Podcast #068: Phish @ The Greek
Phish finished up their summer tour last night at Jones Beach on Long Island, NY, and by now you’ve likely heard about the guy falling (jumping?) from the balcony during the setbreak. Hidden Track has the full report. I felt ill for the people that would have been around that and seen it happen (or any part of the aftermath); what a horrific sight. Let’s hope the guy is on the mend, and let’s kindly ask him to never come to a show again. Kthxbai.
Moving right along, in between listening to the amazing sounding streams coming out of the last two nights (thanks taper420!), I’ve also been listening through the three shows that I saw back when the band was in town for the Greek Theater run. Even though the last run of shows have been clearly the stronger musical moments of the summer for the band, I’m still partial to the three nights in Berkeley. Sure, Alpine night one may have been musically stronger and Telluride may have been a bit more epic in terms of historic natural surroundings, but the shows that I’m going to remember and care about most were the ones that consumed my three days a few weeks back. I gave some thoughts on each night briefly but couldn’t expand much further without gushing completely fanboy all over the blog, not that I should fight that urge, but I really wanted to wrap up the run a bit differently this time.
That brings us nicely to a return of something we don’t spend nearly enough time on anymore — Podcasts! It’s almost a lost art-form for us at this point and at one time we feared that podcasts are not the ideal form of media consumption for a lot of our readers. That said, it’s a great way for us to put something together for our audience that requires little effort on your part. Just hit play below and listen to my favorite 75 minutes from the entire run, and follow along to read my thoughts on each of the jams. That’s easy listening. That should make anybody happy. Or subscribe in iTunes and get every mix we make sent directly to your media library; that works, too!
Thanks to taper taylorc for giving us permission to use his sources on this one. To download the high quality, lossless versions of these shows in their entirety, head over to bt.etree.org for the torrents: 8.5.10, 8.6.10, & 8.7.10.
Kill Devil Falls (8.5.10) – Some people may balk at this selection, but this was the moment that I locked into the band as they were playing and really felt the band relax and take form into a warmed-up entity ready to groove everyone’s socks off. I was fortunate enough to have gotten a photo pass for this first night, so I was in the pit about halfway through “The Divided Sky” which was about 10 minutes longer than any photographers are normally allowed to stand up close for (industry standard is 15 minutes or three songs). All of those songs become a complete blur in that my memories include the confetti cannons being shot off more so than I remember the funkiness of the “Wolfman’s Brother.” All I remember is having a blast jumping around speakers, trying to zoom and focus swiftly with my crappy lens, and watching the crowd just completely lose their shit. But then I found my buddies and got deep into this groove. This is a confident version and the beginning of the band loosening up, so that’s why it deserves a listen to get you ready for…
Tweezer (8.5.10) – The second set from the first night at the Greek was fantastic front to back. I thought “Disease > Free” was played well, confidently, and there was some level of transition there that got me thinking that the band knew what was planned. “Maze” tore the roof off, though. Kuroda clearly pulled up his classic “Maze” pattern which really seems to highlight just how dark and ominous this song is supposed to feel. The band clearly liked that version, too. Then a breather in “Joy,” but the entire crowd got sent off the rails with some deep funk in “Tweezer,” not something I expected that late in the set at that moment. If you listen to the soundboards on this, Fishman’s drums are just absolutely echoing throughout the venue when they get into the jam section. I was dancing way too hard during this part of the show and for that, it easily gets my nod as one of the musical highlights of the run.
Cities (8.6.10) – Featuring the first “Berkeley Jam” of the run, this “Cities” is the stuff that people immediately started writing home about. It’s immediately funky and followed a relatively uneventful start of the second night, which in hindsight, shouldn’t seem totally correct. I just don’t remember either the crowd or the band feeling super warmed up for the openers: “Chalk Dust Torture,” “Guyute” and “Ocelot.” Sure, “It’s Ice” came early and got people psyched that this could be a bust-out laden set, but “Cities > Moma Dance” was where everyone got up to seriously get down. What a moment.
Oh and this one, too…
Simple (8.6.10) – Yet another highlight that I was feeling and grooving to that clearly the band agreed with, “Simple” absolutely slayed the Mike’s Groove into something that we were all waiting to see at this level of Phish’s “3.0″ career. I was defniitely feeling the “Rock and Roll” opener for the second set, something that’s a bit predictable these days. But there didn’t feel to be any predictable nature to starting a set with “Rock and Roll” then “Ghost” then “Mike’s > Simple.” The jam leading out of it was sublime. This moment felt like that classic Phish moment to me as well. Silly song leading to ambiance bringing way to arena-sized anthemic jam rock? That’s clearly a horrible way to describe it that takes the essence out of it, so just keep listening to the podcast and you’ll get a feel for what I mean.
Gotta Jibboo (8.7.10) – The third night of the run got off to a rocky start for my buddy, but thanks to the medical tent guys he was in good hands and the rest of the crew was able to relax and not worry about our fallen comrade. We were bummed to miss him at the show, but we were quickly forgetting about that as the sun was setting on the final show of Phish in Berkeley. It’s that bittersweet feeling that seemed to have a linger over this show for me as I knew my tour was going to be short-lived. But “Gotta Jibboo” is always a happy song and something I feel really raises that spirit inside me. I think it makes me realize that dancing to music I love in a crowd of 8,000 amazing and awesome people is one of those moments that really makes me feel emotionally, spiritually and physically balanced. I can always let go of my thoughts on this tune the moment that Trey drops into his feedback delay loop that always opens the jam section of the song up. This version did that for me that Saturday evening.
Light (8.7.10) – I remember being floored by this “Light” like many of the other versions I’ve seen between last year’s 10 shows and this version on the final night of the run. This is indeed their new exploratory song, the new “Piper” if you will, and I can’t welcome it enough. This version is beyond inspired. It closes out a nice set of music for you and it really peaked the energy on the final note to show the power that they had over the audience when it’s really good. I don’t remember hearing talking around me but only people letting the ambient jam fill their hearts. Even though @Phortin never put together his “Ambient Jam” sign like he was planning, I’m pretty sure the band gave him a fair enough ambient-laden post-rock jam here that I wouldn’t want him or anyone else to complain.
75 minutes of pure inspiration if you ask me. Thanks for the summer tour, @Phish. It was a good one.
About the author
Justin Ward is the Editor at Live Music Blog and has been with the site from the very beginning. He currently lives in San Francisco and regularly tweets other stuff over @justinpward.
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