Progressive Phish

6.26.09 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

In a vintage case of Phish being Phish, the band came to Merriweather Post Pavilion a day after playing the show of the summer, and one upped themselves, slaughtering a second set that now stands as the strongest frame of 2010. Transformed – literally – overnight, Phish has returned to the top of their game, and based on the progress from Friday to Saturday, there is no ceiling limiting how far the band will grow in this era. Having definitively transformed their sound this year, Phish, once again has their foot on the accelerator and nothing but open highway ahead. Exploration and discovery is again the norm, rather than the exception, and something tells me there’s no going back. Open, unstructured jamming no longer presents a challenge for the band, but rather welcome missions into parallel universes. After the past two nights of musical mastery, any doubts anyone had about Phish returning to innovative greatness can be swept under the rug. This is 2010 – the year we make contact.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

Opening the second set with Saturday night’s assigned anthem, “Rock and Roll,” Phish built upon Camden’s “Chalk Dust”with a piece of improvisation that immediately jumped to the top of summer’s quickly-growing list of spectacular highlights. As if watching a different band than we saw for the first two weeks of tour, Trey and company held nothing back while pushing themselves into a fluid masterpiece. Comprised of more than a couple distinct sections, the band passed through, perhaps, the most blissful music of the summer before organically building into a mind-melting segment of snarling Phish. Through a maze of nasty licks and surreal communication, the band oozed into a menacing final jam around the theme of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick.” Boasting a new and daring sense of adventure, Trey never considered ending this jam before its proper landing. Absolutely ablaze all night long, Big Red played like a man possessed, embracing the moment, playing every note from his heart rather than his head.

“The Merriweather Rock and Roll” gracefully came to a close in “Free,” and though this landing pad boasted a vulgar bass solo from Gordon, Trey steered the song towards the ending immediately upon the conclusion of Mike’s carpet bombing. “Fast Enough For You” staged a dramatic breather, as Trey’s continued his marksmanship through even the ballads of the set. Upon the start of a mid-set “Sparkle,” I turned to my buddy and said, “Sparkle, Tweezer?”, citing the classic Bomb Factory combination. And sure enough, after sprinting through the chaotic piece, the band promptly slid into the into to the third “Tweezer” of summer.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

In a virtual antithesis of Hartford’s grooveasaurus, Merriweather’s “Tweezer” grew into a filthy piece of ominous music that illustrates the band’s emerging musical paradigm. Coupling his hard-edged aggression and killer instinct from the mid-90s with tasteful whaling licks, Trey, joined by Gordon’s murderous bass work, led a piece that can be rightfully described as “new-school/old-school” Phish, or in other words – the future. Trey couldn’t wait to get to the meat of things, improvising throughout the composed section, and when the jam dropped, things took on a completely new life. In a section of purely 2010-sounding music, Phish launched a forward-thinking crusade into darkness that was wrung with musical belligerence. Following a roaring and colossal opening segment, Phish left any semblance of reality behind, traveling to a far off planet of a war-torn alien culture. Providing a futuristic soundtrack of next-level jamming, the band narrated an apocalyptic tale of desperation. Playing with the passion of a wild hyena and the accuracy of a mafia hit man, Trey pushed himself further than any night this summer, and the band stayed with him every step of the way. Descending from pure lunacy into an ambient outro, Trey began to play “Horse,” and pulled back, allowing the piece come to a natural ending in deep space for two more minutes. This was one for the books; Phish hasn’t played a “Tweezer” like this – well – ever.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

“Horse > Silent” provided a melodic buffer before the band ended the set with the colossal combination of “Wolfman’s,” “Slave,” Reprise.” In this day and age, it’s simply a treat to get a second set “Wolfman’s,” but the band blew this one up, packing at least fifteen minutes worth of musical action into ten minutes of thick musical molasses. Chunky and celebratory, Phish funked up this version with a playful vocal jam before crunching a set of strapping grooves that Trey backed with meticulous use of the whale. Stylistically translating their fresh sound through multiple styles of masterful jams last night, Phish’s pressed fast-forward on their reinvention in Merriweather’s first show.

