Welcome to the Future!

5.31.09 (T.Tunick)

5.31.09 (T.Tunick)

In a show every bit as big as its spectacle, Phish fused what we love about them with everything we’ve yet to discover.  In an earnest welcome to the next chapter of their careers, Phish played a show- and more specifically- a second set that inter-wound the new with the old, creating a stunning welcome to the future.

The inaugural second set of Summer ’09 was underlined in vibrant fashion by combination of the dirtiest “Tweezer” we’ve heard in quite some time with a slowly moving transition into the debut of one of Phish’s brightest new songs- “Light”- just like it was scripted.  Echoes of past glories were felt and furthered upon within the monstrous “Tweezer” in which the band moved through the nastiest grooves we’ve heard in years into a impeccable peak before twisting into a spirited debut of the much-anticipated, “Light.”  With a section of improv that could easily develop into a 3.0 “Piper-esque” jam, Phish previewed a song that will certainly jump into this summer’s rotation and highlight many a setlist.

5.31.09 (Phish.com)

5.31.09 (Phish.com)

Following this symbolic combination, the band dropped into a perfectly-placed “Bathtub Gin” that brought the entire crowd back onto the same page after the other-worldly excursion that directly preceded it.  Following precise playing within the feel good jam and “Bowie’s” darker counterpart, Phish took Fenway’s grandest stage of tour to debut their new multi-part epic, “Time Turns Elastic.”  With an additional jam tacked onto the song’s final peak, Phish brought the crowd deep within and without their dynamic piece, showcasing Trey’s composition in the most focal point of the show.  A song that many fans thought might not translate well onto the Phish stage came off magnificently, one movement seamlessly moved into the next, climaxing in a far more dramatic fashion that imagined.  With the band’s announcement of its newest arrival in the middle of the second set of the tour’s first show, we’ve definitely got many more versions to look forward to this summer – and it will be interesting to track the song’s potentially changing form.



With a performance of “Time Turns Elastic” that could have ended the night in a fitting way, Phish wasn’t even close to done.  Dropping a bombastic “Free” deep into the second set, Phish showed they still had some love left to give.  And if continuously playing wasn’t enough, the band broke out “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” for the first time since  August of ’93, enthralling the stadium crowd before finishing with a dynamic “YEM” that gradually built from laid back grooves into a jam with more teeth to it, ending in a centerfield bass-solo by Gordeaux before the band’s first baseball-stadium-sized vocal jam.

Finishing the night with a three-song encore that punctuated an evening that already has made Hampton seem like a distant memory, Phish was good to the last drop.  With “Tweezer Reprise” having seen many fitting settings, none was quite like this.  Gazing up past the Green Monster, into the night’s glowing half-moon, everything in the universe was right again.  Phish was moving forward again, creating new adventures with songs, old and new; adventures that reached out and gripped us in a way that we remembered; the way it’s supposed to be.  Hampton needed to happen to get here, but there seems to be no time like the present in Phish’s universe.  Night one is in the books- here we go- “Destiny Unbound!”

I: Star Spangled Banner*, Sample in a Jar, Moma Dance, Chalk Dust Torture, Ocelot**, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart, Limb by Limb, Wading in a Velvet Sea, Down with Disease, Destiny Unbound, Character Zero

II: Tweezer > Light**, Bathtub Gin, David Bowie, Time Turns Elastic**, Free, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, You Enjoy Myself

E: Cavern, Good Times Bad Times, Tweezer Reprise

*from picthing mound ** debut


“Tweezer” 5.31.09 partial


192 Responses to “Welcome to the Future!”

  1. ColonelJoy Says:

    Colonel is happy today because he knows his kind Brazilian wife will be blown away by this band…..which is necessary.

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    There is a song that is nearly identical in phrasing to Ocelot….am I correct Old Dude? It isn’t Sugaree either…man, it’s killing me.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    Interesting that The Wagger (blogger) is linking to the No Spoilers sendspace links without attribution. Seems a little weird. Is he part of the No Spoilers crew? Or…?

