They’re Baaack!

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"2001" 3.8.09 (P.Lucks)

As promised, I’m back with some breakdown of the third night before I give a more general overview of this weekend’s sublime and encouraging family reunion.  Over the next few weeks, I will be delving into specifics of Hampton, while also addressing some comments on this site. I will try to set the record straight as to the meaning of Hampton’09, because it seems that a few people absolutely missed it; that being said, back to night three.

The culmination of the band’s scripted weekend was another Phish marathon that completed their run through the classic Phish canon.  Beginning with “Sanity,” Trey toyed with the lyrics as a means of comedic self-reference.  Emphasizing the phrases “I lost my mind just a couple of times” and “I don’t need a place to hide,” he proclaimed his personal revival.  As the band began with a vengeance, everyone knew it would be a special night.  In the most exciting first set of the weekend, the band slaughtered more of their classic and complex compositions.  A tight return of “Foam” showed off the band’s polished chops and gave a retro glimpse into to an earlier time when they attacked their compositions with no abandon.  And, again, that time is now.

3.7.09 (P.Lucks)

3.7.09 (P.Lucks)

The ensuing “Bathtub Gin” was an emotive welcome home to all of the Phish crowd, as the soaring melodies and locked thematic jamming brought a unbridled level of pure joy and energy to the arena.  With the impending realization that Phish is as excited to be back as we were, everything seemed to click into place.  Tucked in the middle of five of the band’s most classic songs was the long awaited debut of “Undermind.” A indiscernible crunchy groove quickly morphed into the band’s title track of their last album, and was used to introduce the new Phish.  “Relocated, not retired/Reprimanded and rewired…Reinvented, Redefined…” Bringing amazing energy from the crowd, the band moved from the verses into a new dancy jam- something always welcome on Phish tour.

In the middle of the set came a furious and evil rendition of another tough composition, “My Friend, My Friend.”  This crisp version of this song sounded like 1993 when the hit every single note with zest.  Definitely one of the high points of the set, the menacing Rift classic paired up with its album-mate and led directly into a scorching “Maze.”  The band played incredibly well throughout this set, with a tightness and urgency that had been absent during loose playing of 2.0.

As the third two-hour first set wound down, the band ripped into a three song combination that brought the house down.  “Tube,” “Cars, Trucks, and Busses,” and “Free” instantly enhanced an all-out dance party into a staright up bash.  The first asteroid crash of the last five years sent an instant shot of adrenaline to the crowd, who were enthralled to be dancing so hard again.  This effect lasted throughout a standout “C, T, & B,” highlighting Page’s masterful work all weekend, and into a concise, yet bombastic “Free.”  Ending with the energetic “Frankenstein,” complete with Page on “keytar,” the band punctuated another sixteen songs and two hours of pristine Phish.

3.7.09 (P.Lucks)

3.7.09 (P.Lucks)

But when the second set got underway, Phish began to get back to business as usual.  Using clearly scripted setlists all weekend long, the band lined up a hallowed collection of Phish songs for the ideal reunion run. However, the quality of jamming, albeit tight as all get out, was mostly concise, and was structured within the framework of songs.  The surface that was scratched by night two’s “Rock and Roll” was dug into more deeply into by the twenty-two minute set-opening “Down With Disease.”  Starting by surfing the psychedelic wave of the song’s million-dollar melody, the band shredded the feel-good “composed jam” before entering into free flowing improv.  In some truly exploratory playing, the entire band took the music far away from “Disease” into a slowly moving realm where the band fused into one being.  Tapping into the their ethos, Phish created the only open-ended and extended jam of the weekend, sliding back into form with one of their classic vehicles.  Like a return to a secret cave we hadn’t visited in years, being smack dab in the middle of true Phish improv was an overwhelming feeling of soulful happiness.  Listening to the band combine their spontaneous ideas in a coherent and engaging way, the missing piece of the weekend had now been completed.

3.8.09 set I (P.Lucks)

3.8.09 set I (P.Lucks)

In a three-night Phish suite comprised of their most hallowed songs, the reunion was specifically about the Phishy vibe returning to the world.  The band and crowd were able to reconnect with the spirit and energy that defined Phish’s scene in the early to mid-‘90s.  Nostalgic, yet simultaneously forward looking, the weekend provided the community with a massive trampoline to launch our trajectory into this summer and beyond.  Phish wasn’t out to play thirty minute jams this weekend; that was clearly not the point- it was far more about the intangible aspects of the weekend that will never be heard on tape.  But with this “Disease,” the band sent the message, “Yes, we can still get as deep as ever, so watch out this summer!”  Everyone in the venue got the message loud and clear, and hopefully those listening at home did as well.  Sure, Phish could have come out and played four song sets- no question- but that was not the intention of the weekend. Instead of being focused on deep musical exploration, Hampton represented a magical celebration of Phish and their return to our everyday consciousness as well as their own.

