The Revitalized “Harry Hood”

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on June 30th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

One of Phish’s most revered songs, “Harry Hood’s” emotional quality and ethereal improvisation taps into the very ethos of the band and their grand musical experiment.  A tightly-woven path of exaltation, “Hood” jams, when played with intent, are like none other.  Peaking with a mind-boggling, yet blissful intensity, I consider “Hoods” to be musical metaphors for life itself.  One of the band’s most magical pieces, “Harry Hood” is pure Phish.

But there came a time, around ’98 through ’00, where the band continued playing the song, but with much less passion.  Often noodling their way to generic peaks, the start of “Harry Hood,” instead of giving me instant goosebumps, was almost a letdown, because I knew how great it could be.  Then came post-hiatus.  With more energy and an exploratory spirit, Phish began taking “Hoods” where they’d never gone before- crafting two for the record books in Charlotte and Camden in the Summer of ’03.  But just as the band was getting into things, it was over.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

Fast Forward to this summer.  Beginning with Jones Beach’s other-worldly experimentation, “Hood” announced itself on the summer scene with a deeply-psychedelic excursion, leaving the entire crowd buzzing long after the show.  Bringing the jam to a new realm of ambient space, Phish made a statement with “Harry Hood,” reawakening its hibernating spirit from the corner of the universe, and back into our lives.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

When Phish dropped the next “Hood” at Great Woods, those goosebumps were back.  Combining musical urgency and a delicate patience- seemingly a paradox- Phish played perhaps the tightest and most triumphant version of the summer.  Extending the jam with mini musical tangents, this was the type of “Hood,” that when it finally arrives at its peak, finds the entire crowd involuntarily blissed out.  All four members carried on a vibrant musical conversation, each offering creative musical phrases; none dominating at all.  If Jones Beach represented a dark spiritual awakening, this climactic version was a soulful sprint through an open meadow with deepest blue sky and long green grass swirling around you.  “Hood” was officially back- and it had never felt better.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

As Phish continued to drop frequent “Hoods” throughout June, each and every one was welcomed with rife anticipation of where the ride might take us.  Remaining anchored in the jam’s structure, each brought a brilliant improvisational path, as the band and audience rejoiced in one of their most hallowed pieces.  Knoxville and Bonnaroo’s versions each crafted a gentle journey that was a highlight of their respective sets.  June’s final version came at Star Lake, a soaring and emotive rendition led by Trey’s dynamic playing- again, one of the jams of the night.

“Harry Hood” fell right in line with the band’s June trend of tight, purposeful improvisation that remained, largely, inside the box.  But being a song that never strayed far from its path (other than in ’03) this suited “Harry” just right.  With a renewed intent, Phish crafted spiritual excursions out of “Hood” all tour long, reconnecting with their own souls as well as ours.

====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.18.09 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < TORRENT

6.18.09 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < MEGAUPLOAD

Official Star Lake Poster

Official Star Lake Poster

The first of June’s final four nights, Phish improvised coherently throughout the second set.  Warming them up for Deer Creek and Alpine, this show became far more interesting after setbreak.  The “Disease > Free,” “Piper,” and “Hood” are all highlight explorations, while the “YEM” was, in my opinion, the best of tour.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around the Room, Wolfman’s Brother, The Divided Sky, Heavy Things, Walk Away, Wilson, Tube, Alaska, David Bowie

II: Down With Disease > Free, Guyute, Piper > When The Circus Comes To Town, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself

E: Grind, Hello My Baby, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Loving Cup

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S(din)-FOB > Lunatec V2 > Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Taper: Z-Man

-
***

47_Phish_at_the_Fox

Phish At the Fox – Photo: Brian Kisida

Tags: , ,

The First Moment of Tour

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on June 29th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
5.31.09 Fenway Park (P.Harrington)

5.31.09 Fenway Park (P.Harrington)

Thinking back over the highlights of this tour- and there are many- it all started back in May in that rainy little stadium in Boston.  Excitement overflowed for the first show of the first tour in years.  People milled about around the stadium long before the show began, on what started as a sunny afternoon.  Friends kept arriving, one after another, meeting up for the first time since March- or before- ready for some stadium-sized Phish.

5.31.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

5.31.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

After a pre-show rain storm, a disjointed first set came together with a smoking “Disease,” “Destiny,” “Zero” ending.  Phish took the massive outfield stage in the dark, following the first shortened summer setbreak- leaving many scrambling for their seats.  Knowing what would start would be huge, it was a total freak scene when the opening notes of “Tweezer” bellowed from the outfield.  “Fenway Tweezer”- Welcome to Tour!  The slow, open-air playing covered the field like a blanket- it was on;  2009 style!

5.31.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

5.31.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

The drop into the jam saw Trey begin the with song’s actual lick, before Page added some wah-effects that immediately loosened things up.  The pace, the size, the stadium- surfing “Tweezer’s” liquid wave- all on a fresh head; it was all too much in the best way possible!!  Transforming into an immediate peak Phish experience, the jam had hardly begun!  Trey took command right away, playing a nasty lead that climbed slowly around Page’s clav patterns.  The pocket was deep as the band welcomed everyone to summer with some dirty and heavy “Tweezer” grooves.  Clicking as a whole, Trey’s lines become more and more creative as Mike’s centerfield bass bombs backed everything like a Green Monster of rubber jelly.  Shredding a mini composed jam before making a shift into another plane, the band entered a territory focused on melody and harmony as much as rhythm, and the results were other-wordly.

