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. wothlesswampyfool Says:

    boogie on = keeper
    fluff = keeper
    day in the life = zzzzzzzzzz

  2. whole tour! Says:

    the piper from 3.1.03 has a oye ye coma va themed jam, but not full on like jb3.

  3. Wax Banks Says:

    Oh damn, that ‘Twist’ was a carnival. I heard my wife upstairs clapping and dancing along. Tonight is her first show – I’m already upside down!

  4. Steve Says:

    Amazing Show – energy topped the other nights at JB, though they were some excellent shows too. Nice song picks Friday – esp. psyched for Burried alive, My Friend, My friend, Ya mar. KDF sounds like Chalkdust, remixed for 3.0 – great jam last night. The Melt was SCARY. May not translate on tape, but you could hear Trey’s been through some stuff, and he was letting it out. A capella part was sweet… so great to hear live again. CK should get a Grammy for his light work, esp. during DwD.

  5. Jack O Roses Says:

    OMG. Last nights Melt is incredible.

  6. Mitch Says:

    To whoever said the water was an inch away wasnt close enough. Very start of the show and I was standing in inches of water at 4th row. I had to move back to stay on dry ground. It was a bummer since I’ve never been that close but it freaking raged. I felt like I was in my own bubble in my poncho. Sheets and sheets of rain. The lights looked awesome with all the rain and the band clearly dug it.

    -boogie on
    dwd, twist >piper
    2001 and slave

  7. Walfredo Says:

    Holy crap- Gordon just absolutely destroyed Boogie On- this is on computer speakers and I’m losing my shit… Dance party 2009!

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    just finished the no spoilers – starting to really dig this way of listening!

    As they ripped into piper mid second set, before the final outro jam you could tell trey was Ready to Go! and man that twist oye como va was vintage 93 full of tease and quotes trey rock. Lovin the varied directions of all of these shows – which underscores what I”ve always loved most about these guys and the reason you can just keep going back!

    oh and slave -> holy crap!!

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    that was a fun one to watch on the stream, with peeps posting here…

    and 100x better now in hi qual and loud

    this one’s a keeper fo realz – first set is a long slow build

  10. Davey Says:

    Phish has hit a new era. I’m so happy that they aren’t lazily going through the motions but have a new and improved ambient-space-funk thing going. 2009….. the year of the laid back ambifunk.

  11. Harpua Says:

    I was there last night. EXTREMELY high energy show; I called the Wilson>Buried Alive opener. Rain definitely added to the high energy.

    I was in 2nd row, and was standing in 2 inches of water. Within 45 minutes it drained, but my feet were soaked the rest of the night. I couldn’t understand why I kept seeing people wearing plastic bags over their shoes, but now I understand.

    Definitely the best show of the three, and finally a couple successful segues. Not necessarily mindblowing, but successful nonetheless. I heard the Drowned>Meatstick segue from the 3rd row on Thursday, and it was absolutely painful to hear, as well as the Mike’s Groove segues on Tuesday, so it was a pleasure to hear some successful transitions. 2nd set was easily the best set thusfar.

    Everyone was on point last night. The improvisation was somewhat restrained, but there was some Type II in there as well. I could hear Mike teasing Oye Como Va about a minute before they went into the full-fledged jam, so I was psyched.

    A point I’d like to make: Twenty Years Later, the new song they played, worked MUCH better when they didn’t announce it as a new song, and instead just busted it out like it was one of their old songs. As soon as they mention they are going to play a new song, the energy drops and expectations rise drastically from everyone in the audience. People go from enjoying themselves to evaluating each verse and jam segment of a new song, which makes it that much more difficult to get into a new song.

  12. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Just finished 20 yrs later on a SBD recording. have to say…. really like that song. the whole show so far has been awesome. 2001 kicking in now and i feel i am going to be taken for a sweet ride…………

  13. Dr SF Jones Says:

    Fishman’s snare drum fucking POPS on the SBDs. I love it !

  14. Jim Elenteny Says:

    The second set was in fact amazing, but how you can not mention the other worldly Boogie On Reggae Woman is just beyond me…far and away the best thing I’ve experienced in the past 10 years

  15. tim Says:

    having to choose between pneumonia and phish is always tough.

  16. kevin are hollo Says:

    can we please never have another song-to-song comparison between the phish and the grateful dead?

  17. kevin are hollo Says:

    this SOAM is a fucking trainwreck.

  18. c0wfunk Says:

    sucks you don’t like phish anymore bro – sorry about that.

  19. whole tour! Says:

    tues > drive> asheville!
    wed knoxville

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    its on baby. startin to get the vibe like the boys will be floating around town monday night, heard from another source about them soundproofing the civic center. They are Psyched to be coming down here and it will be like an oasis after the big north eastern city run. Shazam!

  21. Comrade Says:

    I can’t stop grooving to boogie…. 🙂

  22. Bobby Caplewood Says:

    “20 Years “is a real keeper..Kinda goosebummpy.I feel phish can be at their best when Trey and Page trading vocals, I love that…… Great promise with all the new songs. How fun that they blew my mind in 94 and now in 09. ……When do we get Broken Heart again? Too Good…….Lizards 2night

  23. hooks Says:

    last nights soam sounds like the song hooked up with WMGGW. that or a dying animal. either way, expressive of something. maybe something else. like a subconscious effort of out with the old, in with the new, or something…

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    I’m pretty pumped for this show.

    Mike’s/Disease opener (unlikely)

    I’m calling a SOAMule tonight, maybe lizards, rift, ice, golgi, FLUFFHEAD!!!!!!!

    Is Phishtube streaming tonight.

    I have a huge poetry project due Monday but I’m watching this instead.

    I might be right on some, I was right on split/slave right? right.

  25. energywillout Says:

    What a bunch of lucky rain soaked freaks! My god what a second set, listened to it all biking/hanging around SF today thanks to NO SPOILERS!!!! THANK YOU MR MINER!!!! It just keeps getting better and better……

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