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. DC Says:

    The Dead managed to hire the guitar player whose tone and style meshes the least with the band’s sound.

    He’s a good blues player and can do the heavy southern rock thing, but psyche rock not so much.

    Kimock and Herring would have been the way to go (takes 2 to replicate the fat man) too bad Jimmy’s busy playin in that other Shit band.

  2. contact420 Says:

    and these clips confirm what some of us have known for a long time…Trey can’t play the blues at all!!!

  3. old dude Says:

    “I hope they apply themselves as well in the tournament as they did in selling them T-shirts.”

    http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-local_phishshirts_0320mar20,0,1185551.story

  4. DC Says:

    Trey is probably the best player ever that has no blues background.
    That BB King set was BRUTAL. def not his cup of tea.

  5. contact420 Says:

    DC you don’t want to piss off the 2.0 phans here. We have had several conversations in yours and my living room about the BB King set

  6. c0wfunk Says:

    trey does something with the blues (possum, funky bitch, etc) though it’s not exactly “blues” Often he melts the stratosphere instead while the rest of the band keeps the changes. This is a fun way to play blues — let go for 12 or 24 bars and bring it back every couple times around (works with jazz standards of course too..)

    But he definitely works the blues scales, I think he throws so much else in there it’s often hard for the Real Bluesmen to keep up.

  7. Brimley Says:

    A little of topic, but this Warren Haynes short clip is a MUST view- The title is facemelter… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMxG90vP-aU

  8. contact420 Says:

    Take a look at the southbound clip and see if the other guys on stage can keep up…

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    heh yeah I saw that southbound clip .. buddy guy rips it up for sure, but honestly I like Trey’s solo better ;P

  10. contact420 Says:

    better than BG’s I agree but the other two dudes up there…wow!

  11. whole tour! Says:

    hey guys, cut BB King a little slack…the guy is like 83 years old. He has diabetes. He can’t even feel his hand half the time. I saw BB here in town last year, and it was a great show. He dosen’t play the sick ass blues guitar he once used to, but he gets up there and tells funny ass stories. It’s like an evening with grampa BB. When he was here in town he’d play like one note riffs, but it was still worth seeing him.

    He told stories about him taking viagra, he spoke out against gansta rap lyrics, he said he would run for president. The guy is a living legend.

    As far as warren, i agree he’s not the best guitarist to take the lead spot in the dead, but he’s not that bad. I was watching one of the rehearsal videos with him playing “till the morning comes” and it sounded pretty sweet. I agree that the best man for the job is steve kimock, but for some strange reason phil doesn’t like playing with him. I heard it’s because steve like to induldge in a little poppy product, which makes no sense to me why phil would mind, since he played with garcia for years and he did the same thing. When i saw kimock play with ratdog it was fucking sick as hell. He tore many songs a new a-hole. I personally think ratdog blows chunks, but with steve kimock they were like a new band. Mark karan just does nothing for me. It’s the same penatonic scales over and over again.

    Good news for me is that i’m not going to be seeing any of the upcoming dead shows anyway. i’ll download them for free, for sure….but right now all my eggs are in phish’s basket and i couldn;t be happier.

  12. contact420 Says:

    tha Taj Mahal clips are bad ass too! Leavin’ Trunk!!!

  13. Mitch Says:

    My friends and I make shirts for tour everytime. If you saw us at Hampton they said team mango 2009.

    I can help make these rotn shirts happen.

  14. wizzle1986 Says:

    seen B.B. in eugene in 08, 45 minute show, FUCKING UNREAL!!!!, bieng from Memphis this was a life fulfillment, at least from what i experienced this show the man has still got it, I cried like a little babby the whole show, and i don’t know why, his music live is just very, very touching, best show I’ve ever seen hands down

  15. Mitch Says:

    We were playing with the idea of screen printing the next go round. I have a friend who has screen printed a bunch.

    The dude with the front row is a friend of my buddy who I met on tour back in the day. I saw him at Hampton and he was telling me he doesn’t like to tell people he doesn’t know because they either don’t believe him or they get mad. I thought it was awesome. Someone has to win.