5.31.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

5.31.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

Trey continued to improvise an incredibly emotive melody that peaked with fifteen seconds of sustained musical bliss while the band crushed stadium-sized grooves behind him.  This was one of those transcendent moments that I’ll savor forever- timeless, spaceless, egoless- this is why we go.  Playing like he freed himself of any mental or metaphorical cages, this was Trey again; this was happiness.  Playing with far more emotion and heart than at Hampton, he continued to annihilate the jam, along with his mates, for some time before the music made a subtle shift, signifying what was to come.  Trey echoed some familiar melodies while Mike and Page played heavily-effected lines, building down into a melodic ambiance that provided a canvas for Trey to paint a psychedelic solo.

5.31.09 (P.Harrington)

5.31.09 (P.Harrington)

Soon Page shifted back from piano to heavy effects, and Fishman subtly altered his beat, riding a cymbal- a transition was coming- what was it?  Was it…”Light!?”  “Really!?”  Emotionally shot through the heart, I had wanted this to happen since I heard Trey play the only other versions of the song.  It was supposed to happen- “Tweezer > Light”-  and it did.  Stunned, ecstatic.

Merging one of their oldest and newest epics, Phish launched into their second debut of the evening out of the deepest part of the show.  And symbolically, the band brought us from the past into the future- all right phishfenway1there in the present.  And when the time to launch came, Trey hit a geyser-like melody that reached for the stars, leading the band forth into a new spiritual playground.  Used as a landing pad for the set opening sequence, the band played only the song’s template- one that would be considerably extended a week later at Bonnaroo.  After a soaring, yet short, jam to end the song, the band began a layered vocal round that added a Phishy twist to its ending.

Fenway was one of those special Phish shows that we will all remember forever.  Strewn with cross-cultural mythology, the show was a spectacle and Phish certainly responded.  But when looking back to Fenway, my mind, heart and soul will always jump back into that “Tweezer” jam ending the first-ever “Light,” defining a most magical night.

***

LISTEN  TO “TWEEZER > LIGHT” NOW!

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====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.09.2009 Asheville Civic Center < TORRENT LINK

6.09.2009 Asheville Civic Center < SENDSPACE LINK

Official Asheville Poster

Official Asheville Poster

Perhaps the most intimate show of tour, with a friendly vibe far outweighing any other, Phish treated the “heady” crowd to some treats.  The high point of the show- and one of the entire tour- came in the creative second set “Ghost” which peaked endlessly and bled perfectly into “Fast Enough For You.”  ‘Twas certainly a night to remember.

I: Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance, Sample in a Jar, Stash, Dog Faced Boy, Gumbo, Tube, Lengthwise, The Divided Sky, When the Cactus is in Bloom*, Bold as Love

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Ghost > Fast Enough for You, Halley’s Comet > Maze, Alaska**, Theme from the Bottom, Golgi Apparatus, Possum

E: Loving Cup

*debut, by Bill Monroe, **debut

Source: Schoeps mk41v(AB) > kc5 > m222 > nt222 + mk21(nos) > kcy > vms5u > 744t + Neumann ak40(xy) > lc3 > km100 > v3 > 722 {C-Link} (24/48) – Tapers: Charles Fox and James Scott

(Note: Sendspace link added for those who can’t torrent!)

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Halloween In the Desert?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 28th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.16.09 The Fox (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 The Fox (B.Kisida)

2009 just keeps getting better!  As we anxiously await the second leg of summer tour- with the return to Red Rocks, The Gorge, and so many classic venues- Phish has completely diverted everyone’s attention by announcing a three-day, Phish-only, Halloween festival- presumably at Empire Polo Fields in Indio, Ca.  The California desert outside of Palm Springs, after the hot season and surrounded by mountains, will provide an idyllic setting for the longest festival of the band’s career.  While there has been no “official” announcement of its location, all reliable sources are pointing to Indio- site of the annual Coachella festival in Southern California.  For all of those treks made to the easternmost tip of Maine, this time, the circus will come left for the first-ever west coast Phishfest.

The Great Went

The Great Went

For those who thought Bonnaroo marked the end of Phish festivals as we knew them, here is your response.  With reports of eight sets over three days, Phish is upping the ante with their most extensive celebration to date.  Needless to say, the Phish festival has returned!  We will finally reenter those vibrant playgrounds of lore, that hold musical possibilities as vast as the sky above them.  Unlike Bonnaroo, there will be no sitting through lackluster hip-hop sets awaiting our musical adventures- 72 hours of all Phish, all the time!

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

Whether it takes the form of a huge jam, an innovative art installation, a carnival ride, or a post-show dance party, Phishy energy will overflow at the most anticipated event since the band’s comeback.  With at least another summer leg before traveling to Indio, the band’s playing come Halloween will likely have evolved to far deeper places.  Take these factors and place them in the outskirts of the desert, and we’ve got the recipe for a sublime psychedelic experience.

The Great Went (D.Clinch)

The Great Went (D.Clinch)

Beyond the ideal specifics of the weekend, the spirit of the Phish festival will once again descend upon us.  A care-free plane where nothing matters except fun, friends, and Phish, we will once again step foot into a super-sized dream where wishes do come true.  Combining the vast surroundings, the overwhelmingly friendly vibes, and festival infrastructures that out-did any, some of the most surreal moments of the band’s career have come at their larger-than-life festivals.  The Clifford Ball, The Great Went, Lemonwheel, Oswego, Big Cypress, IT, Coventry, and now….Halloween ’09- the greatest tradition has been revived.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

Stuffed somewhere in the middle of those eight sets, Phish, by all assumptions, will don their first musical costume since Vegas ’98, when they nailed their second-set cover of Loaded.  A rite that was absent for the band’s final years, Phish will reignite one of their most-loved customs in their first year back.  Though we can postulate forever on which album they will choose, the band has had a knack for picking out gems we would have never considered (e.g. Remain In Light and Loaded). The answer to this question will unfold under the desert stars only four months from now.

