A Great Night At Great Woods

6.2.09 Great Woods (G.Lucas)

6.6.09 Great Woods (G.Lucas)

Building off of a fierce last night at Jones Beach, Phish wowed the New England crowd with a show that felt more evenly balanced between the sets and featured tight, focused playing from the entire band from note one until the last.  With a setlist comprised of a slew of songs we hadn’t yet heard this tour, a classic venue, and a fully-ripping band, it finally felt like tour was truly underway as Great Woods blew up on the first Saturday night of the Summer.

6.6.09 (G.Lucas)

6.6.09 (G.Lucas)

The first set had a completely fresh feel, featuring all but one song that hadn’t been played through Fenway and Jones Beach.  The set started off with some singles and built into some stretched out pieces with a dynamic “Jibboo,” a soaring “Taste,” and a regal “Caspian” featuring some gorgeous phrasing by the man in red.  “Taste” turned into the improvisational highlight of the first set, with a tight, soaring jam that saw again Trey playing searing leads to complement the band’s textured jamming.

If one thing has been proven over these first five shows it is that Trey is back on the scene; assertive, ripping, and leading jams, as opposed to his self-admittedly tentative playing over most of Hampton.  A huge energetic centerpiece of the first set was the 3.0 bust-out of “Golgi”- a crowd favorite that went unplayed over the reunion.  The welcome inclusion of “Nothing,” played far more tightly than in its two post hiatus appearances, showed us that Phish isn’t going to completely shy away from their post-hiatus material, and showed that we can expect to hear any song from any era at any time.  In that vein, Phish debuted their newest ballad, “Let Me Lie,” a poignant translation of the former TAB song that came across beautifully.

great-woods-june-6-09_4

6.6.09 (G. Lucas)

The energetic second set began with more post-hiatus material in an explosive guitar-led exploration of “Seven Below.”  Trey was on fire in what certainly developed into the jam of the show.  Moving beyond your standard “Seven Below” into some dirty and psychedelic playing, the improv didn’t quite make it outside of the song’s structure, but provided an exilhirating journey nonetheless.  Trey straight annihilated this jam, leaving a vibrant musical wake behind him.  Following the shred-fest came one of the most flawless “Fluffheads” we’ve heard in ages.  We’d have to go back more than a decade to find one this clean and triumphant, as each segment was played confidently and without hesitation, all ending with a massive peak.  As good of an opening to a set as you could ask for, Phish was firing on all cylinders on the first rainless night of summer tour.

6.2.09 (G.Lucas)

6.2.09 (G.Lucas)

The rest of the set featured some twang with a concise and precise “Scent of a Mule” and an exciting “Possum” whose jam moved beyond bluegrass and was reminiscent of pre-’97, more full-on psychedelic incarnations.  Featuring some focused interaction between Mike and Trey and a surprisingly danceable jam, this one had everyone out of their seat.  Sandwiched between the pieces of Phishgrass was the combination of a high-spirited and somewhat extended “Heavy Things” and another huge “Harry Hood.” With a tightly improvised jam that stretched beyond the confines of a normal “Hood,” it certainly seems that the band has recommitted to their classic, and I couldn’t be happier about the decision.

If you had told me before the show that I’d leave glowing after a second set that showcased “Scent of a Mule,” “Possum,” and “Julius,” I would have guffawed, as they happen to be at the bottom of a long list of songs that I would prefer to hear.  However on this night everything worked perfectly and even as the sense of an ominous “Bowie” closer was supplanted by a “Bug” that brought us one final colossal Trey solo of the night, the pieces all fell into place.  Leaving Great Woods things were full steam ahead for Camden, the end of summer’s first four-night run.  See you there!

