Our friends at Phish, Inc. have sent me some samples of the remastered summer 2010 shows, now available on iTunes, along with commentary from Kevin Shapiro.
Meatstick -> I Saw it Again
On Sunday June 27, 2010, Phish played their sixth headline show (since 1998) at Merriweather Post Pavilion and the second show of a two-night stand to a hot, sticky summer crowd. Merriweather Post is a wooden-roofed music amphitheater designed by Frank Gehry with excellent acoustics and a capacity of about 19,000. The band opened set one with “Walfredo” which includes lyrics about Phish’s first visit to the venue opening for Santana in 1992. This rarity, performed only a half dozen times and for the first time in a decade, began a string of breakouts. The number two spot featured Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood” (played for the first time since 2003’s IT festival), “Divided Sky” and 2010’s first “Tela”. A couple more covers, Clifton Chenier’s Bayou swinging “My Soul” and Norman Blake’s “Ginseng Sullivan”, were clustered mid-set along with “Sample In A Jar.” Set one wrapped up with “Brian And Robert” – bookended by Phish classics “Bathtub Gin” and “Run Like An Antelope”, the latter of which contained teases of “Brian And Robert.” Set two was a seamless affair rooted in the show’s theme song, “Saw It Again” (also played at Merriweather for the first time since IT). This playful set hinged on exploratory playing and transitions like “Meatstick” > “Saw It Again” > “Piper” > “Ghost” which, like the rest of the set included deft teases of “Saw It Again”. Phish sealed the fate of this uncommon set by weaving their debut of the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” back into “Saw It Again”. The remainder of the show: “Contact”, “You Enjoy Myself” (with teases of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”) and Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” also included multiple nods to “Saw it Again” among its sonic treasures.
On Saturday July 3, 2010, Phish returned to the Atlanta area for the first time since 2003 to begin the final two-night stand of Leg 1 of their summer tour. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park is a general-admission multi-purpose amphitheater with a capacity of about 12,000. Phish had played this exact date in Atlanta eleven years ago in 1999. The band kicked off the show with “Character Zero” and the only “Destiny Unbound” of Leg 1, followed by “Rift”. A request from the audience earned a trip to Gamehendge for “McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters” before a concentrated “Bathtub Gin” and the year’s first “Mountains In The Mist”. The combination of “NICU” > “Gumbo” > “My Sweet One” spotlighted Page (aka “Leon”) and Fish, who penned the latter two songs. Set one concluded with “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan”, “Strange Design”, the only “Sanity” of summer and “Run Like An Antelope” to close the set. Set two began with an opening sequence of the The Velvet Underground’s “Rock And Roll” > “Prince Caspian” (with a jam that entered “Dave’s Energy Guide” territory) > “Tweezer” > “Slave To The Traffic Light”. This sublime Tweezer/Slave combination was featured on LiveBait Vol. 02. Set two continued with “Bouncing Around The Room” > “Possum” and “Backwards Down The Number Line” > “Harry Hood” > “Loving Cup”. The Encore, “Sleeping Monkey” > “Tweezer Reprise”, capped a great first performance at Alpharetta.
On Sunday July 4, 2010, Phish celebrated their second Independence Day in the Atlanta area (they played Lakewood Amphitheatre July 3 and 4, 1999). The second show of a two-night stand and the last show of Summer Leg 1 began appropriately with an A capella performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” followed by a return to Gamehendge for “Punch You In The Eye” > “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent” > “Fly Famous Mockingbird”(narration-free except for Trey pointing out the Mockingbird). Next came some animal songs in the form of “Camel Walk” and “Ocelot” before a three-song combination of “Heavy Things” > “My Friend, My Friend” > “Lawn Boy” after which the rowdy crowd began to chant “USA, USA.” Set one concluded with “David Bowie” and a fiery “Gotta Jibboo”. After more patriotic chanting by the crowd, Phish kicked off a mostly non-stop set two with “Down With Disease” > “Piper” > “Ghost” > “Waste” > “Julius”. “Mike’s Song” > “Tela” was next and was the first and only time in nearly fifteen years that these two songs were paired this way. After an Independence Day greeting from Trey, the band dropped into the year’s only performance of “Harpua”. Trey used his holiday “Harpua” narration to educate Atlanteans and visitors alike about “the history of our country as we know it”, pointing out that both the real and alternative history books in schools are full of lies. Instead, he explained, the nation’s true history is to be found within Phish’s music. This rap led perfectly into the band’s first and only performance of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name”, sung by Fish with all the spirit of the holiday. A burst of energy from the crowd acknowledged the message was received. “Killing in The Name” returned to “Harpua” > “Weekapaug Groove”, capping this unique Mike’s Groove. The instrumental “First Tube” filled the Encore slot, closing Leg 1.