TTFT: The Season of the Whale—June 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on March 20th, 2012 by Mr.Miner

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.

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Ghost” 6.11, Bridgeview, IL

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

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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.

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Disease -> Sand” 6.17 II, Hartford, CT

An intense throwdown on night one in Hartford.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Light” 7.1 II, Raleigh, NC

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

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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.

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UPDATE: THE PHILLER

The latest from Robert Champion of The Sloping Companion:

The Philler by The Sloping Companion on Mixcloud

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Weekend Nuggets: Summer Lovin’

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 29th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

Summer 2010 Pro-Shot Compilation

-Summer Tour Promo
-Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues – 6.25.10 Camden
-46 Days > Tube – 8.7.10 Berkeley
-Backwards Down the Number Line – 6.12.10 Cuyahoga Falls
-Show of Life – 6.19.10 Saratoga Springs
-Chalk Dust Torture – 6.25.10 Camden
-Wolfman’s Brother – 6.26.10 Columbia
-Maze – 8.5.10 Berkeley
-Gotta Jibboo – 7.4.10 Alpharetta
-Jam > Piper – 8.9.10 Telluride
-Saratoga Jam #2 > Swept Away > Steep – 6.20.10 SPAC
-Simple – 8.6.10 Berkeley
-You Enjoy Myself – 7.2.10 Charlotte

(cheers to YEMBlog for this vid!)

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Jam of the Weekend:

Harry Hood” 7.25.03 I

The quintessential post-hiatus “Harry Hood.”

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Phish Confirmed At Watkins Glen?

A local blog from New York State, Bands That Jam, is claiming that Watkins Glen is official, contracts have been signed, and that the festival will be an 8-set, Phish-only affair from June 30-July 3rd! Let’s hope this report is correct. I’m not doubting anyone’s journalistic integrity, but one can’t believe anything until it’s on Phish.com.

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7.31.09 (Wendy Rogell)


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Midwestern Memoirs

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on November 4th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Alpine 2010 DVD/CD Box Set

Before we begin to analyze a blazing Fall Tour, today let’s take a preview at Phish’s upcoming DVD/CD release from this past summer at Alpine Valley. Commemorating August 14, 2010, one of the Summer most impressive shows, the box set also includes highlights from the following night at the legendary Midwestern shed. With a release date of December 14, only four months from the performance itself, this is – by far – the quickest turnaround we’ve ever seen from a show to an official release. The three hours of music was recorded using 57 channels of digital multi-track and then mixed and mastered in 5.1 Dolby surround and PCM stereo. The video features a 7-camera shoot, recorded and post-edited in High Definition. Pre-orders, available now through Dry Goods, will include a bonus CD entitled “Phish: Wisconsin Edition,” featuring highlights from Phish’s fourteen-year history at Alpine Valley.

Highlights of August 14 at Alpine include the sublime “Disease > What’s The Use?,” an exquisite “Reba,” and the second set “Mike’s Dirty Sally Groove.” Selections from both sets of the night two are included as bonus footage on the DVDs. Featured from the first half of August 15 are “AC/DC Bag,” “On Your Way Down,” “Divided Sky,” “Stealing Time” and “David Bowie.” While the opening sequence of the second set – “Ghost > Theme > Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars” – fills disc two. Check out some video and audio clips from the upcoming release below.

8.14.10 - (Dave Vann via Phish)

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Jams of the Day: (From upcoming release)

“Disease > What’s the Use?” 8.14.10

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“Dirt” 8.14.10

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Video Clips:

“Reba” 8.14.10 I

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“Bug” 8.14.10 II

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“Down With Disease > What’s the Use?” 8.14.10 II


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8.15.10 (Dave Vann via Phish)

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Miner’s Picks: Summer Leg II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 13th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

8.7.10 -The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

After some weeks away from tour and plenty of time to listen to August through and through, it has come time to unveil “Miner’s Pick’s” for Leg II of Summer 2010. In a tour with many eye-popping jams, many fans could have compiled a similar list. However, I allowed myself only one version of each song, leaving several legitimate highlights absent from this compilation. What you will find inside is an aural trek down memory lane of Phish’s most accomplished tour this era. With tracks assembled to create a natural flow over the the six and a half hour highlight reel, download “Miner’s Pick’s: Leg II,” kick back with loud volume, and enjoy an afternoon of the best Phish jams we’ve heard since their return.

*****

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER 2010 – LEG II < Torrent

MINER’S PICKS: SUMMER 2010 – LEG II < Megaupload

8.9.10 (W.Rogell)

1,2. “Cities > Moma” 8.5 Greek: The funk that awakened the band and audience alike during The Greek’s second night.

3. “Light” 8.7 Greek: This transcendent journey gets my vote for jam of the tour. Easily.

4. “Caspian” 8.9 Telluride: Trey spouts gorgeous and original leads in this dark-horse highlight from Telluride onto which Phish tacked  a Mind Left Body-laced outro.

