Phisharoo: A Sample Platter

Bonnaroo From the Pit (@petergavin)

Bonnaroo From the Pit (@petergavin)

Over the course of a three hour set, Phish threw in a little bit of everything, creating a musical melange specifically designed for the massive and mainstream Bonnaroo audience. Following a snooze-fest of a Beastie Boys show that didn’t translate to the huge stage, Phish introduced themselves at 11 pm with the straight-ahead rock of “Chalk Dust Torture.” Indoctrinating the colossal crowd into the world of Phish, the band followed up their popular opener with “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” “Divided Sky,” and “Possum.”  For those of us that have been on tour, the first quarter of the set seemed a bit boring, featuring songs that have been played multiple times each, but with the onset of “Down With Disease,” a song that was bound to go big after such a tame opening, the show started in earnest. The band tore into the energetic jam that quickly morphed into the first show highlight with a stretched out, dirty segment of improv that remained creatively anchored to the song’s theme.

Bonnaroo (@erichatheway)

Bonnaroo (@erichatheway)

For most of the show, Phish inserted “singles” in between jams to keep the attention of the massive crowd, and one of those jams was a  standout “Stash” that took a psychedelic excursion outside the structure of the song.  Creating a textured jam, the band eased their way from adventurous a type-I+ “Disease” to a more exploratory “Stash,” and would soon enter the most adventurous jamming since their return later in the set.  But before the band launched us into the stratosphere, we were served a healthy dose of swanky funk with the on-point grooves of “Wolfman’s Brother.” Playing meaty versions of some of their classic vehicles, the band eased the audience into their path of improv; a path that would lead to the darkest, most psychedelic adventure yet- ironically stemming from the rock-based “Kill Devil Falls.” Leave it to Phish to create the biggest jam of the night- and one of the most interesting of the 3.0 era- out of the one song that it seemed least likely to stem from. Certainly the type-II highlight of the show- and the tour- Phish was back at IT, creating magic out of thin air under the wide open skies of Tennessee.  If you could only listen to one jam from this show, this would be it- but there was still plenty of excitement to follow.

"YEM" 6.12.09

"YEM" 6.12.09 (@powm)

Segueing out of show’s improvisational highlight, Phish slid into “Free”- a fitting song for the huge open-air setting of the festival.  Mike’s bass leads bellowed across the acres, as fans enjoyed limitless dance space in the over-sized setting of Bonnaroo. A perfect climax to the improvisational odyssey that preceded, “Free” put an exclamation point on Phish’s most “out-there” jam of the tour.  Adding a ballad to diversify their set, and to illustrate the full spectrum of their skills, Phish pulled out a well-placed and poignant rendition of “Wading In a Velvet Sea.” As the band held onto the song’s ending, they once again dropped into the re-focused “Harry Hood.”  Taking ample time to delicately build the jam, Phish crafted yet another patient improvisational journey, taking the audience on a thrilling ride to a soaring peak.  It’s hard to put myself in the mind of someone seeing Phish for the first time- of which there were many- but if anyone had given themselves over to the experience, this “Hood” may have been the piece that hooked them. A gorgeous build of their emotional classic, one would have been hard pressed not to be touched by this improv.  Reminding us of sacred “Hood” experiences under the stars at Phish festivals past, this was another “Wow!-Phish is actually back!” moment, as the confluence of music, memory, and emotion swirled into a colorful ball of bliss.

Bonnaroo (@jaysonmoyer)

Bonnaroo (@jaysonmoyer)

The band collectively turned the last hit of “Hood” into the first beat of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” breaking out the cover for the first time since Stuttgart, Germany on 2.26.97.  Showcasing yet another aspect of their game- cover songs- the band busted out a rarity to please the Phishhead and the Bonnaroo contingents.  Not knowing what time it was, this seemed like the fitting end to the festi-set, but upon the final hit of the song, Phish blasted off into the tour’s second “2001”- a wide open funk session that was a perfect match to the larger-than-life surroundings.  A laid back dance-session in the middle of the night was just what the doctor ordered as we bounced through the warm southern air to the bulbous rhythms.  Complete Phish crack, the magnitude of the experience was undeniable as the band took it to the top, then dropped into a set-closing “YEM” that could be seen from a mile away.

