if A Love Disease is the best jam. I think it’s got some tough competition. But Fluff is the perfect landing

    and A Love Disease>Fluff>Bowie is likely the best sequence

    Sally still has me under her thumb, so my jam perspective is all funked up

  25. butter Says:

    just had to hit play, and the film strip colored up, and started moving. with youtube, it started moving right when i went to the site. also it didn’t work for me clicking from the livephish page were it opens the movie in a new window.

    anyway, very easy, thanks again.

    so stoked, this is huge

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