I: Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Nothing, Back on the Train, Golgi Apparatus, Sparkle, Gotta Jiboo, Lawn Boy, Let Me Lie*, Makasupa Policeman, Prince Caspian

II: Seven Below, Fluffhead, Scent of a Mule, Heavy Things, Harry Hood, Possum, Bug

E: Contact, Julius

*debut

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173 Responses to “A Great Night At Great Woods”

  1. camman Says:

    if anyone is heading from the midwest to bonnaroo, please email me at phish591@gmail.com. i’m in columbia, mo and need a life to the festival next week. if you know anyone that could help me out it would be seriously appercaiated. thanks everyone

  2. Sam Says:

    Wax, what do you mean by workmanlike and lightweight first set?
    i too would love to just forget which song i’m listening to with the new phish, i find the second sets so far to have too many songs and not enough “>”.

  3. McGrupp Says:

    Wax…..how did your lady think of the show? 😉

    Also – do you think your views/judgements are altered in any way, shape or form due to your attendance at the actual gig?

    Digging deeper….thoughts on Taste?

    The ‘Tour’ thus far and it’s progression as a whole (all 4)?

  4. Jack O Roses Says:

    Announcer: So, Trey, you’ve just melted thousands of phans faces off. What will you do now?

    Anastasio: I’m going to Gamehendge.

  5. Lifeboy Says:

    @MP – love the sportscaster idea – have thought about it many times. Someone should do “Tourcenter,” a parody of Sportscenter and put it on youtube. That would be hilarious. Jambase should pay people to do that.

  6. Jack O Roses Says:

    Having another listen through last night. On Seven Below and Trey is ripping it up. Caspian has a little extra, too. Yummy. I agree with Miner and others – the setlist belies an incredibly well played show. Now into Fluffhead and the band is firing on all cylinders. Composed parts are tight. Fluffhead!!!

    I was on the stream last night. Sound quality was awful. It’s still fun and I’m still amazed by what technology has brought to the scene. I started with tapes…. And thanks to no spoilers, quality aud recordings were available for download within hours of the shows ending. Amazing!!! It’s truly a joy to listen in amazement as each night, this band gets tighter and tighter. Yay Phish!!!

  7. Wax Banks Says:

    McGrupp

    She had a ‘good enough’ time – crowds make her a little uneasy, but she seemed to like the music well enough. ‘Let Me Lie’ in particular, oddly. She danced with me a few times and we left in good spirits and I don’t imagine she’ll need to see another show. 🙂

    I imagine I overrate last night’s show slightly due to attendance; indeed, I think ‘Jibboo’ is a fucking stupid little song and often skip it when listening to shows, but last night I had a blast dancing to it. Then again I wouldn’t listen to ‘Groove Is in the Heart’ at home, but I’m happy to bounce to it at a club, y’know?

    I did experience much of the show through my wife’s eyes and ears, so I ended up listening more closely (or at least differently) to some of the more contemplative/song-y tunes than I normally would’ve, and I managed to get away from the ‘Is this a good Phish show?’ metric to a ‘My, isn’t this a wonderful rock concert’ view. I can always kvetch about the tapes later after solo listening, right?

    I had roughly 1.5 beers before the show and was glad to be sober; at Fenway I had may bourbons and many beers and I sort of got those urges out of the way. 🙂 No but I gotta say, the show flowed well, the peaks were intense (‘Seven Below’!!!!), the buzzkills were temporary, and the crowd was energetic.

    ‘Taste’ was good as I recall, fiery and intense, with Trey returning several times to that ‘out across the desert’ theme that marks each turn of the jam, but I bet it’s barely a top-50 version on tape (for reference, the greatest ‘Taste’ by far is 12/30/97, coming out of ‘Sneaking Sally’ – it is to ‘Taste’ as 7/24/98 is to ‘Wolfman’s Brother,’ a perfect ensemble performance). Last night’s was impatient, or at least monotonic (not monotonous, just unidirectional). Only climbing. Still, who can complain at the time? I was too busy dancing and smiling to worry about it.

    Good and bad exist only over time; those categories have nothing to do with direct experience.

