The Best Set Yet

6.4.09 Jones Beach (W.Rogell)

6.4.09 Jones Beach (W.Rogell)

As Phish took the stage amidst a rainstorm for their last set at Jones Beach, one could sense something big was coming- and it came.  Leave it to the nasty weather to bring out the best set of this tour, as the band finished their three-show run on Friday night amidst a steady downpour.  Stringing together a series of truly improvisational pieces for the first time this tour, Phish crushed their last set on Long Island.

6.4.09 (W.Rogell)

6.4.09 (W.Rogell)

As the band started with “Disease,” one of their favorite jam vehicles, that sense of some impending improv was confirmed as they tore apart the composed jam and briefly moved beyond it into a murky and patient segue into “Twist.”  It was great to see the band take their time and execute a successful transition after the last few shows that featured some less-than-graceful segues.  The “Twist” featured a smoking and ironic, full-fledged “Oye Como Va” jam.  After years of teasing Santana’s licks in a jam that whose beginning suggests “Oye Como Va” to begin with, it was a treat to see the band undertake the jam within “Twist.”  (“Oye Como Va” jams appeared in various songs in the early ’90s.)

Using the often paired “Twist” and “Piper,” Phish continued the highlight-strewn set with a jam that evoked memories of the song’s post-hiatus adventures in 2003.  Like years past, “Piper” was the springboard for some break-neck improv that saw Trey chopping up rhythm licks amidst a furious groove.  Featuring the most “type-II” improv the night, “Piper” took a path outwards, but was cut at a point where it seemed to be reaching its deepest.  Nonetheless, as “Piper” ended, the band broke into the tour’s first version of “Backwards Down the Number Line.”  Extending past Hampton’s debut, and reworked with a new verse, the feel-good song was good to hear again after its symbolic entrance into the Phish world back in march.  A short, but raging “Free” followed, fitting in well with the inclement weather and bombastic set.

6.4.09 (W.Rogell)

6.4.09 (W.Rogell)

The band debuted another likely track from their forthcoming album late in the second set- “Twenty Years Later.”  A song whose chorus sounds like a sort of Phish-indie rock, also featured a dark groove that evoked a definite feel of “I Saw It Again.”   With another promising addition to the Phish catalog, this album is shaping up to be quite a disc.

The most-vibrant highlight of night came last when the band capped the night with the sublime combination of “2001 > Slave.”  Busting into a all-out dance party in the rainstorm, Phish and nature once again came to a beautiful confluence as the thick space-funk merged with the elements perfectly.  As the band peaked the tour’s first “2001,” it was anyone’s guess what was coming next, but in the several possibilities that flew threw my mind in the few seconds, never did I consider “Slave”- the greatest possible choice.  As the rain beat down, Phish built a massively triumphant jam that seemed to peak continuously as the ideal end to an amazing night.  This was a truly beautiful rendition coupled with a one-of-a-kind experience, and the one-two combination will certainly make the end of tour highlight mix.

6.4.09 (W. Rogell)

6.4.09 (W. Rogell)

This set came across so well, and with virtually no pauses between, one wonders whether they wrote the setlist beforehand. Divergent from the long pauses of recent sets, the band seemed armed and ready to go with each subsequent jam.  There is definitely no problem with writing setlists- that is how Phish made their name- it had just seemed like they had thrown the idea out the window. But in the end- who knows?  The bottom line is that this set was the most exciting of tour and should be a springboard into New England on Saturday night.

1st set note: After a well-played, but jam-less, first set, Phish closed the frame with a raunchy “Split” that was both abstract and terrorizing.  A jam that was so out-there that is was almost hard to digest live, Phish created a monster to cap the first half.  Check this one out, as it will be filed alongside the other early-Summer ’09 highlights.  Travel safely up to Mansfield today and get ready for a show that looks to build off of the first four- and possibly bring another big “Tweezer.”

I: 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

II: Down With Disease > Twist,  Piper > Backwards Down the Number Line, Free, Twenty Years Later, 2001 > Slave To The Traffic Light

E: A Day in the Life

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208 Responses to “The Best Set Yet”

  1. El Duderino Says:

    Boogie On is a cover that needs rest IMO. I would like to see some new covers. Last night was better than the first two IMHO.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    never in the history of 3.0 has the band played 4 nights in a row. last night was 2. best night of hampton was 3. camden and great woods will break ground. then expect the full on new 3.0 monster for ashe/knox vegas.

