Chocolate Thunder

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

Phish added a large piece to their legacy in Hershey, Pennsylvania last night, throwing down a bass-led massacre in Chocolate City. Throughout two sets of pure Phish fire, Mike took center stage, leading the band through an array of creative jams in which Trey played noticeably more subtle, laid back offerings all night long. Boasting an enhanced creativity through more diverse playing, Trey helped sculpt a show that certainly upped the ante for the rest of the summer. With a bombastic second set and a stellar first, Phish capped the weekend with their strongest overall performance of this summer, which – although hard to believe – has only just begun!

As the sun shone though the clouds of the early evening, Phish came on stage flying high with a groovy greeting of “Jibboo.” Entering the song’s candy grooves, Mike’s presence was immediately felt as his thumping lines bounced though the the wide open field like a kangaroo in the outback. Setting the tone for the show, both Trey wove his lines around his cohort’s leads, eventually bringing the jam to a searing peak of his own. But following the late-’90s TAB transplant, the rest of the first set took on a pronounced old-school persona. While barreling through a roaring, yet intricate, “Chalkdust,” it became very apparent only three shows into tour, regardless of what songs Phish is playing these days, they are simply destroying them all. With a tightness that sounds foreign after the late-’90’s groove era and post-hiatus’ more abstract improv, seeing Phish 2010 is like seeing a renewed band– a bandone that wants to be exactly where it is once again and is having a blast doing IT.

6.12.10 (M.Stein)

The retro-vibe continued with a massive first set “Fluffhead,” showcasing the the pin-point accuracy of Phish’s chops and the intense tension and release that comes along with such precision. Infused with a undeniable urgency, “Fluff” illustrated that the band can once again toy with energy like children in a sandbox, manipulating music as if it were a tangible object. After a seriously cathartic peak, the band dropped into the now-rare “Funky Bitch,” annihilating a version that brought the crowd energy to ferocious first-set heights. From this early point in the show, it became wholly evident that Phish was feeling the flow, likening Loony Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil, taking out anything and everything that stood in their path.

6.12.10 (L.Neuhaus)

Phish continued their scorching opening sequence with the most engaging “Runaway Jim” since their comeback. While remaining within the song’s structure, the entire band oozed creativity as they chugged through the jam. Trey offered delicate licks as opposed to face-melting leads, a pattern that held true for much of the night’s music. This “Jim” proved that the little doggie can still inspire greatness, something it hadn’t yet done this go-round. The show’s only relative lull came in the five-song sequence of “NICU,” “Horn,” “It’s Ice,” “Bouncin” and “Sparkle,” but Phish came right back, punctuating their spirited frame with a demonically abstract “Split Open and Melt.” A version that grew outwards as quickly as it pushed forward, the band, collectively, built a hypnotizing, discordant gem that saw Trey favor tonal bends and washes of psychedelia rather than forceful linear leads. A version that needed a re-listen to truly digest, Phish tapped into a demented realm of darkness as night fell upon setbreak.

Building on the well-crafted second sets of the past two nights, Phish came out in Hershey’s with a musical stanza that flowed impeccably. Lacing together several of their “greatest hits” with creative bass-led improv that just never stopped, Phish crushed a classic frame from the opening note to the last. First the setlist – “Drowned > Tweezer > Twist, Piper > Free, Velvet Sea, YEM” – booyakasha! Or as MC Hammer once sang, “Can’t touch this!” And the playing within matched the absurdity of the visual setlist, one imaginative piece after another.

6.12.10 (L.Neuhaus)

The most expansive jam of the evening came right out of the gates in a multi-faceted jaunt through “Drowned.” Out of the jam’s shredding rock textures, Phish slowed it down into a heart-tugging segment of transcendent psychedelia. And, even in this mellow realm, the band molded their experimentation with Mike at the center of the music. Moving through this ethereal palette as if a daydream, the band soon pushed into a series of lively percussive grooves. Moving in the direction of a dance party, the band wound the jam directly into the first “Tweezer” of 2010. Entering a series of dense liquid patterns, Phish molded a heavy space-aged sequence that seemed that it might launch into the stratosphere. But, ironically, when the dust settled, “Tweezer” stood out as the least exploratory jam of the second set, remaining a showcase for Gordon’s thunder, while Trey spat nasty licks, bringing a snarling element to mix.

6.12.10 (L.Neuhaus)

Following an extended build, the band settled into an ambient section that soon segued¬† into “Twist.” With some of the best interplay between Trey and Mike all night, it was a relief to see Phish take”Twist” for a significant ride once again. With shorter, staccato-esque licks, Trey darted in and around Mike’s heavily effected basslines, creating a musical game of cat and mouse. Boasting sizzling chops, the entire band moved with intent, collectively manifesting a slamming piece of interlocked dance music. It seems that each time Phish busts out a song right now, they are topping any previous 3.0 version, and this pattern certainly held true with “Twist.” And then, after a momentary pause, Phish breathed life into the year’s first “Piper” –¬† an immediately exciting proposition, after the song’s stellar 2009. On this night, the band chugged right out of the searing composed jam into one of the night’s most compelling adventures. With a take-no-prisoners attitude, the band careened into a rollicking case of musical density, following on the heels of Miami’s standout excursion. This “Piper” continued pushing the ceiling for the piece’s modern potential, and became another vivid illustration of everything right in current Phish universe.

