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”

  1. stormchasingmikey Says:

    I live here locally in Tidewater and the front page story on the local paper was about all the drugs and arrest in Hampton (which I saw almost none of while there). Pretty ridiculous of a city to take all the money from a massive event like this, then piss it all away but running up the bad press on the band and its fans. Good luck getting Phish to come back to Hampton and enjoying the 5 Million Dollars + of cash that all the fans brought with them. If Hampton doesn’t want Phish there, then I’m sure there are plenty of other cities that do in this down economy. Piss in the wind next time Hampton Chamber of Commerce for releasing this kind of information to the press to report. I saw it on CNBC, Foxnews, MSNBC and CNN…..what a horrible bunch of gray hard fans with hard earned money we all are!!!!! They did this to the Grateful dead in the 80’s, which got them banned from playing in Hampton again…..but of course the Dead did come back as the Warlocks and tricked the city!!!! Maybe next time they can book the arena as Llama or Possum next time. LIke other posters have said, watch out for some serious security in the lots this summer based on this report and reputation being stapled to the band and its fans, Again. Damn shame. It was a great event!!

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    Daze inn sat night was a wack scene– when trying to get up the stairs after show to get to my room, the nitrous barker threw a balloon at me and hollered (affecting my best jersey accent) “quit actin like a cop and buy a balloon”.. Seriously obnoxious scene. A bit later, same guy was hollerin about someone callin him a thief, and the whole thing ended w/ cops and the hotel on lockdown. Friday I had to shoo some clusterflies w/ a tank in a backpack from my porch @ 4am. Good times??

    But agreed, smart people had no troubles w/ cops, there were plenty of idiotas to keep them busy (hasn’t it always been that way?) Though I think some venders of mostly legal stuff got a ticket here or there.

    I realized this morning when trying to make up an ethernet cable in a dark equipment room that my eyes aren’t quite back to full dilation and focusing capability.. I realized while listening to the dwd and getting a message from a buddy who’s gonna quit his job and do all of summer tour that my mind my never get back to full focus.

  3. SOAM Says:

    any one else the the midget chick nitrous scout, night one -daze inn? Classic

  4. bhizzle Says:

    Is that Gonzo reporting Baxter?

  5. SOAM Says:

    any one else see the midget chick nitrous scout, night one -daze inn? Classic

  6. dyda Says:

    rip hst

    dyda is my name. ‘frantic oblivion’ (as in ‘just another freak in the Freak kingdom’) is my internet alias.

    anyone been watching daily show recently and the ongoing jackassery with msnbc and jim kramer? i refuse to watch tv news so i don’t know how much negative press is being put out there, but yeah, that’s typical that the one time the band gets some press it’s not positive. maybe since hampton was a bit of an event summer won’t be as bad.

    however, if you have some sembelance of wits you can avoid conflict and hopefully interaction, with those in ‘authority’

  7. SOAM Says:

    well put storm chaser-fuck em if they can’t take a joke.

  8. Baxter Says:

    @ bhizzle

    Yep, Hunter quote from Fear and Loathing.

    so, which is it :


  9. bhizzle Says:

    dyda – weren’t they making a movie of Rum Diaries?

  10. Baxter Says:

    Yes, I’m fumbling and I know my car don’t start.
    Yes, I’m stumbling and I know I play a bad guitar
    Give me little drink from you loving cup.
    Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk
    Oh, what a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz.

  11. SOAM Says:

    Twist around was like a dirty girl you love-little raunchy but gets you off haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.


  12. R1 Says:

    YES!! Finally just got my Clifford Ball DVD’s!

  13. dyda Says:

    wooo indeed

    yeah i thought they were making rum diaries. depp is attached to the project. imdb says filming begins in puerto rico at the end of the month.

    gilliam’s next movie (the imaginarium of dr parnassus) looks like it could be pretty good if you’re into gilliam’s whole trip.

  14. nonoyolker Says:

    the release of the Ball dvd should not be overlooked. Great packaging, sweet extras, and i think the best quality show released on dvd. For me, the best string of 4 songs to start a first set, let alone a weekend festival. Shit is fire!
    Love the part in the extras where they talk about the “LG (long gig)”. Hilarious…

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    And the pause/close up on trey during divided sky is worth the $90.

  16. Jer 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.”

    Nice pun…anyway…I was just responding to a comment about how the police presence seemed to be greater and an article that (may or may not be erroneous) might shine some light on that. But we all know that you are headier than anything ever and nothing like that would ever phase a seasoned vet like you, brah.

    Oh, and if Phish is bringing in 5 million (allegedly) to the local economy in three days, something tells me that they’ll get invited back whether they hired the cops or not. Just my $.02

  17. Baxter Says:

    First tube on youtube 3-6-9

  18. A_Glide Says:

    Friday was a chill scene

    Saturday undercovers were writting kids tickets

    Sunday people were getting carted off with zip-tye handcuffs.

    Whatever, don’t be dumb and you won’t get caught. I had a blast. I got in Saturday/Sunday. Can’t believe I missed the fluffhead.

  19. bhizzle Says:

    “gilliam’s next movie (the imaginarium of dr parnassus) looks like it could be pretty good if you’re into gilliam’s whole trip.”

    At first glance I thought you were speaking of bob denver. But in actuality I am not sure I am familiar gilliam. Prior to the “imaginarium” what is in his catalog?

    By the way, I am declaring that I am the “headiest” mofo in the universe.

    wink, wink

  20. bhizzle Says:

    Who got tickets in Hampton and were they at a very drastic cut in the stubhub/ticketsnow prices seen prior to the events?

  21. Miquel Sanchez Says:

    I’m with ya, that Twist>2001>Moma shocks my brain!

    Thanks for all you are doing here Mr. Miner.

  22. ncwesty Says:

    I traded my extra sunday for a comcast ticket so my friend could see them again in summer as she can only do that show due to work. I felt really good with an even exchange!

  23. Comrade Says:

    had tickets for Fri/Sat – got a miracle on Sunday

  24. Comrade Says:

    there was also a “team” of a dude buying stubs for $5 inside the venue – then hoofing it back outside to sell them to people trying to get in – though i only saw this on friday

  25. Frankie Says:

    BRAZIL!!! 🙂

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