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. Walfredo Says:

    Ocelot, Stealing Time, Backwards Down the Number Line- all great songs. I also am very favorable towards TTE, Light, and Kill Devil. 20 Years has to grow on me- didn’t click the first couple of listens.

    I think right now- I like the jam out of BDTNL the best of the 3 but the song itself is probably 3rd…

    Stealing Time is a great opener- Got a blank space where my mind should be! I want a lot shirt incorporating this by the time the boys get out West to see me in July! Get cracking…

  2. whole tour! Says:

    there is one part of tte where page uses that synth wail….it reminds me of classic rock songs like ‘blinded by the light’ or ‘keep on rolling’….but the lyrics remind me of pure rock opera like ‘tommy’ meets ‘terrapin station’. one line reminds me of ‘inspiration move me brightly.’ like a conversation between songwriter and muse’

  3. whole tour! Says:

    listen to how brilliantly ‘golgi’ was performed yesterday. it was perfect. so many post hiatus golgi’s were played, but played sloppy. this golgi was flawless pure energy. it’s such a positive sign that there are kick ass new tunes they enjoy playing as much as old tunes.

  4. Davey Says:

    I love the new spark. I’ve listened to so many era’s of phish and the fact that 2009 is going to be a new one, defined by the laid back ambient space funk that they are laying down puts a smile on my face. They are getting their feet wet and once they take the plunge it’s onward and upward.

  5. Walfredo Says:

    Definitely some Zappa/Rush/Who inspiration in the structure and pacing. The lyrics have an epic quality (which Terrapin certainly does)- with the intro lyrics being the same as the outro refrain- putting the journey just completed into a nice little box. In out of focus, time turns elastic.

    I like it…

  6. whole tour! Says:

    i second that!

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    i do like the ending jam in tte, iit just takes so long to get there

    i think it worked a lot better in fenway

  8. Walfredo Says:

    Just finished the Seven Below, Fluffhead from last night- goddamn- these guys are freaking on fire… Just obscene-

    Brandon- Fluffhead in a lot of ways in basically composed from front to back- very short improv section that takes forever to get to… It just happens to be an engaging, exceptional composition that never gets boring and I have yet to hear someone who is “over Fluff” or call it a “set killer”. Not going to put TTE in that category- because Fluff might be the all-time best compositional piece Trey has written. But if the composition is good enough- I don’t think long improv sections are required- and it certainly is nothing new for Phish- to write long compositions w/ short or no jam sections that take “forever” to get to.

  9. Davey Says:

    I’m at Jiboo from last night. Getting close now.

  10. mistercharlie Says:

    That Possum is blistering!!! Love it.

  11. energywillout Says:

    Walfredo I totally agree with your earlier comments regarding TTE. It is a monster of a composition and a stunning song coming from Trey and Phish at this point in their careers. They know it too and obviously that’s why it is the song they released on itunes as the “single”. I like it better than Guyute also, which to me always sounded a little contrived. Impressive, but contrived. TTE is a sublime multilayered song that certainly shows a level of maturity in a complex Phish song this is perhaps heretofore unseen.

  12. sumodie Says:

    luv the comments here today. camden lots fairly chill. gorgeous day by river. extra scarce cept w scalpers. have a good show all. hoping for a mike solo tune. ciao…

  13. McGrupp Says:

    saw this on another thread….thought some of us, most of us, all of us, could benefit a little from the read:

    I sometimes wonder how many of you particularly negative critics have even a shred of understanding of the concept of art.

    I mean, do you think this is something that is just turned on or off?

    Maybe it was for Franz Kafka or someone like that, but I digress…

    To those who say “this is a nostalgia act, this isn’t the phish that I saw 48 shows of in the 90s”, I’ve got news for you:

    Times change. Art is affected by the context of the times.

    I mean, let’s face it, one of the big factors that make a show seem “different” is the fact that this is no longer an “exclusive club” of sorts. In the early 90s, the GD were still going and if you were hip to Phish then bravo and mazel tov, you caught onto a wave before it swelled. Once the whole thing spilled over, it brought with it a myriad of fans from all different lives and it’s like that bittersweet thought where maybe you said to yourself at first, “Damn, I wish more people knew how great these guys are” but then once it actually happened you were upset that you were, perhaps, less hip.

    As for all of the negative commentary about the note choices and all of that, I mean, it’s totally ridiculous because really, I must ask:

    Do you have the answer for what the right note choices are?

    Live music requires extremely sensitive focus and concentration and even moreso when improvisation is involved. When you combine the difficulty of playing music with the art of improvisation, you’ve got a tall order and in this band you’ve got four guys who’ve learned to do it extremely well. Considering this notion: Do you really feel comfortable and confident that you can make better choices; also, do you really feel that there is an “absolute answer” to art and what exactly can be beautiful?

    I would really love to know exactly what you’re all expecting.

    Do you realize that even the very structure of a Phish show already indulges you in a sense of art because it is totally different every night?

    Some of you so-called phans don’t even realize how good you have it.

    If you’re going to be a critic, I suggest that you become more informed in regards to music theory and genre influence. It would be one thing to make a comment like “the band sunk into the bridge and the bassist played a throbbing bass line that indicated reggae influences but overall didn’t fit with the direction in which the band was going..” but making a comment like, “They were totally sucking and the energy sucked and the setlist sucked, and they were just downers” does not really provide a real foundation for credibility.

    If you don’t really understand what you’re criticizing, why don’t you just shut up and dance, haters?

  14. BrandonKayda Says:

    …I love Fluffhead though.

    I think I see what you’re saying though.

    My cousiin is at Camden right now. hope he’s having fun.

  15. Al Ithaca Says:

    Don’t know if this is the right place for this….
    My wife and I are bringing our 20 month old to his first ever phish show in August–SPAC—any parents out there that have brought kids this age to shows with any good advice?
    Thanks!

  16. Hunter Says:

    With a Chalkdust opener followed by Fee, I’d say he’s having fun!

  17. rprice23 Says:

    I caught glimpses of IT at Phenway, but last night clinched it: they are BACK. The playing was masterful on Golgi, Taste, Caspian and pretty much the whole second set. I haven’t danced that fast in a decade or so. I’ve re-listened to the show a bunch of times today and they really did nail this show. If its going to get better this tour is going to be legen…wait for it…dary. And I don’t say that lightly. Its like a triumphant return to the early-to-mid-90’s Phish that I love so much, but with a new edge (3.0 seems to work) and ridiculous tones (as had already been mentioned previously). Mike’s bass sounded like a damn Hog at the beginning of Hood.

  18. gus Says:

    THE LIZARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. fromthetub Says:

    Are there any video streams going right now?

  20. BTB Says:

    Wow, what a first set. I hope they played as good as it looks! Listened to some ‘MY SWEET ONES’ all weekend…I sent my energy to NJ

  21. whole tour! Says:

    damn phish! save some for asheville!

  22. Wilson Says:

    both tubes, ha!

  23. whole tour! Says:

    trey ‘we might as well play this one too’ (1st tube)

  24. whole tour! Says:

    all old school set

  25. AintNoTele Says:

    Sand #1, both tubes, this is so freakin exciting! I’m straight schoolgirl-status every night as the setlists come up

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