Tremendous Times In Tennessee

6.10.09 Knoxville, TN (Lanser)

6.10.09 Knoxville, TN (Lanser)

In a complete blowout at the Thompson-Boling Arena, Phish played a blockbuster show to an absolutely raging crowd of well over 20,000 in Knoxville, TN.  While there may have been better individual jams at other shows, Knoxville was certainly the most solid two sets of Phish we’ve seen this summer.  There was never a point where the show dragged, and with both sets relative marathons, it seemed as though the band didn’t want to leave the stage. In a show whose tickets wound up going for $10 on lot, the first sleeper show of this summer exploded with a dream setlist and precise improvisation throughout the night.

6.10.09 (Lanser)

6.10.09 (Lanser)

Phish came out to a the loudest ovation of the tour, and the energy in the building oozed onto the stage and never left. Sparking the night with a tight run through “Runaway Jim,” Phish then used a “second-opener” to juice the crowd even more with the scratchy opening and full-on grooves of “Punch You In the Eye.” While many other first sets have featured a long list of relatively jam-less songs, last night’s was quite different.  Beginning with the tour’s most extended “Ocelot,” Phish initiated the theme of the night- ridiculously creative “type I” improvisation.  Taking song’s structured jams and absolutely obliterating them from start to finish, Phish showcased their increasingly polished chops while crafting a show that included several classic crowd favorites.

6.10.09 (Lanser)

6.10.09 (Lanser)

Following up “Ocelot” with a tightly wound “Foam,” Trey and Page engaged in some sublime interplay before taking a breather in the summer’s first “Train Song.” With back-to back with tour debuts, Phish unveiled the second-ever incarnation of “Undermind” whose jam built upon Hampton’s premiere with additional twists and solos.  As the band conversed amidst a set that was quickly becoming the most significant opening frame of the summer, that status was confirmed as Trey hit the opening riff to “Mike’s Groove,” ostensibly as the set closer.  The “Mike’s” jam, much hotter than the Jones Beach version, brought some improvised darkness with searing guitar leads and fierce musical interplay.  In a virtually note-perfect “Hydrogen,” the band’s fluidity gelled with their classic composition, leading up to raucous “Weekapaug” jam whose improv took a turn for the spunky and spirited. Phish’s teeth have become sharper and as they carve out jams, there is now a clear intention behind their playing- tentativeness is falling by the wayside.  Not done yet, Phish tagged on solid versions of “Coil” and “Zero” to the end of the set

6.10.09 (Lanser)

6.10.09 (Lanser)

The second set picked up right where set one left off, and before long we were waist deep some in an ominous Phish excursion of “Waves > A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > David Bowie.” Combing three songs from different eras of the band’s career, they created the “dark meat” of the second set. Hitting on a nautical theme with the initial combination, Phish built an awing composed “Waves” jam into a psychedelic ambient outro.  Adding layers of effects and dissonance, the band seemed heading for outer space into “Waves > 2001,” but instead they took a left turn into the heavy drop of the third-ever performance of “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.” Although the band briefly stumbled through the composed section, they crushed the second ever jam to sprout from the song.  It was a very unique experience to hear them break out this song after listening to the SPAC ’04 version eight million times. With that jam imprinted my brain, it was strange to hear the song move to other places. As the improv commenced the jam turned dirty and tumultuous as Trey dug into some heavy guitar work. Although not super-extended, this was such a welcome return to the band’s repertoire, and it feels good to know that we haven’t heard the last from Undermind’s instant-classic.


6.10.09 (Lanser)

Completing the sinister segment of the second set was that massive “Bowie” that had been looming for several nights.  Busting it out as a centerpiece of the show, the band executed the delicate jam with a passion and precision that we haven’t heard in a from the song many moons ago. Delivering the full-treatment to the psychedelic staple, and once again proving that quality is far more important than quantity, Phish electrified the audience with a full-on jam that was as tight as superglue- a real aural treat.  Using Page’s “Army of One” as a cool-down moment of reflection, Phish took no time stepping back on the gas pedal with the drop of an uncharacteristically late-second set “Reba.”  Once again proving that setlist conventions have been tossed out the window, the band patiently crafted a jam whose delicacy matched that of “Bowie, but on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.  Much like the Jones Beach version, the band relaxed into the jam, taking the groove to point of virtual silence without ever losing their sense of cohesive rhythm.  Building back into more classic territory, the band created a soothing journey to balance out an  overwhelmingly dark set.  Bleeding with emotional playing, this late set highlight is one that will certainly get some road time in the car today up to Bonnaroo.

