It’s Only Getting Better

3.7.09 (C. Jones)

3.7.09 (C. Jones)

With a show that brought the fire from the “Sanity” opener to the “Tweeprise” encore, Phish left the audience in awe and salivating for summer tour.  With a setlist that reads as a joke, Phish created a “perfect” show.  The band absolutely left no doubt in anyone’s mind or heart as to who their favorite band on the planet is again.  After nearly twelve hours of emotional and enthralling Phish music, I’m spent.  I will absolutely write about the show in detail, but it is going to have to be after a day of transit back to the west coast.

In a nutshell, the band took their final step from somewhat structured jamming into completely free flowing improv with a 22 minute exploration of “Down With Diesease.”  And the fantasy setlist became a joke when the combination of “Twist > 2001 > Moma” dominated the second half of the set.  Phish is back.  Miner is out.

No Spoilers is up for all three nights!!

264 Responses to “It’s Only Getting Better”

  1. (:{> Says:

    holy shit. Gin jam is HOT too. I’m liking this show a lot so far.

  2. (:{> Says:

    Undermind. Funky and articulate.

  3. full tour! Says:

    what exactly is that new “mini drum” on the front of fish’s kick drum? At first i thought it was a magnifying glass positioned over that phish sticker, making it look like a bigger phish sticker. But looking at it it looks like a mini kick drum on top of that kick drum? any drummers out there know what that thing is? I’ve never seen one before.

  4. Here Comes The Joker Says:

    Long time lurker first time poster

    I didn’t have the fortunate experience to be in Hampton this weekend though I tried mightily (Friday was my birthday) I think I will kick myself for a long time for not parting with the cash to go. I consider myself to have a bachelor’s degree in phish and by no means an advanced degree, but I think I can appreciate where some the people are coming from and that are just jumping on the train. I remember when I jumped on in 96 (the m show) I was expecting to hear what I had expected to hear on tapes from 94 and 95 that is by no means what I got. It was still far and away one of the best nights of my life. Then as I saw more shows over the course of 97, as anyone can attest, was a lot different for what I had expected to hear when I listened to those 94 and 95 tapes hell even 96. I walked out of a few of those 97 shows feeling show somewhat jaded because it wasn’t what I thought I was going to get. 12 years later I very those recordings as some of my favorites and love them more now then I when I actually got to experience it.
    I think the most important thing I have learned from listening to phish is to let expectations go out the window. The minute you think you know what you are going to get it to they throw you out the window with the bath water. So I guess where I was going with all this is I have listened to all three shows in different formats over the last three days from the SBD’s to the AUD’s and I can say I think I heard something in the music that I hadn’t heard before, go figure with these guys. The only word that comes to mind is purpose; I heard a purpose in what kind of band we can may see grow in version 3.0. If you will go with me for a moment I think there is a vision they have for what they can be as this new band. I think there is a desire to be both the tight change hitting machine of 93 and 94 coupled with the loose groove machine of the late 90’s. I hear a commitment to getting to the point. Take Gin from last night a ten minute Gin, by comparisons to the 20 minute Gin’s of the later 90’s one might scoff but after listening I hear something different. They took us where they wanted to go right out of the gates. We love this band for those incendiary moments that make the hairs on the back of are neck stand and we lose are place in the world for just a few moments. I loved every minute of what I heard come out of the mother ship this weekend. This is a band that is striving to be a tight well rehearsed unit while regaining that improv charm that keeps us coming back. So for all the new and old alike if this weekend wasn’t what you expecting(for some I think Hampton Coliseum still standing is a let down) give it time,, if there is one thing the last 14 years have taught me is this band will keep evolving and expect the unexpected as always. Are they there yet of course not there is a lot of lost time to make up for but I hear intent and that is enough for me.

    On a side note I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Mr. Miner for all he does. This is one of the first things I pull up in the morning as I sit down at my desk for a long day working for the man and somehow it gets me thru the day. To all you STL’ers out there the Fox may not be standing after 6/16. It is a good day to be alive Phish is back who knows what will happen next dogs and cats living together.

  5. RobAins Says:

    I noticed the mini kick drum thing too….no clue what it is or does though

  6. easo91 Says:

    I was actually surprised to how well they funked out back on the train

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    great weekend overall — I’ve only listened back to night one so far, in the car on the way home and it was amidst a bit of dream land. I’ve read back a little in the thread and it’s amazing to me how quickly we’ve gotten right back into this same circular argument about this band. I experienced a bit of negativity from some people during the shows — saw a couple of thumbs down during page’s new song, actually saw one guy storm out during prince caspian. It was hard not to think of my friends locked out at home who would have cherished every note.

    And i’m not an uncritical listener. I understand these weren’t the tightest phish shows ever played. maybe this jam or that jam doesn’t hold up to your favorite version here or there. But that really isn’t the point right now. The point is these four guys were on the stage together and Loving these songs again. There was an obvious respect for the songs –> the return to the old gumbo, a tight old school ac/dc, old water in the sky. This was an acknowledgment of the past in order to move forward. This was driving forward fast with an eye on the rear view mirror.