Splashing down in “Free,” the time seemed ripe for Phish to take the song to town once again. But in the end, “Free” seems like a song whose purpose has changed permanently from jam vehicle to landing pad in this era, and some things we just must accept. Following the relentless opening hour of the set, Phish used “Velvet Sea” to set up a closing “YEM” that brought the house to its knees with its laid back funk fantasy. Again taking a minimalist approach, Trey sat way back, issuing swanky tickets for Gordon’s multiple bass violations. An example of what “YEM” can be when given the tender loving care it deserves, this version just built on the strong Fall ’09 renditions, providing an indelible exclamation point on a evening of modern legend.

With three shows down and fifteen to go, the sky is once again the limit for Phish shows, a place where the extraordinary music once again happens with alarming regularity. Even though the temperatures can’t get much hotter on Summer Tour 2010, the mercury of the music is rising faster than ever. Look Out, Portsmouth, there’s a storm coming through.

I: Gotta Jibboo, Chalk Dust Torture, Fluffhead, Funky Bitch, Runaway Jim, NICU, Horn, It’s Ice, Bouncing Around the Room, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt

II: Drowned > Tweezer > Twist, Piper > Free, Wading in the Velvet Sea, You Enjoy Myself

E: Bold As Love


6.12.10 - Blossom Music Center (L.Neuhaus)

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1,428 Responses to “Chocolate Thunder”

  1. BingosBrother Says:

    Maybe Dancing. I could swear during the show(toyota) that I kept hearing hints of MLB in different places but I was pretty boomed.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have no idea if you’re right, I don’t know the RCMH Ghost by heart

  3. angryjoggerz Says:

    So, how did Hershey sound? Haven’t checked it out yet.

  4. Litteringand Says:

    Light>maze is fucking on point. I’m prescribing it to jaded vets

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    I don’t know who was asking about the Bathtub Jin shirts earlier, but you can find that and more badass Phlost tees here.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    eye heart wolfman’s brotha shirts


  7. BingosBrother Says:

    The Light was definitely getting brighter Littering.

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    Troof Mr. C.

    I love the Faraday Mikes Song.

  9. voopa Says:

    Last night sounds fucking great so far…great Jibboo opener, and this CDT rips…excited for the rest!

  10. kayatosh Says:

    listening to twist now. good stuff, it almost fully moves into uncharted territory at the 7 and half min. mark and then trey pulls it back to more familiar territory and then it’s over. great piece. full on coherent confident improvising.

  11. voopa Says:

    BTW, Chalkdust’s ending might be the best song ending Trey has ever composed…there maybe others..D Sky, Foam…discuss..

  12. Litteringand Says:

    guyute end is pretty dope

  13. kayatosh Says:

    one more run through of 6/13 yem and then i should probably spin set I already. had multiple listens of 6/13 set II. it’s good folks.

  14. Mitch Says:

    frankie wears a wolfmans brotha shirt. cracks me up everytime!

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    The Chi-town Reba is serious business…almost moves into ambient territory early on. Trey is playing some heart-warming licks while building the jam.

    2010 is some great Phish, folks

  16. Mitch Says:

    time for light to grow brighter. sounds so fresh. glad to have this one on board for the long haul.

  17. voopa Says:

    Good call Lit!

    Weekapaug has a pretty slick ending too. As does Tweezer Reprise…

  18. Litteringand Says:

    Was not expecting the ghost in chi. It is such a big boy song i did think I see it at a tour opener. very happy

  19. voopa Says:

    This Hershey board rivals anything they’ve released from 3.0 thus far. Wow!

  20. Litteringand Says:


  21. phoammhead Says:



  22. cal Says:

    Greetings, everyone! I am bumming hardcore about my lack of BB time lately, but nothing for it right now.

    I am sure this has been said already, but I just have to offer up my eternal gratitude to BTB, who not only hosted us but drove us to and from the venue, no simple task! I shudder to think how lost I’d have gotten trying to get from Blossom to BTB fest on my own. Also, to Allie and everybody else who drove: you people are the heroes of the weekend!

    Thanks to SW for doing HOURS of driving; this kid does Phish tour like an old pro, except for the no-trace-of-jadedness thing. A road warrior and selfless devotee to the passion of Phish tour life. Nobody I’d rather be on the road with.

    Thanks to Mr Miner for facilitating all these connections!!! It was SO COOL to meet Aquaman, KWL, Robear, Luther, KP, punkmug, bhizzle, Allie and, well, almost guaranteed I’m spacing out somebody. Wish I’d had more time to talk to y’all! Such amazing folks we have gathered here, can’t wait to hopefully catch up a bit more with some of you during the more relaxing two-nighters at DC and Alpine.

    As brief as I can be, I’ll just say I was pleasantly blown away by how awesome the boys were on the first two nights of tour. And by how many people I heard raving about being converted to TTE by Blossom!

    And yes, there was a little something extra on that “Zero”! Even when Phish wasn’t perfect over the weekend, there was nothing rote at all going on, nothing less than pouring everything they had into the music. It was 2009 with vastly improved drums and keyboards (and singing by the keyboardist!). This is gonna be such a fabulous summer! Hope I have more time to check in soon…Cheers, friends!

  23. Litteringand Says:

    Btw this my go to site for tour

  24. phoammhead Says:

    Has anyone compared the sbds with miner’s no spoiler download?

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    word @cal

    take it easy

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