6.10.09 (Lanser)

6.10.09 (Lanser)

As “Reba” was coming to a peak, I thought back to Camden’s “Tweezer” set-closer, thinking they would again cap the set unconventionally; but this is when things just kept going.  Tearing into “Julius,” a song that Trey has owned this tour, it seemed the band would rock out to close the night.  Yet, upon the the conclusion of the biographical saga, Trey instructed his bandmates to drop into “Cavern”- a song that would without a doubt close the set.  But once again, Phish wasn’t done.  As they sustained the last note to “Cavern,” instead of bringing down the crashing final note, the band rolled into the reggae rhythms of “Harry Hood.”  Not wanting to leave the stage, Phish built another show highlight out of the fifteen minute closer, reassuring us that we can indeed feel good about “Hood” in Summer ’09, as they played a third consecutive standout rendition as the ultimate resolution to the set.

Ending the show with the return of the “key-tar” for “Frankenstein,” Phish chose a fitting encore to cap a bombastic show.  As we wandered off onto the campus of the University of Tennessee’s, it was crazy to think that the next time we’d encounter our band would be in front of nearly 100,000 people at Bonnaroo this weekend.  With the southern run heating up, Phish is poised to slaughter the mainstream mega-festival.  Confident and happy as ever, it will be more than interesting to see what develops in Manchester.  If they continues to build off of the playing of last night, everyone is in for a real treat.

I: Runaway Jim, Punch You in the Eye, Ocelot, Foam, Train Song, Undermind, Mike’s Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, The Squirming Coil, Character Zero

II: Back On The Train, Waves > A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing > David Bowie, Army Of One, Reba, Hello My Baby, Julius > Cavern > Harry Hood

E: Frankenstein

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221 Responses to “Tremendous Times In Tennessee”

  1. Wax Banks Says:

    (I mention the 2/03 stuff in particular because I had several ’03 renditions of ‘Waves’ in the headphones, and the IT version in particular leaves all subsequent and prior performances behind, my affection for the sublime 2/26/03 II notwithstanding…)

  2. halcyon Says:

    I was listening to knoxville and could of swore I heard a tweeprise during mikes song….did anyone else hear this?

  3. AintNoTele Says:

    I thought I heard that too but the damn lights were so overwhelming, I totally forgot until you brought it up

  4. sarah Says:

    This set list is cream worthy. With each jam I thought damn! It can’t get better! And then it would.

    I hope next Fri @ Deer Creek has a remarkably similar homerun setlist and improv quality, we will be in ecstasy!

  5. kevin are hollo Says:

    making dinner plans for st louis and it’s all really happening.

    i mean, have any of you seen the view from the front section (VIP4) of that theatre (website seating chart)? or the little park that’s gonna be crammed with heads across the street?

    its 1994 all over again and its raining shred.

  6. KRIVRAQ Says:

    question about torrenting:

    I installed uTorrent and downloaded a set and now wish to listen to it. It is saved in my folder as a .TORRENT file. uTorent is still open as I am seeding others. When I click OPEN file it asks what to open with or start to compress it to .rar. I just want to hear some tunes.

    Am I totally missing something here?

  7. KRIVRAQ Says:

    I’ll check this post again later, maybe tomorrow. Need to get a shower and some quality time with dreamland.

    I’ll thank any replies now since I won’t be back tonight. Goodnight and happy Friday to everyone. Enjoy the ‘Roo, see you in Star Lake.

  8. Mr. Completely Says:


    the details are here in the “Torrent Tutorial” on this site (see sidebar) – but bottom line is yes, that’s not the right file.

    the .torrent file is a pointer, basically. It lets utorrent find the tracker and and all the other people you’re sharing the fileset with, and lets them find you.

    The music is saved elsewhere. Sometimes in the same directory. Sometimes in another directory. It’s just a setting in utorrent, where to save files (I’m on mac now or I’d look up exactly the details)

    If you are downloading from Miner, the music will be saved in a .rar file. It’s like a zip file basically. You just need to uncompress it and there will be a bunch of mp3s (or just 1 big one if it’s a No Spoilers show).