Indio, CA

Indio, CA

The presumed locale of this year’s party will create a completely divergent feel to the many weekends in the Northeast.  With the weather likely to cooperate, a stunning geography, and a diluted east coast mania, this may be the most blissful experience yet.  We will build ourselves a small Phish city to live in for three days straight – west coast style.  And if staying on site isn’t your thing- though for Phish festivals it’s the general m.o.- there are luxury rentals aplenty only miles away.  To make everything even better, the band has finally chosen an “admit-all” site for one of their super-hyped holiday shows, and tickets won’t be a stress on anyone.

As the calendar is about to turn to July, and we are busy finalizing our plans for the end of summer, we have yet another shining moment waiting in the distance.  With Phish back in our lives, everything has taken on a whole new contour with shows upon shows coming up and plenty of new music to listen to in the meantime.  Circle October 29th through November 1st on your calendars now, because this is one you won’t want to miss.  Reviving two of their most time-honored traditions in one fell swoop, these won’t be your average Phish shows- that much is guaranteed.

Trick or Treat?

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.10.2009 Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN < TORRENT LINK

6.10.2009 Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN < SENDSPACE LINK

!BVKMkZ!CGk~$(KGrHgoOKkQEjlLmWTSVBKRCkH1P)g~~_1

Official Knoxville Poster

In the largest indoor venue in their history, with a capacity of over 24,000, Phish threw down a powerful show on campus at the University of Tennessee.  The second set versions of “Bowie,” Reba,” and “Hood” are all show highlights.

I: Runaway Jim, Punch You in the Eye, Ocelot, Foam, Train Song, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, The Squirming Coil, Character Zero

II: Get Back on the Train, Waves > A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > David Bowie, Army of One, Reba, Hello My Baby, Julius,  Cavern, Harry Hood

E: Frankenstein

Source:  Schoeps CCM 4 Lg (ORTF) > Sonosax SX-M2 > Sound Devices 702 (24/48)- Taper: Dennis Tyler

(Remember, if you absolutely can’t torrent, hit me up with an email explaining your situation for a direct link)

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Weekend Nuggets: Phish At Bonnaroo

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on June 27th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Bonnaroo (M. St.Clare)

Bonnaroo (M. St.Clare)

After much debate in the Phish community as to whether or not the band should headline the biggest music festival in the country, the band killed it and we all had a blast!  Welcoming the wide open field and festival-sized open-air sound, we were once again at a Phish festival- sort of.  The only band for which Superfly turned off the all-to gaudy Bonnaroo stage sign, when Phish took the stage, the place felt like a Phish show- with more a diverse crowd.

6.12.09 (D.Vann)

6.12.09 (D.Vann)

Playing their longest set since Big Cypress, Phish closed the main stage on Friday night with a three-hour late night slot from 11 to 2 am.  Taking one day off, the band closed the festival with an outright two-set Phish show from 8-12 am on Sunday night.  The band did a little bit of everything over these three sets, played to over 70,000 people.  This weekend was certainly one of the high points of June’s tour.

Follwing the recent pattern of brutally sub-par-LivePhish soundboards, (more on that another day), the SBD releases of Bonnaroo don’t come close to conveying the size of the music.  The “Tweezer” doesn’t crunch, the sound is flat.  Audience tapes are the only recordings that give bring this festival-sized show to life.  In short, if you download any AUDs, download these!  (Note: The “Rock and Roll > Light > 46 Days” is a can’t miss highlight, taboot).

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

6.12.09 Bonnaroo Late-Night < TORRENT LINK

Chalk Dust Torture, Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Possum, Down with Disease, Alaska, Stash, Golgi Apparatus, Wolfman’s Brother, Poor Heart, Kill Devil Falls > Free, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Harry Hood, Highway to Hell > 2001 > You Enjoy Myself > Wilson > You Enjoy Myself

E: A Day in the Life

Source: Schoeps MK21 (nos) > kcy > Schoeps VMS5U + Schoeps MK4(ortf) > kcy > Schoeps VMS02IB > Lifted Chris Hall interconnects > Busman Mod R4 Pro – Taper: Jeff Hatcher

***

6.14.09 Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN < TORRENT LINK (whole show)

I: AC/DC Bag, NICU, Gotta Jibboo, Punch You in the Eye , Sparkle, Bathtub Gin, Character Zero, Tweezer > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Run Like an Antelope, Mustang Sally*, Bobby Jean* > Glory Days*

II: Rock & Roll > Light > 46 Days, Limb by Limb, Farmhouse, Backwards Down the Number Line,  Prince Caspian > First Tube

E: Suzy Greenberg > Tweezer Reprise

* with Bruce Springsteen

Source: Neumann U89i (Omni split 2′) > Apogee Mini-MP > R-09HR (24/48) – Taper : Steve Toney

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

“Tweezer Reprise” ending Bonnaroo 6.14.09

“First Tube” set closer 6.12.09

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jack-ol-lanternHALLOWEEN UPDATE:

3-DAY FESTIVAL! (IN INDIO, CA?)
Just when things couldn’t get any cooler, Phish.com has asked us to “Save the Dates” of October 30th, 31st, and November 1st for the first Phish festival of the modern era!.  Three days- the longest Phish festival ever- is believed to be taking place at the site of Coachella, in the desert outside Palm Springs, Califorina. Noone’s getting shut out of this one, as Phish will throw their their first fall festival- and their first on the west coast!  Lovin it!