  3. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    ^the true wsf

    im from cleveland here it’s “taking the browns to the super bowl”
    “or dropping the cosby’s off at the pool”

  4. bhizzle Says:

    “taking the browns to the super bowl” – lol

  5. Hunter Says:

    And I thought the Hampton Melt was out there…

    Hey, that’s a good name for a sandwich.

  6. whole tour ! Says:

    i’ll take one hampton melt….hold the onions

  7. msbjivein Says:

    Last nights show looked absolutely off the hook on paper. From the looks of the comments it way surpassed “Looks good on paper” saying. Listening now at hotel. Headed to Great Woods 1st show since Phen. Lizards and Tube 2 nite………………..

  8. msbjivein Says:

    Still Waiting…………………………………….

  9. Billy Breathes Says:

    what effect is El Cactus using on Boggie on?

    very strange sounding….not sure how to describe it.

    but Prickly!

  10. msbjivein Says:

    Hmmmmm some Gumbo sounds good right now…….

  11. El Duderino Says:

    @ whole tour I would like to try one of those hampton melts. Does it come with grilled onions? LOL!!! 🙂

  12. whole tour! Says:


  13. CJ Says:

    Awesome version of Kill Devil Falls. Actually makes it worth the repeat.

  14. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    boy man! getting my first listen of JB3 now and that Boogie is where its at. Gordo do your thing you manbearpigbeast. BUT my fav so far has to be Ya Mar. Just because of the improv. lyrics. That is when you know its gonna be a good show, and the boys are on. When trey is laughing while hes singing and you can tell all four of them are having every bit as much fun as us fools in the crowd.

  15. MP Says:

    ^^ Wait for that Split, and the whole second set and you’ll be feeling sensually offended. Almost through Round II. Can’t get enough.

  16. dave Says:

    I agree for the most part Mr. Miner, but i felt the first set was a bit better than the second, because i feel like it lost some steam towards the end… Also: I loved the AC/DC and the Boogie, but the SOAM to end the 1st set was painful, and just because it was weird doesn’t mean that it belongs on 09 highlights… it had no cohesion at all! and i love SOAM as a song and usually the jams that follow – dave

  17. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    yeah listening to soam now and it is a monster.

  18. Jack O Roses Says:

    Having a first listen to the sbd’s. I listened to no spoilers last night, even though I’d been spoiled already by phishtube.

    For me, this show is the tightest they’ve played. I’m just into AC/DC Bag- let’s get this show on the road! Good, standard jam. The jam out of KDF is tasty – makes up for the repeat. I like this song. Glad Buried Alive is still kicking around. This version is only the fourth time they’ve played it since 1998. Cannot wait to get into the My Friend, Melt, and the whole second set.

    For those going to GW, have a great show! Whatever you do, take care of your shoe!!

  19. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    so is it pretty much consensus that fluffhead has been officially retired? anyone out there think they may dust it off again this summer?

  20. old dude Says:

    agree on the KDF. upon opening licks i was disappointed at the repeat, but they had me sold by the end. you can tell they were loving it.

    El Dude, can ‘t disagree more re: Boogie On. if they retired it we would’ve been deprived that crazy funk shit storm that mike laid down last night. if any cover needs a nap, it’s Day in the Life.

    i’m off to make a deposit at the Brown St. Bank, burn one, then strap on headphones for set II SBDs. wish me luck!

  21. old dude Says:

    Fluffhead, R.I.P.

  22. old dude Says:

    and fwiw, i’m fine with almost all 2.0 remaining awol. more 3.0 please!

  23. MP Says:

    BTW, thanks for illuminating that Oye Como Va nod Miner. I am shamefully poor at coming up with the names of songs when their riffs appear out of context but I love it when Phish drops into musical spaces that have been explored by other musicians (similar to the Jumping Jack Flash riffs that popped up during one of the previous nights of JB I think). I dont know what it is, adds to the feeling of being on a journey through timespace I guess, at least for me.

  24. MP Says:

    Re:Fluff’s retirement.

    I’m not sure. I guess the absence post-hiatus and the first song back post-retirement make a strong case, but double digit gaps were common for Fluffhead pre-hiatus. Time will tell, I’ve learned to never say never with these guys. Anything is possible.

  25. Jack O Roses Says:


    Check out 5-12-92 St. Laurence University. Sick show. A++ quality sbd. And a Oye Como Va quote in YEM

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