5. “Tweezer” 8.5 Greek: This version drips with laid-back, west coast energy. Mike runs shop throughout this thunderous piece and Trey unleashes some of his pimpiest leads of tour.

6-8. “Boogie > Piper > Mist” 8.9 Telluride: Ferocious funk? Check. Footbell? Check. Defining “Piper” of 2010? Check.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

9,10. “Disease > What the Use?” 8.14 Alpine: Phish pushed boundaries in this top-notch piece, finding  some of the most sublime moments of summer and a transition that defies words.

11. “Harry Hood” 8.7 Greek: In a tour that went a perfect 3 for 3 in outstanding “Hoods,” this centerpiece from The Greek’s final set stands head and shoulders above the rest.

12-14. “Drowned > Jibboo > Bathtub Gin” 8.12 Deer Creek: This three-song sequence that opened Deer Creek’s second set showcased three different styles of improvisation. This standout run to start the second half set the tone for a set that never stopped. “Drowned” is my pick for the most-underrated dose of psychedelia from Phish’s fortnight in August.

8.13.10 (M.Stein)

15-17. “Ghost > Theme > BBFCFM” 8.15 Alpine: This one-two punch demonstrates the full-on guitar acrobatics that Trey showcased at Alpine Valley. The always-elusive old-school antics of “Big Black Furry” capped the smoking segment.

18,19. “Carini > Free” 8.10 Telluride: This alien encounter highlighted a fun, but improvisationally-thin, second night in The Rockies.

20. “Rock and Roll” 8.6 Greek: A jam that gets unrightfully buried in the avalanche of standout music from The Greek, it’s one of the most sublime examples of the band’s newest, rhythmically-driven “urgent ambient” style.

21. “Antelope” 8.14 Alpine: While never moving outside the box, this version crushed harder than any other in August.

22,23. “Split Creek > Dog Faced Boy” 8.12 Deer Creek: Moving into experimental territory, Phish slowly descended from menacing grooves into “Dog Faced Boy” late in Deer Creek’s second set.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

24. “Reba” 8.14  Alpine: This is the pick ‘em song of tour, as the band simply slayed all three versions. I, actually, prefer The Greek, but the unmatchable peak in Alpine’s version and the already Greek-heavy highlight reel pushed this version onto the compilation.

25-27. “2001 > Suzy > Slave” 8.7  Greek : Complete with a scintillating “Suzy Reprise” jam that surprised me on listen back, this trio provided a powerful sequence to conclude an ornate, top-notch set of Phish music.

28,29. “Lengthwise > Maze” 8.17  Jones Beach: A nod to the early-90s, Phish also acknowledged the resurgenmce of “Maze” in 2010 with Jones Beach’s final version of summer.

30. “Sand” 8.9 Telluride: A scorching opener to Telluride’s most impressive set; and only the fifth “Sand” since 2000.

8.5.06 (W.Rogell)

31. “Timber Ho!” 8.18  Jones Beach: A thrilling entry into the summer’s final set.

32. “Mikes Song” 8.14 Alpine: I keep coming back to this “Mike’s” with Trey’s flowing and creative leads, thus it kick’s off our August 2010 “Mike’s Combination Groove.”

33. “Simple” 8.6 Greek: One of the most original and exploratory pieces of summer, this was the first full-blown, mind-expander of tour.

34. “Number Line” 8.17  Jones Beach:  One of August’s upper-echelon jams, Jones’ Beach’s “Number Line” appeared within “Mike’s Groove  and produced the band’s final improvisational peak of the summer.

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

35. ” Sneakin’ Sally” 8.14 Alpine: Popping up late in the set as a surprise link in Alpine’s “Dirty Sally Groove,” this version brought some dance grooves to an otherwise dark-themed frame of Phish.

36. “Weekapaug” 8.17  Jones Beach: Perhaps Phish’s most original take on “Weekapaug” this summer, the band’s lightening quick percussive work morphed with their melodic sensibility in a stellar version that capped a summer “Weekapaug” return to significance. Trey absolutely went to town in this one, punctuating a phenomenal suite on the water in Long Island.

37. “YEM” 8.10 Telluride: In an anthem-laced show, Phish broke out a super-charged rendition of their seminal piece to cap tw0 unforgettable nights in the paradise of Telluride’s Town Park.

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Jams of the Day: Near Misses

Were it not for other versions, these pieces could have wound up above.

“Light” - 8.18 Jones Beach

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“Harry Hood” - 8.12 Deer Creek

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“Reba” – 8.7 Greek

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“Disease > Free” - 8.5 Greek

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Three More From Leg Two

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 10th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Last week we looked at a spectrum of significant jams Phish played in August. But in a tour that favored more improvisation than any other in this era, there were many more highlights of note. Amidst the buzz of tour’s most staggering musical moments, some other serious pieces of improvisation haven’t gotten as much attention as they should. Below are three more jams from Leg Two that showcase Phish’s late-summer exploratory spirit.

