Mothership Memoirs

3.7.09 (S.Wiltse)

3.7.09 (S.Wiltse)

What a weekend!  Having had a chance to listen to almost everything at least once, I gotta’ say, the band sounds amazing.  So precise, so focused, and playing with such purpose.  The energy in the room, from the band and audience, was greater than I’d ever seen, and was certainly the defining memory of the three nights.  There were some points that felt like we were on the brink of blasting off into space- if arenas did that sort of thing.  Everyone always talks about the energy at a Phish show, but this was a whole different story- it was so tangible.  With 13,000 people in such a small building for such a massive event, the combination was ideal.  And something I had forgotten about Hampton is just how amazing the sound is in there; straight up crystalline.   All of these factors contributed to creating a weekend of pure magic.

"I Didn't Know" (J.Kravitz)

"I Didn't Know" (J.Kravitz -

Jams like “Foam” and Maze,” or songs like “Character Zero” and “Silent In the Morning” took on whole new character with the band’s mode of attack and the crowd’s response.  Another prime example was “My Friend, My Friend,” which sounded so ridiculously menacing with the dynamic in the intimate room.  The weekend was a rediscovery for everyone in the building of just how fun Phish can be.  The band ran through so much material; a recital of their most revered songs, flooding everyone with memories and emotions from the years shared together.

3.7.09 (S.Wiltse)

3.7.09 (S.Wiltse)

This weekend was about a new beginning, and as they say, “If you don’t know your past, you don’t know your future.”  It was the starting block for 3.0 and Phish got out of the gate rather fast.  Running through their history with a glimpse into the future.  It wasn’t coincidence that the only new song was about reuniting friends, and has a refrain of “The only rule is it begins.”  And begin it did.  With mostly old faces all around, this weekend was about reuniting and reigniting the Phish family.  While there may be fans of a new generation on summer tour, there were very few in The Mothership.

"Mike's Song" (J.Kravitz)

"Mike's Song" (J.Kravitz -

The entire three-part performance was like a lucid dream.  From the “Fluffhead” opener to the “Reprise Closer,” with Kuroda’s masterful light show, things seemed too amazing to be true- we were raging Phish again!  Every note of every song sounded like the first time we had heard it, and the feeling was just over the top.  Moments like “Tube,” “Gin” or “Free;” the “Antelope” jam, the drop into “Moma” out of “2001,” or the drop into the first “Mike’s” jam- these were priceless moments of euphoria.  While most of the improv remained anchored to song structures, the band slayed every single jam with no exceptions. The “Limb By Limb” was sublime, the “Hood” was a revelation, the “Bathtub” was felt like we were running through meadows- it was just the most positive experience; and to have this all happening at this point in our lives makes it so much more special.

3.7.08 (J.Kravitz)

3.7.08 (J.Kravitz- )

And there were some amazing unstructured jams as well.  After re-listening to the “Disease,” I was as floored on my couch as I was at the show.  It’s only fitting that the biggest jam of the weekend spouted from “Disease.”  The “Ghost” is an amazing piece of collaborative work, while the “Twist” > “2001” > “Moma” was straight comic book Phish.  The “Spilt” was a piece of abstract, in your face psychedelia.  The “Rock and Roll” jumped off into some darker places, while the “Tweezer” opened the floodgates on night one with funkified soundscapes.  There is definitely a lot to dig into.

3.7.08 (S.Wlitse)

3.7.08 (S.Wlitse)

Even the hotels and community helped make the weekend as great as possible.  They could not have been more accepting of all the fans, our quirky sense of humor, and ourvarious smoking habits!  It was predicted that Hampton’s economy would get a five million dollar boost from these three days; quite a nice symbiotic relationship.  It just goes to show what can happen when people work together instead of against each other.

Coming away from this weekend, the message is loud and clear- summer tour is going to kill.  Allowing their playing to do the talking, the band told us that they are approaching this time with as much enthusiasm as we are.  With twenty demos already recorded for a new album and having played only one, you can be sure that Phish will be coming out with plenty of new material to fuse with their classics come the days of summer.  And they can’t come soon enough…


Check out more of Jeff Kravitz’ work at

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152 Responses to “Mothership Memoirs”

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  1. Jen Says:

    For the first 3 songs of the 1st night I was so happy to see them playing again and honored to be there that I kept crying tears of happiness. Those tears returned at a couple other moments throughout the rest of the shows. Thank you Phish!!

