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”

  1. bhizzle Says:

    what I miss? what i miss?

    a golgi, my friend & SOAM

  2. SJC Says:

    I barely look at the vid, all about the audio here.

  3. Doc Says:

    No gogli….

    Set One

    * Wilson
    * Buried Alive
    * Kill Devil Falls
    * AC/DC Bag
    * I Didn’t Know
    * My Friend, My Friend
    * Ya Mar
    * Theme From The Bottom
    * Boogie On Reggae Woman
    * Split Open and Melt

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    Was there a Golgi after Wilson?

    And wow what a first set – short though, they better blow my brains out SET II.

  5. voopa Says:


  6. bhizzle Says:

    Sorry, I thought I saw a reference to the golgi. However, I do dig m e a good Buried Alive, AC DC, MFMF, Boogie & SOAM. I just caught the ass end of SOAM and it sounded deeeeeeep. Anything else get that way? How were the ones I mentioned?

  7. BrandonKayda Says:


  8. Jack O Roses Says:

    Well that’s my new favorite set of the week. Ummm… Unreal. My Friend was super sick. I love the Hampton Melt. Not sure if this made it to that level. I have an unhealthy love of Theme, so unless Trey is playing a different chord progression, I’m gonna love it. Buried Alive seemed a bit short. The convo that iphone dude was having right after the set ended was fricking hilarious!

    Wilson, Buried Alive, Kill Devil Falls, AC/DC Bag, I Didn’t Know, My Friend My Friend, Yamar, Theme, Boogie On, Melt

  9. bhizzle Says:

    Tell me they funked the shit out of Boogie….

  10. bhizzle Says:

    What it say? I thought it sounded like he was getting kudos. Some dude named Frank

  11. Doc Says:

    Some dude asked him how many shows he was doing – I couldn’t hear what he said, other than that people were donating a lot of money.

  12. SJC Says:

    Can’t wait to hear a crispy Boogie On. Gordeaux killed it.

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    ac/dc rocked. I only caught some of MF MF. Boogie on was FUNKY.

    But seriously, 2001 set 2 opener.

    100 minute funk-fest coming up.

    with only a 70 minute first set, they’ll definitely do a huge set 2 right?

    I LOVE streaming.

  14. Hunter Says:

    Tonight’s show looks positively sick on paper so far. Can’t wait to hear it!

    Also, I’m listening to last night’s Divided Sky and I’ve got to say, it’s a winner. Somebody mentioned the “majestic” nature with which they’re playing so far on this tour, and this version of Divided Sky is a perfect example. They sound like they’re taking their time with each section, making sure the songs don’t come across sounding like a chopped-up proggy mess. And when they get to those peaks, they play with so much unbridled enthusiasm you can almost hear them smiling.

    Though I find the lyrics occasionally laughable, Time Turns Elastic may have been a catalyst in this move towards smoother transitions. Like Miner mentioned, not the Zappa-esque insanity of Fluffhead and older through-composed tunes. It’s too bad that setlist placement for TTE is so difficult. It’s similar in that regard to Walls of the Cave. With the wrong placement, it can be a real drain on the crowd’s energy. I think both tunes are best reserved for set closers.

    Also, is it just me or does Page’s piano sound fuller in the mix than it ever did with Paul mixing? Not to discount Mr. Languedoc’s abilities in the slightest, but he definitely had his favorite faders.

  15. bhizzle Says:

    Also I hope they don’t continue to throw that KDF down our throats.

    Give me the first ever Maggie’s Revenge!

  16. Jack O Roses Says:

    Yea, it got muffled a bit during that part. But, he said he had emails rolling in, to help him down the road. I know he’s got a job….errrr, did…. On Tuesday he was talking about coming from work.

  17. Billy Breathes Says:

    Brandon….short set? You are kidding, yes? And you didn’t miss Buried Alive, unless you don’t plan on seeing any shows this summer….it’s only the 4th gig of the tour.

    IMO….Boogie was rather straight forward…..FUN AS HELL!!!!! But straightforward…..they typically are.

    Split was evil-icious good.

    One more set!

  18. Doc Says:

    KDF is cool – just in small doses.

  19. bhizzle Says:

    Re: Page’s mix

    I know it was sweet at the Hampton shows. It doesn’t seem to stand out that much during the 5/31 – 6/ whatever today is. But it may be due to my listening to them mostly at work through the pc. (Ya think!)

  20. bhizzle Says:

    Doc – As much as I want I don’t think I can be convince of that

  21. Doc Says:

    Give it time – it’s got some hard jamming potential.

  22. BrandonKayda Says:

    Billy- Well, 70min is short compared to the 90min theyve been giving us. Whatever, they’re on.

  23. Billy Breathes Says:

    The KDF tonight was played rather strong IMO and definitely had Trey hitting some strong high lovely notes.

    It’s meant to be a straight rocker.

    Probably wanted to make up for the other version and get it right for JB.

  24. bhizzle Says:

    do you think the can trace the streamer through the donation link (or some other way?) You think the might get pissed, especially if he IS making cash. And the fact that they just released that statement before Hampton about the bootlegged material. Phishtube is getting alot of pr.

  25. bhizzle Says:

    What has been played new? four songs? TTE, KDF, Ocelot, Stealing time. Am I missing one? That leaked album setlist had more than that.

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