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. ColonelJoy Says:

    Will be a lot of Phish haters at Roo, though….Funny, since Roo would have never existed without the boyz. As if Phish doesn’t belong there or something…how foolish is that? Nobody “belongs” there more than Phish.

  2. notkuroda Says:

    do what the Col says. Actually, I think there’s plenty of good reason for the bad rap. But I also think Phish is going to play a classic show there

  3. Sugar Says:

    Sorry to jack the thread, but does anyone have any idea the best way to get from Manhattan to Jones Beach without a car?

  4. Chalkdustin Says:

    Is that an order, Colonel? 😉

    Any Phish haters can kiss my ass, as far as I’m concerned. More dancing room for me at a show. Seriously though, thanks for the feedback. I’m terrible at decisions. Decision-making for me involves writing my options on pieces of paper and choosing one out of a hat.

  5. Mitch Says:

    take the long island railroad to freeport stop… then you gotta bus or taxi it.

    i checked the site today and thats what it said. get the lirr at 34th street.

  6. Mitch Says:

    id like to see my options so i can weigh them, what do ya say?

  7. Albert Walker Says:

    The only way I would go to that custifest in the hills they call bonaroo is by helicopter

    You can actually do this, I know some people that have.

    I’m sure the Phish will be great but who wants all the nonsense of getting in and out, with the dirty camping and thousands of little kids, no thanks

  8. Chalkdustin Says:

    Right on, Mitch.

  9. Billy Breathes Says:

    Fenway was a warm-up show…kind of ‘flexing their muscles’ type of show to see what they are capable of. A lot of control involved. They had to cut songs short due to the curfew, and that takes some serious skill as well, considering they could’ve easily extended some of the jams further into time.

    Wilson–>My Soul opener tonight. 🙂

  10. RobAins Says:

    If you’re not a New Yorker or aren’t familiar with the city and want to avoid the subway, take a cab. Might be a little spendy, but you won’t have to worry about much. Otherwise, check out the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) website and figure out what train station you’ll need to get off at. (Not sure if there is a station in Wantaugh or not) Trains to LI leave from Penn Station right underneath MSG. You’ll likely see a few other heads on your train, so you can “hide in the herd, and float with the flock” (I love Ocelot!)

    Also, trains are a great way to travel to a show. Some of my best memories are of taking the train from NJ for Dead/Phish shows at MSG.

  11. BTB Says:

    Opener tonight: PYITE>Ya Mar

  12. Uberchef Says:

    Though I’m not going to JB tonight, I’m psyched for Thursday. Coming out of a beer-soaked Fenway, I think the no-alcohol policy at JB will help promote a generally positive vibe of the crowd. Having several beers sloshed on me and my lady over the course of the evening at the Fen was sort of a drag.

    Beer or no beer however, I sure do hope the holier-than-thou attitudes of many in attendance on Sunday will be eclipsed by a more here-for-the-music good vibe. If I don’t hear the word ‘custie’ again, it’ll be a blessing.

    Ocelot ocelot where are you now?

  13. bhizzle Says:

    @Little Buddy

    Skip the lot?!?!?!?! Ahh, man, just when I was thinking we’d party at Darien.

  14. Uberchef Says:

    I hope they save that PYITE > Yamar for Thursday or Friday 🙂

  15. Al Says:

    this video helps me to fall in love with the Fenway show!

  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    Why weigh your options on a sunny day, Chalkdust?

    Yes, that is an order, young man. BTW, my halloween costume is an altered Army Uniform…….My last name replaced with Forbin, and US Army replaced with Gamehendge…..I will have a drill sergeant with me, so you better be on your best behavior, Gamehendge Soldiers!

  17. Henrietta Says:

    Take the LIRR…..

  18. bl68300 Says:

    TONIGHT!!!…frackin psyched!! opener=old home place!

  19. ColonelJoy Says:

    Uberchef, listen to you, going all Eliot Ness and stuff:)

  20. Uberchef Says:

    hahahaha more like Geraldo a la ‘Al Capone’s Vaults’ 😉

    Everyone needs to bring their ‘A’ game to these shows for all the same great reasons we’re reminded of when reading Mr. Miner’s wisdom-bombs every morning.

    Have fun tonight everyone, and take care!

  21. BTB Says:

    OK, save the PYITE> Ya Mar..

    New Opener: Emotional Rescue > Crosseyed and Painless !!!!!

    I don’t know whether to dance or laugh…

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    Kind of a strange vibe today.. I loved the first and third bonnaroos, but haven’t been back because of the shift in the lineup and vibe away from jam family to a more mainstream thing. That said I’d love to be there this year!

    I’d be careful to take too much from the fenway scene- a big city, NE show is about as schwilly as the scene gets- with the nitrous mafia etc. This weekend should be a better indication of how the creativity of our scene is thriving. Asheville will be super kind and there will be tons of locals down there just for the scene so thatll be interesting – I think knoxville has potential to be a super cool mellow arena lot scene if the heat stays away.

    As for the haters- in my experience they are mostly on the interwebs cuz the people I meet and see at shows are usually happy and great and dancing. But ymmv of course and you attract/create your own reality.

    Just started the sbd of fenway and so far its a definite upgrade to the no spoiler (with all due respect of course!). I’m sort of a sbd junkie tho..

  23. SOAM Says:

    Those drunken angry bostonian sinners

  24. pd Says:

    Opener: PYITE, Lizards

  25. Nathan Says:

    first set mike’s opener tonight

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