    FWIW @bcb I haven’t seen tracked version yet but I’m not really looking for torrents until after work today

  4. SOAM Says:

    Good start-not a tech/sound guy but the sound was really problematic-between the venue and the wind it was spotty-seemed to improve but can’t put my finger on when cause I was fuckin ripped.

    But seeing phish outside for the first time in 5 years and digging a fat lot scene all day-good shit-

    Could not believe we got a curtis?!!!-hot damn mfer

  5. ColonelJoy Says:

    Okay, I apologize for going all Bill O’Reilly on you good Patriots today…I’ve really been hogging today….it will happen again….

    So, before I leave for the evening….I want to say this.

    While still lacking in Type II serendipity, Fenway Set II was as good as anything that came in Phish 2.0…..this a statement of absolute truth.

    What it lacked in Type II (which is my bread/butter), it made up for in energy/execution/song selection/sheer power….a TTE debut and Curtis Lowe bust out. This band is back….talk to you later,


  6. bcb Says:

    For whoever was looking, show pics up @ http://www.jambase.com/Articles/18242/Phish-05.31.09-Boston

  7. Chalkdustin Says:

    Hey Miner, will you be using Pirate Bay for all your torrents? I’d like to use them since it’s cheaper for you but it’s blocked at work and I can’t DL at home even where I do have access (no space).

  8. old dude Says:

    the sound problem is definitive proof of the Return of the Curse of the Bambino. if they had played Shea last year like i told them to it would’ve sounded awesomest.

  9. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    couple tired thoughts after getting home.

    -tanks on the bridge over the pike?!? you don’t see that when you’re going to a redsox game.
    -rainbow over the prudential after the rains was mint.
    -anthem was really cool.
    -both stash and tweezer jams seemed to get started on the right foot, but they just lost me at some point later in the jams.
    -YEM, sick. i got scared during the vocal jam.
    -YEM, gordo ate his wheaties yesterday.
    -Love the TTE add-on jam. this seemed to be the point when they were all perfectly in sync. This will be a monster once it matures a little.
    -Free in my mind was the song of the night. Coincidently the song that my wife fell asleep to in the stands.

    Sound definitely wasn’t on point, but I think you had to expect that. It was still a great night.

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    just finished listening – my thoughts.

    The first half of the 1st set was just not clicking for me but I’ll attribute that to the recording and the sound issues at Fenway. But the highlights of the first set were Stash, DwD and Destiny. The Stash jam was the most exploration I’ve heard yet since the comeback. Even if the version wasn’t real long, they pushed the envelope. The Disease jam Trey just shreds, machine gun stylie. Energy noticeably picks up from there. The Destiny was played very well and Mike layed it down.

    Really the 2nd set was all spectacular. The Tweezer locked into full hose before Trey kind of got too puchy at the end before going into Light. Light was my favorite Trey song during the little TAB tour so I had high hopes. It didn’t let me down, but they played it a little faster than TAB, which I’m not sure I like. The Bowie for me was probably the only average song of the second set. TTE was nailed and that’s a great sign! I love TTE so I’m glad to hear it played so well. Fishman owns TTE. Curtis L was played perfectly, the GIN and Free both raged, and the Y.E.M. was fun. Nice encore!

    I just felt they were still a bit rusty, can’t blame em. Mike was the standout performer in my opinion. Page vocally seemed to be off all night except for Curtis. Trey was all over with his tone. Overall, it’s improved, but I’m waiting for more from him. He still hasn’t really stepped up. I thought the show was good, and the second set was high caliber playing, BUT, I’m still waiting for that really intense Phish jam we all grew to love. So far, it has not been delivered in 4 shows.

    The show reminds me of when I saw Sonic Youth perform Daydream Nation in it’s entirity. I was so pumped and it was a good show. But the encore they played 3 songs off of Rather Ripped (which I f’ck LOVE), their new album at the time, and those 3 songs were played with considerably more energy and sounded wayyyy better than what they had just played via Daydream Nation. It was almost a different band. It’s obvious real artists enjoy dealing with the new, not the old. In Phish’s case, Time Turns Elastic is very fitting. So I guess my feeling is that if Phish wants to play nothing but new stuff so we can get the highest level of playing and exploration, then I’m down. Not that I wouldn’t mind a Dog Log here and there!

