Deer Creek – XX

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Phish stepped into Deer Creek last night for their 20th show in the cornfields on the 14-year anniversary of 8.13.96 – their first massive freak scene in the storied venue – and one night after playing one of their strongest second sets of tour. The likelihood of of a colossal show last night was all but a given. But instead of delving deep on this special date, Phish balanced out the exploration of Deer Creek’s opener with a tight, song-based show that never quite elevated, and featured scarce open improvisation. Holding back on most of their central jam vehicles throughout Deer Creek’s shows, Phish has set up a two-night blowout in Alpine Valley.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

The first set featured a slew of old school songs, including “Guelah Papyrus” for the first time this year, and “Axilla,” “I Didn’t Know” and “Curtis Loew” for the first time on this run. But the most notable song choice was the 3.0 debut of “Walls of the Cave,” a song synonymous with the post-hiatus era. The piece sounded clean, slower than remembered and quite polished, as Phish switched up the old-school vibe with this mid-set treat. The band moved through the composed half of “Walls” with notable patience, allowing the intricate piece to breathe. Moving the “Silent Trees” section with some creative, breakneck playing, Phish locked in before dropping into one of the set’s improvisational highlights in “Stash.” Containing astute, full-band interplay, Phish pushed the piece through a melodic interlude amidst the sinister build. Some fierce work from Big Ern brought this one to the top, punctuating a succinct, yet powerful version. The other pieces of structured first set improv came in a standout “Ocelot” and a blistering “Possum” that closed the first half. These two pieces provided opposite feels, as the band wove a delicate blues-rock canvas in “Ocelot” and powered through a “Possum” like a locomotive. All told, the first set provided an entertaining string of well-played songs with several high points, but unfortunately, the same vibe permeated the second set.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

The band delivered the second stanza in two distinct sections – first, the dark and improvisational, and second, the light and fluffy. Front-loading the set with a promising sequence of “Light > 46 Days > Maze,” the band had the show in the palm of their hand. But instead of furthering the set by taking another launch pad off the shelf, the rest of the set fizzled into a summertime sing-along with “Meatstick > Mango,” “Fluffhead,” and Julius.” Kicking off the set with “Halley’s Comet” on Deer Creek’s second night, one felt that maybe this would be the time for an outright explosion of the crowd favorite. But in typical fashion, they segued into “Light” out the shortened song for the third time this summer. Following The Greek’s best-ever version of their newest vehicle what lied behind door number two was anyone’s guess.

Opening with a spirited composed jam, the band broke “Light’s” structure and entered a rolling, bass-led segment that brought the band out into earnest experimentation. Trey and Mike hooked up immediately, providing the foundation of the piece, offering symbiotic leads. As this section of another multi-tiered “Light” came to an organic end, the band downshifted into a spacey-ambient plane and slowly climbed out of the placid textures in a sparkling cooperative conversation that highlighted the version. But as the jam began to get truly gripping, Trey took a left turn for the end of the song, bringing back its lyrical reprise. Stretching “Light’s” ending into a drone outro, the band created a sonic bridge into “46 Days.”

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Though “46 Days” has showed up in a few second sets this summer, it has rarely spurned anything beyond bombastic guitar energy. When placed in this central spot, however, one wouldn’t have been crazy to think Phish would weave an improvisational tale. But again the band sat into an energy-based version of the heavy rocker. Instead of bringing the song to a concluding vocal round like previous summer renditions Phish drifted into another section of abstract ambiance that seamlessly bled into “Maze.” This initial sequence illustrated legitimate attempts to make smoother transitions between songs, albeit via ambient passages, but that intention, alone, is a positive sign in the band’s progression. Centering “Maze” in the second set for the second time this tour, the band again tore apart another scorching version showcasing stellar solos from Page and Trey while Mike backed the music with creative bass lines, enhancing the jam’s appeal.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

After bringing “Maze’s” mania to a head, closing the set’s opening sequence it certainly felt like time for some gooier dance music. Taking the road less traveled, a common theme of these Deer Creek shows the band unveiled the second “Meatstick” of 2010, signaling a stylistic turn in the direction of the set. While Merriweather’s version took off into a funk excursion, this rendition never left the song’s structure, but rather oozed into a slick DJ-style segue with “Mango Song.” Layering the two summer anthems over each other, Phish took their time to craft a smooth segue once again. The rest of the set followed a similar jam-less route, pairing “Fluffhead” and “Julius” in an underwhelming ending to the show. But when the band stepped back for a double encore, they capped the night with a magnificent “Slave” in which Trey shone from the first note to last.

