Defining New Ground

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

In a strong follow up to Fenway’s opener, Phish used a large chunk of high energy shredding and some truly sublime improv to thrill the New York Metro Area crowd on Long Island last night.  In a show that boasted two solid sets from start to finish, while playing for hours, Phish shattered new territory within the course of a single jam in the second set.

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

After shredding apart a precise- yet safe- second set, Phish leapt off the diving board of the universe into music’s primordial soup.  Within the course of one “Harry Hood,” Phish redefined what is possible within a live music experience, creating a jaw-hanging, ambient introspective journey.  Using one of their most hallowed pieces, Phish forged into the future with other-worldly improv that left everyone at the concert buzzing and in awe.  Fans of all ages and from all walks of life recognized that something special had happened- and it was good.  It was bigger than music, bigger than Phish- bigger than us.  Tapped into the source, Phish delicately crafted one the most stunning pieces of improvisation we have heard- maybe ever.  Following ambient hints at the beginning of the jam, Phish launched into a full-scale ambient-space exploration of their most sacred piece.  In the course of twenty-plus minutes, Phish redefined why they are my favorite band, and reaffirmed the fact that there are no other four human beings on the planet capable of channeling the power and energy of life like the Phish from Vermont.  I’ll let the band take it from here.

6.2.09 Jones Beach (W.Rogell)

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Despite perhaps the deepest “Hood” ever played (yes- including all those ’94-’95 epics and post-hiatus adventures), the first set carried more overall weight than the second.  As Phish started the night on the beach with the early-‘90’s classic combo of “Jim,” “Foam,” the show had the feeling of something special right from the start.  Batting third was one of the most intriguing debuts that we have heard so far, “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan.”  Hearkening echoes of the barely-played “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing,” Phish’s newest addition seems to be set for the heart of the beast.  Merely introducing the template and hinting where the song could go, the band’s dark, dripping improv left imaginations drooling over future versions.  The lyrical path, with the refrain, “I got a blank space where my mind should be,” adds some intrigue to a song that will be create more than a few adventures this summer.

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

But the true highlights of the first set were yet to come.  With the combination of a sinister “Timber Ho!” and a tar-thick “Cities,” the band threw down a smoking chunk of improv in the middle of the first set.  And following the interlude of “Driver,” they were back at it again, dropping Summer ‘09’s first “Reba.”  Following a distinctly clean composed section, Phish launched into one of their most intricate versions in recent memory.  Taking the jam for a dynamic ride, Phish didn’t stick with groove, bringing the jam down to near silent points, only to bounce back into one of the most spine-tingling guitar peaks the song has ever seen.  This was not your father’s Oldsmobile- Phish is playing differently than we have heard in a long time- with such care and patience to their focused improv.  The old adage, “You can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it,” has never seemed more applicable.


6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

The set ended with one of the most emotional moments of the night, as Phish unveiled “If I Could” for the first time in nine years- since PNC 2000- where it also ended the first set.  Yet this time it was different.  Without ever hitting a “groove,” and without Trey ever hitting a knee-buckling solo, the band created a musically gentle- yet emotionally walloping- version of the the ballad that everyone’s been waiting years to hear.  It was worth the wait.  Ending the set without ever returning to the song’s chorus, the music spoke for itself in one of the night’s shining moments.

With a show that only left us counting the hours until Thursday, and wondering what song may bring us face to face with our maker then, Phish showed us why this is all happening.  Breaking musical ground and inventing new ways melt us into nothing, Phish is on tour again, and we are lucky to be along for the ride.

I: Runaway Jim, Foam, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan*, Timber Ho!, Cities, Driver, Reba, Farmhouse, Possum, If I Could

II: Mike’s Song > Simple > Wolfman’s Brother > Weekapaug Groove, When the Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls*, Harry Hood, Loving Cup

E: Suzy Greenberg
* First Time Played



6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

6.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Many apologies for the delay with “No Spoilers” last night.  With a shoddy web connection, I wasn’t able to seed the torrents when I got back to where I was staying, and Alexander K. went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure our project lived on. Driving over 30 miles to the nearest reliable internet source in the middle of the night, AK-47 made it happen! We will make every effort to have a reliable upload terminal on lock-down from here on out.  Thanks for your patience .

