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. DukeOfLizards Says:


    Totally kidding. I figured the specific reference to the stalks would give it away.

    Having said that, as a 3.0 kid myself, I am not down with a whale-related moniker. I think the AlasKids would be much more fitting. Love that tune!*

    * still kidding.

  2. sumodie Says:

    Children of the Corn

    Mike once picked up a hitchhiker who turned out to be the actor that played Malachi in the Children of the Corn

    The actor became friends with the band and even appeared on stage at the Vegas 96 show

    and then there’s the tune, Rock A William, which references Malachi from said film

    all leading up to the epic Deer Creek 8.10.97 show…

    (and I skipped over the Malachi shroom story, lol)

  3. sumodie Says:

    In my dream the Lord came to me… It was He Who Walks Behind the Rows. I fell on my knees in terror, and hid my eyes, lest the fearfulness of His face strike me dead! He told me all that has since happened; He said, “Joseph has taken his things and fled this happy place, because the worship of Me is no more upon him. So take you his life, and spill his blood like water upon the earth! But let not his flesh pollute the corn; cast him instead upon the road!


  4. Jtran Says:



    Anyone else having problems playing the DWD?

  5. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Sumo- Way to come full circle on the COTC story. Poster cracked me up.

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ha ha
    totally forgot about the Malachi/band connection
    thanks, sumo
    makes my reference stronger 😉

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    Chicaghost, Holy Ghost, and Charlotte Ghost have to be the three best of 3.0 with no real argument, right?

  8. butter Says:

    def some full breeches on leg 1 summer ’10

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    Anyone familiar with this song? I love it and was surprised it popped up on Pandora.

  10. Guyute711 Says:

    See 12-31-2009 Leo for Ghostly goodness.

  11. Leo Weaver Says:

    Oh yeah, forgot about the Miami Ghost>NO2. Another good one.

  12. Leo Weaver Says:

    @butter…you coming to the dirty south if Leg 2 pans out per the current fake dates? Assuming the boys are bringing it…

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    for golf fans, my brother is at the Tavistock Cup walking the course with Tiger. my bro played in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Pro-Am yesterday (pro was Rod Pampling), and he was invited to attend the Tavistock Cup tournament today and tomorrow. He had dinner with Tiger and others last night. i’m still waiting on a full report, but you should be able to see him on the Golf Channel today.

    i think it’s pretty cool, thought i’d share

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    shoot. just realized I forgot the secondary tagline. oh well.

  15. mike in austin Says:

    Late to the party on this, but that Children of the Whale is fantastic.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Love the poster T3!

    Great work there.

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    who usually announces rerelease tickets? phish’s twitter?

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @leo, UIC ghost!

  19. Leo Weaver Says:

    so is your brother the overachiever @telas? 😉

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    @ DF
    the answer to tyour question is that same as the answer to what and 80 year old woman tastes like.

  21. butter Says:

    Leo, i would love too

    with those dates i could possibly stay on till ATL, which may make Charlotte possible

    i just loved that venue, and preparty 😉

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    ha. exactly!! but he hasn’t seen 92 Phish shows. noob.

  23. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  24. butter Says:

    got a genius appt. today at the apple store

    time to learn how to use all these devices and cloud better

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “See 12-31-2009 Leo for Ghostly goodness”

    agreed. def needs to be included in that list

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