Closing the set with a climactic, beautifully-phrased “Slave,” Phish brought artistic resolution to merciless frame of mayhem. But in a surprise move, the band brought out “Reprise” in the far more dramatic set-ending spot, bombastically closing out the night’s “Tweezer” before the encore even got underway. And quite and encore it was.

6.26.10 (G.Lucas)

“Show of Life” and “Good Times” juxtaposed the poignant and introspective side of Trey with his all-out rock-star persona. The night’s two final songs provided a glorious excursions in opposite directions, touching the heart with tenderness and then with fire. Surfing the show’s final wave of adrenaline, Trey played as hard on the last song of the night as he did on any other. Displaying his blazing chops one last time on the classic Zeppelin cover, this finale fit right in with the band’s current fetish with the British legends.

Phish showcased some seriously progressive playing last night, building – only 24 hours later – on Camden’s Friday night triumph. After listening back to this set, it is quite clear that Phish is transforming, in front of our eyes, into a whole new beast. Combining the energy of the first half of tour with a breakthrough in improvisational confidence, the band has, once again, made Phish tour is the most exciting place on the planet.

…How many hours ’til showtime?

First Set Notes: A blistering 2010-sounding “Stash” highlighted a well-played, but relatively uneventful first half of the show. Although a late-set “46-Days”didn’t break form, it surely provided an early sign of the six-string combustion that would soon follow. Another new cover emerged from the renowned Indie band Neutral Milk Hotel. (Never heard of em? Me neither.) The cover, “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea” comes from the band’s iconic 1998 record of the same name. Similar in sound to “Earth Angel,” it seemed as though we were at The Enchantment Under the Sea dance, and Trey might start looking at his disappearing hand in some sort of time-space paradox. The heartfelt song provided a bizarre interlude in the set between “Tube” and “Stash, but I’m all for the new covers; keep ’em coming.

I: Crowd Control, Kill Devil Falls, AC/DC Bag, Sugar Shack, Tube, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea*, Stash, Backwards Down the Number Line, NICU, 46 Days, Suzy Greenberg

II: Rock and Roll > Free, Fast Enough for You, Sparkle, Tweezer > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Wolfman’s Brother, Slave to the Traffic Light, Tweezer Reprise

E: Show of Life, Good Times Bad Times


6.26.09 - Merriweather (Graham Lucas)

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1,099 Responses to “Progressive Phish”

  1. Al Says:

    Black, red, gold – let’s go

    @Matso: Got SPAC and Hartford as audience recordings, too. I’ll put them on my iPod, too. Thanks.

  2. Matso Says:

    @ Corey –
    Understood. I’ve got a soft spot for Germany because they can play really inspiring football. But I’ve got to support England today. It won’t be fun in the office tomorrow if they lose.

    Great to meet you guys last weekend. Have a blast at CMAC!

  3. Zach Says:


  4. angryjoggerz Says:

    Hey all, morning.

    Been thinking about BK, can’t wait to hear his impressions. Looks like THE hottest show of the run so far. My super phishead buddy txm and said it was the best show he had seen in 3.0 hands down, so that says a lot!

    Brother Sport cover would be so fucking awesome and would meld two of my favorite bands together… love that song.

    Phish covering Loveless might be too much for this here joggerz to handle… one of my top 5 fav albums ever. I cant even get my head around it. Glad to hear red is a fan!


  5. angryjoggerz Says:

    PS. I love how it is all international AM up in here! Welcome everyone, your global flavor makes the BB a better place!

  6. KWL Says:


    can’t wait to spin this one

    so pumped for bk

    got engaged last night

    exciting weekend all around–can’t wait for tuesday

  7. Moby Dick Says:

    morning AJ

    can’t get enough of this CDT… gonna switch over to the “BK Show” in abit

  8. angryjoggerz Says:

    CONGRATS KWL!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wishing you and your SLF/Fiance a lifetime of love, laughter and togetherness.

  9. angryjoggerz Says:

    Love FTW!

  10. Moby Dick Says:

    congrats KWL!

    From the bottom of this dick’s heart may your journey cross several oceans.

    And stay away frrom seawhorses!

  11. Matso Says:

    Congrats KWL!! Well done buddy!

