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. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh interesting Jer, I haven’t downloaded the split omnis yet, I will do that

    yer welcome Billy, felt good to say it out loud

    audio just died in some crazy ass jam or segue?

  2. bhizzle Says:


    maybe if i list their entire catalog I’ll get one right

  3. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    “the trza” HAHA! awesome

  4. bhizzle Says:


  5. SJC Says:

    for as much as they jammed out Izabella, they really butchered that song. Pay the gypsies some respect and make an effort to play it right. My 2cents. Loved the jam out of that song though…..

  6. Jer Says:

    “oh interesting Jer, I haven’t downloaded the split omnis yet, I will do that”

    It’s all what suits your taste…they aren’t bass heavy…but provide an excellent balance. Actually, the 6-2 recording was done with hypers, but the recording from 3-6 is probably the best Phish aud I’ve heard.

  7. hooks Says:

    mr c, that’s the overarching thing man, the Trza (nice), has way more bearing down than his mortal self can fully process at one time or in one show. time is what we need. it seems obvious he’s committed. ppl should lay off the guy. goddamn.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    Someone earlier in the thread today broke out that Trza thing and I am stealing the crap out of it cause its awesome – I just registered it as my What.CD login cause “MrCompletely” was taken

    hooks – that’s what Anything But Me was about, avoiding that pressure – a cry for help if I ever heard one

    this new tune is pretty heavy sounding

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    20 Years Later = Unfucking real!

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    whats next?


  11. BingosBrother Says:

    Time to get funky

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Jer I’m always interested in hearing multiple recordings before I decide what to keep, the split omnis just went up after the others…they might make a nice matrix, hm

    yay 2k1

  13. Doc Says:

    Best set of the tour so far, hands down

  14. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    lay off or just be happy their back. i mean shit if they were out there shredding through old material half of the “phans” would just find another reason to complain. IMHO. which isnt worth much. i also understand the difference between hating a being critical so dont stone me please. and really no show i have ever heard is absolutely perfect start to Finnish.
    someone please correct me if im wrong and send the evidence this way.

  15. hooks Says:

    agreed – nice point on the Anything But Me. i witnessed that at Coventry and remember it being very poignant

  16. SJC Says:

    This show is hot fire, son.

  17. BrandonKayda Says:

    I really hope this set doesn’t stop for another hour. The funk is intense

  18. A_Glide Says:

    I just got on, where’s the best stream tonight?

  19. SJC Says:

    Seems to be the most reliable

  20. BrandonKayda Says:


  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    I want to see the lengths people have to go to, and the contortions they have to twist in, to bag on this fricken set

  22. SJC Says:

    ^The whole show in general. They are laying it down tonight.

  23. hooks Says:

    yeah, if I get just one of the sbds so far, its tonight. it’s got punch all the way through. and that’s just on the fuzzy stream

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    I really don’t want this set to end. This Slave is beautiful.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @SJC I missed the first set mostly, came in @ Melt

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