This show featured the first Time Loves a Hero since December 31, 2002 (127 shows), the first Have Mercy since December 10, 1999 (189 shows), and the first Light Up Or Leave Me Alone since December 30, 1999 (181 shows), which was unfinished and subsequently teased in Suzy.
Phish has always been a band that has been greater than the sum of its parts. However, when those parts fire on all four cylinders, as they did during select shining moments on Thursday night at Walnut Creek, it quickly becomes clear why Phish’s legion of devotees remain so loyally entrenched with the Vermont foursome.
Certainly, each member of Phish had his time in the limelight—drummer Jon Fishman added delicate accents to “Light”; keyboardist Page McConnell delivered an exquisite piano outro to “The Squirming Coil”; bassist Mike Gordon bounced through a breakdown in “Free”; and guitarist Trey Anastasio wove colorful leads throughout the night.
Since Phish’s return last year from a self-imposed five-year break-up, the band has been hesitant to fully develop the slew of musical ideas for which it attained such fame in the mid- to late-‘90s. Because of this reticence to stretch their proverbial legs on its traditional jam vehicles, the foursome has ratcheted up the group tension-and-release interplay; this hold-it-now-hit-it ideology shined through in each set, highlighted by “The Divided Sky” in the first set and “Light” in the second.
It’s fitting that these two songs were among the standouts, given that “The Divided Sky” was among the first of Anastasio’s major compositions (recorded on 1988’s Junta), and “Light” among his more recent (on last year’s Joy). Fitting also because “Divided” features a long, tightly composed section followed by a soaring solo by Anastasio, under which the other three members drive the guitarist along, pushing him to greater and greater heights. Conversely, “Light” feels like little more than a four-chord jam with lyrics intermingled; however, its peaks and valleys were no less impressive than the twists and turns of “The Divided Sky”.
“Light” featured astonishing group interplay, but on a different wavelength than “Divided”—instead of the guitarist dictating the terms, Fishman and Gordon led the way, allowing McConnell and Anastasio to add texture to a 14-minute jaunt through rocking peaks and atmospheric valleys. Some call this type of groupwork “new” Phish; it’s simply the sound of a mature band whose members listen to one another instead of stepping on each other’s toes (as Phish has been known to do at times in the past).
For all Phish’s improvisational skills, however, the band seemed most at home jamming on other artists’ material—the simple blues progression of Traffic’s “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” brought Anastasio to the forefront as McConnell chomped and comped boogie-woogie chords underneath. Similarly, Gordon drove the band through Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” as an encore, slapping slippery bass lines that guided the group to a sublime , just-past-curfew peak.
**Acting as if I didn't know what happened on 7/02/10**
They came out, some people held up some letters, then they kicked off Llama. And then Roses. What an opening! The first set was solid, Jim -> Moma -> Sky, Cavern was the obvious highlight.
The second set was absolutely the greatest. They really tore up the entire thing. Halley's -> Light -> Fluffhead was the highlight. Light Up or Leave Me Alone into Free was a great rocking segue. Then we were taken home by the Page McConnell Express
Oh and the 10 minute Boogie On was the best ending to the night that anyone could ask for.
Driving to Charlotte the next day we wondered how in the hell they could out-do themselves...
this show was awesome for me because it was the closest i have ever been to the band. my friend shawn had the great idea of cutting out llama letters. We cut them out and told verybody we saw in the lot that they were gonna open with it. Trey came out and pointed right at us, talked to the band and then ripped it up. Had to be the highlight of my phish carreer so far. hopefully many more to come.
This was the start of something great for me. I met a friend that had come down from Chicago to see it with me. He was a veteran however. So we hear a belting Llama, which brought grins to both a faces. Continuing through the set he told me how lucky I was but it didn't really strike me until the second set Halley's. It felt like the 95-2000 Phish I was used to hearing. It had the fun and excitement of previous years. Light Up or Leave Me Alone was another nice treat in which we see Trey get back to his roots. But the overall highlight of the show had to be the boogie. I have still never danced so hard in my life. It was attributed to Mike's blaring bass bombs and pages usually "rage." I will forever remember this show as while it wasn't necessarily the best one I've been too, it certainly was memorable.
Loved the show. First one I've been to, being as I'm only in high school and live under my parent's roof, though i'm trying hard to go to Charleston (which my parent's probably won't allow)
Keeping it short, highlights for me included the Llama opener, very funky Moma Dance and Cavern, great vocals in the middle of Fluffhead, a trippy jame in the middle of Light, and a KILLER Light Up. Even still, the Suzy and Boogie On probably took the night.
The whole band was great, but Page definatly was on fire. Very please with Mike too.
I was right behind you Llama guy! I saw the cut outs and loved it, I'm thinking of making a Sparkle banner for my next one. This was my first and only show so far but it was out of this world. The jam out of Light had to be my highlight of the show. And I gota agree that this shows all Paige. Just listen to the water in the sky. Best show of my life!
solid first set across the board. suprise opener in Llama, was good to see the boys acknowledging the kids with the sign (little did we know that the next night they would acknowledge the chick with the FYF sign). was hoping for a Roses in Raleigh, and got it! The Moma was the highlight of the set for me, really got my feet moving. Cavern closing the set was perfect, really kept the energy high into the setbreak.
second set was a fun one, was with some first-timers, and seeing thier faces light up under the glowsticks during BDTNL was ... heart warming. good times rolled on with an energetic Halley's Comet. Light seemed a little forced, but once they got into it, it was all smiles, good spacey jam here. then going back to the chorus of Light seemed again, forced. energy stayed high with Fluffhead, and the Travel's section was played very very well. Have Mercy was excellent, good song selection as the pre-show music was Toots and the Maytals (my favorite reggae band personally), and it chilled the mood, everyone around me, including myself had an ear-to-ear grin (could have been the herb too, you know how reggae hits). Light up rocked, the jam, at the time reminded me of a raging Chalkdust jam. Free is always good, love how Mike drops bombs in this one (and it was fitting as we saw Mike cruising shotgun on a golf cart in the lot earlier). Wading set up Squirming Coil well, and much to our suprise, Coil did NOT go into Loving Cup (we thought Page teased it), SUZY!
- also it was nice hearing the Coil without someone hitting Page's grand with a glowstick during his solo (see/hear the 2003 Raleigh show)
epic encore, with my limited Phish experience (8 shows if you call Bonnaroo 2 shows and Fest8 3) this was my first Boogie, and i couldnt have asked for a better way to get it.
I travelled up from Tampa for these 4 Southern shows starting with this one. Bought a ticket at the box office in VIP, figured I owed myself one up close, and I was not disappointed. Musically this was a very tight show, maybe the tightest of the four. I've *only* seen Phish about 45 times so it was nice that all of these shows had tunes played that I'd never seen before, not just new songs but classics and bustouts: Time Loves a Hero and Have Mercy for me, as well as the sick jam on Light Up or Leave Me Alone (last played at Big Cypress!).
I think the farthest out jam musically was the ripper after Light, it just really soared through intergalactic space and set the stage for the monster Fluff>Have Mercy>Light up>Free. This is Phish 3.0 at their peak, as far as I'm concerned. Boogie On was also pushed to the limit, best one I've ever seen. This show also seemed to have the fewest brain farts on stage. They really pulled off some complex stuff this night.
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