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

Tags: , , ,

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

  1. tzara's Says:

    Good evening, just checking out Miner’s tunes today. Haven’t checked out that Ghost in a while, that’s great. Practicing for the MSGhost. Blossom #line even better, and then just finished up Camden ‘Dust, which to me is best of the three, love that shit.

    Another note, I was only listening to SBD’s when this stuff was happening, but these AUDs probably sound at least as good or better. Shouldn’t be such a SBD snob.

    How’s your evening @KP? Sounds like I got some catching up to do, but I got some Lagunitas Maximus Imperial IPA, and a 3 hour time lag, so look out.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    AJ- nothing beats NYC women when the spring time comes. I was there for a bit myself today. Where are you staying?

    Should have hit the ABB tonight. They are covering Live at the Fillmore tonight… shit!

  3. sumodie Says:

    Thanks to whomever brought up the JB’10 Numberline recently -what a ride!

    Had such a blast at my first ever JB visit in 2010 -raged it hard in the Standing Room Only section, Fishman side over the water. Look for those ‘seats’ to be sold during one of the re-re’s. Highly recommend spot even tho you’re not in between the stacks -just a big triangular open dance floor.

    Also spun the SPAC’09 Numberline -it didn’t really grab me this time tho the sound qual was somewhat lacking

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Sumo- plus you get to chill with the family of ducks during Reba..

  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    Damn, that would have been fun. I’m right near Lincoln Center.

  6. sumodie Says:

    ElJefe, the title track to Lucifer Rising is spacey, dark, brooding -the kind of music to spin late at night when you want it weird. Haven’t heard the other tracks

  7. ElJefe Says:

    Tzara- you heading to Galactic this Friday?

  8. tzara's Says:

    Shit that’s this Friday? Where at? Probably can’t pull it off, since I’m heading to the showbox for Of Montreal on Saturday. But who knows, the week is young.

  9. ElJefe Says:

    Sumodie- Sounds about right for Pagey. Owner of Aleister Crowleys House!!

  10. tzara's Says:

    Also, @eljefe, got some friends that are into the Champions League thing, we should check out a match at your work. Know any good ones coming up?

  11. ElJefe Says:

    Sodo Showbox. Would love to catch that Deerhoof/OM show too. Damn bar working!

  12. sumodie Says:

    Palms, you mean the swans! Dunno, maybe there were ducks too… any case the birds were a nice accompaniment with phish. Kinda sad to be missing JB this year, after reading all the negative talk about JB I found I really liked the venue

  13. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Swans, yes you are correct. I remember pointing them out to Jdub.

    They swam right up to the side stage as the jam began. Stayed still until the jam concluded, then the entire family turned around and swam away. I thought it was the coolest thing. Glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it.

  14. kenny powers Says:


    I so love Jones Beach 2010

    2 shows of fucking butter! Me and Willowed and Neemor fucked shit up.

    So, Sumo, let’s hang out in western Mass. i move in 2 weeks. Near Worcester. i always travel with an inflatable camp bed. i like to take road trips.


  15. ElJefe Says:

    Tzara – Barcelona v AC Milan Wed march 28th live 1145am replay 7pm

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    my first phish show at JB was in ’94.

    it was also the first solar powered show. #uselessfactoid

  17. ThePigSong Says:

  18. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Who doesn’t love tacos?!?!?!

  19. kenny powers Says:

    9/12/99 Gin


  20. sumodie Says:

    Phil stream is now live

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    that place looks amazing. Tiny.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    no wooks in the front…haha

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Lesh, Herring, Russo, Chimenti, Robinson

  24. butter Says:

    great report from buddy that was at opening of crossroads

    cant wait to get down there

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    we’ll make those AC wings happen Mr. P.

Leave a Reply