TTFT: The Season of the Whale—June 2010

6.26.10 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

We last left our modern-era audio retrospective after wrapping up the comeback year of 2009 in Miami. This week, let’s take a look back at the the year that was 2010. After six long months off—a time filled with promise—Phish came back at Toyota Park in Chicago, kicking off Leg One of summer with a blistering two-set effort amidst sweltering heat. Coming off a practice session at UIC Pavilion, the band’s beginning-of-tour momentum carried through Blossom and Hershey Park as they opened up the run with three of its stronger shows. The following weekend featured two nights in Hartford and two in SPAC, before the band hit an improvisational breakthrough at Camden and Merriweather with jams such as 6.25’s “Chalk Dust,” 6.26’s “Rock and Roll,” and 6.27’s “Piper.” After popping north to Canandaigua, the band finished out the tour with four shows down south, each featuring flashes of greatness, but little whole show consistency.

This tour was also the month that Trey favored his whammy pedal for pitch bending, a technique affectionately (or not) nicknamed “The Whale.” Many fans lamented this more mimialist playing by Trey, but by laying back, Trey allowed Page, and specifically, Mike to step up and lead jams like never before. When Trey got finally debuted “The Ocedoc” and a more fiery style of play at The Greek, a new improvisational dynamic had emerged over Leg One that allowed the band to communicate on a more democratic level. Phish threw down many great jams during this month, and today’s playlist represent ten of my favorite in chronological order.


Ghost” 6.11, Bridgeview, IL

The improvisatioonal centrepiece of a big-time second set that opened tour with a bang.



Number Line” 6.12 II, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

One night later, this jam topped Chicago’s “Ghost,” showcasing a single-mindedness rarely seen in 2009.



Disease -> Sand” 6.17 II, Hartford, CT

An intense throwdown on night one in Hartford.



Rock and Roll > Free” 6.19 II, S.Springs, NY

This “Rock and Roll” set up the following weekend’s tour highlight version. This one from SPAC, however, ain’t too shabby either.



Drowned > Swept > Steep” 6.20, II S.Springs, NY

This sequence provided the meat of SPAC’s second performance.



Chalk Dust > Caspian” 6.25 II, Camden, NJ

Phish hadn’t dropped a jam like this all summer long. It felt like a monumental breakthrough at the time, and it still holds up just fine.



Rock and Roll > Free” 6.26 II, Columbia, MD

Right up there with the best jams of tour; a gorgeous piece of improvisation. This comes from the Saturday night of tour’s peak weekend.



Piper” 6.27 II, Columbia, MD

Amidst a thematic second set strewn with allusions to “Saw It Again,” Phish dropped the gnarliest “Piper” of the era up to that point.



Light” 7.1 II, Raleigh, NC

This was the top version from a tour in which “Light” became Phish’s preeminent jam vehicle.



Tweezer -> Slave” 7.3 II, Alpharetta, GA

Believe it or not, this was the first time that “Tweezer” and “Slave” had been paired in the band’s career—and it made for a no-brainer tour highlight.




The latest from Robert Champion of The Sloping Companion:

The Philler by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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320 Responses to “TTFT: The Season of the Whale—June 2010”

  1. kenny powers Says:

    now going Cypress Xeyed

  2. butter Says:

    dancing > smokestack?? or new speedway boogie??

  3. butter Says:

    might as well explore the jam before committing to a song ….Loose Lucy

  4. kenny powers Says:



    sneaking sally

  5. butter Says:

    loose lucy was too jammy

    1/2 step with the tea leaf green guy singin?

  6. butter Says:

    streamin this:

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ just checked that. wow. that sucks 😉

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    I pray to god there isn’t Trey and Friends or Mike and Friends trying to pull this in 20 years!

  9. butter Says:

    the too – delo bar band

  10. Gavinsdad Says:

    Leo W good to see you around here Dad!

  11. butter Says:

    loose lucy reprise jam > truckin

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Oh Miner, it cannot be that bad.

    Oh wait, yes it can…


  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    hey hey gdad. I lurk a lot these days, but have my hands pretty full with the kiddo and work (which has been busy this year). had baby girl on my shoulder when I typed abt having the AC wings. she had her first full night sleep last night, hoping we get another tonight.

    Gonna be good to see you boys on the Jersey Shore.

  14. butter Says:


    i’m out – peace all

  15. butter Says:

    nice Whale Calls today Miner 😉

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    was there anythign good from this webcast? Or is this typical?

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    Sleep when they sleep @leo. Sounds great. Glad to hear about your moms too. 🙂 looking forward to seeing u in the field in AC.

  18. garretc Says:

    Oh word?!?!

    Dortmund heading to the German Cup final after a game winning goal at 119 minutes 45 seconds into the match!

    (Also known as 15 seconds before the end of extra time, for the soccer illiterate)

    And I still get to watch todays AC Milan-Juve match sometime tomorrow… Embarrassment of football riches this week.

  19. tba Says:

    won’t barcelona game be live, first time i saw messi was last spring on sport schannel live i think or the spring before, had no idea who he was, and he scored 4 goals, was mesmerized, anyway now I’m stoked for the soccer playoffs.. have not liked soccer so much since beckenbower and soccer made in germany on ch 44 in boston, christ I’m an old f###

  20. Scott Says:

    The Monkey from Hartford was a special moment in that building as well. The crowd only singing portion was so loud and heartfelt that it stands out as a great moment of the tour to me.

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