Peaks and Valleys

6.2.09 Jones Beach (D.Vann)

6.2.09 Jones Beach (D.Vann)

In a somewhat discombobulated effort, Phish put forth a couple great jams in a show that was focused more on straight rock and roll and quite thin on improvisation.  In a fun show, but certainly the weakest of tour, Phish used a first set-heavy format to charm the Jones Beach audience Thursday night. As we have hit show number three, we have seen that Phish is still capable of the most divine improv- see “Tweezer” and “Hood”- yet is still warming up into full-scale touring mode.  Playing without setlists has led to great spontaneity, but has also led to a slew of awkward transitions- another square in the middle of the second set tonight between show highlights “Drowned” and “Meatstick.”  Nonetheless, the band featured a string of well-played songs we haven’t heard this tour in the first set, and a surreal “Ghost” to put together the night’s stronger frame.

"Drowned" 6.4.09 (

"Drowned" 6.4.09 (

The greatest improvisational moment of the night was easily the “Ghost” in the first set.  Moving from a strong and urgent funk groove into stunningly blissful textures, Phish crafted one of the young tour’s highlights.  Taking the jam where “Ghosts” seldom go, this jam moved outside the groove and into a quasi-ambient section, as the band unveiled an instant highlight that will be like smooth music to our ears for the rest of the summer.  Following the show’s standout jam, the band ended the first set with a succinct and ripping “Antelope,” ending the set with a bang while combining the two crowd favorites for the first time ever.

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

6.2.09 (D.Vann)

The second set opened with a whisper in “Water In the Sky” just as the rain was letting up for the night.  The quiet opener was followed by a ripping “Birds of a Feather” that featured some hearty grooves while remaining within the song’s structure.  Sticking with the upbeat rock vibe, Phish tore into another water-themed song with “Drowned”- the other standout piece of improv of the show.  Featuring a high-key guitar solo by Trey, who was shredding on point for most of the night, the jam moved out of straight rock into some deep raunchy textures that ended inexplicably as the band awkwardly stumbled into “Meatstick” with some clear miscommunication and dead air.  Once started however, the “Meatstick” was delightful as the band got into some deep, albeit brief, reggae-funk, evoking the feeling of “Fire on the Mountain.”  The set had a definite energy to it at this point, and the placement of “Time Turns Elastic” in the middle of a rock-based set caused the frame to fizzle, altering the energy of the show.  Though it was played quite well- the energy of the set definitely dropped off with the extended composition.  It worked at Fenway- it didn’t last night.  Trey definitely loves the song and because the band will be playing it a lot, they will need to consider placement of their “single,” as it takes up a long part of a live set with very little improvisation.

The tour’s second “YEM” in three shows featured some precise playing by Trey amidst some dirty Phish grooves, and pumped some momentum back into the set.  With each tour you’ll have your peaks and valleys, and the best part about a Phish show is that even in the valleys you find some diamonds.  Let’s stash away that “Ghost” for keeps and move on to tonight- see you at Jones Beach night three.

I: Grind, The Divided Sky, Ocelot, The Squirming Coil, Punch You in the Eye, Dirt, NICU, Ghost, Run Like An Antelope

II: Water In The Sky, Birds Of A Feather, Drowned, Meatstick, Time Turns Elastic, Waste, You Enjoy Myself

E: Rock and Roll

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557 Responses to “Peaks and Valleys”

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  1. Baxter Says:

    Mr Miner,
    Thanks for the updates from the road, I enjoy your analysis. Fenway was the only show for me until August, but I could watch the live stream last night from home, and it was pretty good. I think the site was Phishtube.blogspot?

    Phish is back, and they look and sound great. I can’t wait to watch what is next in store.

  2. nonoyolker Says:

    Thanks for the write-up. Downloading the show now to listen to on the train to Jones.
    Is it officially time to think it is weird that they have yet to bust out ANY songs from the v2.0 era (except grind)??
    See you guys on Strong Island. I think tonight is going to rip. Going to pour tonight, so pack accordingly.

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ we were wondering that tonight re: 2.0 material

  4. Jon Bailey Says:

    Thanks for the update Miner.
    I wasn’t there but the set list looked a little all over the place. I am surprised the Ghost>Antelope didn’t spark some creative writing on your part.
    See you all tonight!!!