    (I’d note that the colossal 7/22/97 Raleigh ‘Taste’ is also a little impatient, but that only adds to its intensity. I prefer the slow-build versions.)

  8. Bapslap Says:

    Holy shit, what a show!!!
    I just woke up from what seems like a dream. One of the best Phish performances I’ve ever personally witnessed!

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    Wax, perfect as the enemy of the good – excellent observation and one I think is very timely and on point around here. wonderful to see commentary that accepts this show for its great strong points without trying to fit it into an inappropriate box.

    I’m with Miner on this setlist – with a few obvious exceptions – but playing always outweighs setlists

    someone please make a dead comparison to irk kevin? it doesn’t have to make any sense. something about a show with a lightweight setlist but Jerry on fire (not literally like Richard Pryor tho)

  10. Frankie Says:

    Anybody else noticed the new bridge on #Line from 6/5? Love it!

    Happy happy oh my friend!

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    takeways from first block of tour:

    1) they’re tightening up as they go – the last 2 shows have each added an important missing piece
    2) any guess we make about what songs are or are not going to be in rotation will probably be wrong

    add 1 + 2 and you get

    3) this tour is shaping up to be as badass as we had hoped – toss expectations out the window and splash in the sea

  12. wortlesswampyfool Says:

    So i guess my “is fluff retired again” question from yesterday was anwered quickly but what about that makisupa folks? any comment on the marijuana? SBDS or AUDS anywhere besides livephish? listened to JB3 like six times yesterday. love #line.

    and yes wax the MSG NYE taste is the best to ever grace my ears also. open and close the show with sally too. great show. best sally ever anyone? my fav. 07-23-03 deercreek. mike owns.

  13. JerZ Says:

    I feel like Mike has stolen every show so far. Trey is getting better every show, and the rest of the guys are as on point as ever- but something happened to Mike during the haitus- He is better than he has ever been. It is so obvious that he is bringing his A game every night.

    I don’t know if it has to do with his constant playing with different music acts over the last 5 years, but his sound has evolved, and he is better than he was, even in the “glory years”

  14. Walfredo Says:

    I apologize ahead of time and I am not a hater. Please don’t ever play Let Me Lie at a Phish show again. Has to be my least favorite Trey song ever- and that is saying a lot. If you want to sing a creepy song about riding a bike let Fishman sing Syd Barrett.

    On the positive side I love Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan. Most new songs are great- much stronger then 2.0 writing imho.

  15. wortlesswampyfool Says:

    can anyone put up a sendspace link for last night (6/6 GW) if they have it ?

  16. EJ Says:

    ^

    http://phishthoughts.com/nospoilers/

    The sendspace links are up top.

  17. Matso Says:

    @ Wax and Miner –

    Glad to hear you guys had such a good time. As both of you point out, it has to be a good show if they played so many C-list choices and everyone still leaves on a high. I haven’t listened to everything from this tour yet, but overall the playing sounds tight and enthusiastic. In ’93-96 (pre-health issues), these were the hallmarks of a lot of great shows, which incidentally didn’t have necessarility feature much Type II either (whether of the cow funk variety or otherwise). For now, it’s just so promising that boys are nailing what they’re playing. I have no doubt as the confidence grows, a direction to some ‘out’ playing will emerge (I wonder if they’re deliberately avoiding the long funk workouts at the moment precisely for that reason – to see if something new might not take it’s place).

    Wax – Excellent observation on Fish’s playing btw – he definitely sounds a lot freer again (more ’97-98 than ’03-04 – but perhaps with even more fire?!). I noticed it first on the TTE single. Good stuff.

  18. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    Just goes to show that different people look for different things in a Phish show. Last night was the first I’d seen since Hampton, and I thought it paled in comparison to the reunion shows. Far to laid back, breezy, and light for my taste. I’m hoping they bring it a little dirtier tonight. Maybe throw down some funk (Undermind!).