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“Rock and Roll” 8.6 II – Berkeley, California

8.5.10 (W. Rogell

Phish sped out of this torrid rock jam and quickly into psychedelic pastures, skipping usual routine stop in regurgitated percussive grooves. Fishman immediately stood out by slaughtering alternating beats, while Trey and Mike stepped forth to lead the jam on a dissonant course. Page stepped forth over Mike and Trey’s cooperative backing, playing lead piano lines over an urgent, ever-changing rhythm. Boasting gorgeous melodic interplay between guitarists, this jam took a distinct turn into blissful, uplifting textures. A perfect example of the band’s new-school “urgent ambient” jamming, Mike remained at the center of the music and Trey painted it with emotive brushstrokes, while Fish framed their transcendent interplay like an eight-legged beast. Trey, Mike and Page echoed each others’ phrases as they merged into a glowing orb of melody and harmony – an awesome piece of collaborative jamming over masterfully intricate rhythms.

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“Carini” 8.10.10 – Telluride, Colorado

8.10.10 (W.Rogell)

Amidst a sea of rock anthems in Telluride’s final set, “Carini” provided the highlight of the show, churning some of the most intergalactic soundscapes of summer. As the band departed from the lyrical refrain, Page led the onset of the jam as Trey wound up his now-rarely-used “millennial” effects: seething sheets of snarling sound that emerged in 1999. Fish and Mike formed a heavy pocket highlighted by Gordon’s crafty bass lines. After setting his sonic place-mat, Trey came to the forefront with a volcanic solo, erupting with scalding intensity. When Mike shifted to a groovier bass line and Page sustained a dissonant backdrop, Trey turned his wailing solo into an uncharacteristically melodic segment that brought the jam to a climax. But after this peak, Fishman moved the band into a drone landscape that Trey began littering with dirty effects. Now the the adventure really began. Morphing into a menacing and abstract passage, Fish threw in a vocal tease of Pink Floyd’s “One Of These Days,” while the music continued its maniacal soundtrack of minds warping through a post-apocalyptic alien ambush. With stunning sonic density, this jam likened the descending of a Mothership right in Town Park, as all band members contributed to this bubbling psychedelic cauldron. Resembling pieces of ’99 Phish, “Carini” ballooned in abstract intensity and carried a futuristic, mechanical beauty. “Free” provided the splash down from outer space, continuing the rowdy setlist.

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“Drowned” 8.12 – Noblesville, Indiana

8.13.10 (M.Stein)

One of the most under-the-radar jams of tour, this “Drowned that opened the second set of Deer Creek’s first night is a dark-horse piece of elegant interplay. After plowing through the initial section in a high-speed, rock and roll chase, Trey and Fish cut up the music with percussive offerings while Mike filled the spaces in between. When Page moved to organ, he coaxed the band into far mellower, ethereal textures. Trey adjusted quickly, sprouting a delicate, soulful lead while allowing space for Page to answer his ideas. Fishman favored the cymbals in a shimmering beat and Mike backed the piece with murmuring bass lines. Eventually progressing to a more abstract rhythm, Fishman coaxed Trey to follow him while Mike meshed his own idea into an experimental section of spanking new Phish music – an ambient-melodica over increasingly intricate drumbeats. Mike, Page and Trey formed an harmonic convergence without any lead, turning the piece into a gripping jam. Trey peeled surreal melodies over the feel-good futurama and once again, a musical risk had succeeded.

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Jam of the Day:

Lengthwise > Maze” 8.17.10 II

Phish opened Jones Beach’s second set with conscious nod to the old-school in this mid-90’s combo.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.8.1999 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY < Torrent

10.8.1999 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY < Megaupload

On the home stretch of a month-long tour in Fall ’99, Phish stopped at Nassau for two oft-overlooked shows. On the second night, the band nailed this second set in another classic dose of Nassau Phish. After an awesome opening segment from “Halley’s” through “Hood,” Tom Marshall came out and did his best Roger Daltry, hamming it up with the band on a cover of the Who’s Tommy classic, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

I: Piper, AC/DC Bag, Suzy Greenberg, Meat, Meatstick, Run Like an Antelope

II: Halley’s Comet > Tweezer > Bug, Fee, Harry Hood, We’re Not Gonna Take It*, Chalk Dust Torture

E: The Squirming Coil, Tweezer Reprise

* debut, The Who; w/ Tom Marshall

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4 > kc5 > cmc6 > Sonosax SX-M2 > Apogee AD1000 > Sony D100 (Set I @44.1kHz, Set II @48kHz)

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The Re-Birth of “The Groove”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 8th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

8.10.10 - Telluride, CO (Graham Lucas)

When Phish returned to the stage in 2009, they reeled in “Mike’s Groove” from its days as an improvisational centerpiece to its old-school format of “Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug.” Barely extending each piece beyond eight minutes run-thrus, the routine of the modern era “Mike’s Groove” grew quickly tiresome. The opening riff of “Mike’s Song” – once a jolt of adrenaline to the heart – now signified 20 stagnant minutes of music while Phish churned out generic version after generic version of each bookend. Rarely adding meat to the simplistic sandwich, for over a year “Mike’s Grooves” provided little investigation into the unknown. But throughout this summer, Phish bolstered their musical suite in unexpected ways. Though “Mike’s Song” remained a structured descent into darkness, the feats that the band accomplished after the song’s closing power chords brought the adventure back into the “Groove.”