    If you’re downloading FLACs from somewhere like etree or one of the private trackers, there will be a folder named just like the torrent file, but without the .torrent extension obviously. Decompressing FLAC into WAV is the next step in that case – though there are music players that can play FLAC directly. You need a separate app for decompressing them, I use Traders Little Helper on Windows these days, it’s free, just google it.

    If you have more questions plz post them in tomorrows thread, I won’t be back tonight.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    Wax: agree with basically your whole post there. Jamming was way wide open at that time, at least sometimes. We all know what the downsides were.

    They’re working their way back into jamming. Without drugs it’s harder to dive right into the deep end. Fortunately they are playing so well overall it is easy to be patient. If they played like this for a year and never opened it up more, well, then they’d be stuck. But that’s not going to happen.

    Agree there are keepers from every show. I was actually doing that tonight: burning concentrated mixes from the east coast run. I did a 1-disk mix of each show, and then a 3-disk mix of every show to date. It’s a brutal exercise but instructive, especially on the 3-disk mix. The first 3 shows got just a few songs; the next 3 got noticeably more, including big jams; and the last 2 had an even higher rate.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    also agree that going back to Hampton – which I did some, at work today – shows how far they’ve come very quickly

  11. Al Says:

    I’d be interested in your 2-CD compilation of the tour highlights up to Knoxville…

  12. whole tour! Says:

    every song at knoxville was a “highlight” imo…it was that good. They were on like i haven’t seen in at least a decade.

  13. empire01 Says:

    Knoxville was solid for me the highlights were the first set mikes>h20>weekapaug. and second set bowie, reba and hood
    they slowed it down to these very quite moments in reba and hood and
    did something different in bowie too which I cant remember. The waves>asihtos was cool but it slowed down energy of the show. The frankestein encore was sick with page on the keytar and Mikes crazy new flaming bass.

    I had a great time with my wife and taking my 11yr old son to his first show. He didnt know where to look with all the balloons and glowsticks and people dancing the lights..I bought him a phish shirt and hat and he looks like a head now..makes me giggle when I see him people talk to him like if he was older..Hey man sick fucking show huh?

  14. lynn moore Says:

    all i can say is whoa! that was my 20 year anniversary of my first show and i’m still reelin’. can’t wait to catch them again! the TN t-b arena was on fire!

  15. Kaveh Says:

    Any SBD’s to share from this show?

  16. Brimley Says:

    Semi-bold statement/opinion…After listening to the Camden Tweezer 4 times today already, it is the single BEST group jam they have performed 3.0…Thoughts?

  17. Brimley Says:

    As a whole it blows away the sand..

  18. BigFatFurry Says:

    I just listened to it for the first time….and it was good! I can’t say that it was completely riveting, but I wasn’t there so I am less emotionally connected. I’m sure you can make arguments for ‘best jam’. The Hood jam @ Knox was impressive too. The DWD @ Fenway also ripped.

    Personally the Asheville Maze is where it’s at for me…in the building it was wide open and screaming with cool tempo bends in the jam that aren’t that usual for Maze. The Haley’s right before didn’t hurt either.

    Also, check the funk they pull outta the Asheville Tube…it’s deep and light at the same time…Fishman does a great job of staying out of the way but holding the pocket for Trey and Page especially.

    Kill Devil Falls opener is screaming too! Whatta show! Man I never thought I’d love Phish like this again, but they are finally back in the saddle! It’s good to be here!

  19. Jake Says:

    Song i heard the Ocean Sing was played 3 times pre-breakup – this was the fourth ever performance: Brooklyn, SPAC, and Great Woods in 04.

  20. phearlessphreaks Says:

    there was a “hello my baby” that to my knowledge has not been done in quite some time that brought on the julius. please we can’t forget it!!!

  21. Relayer Says:

    What a show and set list, and was my wife’s first show. A couple of my favorite parts were when we thought Julius ended the set, Trey leaned over to Mike and said something, then indicated “tell Fishman…” and he went into Cavern. Then for sure the set was over… till Trey leaned over to Mike again “play Hood.” 😉

    Another thing that was so great was how after the first set that just KILLED the place with the insane high energy (!) … the 2nd set started out nice and slow with Back on the Train and Waves to gently ease us back into the groove.

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