    At this point I”m willing to take Phish on their own terms – this is art we’re talking about and you can’t consider like sports. Shows aren’t competing against each other for supremacy, they are all part of the collective body of work that is Phish’s legacy, to be considered as a whole, but not to be compared as box scores and stats. Stats are fun to play with and look at, sure, but the emotion poured into the moment is the Main Thing here, and what we all go back for.

  8. (:{> Says:

    Bag. Rockin hard. Night three is officially my fave.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ Yes Joker! Exactcly- purpose! And yes^ night 3 smoked. Each night was better than the next…..

  10. full tour! Says:

    am i wrong to say that it might actually be HARDER to play songs with shorter jams on them? Its almost like they have to have that extra special skill of knowing when to pull back the reigns instead of playing longer jams. Listen to how “Halley’s Comet” Just so elegantly drops into “beauty of a broken heart.” I thought it was amazing. That “Halley’s” could have easily kept going, but they used that mastery to pull back the reigns. I personally like the faster flow of the shows with the shorter jams, thus allowing them to play more songs. I mean i nearly shit my pants when i saw the length of those setlists. Seems like that was the theme of the weekend, to play more songs with a tightness and ferver that was generally missing in 2.0. Reminds me of early old school phish but mixed with 20+ years of experience.

  11. JFlorek Says:

    That’s actually a type of microphone on Fishman’s drum (really a speaker wired in reverse)…it’s called a sub-kick.

  12. Wax Banks Says:

    Oh man, I don’t know where else to go to talk about these shows. ‘Undermind’ pulled from the Trey Band arrangement – lively and excellent! And that’s the best ‘Slave’ I’ve heard in ages – just crystal-clear and fully present playing from all involved, and anything but the rote exercise it would sometimes become in the Old Days (‘before the dark times…before the Empire’).

    Actually the Foam/Gin/Undermind triptych is the most consistently entertaining three-song stretch of these shows I’ve heard, surprisingly beating the Ghost > Piper > Birds run in my estimation.

  13. (:{> Says:

    Totally Wax. The GIN is smokin.

  14. Wax Banks Says:

    And Page stepping right the hell up on ‘Tube,’ practically leapfrogging Trey in a couple places. Yeah! I think Night 3 is the strongest of the run overall, at least on first listen.

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    joker you hit the nail on the head .. the purpose that they have now is like they had in the early 90s — they know where they’re going, they’ve mapped it out (though they were still clearly loose enough to make setlist decisions onstage) .. but now they’ve got the jam chops they honed with their flying by the seat of their pants years in the late 90s.

    listen to that Tube — the funk is deep, the funk is crankin, the funk is sick, but the funk is Going Somewhere definite. The shifts are nailed and tight .. all weekend we heard purposeful, honed, *determined* jams .. I like it. I agree with the less is more sentiment, I’d rather hear a 12 minute tweezer that has definite purpose than 30 minutes of aimless rambling that probably had 12 minutes of exceptional improv.

  16. full tour! Says:

    thanks for the info on that kick drum mic…looks very cool!

  17. RobAins Says:

    Thanks JFlorek! Haven’t heard of those mics……sounds pretty cool

  18. gtgwbab2495 Says:

    yes, full tour that is exactly what I have been thinking for a long time. I am always amazed by how well they transition into songs, when jams could easily keep on going, like that Halley’s. I also always love when they just suddenly break it down to just trey on wah, or page on his clav, or something that always sounds so good. always makes me smile.

  19. (:{> Says:

    shit man…haven’t gotten to Tube yet…on SOAMule now…mike sounding good.

    But yeah…Page’s tightness was the first thing I noticed early Sat morn on the no spoiler.

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    today in the car on the way home I said “is it just me or is page better” to which I got a resounding chorus of “hell yeah” .. man’s just hitting his stride.. being a front man was huge for him. Love the keytar 😉

  21. full tour! Says:

    “(’before the dark times…before the Empire’)” — nice one wax!!! Did anyone else notice the jam on “it’s ice” kinda sounded like someone was onstage with a light sabre? I could totally hear that light sabre sound during the jam. That kind of crackling energy sound? It’s cool considering the last time they played “it’s ice” at lakeoown on 7-26-2003 many people say that the jam had a slowed down “luke’s theme” from star wars in the jam.

  22. full tour! Says:

    *lakeoown = lakewood

  23. (:{> Says:

    Trey can play 32nd notes again. I’m feeling redeemed. I’m having a hard time listening because I keep picking up my guitar and jammin along.

  24. youenjoy09 Says:

    I am surprised no one has mentioned the scorching jam during the end jam of ‘MAZE.’ To me, this was one of the peaks of the weekend… WOW! Trey was killing it! I think the main problem creating all of the negativity today may be a result of too high of expectations on the part of some…. anyways, we’re only going up from here! Thank you Mr. Miner for the no-spoilers!!

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    maze was absolutely scorching, agreed ..

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