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

Beginning in Canandaigua, New York at the end of June, Phish began to switch things up. Segueing into “Simple” and then into “I Am the Walrus” before bursting into “Weekapaug,” this entire “Mike’s Groove” had gained liftoff, forming a half-set escapade that departed from its played-out pattern. Fast forwarding to July 4th’s tour closer in Atlanta, the band lit the fuse of a late-set “Groove,” and the spark led to an array of Phishy fireworks. In a slot where the band had placed so many cliched versions, this holiday “Mike’s Groove” turned out to be anything but usual. Segueing surprisingly into “Tela,” and then eve more dramatically into “Harpua,” Phish packed significant bust-out action into this patriotic tale. But when Trey’s story led to the cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name,” this tour-ending “Mike’s Sandwich” resembled a monstrosity from from New York’s Carnegie Deli.

When the second leg rolled around, Phish molded larger musical suites, using “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug” to bookend adventurous pieces of improvisation. During The Greek’s second night, Trey abruptly bust into “Ghost’s” jam with the opening of August’s first “Mike’s Groove.” Any memories of the ugly transition dissipated in the vapor trail of Trey and Mike’s fury, and when the band stepped into “Simple,” nobody expected a tour-defining jam to emerge. But to the surprise of most, that is exactly what happened as Phish transformed the anthem into an abstract and melodic experiment. Popping with sonic originality, “Simple” grew into the first breakthrough jam of tour; a jam that blossomed in between “Mike’s” and “Weekapaug.” Phish also squeezed in succinct versions of “Number Line” and “Seven Below” into this super-sized “Groove.”

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

In Telluride, Phish beefed up an early-set “Mike’s Groove” by inserting the run’s only “Crosseyed and Painless” before merging with their traditional path of “Hydrogen > Weekapaug.” After ripping the universe wide open with “Disease > What’s the Use?” on Alpine’s first night, Phish laid back into a swanky “Dirty Sally Groove.” Using”Dirt” as an introspective comedown from a particularly sharp “Mike’s Song,” the band wasn’t done with this second-half “Groove” just yet. Feeling the flow, the band dropped into the slithering funk rhythms of “Sneakin’ Sally” and absolutely annihilated the cover. Guided by Mike’s laser bass lines, Trey bounced a lively solo over an ocean of liquid grooves. Bringing this late-set treat to a head and through a vocal jam, Phish set up a blistering “Weekapaug” to punctuate this dynamic musical paragraph.

Only two shows later in Jones Beach, however, the band pieced together the most eventful “Mike’s Groove of the season. Providing the meat and potatoes of the second set, Phish combined a standout “Simple” and a defining “Number Line” with a creatively placed “Rock and Roll” to form the most flowing and vituosic “Mike’s Groove” of summer. Finishing this suite with a spunky “Weekapaug,” the band cranked up the feel-good anthem as they did all summer long. While “Mike’s” certainly took on added life in August, “Weekapaug” saw far more attention as several versions turned into high-flying highlights. Blasting off into lands of melodic percussion, the band magnified the suite-closer with creative jaunts that infused shows with ending momentum rather than methodical motion.

8.9.10 Telluride (G. Lucas)

In a season of revitalization, “Mike’s Groove” fell in line with the larger trend of summer. Finding original pathways to creativity, the band breathed new energy into a stagnant part of their catalog. Not long after many fans called for its shelving, “Mike’s Groove” bounced back resiliently, providing highlights to every Leg Two show in which it appeared. Snowballing with Phish’s over-arching head of steam in 2010, the band’s classic musical combo came into focus during a significant second leg of summer. While the spotlight shifted away from “Mike’s” and onto the rest of the “Groove,” craftsmanship and improvisation came back to Phish’s hallowed sequence during a summer that held nothing but future promise.

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Jam of the Day:

Reba” 8.7.10 II

One of three stellar “Rebas” along the trail of August; this one  from The Greek.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.27.96 N.Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC < Torrent

10.27.96 N.Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC < Megaupload

This is Phish’s second, and last, visit to North Charleston Coliseum, another venue that will host a two-night stand next month.

