Undecided, Undefined

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

Out of the 84 songs we heard over the three nights at Hampton, only three were new to the Phish catalog.  Though the band has over twenty demos recorded for their new album, they broke out only three “new” songs.  But the choice of these three songs placed amidst the sacred Phish canon fit congruently with Trey’s assessment of the weekend in Rolling Stone- “Let’s take a step back together- and simultaneously a step forward.”

“Backwards Down the Number Line,”  “Beauty of a Broken Heart,” and “Undermind”- the debuted triumvirate- all carry a common thread of reuniting and moving forward.  As carefully as Trey worked over these setlists, you can be sure that these three songs were specifically chosen to communicate a message; one of re-found happiness, reunion, and redemption.

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

3.6.09 (W.Rogell)

“Backwards Down the Number Line” opened the first second set of chapter three, and placed in this significant slot, its meaning cannot be ignored.  Originally, the song was a birthday poem that Tom Marshall wrote to Trey while he was living alone in upstate New York.  In Rolling Stone, Trey referenced the first time he got the poem from Tom.

As soon as I read it I put it to music.  It summed up how I feel not only about Tom but the band and our audience.  It’s about getting younger.  Let’s take a step back together- and simultaneously a step forward.  That’s what these shows feel like.  I had to play that song.

Reuniting and moving forward; remembering the past with our sights set on the future- that is what Hampton was all about, and Trey couldn’t have summed it up better.  “The only rule is it begins,  Happy happy oh my friend.”

Page McConnell (hiddentrack.com)

Page McConnell (A. Kaufman)

“Beauty of a Broken Heart” was the biggest surprise of the three debuts, coming from Page’s self-titled solo album released in 2007.  Written as a reflection on Phish’s breakup, there couldn’t have been a more fitting song for the band to adopt as they came back together.

Immobilized I realized
misjudged the situation’s size…

A love supreme, an ancient art
a finely tuned piano part
that plays its notes from stop to start
and hinges on a broken heart…

Though seasons change and seeds may start
the beauty of a broken heart
cannot be seen but in full view
the colors can come back to you.

These lyrics, written as a musing on something that had ended grew new meaning now that Phish is back together.  Most literally, the colors have come back to us.  This was not only a poignant moment of the show, but also a rare addition from Page to the Phish repertoire.  Seeming like the band may try to incorporate their diverse solo material into the collective mix, this could be the beginning of a pattern.

3.8.09 (P.Lucks)

3.8.09 (P.Lucks)

Perhaps the most symbolic debut of the weekend was “Undermind.”  The long awaited title track made its appearance in the first set of the last show, foreshadowing what is to come in the Phish world.  Tweaked musically, the performance featured crunchier grooves than we were used to hearing on the album.  Downplaying melody in favor of rhythm, the song adopted a funk-reggae feel.  But as infectious as the grooves were, the lyrics painted a playful picture of where the band is at right now.

Undecided, undefined
Undisturbed, yet undermind

Relocated, not retired
Reprimanded and rewired

Mystified and mishapen
Misinformed, but not mistaken

Reinvented, redefined
Rearranged, but not refined.

With the repetitive line of “Undecided, Undefined” leading out of the jam into the end of the song, the message was clear- the future is wide open. A song that seems like it was written and shelved just for the band’s comeback, the synchronicities between its lyrics and the state of the Phish scene are remarkable.  Perhaps the most exciting debut, musically, fans immediately foresaw this groove-based vehicle going places come June and beyond.

3.7.08 (M. Walters)

3.7.08 (M. Walters)

While new material may not have been the focus of Hampton, the carefully selected debuts conveyed a powerful message.  Between the three songs, we can infer a genuine enthusiasm for the band’s reunion and a commitment to forge a new path for Phish.  As we move in to summer and will hear more of what “the new” has to offer, understand that it represents where the band is coming from now.  Don’t be that jaded fan to knock a song because you never heard it before and it’s not “Tweezer”‘- even “Tweezer” was a new song once too you know.