  12. angryjoggerz Says:

    Morning Dicky,
    laughed out loud when i read they teased Moby Dick last night…. the band is reading the BB and they miss you!

    Seriously, though… tell me that is not Red being cheeky about the whale business. Love it! Said it already, love this band!

  13. Henry Says:

    I had a pad to write down the setlist last night and this is what it says at the beginning of set II:

    “R and R!!!! – this is IT”

  14. KWL Says:

    thanks peeps

    and…. moby dick in r&r? so….

    phish reads phishthoughts

  15. angryjoggerz Says:

    Matso; don’t know you but had read your posts, which are full of great energy. Midwestern Phish needs you, please report to duty at Deer Creek and follow up with Alpine Valley. You will not regret!

  16. angryjoggerz Says:

    I also have to say that I too love waking up in the am, having my coffee and having a fresh hot link to the action waiting in my e-mail. I think I may not do streams anymore… they sound like shit and the negative banter is so boring. I like hearing is nice and sexy from the start, in the headphines with Gordo doing his dirty business right up in my ears.

  17. Little Buddy Says:

    Congrats, KWL!

    Where is BK? Can’t wait to read the little dude’s review!

  18. Moby Dick Says:

    BK is still looking for his jaw.

    He lost it on the floor last night.

  19. Matso Says:

    @ angry –
    How I wish I could. I just saw Hartford 2 and SPAC and that’s it for me this summer. I’m part of the international contingent on here and it took a lot of work convincing the wife for me to manage that trip (not to mention cash!). The closest I’ve seen to a midwestern show is either Cleveland or StarLake (back in the late 90s) but I’m dying to hit Deer Creek one year. Maybe 2011!

  20. angryjoggerz Says:

    BK6 posted this last night, gotta repost. So happy to see he had fun (though as an adult educator, I say “watch your language” hahah)

    Holy shit
    Holy shit
    Holy shit
    KDF was pure fire
    In The Aeroplane over the sea was beautiful (I love this song)
    Stash was hot (I called it right before )
    46 Days was a MONSTER – Trey would not let that one go
    Rock and Roll was very psychedelic and had a Moby Dick jam for a bit – You need to hear this jam
    Tweezer was insane, sonic assault – intense on every level
    Wolfman’s was funky as all get out – nice vocal jam as well.
    Tube was funky
    Fast Enough for You is a great song – dad liked it and horse->silent
    Show of Life, GTBT encore RAGED – Trey blew the place up.
    Not one dull moment tonight – at all. I danced my ass off all night tonight, GREAT time. Phish hosed MPP tonight for sure. Adam and Luke, wherever you may be, it was real real nice meeting you guys. I made a $5 donation to Waterwheel and got a sticker.
    If anybody saw a kid with glasses in a red Phish t-shirt with a crab on it, that was me. Sorry I didn’t make it for BB meetup today.
    We have pavillions tomorrow!!!!! The sound was great in the lawn – we were about 20-30ft back, dead center. Rager. Complete and total rager. I had the time of my life tonight, and am sore as all get out. I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves tonight. I cannot wait to do this all over again tomorrow. I love this band.
    Glowstick wars were nuts tonight, energy was at 110% the whole night. FUCK YES!

  21. joe Says:

    congrats KWL. have to train some people today at work is killing my previously scheduled listening to last nights show while watching the soccer stream here. um…dudes. I know I’m supposed to show you what to do, but why don’t we listen to some phish and watch england vs. germany instead.

  22. Gavinsdad Says:

    Ps…Camden 2001 is just silly good. Fluid. Fluidity. (thx for stepping up fishman…god…dayum)

  23. Sam Says:

    Nobody is talking about the Crowd Control, KDF opener! Same as last year’s Merriweather! I guess a nod to last year’s MPP show being sort of a dud?

  24. angryjoggerz Says:

    Matso, Deer Creek and Alpine are both worth hitting, both classic Phish venues, lots of vibes and history. They sort of go hand in hand, gotta do them all! Maybe next year?

  25. angryjoggerz Says:

    Like GD said… God Dayum!!!!!! Hot video, get ready!

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