I: Runaway Jim, Punch You In the Eye, AC/DC Bag, Fee, Scent of a Mule > Catapult* > Scent of a Mule, Split Open and Melt, Talk, Taste, Suzy Greenberg

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Rift, Prince Caspian, Ya Mar, Tweezer, Fluffhead, Life on Mars?, Tweezer Reprise

E: Possum, Carolina

*performed twice during the Mule Duel; first by Mike, and then by Page solo on the theremin

Source: Sennheiser ME-67’s

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The Sound of the Storm

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 3rd, 2010 by Mr.Miner

8.9.10 - Telluride, CO (Wendy Rogell)

Though “Piper” has been one of Phish’s central jam vehicles since their return with several stellar versions, the excursions that stem from the song don’t always ooze cohesion. Often likening a sawed-off shotgun spraying musical shrapnel in many directions at once, “Piper” jams usually click or meander, with little middle ground. Always representing a leap into uncharted territory, “Piper’s” most successful recent renditions have carried an enhanced sense of direction. And this summer, while tucked in the mountains of Telluride, Phish took “Piper” for a high-speed chase through a space-aged vortex in the song’s  most impressive outing of the year.

8.9.10 (W.Rogell)

Launching from the lyrical refrain, Trey kicked things into warp-speed by unleashing seething leads while Mike stuck with him, matching his creativity step for step. In no time, Phish shot into space like a musical rocket breaking through the stratosphere with a trail of blazing textures. Connecting his leads into intricate melodies, Trey stepped out front with Page, who sprinted up and down the piano as if running suicides. Fishman kept crazy-quick tempos like a metronome on speed, forming angular, driving beats.

Shifting gears, the band flew smoothly into series of fast percussive grooves with Page killing lead organ patterns. Trey adjusted with sparser rhythmic stabs as Mike moved a mile a minute in a section of lead bass. The two guitarists locked in, speed-racing through a nearby galaxy in a cosmic chase that reached an absurd intensity. Trey broke into some snarling melodies while his band mates were super-glued in collaborative musical mayhem. Page and Trey played as if on fast-forward bringing another colossal peak to this zooming show-stopper.

8.9.10 (W.Rogell)

At this juncture, the band locked into a section of warp-speed annihilation where each member crushed IT harder than the next. Morphing into mind-bending landscapes that never lost cohesion, the four-headed beast transformed into a musical wrecking ball, demolishing anything in its path. This peak journey moved with complete fluidity into a second sequence of sparse rhythms as Fishman earned his paycheck behind the kit. Trey, Mike, and Page offered fiery melodies that combined into a psychotic brew so tight and directed it felt as though Phish knew exactly what notes to play before they started.

8.9.10 (W.Rogell)

Trey initiated a pattern that Page and Mike echoed during the final stages of this cosmic blast off. The band never tapped the brakes for a second, shooting full-speed into the outer realms of consciousness. As the band collectively reached a final peak, they calmed the music through an extended and appropriate ambient outro comprised of the residual sonic energy lingering in the air. Patiently passing through this futuristic cleanse, the band emerged with “Mountains in the Mist.” The perfectly-placed ballad gained a greater poignancy with the jagged peaks of the Rockies looming overhead. The reflective piece provided a much-needed cool down from the intense voyage that had just concluded.

Over this week, we have looked at five peak jams from Leg Two which all differ in musical direction: The Greek “Light,” Alpine’s “Disease > What’s the Use?,” Jones Beach’s “Number Line,” The Greek “Simple,” and Telluride’s “Piper.” All of these are top-shelf pieces of improvisation, and their stylistic diversity speaks volumes on Phish’s renewed ability – and willingness – to explore any musical fabric. When the band took risks throughout August, more often than not, they met with astounding success – a factor that the band surely all noticed whether they talked about their shows or not. And these are but five pieces of music among the many experimental jams that dotted Phish’s brief, yet most significant tour of this era. With individual proficiency and musical communication no longer an issue, come fall, as Dr. Seuss once wrote, “Oh the places [they]’ll go!”

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Jam and Video of the Day:

Piper > Mist” 8.9.10 II

The improvisational high point of Phish’s time in Telluride.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.18.2010 Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY < Torrent

8.18.2010 Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY < Megaupload

Jones Beach 2010 (M. Ladd)

Here is Summer 2010’s finale at Jones Beach, ending a two-pronged attack that saw the band progress by leaps and bounds. Featuring a non-stop second set with top-level playing from start to finish, every major song of Phish’s last set is a highlight. The first half also had peaks in “Ocelot” and “Bathtub Gin.” All in all, a fitting end to a transformative summer tour for the Phish from Vermont.

I: Down with Disease, Sample in a Jar, Guelah Papyrus, Poor Heart, Ocelot, Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Tube, Destiny Unbound, Joy, Run Like an Antelope

II: Axilla, Timber Ho > Light > 46 Days > My Friend, My Friend, Harry Hood > Tweezer > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps MK41> KC5> CMC6> sonosax SX-M2> apogee Mini-me (24bit/96khz)

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Skyballs and Saxscrapers

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 2nd, 2010 by Mr.Miner

8.5.06 - The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

The first jam of tour that lifted the entire audience into a galaxy far, far away sprouted from the unlikeliest of places. Kick-starting The Greek’s second night’s second set, Phish strung together three heavy-hitting jam vehicles – “Rock and Roll,” “Ghost,” and “Mike’s Song.” Building a legitimate tour highlight in “Rock and Roll” and a solid version of “Ghost,” one figured when the band doused the fire of “Mike’s,” a mellow interlude was inevitable. Sidestepping “Hydrogen” for “Simple” for only the second time this year, Gordon’s anthem seemed quite appropriate for the summer night. “Simple’s” only previous appearance within a “Mike’s Groove” this summer came on June 29 in Canandaigua, New York, was a version that brought creativity back to the often one-dimensional piece, featuring a shimmering ambient jam that landed in “I Am the Walrus.”

