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. Calpain Says:

    I second @Gds pampin of the White House subs. the bread is made across the street and its a thing of beauty.

    I usually split a half of a regular (italian) and a half of a cheesesteak with someone. then i take a nap. mmm I am hungry now

  2. Duder Says:

    I’m really looking forward to an “italian beef up in the north east for AC.
    just great food in general.
    For a restaurant business owner, if you got the Good$, Charlotte is hungry.

    @ Palmer

    no apologies necessary, opinions are just opinions and I stick by my statements whether the majority thinks it’s phoolish or not.

  3. gavinsdad Says:

    ^telas – also hit the Red Light day party and saw Alabama Shakes and Punch Bros. I’d take Greensky over Punch Bros in the cage match any day and AS…that girl has that Janis J thing and can def play rhythm guitar but hell it seems she’s right on the edge of tearing her vocal cords…i’d be surprised if she can handle heavy touring (unless that’s just her sound)

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Someone should bring a small grill to AC and we can have Leo’s wings on the beach for a pre-show throwdown!

  5. Calpain Says:

    Leo’s wings can travel, who knew?

    He threw down hard for Leo-Fest in CLT last summer, and I heard the wings were the most requested item. still chasing that legend.

    :::offers to bring travel grill for Leo’s ‘god’ (dosed) wings:::

  6. Guyute711 Says:

    I was wondering what we may do for grub there Mr. P. Should probably turn some more folks on to the peppadews as well.

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    @el dude – if you fly into philly (?) stop at one of the Dinics locations. they do the philly roast beef and pork sandwiches PROPER. most get em with sharp provo and greens (spinach or broc rabe) but you can do whatever you like. but if you can find that it’s the best.

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    If Leo gives me the ingredients for the wing sauce/ marinade, i’ll buy them and transport to AC.

    Saturday, JUNE 16th, 2pm- the BB/Beach/BBQ Throw down 2012.

    Who’s in?

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    :raises hand:

  10. Jtran Says:

    Second el dudes rec

    Hit Dinics in Reading Market over Thanksgiving. easily better than steak sandwiches (cheese teaks to all you noobs)

  11. Jtran Says:

    They’re probably just known as “steaks” or something and I’m just a complete noob too

  12. Guyute711 Says:

    I’ll never forget some idiot in Dayton Ohio asking if I wanted lettuce and tomatoes on my cheese steak. WTF are you talking about?

  13. Jtran Says:

    Gdads rec

  14. Duder Says:

    the slf has the rub and marinade recipe
    Cub has it I think and Tela’s too

  15. gavinsdad Says:

    cheesesteak hoagie aint bad guyute. better is the cheeseburger hoagie at white house subs. BOMB. i like to do what @calpain does…go halves with someone to get multiple flavors.

    @selecta – was talking to my friend in LA who is good friends w jeremy from deadly dragon sound and suggested a cage match (sound clash). let us know if you ever get out to NYC!

  16. Duder Says:

    the skill is in the actual grilling/temp dealy

    that’s where Leo can’t be touched with a 10′ pole

  17. Duder Says:

    I think the CLT crew (us) are driving GDad
    That should help, huh?

  18. Selector J Says:

    @gdad Right on! I’d definitely be down with that. Closest that I’ll get in the near future is Delaware in June. Might try to hit night 3 of AC while I’m there.
    Maybe we could set up a pre-show boardwalk/lot clash… :mrgreen:

  19. Guyute711 Says:

    I had a cheeseburger sub in Charlottesville VA when Phish rolled through there and that thing was pretty darn good. Everybody else at the table was bummed they didn’t get one.

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    @el D – if you boys dont hang a right onto route 40 when you get off the del memorial bridge (and instead choose to head north to pick up the AC expressway east) you will drive into philly or into my house. i can give other recs either way.

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    @selecta – or we can do it over the TT 🙂

  22. Duder Says:

    thnx GD

  23. Selector J Says:

    TT clash has potential…

  24. Henry Says:


    Was it at Riverside Lunch?

  25. tba Says:

    in the whale r u referring to the loop weoooooo in say a song like jiboo, first surfaced late 90’s ish? I love the whale if it’s used well. To specify if it sets Trey up for a guitar adventure, building into a phunky exploration, i think it’s a key. plus it’s one of his trademarks.

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