  16. whole tour! Says:

    ^ right on mitch!!! if i see you at any shows, i will personally buy any ROTN summer tour 2009 shirts you happen to have on you! i think they would go over extremely well and anyone that frequents this site would instantly recognize them!

  17. wizzle1986 Says:

    as for kimock, I’ve seen him like 5 times, a couple of them in very intimate venues, and while i know he can be a badass, the dude never once let loose

  18. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Mitch, good looks! These ROTN shirts could be a serious sell and fucking hilarious to boot (taboot)

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    @whole tour – grampa BB, exactly. He used to be a shredder though. But that’s not what its about no mo

    Kimock and phil have a long and complicated history. I don’t think SK’s alleged habits have anything to do with why they’re not playing together now – but if it were it would be understandable IMO. The experience with Jerry is exactly why Phil doesn’t put up with junkies anymore.

    But it’s not that. I know the story between them in great detail and I won’t repeat it here because it’s boring-ass soap opera stuff that’s none of anyone’s business (including mine). It’s really not very interesting.

    SK is frustrating. I’ve seen him dozens of times. When he is really on he is capable of amazing things. But I have seen him flop with a flat wet thud many times too. Just deadly dull.

    My main nitpick is that he rarely gets outside his head, he stays cerebral sometimes when the music needs someone with balls. Uses thin, nuanced delicate tones when Spinal Tap power chords are called for.

    And a little Warren goes a real long way for me. Real long. Whoo.

    Interesting this blues discussion, the digression from the “folky” thread I didn’t follow yesterday is that IMO by far the biggest style difference between Dead and Phish is the blues influence in the former.

  20. whole tour! Says:

    ^ right on mitch!!! if i see you at any shows, i will personally buy any ROTN summer tour 2009 shirts you happen to have on you! i think they would go over extremely well and anyone that frequents this site would instantly recognize them!

    i know that the “goonies” shirts were a huge hit a few years ago…i bought the one with the baby ruth guy that said “sloth” on it…it was an instant classic, and i have a feeling the ROTN stuff would be too.

  21. wizzle1986 Says:

    to keep up the rampant off topic posting as I always do, anyone who is interested in blues/Clapton needs to download the torrent of Clapton and Duane Allman, titled just that, and listen immediatly, lots of jams and some of the best Clapton blues chops available IMO

  22. whole tour! Says:

    i still give BB a lot of credit. Most people his age can’t even walk, let alone play shows on a regular basis. His diabe-tus (wilford brilley shout out!) has progressed quite a bit since he played with phish in 2003. He could still shred when him and trey were trading riffs. Now, he mainly plays shorter runs, but still with that signature lucille sound.

    I hear what your saying about kimock. Sometimes he rages, and sometimes he looks like he’d rather be sleeping somewhere. i guess i like him because i met him a couple of time and he’s such a cool guy. He was willing to take the time and explain his rig to my tripping face before a free show once. I aksed him about his cripe guitar and he told me it wa smade by the dude who made some of jerry’s axes.

    as far as warren, i like the guy. But many people i talk to say they get burned out on him. Especially at some of those tripple warren band shows (phil and friends, allmans, and govt. mule shows where warren plays with each band all night.) by the end of the night people were saying that they couldn’t take it anymore. i’m not one of those folks. i really dig warren.

  23. Mitch Says:

    I prob wont mass produce them, it would be more like taking requests and then we all show up wearing them. Lets talk later tonight about it and work out details.

  24. RobAins Says:

    Good idea Mitch. Been a long time since I last made T-Shirts. Only time I ever did it was Summer 95, but remember there were minimum orders, and that usually meant making them in bulk. Can you make just 10? 20?
    It would be awesome to make some for however many people say they want them, and then use them as a way to meet up at shows…..

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    Kimock is a super nice and mellow person. As chill a guy as you could ask for. I’ve helped run a cpl events with him and never had anything but good interactions – one of few “stars” you could say that about.

    If you want to talk to Steve, guitars are the right subject for sure! He truly loves them and their differences.

    The fact that I have seen him do his Clark Kent -> Superman transformation several times & suddenly (and briefly) turn into a sorcerous mad genius of psychedelic guitar awesomeness makes the many onstage naps you mention that much more frustrating.

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