8.6.10 Pollock

Phish moved through the Greek’s mid-set rendition with a notably relaxed energy that characterized much of their playing out west. Fluidly migrating out of the lyrics, Trey and Mike took co-solos, cooperatively sculpting a double helix of melody that pointed in a singular musical direction. A dynamic opening carried an idyllic pace, allowing individual phrases to breathe while complementing each other perfectly. And just when it sounded like “Simple” was winding down and heading for another song, Phish dipped into their satchel of wizardry and pulled out a hypnotic spell.

Page took initiative with delicate piano leads, coaxing his band mates to keep their heads in the game rather than bailing for another song. The jam took a distinct turn for the mellow as Page led a gradual descent onto a gentle musical pillow. Once arriving there, Trey, Mike and Page immediately circulated in a three-piece melodic pattern while Fishman framed the abstraction with dainty cymbal work.

Page began to alter this musical orb with effected notes as Trey flicked astral pennies into the ether, blending their aural trajectories perfectly with the band’s floating experiment. As Page pushed the piece into a quasi-digital realm, Mike held down the lead with rolling bass notes. Entering an elevated state of blissful reverie, this futuristic groove took on a life of its own, moving mechanically within a sparse, psychedelic tapestry.

8.5.10 (W.Rogell)

Deep into the jam, Trey added a rhythmic delay to his notes, pushing Fishman into a more earnest groove. Together, they lured Mike and Page into this spontaneous build. Laced with a bit of attitude, Trey added distorted layers atop the musical play-land and Mike hopped freely in this rhythmic romper room. This final segment brought the once placid jam into an intricate excursion in ambient-groove. Locked into a musical sequence that burst with nuanced tonal color, Phish crafted a bumping, space-aged dreamscape that piqued the interest of fans young and old.  Providing the post-show buzz of The Greek’s second night, this “Simple” jam awakened all to Phish’s renewed improvisational capabilities as the band embarked on their second leg of summer tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Split > Dog-Faced Boy, Hood” 8.12.10 II

Phish broke down this unorthodox “Split” into “Dog-Faced Boy” before capping the sequence with a magnificent “Hood” that has unduly lived in the shadows of The Greek and Jones Beach’s versions.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.17.2010 Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY < New torrent w/ Encore

8.17.2010 Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY < Megaupload w/ Encore

Official Jones Beach Poster

A two-set, start-to finish barnburner, this show stands among the strongest of tour. Trey’s Alpine annihilation carried over to Jones Beach’s opener – another night where his torrid playing stood out. “Reba,” “Wolfman’s,” and “Possum” brighten the opening frame, while the second set is comprised of non-stop, highlight-quality improvisation.

I: Fluffhead, Kill Devil Falls > Cities, Funky Bitch, Wilson, Reba, Walk Away, Wolfman’s Brother, Possum

II: Lengthwise > Maze, Halley’s Comet > Mike’s Song > Simple > Backwards Down the Number Line > Prince Caspian > Rock and Roll > Weekapaug Groove, Loving Cup

E: Show of Life, Golgi Apparatus

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S(din)> Lunatec V2> Benchmark AD2K>  Sound Devices 722 (24/48)

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Let’s Take A Ride…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on September 1st, 2010 by Mr.Miner

Jones Beach - 2010 (Mitch Ladd)

Originally penned as a nostalgic poem by Tom Marshall to Trey, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has been an enigma ever since joining Phish’s live rotation. Presented as the virtual theme song of the band’s comeback year, one foresaw the catchy single developing into one of the band’s newest jam vehicles. But only twice during 2009 did Phish take the song outside the box, favoring standard versions that rode the coattails of Trey’s guitar solo to the closing refrain. When Blossom’s “Number Line” transformed into one of June’s most impressive jaunts, 2010 seemed like the song’s coming-of-age year. But for the rest of the month and throughout August, Phish unveiled benign version after benign version – until Jones Beach. While much of the post-tour hype has centered on The Greek and Alpine Valley stands, perhaps, the most focused and dynamic “Number Line” ever has flown under the radar. When revisiting the centerpiece of Jones Beach’s stellar two-set opener, the virtuosity of this metropolitan adventure leaps from the speakers.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

Each time Phish took “Number Line” outside the box before Jones Beach, they made distinct musical shifts, stepping away from the song’s feel-good textures into something wholly different. But when Phish drove their modern anthem on a tour-ending trek, they took the song’s theme and rhythm into the ether with a more fluid start-to-finish excursion than ever before. The band played through the initial composed jam with a more relaxed feel than many of their routine, shreddier versions. While trotting this linear path, Phish began to peel away layers, forming a variant musical plane while keeping one foot in the song. Trey wove an original melody that pulled the band with him, beginning to drift from structure; but it wasn’t until he cut through the music with power-rhythm chords that knew we knew were in for a ride.