Deer Creek’s second night, while entertaining, never gained that undeniable momentum of memorable second sets. By assembling two creative setlists in Indiana, Phish sent their Midwestern circus up to Alpine Valley for two nights with many of their largest musical springboards ready to explode. It’s time to get dirty in dairy land…

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guelah Papyrus, My Sweet One, Axilla, I Didn’t Know, Walls of the Cave, Stash, Train Song, Backwards Down the Number Line, Ocelot, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Wilson, Possum

II: Halley’s Comet > Light > 46 Days > Maze, Meatstick > The Mango Song, Fluffhead, Julius

E: Contact, Slave to the Traffic Light

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

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648 Responses to “Deer Creek – XX”

  1. ThePigSong Says:

    Hey folks. Saw umphreys earlier tonight and I will absolutely attrst to the fact that those guys can throw the fuck down.

    They’re not Phish. But IMO they do a damn good job finding IT.

  2. ThePigSong Says:

    made the night a little less bittersweet since my whole crew was up north in my home territory with the boys tonight

  3. BrandonKayda Says:

    Oh Kee Pah->
    Funky Bitch
    Fuck Your Face

    THAT’s how you open a show! 😀

  4. Mr. Murph Says:

    Indeed. Tube opener, love of my life. Oh KeePah doesn’t get enough play. btw, fuck your face.

    @B, did those DvDs come today?

  5. fatbunch Says:

    ^ exctly BK! was just txting my buddy who was at alpine and digs Alaska and I said glad u got ur Alaska after those opening 6 songs!

    holy cow! hopefully looks as sounds…

    wait a minute, scratch that ^ — reverse it 😉

  6. Prince Nabby Says:

    I just got back from the show, and it was amazing, but even more stunning than the music, even, was how wonderful everyone on the BB was in offering advice, encouragement, and support, as I struggled to make it those last 45 miles to the venue. And once again, let me kneel in worship of Uncle Ebenezer, who went way beyond the call of duty. Many beers and J’s coming his way soon!

    And the show was insane. The second set was the best I’ve heard in 3.0. It was a lot like MPP 2 in intensity but even more . . . intense. And with that, I have to sign out, because I have been up for almost 2 days without sleep, and I need to refuel. You guys are the best!

  7. albert walker Says:

    Boys didn’t fuck around tonight

    Besides some rough moments in the mikes versus this show is $$$

    Dwd > wtu was hot as fuck

    Soam bug and dirt were very tight with great guitar work

    Sally was the dirty funk

    Great phish show

  8. BrandonKayda Says:

    Sounds like a heater tonight

    Glad to hear everything worked out in your favor @PrinceNabby – glad you had a fantastic time. Same goes for @AW – looking forward to both sets. Looks like $$$

  9. BrandonKayda Says:


    Yes they did – thank you so much!!! Will watch the show tomorrow morning. Psyched

  10. beepaphone Says:

    as a phan moving to Chicago:

    I will never miss Alpine again.

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    About to start this show.

    Tube opener! Funky start

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    Hot through Funky Bitch so far – everybody on


  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    Really solid Reba. Smooth peak.

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    Moving onto some of set II now – want to hear the Sloth, Disease->What’s The Use before bed.

  15. sanchothehutt Says:

    Oh my f’in God am i beat.
    I walked around at set break basically yelling out, “where are my BB friends?”

    I was met with uncomfortable stares. Perhaps tomorrow. sleep now. what a show.

    And swenson, if you’re out there lurking, fuck your face ‘night BB

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    This Disease is nice. Funky

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    Was very interesting right before the funk – got into a drone-like jam like the end of the DC Split

    This is funky as hell right now – Fishman really playing with the rhythm. Unique

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    Jumping into new ideas a whole lot – Mike led ambient grooves now.

    This jam is moving around so fast I can’t keep up. All I can say is: LISTEN.

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Great segue into What’s The Use?

    That was one of the freshest jams I have heard in awhile. Didn’t stick to any “normal” Disease patterns, just kept morphing and shifting. Many different faces to that jam – cool stuff

  20. BrandonKayda Says:

    That was stellar. I am seriously surprised at the amount of creativity and variety in this Disease->What’s The Use? Unbelievable how many completely different musical ideas they run through.

    On that note, I’m going to bed. G’night folks!

  21. Hunter Says:

    Just got home from the show. My first Reba, at long last. I was surprised by the length of the first set. Fortunately, it flowed beautifully and was packed with energy. Even Alaska rocked the hell out.

    Mr. Miner, I look forward to reading your take on the DWD > What’s the Use. It was really something to behold. Bug was an interesting choice for set closer, and second set wasn’t the most fluid I’ve heard, but all in all I had a killer time. Gotta love having journalist friends who get you in for free!

  22. fromthetub Says:

    @oneshowatatime re: photos… I don’t have a website or sell them. Strictly for everyone’s viewing pleasure on here. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

    So nice to run into so many people here from Greek>Telluride. Bummed that I didn’t see everyone…

    Excited to give tonight a listen in the morning. Goodnight everyone.

  23. quazi motto Says:

    mr miner. i was hoping for the gelulah papyrus when it finally arrived. just was wondering if other people were wondering about the july 4th harpua quote of the song.

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