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

Tags: ,

557 Responses to “Peaks and Valleys”

  1. Billy Breathes Says:

    LOL!!! Golgi Golgi Golgi Golgi.

    It’s on….opener….Wwwwww

  2. Doc Says:

    Our boy’s up and running!

  3. Doc Says:


  4. old dude Says:


  5. old dude Says:

    that boy needs to invest in some sticky tape, velcro and bungie cords

  6. Doc Says:

    I’m surprised none of the tapers have figured this streaming thing out. They’re in the sweet spot and have tripods!

    Kill Devil Falls twice in the same run?

  7. Bobby Caplewood Says:

    phishtube is like crack….i need help

  8. old dude Says:

    it’s a first set of all openers!
    do you think set II will be all closers?

  9. Billy Breathes Says:

    old dude…..baaaahahaaaa!

    tonight’s gonna get interesting (already is).

    KDF 2x in one run?

    look for some Goodies tonight….

  10. cal Says:

    oof. i’ve listened to fenway and jones beach 1; if even miner will admit that jb 2 is sub-par, i don’t even want to hear it. (that’s not a rip; surely, miner, you’d admit that you’re very generous and forgiving to the boys?) i know they’re capable of better than this tour so far just based on the third night of hampton, so i still have high hopes for later in the tour…but the touted “tweezer” and “hood” are utter snoozefests on tape, and slah-ha-hoppy. hampton overall was waaay more competently played, and hampton was weak by phish standards. i realize it’s different being there, but you should be able to recognize a complete loss of rhythm or trey not having any idea what key he’s in (for half of 6-2). i have faith, i truly believe we will all be witness to more transcendent phishdom in the coming months or years. i just don’t think it’s productive to kowtow to our heroes when they are clearly nowhere near where they want to be. THEY must be aware of it, right??? regardless, i can’t wait to hear them play these songs again, even if they never really remember how to jam any more.

  11. hooks Says:

    i second that the stream is crack… seems like a decent acdc bag…

  12. old dude Says:

    maple dew, honey melon watercress

  13. old dude Says:

    mustard pies and carrot eyes

  14. SJC Says:

    Fun set.

  15. hooks Says:

    from what i could tell, my friend was bad as hell

  16. SJC Says:

    just went from fun to bad ass.

  17. Billy Breathes Says:

    so why aren’t they going into those deeper abyss’?

    i believe it’s by design.

    but did we come to a conclusion?

  18. wanderin Says:

    this set is smokin

  19. SJC Says:


  20. bhizzle Says:

    streamin’ for the first time. I’m hoping you are all ragin about it becuase you are getting live audio and not ragin about the video….eek…color blur, but if I had the right combo of things going on right now I might hit the right tracers..

    crazy SOAM

  21. Doc Says:

    More bad phishtube rapping. Awesome!

  22. bhizzle Says:

    I was just about to ask if that was a first or that is commonplace between tunes. Set break?

  23. voopa Says:

    ^^^ comment 420

  24. bhizzle Says:

    streamin’ for the first time. I’m hoping you are all ragin about it becuase you are getting live audio and not ragin about the video….eek…color blur, but if I had the right combo of things going on right now I might hit the right tracers..

    crazy SOAM

  25. Billy Breathes Says:

    the SPLIT finally went there…..spookey good.

    lettin’ off some strange/good/new steam there.

    why couldn’t they do that elsewhere this set?

    i think certain songs are now taking new shape as jam vehicles, or not. they are choosing them carefully.

    Phish 3.0!

Leave a Reply