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Returning To Their Roots

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 25th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.18.09 Star Lake

6.18.09 Star Lake (M.Stein)

One of the most glaring facets of this June’s tour was the succinctness of Phish’s jams.  Part of this can be attributed to feeling each other out again and getting used to jamming off each other again.  Yet, as the tour grew on, Phish continued to take more musical risks (Star Lake’s “Disease,” Deer Creek’s “Oceans > Drowned > Twist,” and Alpine’s “Crosseyed > Disease,” and “Piper”), but their jams remained tightly directed and based in rock textures.  After spending the years of 1997 to 2000 exploring many types of groove-based playing, and 2003 (’04) with looser, psychedelic jamming, it appears that Phish may be returning to their roots as progressive rock improvisers.

Without judging this transition, it is simply an observation of where I sense the band’s music may be moving.  Many fans hopped on the bus during the late-’90s, and associate Phish with tar-thick funk grooves amidst all-out, nightly dance parties- cue the much-loved tours of Summer 1997 through Fall 1998.  Yet, as we readjust ourselves to Phish 2009, it seems that the rhythmic focus of the band’s jamming has been left behind in favor of more directed rock improvisation.

6.21.09 Alpine Valley (C.Smith)

6.21.09 Alpine Valley (C.Smith)

If we sample some of the best jams from this tour- Camden’s “Sand,” Asheville’s “Ghost,” Bonnaroo’s “Kill Devil Falls,” Deer Creek’s “Twist,” and Alpine’s “Crosseyed”- a definite pattern emerges.  As these jams start, the band busts out of the gate and goes straight to work, attacking the music right away instead of allowing things to settle and come to fruition.  This represents a divergent theory of improv than the late-’90s exploration of wide-open soundscapes, patiently allowing things to evolve one idea at a time.  This method also veers from the looser, drawn-out psychedelia of the post-hiatus era.  The results of this shift were shorter, more compact, jams that peaked with high intensity.  Whether the jams were of the “type I” (far more frequent in June) or the “type II” variety, the same pattern held true.  Phish wasn’t specifically taking time to discover those far-out mystical planes we love so much- though they did get there a few times.  Instead, they were diving right in, going for the jugular of their pieces- not unlike their style of the early ’90s.  (Even the tour’s longest dance jam, Camden’s 22-minute “Sand,” was primarily guided by forceful guitar leads rather than rhythm licks.) I am not comparing the insane music of ’93 and the jams of ’09, but rather the method in which Phish approached their improv of each era.  With sixteen years in between these times, the music can not possibly sound similar, but the band’s intent seems comparable.  Trey affirmed this position when discussing the new album with Rolling Stone’s David Fricke: “The shortest path to intent is what makes rock rock, and there is a lot of that here.”

6.21.09 (C.Smith)

6.21.09 (C.Smith)

When logging on to Livephish.com after the shows, it was surprising to see jams that felt much longer labeled as ten minutes or under.  But this speaks to the density of the band’s improv and the amount of  musical ideas presented in a compact fashion.  While not always bringing their music “out there,” this playing resulted in dynamic jams that contained focused communication, fiery results, and sublime peaks.

Though it’s hard to predict what Phish 3.0 will turn into after only one short run in June, if this tour was a foundation for the next, it seems that their musical direction is veering towards their former style.  To support this, we can look at their newest songs played throughout the tour, offshoots of several rock traditions- a far cry from 1998’s The Story of the Ghost or 2000’s Farmhouse. Again, I am not here to say this is bad or good- I’m just reflecting what I’ve begun to see and think.  Some fans may be turned off by this musical shift and some may love it- but in the end, I believe Phish will continue to reach those places in our souls in whatever way they see fit.

6.18.09

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

As stated previously this week, this tour was definitely part of a process, and not a destination.  Any observations made of the band during this first run-through may not totally hold true come Fall, or even August, but a trend began to grow during June.  Even their best ambient jams had a strong directionality to them and had a purpose (see Jones Beach’s “Ghost” or Alpine’s “Crosseyed > Disease”).  Maybe I’m reading too much into these first shows; maybe Phish will come out with some thirty minute abstract explorations at Red Rocks- who’s to say?  With such a protean band, predictions are near impossible to make.  But if you want to listen to twenty-minute funk excursions, your best bet is to pull out those ’97 bootlegs, because it appears that cow-funk is a thing of the the past.  Knowing Phish, their progression through this era will likely surprise us, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how they will spin their new psychedelic tales.  One thing I know for sure, if Phish is into it- and they certainly seem to be- the results will be rewarding.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

Official Camden Poster

Official Camden Poster

6.7.09 E Centre, Camden, NJ < TORRENT LINK

The first truly great Phish show of 2009.  Monster “Tweezer” closer. Full moon.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Fee, Wolfman’s Brother, Guyute, My Sweet One, 46 Days, The Lizards, The Wedge, Strange Design, Tube, First Tube

II: Sand, Suzy Greenberg, Limb by Limb, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Sugar Shack*, Character Zero, Tweezer

E: Joy*, Bouncing Around the Room, Run Like an Antelope > Tweezer Reprise

*debut

Source: Shoeps mk4v / Taper – unknown

Tags: ,

The Summer Debuts

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on June 24th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.18.09 Star Lake (M.Stein)

6.18.09 Star Lake (M.Stein)

As we turn the page on a new chapter of Phish history, one of the most exciting facets of this era is the plethora of new songs that were introduced in June.  As we begin our reflections on the past tour, I thought that their new songs would be a good place to start.  Showcasing diverse songwriting and various musical styles, the band has come out with a slew of new material- with more waiting in the wings.  Let’s take a look at each song one by one, in the order of their summer premieres.

