First Set Jamming

7.4.10 (W.Rogell)

The first sets of Phish shows have developed a retro-shape during this era, consisting mostly of compositions and one or two structured jams. A renewed focus on the artistry of each individual song has brought a sense of care to these opening frames, maintaining energy if sometimes lacking adventure. The most exciting parts of these first halves inevitably came with old-school jam vehicles and the band’s revitalized structured (‘type I‘) jamming. Injecting doses of creativity into their sets, pieces that that remained anchored to song structure burst with life for the first time in years. A facet of the band’s playing that had grown stale in the waning years of 1.0 and post-hiatus, has come back in force during 2010, illustrating the renewed focus and intent of Phish.

“Bathtub Gin” is, perhaps, the best example of this progression of summer, as each version provided a first set standout. Beginning with nTelos’ version that broke into a unique groove before Trey annihilated the peak, the song brought blasts of fresh jamming to the four first sets in which it appeared. While all four versions remained tied to the song’s theme, they each stood alone as unique highlights of Virginia, SPAC, Merriweather, and Atlanta.

6.25.10(G. Lucas)

Similar patterns followed for other  first set rotation songs, “Reba,” “Wolfman’s,” and “David Bowie.” Between differing guitar and bass tones, varying rhythms, and depending who led each jam, versions became distinct within structure. Because each version presented a distinct course to the same ending, the vehicles in rotation remained fresh and differentiating versions more often became a matter of musical taste rather than quality. Now, the same songs provided similar, but variant adventures. If one compares the Chicago and Charlotte “Wolfman’s ,” the SPAC and Atlanta’s ” Gins,” or the Hartford and Canandaigua “Reba,” and they will find different playing styles amidst similar themes, another aspect that spiced up this past tour.

6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Aside from songs  in rotation, Phish also used the first set to drop a couple one-time jams, including one of the tour’s most compelling  first set moment in Camden’s “Timber Ho!” Musical density at its finest, these seven-minutes of psychedelia featured more intricate interplay that many jams twice its length. In another first-half offering, Phish stretched out Atlanta’s “Destiny Unbound” into a smooth, welcome-to-the-weekend dance session. The band dropped only two “Splits,” each coming in the first set, providing divergent dips into dissonance at Hershey and Camden.

While first sets have been largely reserved for songs and longer compositions, when Phish decided to jam they did so with re found focus, exchanging ideas and thematic variants efficiency. Whether attacking “Ocelot” or “Antelope,” they did so in the moment, churning out fresh music like a meat grinder. In an evolution that can only point to greener pastures, Phish can once again spurn excitement with ten-minute jams that don’t veer from their roots. A minor frustration developed among some fans this summer when this type of playing seeped too much into second sets, leaving some shows with little exploration. All of a sudden, for those not on tour, catching a significant open jam seemed like landing a prize winning fish. But hopefully Phish’s structured proficiency will serve as a foundation for more frequent risk-taking as we head into the next phase of tour.

Ten Must-Hear First Set Jams of Summer (in no particular order)

“Timber Ho” – 6.25 Camden

“Bathtub Gin” – 6.15 Portsmouth

“Reba” –  6.18 Hartford

“Wolfman’s” – 6.11 Chicago

“Mikes’s > H2 > Weekapaug” – 6.12 Blossom

“Slave” – 6.15 Portsmouth

“Split Open and Melt” – 6.25 Camden

“Stash” – 6.17 Hartford

“Jibboo” – 7.4 Atlanta

“Antelope” – 7.4 Atlanta


Jam of the Day:

Number Line > 20 Years Later” 6.12.II

This “Numberline” makes a complete transformation from noodly happiness into a menacing encounter with the dark side. Nominated for jam of he tour, this is one of those segments that is so coherent it sounds composed. Top-notch Phish, through and through.




7.2.2010 Verizon Wireless Amp., Charlotte, NC < Torrent

7.2.2010 Verizon Wireless Amp., Charlotte, NC < Megaupload

Official Charlotte Poster

A two-set effort that sparked the holiday weekend. The second set came in acts, with “Drowned > 46 Days > 20 Years Later” forming the first; “Lizards” as an intermission, and “Carini > Fuck Your Face > 2001 > YEM” as the thrilling Act II.