    I thought JB 2 and 3 were better played. They didn’t really open up except for 7below, which (along with the new stuff which were 1st timers for me) highlighted the evening. Still (as always) a good time, but if you obsess over a band like many of us do, you’ve got to be able to call an off night an off night. I don’t perform my best at my job everyday, and don’t expect everyone else to either.
    Maybe it’ll hold up better on tape. From the lawn, the mix was a little muddy and not loud enough (especially when the sun was out… Sound gets louder at night, I swear.).

    It does feel like “tour” though, not just seeing a Phish show, which is a welcome return.

  19. UVM TBA Says:

    Diff strokes diff folks–I love Let Me Lie from the first time hearing it driving home with my wife after Webster Hall. We had gone to Maceo, and as usual only I went to see Trey. She’s a Phish dissenter ( hate is such a strong word :<))-every girl I have ever went out with, minus one, has ?ed Phish-gee I wonder why :<)

    Anyway Let Me Lie represents the possibilities of Phish 3 or 3.0 as everyone calls this Phish seemingly. The ballad is now a potential strength.

    What this show also demonstrates is Phish 90′ may resemble Phish 3 more and more. Set 1 was good, albeit a bit sloppy at parts. But Lawn Boy was classic, Mak great— Policeman!!!!!!! :<) Then Set II was yes on point in every joint. The Seven Below was amazing, then Fluffhead was like the basket was ten feet wide for them as it was effortless and tight as hell. On point indeed. When they are this tight, minus a few forgotten words by Mike on SOAM (But Page did his Stravinsky jam–made up famous sounding classical composer :<)), they are a bundle of joy. Trey is getting his confidence back w/out the U NO What, and eventually will be better than ever IMHO.

    Phish is back, and after only a handful of shows *allready* bringing serious heat. Don’t like it , at least give it a few more tries. Look at Tiger Woods, or even Federer, people even count out those guys after a slip, then they dominate. People are so judgmental, and love to tear down greatness. Yes I do it too, cause I am like all of us, insecure at times and very very human. How can people expect their first show or two back to be like 97 or even 90? They rocked so hard last night it hurt so good. I shut my eyes and it was like I was back at UVM minus the Jack and Gingers.

    Have fun, leave the work to work. Although people being critical does not bother me that much; folks have a right to their opinion. I love Phish as much as anything, but I hardly ever (to say never is not honest) take it personally when they are insulted. Just as someone will certainly flame my post, and I will laugh that off, and they will probably be partially right. Laugh it off. Life is too short. Does flaming ever bother me? Sometimes.

    Thanks all and have a good one.

    PS Miner as usual you Da man–THANK YOU

  20. snigglebeach Says:

    I thought last nights show was the tightest and most well played of the whole 09 run. Friday night had more energy and straight forward jamming, but there were occasional sound issues and flubs.

    Except for 1 flub, By Gordo of all people during Scent of a Mule, they were virtually perfect. everyone was on the same page all night.

    Like someone else said, the setlist betrayed the real feel of the night. They totally opened up on a few songs that did not know could get that funky. Seven Below, Bug, Gotta Jiboo, Heavy Things were all jammed out way further than i have ever heard.

    And anyone who doesn’t think it feels like tour, either is not on tour, or lost. I am barely on tour (got to work 2 more days) and it sure feels like it to me.

  21. snigglebeach Says:

    1 more observation.

    All you Massachusetts haters….. for such a dumb state, a lot of people who would have missed the show in any other state, got a measly $50 ticket for puffing. we were there 5 minutes before the guy across form got caught rolling a joint (foolishly) in his car. he got a citation and kept partying.

  22. Tela'sMuff Says:

    so here’s my thoughts – my theory that each show will continue to improve and be better than the next is proving true. Literally if I had to rank the show this tour they all are better than the next. While GW didn’t have a jam ala Ghost, Hood (JB1), it had searing build ups that I like as much as explorative jams.