***

“Ocelot” - debut: 5.31 Fenway Park I

Unveiled as the first new song of tour, many fans had heard the band’s rehearsal of this piece at The Centrum from the previous night, which somehow made it to the internet.  A playful song that evokes memories of the ’70s folk-rock tradition, “Ocelot” hopped into rotation from day one.  Trey’s lyrical melodies complement the the song’s loafing, casual grooves, creating a catchy piece that would stick in your head far after the show was over.  Growing in improvisation each time out, the band stretched the final Deer Creek version into a real jam.  Expect much more to from “Ocelot” in August- “Won’t you come out to play?”

“Light” - debut 5.31 Fenway II

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Debuted as the landing point of Fenway’s colossal tour-opening “Tweezer,” “Light” was the one song that I really anticipated making the jump from TAB to Phish.  Sped up from its Trey Band incarnation, “Light’s” jam has adopted a feel of a new-school “Piper.”  With soaring guitar work and full-band improvisation, the Bonnaroo version, which emerged from “Rock and Roll’s” ambient jam, provided one of the weekend’s highlights.  An open-ended jam that even found its way into some funk grooves at Manchester, it seems that “Light” has limitless potential.  I have a feeling that this could develop into one of 3.0’s shining stars.

“Time Turns Elastic” - debut Fenway 5.31 II

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

This controversial opus was showcased on the first night of tour, and played several times throughout.  Certainly a great piece of music, its place in a live show is questionable, in my opinion.  As soon “Time Turns Elastic” started, we knew we were in for nearly twenty minutes of straight composition.  Appearing in the middle of three second sets, “Time Turns Elastic” played the role of vibe-crusher more than once.  But when placed as a first set closer at Alpine- coming out of “TMWSIY”- it worked much better.  If Phish is going to continue to play this song, which I’m sure they will, they need to be extra-selective about where they place it in a show.  A complex musical accomplishment, this one seems better suited for at-home couch listening than at an energetic, psychedelic Phish show.

“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan” - debut 6.2 Jones Beach I

“I got a blank space where my mind should be”- centered around this intriguing refrain, this heavier song became an instant favorite when they broke it in the second show of tour.  Featuring a slower pace and ominous feel, “Stealing Time” seems like an ideal launchpad for dissonant, psychedelic improv.  Throughout June, however, this song remained largely in the box, with it’s final version at Deer Creek extended with some blues-rock, guitar led improv.  This piece won’t remain shackled forever, and when the band finally steps to it, the results could be astonishing.

“Kill Devil Falls” - debut 6.2 Jones Beach II

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Sounding distinctly like a TAB piece, “Kill Devil Falls” is essentially two songs in one.  First, we have the straight ahead rock and roll composition, that to be honest, leaves a bit to be desired.  Yet, when the verses end, the band enters a segmented jam that sounds almost identical to a “Birds of a Feather” jam.  (In fact we were sure they were soundchecking “Birds” at Fenway while they played this.) Once its improv section began, this song heated up considerably, with its most exploratory and enticing version coming during Bonnaroo’s late-night set.  Producing one of the standout “type-II” jams of tour, Trey clearly loves this song, and we have only begun to hear the places it will go.

“Twenty Years Later” - debut 6.5 Jones Beach II

With a chorus that approaches the sound of an “indie” Phish song, “Twenty Years Later” features engaging lyrics and layered vocals that almost sounds like a different band.  The song then progresses into a heavier section reminiscent of “I Saw It Again.” Clearly a reflection on Trey’s journey over the past two-decades, this song seems more autobiographical than any other.  Only played this one time, we have yet to see what really in store for this one.  But after only one version- I like it.

“Let Me Lie” – debut Great Woods 6.6 I

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Originating from Trey’s solo album Bar 17, Phish transformed “Let Me Lie” into their newest ballad- just as predicted.  A poignant memoir about recovery and resilience, this one also contains metaphorical imagery about Trey’s trials and tribulations.  A gorgeous composition, the rest of Phish really fills out this song in the way that TAB could never do.  Appearing a second time as an interlude amidst Deer Creek’s monster second set, this one will be a 3.0 staple before all is said and done.

“Sugar Shack” - debut Camden 6.7 II

One of the songs that I wish we had heard more often, Mike’s newest contribution to the Phish catalog made an impressive debut in Camden’s second set.  Combining quirky changes, segments of groove, and carnival-like guitar lines, “Sugar Shack” is one of the most unique songs of the new bunch.  Only appearing once during June, we can only hope that this gets pulled into rotation come the second leg of tour.

“Joy” - debut 6.7 Camden Encore

Played only twice this June, “Joy” is another new ballad, describing the emotional plight of a woman and her connection to the outside world.  The lyric, “We want you to be happy, because this is your song too” also carries figurative meaning for the entire audience, as we are all a part of this great Phishy experiment.  An outwardly emotional song, this one will probably gain mixed acceptance in the larger Phish community.  I think it’s great.

“Alaska” - debut 6.9 Asheville II

568373182_DswQP-M

6.18.09 (M.Stein)

Another TAB > Phish transplant, this may be the least interesting of the June debuts.  A comical blues-rocker with a guitar-based “jam,” this one appeared twice in three shows, and then we never heard it again.  As any Phish song, its jam has potential, but the composition of “Alaska” falls a bit flat.