I: Buried Alive > AC/DC Bag, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother, Back on the Train, The Wedge, Mexican Cousin, Stash, Sparkle, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Drowned > 46 Days > Twenty Years Later, The Lizards, Carini > Fuck Your Face > Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself*

E: A Day in the Life

* w/ “Proud Mary” and “Get Back” vocal jam

Source: (FOB) Schoeps mk4v> KCY> Schoeps VMS02IB> SD 744t

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843 Responses to “First Set Jamming”

  1. voidboy Says:


  2. voidboy Says:

    Woops, maybe not what you’re looking for… sorry… pasted too soon…

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    np. thats good stuff as well. 45-60 mins of serious improv

  4. BrandonKayda Says:


    Glad that you read the review! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  5. Mr. Murph Says:

    Darkstarenstein. Sounds like ill listen to this as I lay in my bed drifting into sleep.

  6. voidboy Says:


    Yeah, I must say I was a little surprised to get the emails from Lycan… it’s very cool you’re contributing to the cause. I’ll have to check out more for sure.

  7. voidboy Says:


    Yeah, I’ve yet to check it out… sounds like it could be cool.

  8. BrandonKayda Says:


    Yeah the CF newsletter thing is a pretty easy way to keep people updated. I really enjoy writing the reviews, so I’m glad to help them out. It is not a problem. I love writing about music in general, so it is especially fun to write the reviews for Chance Fisher.

    Let me know what you think as you listen to the shows/read the reviews. I’d definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts and I’m sure Lycan would too. 7/1 is a great place to start for 2010 – actually I just posted a 4-disc highlight reel of my favorite moments from CF 2010 thus far, so you can listen to that if you’d like.

  9. voidboy Says:


    Really? That is amazing that you are putting in that kind of energy. I was interested just from your enthusiasm of the reviews… a “highlight” reel sounds like a lot of fun to check out. I love what Lycan is up to…. Is he emailing the link or is this on his sight? (I have yet to check either out, so don’t know). In either case, I’ll let you (and him) know what I think. Thanks for the head’s up.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Generally I write the reviews, email them to him and he posts them on the site along with the link, if that’s what your asking. You can stream the shows on the The Dirigible (Chance Fisher blog)

    CF’s blog is here:

  11. voidboy Says:


    I’ll check it out tomorrow. Thanks!

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh, and you can put your thoughts/comments of the show on the blog too in the comment section, if that makes things easier for you. Either way, we’d definitely be interested in your thoughts. Thanks for listening.

    Here is the last show review (2010.07.01) – w/ show streaming on page

    Here is the 4-disc “highlight reel” of 2010 (1.21 – 7.1) – w/ comp. streaming on page:


  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Alright sounds good.

    But hey, I gotta get going as its 3:30am right now over here. I want to get some small fragment of sleep tonight 🙂

    It was really nice talking to you @Void, et all. Great conversation tonight.

    Goodnight everybody!

  14. voidboy Says:


    I’m in the same boat (‘cept it’s not as late…) Listening to “Sleeping Monkey”… damn that dude with the sign. Yeah, I’ve got to crash as well. Alright, untill next time…

  15. voidboy Says:

    thanks for he links, too!

  16. garretc Says:

    Hey Mr. Miner, they have the Miami show up at etree, I’ll see if I can get the direct link when I get home.

    I’ll be seeding it all day the next couple of days, so you (and anybody else) shouldn’t have trouble pulling it.

    Also, speaking of mindfucks:


    Trippy movie right there. Real cool taboot.

  17. Omni1 Says:

    I read your review of last months Stash/Requests Story. I also see Stash on here in Hartford for killer Jams. I’d have to say I was at that show and have listened to this particular Stash over, and over. I feel it didnt redeem itself like you said. The Jam through “My life I sought” is not great at all. It’s lost, and meandering. It’s started out ruff, and ended up semi-smooth. The great OMNI has spoken!

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    Morning, all!

    Sorry to BK and Mr. C for dropping out of the 2/28/03 discussion last night.

    I lost my head during the Gin, and then I fell asleep after that.

    Last Waltzer and his girl took me on a hike that got me nice and ready for bed.

    I hope they got back to Chicago safely

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