Following their deepest excursion, the band continued into the most flowing set of the weekend with a gorgeous “Seven Below.” After the two uplifting improvisational pieces, Phish made a sublime stop in a precisely played “Horse > Silent.”  Managing to fit in nearly every classic song into their twelve hour, eighty-eight song weekend, by the time this point in the set came, one could virtually predict the that would follow- but how they would fit together was something no one could know.

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3.8.09 (P.Lucks)

The opening licks of “Twist,” one of the band biggest 2.0 vehicles, infused some more modern Phish into an old-school themed run.  Trey led the band through this jam using the dirtiest, most beautiful uncompressed tone.  As soon the jam grew out of the darkness into an alien-ambient texture, the band entered some of the most impressive music of the weekend. As the improv reached it’s deepest point, they coyly slid into the elusive “2001” that had been hinted at throughout the previous few sets.

As the beat started, The Mothership was cleared for liftoff, and we collectively blasted off into chapter three with crisp, strapping grooves that were like candy for everyone’s minds.  Taking the space-aged cover through a short and intense incarnation, the emotions flooding the moment were totally overwhelming; a cohesion of our collective consciousness.  At, arguably, the highest point of the weekend, the band made a huge drop into “Moma Dance,” all but imploding the minds of everyone in the room.  Bringing memories of the big “Black-Eyed” back in 1997, swank molasses grooves filled the room.  “Twist > 2001 > Moma”- like something out of a Phish comic book- simply unreal!

"Reba" 3.7.09 (J .Tilden)

"Reba" 3.7.09 (J .Tilden)

With their second nod to The Beatles in as many nights, Phish busted out a stirring rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that featired a colossal Trey solo before ending their weekend with the most majestic combination possible of “Velvet Sea” and “Slave.”  Bringing a cathartic culmination to the greatest weekend of our lives, the delicate “Slave” jam whispered in our hearts of the soulful connection between, the band, the cosmos, and ourselves.  As “Reprise” closed the ecncore amidst an flurry of massive baloons, things felt amazing again.

We have finally arrived.  All weekend long, Phish reminded us why they are the greatest band on the planet. And with nothing but bright skies ahead, the world is back to the way they should be- with a happy and scorching Phish.  As summer tour is only months away, and west coast dates on the horizon, things couldn’t look better.  As any one of the 13,000 people that walked out of our sacred venue with shit-eating grins could tell you, “The magic is back.”

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MINER UPDATE: I got stuck in Newark, NJ tonight, so didn’t have access to downloads yet.  I will be putting regular tracked AUDs of the weekend up this week. Cheers, everyone! It’s ON!

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253 Responses to “They’re Baaack!”

  1. guyforget Says:

    i meant to day “anybody disagree?” i know most agree….

  2. SOAM Says:

    He is a little pork tornado

  3. walfredo2001 Says:

    BuffaloBill- Come on? The Stash clap bothers you that much? Fish hit some damn woodblocks… The fan interaction- the shared understanding… It’s a pretty cool thing. I can’t think of anything more harmless. Newbies look around like- wtf is everyone clapping? Do you hate the Wilson chant too? The audience participation- is and will always be a part of Phish- whether or not you like it- the band clearly does.

    Maybe its my era- I got into Phish in 1995- and thought the clapping (which btw is on A Live One, so I’d guess the band likes it! and it did start before 1996). I love the Hood chants- was at the Gorge for the original glowstick war- and it was amazing. Have to agree- that the glowstick war did get played out- but the musical cues and chants are part of the live expereince- and in my eyes 100% postivive.

  4. SOAM Says:

    Highlights-1st set and second set all three nights. If your concentrating on the changes you need to dance harder and think less.

    The rock and roll set 2 opener–hard to really put it in words. The fucking tune just gets you off.

    It’s on.

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ 100% AGREED SOAM

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    Guy, did you make it out?

  7. cactus Says:

    In listening to the show, I thought Trey was referring to Mike who has recently become a dad and was dropping some serious vocal bass lines in whatever song …but I could be wrong.

    @waxbanks

    Did I forget to mention Memphis…

    Looking forward to hearing that this summer quite possibly in Tennesee??

