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.

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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”

  1. Frankie Says:

    Anybody watched the Flatbed Jam DVD from Clifford Ball? Maybe my favorite part of the whole box set… Did you guys recognize yourselves in there? It gave me chills watching the looks on people’s faces when they realize that Phish is playing this dream-like music on that lit-up flatbed truck. Awesome! 🙂 How i wish to have been older and in the know then… Plattsburgh is like an hour and a half from here…

  2. SOAM Says:

    gotcha Cowfunk-but do hope to trade-peace

  3. mathew Says:

    anyone else here the undermind teases by Trey in the disease from that night?

  4. Los Says:

    Cowfunk

    Grind was played 12/30/98 at msg

  5. mathew Says:

    hear, sorry i can’t spell

  6. Mitch Says:

    Al,
    I think if it was a sbd that was already in circulation thats being posted its not a problem. If Phish decides to knock on Miner’s door then he can take it down. I doubt they are gonna salt on the most uplifted Phish site around. Plus Miner isn’t trying to take out of the foundation’s pocket.
    ————-
    So far as BDt#L, I wish Trey’s solo was a bit more sped up. Anyone else feel this? I feel like if it had a bit more umph, it would go a lot better. Everytime I’m listening to TAB shows or the version from Hampton, I want it to be a little more machine gunish.

  7. whole tour! Says:

    @al – YOU CAN STILL UPLOAD SOUNDBOARDS OF LIVEPHISH RELEASES BECAUSE THE SOUNDBOARDS THAT WE ALL HAVE ARE NOT THE SAME SOUNDBOARDS THAT WERE USED AS THE LIVEPHISH RELEASES….YA DIG?
    the phish taping policy states that YOU CANNOT UPLOAD THE LIVEPHISH RELEASES THEMSELVES, BUT SAY YOU HAVE A SOUNDBOARD THAT HAS A CASS GEN OR TWO IN IT, THEN YOU CAN UPLOAD THAT SOUNDBOARD BECAUSE THAT SOUNDBAORD WAS NOT USED AS THE OFFICIAL RELEASE.
    ———————————————————————————–

    sorry for the caps, but i didn’t want al to think we were ignoring him.

    anyway…getting back to mr. miner’s great post today:

    UNDERMIND = MY NEW FAVORITE PHISH SONG! NUFF SAID! i hope they bust it out manytimes this summer…along with WAVES!

  8. R1 Says:

    I agree whole tour – Undermind is my new fave as well and hope to hear it this summer . . . along with SIHTOS.

    I think that song is the SHIT and really want to hear them get deep into it.

  9. ma Says:

    give it up for the beauty!

  10. nonoyolker Says:

    SIHTOS has some SICK potential. It gets in that muddy, murky, dirty jamming and people can get lost that far down in the deep end. Hope that song come up big in ’09. Love to hear more 46 days and for sure Undermind. Lyrics are still a little eh for me, but that funky jam is undenyable. Shit is some get up and groove shit. Do a little Jagger cock-sure strut shit.

  11. Mitch Says:

    Sorry didnt read it all, I guess I was saying the same as everyone about the SBD.

    ^Matso, I don’t agree with BDt#L, I want a punchy solo right before ALL MY FRIENDS COME.

    ^Pence, I’ve been saying the same thing for the past few days. It was their way to give brokers access and since Phish fans are uber obsessed and looking at everything all the time unlike most bands fans we found them. And word spread like wildfire and we snatched them all up. Think about it, would TM give $50 to everyone who got them otherwise? Thats a $50K-100K coverup.

  12. DC Says:

    Undermine was definitely surprise of weekend.
    My girlfriend used as a bathroom break (we still have not warmed up to the Round Room- Undermind era material) and could not believe when she heard it on the tapes.
    The hard funk groove and heavy clav riffs will find a few scorching jams this summer no doubt.

  13. Los Says:

    Speaking of Livephish releases….

    Any word on a new one? I know we got lots of new shit recently but I’m always looking for more SBDs from the pHISH!!!!

  14. Mitch Says:

    ^ Frankie, thats not Page… Thats Krusty the Clown

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    Wow grind @ 12-30-98? I was at that show too! Missed half tho due to a nyc meetup snafu (before cellphones!) Was it in the encore? I had no idea the song was so old. Were there others or just the two?

