Let’s Take A Ride…

Jones Beach - 2010 (Mitch Ladd)

Originally penned as a nostalgic poem by Tom Marshall to Trey, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has been an enigma ever since joining Phish’s live rotation. Presented as the virtual theme song of the band’s comeback year, one foresaw the catchy single developing into one of the band’s newest jam vehicles. But only twice during 2009 did Phish take the song outside the box, favoring standard versions that rode the coattails of Trey’s guitar solo to the closing refrain. When Blossom’s “Number Line” transformed into one of June’s most impressive jaunts, 2010 seemed like the song’s coming-of-age year. But for the rest of the month and throughout August, Phish unveiled benign version after benign version – until Jones Beach. While much of the post-tour hype has centered on The Greek and Alpine Valley stands, perhaps, the most focused and dynamic “Number Line” ever has flown under the radar. When revisiting the centerpiece of Jones Beach’s stellar two-set opener, the virtuosity of this metropolitan adventure leaps from the speakers.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

Each time Phish took “Number Line” outside the box before Jones Beach, they made distinct musical shifts, stepping away from the song’s feel-good textures into something wholly different. But when Phish drove their modern anthem on a tour-ending trek, they took the song’s theme and rhythm into the ether with a more fluid start-to-finish excursion than ever before. The band played through the initial composed jam with a more relaxed feel than many of their routine, shreddier versions. While trotting this linear path, Phish began to peel away layers, forming a variant musical plane while keeping one foot in the song. Trey wove an original melody that pulled the band with him, beginning to drift from structure; but it wasn’t until he cut through the music with power-rhythm chords that knew we knew were in for a ride.

Without altering the cadence or flow of the jam, the band slipped into smooth, piano-laced, percussive patterns filled with creative ideas. As Trey’s offerings morphed into earnest leads, Mike and Fishman locked up, collectively steering the low-end of the music like a race car on rails. As the rhythm section destroyed the pocket, Trey and Page collectively colored the top half of the music. With all band members on the same page, they collectively crushed an original piece that still retained roots to the song. But those roots would further disintegrate as Trey threw high-speed, medieval melodies from his blazing Ocedoc.

8.15.10 (M.Stein)

Phish settled from this fire into a sparser groove with Page tickling the Fender Rhodes and Trey coloring the aural painting as Mike stepped up to take the lead. Aside from the awesome whole-band interplay, the highlight of this jam from this juncture is the mind-altering beat science of Jon Fishman. Slaughtering intricate breakbeats as the band melted into the cosmos, Fishman shone during the latter half of this jam, continuing his personal excellence over Leg Two while anchoring a masterful section of Phish’s newest “urgent ambient” playing. Amidst insane rhythms, Trey hit a triumphant melody that led the band into a surreal peak into the future.

Trey, Page, and Mike engaged in a tight, melodic exchange over Fishman’s hyperspace, as Phish collectively slaughtering their experiment. Trey began a weeping lead over the mind-numbing, percussive pocket that led the band into an entire peak section of the jam. Twisting his phrasing to liken The Beatles’ “Norweigan Wood” melody, Trey added a musical reference to this golden sequence of four-minded mania. Taking this part to the top floor, Phish moved at warp speed while remaining firmly glued to each others’ ideas. Fish continued his inhuman work while Trey brought us to the promise land.

While the summer’s final shows at Jones Beach were littered with highlights, nothing over the four sets reached the unique improvisational genius of “Number Line.” Perhaps a sign of things to come, but more likely a rarity, Phish crafted an east-coast excursion that earned a place on the top shelf of 2010.

Jones Beach 2010 (Mitch Ladd)


Jam of the Day:

Number Line” 8.17.10 II

The improvisational peak of Phish’s final stand of Summer 2010.




8.15.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Torrent

8.15.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < Megaupload

Alpine Valley - 2010 (M.Stein

In another rowdy show in Wisconsin, The Ocedoc’s flame never went out as Trey tore apart night two. “Ghost > Theme” and “Piper > 2001” highlight a second set filled with hits. Additionally, a scorching “Bowie” punctuated the opening half.

I: Tweezer, AC/DC Bag, On Your Way Down, The Divided Sky, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Water in the Sky, The Moma Dance, Farmhouse, David Bowie

II: Ghost > Theme From the Bottom, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, You Enjoy Myself > Piper > Also Sprach Zarathustra > While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Character Zero

E: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Cavern, Joy, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps mk21 (FOB) > kc5 > cmc6xt > Sonosax SX-M2 > Mytek Stereo 192 ADC > Tascam HD-P2 (24/96)

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667 Responses to “Let’s Take A Ride…”

  1. Mitch Says:

    missed out on all of today. if anything big happened, time to post it now.

    i’m still confused why bobbies shorts are so short
    can someone please explain? was it the style? is he picking up “dudes in the front row?”

    had fun tonight, gratefulcub stopped by and we swapped a lot of stories, that was fun. cheers ya’ll.

  2. Mitch Says:

    whoa, synchronicity, chime in after 12 hours away and robear is throwing a a shout out…
    can you mediafire to me? or email me a reminder???