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Colonel – Ocelot has the famous shuffle groove that sounds a little like about 30 first-set Dead songs – the sound that Phish was specifically avoiding for so many years. I don’t think it’s a dead ringer for any of single Dead song but vaguely recalls several which may be why trying to put your finger on it is so hard.

    At various times in it I could hear vague similarities to songs like Ramble On Rose, Tennessee Jed and a couple others…fish’s beat reminds me a little of slow Loose Lucys…but nothing specifically jumps at me

  12. snigglebeach Says:

    I just want to kick in my 2 cents.

    First off Fenway is the dumbest place ever for a concert. Absolute madness outside the park.

    Now to the sound. there must have been a lot of spots around the park. Where i was had to be amongst the worst, way up to the left of Green Monster. There was no a single speaker anywhere pointed even remotely towards us.

    That being said i have to give mad props to the sound guy. What started as the worst concert sound i have ever heard, ended up being pretty good by the time they got to DWD. First few songs, i was going nuts trying to decide if i should bale on my friends and find a better seat. I never thought he would be able to improve the sound up where i was, even if he really knew how bad it was. there were still the occassional echoes from behind the plate( who’s stupid idea was it to put speakers at 1st, 3rd, and home plate?)

    Bottom line though, i can’t wait for the weekend to see some regular shows. tailgating, plenty of halucin’s and good sound. By the way, who are all the idiots throwoing glowsticks on the infield. Thought we were smart enough to respect this historic park.

  13. Doc Says:

    “Thought we were smart enough to respect this historic park.”

    Obviously, you’ve forgotten when Red Sox fans threw plastic bottles all over the field during game 4 of the 1999 ALCS. They have no respect for their own turf, so don’t feel so bad about the glowsticks.

    On another note, that Ocelot sure is a catchy tune. I can’t get it out of my head!

    Glad to hear everyone had a blast at Fenway.


    Jealous Yankee fan on the West Coast.

  14. Rolling Papyrus Says:

    @Colonel — in regards to your Ocelot question — it’s a totally different groove and feel, but to me the chord progression and timing is remarkably similar to “Row Jimmy”. The sound is so different that it didn’t jump out at me at first, but after I listened a couple times I think that is what I’m hearing.

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    heard most of set 2 on the way back to town ->

    I hear the control / tone issues in tweezer, but I quite enjoy the way the song floats into ambient land – a little more aggressively than the spaced out ambiance of 99/00 – it seems trey is *searching* there for something *new* and he doesn’t quite find it. I imagine he’ll find it somewhere mid tour, hopefully in Asheville 😉 Bowie was probably the most “standard” tune of the night, and there seemed to be moments of chaos in the intro (which has gone uncommented upon – so maybe the days of “trey’s recital” have already gone past) .. and moments of forced enthusiasm during the jam. All in all, it’s amazing that Bowie was the “break tune” of the set.

    As has been mentioned, TTE came off phenomenally – I’m sure people will talk smack about the early sections, but the peak at the end makes up for any of that – and they nailed it. A few versions under their belt and this is going to be a hard one to follow. Just heard Free (tight, groovy, rockin) – and have loew and yem on standby. but you know what, the “return” is long past, phish is back bitches!

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    the guitar tech talk has been real interesting btw – I have always been real interested in how he controls that hollowbody, the way it’s trying to let out screams and howls if given the slightest latitude…one of the most interesting things I’ve observed is the way he sometimes clamps the guitar body to his side with his forearm, which I guess helps dampen feedback by keeping the body from resonating? and then when he gets it really ringing he’ll pull his forearm off and get a burst of howling tone…just something I thought I noticed a couple times years ago…at least I think that’s what was happening, I don’t know enough about the physics of it to really know…

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    You people are killing me, and not softly, with these Ocelot/Dead comparisons….don’t you have other musical references to draw from? Not the beat, but the lyrical phrasing is so similar to something I’ve heard before….Anyway, I’ll have to sleep on it, I’ll have to sleep on it, and you can give me your answer in the monring.