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442 Responses to “Defining New Ground”

  1. old dude Says:

    no, it’s about going on tour.

    you’re not around (on hiatus)
    the letter is from PTBM
    a day turns into a week…

    But I learned my lesson
    And I can still remember the last one
    this tour will be different…..

    don’t go back to Coventry

  2. Al Says:

    I REALLY like those new songs played at JB! Especially “Stealing Time..”
    By the way, the guitar solo at the end of “Kill Devil…” is absolutely Chalkdust Torture! Before it’s Johnny B. Goode, that true.

    I really hope they start jammin’ on those soon. Love to hear new Phis – instead of 6 Min. versions of old songs. Some say, their jams haven’t gone anywhere – but I say they don’t even go somewhere to go nowhere from….

  3. msbjivein Says:

    KDF lyrics are great. If your a recovering drug addict especially. That’s definately what that songs about. Not going back to Pills and Booze………

  4. Wax Banks Says:

    I like thinking of ‘Kill Devil Falls’ as the resigned sigh after ‘Free’ – never mind the echo of ‘Bouncing Around the Room’ (itself echoed in ‘Free’!). ‘Invisible’ touches beautifully on some themes that ‘KDF’ handles ironically – ‘Last time…it all seems thin but it sure feels good…now we’re invisible’; ‘In a minute I’ll be free, and you’ll be splashing in the sea’; and yet ‘This time will be different – until I do it again.’ I’ve come to love Trey’s sometimes mawkish but always sincere solo songs, with their winding construction and close-to-the-bone lyrics. ‘KDF’ is a goofy rave-up in concert but those lyrics are dark, dark, dark…

  5. Brimley Says:

    I thought the Kill Devil Falls outro jam had a chalkdusty feel to it…

  6. Wax Banks Says:

    A lot of Phish’s big jams have similar structures. Mike’s is the YEM jam at half the chordal tempo, for instance, with Suzy an uptempo freakout on essentially the same chords; Chalkdust and Birds and KDF share sound as well. Different emphasis each time but there you go. Harry Hood is a three-chord jam in which the middle chord often falls out in the middle to leave the ol’ I-IV again. Theme from the Bottom is one chord with a suggested I-v or I-VIIb movement, and you could argue that Free works on the same model – as does Weekapaug.

    The commonalities let the boys apply similar improvisatory techniques to each song, which is part of why Phish’s tunes never ever sound like anyone else’s, even the covers – they have a readily recognizable sound all their own.

  7. Wax Banks Says:

    (e.g. Listen to how readily the 6/14/00 Twist and 2/28/03 Tweezers shift around the circle of fourths – essentially refusing to come back from a chord change to the root. Very different sonic contexts but a similar strategy for refreshing the jam. This isn’t anything new of course – it’s a tool found in many a band’s box. But Phish employ it with really impressive responsiveness and fluidity.)

  8. Chuckleberry Says:

    Phish concerts are like baseball games: no two are ever alike. The plays are always different, and there’s always fresh hope. Sometimes the game’s an all-timer even though individual performances are sloppy; sometimes everybody plays great but the team loses anyway.

    Some people thrive on yesterday’s moments, and aren’t too keen on the way the game’s played today. Some have only been fans since last year and don’t care what happened way back when. You can cherish the great victories and triumphant seasons and chart them across decades, or you can go simply for the enjoyment of tonight and to hell with the standings. Like all the great teams, Phish has their pennant years and bleak innings, perfect games and whippings, hits and foul balls, heroes and goats.

    To many they’re an institution, to some mere child’s play, and to others Phish is more or less an indispensable part of life. There are those who say the game’s too slow, that the brief moments of action and excitement are too few and far between. Like “America’s Favorite Pastime,” Phish is both celebrated and criticized, and some people will never see what’s to enjoy.

