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. kingshaffy Says:

    Honestly, i was there, loved the 1st set, but could have used something a little more upbeat after if i could. I thought Trey’s guitar was off during the Hood jam. It was cool but too spacey for me. The same thing during the weekapaug…he’s got to use the cleaner compressed sound and deal with the occassional flub over the whine his guitar is giving off on certain jams. His best playing of the night was def the jam in Possum.

  2. KRIVRAQ Says:

    I missed If I Could!!!

    My favorite Phish song and I missed it, all because of the added show date 🙁

    At least I got it last time (PNC)

    See you tomorrow and Phishy Friday!

  3. Ortweezer Reprise Says:

    its gonna be tough to beat the 12-31-93 Harry, effectionately known at the “Sexy Harry” The climax is so hot and so raw that ambiant jamming, while may fit better these days, will never reach the power of 93 NYE.

  4. kingshaffy Says:

    also, hardly any page last night. that was disappointing.

  5. Danny B Says:

    I finished listening to the fenway show on my subway ride to work, pretty good, some definite highlights, and some solid improv. The setlist from last night is pretty amazing, I am excited to listen to it tonight after work. I am unfortunately going to be missing thursday nights show as well, due to lack of $$$$$, but I will be there on friday. No offense to the people going thurday night, but I hope they save the serious heat for friday and saturday. Anyone who was at the show last night know the deal with security, dancing in the aisles, etc.? I have the worst seats possible, literally the last row in the entire venue. I am sure I will be able to get down, and roam around up there, but I heard they are strict on people getting stubbed down. Also, how was traffic getting in? Anyone one here from the NYC area?

  6. Dublin97 Says:

    Can’t agree on the best-ever…. very unusual one, but after the ambient stuff – Trey jams in the wrong key for the build! Page tries to hide it with some off-key tinkling. Wish it were intentional, just don’t think it was.

  7. ColonelJoy Says:

    PB, you seem to see Hood as I have seen it in the past….despite the fact that I am “cleaner” than in the past, ambient works for me, so this would make the Hood interesting for me…Kingshaffy seems to notice the control issues, too….

    Funny, Kingshaffy, “Trey was off during Hood.” Miner, “Best Hood Ever”

    they are opinions, perspectives are totally different

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^edited to say “”perhaps” the greatest “Hood” since this is all opinion here anyway…

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    lol….at everyone’s reaction to the “best” ever “Hood”…

  10. Sugar Says:

    Last night was the heat.

    A note on traffic from NYC — we left Manhattan last night at 6PM. Pulled into the lot at about 7:25. There was also traffic randomly on the BQE coming back. We had friends that left at 4:30 and only got to the lot about 10 minutes before we did. So who knows.

    Spoke to two guys at the show that took the LIRR to Freeport then hopped on the bus. They were saying it was fast, easy, no traffic etc. Seems like the way to go. Can’t comment on what it was like getting back on the train but there were definitely buses waiting outside to take you to the LIRR when we left the venue last night.

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    transcedent exploration is more valuable to me than any ripping composed build could ever be….opinions, opinions…. 🙂

  12. kingshaffy Says:

    Trust me not being a hater at all. Just notice that he’s using some guitar effects in some jams which is making the guitar whine instead of cry, if that makes sense. Listen for yourselves, maybe I am being too critical. I also always think the sound at JB is lacking

  13. Nathan Says:

    Just my 2 cents after being at the show…

    Set I: The end of set I was awe-inspiring, Reba and Possum where immense and packed with many peaks and valleys. The glowstick avalanche when Reba got quiet seemed to be the spark of summer tour.

    Set II: On paper Mikes > Simple > Wolfmans > Weeekapaug looks great, and indeed it was right through wolfmans (despite some lyrics flubs by trey on Simple, which was just sort of endearing)…Then fishman really through a wrench into the middle of Wolfman when he steamrolled the jam with the weekapaug drum part. Trey literally gave him the look of death for a good 30 seconds before him and mike reluctantly went into it. I was really hoping for a fully segued 2nd set with paug closer. I honestly think the Hood never quite peaked solo wise, could just have been me.

    New Songs: Killdevil falls was pretty ripping, trey seems pretty psyched about the lylrics. He quipped that it was a request from the front row but I doubt it. The new song from the first set showed some promise, also sounded very personal.

    Overall trey seemed to be the only one really having fun up there, the rest of the band, especially fishman, seemed pissed off or something.

    Secret un-official show tonight at JB?

  14. kingshaffy Says:

    Miner I hear you, just wish the jam coming out was a little bit cleaner and more rewarding.

  15. kingshaffy Says:

    Nathan, I gotta agree with you. I thought fish ruined the best jam of the night! What was that about. And Gordo forgot the lines in Simple.

  16. ColonelJoy Says:

    Miner, what I wonder, was it really different, groundbreaking ambient jamming? Like nothing I’ve heard before….that is hard to believe, as they’ve worked the ambient thing fairly thoroughly, no?

  17. notkuroda Says:

    I was sober to the bone and listening to a low quality feed on the computer and that Hood melted my face. But I AM a HUGE Hood fan.

  18. Brimley Says:

    Colonel, I usually sit back and enjoy others comments but I really don’t get the appeal of the ’04 SPAC Piper..I completely agree with the ’03 Nassau Tweez and the ’03 Burgettstown Crosseyed for best ever honors, but i’ve listened 8-10 times and it does nothing for me. I prefer Pipers from ’99 or even the ’03 Miami Piper tenfold over the vaunted ’04 SPAC version….That’s not to say that you are wrong or i’m right, but I just want to know what others see in that particular version…? Please enlighten me sir…

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Miner I hear you, just wish the jam coming out was a little bit cleaner and more rewarding.”

    ^^ just listened…i feel you…though I almost felt it was a moot point after that

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    “that Hood melted my face. But I AM a HUGE Hood fan.”

    ^ exactly

  21. msbjivein Says:

    How was the sound compared to Fenway?? I saw one comment that it still wasn’t that great. I would be very surprise if it didn’t sound better overall than Phen. Jim>Foam sounds pretty nice. Great opener

  22. Billy Breathes Says:

    Phish is still warming up obviously. THe transitions from Mikes–Simple—Wolfman was ELEMENTARY AT BEST!

    Transition is entirely lacking. It’s okay though…they’re back…it’s just funny when you hear people out here raving about the show…….again…’s the general viewpoint out here that Phish can DO NO WRONG. Which is completely false. Play Bouncin’!

    As far as ‘possibly the greatest Hood ever’ or whateve Miner claims….come on now….your reviews of these shows are completely biased and credibility has been tossed out the window.

    But to each his own, glad YOU thought it was the best Hood ever….or whatever.

    I’m glad they’re still oiling the machine though….Midwest shows are gonna be the goodz. They need more time to get loose.

  23. ColonelJoy Says:


    I love how the SPAC Piper is just owned by Gordon, some of his sickest playing ever….and it evolves, the jamming changes throughout the 30 minutes of the jam….I just like it, better than say, the Oswego, not that that was bad or anything….

    Prague 98 is the most rocking Piper, though, maybe the most rocking Phish ever

  24. msbjivein Says:

    Any difference in the Sound Rig and Light Rig from Phen?? I thought they might have shared that rig w/ DMB @ Phen.

  25. greenerblues Says:

    setlist edit: reba, possum then farmhouse

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