  2. Baxter Says:

    Happy Happy, O My Friend. You decide what it contains, how long it goes, what remains. All my friends go backwards down the numberline.

    Just listening to the shows, and not being there, I have received the positive energy vibrations on this end, and I am giving them out all around. This is how the Phish music helps to lift the DEPRESSION. It is the dawning of a new age where materialism shall be laid aside. That is what Gamehendge is all about. The Rhombus is the King of Prussia Mall on Wilson St, and the helping friendly book contains all the knowledge of how we can be happy without material things. Thank you Phish, and thank you Mr. Miner for spreading the love and sharing the vibe. Do you think Phish will do Gathering of the Vibes? Bands to be announced Thursday.

  3. Wall05 Says:

    I was one of the very few new faces at the coliseum on sunday. It was my first Phish show….and what a time it was!

    See everyone in june!!!

  4. Al Says:

    Night 1 my favorite.
    Night 2 Set II musically best.
    Night 3 most relaxed.

    Hope they will introduce new Songs in the summer, so we can feel a musical progression for the new 3.0. era.

    – Hampton 2009 was all about embracing PHISH and celebrating the return
    – Summer 2009 will set the 3.0. direction for the future.

  5. Brimley Says:

    Speaking of materialism, I loved Trey’s Air Force Ones’s he busted out for opening night along with Mike’s lavender jeans….

  6. Kaveh Says:

    Thanks for the reviews Mr. Minor…I can’t wait to see the greatest band live again in St. Louis. I thank you for your time. Great to hear that Phish is coming to play, no messing around, just like it was when I started seeing them in ’93.

  7. JeffD Says:

    im tearing reading this miner. best 3 days of my life. never have i experienced so many emotions and energies like i did during this run. i cannot wait for the summer. yes kid!

  8. Jonathan Says:

    As the great David Hasselhof would say:
    “Man those boys made my neurons explode!”

    Just kidding, I am not sure if The Hoff ever said that. But it would be a lot cooler if he did!

  9. stormchasingmikey Says:

    I totally agree Miner. Summer is going to be amazing. See you in Burgetts….


  10. Kizzle Says:

    No disrespect, but REALLY? “So precise, so focused”?? I’m only halfway through Night 2, but so far nearly everything has been disastrously-level bad. Trey’s voice was awful through the first half of Night 1, pretty much a half-note below pitch for most of it. He also seemed to botch nearly every song multiple times, not just a dropped note or two but at times missing entire measures. The usual-triumphant end of Fluff was totally off (right before the big finish), Hood was freakin’ awful and Runaway Jim had some of the most out-of-key playing I’ve ever heard. Some of the other solos were good and I really enjoyed Bowie (until Trey forgot the high part at the very end) and am glad to have The Boys back, but realistically these were NOT great shows. This was especially obvious after rewatching the inspired brilliance that was Clifford Ball, hopefully they’ll get things together before the full tour begins.

    – Jon

  11. nonoyolker Says:

    I was thinking, 2 Beatles covers, nothing too unusual, but over a three nite reunion weekend? A nod to a great band that chose not to reunite when they had the chance and then ended up being to late for a reunion due to the untimely death of Lennon, then Harrison? Or maybe just a coincidence.

  12. Panzarotti Says:

    The music was clean, clear, and sparkling. The emotions were flowing. The mothership was rocking. The lights were blazing.

    Hampton was an experience I’ll never forget. There was a great phamily vibe and it was cool see the tribe going gray gracefully.

  13. SOAM Says:

    Beggining of “Gently Weeps” that night was the melons

  14. Little Buddy Says:

    I haven’t chimed in at all on Hampton yet… It’s still been sinking in. I actually haven’t downloaded the shows yet either, but I was fortunate enough to be there Friday and Sunday (The ticket that I bought for Sat ended up getting rejected at the door even though my wife was able to get in – BOO! I bought it in October from – a legit broker who is now giving me a hard time while I try to get a refund. Use stubhub if you buy from a broker IMO) Even though I didn’t get in Saturday, Friday and especially Sunday were great. Trey seemed humbled by the whole experience. It was interesting. I was glad that he chose not to speak to the crowd and instead speak through the music. While My Guitar Gently Weeps was so emotional on Sunday. He was using obviously that tune, along with several others over the weekend to convey his complex sentiments on what went down leading up to Coventry and how we got back to the mothership. It really was a special weekend musically and it was great getting back together with all sorts of lost Phamily.

