6.12.10 - Blossom (M.Stein)

Long known for playing anthemic Saturday night shows that cater to their more mainstream weekend audiences, Phish approached the first Saturday night of 2010 with a playful, self-referential twist. Connecting a sequence of “Saturday-Night” songs that were often characterized by formulaic jamming throughout 2009, Phish infused Blossom’s second set with their re-found intention, crafting an refreshing frame of forward looking improvisation.

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

For the second consecutive night, the band formed a flowing second set of music, this time, with a celebratory thread running throughout. Opening up with a quintessential Saturday night trio of “Rock and Roll > Hood, and Backwards Down the Number Line” Phish pushed the boundaries of these well-loved anthems, creating some of the most compelling moments of this young tour. After a familiar-sounding “Rock and Roll” that moved from a fierce peak into a layered, ambient passage, the band dropped into a surprise early-set “Harry Hood.” Dripping with passion unlike any other of this era, Trey led the band in, easily, the most awe-inspiring version of their early opus since their return. An instant-classic that left more than a few jaws on the ground, this monumental “Hood” set the tables, however, for the jam that would steal the show like the Hamburgler pocketed quarter-pounders.

Re-emerging after a fall tour of relative inactivity, Phish took “Backwards Down the Number Line” further than ever before, launching into, perhaps, the defining jam of the opening two shows. After the band noodled out of the song’s structure, Phish shifted gears into a menacing milieu of secret-agent, spy-mission Phish drama. Without having a chance to hear the show before writing this, I can safely say that this excursion provided the unquestionable centerpiece of the show. Drifting into the same new sound that emerged from “Light” and “Ghost” in Chicago, Phish furthered their leap into the future with this clandestine journey. Check this out with all due speed, as I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this one in writing before too long. Spilling into “Twenty Years Later” in a reprise of the sequence that highlighted SPAC’s ’09 summer closer, Phish merged the two songs of Joy into a concentrated dose of musical psychedelia.

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

After a hearty exhale following this non-stop opening hour of the set, the band took a moment, preparing for what was next. After some clear communication between Trey and Page, in which Page looked ready and willing, if not a bit overwhelmed, Phish launched into John Lennon’s “Instant Karma!” Coming out of the furthest corner of left field, and sounding incredibly authentic to the original, the band opened the door to a brand new cover that will surely work its way into rotation this summer. Fishman’s replication of the strapping, hard-edged drumbeat gave the song its genuine sound, steering away from his usual intricate drum patterns. But the clear hero of the moment was Page McConnell, who absolutely slayed John Lennon’s vocal part, replicating both his tone and intonation, spot on. While the debut remained as the straight song, I wouldn’t doubt if Phish began to jam out of the “Instant Karma’s” unique textures before too long. A uniting song that fits the spirit of Phish 3.0, this comes as a welcome addition to the band’s ever-expanding repertoire.

And putting a stylistic ass-slap to their Saturday night set, Phish broke out the old-school funk in “Oh Kee Pah >Suzie.” And with time for one last scorcher, the band instead chose to split time between a gorgeous rendition of “Waste” and a gargantuan, snarling take on “Character Zero.” Taking their mainstream theme right on through the set-closer, Phish continued to slay their anthems like Super Mario taking out dragons. Crushing each and every piece in their path, Phish left a torrid wake in the Cleveland region as they made the circus made its way through a driving rain towards Hershey. And that was just the second set!

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Phish opened the show in the intimate pavilion with another debut cover – The Band’s “Look Out, Cleveland.” A thematic table-setter, this cover of the one-and-done variety, follows a handful of songs that Phish has used to honor specific geographical locales. Phish followed the The Band’s Americana feel, with a slice of their own in the slowly stretching “Ocelot.” Moving into more delicate, bluesy textures, this jam evoked the sounds of The Grateful Dead, a direction the piece seems to be moving. Again using the first set as a showcase for creative, succint jams, alongside “Ocelot,” Phish also shredded a “Stash” before dropping Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” for the second time in the 3.0 era, and, also, the second time since 1993. But the unquestionable high point of the first set came after time turned elastic in the long-overdue ressurection of “Mike’s Groove.”

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Crushing “Mike’s Song” with a militant musical escapade, Trey looked as if he had reacquainted himself with the ethos of the song, wearing his dramatic motions on his sleeve while demonically setting up shop. The band joined in the heavy hitting improv, which ironically didn’t surpass in time many of 2009’s versions, but the density of ideas was unparalled and anything but formulaic. And even more spectacular than “Mike’s,” for the first time in eons, Phish took “Weekapaug” by the jugular and created a truly original jam. Feeling his mojo, Trey stepped to the front of stage with a swagger with spitting leads of fury in what was nothing short of a modern revelation for the song.