“The Connection” – debut 6.19 Deer Creek I

album-undermind-bonus-dvdIt was a complete surprise when the band broke out “The Connection” towards the end of Deer Creek’s first set.  Off of the band’s last album, Undermind, this song never made it into a live show in 2004.  The debut of “The Connection” came off quite well, with catchy hooks and Jerry-esque noodling.  More proof that any song is fair game this time around, “The Connection” is a welcome reminder of its wholly-underrated album whose 2004 release was squeezed in just before Phish called it quits.  It will be interesting to see how this song develops come August.

Eleven songs made their Phish debut in the band’s first tour back on the road, most which will find their way onto their upcoming album, Joy. Differing in musical quality, most all of these songs hold great potential for improvisation.  We have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these songs will grow into, as Phish mostly played basic templates this tour.  As they embark on a new era of their career, Phish has ushered in their most impressive batch of new songs in over a decade, adding a distinctly fresh feel to their ’09 setlists; and I foresee even more debuts in August.  Stay tuned – to Red Rocks and beyond!

What do you think of the Phish’s new songs?  Respond in Comments!

***

PHISH’S NEW ALBUM: JOY

Yesterday, a story on Rolling Stone.com broke some new information about Phish’s forthcoming album, now officially titled Joy. Later in the day, Phish.com issued a small news release about Joy, with an official track listing.  A clear theme about the passage of time and a reflection on life runs through the album, starting with “Twenty Years Later” and concluding with “Time Turns Elastic.”  The only song hasn’t been played live is “I’ve Been Around.”  Look for the album some time in August.

1. Twenty Years Later
2. Backwards Down the Number Line
3. Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan
4. Light
5. Joy
6. Sugar Shack
7. Ocelot
8. Kill Devil Falls
9. I’ve Been Around
10. Time Turns Elastic

***

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.21 Alpine Pollock

6.21 Alpine Pollock

6.21.09 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI < TORRENT LINK

Set II contains some of the tightest and most exploratory improv of the run.

I: Brother, Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, The Divided Sky, Joy, Back On The Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Time Turns Elastic

II: Crosseyed and Painless  > Down With Disease > Bug > Piper > Wading In The Velvet Sea, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Slave To The Traffic Light

E: Grind, Frankenstein

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S(din) > Lunatec V2 > Benchmark AD2K > Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Recorded by Z-Man

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Initial Processing

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 23rd, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.19.09 Deer Creek (D. Vann)

6.19.09 Deer Creek (D. Vann)

With tour having just concluded, there are so many thoughts swirling in my mind about the past three weeks and what this tour represented to the band and to us, the community.  It was an amazing feeling to be back on the road with Phish again, and by all accounts, Phish was very happy to be back on the road with us.  Throughout the tour, the one constant was the infectious energy that characterized each show.  Exploding from both the stage and the audience, the enthusiasm that oozed from the band and community each night was intense.  Everyone you saw- whether it was their first show or three hundredth- was giddy over the band’s first tour in five years and the limitless potential that lies in the future of Phish.

6.19.09 (D.Vann)

6.19.09 (D.Vann)

As expected, this tour was the next step of Phish’s “re-evolution” that started in Hampton, and will continue later this summer.  The band’s improvisation became more and more adventurous as the tour progressed, as this tour was part a much larger process- certainly not a destination.  Playing with an urgency and direction that was lacking in their last go-round, Phish used this early-summer run to get their sea legs back, re-acclimating themselves to the road in a whole new, sober, family-oriented atmosphere.  This change of scenery was never more evident than with Alpine’s “Brother” opener, which brought the family vibe to the forefront of the stage- literally.  Overall, the playing throughout this tour was incredibly encouraging, and bodes very well for late-summer and beyond.

The past three three weeks have also hinted at new musical directions that Phish is moving towards in their third incarnation.  Rededicated to playing tight compositions, the band’s precision was one facet of their game that jumped out at almost every show.  Sure, there were some flubs and mistakes- that was inevitable- but for most of the time, the band was very attentive to playing their songs carefully and without flaws.  This held true for longer pieces such as “Divided Sky,” “Fluffhead,”and “Time Turns Elastic,” as well as the composed sections of larger vehicles like “Reba” and “YEM.”  Throughout the tour, Phish tore through their most complex segments with a welcome accuracy.  Akin to years past, many eclectic compositions were in regular rotation.

6.21.09 Alpine Valley (D.Vann)

6.21.09 Alpine Valley (D.Vann)

In comparison to the looser funk era of the late ’90s and the exploratory post-hiatus years, Phish’s improv was far more direct and to the point.  Instead of letting jams settle or vamping over rhythmic patterns, this summer’s Phish dove straight into things with a purpose, also driving up the pace of their improvisation, resulting in creating shorter, more densely compact jams.  The result of this musical shift- hinted at in March- was more rock-based jams and a virtual absence of whole band funk grooves.  Even dance-staples like “Tweezer,” “Ghost,” and “Wolfman’s” saw themselves focused on whole-group builds and sustained peaks rather than laid-back grooves.  This served as a reminder that Phish, at their core, is a rock and roll band.

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

As the tour progressed, we watched them become more and more comfortable taking musical risks, delving further into exploratory improvisation by the time they pulled into their final four nights.  Yet, their intent on psychedelic experimentation was clear, while not omnipresent, in the tour’s first two shows with Fenway’s “Tweezer > Light,” and Jones Beach’s “Harry Hood.”  Focused strongly on structured improv for most of the tour, the band crafted many standout type-I jams which helped them lie a foundation for the more exploratory playing that seeped its way into shows slowly but surely.  A musical pattern emerged from their improv as well; the cultivation of a new sound.  Defined by cohesive, directional jamming Phish often progressed from rock-based textures into dissonant and contrasting ambient improv, forming a dynamic flow to their jams.  As we listen and re-listen to these shows, it will be interesting to see what other observations arise about the hybrid of new-school and old-school Phish.

