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. Sam Says:

    great concerts, i loved hearing some new phish, i only been a phan since two years. i found them to be exeptionnally clean, together ect…. i wasn’t expecting them to be that tight, but they proved me wrong and showed everyone what they can still do(though they’re not finished showing what they still can do). anyway, to all those who wanted more jamming, like mr. miner said, it wasn’t about that, these concerts were for getting the whole thing back together, to renew old sensations. i’m sure we’ll hear stuff like an hour and a half long tweezer>twist>2001>you enjoy myself this summer. now comes the long wait and hope for a europeen tour…

  2. R1 Says:


    this is funny – i’m just listening to the aud’s from sat night and just before phish hits the stage to begin set I, guess what’s playing on the PA?


  3. bhizzle Says:

    Alot of posts today. I’m glad I didn’t drop in earlier at work or else I think I would’ve got nothing done. I am still debating whether or not I want to go throughout this entire thread. But I do gather it is a battle of opinions regarding the performance of this past weekend. my .02 would not be of much value since I only listened to Fri. Set 1, but I will say the Oh Kee Pah>Greenberg was out of site and I really enjoyed everything to the fullest minus Rift. Page stood out the most to me. He gets my mvp award for night 1 set 1.

  4. Selector J Says:

    Just finished listening to 3rd night No Spoilers at work. Totally bushed from staying up way too late listening to Friday and Saturday this weekend.

    I tried to read all the posts for today (I skimmed the novellas). Having said that:

    Phish killed it. The cajones to open with Fluffhead, as if to say “Yep, we just opened with Fluffhead.” Perfect. And not just the playing. The absolute perfect opener to prove from the gate: We are serious. Really effing serious.

    All in all, I was very satisfied with the shows. I thought they sounded incredibly well practiced and in sync. It seemed what we heard was what they practiced (i.e. a *ton* of songs). Once they get their jamming sea legs back, Phish 3.0 will truly return to their super kung fu. (How’s that for a mixed metaphor?)

    A couple of the song choices made me laugh (Mexican Cousin? Really? That made the cut?) but whatever. Every night ripped. The best band alive is back.

    One of these days, I might actually get to go to another show…

    [P.S. If you feel like taking a break from dissecting Hampton 09, reggae tonight at 8pm EST/9pm CST]

  5. Selector J Says:


  6. Selector J Says:


    Ha Ha, Guy.

  7. bennett13 Says:

    I’ve read this for a very long time but after the rollercoaster that was Hampton I finally wanted to post my thoughts. I got into phish about a year and a half ago, first hearing about them from Dave Matthews and Friends. I was a hardcore DMB fan for a long time, seeing two concerts and listening to many many more and I kept hearing about phish. Well, after a while I broke down and bought a concert of phish, Madison Square Garden New Years to be specific. I was blown away. I loved just about every song and BOY did they kick the crap out of Dave! I quickly searched for phish shows so I could listen and got hooked. Then I heard they were coming back and was psyched. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket from livenation for Saturday and dragged my brother up to the concert, a minor phish fan himself.

    Now, I am younger than the band itself, born in ’91, with my brother a few years after. My parents were a little worried that we might be hurt or something going in and fretted the entire week. I kept telling them over and over, it’s alright, these guys are cool, they don’t want to mess but just listen to the music. They didn’t believe me. Then we got to Hampton and waited in line. Merely ten minutes after sitting down the guy behind me asked me if this was my first concert of phish. I said yes and one thing lead to another and we were talking about bands diverse as the Talking Heads and Genesis. It was amazing. Moments after getting there I was talking to a complete stranger with a conversation better than my peers! As we moved up the line to get into the show my parents were still worried. Two phans asked why they were hanging in the line if they didn’t have tickets and my mom replied that they wanted to make sure we were safe. The two phans replied that they should go, they were high school teachers and would look after us until we got into Hampton. My parents, relieved, bid us goodbye and left.