Without altering the cadence or flow of the jam, the band slipped into smooth, piano-laced, percussive patterns filled with creative ideas. As Trey’s offerings morphed into earnest leads, Mike and Fishman locked up, collectively steering the low-end of the music like a race car on rails. As the rhythm section destroyed the pocket, Trey and Page collectively colored the top half of the music. With all band members on the same page, they collectively crushed an original piece that still retained roots to the song. But those roots would further disintegrate as Trey threw high-speed, medieval melodies from his blazing Ocedoc.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

Phish settled from this fire into a sparser groove with Page tickling the Fender Rhodes and Trey coloring the aural painting as Mike stepped up to take the lead. Aside from the awesome whole-band interplay, the highlight of this jam from this juncture is the mind-altering beat science of Jon Fishman. Slaughtering intricate breakbeats as the band melted into the cosmos, Fishman shone during the latter half of this jam, continuing his personal excellence over Leg Two while anchoring a masterful section of Phish’s newest “urgent ambient” playing. Amidst insane rhythms, Trey hit a triumphant melody that led the band into a surreal peak into the future.

Trey, Page, and Mike engaged in a tight, melodic exchange over Fishman’s hyperspace, as Phish collectively slaughtering their experiment. Trey began a weeping lead over the mind-numbing, percussive pocket that led the band into an entire peak section of the jam. Twisting his phrasing to liken The Beatles’ “Norweigan Wood” melody, Trey added a musical reference to this golden sequence of four-minded mania. Taking this part to the top floor, Phish moved at warp speed while remaining firmly glued to each others’ ideas. Fish continued his inhuman work while Trey brought us to the promise land.

While the summer’s final shows at Jones Beach were littered with highlights, nothing over the four sets reached the unique improvisational genius of “Number Line.” Perhaps a sign of things to come, but more likely a rarity, Phish crafted an east-coast excursion that earned a place on the top shelf of 2010.

Jones Beach 2010 (Mitch Ladd)

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Jam of the Day:

Number Line” 8.17.10 II

The improvisational peak of Phish’s final stand of Summer 2010.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.15.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Torrent

8.15.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Megaupload

Alpine Valley - 2010 (M.Stein

In another rowdy show in Wisconsin, The Ocedoc’s flame never went out as Trey tore apart night two. “Ghost > Theme” and “Piper > 2001″ highlight a second set filled with hits. Additionally, a scorching “Bowie” punctuated the opening half.

I: Tweezer, AC/DC Bag, On Your Way Down, The Divided Sky, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Water in the Sky, The Moma Dance, Farmhouse, David Bowie

II: Ghost > Theme From the Bottom, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, You Enjoy Myself > Piper > Also Sprach Zarathustra > While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Character Zero

E: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Cavern, Joy, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps mk21 (FOB) > kc5 > cmc6xt > Sonosax SX-M2 > Mytek Stereo 192 ADC > Tascam HD-P2 (24/96)

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The Jungles In My Mind

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on August 31st, 2010 by Mr.Miner

8.14.2010 - Alpine Valley (Michael Stein)

One week after peaking The Greek stand with a finale built upon a monumental “Light,” Phish found themselves in Alpine Valley, ready to build off two-solid efforts in Deer Creek. After imploding Berkeley with jams of all shapes and sizes, the band’s innovation continued through Telluride’s “Piper” and “Carini” and several pieces, specifically “Drowned” and “Light,” in the cornfields of Noblesville. But as Phish prepared to step onto their biggest stage of summer, the second improvisational peak of Leg Two lurked right around the corner. A blistering opening half set the table for a break-neck psychedelic roller coaster ride of “Down With Disease > What’s The Use?” An illustration of Phish’s willingness to push forth to find that magic moment, this jam awakened the band’s musical patience and brilliance while careening into the future.

8.14.10 (M.Stein)

When Phish pulled into their classic Wisconsin shed, Trey had grown fully accustomed to his new Ocedoc and unleashed it ferociously. Completely in the zone for the entire evening, Alpine’s opener brought one of Trey’s most dazzling evenings of the entire summer. Coupled with morphing bass-leads from Gordon and a whole-band precision, Phish had primed Alpine Valley for a mind-melting escapade. Uncharacteristically dropping “The Sloth” to open set two, a dark vibe immediately encompassed the show. And when the beginning rumblings of “Disease” started, one knew things were about to get bonkers in dairy land.