  5. trophish Says:

    I’ve never seen 2 lamer crowds than I’ve seen at Jones Beach. Probably because they don’t serve alcohol. I thouroughly enjoyed the Ghost>Antelopean in the first set and Meatstick in the 2nd. I guess we’re far removed from the dance because I didn’t see one person do it. The YEM was awesome! The vocal jam with the lights was mind bending but awkwardly ended the 2nd set to virtually no applause. This should be the loudest part of the crowd, dragging the band back out. I was embarrased, they just played their hearts out and had to come back out to quietness.

  6. Mike Russo Says:

    I really don’t understand how you can fluff 6/2 and NOT like this show better. This show was GREAT! And while I know there were some people who did sit down for TTE at first, most of them got right back up around the 5 min mark (when it starts getting really good) and stayed standing through the end of the set. This show is better than 6/2, so start fluffing it already! 😉

  7. Mr. Icculus Says:

    Wow the live video feed was awsome last night. Props to that guy. And a big thx to u miner for the analysis, you will alwaays have cred in my book. I thought the same thing, alot of straight ahead rock in roll in that first set. Feed didn’t start up till the end of drowned, but we got the full meatstick and it seemed like the energy waS SKY HIGH at that point. Than the TTE again i like the begining and the end they need to cut out the middle. JUst my thoughts the middle really drained the energy. I was at home and i could feel the loss of momentum. But as ive said before lets not be so critical of there every move. Lets just sit back and enjoy some PHiSH. They are having fun and IM loving it. See you guys at Camden.

  8. ColonelJoy Says:

    It’s good to see Miner returning to earth:)

    Not that pleased with LivePhish download quality, I decided to just download too tunes (one of them would have been Ghost, but they don’t offer the long ones individually)….I downoaded the Ocelot and the JB Jam that came out of Drowned.

    While I saw some comments that stated the Ocelot was better than Fenway, I would disagree. It seemed rather plodding, and slow, not that slow is bad, but no intensity. Similar jams, say out of certain Back On The Trains, have displayed some umph, so I know Ocelot can and probably will….

    JB Jam…this sounded mostly like generic 2.0 trash jamming…it nearly got good near the end, when they started jamming on it seemed like a variation of the “Taxman” theme…or was it something else? But it did nothing for me…..

    While the setlist looks semi-epic…Ghost>Antelope to close a set is pretty phat, I didn’t see too much that stood-out….

    Honestly, lately this site/shows has distracted me from work and writing my novel. I am busy as hell, and am making plans for my unit to get out of here safely… I need to take a break….I’m not going to look at any setlists or post for two weeks!! By the time I come back, all should be well in Phishdome again! Enjoy the tour!



  9. JerZ Says:

    I am pumped, because there are so many songs that they have not played yet, and I am looking for the throwdown to start tonight.

    Two things that you can take to the bank- Yamar opener- its summer you know, its about time for some raggae beats

    When the rain clears tonight, you will hear the words- “Look, the storms gone…”

  10. trophish Says:

    I’ve never seen 2 lamer crowds than I’ve seen at Jones Beach. Probably because they don’t serve alcohol. I thouroughly enjoyed the Ghost>Antelope in the first set and Meatstick in the 2nd. I guess we’re far removed from the dance because I didn’t see one person do it. The YEM was awesome! The vocal jam with the lights was mind bending but awkwardly ended the 2nd set to virtually no applause. This should be the loudest part of the crowd, dragging the band back out. I was embarrased, they just played their hearts out and had to come back out to quietness.

  11. bhizzle Says:

    Go with God, Colonel. See you in a couple weeks.

    The Ocelot from Fenway timed in at 7:32 while last night’s timed in at 10:10 (based on LivePhish’s tracking) and when I saw last night’s time I had the feeling it was longer than 5/31’s. Therefore I was expecting a more jammed out version, but based on the Col.’s take maybe it was not for the better. Well, must begin the dl’ing of the Ghost>Antelope. Also curious to hear Meatstick. It has been awhile.

    Hearing the “down-ness” of the show and of the crowd makes me think the rain may have had an impact….?

    Again,, Miner thanks for the review and the No Spoilers.

  12. Al Says:

    The moment Trey stops playin 250 notes a second in a jam, the jams will take off into great new territorry. The band needs more amp’less’ air to breathe…more rhythmic sections, letting it flow, evolving chords and structures….But I don’t worry, they’ll do fine.

