Songs In the Key of Trey

10.23.10 - Amherst (Matt Wagner)

Some shows have IT and some shows don’t. And last night’s show never even came close. Aside from standout, but structured, versions of “Stash” in the first set and “Bowie” in the second set, there was no improvisation to speak of in Amherst’s second show, leaving many fans scratching their head trying to figure out what happened Sunday night and why. After a song-driven effort on Saturday evening, Phish came out with zero intent last night, seemingly happy to play a benign list of singles with almost zero creativity. Every tour has a speed bump – a low-point – and without question there won’t be a less engaging show this fall than Amherst’s Sunday night finale.

10/24 Amherst Pollock

After what felt like a rocking set-up show on Saturday, Phish’s homecoming to New England never truly came to fruition. After a week of cutting edge playing, starting on Charleston’s second night and ending on Friday in Providence, the band significantly reeled in their improvisation for the college town. And on Sunday, they never allowed themselves to get into any flow, playing a show that fell as flat as a pancake. The night seemed so divergent in music and tone than any this tour, the entire show seemed wholly out of place. Midway through the second set, the show had lost any semblance of momentum, stumbling to an uneventful finish. Phish continued their precise playing, but by choosing to not bring their music anywhere interesting, they sealed the fate of the evening.

Let’s start with what matters most. Amidst an old-school setlist, including the long-time bust-out of “Ride Captain Ride” since Philly ’99, Phish innocently dropped into “Stash” as the first piece of improvisation of the evening. A song that hasn’t received much love in this era finally got a moment to shine last night, albeit still stuffed in the middle of the opening set. Drifting into the jam with delicacy, Trey’s licks began out of the gate with an intricate intention as Page’s piano chased his melodies over a subtle pocket. The band remained in the song until Trey played a repetitive descending lick that launched the band into a blissful plane of harmony. Fishman anchored himself in the rhythms of “Stash,” as the band took off in a three-part convergence. Big Red’s leadership and fire guided the band through this gorgeous segment and back into build of the song. While not incredibly exploratory, this rendition carried something special, possibly signifying big things to come. But they never did.

10.23.10 (M. Wagner)

Following up the highlight of the show, “Fee’s” tranquil ambient jam morphed into “Time Turns Elastic” which crushed any momentum of the set, leaving the closing combination of “Cavern,” “Antelope” detached from the frame altogether. Though “Antelope” featured slick interplay – specifically Trey and Fish –Β  hopes of revisiting a jam like Utica never materialized, as we settled for a high-octane, though unadventurous, version.

Even when Phish opened the second set – a set that seemed bound to explode – they chose straight forward versions of “Seven Below” and “Wolfman’s” to get things going. And from there the songs just kept rolling – one more out of context than the next. Ironically, “Roggae > Taste” was played quite well, but its mellow vibe seemed like a soporific joke after nothing of note had happened in the set. Although the band did play a hot “David Bowie,” it represented a feeble attempt at salvaging the show after the cause had long been lost. A “Quinn,” “Chalk Dust” encore only brought two more uneventful songs to a ho-hum evening through and through.

Let’s brush this one under the rug and scurry off to New Hampshire.

I: AC/DC Bag, Camel Walk, The Divided Sky, Ride Captain Ride, Stash, Fee > Time Turns Elastic, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

II: Seven Below, Wolfman’s Brother, Backwards Down the Number Line, Alaska, Free, The Lizards, Brother, Roggae > Taste, Waste, David Bowie

E: Quinn the Eskimo, Chalk Dust Torture

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1,150 Responses to “Songs In the Key of Trey”

  1. Kevin Says:

    And I have to say — look at last night’s setlist through the eyes of a wide eyed Phish noob. My god, my balls would have dropped 2 levels based on the setlist alone.

  2. sumodie Says:

    @thedayman: bar code sent -let me know if it works

    I have one UMass2 bar code left (assuming dayman gets his to work…)

  3. thedayman Says:

    @sumodie, thanks a lot man, that barcode worked, i really appreciate it. im stoked to give this show a spin based off of your review, seems to have a different feel than a lotta shows, and i think that uniqueness is what makes phish, well, phish. if they threw down utica every night, itd be really cool, but they have so many different styles and show types they can throw down, i honestly like how they shake things up, especially if you’re on a multi-show run like it seems that you were. shakes things up, which is perfect, get all kinds of feels for different shows. anywho long-winded thank you and much appreciation for the dl. have a good night

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    whoa Sanity outro is wild…

    sounded like boogie for second there.

  5. sumodie Says:

    @butter: thanks -just trying to broaden the spectrum of opinion/discussion regarding good phish. In any case, last night worked for me

    And make no mistake, I am dying for more fiery Phish ala Utica/Prov

    Seems with every BBer I’ve met this tour we all try to figure out what the band is thinking with respect to creative improv

    Every time we fail miserably

    And it is hard to live by ‘no expectations’ when at a show. Sometimes I can, sometimes not. We’ll see how I fare at Manchester….

  6. sumodie Says:

    One more UMass2 bar code to go -I’ll email it to the first one who asks in the morning

  7. sumodie Says:

    @thedayman: hope you enjoy the show -I’ve yet to relisten to it

    As usual, I tend to only offer comment on shows I’ve seen, not the ones I hear on replay

    Maybe it sucks on replay? 8)

  8. halcyon Says:

    how was the max creek aftershow? did gordeaux show up at lupo’s?

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    augusta set 2 is on the level as well…

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    lotsa comments via replay today πŸ˜‰

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    SC2, Augusta, Utica, Providence….

    Broom 3, Broom 2, Amherst 1…


    Amherst 2

  12. sumodie Says:

    @halcyon: no gordeaux at Max Creek -neemor, jdub, jdub’s bro, and I hung out there till almost 2am

    (setlist at etree confirms no Mike)

    first time I’d ever seen the Creek -pretty cool music, guess I’ve been missing out all these years. And Lupo’s is a fantastic place for live music -something I always forget till I’m in the door

    btw, thanks for the utica ticket -the show was ok 8) well, maybe better than ok

    apparently the Utica Memorial Auditorium was used as the model for MSG

    zzzz time…..

  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    anybody still up?

  14. sumodie Says:

    @mr M: I can’t disagree with your listing

    let’s hope the next 4 are at the Augusta/Utica/Prov level or higher


  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    “I’m going to both nights Woostah and still going to work each day. If they don’t deliver the magic on either night I”m done going out of my way to participate in a wild goose chase.”

    ^ this is a silly argument. They are the first two show of the run. Good luck with your expectations πŸ˜‰

  16. Alumni_blues Says:

    Sumodie, I’ll take u up on that offer..

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    the way i see it, we’ve had 5 of 8 really good/great Phish shows this tour….they are batting .625. and I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking about 12 of 15 when this is done.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    wicked zero in providence

  19. William H. Bonney Says:

    all take those odds miner πŸ™‚

  20. Alumni_blues Says:

    I agree almost nite and day compared to fall ’09.

  21. William H. Bonney Says:

    I think three days at the same venue will lead to epic weekend for AC crew….

  22. sumodie Says:

    @alumni blues: UMass2 bar code sent -that’s my last one

    I agree almost nite and day compared to fall ’09.


    guess I have a high phish fever and can’t sleep….one more week of tour

    ::prays for 12 out of 15 fall phish shows to be good/great::

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    zero > 2001 > cup is great stuff @lycan…

    set 2 prov is bomb thru and thru

  24. William H. Bonney Says:

    good nite lads

    oh and Thanks Mr. Miner you for all your efforts

  25. Alumni_blues Says:

    Thanks bro.

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