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

8.4.96 Red Rocks, Morrison, CO < LINK

8.4.96 Red Rocks, Morrison, CO < TORRENT LINK

Red Rocks (Hidden Track)

Red Rocks (Hidden Track)

With all the Red Rocks madness engulfing the scene over the last 24 hours, I figured we would revisit the epic four night stand that got the banned in the summer of ’96.  Here’s night one, with others to follow.  Again, please use torrents.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Funky Bitch, Guyute, Fee, Split Open and Melt, The Mango Song, The Sloth, Maze, Loving Cup

II: AC/DC Bag,  Reba, Scent of a Mule, Sample in a Jar, David Bowie, Sweet Adeline, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Star Trek Theme*, Rocky Top

*Page, solo on Theremin.

***

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3.8.09 – Photo: Marc Walters

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177 Responses to “Undecided, Undefined”

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  1. Myhkel Says:

    I was looking though old pages of phishthoughts and found this(thought it was pretty good call):

    DLewis Says:

    October 1, 2008 at 8:21 am
    3.0 in full effect! what a great way to start off the morning! Bkwds down the # Line, 2nd set opener w/ monster DWD jam. that kid in the soccer jersey will be there, and we can rejoice that all things are right in the universe. yes kid! good tidings!

    ^Miner…re:that last sentence.
    Very much agree…I hope for the most part the fans will allow Phish be what THEY want to be, not what they[fans] Expect them to be. And let them take their own pace in this new era of Phish.

  2. Myhkel Says:

    3.0>future

    Undefined indeed!

  3. Wilson Says:

    Now that’s post’n, Miner.

    BDTNL/BBH/Undermind … all a big part of why Hampton was so encouraging.

  4. Matso Says:

    @ AL –

    First of all, take off the all CAPS. This really isn’t that urgent.

    Secondly, the Policy guidelines do not prohibit distribution of audience recordings just because there is a Live Phish releases. If that was the case, then there would not have been any point to having tapers at every 2.0 and 3.0 show. It is only the “officially released recordings” ie. the digital soundboards, which “may never be duplicated or otherwise traded or offered”.

    So I don’t think there’s anything to get too worked up about here.

  5. youenjoy09 Says:

    ‘Backwards Down the Number Line’ is a beautiful songwriters song… I am a newbie and ‘Waste’ was the first song I got into from a ‘songwriting’ perspective. Similar to ‘Velvet Sea,’ these songs are amazing because, not only do they showcase the beauty that is the musicianship of Phish, but also give glimpse into the melodic and mellifluous lyrical possibilities. I am excited to hear how the jam of this song progresses…

  6. jer-z Says:

    I think that all three songs have great potential, and I am really looking forward to hearing what they do with Number Line. Am I the only one that thought that Trey’s guitar in Number Line had a little bit of a Jerry feel to it? I can see Undermind being to summer 09 what Sand was to 00

  7. PeteB Says:

    I for one, look froward to the “new” material. As a long time fan, I will take a new creation over hearing some of the same old songs for the 100th time. I loved the creative period that brought us Vultures, Ghost, Limb x Limb, Saw It Again, Sand etc. These are all songs I hope to hear when I see Phish. I can’t say that I loved much of he stuff that came from Round Room, then again, I don’t think those tunes had enough time to mature on a live stage. Right now, I miss Phish so much that they can come on stage and burp to a rhythm and I will think its great.

  8. wharpua Says:

    Two things:

    – Along these same lines, the bustout I wish they had made was a Sunday night playing of Tomorrow’s Song (Today I sing tomorrow’s song… and in this place we learn to wait… today I sing tomorrow’s song). I thought that would’ve been appropriate, and also hope that they someday insert that song into the middle of some epic jam.

    – The first time I heard Backwards as played by the ‘original’ TAB lineup, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to hear Page sing the chorus.” ‘Twas perfect, as imagined.

  9. Al Says:

    ^^^Hi Matso – I thought Miner’s Murat download is also a SBD because it says so. I’ m the last one to complain. Love all audience recordings. I just don’t want this site to get any trouble:-)

  10. Little Buddy Says:

    @jer-z

    It’s so funny that you mention that. I put the “new” Phish songs on another disc as filler the other day and my wife was listening to it in the car. When she pulled into the driveway I could hear DDTNL blaring and the first thing she said when she walked in the house was, “You know, I really hear a lot of Jerry in Trey’s playing in BDTNL.” So, you’re not alone in that sentiment…

  11. bhizzle Says:

    What about Army of One? Granted the lyrics aren’t in the top of my head to try to analyze, but if Undermind is on that list of “new” songs, shouldn’t Army of One? It is such a beautiful song. Indeed one of my favorites. Also, I still have yet to hear Undermind re-worked.