  18. snigglebeach Says:

    I could not get the pictures link someone else posted.

    But i just found this link through the Phish page.


    bunch of pics.

  19. Mr. Completely Says:

    I thought you started that, Colonel

  20. The Mad Hatter Says:

    Mr. Miner, you need to do a post on shelved Phish (almost a pun). Just in case they want to just keep busting stuff out left and right, so that people know how to properly react. Put up a Miner’s Picks with goodies like Melt the Guns, Alumni Blues->Letter to Jimmy Page->Alumni Blues, Dave’s Energy Guide, Skippy the Wondermouse, etc. Would be great for newbs and vets alike (most of my versions of those tunes are on cassette, and alas my computer doesn’t have a cassette deck so I can only listen in the car and at home).

  21. ThankYouMrMiner Says:

    Just finished up listening to both sets and made for the most enjoyable Monday morning in a long while. Had a bunch of buddies on the field and was getting excited texts throughout, more so in the killer 2nd set. Really like the new stuff thus far. YEM owned the show. Absolutely can’t wait to hit up Great Woods and Camden next weekend! Thanks Mr. Miner and solid banter everyone.

  22. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Hey, I was at the show and thought I’d share a few thoughts. I haven’t listened to any recording of it yet, so this is partly out of interest to see how my thoughts of the show square with the music I hear on the tapes.

    The Star Spangled Banner from the mound was an awesome idea and got me really pumped up. From within the stadium you certainly couldn’t tell that Page was off, and it didn’t really matter if he was.

    When Sample started, I could tell that they were playing Sample, but I couldn’t hear any details of the song. As people have pointed out, I don’t think anyone should be blamed for the sound, but I was around the 3rd base area and had a lot of trouble hearing stuff. I specifically listened for Page and Mike a number of times and just could not hear what they were doing.

    Ocelot seems like a fucking awesome song. The Highlight of the first set for me was the DWD jam. Moma Dance left me wishing that it was louder so the sound could really envelop me and I could get down, but what are you going to do? Poor Heart wasn’t anything significant, but it was really fun. A first set Wading doesn’t do much for me.

    Second set was epic, and the sound improved a bit. Can’t wait to hear the recording. I was finally locked in on the music more than at any other point of the night during Bathtub Gin, and that is precisely when I got pegged in the side of the head by a fairly heavy glowstick. Threw me out of my zone. Got hit a second time and I was basically keeping my eyes out for more projectiles during the rest of Gin and Bowie rather than listening with my eyes closed. CAN SOMEONE INVENT NERF GLOWSTICKS?

    Mike’s bass really came to life during Free and YEM. So so sick. And the Curtis Loew seemed perfectly executed. They jammed more than you’d expect on GTBT and it was a great version.

    I think the music will sound a lot better with some quality headphones. I could definitely tell they were on for the whole second set and liked that they opened things up more than at Hampton. Definitely has me psyched to hear them in a more acoustically-friendly venue. What they did at Fenway bodes well for the coming tour. Hopefully they can keep playing such epic second sets!

    (Oh, and I second those who have mentioned the talking and singing in the crowd. Shut the fuck up and listen.)

  23. El Duderino Says:

    When was the last time you had seen Trey break a string? Been ssing the boys since ’92 I have never seen that. 108 shows is a goos amount

  24. bcb Says:

    Trey broke a string? I missed that. When?

  25. Bapslap Says:

    Great show! A lot of fun had by all, but definitely agree about the sound. I was in the last row of the section behind home plate, and it just wasn’t loud enough. There were times when the crowd noise would drown out the band! Plus, the mix seemed weird and I couldn’t hear the intricacies of Fish’s playing.

    Overall, it is great they’re back and sounding rehearsed. I look forward to seeing them at Great Woods with a few more shows under their belts.

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