Reflecting on Fenway

5.31.09 (Boston Herald)

5.31.09 (Boston Herald)

Rarely do we get a day off to reflect after only one night of tour.   Usually we get up and find our way to the next show with barely enough time to digest what had happened the night before.  Yet, somehow, at the beginning of this summer’s new chapter of Phish, it seems completely appropriate.  After a show of such magnitude in a setting unparalleled in grandeur, a day to thoroughly listen to the show a handful of times has given us a renewed sense that it is on for this summer!  With new material peppering- and highlighting- the setlist, sharp playing of classic vehicles, and a true bustout in “Curtis Loew,” Fenway foreshadowed what will certainly be a monumental summer.

It is almost hard to fathom that we are actually on Phish tour again, and the frequency that amazing music will be coming at us on a nightly basis; paradise had been re-found. It is a truly awing feeling to be on the way to so many shows right now after such a peak experience on night one- and that’s what it’s all about.  Hampton was like a destination wedding, and now we are fully emerged in the thick of things.

Rainbow Over Chalk Dust (A.Bogart)

Rainbow Over "Chalk Dust" (A.Bogart)

In a review that focused on the sublime second set last night, I didn’t mention Phish’s third debut of promise last night- “Ocelot.”  Named after a wild cat (and sometimes exotic pet) indigenous to Central and South America, this new song has a playful lyrical path, moving wistfully through the beginning of the composition.  The band gave us a small preview of the improv that will come from this song, placing it in the middle of the first set and not expounding on it for too long.  Yet the succinct improv that did come from the song was quite promising – featuring slower, emotional playing from Trey and a laid-back groove that could really move to some interesting places.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first big “Ocelot” open the second set of one of the upcoming Jones Beach shows- that’s often how it works.

5.31.09 (P.Harrington)

5.31.09 (P.Harrington)

The first set of Fenway, while solid all the way through, really took off in earnest with a smoking “Down With Disease”- the first high-energy jam of the night.  The band and crowd seemed to reach their point of getting warmed-up simultaneously, as the jam represented the true kick off to summer tour.  And to drop into “Destiny Unbound” directly after was masterful.  With their course uncharted, one can’t help but wonder if this will be a new addition to the playbook this summer.  With an infectious funk jam, one can only hope.

Something tells me we will continue to hear new material throughout the Jones Beach run, with more debuts added each night.  The prospect of going into shows and hearing unheard songs makes the entire Phish experience all the more unknown and exciting, especially with the band’s impressive new songwriting.  And then every time they drop a classic, it’s like being reintroduced to one of your best friends you haven’t seen in years.  This tour is a once in a lifetime moment in the Phish world, and its prospects are simply endless.  So, if you were questioning making that extra drive to that not-so-convenient show; do it- the time is near, the mission’s clear- you won’t regret it.



5.31.09 Fenway (photo: Parker Harrington)


5.31.09 “Down With Disease” Jam (video by Alexander K.)

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510 Responses to “Reflecting on Fenway”

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    dude is telling the setbreak story now…this is epic

  2. AintNoTele Says:

    this guys rap rules

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    fuckin freestylin – hahahahahaha

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    bustin out some ill rhymes lol this guy’s great

  5. SJC Says:

    One shot encore – Capshaw must have got at em for the 60 G’s.

    THis guy is CLASSIC!!!! FUCKING CLASSIC!!!

  6. Mr. Completely Says:


  7. AintNoTele Says:

    and into the lots we go

  8. boyMANGOdshit Says:

    Haha this guy is hillarious

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    my new hero. oustanding.

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    for reals – its a business trip .. nice job.

  11. AintNoTele Says:

    networking on so many levels

  12. hooks Says:

    major thanks to whomever responsible for the stream! and to everybody here for keeping each other up to speed! hope he makes it to a lot of shows

  13. gills Says:

    solid show tight playing, cant wait to give it a real listen. from that stream seemed like the best playing to date

  14. gills Says:

    i heared that dude said that he will be streaming most of the tour if not all

  15. Henry Holland Says:

    Have to say, I was very disappointed with the Fenway show –I’m really a stickler for bands being tight and together and singing in tune and that wasn’t Phish on Sunday– but damn, that was some hot stuff tonight. I wish the MikeS > Simple > Wolfman’s > Weekapaug had a bit more jamming in it, but good setlist, the two new songs are good and Trey really played some hot stuff.

    Can’t wait for Mr. Miner’s DL…..

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    awesome to share this with you kidz – maybe we’ll do it again thursday? meantime, goodnight etc

    someone find this kid a ticket for thursday

  17. hooks Says:

    i second that, trey sounded more like himself from what little i could tell. love you trey, no haters here, sounds fucking awesome

  18. Henry Holland Says:

    Set 1 is up, hop on.

  19. soulish Says:

    The new subscription thing for no spoilers is an awesome idea, thanks for setting that up. Both sets will be there when I wake up tomorrow.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    subscription = thumbs up

  21. Jer Says:

    “I think I have the opposite view of this whole “no type II” problem. I really think these guys are set on not doing the same shit as they did the first two go rounds.”

    Eh…it’s not like they came back completely reinvented or anything…they are still the same band playing the same songs they did during the narcolepsy stage of your Phish career.

    Bathtub Gin is probably my favorite Phish song if for no other reason than I think it best embodies the improvisational spirit of the band at the particular point in their career (save before 8-2-93 and 1994). I’ve listened to the version from 5-31 4 times and have yet to feel anything. I decided to give 7-18-99 a listen on the way home from class tonight…and by the 7:00 mark that Gin was bringing tears to my eyes with Trey playing these descending arpeggiated lines that were just fucking gorgeous. At no point did I even come close to any sort of emotion while listening to the 5-31 Gin…4 different times…it’s really quite strange. It’s like Phish on lithium or something…same goes for the Bowie. The Tweezer was pretty for a while…but I like the 3-6 version a lot more.

    As for Phish 3.0 avoiding Type II…I can assume you’ve heard the 3-7 Rock and Roll? I have a feeling that they’ll still go there…jams don’t have to be 30 minutes to be great…see the 3-7 R&R and/or Ghost.

  22. AlexanderK Says:


  23. ColonelJoy Says:

    Agree Jer, Bathtub, both Hampton and Fens….not too good…Fenway had moments, though….and the Bowie was a solid short version…..Listening to the JB Reba now….composed seciton is well executed so far.

  24. Marshall Says:

    Was there for nights 1 and 2 of Hampton. Listened to Fenway no-spoilers; listening to JB1 no-spoilers right now (just finished first set). IMHO, JB1 is better than Fenway. I’m sure Fenway was a spectacle (as was Hampton), but JB1 just sounds more fluid to me.

    Can’t wait until Asheville (my next show).

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    local free / freak paper did a big phish section this week (comes out wednesday every week) -> they did profiles on a bunch of local heads. I haven’t read it yet but it looks interesting. The cover is really cool (posted facebook link earlier, is reachable from the above link) .. I will probably grab a bunch of them today, if anyone is interested in getting one, let me know (c0wfunk AT yahoo DOT com), they’re likely to be gone /scarce by the time everyone gets to town next week..

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