  3. Mitch Says:

    whats funny is i cant imagine sneaking a vhs recorder in during a ’91 show. its hard enough taking a point and shoot in. and they took full videos of the deads cheesy cloud backdrop. haha

  4. Mitch Says:

    im inebriated. typing without the red squiggle is very hard right now. dont worry, this is one of two nights a week. it was pre-planned. still laugh at my own jokes unrelated to this… i digress

    gratefulcub spilled a glass of bourbon on my mouse… may not work tomorrow… suck… works now… good…. not suck….

    i wanna hear mango > sand but a shower seems more pressing…
    none of your business. should prob talk to you all in the morrow.

    dude hot boxed our first floor. i about knocked on his door to smoke. felt like a bad host with grateful cub over and no smoke. 10.31…. not so far… right guys? guys???

  5. Mitch Says:

    repost from bottom of last page:

    i’m still confused why bobbies shorts are so short
    can someone please explain? was it the style? is he picking up “dudes in the front row?”

  6. Robear Says:

    Mitch, I just grabbed that show off of bt.etree. Let me see if I can find the link. el duder posted it earlier.


    try this^ I’m still seeding it. Great show, jammy second set.

  7. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    @Mitch – i’m back in the city starting monday… lets meet up/bane soon. and with whoevers around… dr. p, and/or Cub next time he’s in town.

    im so pumped to get back to nyc. gonna be living on 14th and B this year in basically a giant park/private community with a roller hockey rink, some bbal courts, the works.

    …im hoping/assuming im gonna be able to smoke in the park at night.

  8. Mitch Says:

    cool dude. i’m off bane til i see phish on 10.31. just got on a string of bad dead videos after a string of really good ones.

    deer creek dead vids lead to the bad ones in 95… sucks.

    anyway…. yeah im down dude, just wont smoke. then i feel like a bad host like tonight. either way… gonna grab that link robear has and listen tomorrow.

  9. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    okok. why off the bane?

  10. Mitch Says:

    not a topic for tonight… instead watch this:


    so awesome. how do you get a vhs into a show? same people that sneak bongs into show. damn i wish i saw jer…

    seriously tho, watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br592eaxvus

  11. ChefBradford Says:

    So, even though most of the reviews and comments are terrible, I like to check them out at LivePhish periodically. I read through the comments from the 6/14/2000 Drum Logos Fukuoka, Japan release, and this comment stood out. A pretty good review as is, but it really lends a sense of what the “room” was like that day, and there are some beautiful, personal moments mentioned as well. Copy and paste, I hope it works. Hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I did!

    From “cookiepuss”

    This was the favorite show that I ever attended. The day was beautiful after a few days of rain in Japan. The venue was in the thick of downtown Fukuoka and there were tons of extras because not a lot of folks wanted to take the six hour train ride (even on the Shinkansen) from Nagoya the night before to get there. The small venue was painted entirely in black, the crowd was primarily Japanese. Folks go in by ticket number in Japan and I very fortuitously had #10 so I got a spot right in front of Trey on the rail. The vibe inside was at first a little raucous with excitement but due to the song choice and the obvious thoughtful vibe of the band both in playing and stage presence the crowd settled down almost immediately. What followed was extraordinary to behold in person. I have NEVER been to any “rock” concert where everyone was so quiet. People were intently listening and the symbiosis between band and audience was perfect. Loud applause at precisely the right moment, dead silence otherwise. The beginning of the second set felt like seeing Phish in a rehearsal and was almost obscenely intimate. The band interplay was so telepathic and the audience so enraptured that the room started to feel downright holy. It was wondrous to witness and everybody knew it. When the lights came on after the show, nobody moved. They, including myself, were entranced; it was just that hypnotic and magical. It was like a spell had been broken and we had come back to earth/Kansas/Kansai(?).

    I had dinner with a new Japanese friend I met that night that would become the best man at my wedding three years later in Japan. I met my wife-to-be the next night in Osaka after the show. She’s a Japanese and we have traveled back to Japan many times since then to visit the friends I met there on that tour and they have come to the U.S. many times to travel and of course see Phish. To get a feel for what the show was like, listen by yourself cause it was one of those nights that the material world pleasantly disappeared and the self was transported to the astral plane. Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu, Sakana-bandu (“Phish-band” in Japanese)

  12. sanchothehutt Says:

    Mitch, I’m going to hunt you down and hug you. Just checking in before bedtime and you crack me up.

    Night, folks

  13. Mitch Says:

    i feel like being hunted for a hug isnt so bad… ok really… gonna shower cause i know at 7 am the shower wont seem necessary. see: this morning when i skipped it. (half asleep… shower? i dunno… prob dont need it, come 3pm i’m re-considering…) but tonight… i kinda need one.

    i got stuck in a loop of mitch hedberg jokes. those are taking up a lot of my time. but for real i’ll need a shower.

  14. Mitch Says:

    for those of you who dont know: shinkansen is a bullet train in japanese or a REALLY FAST train to us US folks.

    i’d like to know what went down post show that this dude met his future wife and friends at this show if nobody really spoke. must have been a mental shinkansen the likes of us US folk havent experienced yet. woo doggies!!

  15. shpongleyez Says:

    for those who may have noticed my comment a few days back, asking if anyone had seen the magical flowing rainbow running down the pillars at the greek, i found it!

    it is at 7:35 in the 46 Days>Tube vid at phish.com. Those vids are awesome by the way…

  16. shpongleyez Says:

    more like 7:30 for those who are curious

  17. shpongleyez Says:

    and now i just have to take the number of the beast post.

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