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Another piece of the emerging picture of Phish 3.0 is their array of new- and excellent- songs that were debuted over this tour.  Some played in full rotation, and some played only once, it is clear that Phish has many new choices in their repertoire to pull from.  Combined with their already vast catalog, the new rule for Phish shows is, “Anything goes!”  All songs are fair game- from “Destiny Unbound” to “Lengthwise,” and from “The Connection” to “Crosseyed”- setlists now contain songs spanning the earliest years of Phish to the unreleased.  New pieces, such as “Ocelot,” “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” “Kill Devil Falls,” and “Backwards Down the Number Line,” hopped right into rotation and began to grow in improvisation with each subsequent version.  Others, like the “Sugar Shack” and “Twenty Years Later” only appeared once, leaving much to be discovered come August.  Songs such as “Light,” “Let Me Lie,” and “Joy” fell in between, appearing a couple of times during the three week tour.  Needless to say, Phish’s upcoming album could be their best yet, and we have barely scratched the surface of the many musical realms that these new pieces will take us- (see Bonnaroo’s “Kill Devil Falls” and “Light”).  Never shy with pushing their new material, this could be the strongest new batch of songs we’ve heard from the band since the summer of ’97.

The next chapter of Phish has arrived.  The next month-plus will give us time to give a closer look at all of these musical trends, specific jams and more.  While certainly a building block for August and beyond, this June run had its fair share of incredible moments and magical Phishy rides.  And by the looks of how tour ended- with the two most improvisational shows in the last three- the band is just beginning to hit their stride.  With only a little over a month before their long-awaited return to Red Rocks, we finally have plenty of new Phish jams to keep our ears busy until then!

***

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

6.19.09 Official Poster

6.19.09 Deer Creek Noblesville, IN < TORRENT LINK

My favorite show of June- by far.

I: Backwards Down the Number Line, AC/DC Bag, Limb By Limb, The Moma Dance, Water In The Sky, Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, The Wedge, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, The Connection*, Ocelot, Fluffhead

II: A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing > Drowned > Twist, Let Me Lie, Tweezer > 2001 > Suzy Greenberg, Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

*debut

Source:  Schoeps CCM4V’S (din) > Lunatec V2 > Benchmark AD2K >
Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Recorded by Z-Man

***
headcountCheck out Andy Gadiel’s guest blog on Headcount.org summarizing Phish’s massive presence on the internet in this new age!

http://downloadsoftheday.s3.amazonaws.com/DEER CREEK6_19
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A Day of Rest

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 22nd, 2009 by Mr.Miner

I’m traveling home today, and spent most of yesterday sleeping.  We’ll get back to the Phish tomorrow.   For today, enjoy these photos from this past weekend by photographer, Dave Vann.

***

15_sm

Deer Creek - 6.19.09

***

20_sm

Alpine Valley - 6.21.09

***

6.20.09 Alpine Valley

6.20.09 - Alpine Valley

***

Star Lake 6.18.09

Star Lake - 6.18.09

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Finishing With A Bang

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 22nd, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.20.09 Alpine Valley (D. Vann)

6.20.09 Alpine Valley (D. Vann)

Phish ended their first leg of Summer ’09 in style, playing a second set filled with psychedelic exploration, and composing a masterful final stanza to cap their month of June. Completing a three-week tour at Alpine Valley, the band treated Sunday night’s crowd to a complete show whose second set will stand up against anything from this run. Complimenting Saturday’s upbeat show, the band erupted with darker improvisation in their final performance, leaving us with a gem to listen to during the five weeks off.

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

Coming out for their last set of the tour, “Crosseyed and Painless” was the last thing anyone expected to hear, and when they band broke out the cover to the roar of the crowd, everyone knew it was on. Taking a trek through searing percussive grooves, Phish completely killed the Talking Head’s cover as the entire band was taped in to the source. Exiting the verse and entering one of the tightest and most exciting pieces of tour, the band stretched out the rock grooves before launching into a purposeful and directed ambient jam, putting an exclamation point on the several ambient excursions of the tour. Stretching the psychedelia further than previous trips, Phish never lost their cohesion as they built a multi-layered piece of standout improv. Morphing seamlessly into the muddy bass intro to “Disease,” Phish pulled off a memorable transition as they stepped into their staple jam. The band combined two impressive explorations, ripping “Disease” every bit as cohesively as “Crosseyed,” and molding one of the most magnetic musical segments of the summer. Bringing the “Disease” jam “out” as well, Phish put together a textured palette as they wound their way into another abstract piece of aural art. Taking their classic vehicle in a distinctly ’09 direction, the band continued to carve out their newest sound- tightly wound jams releasing into ambient soundscapes. Out of “Disease,” Phish’s improvisational adventure dropped into “Bug,” a song that served as soaring mid-set landing point and whose ending was extended with a subtle pass into “Piper.”

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

Quickly adhering to the nights exploratory theme, “Piper’s” jam developed into a speed-funk excursion, led by Trey’s aggressive rhythm chops and Fishman’s driving beats. Riding a rhythmic roller coaster, Trey began to bend his notes, bringing the jam in a more laid-back direction as Page stepped up to complement his playing. Locked together, the band established a layered canvas on which Trey began to solo with ethereal lead melodies. The band progressed into a dense concluding part of the jam, heavily strewn with effects from each band member. With this abstract segment that could have sprang from somewhere deep in Summer ’95, the band concluded their jaunt with a poignant piano transition into “Velvet Sea.” The emotional ballad signified the impending end of tour, but as soon as anyone felt slightly bittersweet, the band picked the vibe right back up with the “dready-mama funk” of “Boogie On Reggae Woman.” A song that has brought thick bass effects and hot clav solos to the table for most of the tour, did just that, adding a spunky moment before Phish dramatically closed their set with a phenomenal “Slave.” The band took their time to nail their chosen farewell jam, building slowly and impeccably into a triumphant punctuation to an amazing set of Phish.

