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. El Duderino Says:

    Here is a link to a Jerry Moore source of Legion of Mary @ the Tower Theater 4/11/75b. With the sickest Boogie On Reggae Woman. No one has soul like Jerome Garcia

  2. El Duderino Says:

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    so I just walked the dog and listened to the hood again through headphones and I want to say that I was wrong —>

    definitely sounds like trey has a string go off tune, and when he notices he descends back to the lower octave as gracefully as he could … after the feedback washes end he keeps going back to his money note and it’s just not there – so he hits the chords (a few of which you can hear are a little off) and then during the feedback wash outro he tunes (you can hear him drop out for a moment) and then emits an On-Key Wail to get back into it before the big finish -> segue. So there you go – repeated listens may make me reconsider again 😉

    but the moment when the ambient jam peaks and Mike starts throbbing the hood chords again and trey rolls it over and page keeps pedalling his crazy synth tone and fishman really shimmers the beat – you can hear the vibe go through the crowd (even on the sbd) and it’s truly sublime … it’s a shame really for the out of tune string to follow because up til that moment it really is THE BEST HOOD EVER.(tm)

    and yeah – REM has stayed on their game – up was kind of an off album and around the sun was a little too mellow was kind of an off album but their latest – accelerate – is back to high octane rock and is pretty damn good. They still have the same three up front, add the keyboardist/multiinstrumentalist they added in the 90s who gets no credit + a new drummer .. and they just blow it up rock style. Pretty fun really.

  4. Jon Bailey Says:

    This time will be different!!!

  5. El Duderino Says:

    The Queen of the Blues KOKO TAYLOR has passed today as well. Damn, what a rough day for music lovers and collectors. Koko’s most famous tune is Wang Dang Doodle, which I love. GD did great versions of this tune. Chicago is very bummed 🙁

  6. old dude Says:

    wang dang doodle opener tomorrow @JB2, sung by Fish.

  7. Marshall Says:

    I just had another technology idea that is not gonna happen soon, but would be cool. Kuroda’s lights are all computerized, so its would make sense that there’s a record of what the lights did during each note of the show. How cool would it be if they somehow could turn that light rig record into a customized Phish “visuals” plug-in for use with iTunes or MediaPlayer. Obviously it would not be just like the lights at the venue, but it could be “based” on the actual light show. I’m not explaining this well, but I bet someone on this board understands what I’m talking about.

    My point is, we have these great records memorializing Phish’s performance, but nothing for CK5’s, which to me is half the live show. Would be nice to have some way to get into the light show vibe, note for note, for each performance.

  8. Marshall Says:

    In that same vein, I’ve thought it would be awesome to set up an IMAX movie camera at the back of the arena, dead center, and just let it run. The field of view would be huge and since its IMAX, you could dispense with the up close shots. I’m talking no cuts to alternate shots whatsover. Just a single shot of the “entire” visual/aural exprience.

    “Martinis and IMAX” on a Friday night playing a Phish Show would be out of this world!

  9. old dude Says:

    they had video screens for close ups last night (i seen em on that dude’s shakey iphone!). i saw a CK interview recently where i thought he said they would not do screens, and if they did – then only with abstract, trippy light effects. maybe i misunderstood.

    are the jumbotrons a venue decision? or should we expect them all tour? i love those bastards, but i don’t want to have to see their ugly mugs.

  10. Marshall Says:

    I think those are venue installations used for all concerts. Walnut Creek DVD was taken from the feeds used for the lawn screens.

  11. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i was there last night. man, that hood was crazy. it was even crazier watching it happen from close up… reba was fantastic too, as was pretty much the whole show. the new stuff was rad.

  12. Wax Banks Says:

    I threw JB and Fenway on and just let ’em play for a while this afternoon…bliss. I like my Phish funky and spacey and out in the middle of nowhere, but these new shows are just so damn fun I’m loving it anyhow. Pre-segue the JB Wolfman’s was well on its way to best-since-hiatus territory (much as I like the Anniversary Tour version); If I Could is just a beautiful way to head into setbreak after a big party set; Hood was its own special thing; and Set II of Fenway is only a little less joyous and uplifting than it was on the day. (I know this is an awful term to use, but in the parlance of our benighted times, that 5/31 II setlist is retaaaaaarded. In a good way! There’s not a single blow-off song in the whole set – maybe I’m weird but I think ‘Light’ is the coolest of the new batch, with those swell outro vocals and all.)

    @c0wfunk – Good call diagnosing Trey’s Hood-outro problems. I’ll buy your explanation and call it a good night!

    Sorry for going off about jam structures before; it wasn’t meant as a lecture, I just kept mentioning tunes as I thought of them.

    Enjoy, folks – see you at Great Woods. 🙂

  13. Davey Says:

    Soooooooo goooooooooooddddd. Can’t wait until my DC—>Alpine run

  14. McGrupp Says:

    @WB….what’s your take on the overall style of playing thus far….and increased song selection?

  15. CJ Says:

    Does Stealing Time remind anyone else of Funky Bitch? Mostly just Trey’s guitar work for the first half of the song.

  16. McGrupp Says:

    Boy….that Weekapaug is in desperate need of help.

    Good times though, don’t get me wrong….but wowsas!

    This is one resilient band fighting to get it right.

    You can feel it even through the recordings.

    Come St Louis……

  17. Davey Says:

    Farmhouse and Possum need to be switched on the setlist. I’m sure someone has said it before but I didn’t want to sift through 16 pages of comments.

    Wolfmans is sick.

  18. Mitch Says:

    So since today is Mike’s birthday, I think it makes more sense them having a day off now. I kept wondering why there was no show tonight or why last nights show wasnt tomorrow when originally planned.

  19. kevin are hollo Says:

    all this wax banks and i have to say:

    if you REALLY want to hear a harry hood that strays from it’s tightly moored chord progression, find a copy of 08-10-97 (first night, Deer Creek).

    it’s the ONLY time, repeat, the ONLY time, that the song has ever deviated from the aforementioned changes. mike initiates a new interval and stays there, and it’s deep and dark and foreboding and sad and full of loss and quite possibly the most LONGING bit of work i’ve heard from them.


  20. whole tour! Says:

    charlotte 2003 hood….harry indeed.

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    someone told me earlier he thought stealing time sounded like spocks brain, and on second listen I hear it too..

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    phish in nyc tonight?

  23. c0wfunk Says:

    this one too .. starting to liek this twitter thing

  24. Jack O Roses Says:

    Mike with Billy Kreuztman and Scott from Max Creek at City Winery in NYC from twitter:

    Not sure if all of phish will end up playing contrary to venue reports but Mike, Billy amd co are killing it11 minutes ago from txt

  25. Jack O Roses Says:

    Sorry. Here’s the link

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