  12. Pence Says:

    This statement makes me think the phish organization found out that this “error” was a way to give brokers the opportunity to buy tickets prior to the announced general public sale date. I like the fact that they are even mentioning getting that addressed.

    Phish takes this and all ticketing matters extremely seriously. We will seek assurances this type of error will not happen again in the future. The high demand for the tickets on Phish’s return has overwhelmed the prevailing ticketing systems and revealed their flaws. We are putting pressure on the ticketing providers to improve their systems. We are focused on the ticket broker activity in our tickets and the inability of the existing ticket systems to stop this. We are actively seeking options to limit this.

  13. Chalkdustin Says:

    Nice post Miner. BDTNL and BBH- both beautiful songs, both lyrically and musically. It was touching to hear the extra emotion in Trey’s voice during Number Line and his explanation in RS makes it more powerful. Anxious to see how both songs progress throughout the tour. Makes me wonder what, if any, of Mike’s songs they’ll do over the summer. Adelman’s Yard?

  14. Pence Says:

    Random morning commute setlist:

    Spices>Catapult, 2001>Buried Alive*

    *unfinished

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    @ AL – Sure you’re not a narc, NARC!!! Sorry, i just love when people get called narcs…

    Chalkdustin shouted out Andleman’s Yard. That song is goofy as hell and has a GREAT jam at the end. When it came out, my buddies and I would sing it with “in Rick Adelman’s yard” lyrics in honor of the Sacramento coach. Love to see Phish play in Rick Adelman’s yard

  16. Matso Says:

    @ AL –

    I’m not sure if that makes a difference so long as the SBD isn’t the same ‘recording’ as the one released via Live Phish (the difference being one is a mixed clean SBD and the other presumably isn’t). I haven’t looked at the policy that closely, but based on my reading, they just don’t want Live Phish (or studio) work traded.

    Re: BDTNL –

    I still prefer the Rothbury version over all of the electric ones so far (TAB and Phish). The full band version sounds rushed and the intro feels tacked on. I love the way the acoustic version allows Trey to really imbue the vocal melody with emotion; there’s something about the urgent ride cymbal in the full band arrangement that undermines that. I hope they work on the arrangement just slightly – I think the song would work better if the approach was a bit more like Mountains in the Mist or All of these Dreams (not quite that slow, but a bit more open).

  17. ma Says:

    gumbo > antelope 2nd night was so nice! hearing beauty of a broken heart for the first time that night ( and 20 times since ) was certainly a treat…i don’t see how much better or worked that song can get….great, great tune.

  18. Exree Hipp Says:

    Al, a soundboard is not the same as a live phish offcial release. The official releases are remastered. A soundboard recording by a fan is simply a direct port from the board, unmixed. Listen to the two and you will hear the difference loud and clear. Miner is not distributing Phish’s official releases.

  19. Chalkdustin Says:

    Miner, you got it- Undermind is downright FUNKY. Fun-keeey. Page rips it up.

  20. Frankie Says:

    Thank you Mr. Miner! Great writing once again! Can’t wait to hear those new songs evolve over the summer and all the new unheard ones too!

    That last picture by Marc Walters is sick! The UFO has landed! 😀

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    Army of one was played before “we’re done”

    Tomorrows song seemed like a studio moment more than a song, so I wouldn’t expect to hear that one. But they playe quadrophonic toppling so what do I know.

    Grind is another debut, and is significant in that its the band’s first original barbershop tune. Pretty good too!

  22. Frankie Says:

    That picture of Page is not his best moment though… 🙂

  23. brandofunk Says:

    Matso – I couldn’t agree more about BDTNL. The first time played was the best as of yet. I was so disappointed In brooklyn when I heard the full band arrangement(while loving every minute of it)

    Al – you have to relax, man

    Oh and thank you Mr. Miner

  24. SOAM Says:

    We’re Done-Highly Illogical

    W’sup with the dink complaining regarding miners gifts -get a life.

    FYI-Have Camden’s need Jones Beach

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    Soam if you get your jones beach and still have the camdens, keep me in mind- my sister has had no ticket love and lives near there..

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