"Brother" 6.21.09 (B.Frye)

"Brother" 6.21.09 (B.Frye)

Last night’s first set was centered around the compositional side of Phish, highlighting “Divided Sky,” “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” and “Time Turns Elastic.” The rocking first half of the frame saw the summer debuts of “Funky Bitch”- as a response to a fan’s sign- and “Brother”- played as a Father’s Day shout out with all of Phish’s kids comically sitting in a bathtub at the front of the stage. Yet, the most compelling aspect of the set was how the band tied together a string of more tender songs to close it out. Flowing naturally between “Horse > Silent,” “TMWSIY,” and “Time Turns Elastic,” the band created a mellower and intricate vibe to the second half of the set. Well-placed as a first set closer, especially in this context, “Time Turns Elastic,” came across better than the its previous mid-second set incarnations, and brought the set to a different sort of peak.

Capping off three-weeks on the road, Phish will have plenty of time to rest up for their late-summer run, and we’ll have plenty of time to break down what has happened over the course of the band’s first full tour in years. In the five weeks before Red Rocks, we will discuss, analyze, and investigate all the musical mayhem that has fully back returned to our lives. The future looks promising for our Fab Four, and we are all lucky to be a part of it.  Much more to come in the upcoming days….as for now, I’m signing off. Miner- over and out.

I: Brother, Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, The Divided Sky, Joy, Back On The Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkanu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Time Turns Elastic

II: Crosseyed and Paiinless > Down With Disease > Bug > Piper > Wading In The Velvet Sea, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Grind, Frankenstein

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A Saturday Night Special

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on June 21st, 2009 by Mr.Miner
6.20.09 Alpine Valley (Lanser)

6.20.09 Alpine Valley (Lanser)

One night after Phish played their most adventurous show since their return, the band reeled it in a bit with a well played, yet safe, show for 40,000 deep at Alpine last night.  With copious structured (type I) improv, Phish used a long list of songs to create an entertaining kick-off to Alpine’s two-night stand. When all was said and done, the first set musically outshone the second. With an old-school setlist played triumphantly, Phish nailed a series of classics; while set two featured a few hot spots with some definite musical lulls.

6.20.09  (Lanser)

6.20.09 (Lanser)

Popping off in style, Phish opened the show with “Punch” before launching into a four-song improvisational run of “Runaway,” “Stash,” “Yamar,” and “Bathtub Gin.”  Without much adventure, Phish nonetheless shredded their classics much to everyone’s delight.  Each song brought a quality version, but none pushed the confines of exploration.  In a celebration of Phish songs, the entire show carried a upbeat, happy vibe all the way through- a real Saturday night special.  The highlight of the set came in the set-ending “Antelope.”  With some heavy-handed guitar work, Trey built this jam to a dizzying peak while the band fomented a series of shredding grooves along the way.  The bookends of “Punch” and “Antelope” framed a high-paced set of Phish rock that enraptured the massive Chicago-metro audience, each song bringing thunderous applause.

6.20.09 (Lanser)

6.20.09 (Lanser)

The groundwork was laid for a big second half, but Phish came out with a set which lacked any real continuity, and featuring only a couple of jams.  Each time the band played a piece that contained any improv, they followed it up with a straight composition, creating a choppy, flow-less feel.  The band- no doubt- played well, but their creativity didn’t necessarily shine in last night’s final frame.  The highlight of set came in the highly-anticipated follow-up “Ghost” to Asheville’s standout version. While this “Ghost” didn’t reach the places of it’s predecessor, it still featured an interesting, oddly-cadenced jam that built and peaked with out ever earnestly hitting any deep grooves.  Fishman creating a divergent feel to the jam, playing a more varied beat and not sitting in the pocket with Mike.  This was a controversial version at my post-show soiree last night, and I’m interested to hear the reactions of readers.

Other engaging parts of the set came with a reggae-laced “YEM” jam that segued, unfinished, into “NICU,” and a hot “Maze” that was placed in the spotlight as the number three batter in the lineup. Otherwise, while certainly a great time, the second set didn’t reach into any other improvisational places.  A surprise “Fire” capped the set before the band encored with the Hendrix-esque “Character Zero.”

Alpine Valley (Lanser)

Alpine Valley Last Night (Lanser)

Greeting the weekend crowd with a playful, song-based show, one would guess tonight’s Sunday tour closer will bring some far deeper moments.  Phish has been known to pull out top-notch shows to punctuate their tours, and I have a hunch that tonight may be one to remember.  As we wind down the first leg of Summer Tour ’09, it has been an interesting road with definite peaks and valleys.  Playing live consistently for the first time in five years, the band has been moving though a process of honing their nightly consistency and regaining their improvisational moxie. Certainly moving in the right direction, Phish will make their final step of June tonight, capping their return to the road in what could turnout to be a real throwdown at Alpine Valley. I’ll see you there!

I: Punch You in the Eye, Runaway Jim, Stash, Yamar, Bathtub Gin, Kill Devil Falls, Train Song, Farmhouse, Sparkle, Run Like An Antelope

II: Waves > Sample In A Jar, Maze, Makisupa Policeman, Ghost > The Lizards, You Enjoy Myself > NICU, Prince Caspian > Waste, Fire

E: Character Zero

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