    This sense of friendliness and community is something I have never seen. Not just in concerts, with the jerks that show up to DMB, but in life. I was truly impressed with how cool and friendly Phans are. Not only does phish have mind-blowingly good music (ANTELOPE!, Reba, Halley’s Comet, Mikes>Hydrogen>Groove to name my favorites from Night 2) but they have a sweet community. Thanks for being so cool guys (and gals). You really made Saturday a night to remember!

  8. Matso Says:

    @ tyler –

    Welcome. I really liked your posts. Stick around. There’s a lot of traffic on the site today, not all of it encouraging, but this is the best forum I’ve found for discussing the Phish if you’re serious/bordering on academic about it and generally positive about the band.

  9. full tour: announced! Says:

    R1…..that’s awesome! lol….did’nt catch that before!

  10. tyler Says:

    thx for positive words. Matso, interestingly the most encouraging thing for me was how the un-encouraging posts were handled, not just letting it happen but not devolving to flamewar either. I have been online a long time, since the early 90s r.m.p and days & have little patience for trollery and nonsense…

  11. GrooveMerchant Says:

    Thanks for all three nights of no spoilers!

  12. mosesmauzy Says:

    thank you mr. miner and the no spoiler team. you made my life a little happier. blah…. a lot happier. the divine inspiration is at work again. they got me again, i am hooked like never before. great idea phish, to quit and then start again. so much better now. the divine works in mysterious ways. this definately could not have been planned.
    i am swimming in the sea.
    i guess gamehendge is a thing of the past, their college days are over?

  13. joe shields Says:

    don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but someone on PT is saying that Page bought his new keytar from the James Brown auction at Christies. If that’s true Page is now the hardest working man in show business.

  14. brewcrew87 Says:

    general audophile question- with the plethora of sources from this past weekend its hard to pick the best for each night- if i were to dither a file recorded at 24 bit file to 16 bit, would that sound better then the same file that was recorded in 16 bit

  15. brewcrew87 Says:

    sorry what i mean is does a file sound better if it is originally recorded at 24/48 then dithered to 16/44.1 vs one originally recorded at 16/44.1 or is there even a noticable difference

  16. Billy Breathes Says:

    go FLAC style.

  17. RobAins Says:

    Hell yeah Bennett13!: Glad you enjoyed your first Phish show! Also glad to hear how welcoming the older heads were towards you! It’s comments like that, that make this 31 year old fan happy to see someone your age get into it, and get IT! You’re in for the ride of your life, no time like the present to jump on board! Just keep the positivity coming!!!

  18. Billy Breathes Says:

    Read this on another site…great summary:

    I enjoyed listening to all of it, it was very 90-92 era type music but with their entire catalog to still pull from. I got into phish later than most of you in this thread, but I got into for their tightness and compositions. I didn’t fall in love with the band based on any live show, it was my sis copy of Lawn Boy that did it, the juice from the live shows was just an added bonus when I first came upon this band. I’ve always enjoyed the earlier years (89-94) a bit more than the later (95-00) b/c those older shows were tighter, shorter songs, more of them too. If you look at many of the shows from the earlier period you’ll find shows with 20+ songs in a show, later 90’s went to more of a 10-14 song show, which is cool too.

    I think they want to have their entire catalog back in rotation and that means they need to continue to practice, which I’m sure they’ll be doing. I’d expect to see the summer shows have a lot of songs be played, so that after awhile goes by and they know they can play any song they want to, they then bust out a 30 min tweezer/ghost/gin or a 20+ min Reba/Bag/SOAM etc…

    I am just pumped to even be able to analyze what they are doing.

    To everybody who doesn’t get it, that were lucky for this to all have materialized the way it has, that these guys decided to still create music. Your all nuts.

    Big deal Trey flubbed a composed part, big deal the lot isn’t the way it was before, big deal of any of the other complai ts I’ve read.

    If the sole fact that the band is back playing together, and playing at a very high level, isn’t enough for you, then please go away. We are surronded every passing day with more uncertainty and negativity and none of that is needed in this scene any longer.

    Fresh Phish
    Fresh Phish
    Fresh Phish

    Can’t wait for a new album

  19. Billy Breathes Says:

    And this too…even better:

    Wasn’t there, but lovin the freedownloads.

