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. msbjivein Says:

    SOAM do you sleep diagonal in your bed?

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    was a little (just an eensy, tiny bit) sad to not get the tte I expected in ashe- or knox- villes .. Really could have gone for another new song or two – but i really did enjoy the ones we heard. Alaska is another fun one a lot like ocelot really, and the ocelot groove / jam is coming along nicely. Kill Devil Falls was a rippin opener and had the room foaming at the mouth immediately. It was nice to hear the 2.0 stuff – I don’t think any of those songs have reached their full potential yet and we have much more to come from them 🙂

  3. msbjivein Says:

    Trey Still hasn’t nailed the beginning section of Hood….Listening to Knox Hood now. This show is a rager!! The Reba is pretty tight. I’m surprised the did a capella Hellow my Baby at Knox instead of Ashville. You would think they would do that in a smaller room. Just goes to show anything goes this tour!

  4. SOAM Says:

    I rarely sleep-I used to steal time from the faulty plan and I got a boatload of kids-combine those and you have sleepnessity

  5. Jason Waite Says:

    PHv3.0 = :} 🙂

    thank u mr miner

  6. SOAM Says:

    He is missing that note and I am done seeing them-I have had it.

  7. halcyon Says:

    @ Dave….you can fly from sfo and oakland to d town for as low as 160rt….charge it mofo

  8. SOAM Says:

    how much is it gonna cost me from boston to seattle-for the plane ticks and the divorce?

  9. SOAM Says:

    Thers a hole in my skull where my mind used to be….

  10. HarryHood Says:

    hahaha….. Has anyone seen this?

  11. BigFatFurry Says:

    How many times do ya’ll think they’ll play Sample @ Bonnaroo? I’m setting the over/under at 5. 😉

    TTE is NOT a pop song…..i hope they fall out of love with that…even the epic ending isn’t worth the rest of the song. It sounds like a really bad open mic singer songwriter (like me) tried to write a Phish classic….swing and a miss. I love to hate on that song.

    Phish should find somewhere sweet to play in northern Northern Cali.

    And yesss….that 12-30-93 show in Prtlnd ME was MONSTROUS….like 2 ft of snow too…trippers wonderland.

  12. SOAM Says:

    She started a blaze from one tiny spark
    I didn’t even detect
    She loved the light, was dismayed by the dark
    The stars, though, she seemed to respect

    The faint light that flutters at night to the Earth
    Would land in her eyes and collect
    Luminous creatures she’d find in the surf
    I never thought to inspect

    Pebbles and marbles, like things on my mind
    Seem to get lost and harder to find
    When I am alone, I am inclined
    If I find a pebble in the sand
    To think that it fell from my hand

    She gave me ideas, planted the seed
    But she never stopped to reflect
    The course that she’s on, wherever it leads
    I never would redirect

    Pebbles and marbles, like words from a friend
    Make us hold tight, but are lost in the end
    When we’re alone, we all seem to tend
    If we find a marble in the dust
    To wish someone left it for us

    Pebbles and marbles, like things on my mind
    Seem to get lost and harder to find
    When I am alone, I am inclined
    If I find a pebble in the sand
    To wish that it fell from my hand

    Pebbles and marbles, like things on my mind…

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Okay, I’ve been lurking and not posting, but this is too good to not link:

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    when is the epic ocelot> 46 days coming? seems inevitable seeing as they have basically the same rhythm… i’d like to see undermind>ocelot>46 days> dear prudence

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    “But we’re puzzled about all those late-arriving fans: What’s there to do in the parking lot before a concert? “

  16. msbjivein Says:


  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Type III – best handle we’ve seen in quite some time, and a great link too. A lot of those are just passed out non-wooks, but there are some classics there…balloon in mouth…horns of rock out the car window…

    their websites kinda fucked up tho

  18. SOAM Says:

    I want to be

    a passed out wookie.

    Ocelots are found in Texas-the summer tour anouncement was from Texas-I’m on to something here

  19. SOAM Says:

    The guy with the balloon is the Geico caveman-100 percent

  20. Albert Walker Says:

    we are trained to enjoy the B- E- A- F# chord- major pentatonic jam

    it is in some of our DNA
    Sugaree, Scarlett we cannot avoid liking these chords and scale used together
    Jerry has permeated our souls with this progression

  21. Albert Walker Says:

    by the way I’m talking about Ocelot if you have not learned it yet

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    oh, as non musician I only recognized the country-blues shuffle or whatever you’d call it kind of feel as being Deadlike – it actually shares a progression with those tunes?

    good knowledge there A

  23. Albert Walker Says:

    yeah key of b goes up ot the IV (E) and back down to (A) with a little F# on one of the changes

    from fire to sugaree to scarlett jerry spent a lot of time in this major pentatonic space

  24. BTB Says:

    I think the acoustic version (go to Andy Gadiels site) is the best version of TTE, but that’s my opinion.

    I just imagine myself driving through the Adirondacks – fits perfect

  25. Selector J Says:

    ‘Trey nailing Cavern lyrics’ is the new ‘Trey flubbing Cavern lyrics.’

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