  16. contact420 Says:

    That animated shit from the coventry blog is hilarious

  17. Los Says:

    Here ya go Cowfunk…

    12-30-98 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1: Chalk Dust Torture, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Wilson, Roggae, Sparkle, The Moma Dance, The Old Home Place, Sample in a Jar, Frankie Says, Maze, Loving Cup, Reba* (1:40)

    2: Down With Disease, Piper^, Prince Caspian^^, The Squirming Coil# > Slave to the Traffic Light (1:10)

    E: Grind##, Possum+

    *With whistling; white chiffon-clad, wigged, winged nymphs/fairies were spinning and dancing in the center floor aisle. ^Fairies appeared on stage; heavy glowstick war during which floor ushers were picking up glowsticks from the aisles and returning them to patrons (who threw them again). ^^Different, jammed-out ending (during which faeries moved back to the center-of-floor aisle, gathered in a circle around some glowsticks, and emerged with glowsticks stuck into their white wigs). #”Piper” teases by Trey; without traditional Page-solo ending (they instead segued in to an ambient-style jam which got fiery and metal-ish before being abandoned); fairies/nymphs appeared on stage again, this time hiding behind Page’s setup, the amps, and Fish’s kit. ##First time played (never-recorded song originally written for the album “Billy Breathes” (and appearing on the outtakes from recoriding sessions for that album); Trey joked about it being a “new, but old” song, and this being its “world debut”); with Tom Marshall on vocals; dedicated to a man put into a wheelchair by a lacrosse accident (Chris Heinel, a student at the Hun School in Princeton, NJ). +With “Wipeout” quote; stop/start soloing by Fish, Mike, Trey/Page, and then the audience; fairies/nymphs appeared on stage topless.

  18. Al Says:

    I’m relaxed now……what’s narc? You have to excuse, I’m not amrican:-O

  19. SOAM Says:

    Can someone tell me how the ticketing lottery works-What if you order difficult tix like Red Rocks and then say Hartfords-will they fill a partial order is what I’m getting or if you ask for Red rocks will the whole order get shot down?

  20. SOAM Says:

    did he say what’s narc ?-wow

  21. RobAins Says:

    Al: A Narc is a Narcotics Officer and/or informant. Someone who provides Police/DEA etc. information…. You can “Narc someone out” by giving info to the authorities. It’s no longer only about drugs though, you can be Narc’ed out by anybody for any reason. The saying has basically tunred into another way of calling someone a “tattle tale” which I am guessing doesn’t make any sense to you either. Where are you from?

  22. nonoyolker Says:

    uhhhhhhhhhh.

    @SOAM – Great question man. Heads I knew who were lucky enough to get the lottery got their full orders fufilled. That would be really hard to do if everyone put in for RRs with their requests. Hartford, Darien, etc are way easier to get into.

  23. bhizzle Says:

    @R1 – re:yesterday’s floyd – sorry I didn’t see your post. there were many and I was just trying to speed read through them to catch up. Glad someone else out there with that album appreciation.

    Song I Heard the Ocean Sing is one of their latest tunes that I’ve always said could rage. It is so dirty sounding and so in your face. I will be looking for that this summer.

    RE: TM – $50 apologies?

  24. bhizzle Says:

    @ SOAM & nonoyolker

    a friend tried for all post Hampton shows minus B’roo and got B’twn, DC and both Alpines. so i’m guessing partials will be given

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    Wow thanks..helpin out the blackberry user.. I have no recall of that, but it was a crazy day! Took the train to nyc to meet my then gf who had my tix..she called me from a payphone, said “meet me at the subway entrance that has steps down underground. This describes like 10 places within 2 blocks of msg. I wandered around alone for hours until finally ending up in my buddy’s hotel room-after telling the front desk I was him. I was sitting in the room at show time, bummed as hell watching encino man, when the phone rang and it was her and it was all good. Got lost in those stairwells that have no exit during maze and then finally made it in during loving cup.

    The next night very much overshadows it in my mind, and I feel is one of the most underrated nye shows.

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