Tearing into the song’s composed jam, Trey sped off like a hyena on tornado juice, shredding leads from the get-go in a spectacle of six-string acrobatics. Playing powerful and flowing lead melodies, Trey caught fire at the onset of this piece and his playing flew off the charts throughout this futuristic excursion. The entire band annihilated the straight-forward “Disease” textures at a torrid pace. Showcasing the Ocedoc’s unmatchable tone, Trey darted through creative patterns with mind-numbing speed and dexterity. Through this entire opening segment, Mike sat in the background as part of the three-way support for Red’s scorching solo, but it was when Gordon emerged from this role, weaving his lines around Trey’s offerings and bringing original ideas into the mix, that the jam really gained liftoff.

8.14.10 (M.Stein)

Following the blistering opening, the band took a musical step sideways into a rock pattern that retained roots in “Disease,” but simultaneously drifted from the song’s structure. Mike comped Trey’s lines with eclectic rhythms as Page infused the music with dirty clav hits. After Trey peaked his high-octane shred-fest, Phish began to darken the piece without losing their fire hose intensity. Trey began slicing the air with snarling rhythm licks while Mike’s creativity blossomed into the foreground. This is the first of several junctures that Mike pushes this “Disease” jam further into the unknown, eventually resulting in an effortless and filthy segue into “What’s The Use?” In each instance, the entire band hopped on Mike’s new direction, this time molding their musical play-doh into spacier realms.

The band momentarily deconstructed the piece before Trey built it back up with quick rhythm chops, bringing the band into a less ordinary percussive sequence. Mike delivered a slower bass line amidst this ridiculously tight section, again subtly prodding the band into riskier territory. Fishman gradually merged with Mike’s concept, slowing the rhythmic pace while never losing his sense of urgency. As the tempo waned, the resulting music grew quite abstract as all four members poured their phrases into an inter-stellar sonic brew. Trey and Mike continued pushing the music outward while the jam retained its whole-band cohesion. Entering a section of harrowing psychedelia, Trey shone brightly while sprouting cosmic melodies amidst this sinister milieu.

8.14.10 (M.Stein)

Mike made another noticeable change, offering a distorted pattern that would slowly lead the band towards a fluid groove, and eventually into their to-die-for transition. As Phish built a menacing wall of sound and effect, Trey speckled the landscape with heart-tugging leads while the band settled into a transcendent passage of ambient groove. Stretching this portion of sorcery, the band drifted into one of the most indelible and emotional sequences of the summer. Realizing where their music had reached, Trey magnificently wove a lick of “What’s The Use?” into the jam and the entire band was already there. Without any change of beat or musical alteration, Phish achieved the most marvelous musical arrival of tour, leaving the audience in total awe.

8.14.10 (M.Stein)

Flowing naturally and sculpting a larger-than-life soundscape, Phish brought a cathartic resolution to their extraordinary journey. “What’s the Use?” dripped, note by note, over the massive audience: a seething, psychedelic fable. Stemming from one of the band’s hallowed vehicles, this jam immediately sat side by side The Greek’s multi-thematic “Light” as the improvisational zeniths of tour. And the most fascinating part about these two jams is their vastly divergent paths, illustrating Phish’s ability to crush many types of music once again. No longer a one-trick pony that galloped from rock to percussive grooves to ambient outros a la ’09, Phish took the the standout jams of Leg Two in totally unique directions, foreshadowing a thrilling fall tour.

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Jam of the Day:

Disease > What’s The Use?” 8.14.10 II

You’ve read about it; now you can listen one of Phish’s peak moments of August.

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Thank You, Readers!

Yesterday Hidden Track posted detailed survey results of all things related to Phish’s Summer Tour, and Phish Thoughts was voted the “Must Read Tour Blog!” I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every reader that tunes in while on tour and/or off tour, contributes to the ongoing conversation in the comments section, or simply grabs a download. Phish Thoughts has transformed into a vibrant community that far exceeds anything I ever imagined. So, “Cheers!” This place is as much about you folks as anyone, and here’s to a ridiculous fall. See you on the road!

(Chart excerpted from Hidden Track)

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.14.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Torrent

8.14.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Megaupload

Official Alpine Valley Poster

Here is Alpine Valley’s phenomenal two-set showcase from the stand’s opening night. Phish opened the second set with one of their defining open jams of summer in “Disease > What’s The Use?,” and followed up a mid-set “Mule” with a ferocious “Mike’s Dirty Sally Groove.” A relentless first set is highlighted by a gorgeous “Reba,” a semi-rare “Taste,” and the fiercest “Antelope” of Summer 2010.

I: Tube, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Funky Bitch, Reba, Fuck Your Face, Alaska, Back on the Train, Taste, When the Circus Comes, Lawn Boy, Sparkle, Gumbo, Run Like an Antelope

II: The Sloth, Down with Disease > What’s the Use? >   Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song > Dirt > Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley > Weekapaug Groove, Bug

E: Quinn the Eskimo

Source: Schoeps mk4v > CMR > Naiant PFA > Sonosax SX-M2 > SD 722

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