    Like big-league fans, Phish fans are as varied as the game is long. There are scorekeepers who record every detail for statistical analysis and a place in the Hall of Fame; camera buffs and video freaks; armchair umpires, die-hards, groupies. Some are bleacher bums who’d be in the stands no matter who was playing; and there are even spousal fans who go because if they didn’t, they’d be left home alone. A lot of people attend because they’ve always gone and really don’t care to stop.

    It may take a few visits to grasp the subtleties, but if you let yourself into the flow of things, there’s something to enjoy from the very first moment you’re there. As the old saying goes, the mind believes what the mind believes: Grateful Dead is cerebral if you choose to analyze it, but it’s basic and instinctive too. Like the game of baseball.

    From The Official Book of the Deadheads written by David Gans, changed to reflect Phish, fits perfectly.

  9. old dude Says:

    i likey purty muzik

  10. msbjivein Says:

    Nice Theory Lesson wax!

  11. notthere Says:

    For not being there the recordings in such a timely fashion are great…shout out to Ian Stone for his efforts on that!

  12. Marshall Says:

    Simplest measuring stick of all — how much I want to continue re-listening to a performance. I listened to Fenway once. JB1 is up there with Hampton1 as I’ve been playing it over and over all day long. It’s feeding my soul – especially the Hood. Man do I feel good about Hood right now. Been years since I rolled (and don’t plan to), but that Hood with a biscuit would be Pure.

  13. notkuroda Says:

    can’t wait till football season, all these baseball analogies are killing me

  14. kickaha Says:

    Wolfman’s was great, Weekapaug was great. The segue between the two was a train wreck. Fishman cuts Trey off mid phrase and the rest of the band seems to fumble around for a minute until the bass solo.

    Huge thanks for the no spoilers torrents for the the last two shows.

  15. Frankie Says:

    Thank you very much to everyone involved in the No Spoilers project! Don’t apologize! You guys are doing a wonderful job of getting the shows to us that way…

    This is the best way to listen to some fresh Phish! I had a really good time this morning listening to Jones Beach… people in the subway must’ve thought i was crazy as i had the biggest grin on my face (when Cities came on) and i would burst out laughing at some of the ridiculously great jams i heard…

    Like so many people said before, Phish is about the moment and with the No Spoilers, we can sort of replicate that feeling while listening on the ipod…

    So, once again, thanks to Mr. Miner and everybody for their efforts in getting the shows that way to us so fast… It is really appreciated! Cheers! 🙂

  16. Jack O Roses Says:

    I like KDF. As has been said cool lyrics with a *insert another great band here* type of chord structure. It’s just a straight up rock & roll song.

    “This time will be different, until I do it again.”


    “Don’t go back to Kill Devil Falls.”

  17. old dude Says:

    interesting choice of words there, notkuroda. “killing me”. seems the violence inherent in your sport has permeated your subconsciousness. don’t let it consume your soul! come over to the light…

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    @notkuroda – it’s apt though, baseball is as boring as David Gans


  19. Al Says:

    I’ve just listened into most songs from JB audience tape and I think it beats Fenway clearly…Hood Jam is awesome, but why does Trey fuck up that crazy part before the drop once again – like Hampton…ahhh!

    Now, It’s time again for my opener call for 6/4:
    I wish it’ll be SPLIT OPEN – but It’ll be ACDC Bag for sure…..

  20. Uberchef Says:

    How do so many fans notice that Trey’s guitar is out of tune during a particular jam when they are so busy futzing around on their cellphones texting and the like?

  21. Jason Waite Says:

    Totally content with anything & everything they decide to play – we are all so blessed to have Phish v3.0

  22. Marshall Says:

    Thursday opener will be either Makisupa Policeman or YaMar. They will also bust out a Ginseng Sullivan before they head on to the next stop.

  23. Cactus Says:

    Agreed…Ginseng will be played thurs of fri.

  24. Cactus Says:

    Yamar second set opener tomorrow could happen as well.

  25. Little Buddy Says:

    Nice, Wax. Good lesson. I’m quite amateur as a musician, so I only partially understand what you’re saying, but thanks for the well explained thoughts.

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