    I have friends that were there. These guys have been seeing the Band since ’88. Both guys had just about givin up on Phish after the first hiatus. But they LOVED these shows.

    Change is tough people and that’s the beauty of Phish, they are always changing.

    And as far as Jams go…I was plenty happy NOT to hear some mindless, nod-irection, half hour, dark jams.

    Sometimes it’s quality, not quatnity and you can say more with less.

    If you are new to the scene and don’t like what you heard…stay home. If you are a vet that doesn’t like what you heard…stay home and take care of the kids.

  20. tyler Says:

    brew, in most cases I think the difference would be minimal if noticeable at all. I would in general favor the source with the fewest processing steps just because each step opens up the possibility for error.

    There are basically 3 strategies for dealing with the plethora:
    1) download a ton of sources and listen to them. Some bittorrent clients allow you to grab just one track first so you can give it a listen. If you do that, don’t make it the first track or 2 as the mix and taper settings are often in flux.

    2) wait for things to settle out and some sort of pseudo-consensus to emerge, amusing yourself with the boards in the meantime. If the consensus doesn’t happen its usually cause there’s too many quality sources to pick a best & the obsessives get all caught up in arguing, but in that case just grab one.

    3) become part of an in-crowd with direct link to reliable taper and or matrix wizard.

    I used to do #3, then #1, now #2.

    Note that which recording is best is very much a YMMV situation. Some recordings only really sound good on a high end stereo. Others sound fine on any average gear but their limitations are revealed in an audiophile setup. So really you just gotta poke around.

    We have so many great tapers now that I don’t worry anymore about getting the Very Best Possible source. But for some ppl the pursuit of the ultimate upgrade is half the fun.

  21. Asher Says:

    Has anyone posted any pics of Page with the Keytar? I need visual evidence!!

  22. gtgwbab2495 Says:

  23. gtgwbab2495 Says:

    pretty freakin sick, huh

  24. Frankie Says:

    I have said it before and i have to say it again, thank you Mr. Miner & the No Spoilers team!! From the bottom of my heart! Experiencing the shows that way was so great and i actually had enough self-control to not check the setlists for the whole three nights!

    As many people stated before, BEST SHOWS IN 4 1/2 YEARS!! 😀

    Seriously, there is new Phish to listen to and it feels so good! I know this is the starting point to so much greatness! See how many songs they played over three shows! Who cares about flubs or no 40 minute jam? This is Phish music, something i thought was gone forever… and now they are making it again!

    Fluffhead/Divided Sky!!! REALLY!!! 🙂

  25. thehatchet Says:

    I just want to speak for some of the younger fans, because I think a few bad apples are making the sauce suck for the rest of us.

    I’m insanely young by Phish standards, I’m 23 now, working in DC. I remember getting into Phish during highschool between 2000-2004, listening to just one track at a time as I went from napster > kazaa > limewire > dc++ > to my current audiophile state and private trackers, etc. I remember after tracks, listening to whole shows at, and really getting into it. Then, with work, and not really being plugged in I totally missed 2003. My experience has been listening to hundreds of shows from friends, a hard drive full of concerts, etc.

    I didn’t manage to get tickets for this weekend, but managed through much wrangling to work out tickets to the first four shows of summer. One boss where I work is pumped for me, the other doesn’t get it, pretty sure he’s a Dave fan.

    I listened to all the No Spoilers and downloaded the SBDs, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. To me they were trying to give back to everyone, new fans and old alike, those who had listened to hundreds of songs, and while thinking of this concert couldn’t stop themselves from imagining all the places they could go. And they played more!

    I don’t think any of us can say how the summer will look. I have a hope, though unfounded, that it will be a lot of music, the jams interspersed, and an excellent time. In listening to all three I felt like this was a warm welcome back, and as some of said partly selfish to help them play the songs they like and get back in the groove.

    Me and most of my friends some who have some serious show time under their belts are really excited. Most of us young fans I think get it, and are there to have a good time. I know I’m going to each of these shows with no expectations, just a desire to dance and have fun.

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