    Any comments on the new light rig? Awesome, isn’t it? A whole new level …ck5 paradise

  13. Dan Says:

    Pretty spot on review, at least from what I could tell from the webcast.

    My first show is Camden. By that, I mean my first fucking show. Ever. I’m not sure what to think. Phantasy Tour isn’t giving me much help on this, but what do people do in 2009 to ensure they’re accepted by the fanbase? I’m 17, I probably look 14, and at every other jam band show I’m treated like a little kid. Joints get passed over me, rarely to me. If someone strikes up a convo it’s always very condescending. What do I do to convince people I’m a real fan? I know it sounds stupid and self-defeating, but I have no where else to turn.

  14. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Sounded more like a variation on Jumpin Jack Flash to me. Wish I new why they stopped that so abruptly. very strange….

  15. hawkinbj Says:

    Respectfully disagree. Thought this was the best show thus far having listened to the SBDs. My two cents 😉

  16. Dr SF Jones Says:

    @ Dan
    Just go to the show and have a good time. Accepted by the fan base? Come on.

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    dan you should wear a dave matthews t-shirt, wear a fake beard, and bring a crack pipe which you should offer around

  18. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    actually just wear a mask

  19. bopapocolypse Says:

    thanks for a balanced view of this show, mr. minor.

    this sort of approach really gives the reader a sense of what took place and helps us sort out the great from the merely good from song to song and show to show.

    nice job.

  20. Al Says:

    ..completely freakin’ out when they bust out Jennifer Dances tonight.
    Or calling Fluffhead as opener second set, and it comes.. that’ll help.

    no – seriously, don’t give a sh… about the people next to you if you don’t like them, enjoy the music and close your eyes. You are not there to impress – but be impressed!

  21. Danny B Says:

    When last night’s setlist was popping up on my computer, I was getting progressively more excited and more pissed off every minute. On the one hand I was amped about the song selection, on the other hand I was pissed about missing what looked amazing on the screen. I stopped looking after the first set, so when I woke up and looked at the second set, I felt a little better. Tonight will be my first Phish show of 2009, and I am excited, it will be pouring rain, and I can’t wait. All I know is that they need to bring it tonight!!!!! If people are going to be standing out in the rain, they need to make us dance. I can’t wait!!! I am still hoping for -Yamar, Vultures, The mango Song, Waves, Golgi. Judging by the repeated YEM and TTE, we might get another Tweezer tonight. Bring it on!!!!

  22. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I would not worry about being “accepted by the fanbase”. In my experience, most of the folks at the show are tools. There are, however, quite a few absolutely cool people there. If you are worried about a joint, bring your own and pass it on, stuff will come back to you manyfold. Just relax and enjoy the show. Don’t get to f’d up at your first show, you want to be able to remember it later. I know that I am a bit pissed that I can’t remember my first dead show (wow has it been 18 years already?) very well.

  23. Al Says:

    My call for tonight:
    Opener I: Taste
    Opener II: Bag

    Also on the setlist will be:
    Split open, Theme, First Tube, Waves, Golgi, Piper…

    By the way, which webcast, stream..are you all talking about???Any livecast??

  24. NovaLox Says:

    Unfortunately I will have to respectfully disagree as well, with a caveat. I thought last nights first set was probably one of the tightest and best played sets I have seen in almost 10 years. Sure the transition may have been a little off between a song or two, but the playing was clean and precise and all out rocked. To me that was the best set of the tour so far. Also I think you saw where Ocelot is going to start moving as it was a much better version than Sunday Night. Set 2 on the other hand…I agree in that TTE through me off and I found myself kind of taken out of my game. Especially after an excellent Drowned and Meatstick where like you I first thought “no way are they going to bust out Fire!”, but then realized no it is just “the stick” but fun none the less. Personally I rocked out last night with the band and felt an energy I haven’t in a long time (no Hampton Shows for me otherwise the comment may have been different). Oh yeah and GHOST!!!

  25. PlethoraOfPinatas Says:

    Dan, you’re not a real fan if all you are focused on is the people around you rather than the music. If joints get passed over you, buy some pot from your gym teacher and roll your own. If people are condescending, maybe you are being too eager. I know you are infatuated with Phish and the scene right now, but after your 25th show you’ll be able to ignore the wooks and focus on the show. Just try to stay out of rehab/jail until then.

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