    Stealing Time is an amazing new song and a perfect opener. By far my favorite new song. Although I like them all very much. Guess what? I LOVE Nothing. It is my favorite song off of Undermind and probably one of my favorite recorded songs they have. It just rubs me the right way. The DC version in 04 included a dark jam, but I prefer the GW version out of the 3 they’ve played so far. It was a clean 3.0 bouncy number and I had I been there would have been stoked to see it. GBOTT – this song continues to rip, and this may have been one of my favorite performances of the song. A set highlight like Boogie On the night before. Golgi! Played perfectly and continued to add energy. Liked the placement. Sparkle, since I know the band loves it, I can get into it although I think it deserves a indoor performance only for the lights. Huge Jibboo!! I PREFER the post-hiatus Jiboo as it’s much more of a rocker than the boring 2000 versions. The GW Jibboo is up there with the 03 Pitt version for me. The song of the set IMO. Lawn Boy is cool, but it’s one of those songs you’ve got to be at the show to really appreciate it. Let Me Lie, I must be one of the few that love this song, and I actually preferred it as a Phish song because I think Page’s background vocals added a lot to it. I LOVED this performance. Taste, it seemed off to me to start, and while it played nicely as most Taste’s do, it didn’t reach any new territory for me. Makisupa, one of my favorites in their catalouge, but weird placement and I thought it was a pretty uninspired version (i like when they really play around with the middle). But still fun for the crowd! Caspian, one of my LEAST favorite Phish songs, and to end a 1st set? But, it was a strong performance, I felt it.

    2nd set – A rockin -7!! An uplifting Trey led jam that would have had my ass shaking hardcore. The ending of the jam was a bit rough, they just can’t figure out how to wrap shit up the right way, yet. Fluff was HUGE. That was clearly one of the best Fluff’s played in a LONG LONG TIME. The energy from Trey and Page at the end made my hair stand up. I thought it was one of the better Fluffs I’ve heard. For reals. Mule was the first time in the show I was left feeling meh. They never seemed to get in sync for it. I think Mule was at it’s best in 95 or 96. They recovered a little at the end, but still, a bit of a let down. Heavy Things would have had me feeling even more pain, but Trey’s reintroduction of the song last fall has made me see the light. I like his new vocal phrasing of the lyrics, and the jam at the end is straight up awesome. This was a tight rockin version! Hood was once again the shiznit. Damn what a fine Hood jam. They have for sure brought new life to the old boy. Trey continues to butcher the Mr. Minor part, but oh well. Possum was again good, I know Trey loves it, but it was filler for me. Bug was a fitting set closer. Love Bug more and more over the years. One of Trey’s better songs to really express himself in the ending jam. Nice Bug!

    Encore was real nice – not Bouncin>Rocky Top, so it’s all good!

    Not sure where the hate for this show comes from that I’ve read elsewhere. Thought it was the heat, LOVED the song selections. Can’t wait for Knoxville!!!

    BUT WHERE ARE THE JAMS????? Is it a given at this point Phish 3.0 will not bust out 20+ min jams???? How about over 15mins?

  23. Tela'sMuff Says:

    @Sniggle – as far a “most jammed” out Seven Below and/or GT, those were pretty mild as far as exploration goes quite honestly. They for sure were rockers, maybe more rockin than normal, but overall short for comparison to previous versions.

  24. Bandnana Says:

    last day of work before I fly to asheville/knoxville. Listening to these shows, they are getting better and tighter every show. I agree with the comment about Mike stealing the shows. Totally digging the new tunes, and they have mixed them in nicely, not like the start of 2.0 where setlists were like half filled with new songs that didn’t really pop. Fav of them so far is probably Ocelot. Watched the stream, the future is amazing. So happy for everyone who has gotten to shows so far, fun fun fun. Can’t wait for the Civic Center, its gonna be electric!

  25. R1 Says:

    Mike has all sorts of new tones he’s breaking out. I’m listening to Boogie On from 6/5, for instance. This is simply not a sound that he produced in the past. Great stuff.

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