  8. Comrade Says:

    c0wfunk Says:

    March 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm
    Heard of exactly one face ticket, most people had at least 100 or a big trade.. 3-400 I think was the going rate.
    What’s worse, there are stories of scanned tickets being smuggled back outside and sold for exorbitant amounts, so it was impossible to know what was what. Even a few green crew members got shutout fri, as their normal allotment of tickets was cut down quite a bit– from the sounds they were lucky to get any. The all access and backstage scene is a whole different world from what I gather..
    ============================================

    Absolutely – there was a “team” doing this. On the floor Friday night and this guy walking around (definitely NOT there for the show) was walking up to everyone and buying up stubs for $5 – he had a big stack then he just disappeared and came back about 1/2 hour later…’tard

  9. Los Says:

    After Hampton I can not wait til summer tour!!!!

    Luv pHISH!!!!!

  10. guyforget Says:

    Miner, welcome back!! Nope, after getting some lot reports on friday, and hearing that 75% of people there were ticketless, i thought better and just stayed home and listened to your work. if i had, you would’ve gotten a call!

  11. guyforget Says:

    who would’ve sold thier stubs to these shows, period! Escpecially 5 bones???? WTF. SOAM, i wish that douche would’ve asked you for your stub!!!

  12. guyforget Says:

    BTW, cowfunk, thanks for the call on friday….

  13. Chris notkuroda Says:

    I don’t mind the hood chant, especially since I was there when it started. The STASH clapping DEFINITELY started pre 96. It’s one thing to get annoyed about someone talking or clapping over actual music, but during a pause in the song? You’re way to uptight if that really pisses you off.

  14. SOAM Says:

    If he had come within five feet of the boogie explosion that was me he would have been in big trouble- I have Whiplash from jamming my skull to and fro to the beats and grooves-like I was in a multiple car pile-dig it

  15. tyler Says:

    LOL SOAM wins this thread

  16. Chris notkuroda Says:

    glowsticks, on the other hand, suck. They can hurt people and they’re just plain played out

  17. karel barnoski Says:

    my ideal phish show would be for everyone to remain in silence anytime phish is playing. the intensity would be better than any clapping,etc the crowd makes. it’s worth a shot right? phish themselves would be shocked i am sure. IMO, they deserve the respect!

  18. cottle Says:

    My friends and I were joking all weekend about how long it would take the haters on the internet to start posting negative reviews of these shows. Guess we were right. If these shows didn’t leave you smiling from ear to freakin’ ear….give away your summer tour tickets and don’t waste your time. There are kids out there (thousands of them) who will happily take your tickets, dance their hearts out, and be grateful for every note that gets played.

  19. guyforget Says:

    Amen Cottle!

  20. walfredo2001 Says:

    Karel- i think you are missing the point of Phish. It’s not to sit in quiet and stillness and bathe in there awesomeness.

    This shi** interactive baby! Dance your ass off! Please don’t freaking talk- but chanting Hood as a group? Screaming Wilson when the band plays the E chord? These are communial experiences that are a part of the Phish collective.

    To be above them- or think they cheapen the experience? That is silly. Should Chris not shine lights on them while the music is playing? It can be somewhat distracting and dissorienting!

  21. SOAM Says:

    Ski-

    If you think I am going to see these guys and not let out a mother fuckin whoooh!!!!! during twist-it’s a can’t do on my end.-This scene…it needs no improvements or adjustments-it’s all good.

    Remain in silence-wtf / next stop -do the whole show on your knees from the pew.

    “Keep it light-roll ’em tight-and get off hard every night”

  22. guyforget Says:

    as for glowsticks, my buddy got lit up with one behind the ear at lemonwheel and gashed him pretty gnarly. probably needed stitches, but that was clearly not an option, so we just danced instead.

  23. guyforget Says:

    WTF is wrong with some people?

  24. karel barnoski Says:

    i guess i was just entertaining the idea of it. for just one show it might be interesting is all. i understand the interactive element for sure…

    i listen so intensely to every note/word/silience that sometimes i suppose i am carried to a distant place that is not interactive as far as me yelling, dancing,etc. for me, phish, especially jams, have ben meditation which brings me to a peaceful place in my mind/soul. im not a dancer though. phish has a different meaning to all of us, so i would argue there is a singular point to phish. i def respect your point of view though!

    so if you see a guy with his eyes closed floating it is probably me. 🙂

  25. karel barnoski Says:

    i meant to say there probably ISN’T a singular point to phish…sorry

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