    The scene at Hampton was different than previous runs though. This was my fifth Hampton run and I do not ever recall seeing such a police presence. I saw a lot of undercover shadiness and even a little police brutality. For the most part the scene was fine for people who were aware of their surroundings, but there were definitely some issues. I saw cops pull guns on kids in the lot twice. The Phish/Hampton thing wasn’t as symbiotic as it was in the past, it seemed. The hotels and retailers were all great, but the security and cops…not so much. Be careful this summer people!!! It ain’t 1997 out there!

  15. MFMF Says:

    Love the sound at the Mothership! I’ve seen every show at Hampton and the energy this weekend was unrivaled. The first few notes of Fluff electrified the place and I had every hair on my body tingling. Antelope was a fun dance party. The weekend peaked at 2001>Moma, which nearly took the roof off the place. I loved taking a drink at the h20 ftn during ACDC and the whole place was shaking a good 2-3″. so many great many memories at Hampton and this weekend just added to them. It truly was a cathartic weekend and I can’t wait to catch them again this summer at Burg and Camden.

  16. Frankie Says:

    I think it is no coincidence as those two songs have played an important part of the band’s history and there is some parallels between the two fab four. Check out the album covers of Undermind and Let It Be… When they released the Headphones Jam, the idea came out that they could become a studio band like The Beatles in the end and just release Barn jams and records. I’m so glad they came back though, healthy, playing shows and enjoying themselves… They are on a mission right now… writing another page of rock’n’roll history!

  17. cason Says:

    i could be totally wrong here, but i think phish played one of their new songs in the pre set music for Sunday night’s show. i was 3 or 4 people back from the rail and i could have sworn i was hearing phish, though it wasn’t a song i recognized. i couldn’t tell you the lyrics or even how the song went but it made me stop.

    anybody else hear this?

  18. Jer Says:

    “The scene at Hampton was different than previous runs though. This was my fifth Hampton run and I do not ever recall seeing such a police presence.”

    Apparently our band is to thank for at least some of that “shadiness”.

    “Nearly 200 law enforcement officers worked the weekend event, with the Vermont-based band picking up the tab.”

  19. Wall05 Says:

    I was one of the new faces in the crowd on sunday. It was my first Phish show….and what a time it was!!!

    See everyone in June!!!!

  20. phreakyc Says:

    On a side note, you know things are crazy when Phish gets referenced on Fast Money last night on CNBC. Being a portfolio manager I go to bed to Bloomberg Asia and CNBC. Last night they mentioned Phish returns to Hampton and the authorities are reporting that over $1 million in illegal narcotics were seized over the weekend. Now we all know the values they use to report are erroneus but still.

  21. phreakyc Says:

    Jer, you must have been posting that as I was writing!

  22. SOAM Says:

    Jer K off-They do what they have to do to get invites back. Other than tanks and the occasional poor soul who took a few too many hits and is peaking in the parking lot the pigs just lie around, in wait no doubt- but how many vets had an issue witht he cops.

    ps. The days inn turned in to a segment of ther movie “colors” sat night-wild shit which I subscribe to.

  23. SOAM Says:

    “Negativity about such a positive event will not be tolerated”

    Split open 4th tune mind melt.-

    seems like all this ilife was just a dream.

  24. Baxter Says:


    The bathroom floor was about six inches deep with soap bars, vomit, and grapefruit rinds, mixed with broken glass. I had to put my boots on every time I went in there to piss. The nap of the mottled grey rug was so thick with marijuana seeds that it appeared to be turning green. The general back-alley ambience of the suite was so rotten, so incredibly foul, that I figured I could probably get away with claiming it was some kind of ‘Life-slice exhibit’ that we’d brought down from Haight Street, to show cops from other parts of the country how deep into filth and degeneracy the drug people will sink, if left to their own devices . . . There was evidence, in this room, of excessive consumption of almost every type of drug known to civilized man since 1544 A.D.

  25. SOAM Says:

    Dude- seeds=merch



    My floor was covered with diggity, chocloates and tasty brews and I dug that shit

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