After only two nights of summer, Phish creativity has been staggering, not only in their cosmic communication, but also in their show-sculpting. Bringing a completely fresh feel to the table, Phish has begun the process of reinvention once again. And things have never looked so promising…

I: Look Out Cleveland*, Ocelot, Water in the Sky, Stash, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Sample in a Jar, Time Turns Elastic, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Rock and Roll > Harry Hood > Backwards Down the Number Line > Twenty Years Later, Instant Karma*, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Waste, Character Zero

E: The Squirming Coil


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644 Responses to “Blossoming”

  1. ColonelJoy Says:

    Only some sort of deranged artistic loon wold compose such a ditty as the Tweez….

  2. BrandonKayda Says:

    Yeah no problem @Lycan

  3. AintNoTele Says:

    Just got back in…pretty, pretty, pretty good

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Hey @Ain’tNoTele

    So you enjoyed the show? How was set II?

  5. AintNoTele Says:

    The 2nd set looks like pure gold on paper and it was good, but the segues were really rough at times, especially into tweezer. Segue into twist was great though. The 2nd set peaks were really low too, they would build then mellow out into a non peak then segue into the next song. Piper and YEM were stellar though!!! First set was perfectly played

  6. AintNoTele Says:

    Had a blast with my daddio though. He boogied down like a fool and we had a great time. That made the show for me. He loved It’s Ice and the Jiboo opener. He really dug the whole 1st set in reality. Chalkdust and Fluffhead made sense to him, what more can you ask for?

  7. Jtran Says:

    Interesting @ANT

    Will have to hear it on tape I guess. Tweeprise next show, maybe ending set 1? Opener would be a bold move

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    That sounds great. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing this one. Glad to hear you and your dad had fun

  9. AintNoTele Says:

    1st set was perfect though. I hate to burst anyones bubble on the 2nd set, its looks perfect!!!

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    interesting feedback .. burnout over 3 night run after travelling? or mellow crowd just not giving it back in the way you need for the huge peak? Setlist makes me think maybe a crowd thing (bouncin sparkle towards the end of set 1 often means crowd didn’t get it/give it to this point, throw ’em a bone). who knows.

  11. c0wfunk Says:

    for me, on paper, night 1 is still the one.. just working my way through mikes groove from cleveland

  12. AintNoTele Says:

    I think they were trying to push themselves with the setlist and it just didnt come together. But I’ll let ya’ll be the judge(s). I’m not let down by any means, it just didn’t come together like I think they were planning

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Well based on the setlist it would seem like the band-crowd energy was very high – but then again you never know

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    word – sometimes all the pieces are there but the puzzle is just not together

  15. AintNoTele Says:

    Band crowd definitely there 🙂

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    So they went for it and missed a little bit, no biggie 🙂 Sounds like a well-executed show, and I’m glad to hear that they are pushing themselves more and more each show it seems. By second leg they will have this shit on lock

  17. sumodie Says:

    Psyched I committed to nTelos after reading tonight’s setlist. A tweeprise left hanging, a day off tomorrow, Tuesday show, the smallest outdoor venue in ages, general admission, battleships in view from the concert grounds -the stage is set for something else indeed.

    Great reading over the comments -peace out

    Hope ya’ll in attendance tonight had a blast!

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    I can’t wait to give this show a listen

  19. Jtran Says:

    I’m with you BK. Gotta wait til the morning though, don’t have the money to spend on SBDs

  20. sumodie Says:

    More AUDs finally popping up on etree (not tonight just yet)

  21. AintNoTele Says:

    I really do think they were shooting for the stars on this one. After two amazing shows I feel that they were trying to go all out and didnt have the steam, which is straight! There were moments of brilliance all throughout the 2nd set for sure. Lots of funk and even a trey/page clavi duel (I love the clavi more the anything). So hell yeah it was great! You will see though how things changed from Downed through the set

  22. AintNoTele Says:

    *Drowned. Hell, I’m suprised I can even type coherently 8)

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    The important thing here is that they tried and (for the most part, based on reviews) succeeded. I love that they are taking the fans into consideration and tried to bring their best tonight and went into new places and explored. Fantastic to hear that.

    I feel silly saying these things before hearing the show, but I am just happy to know that they really do try and impress us and leave it all on the stage. This show was probably great and I cannot wait to hear it

  24. AintNoTele Says:

    You’re dead on BK. You’ll be pumped after the first set no doubt. I absolutely loved it! A+ in my book. I cant wait to hear what everyone says about the 2nd too. But on that note, I gotta crash out.

    PS: the fireflies on PA are off the chain. There is jsut farmland with cornfields everywhere outside of the show and fireflies are blowing it up. I think CK5 planted them all there, that tricky bastard…

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    Later @Tele

    Thanks for your review, I’m in the middle of downloading this show now so I can’t wait to listen. I’ll give my thoughts in the morning

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