"Chalk Dust Torture" 6.12.09 (powm)

"Chalk Dust Torture" (powm)

However, the Phishy smorgasbord wasn’t over just yet.  As Trey and Mike jumped off their trampolines and into the beginning of the “YEM” jam, the band entered some excessively relaxed funk that looked to be the onset of another patient jam.  But as soon as we got acclimated to the grooves, the band seamlessly, and surprisingly, segued into “Wilson,” bringing some audience participation into the mix.  Following a brief, yet fierce, version, the band tore back into the “YEM” jam in cathartic fashion.  While they certainly could have let the “YEM” jam play out a bit longer, they had a curfew to deal with and an encore to play, hence the vocal jam arrived a bit prematurely.  Stamping the show with “A Day in the Life,” Phish played a classy cover in front of such a diverse crowd.

Combining straight rock and roll, funk, bluegreass, compositions, covers, and sublime improvisation, Phish created an ideal sampling of what they are all about; a formal introduction to the greater masses. In one of the more unique slots ever played by the band, they pieced together a set that pleased just about everyone in attendance.  Closing out the main stages for the day, Phish left their indelible mark on Bonnaroo 2009- an imprint that will only become greater with their festival closing two-setter on Sunday night.  Despite all the clusterfucks involved with this festival, once you arrived in the open field- with all the room you could ever imagine- under the sky and the all-mighty power of the Phish- things couldn’t have been better.

Chalk Dust Torture, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Possum, Down With Disease, Alaska, Stash, Golgi Appartus, Wolfman’s Brother, Poor Heart, Kill Devil Falls > Free, Wading In The Velvet Sea, Harry Hood, Highway To Hell > 2001 > You Enjoy Myself > Wilson > You Enjoy Myself

E: A Day in the Life

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356 Responses to “Phisharoo: A Sample Platter”

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  1. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yes, exactly what I thought listening in the middle of DWD…the show starts here. Can’t wait for that Kill Devil Falls to finally download!!

    Loving how out-front Page’s Clav has been all tour…no different here int he great DWD jam…

  2. Joe Says:

    Thank you mr miner. 1 question. How were the lights at bonaroo? Did kuroda set up phish’s rig or did he use the bonaroo setup?

  3. BigFatFurry Says:

    Unique looking set list…I’m loving the KDF off the AVL show…can’t wait to hear this one! A 3 hour set is monstrous…talk about stamina.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    longest set since Big Cypress…

  5. JP Says:

    I agree 100% on the KDF > Thought for a minute they were going to go into some Siket material in this jam – My Left Toe? Nice reviews Mr. Miner!

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    @Joe- all Phish’s lights…

  7. Brimley Says:

    Miner, did they pull out the tramps for YEM?…If they did, I bet some newcomers were thinking wtf…

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    fell asleep with the phishtube rockin .. the stash sounded like a nice adventure but it lulled me off to dream land. Woke up again during hood but just gave up at that point. Can’t wait to listen to the kdf! Big Festie set for sure, looks like the boys nailed it!

  9. Jamreveler Says:

    As I posted on my Facebook… I have been spoiled by No Spoilers! Thank you Mr. Miner!!!

  10. Zaxxon Says:

    Beastie Boys snoozefest? I’ve seen them many times, and it was never a snoozefest. All the other reviews say it was great. Maybe if you got your tongue out of Trey’s asshole, you could recognize other music as well.

  11. nonoyolker Says:

    Thanks a lot miner! I caught a stream of just the wilson -> wash ufi jam after the bar and was supremely confused. I thought they didn’t play the opening to yem. Pretty sure i sent out a mass ‘wtf’ text. Sounded ripping though. Looking forward to the KDF!

  12. Shafty Says:

    Quite a number of repeats. Do you think this setlist was writtin down before hand. How many of these tunes will be played in Alpine? Want that Llama!

  13. Frankie Says:

    Short Chalkdust footage…

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    what airport would one fly into to go to the gorge?

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    the YEM>Wilson>YEM reminds me of why I love the band.

    I was hoping they would save the Highway to Hell bust out for Red Rocks.

  16. halcyon Says:

    cOwfunk….fly into seattle or spokane…..thats what I am doing… can be found in ellensburg 35 miles west or moses lake 35 miles east….

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    @zaxxon- I’ve seen many AWESOME Beastie shows….I love them…their act didn’t translate to the mega-large stage IMO- I was disappointed to be honest. But thanks for the insult 😉

    Were you there last night?

  18. ColonelJoy Says:

    Spokane is probably best for the Gorge, I imagine…though by the Map it looks more or less in the middle between Spokane and Tacoma/Seattle

  19. billyrogan Says:

    Great review!

  20. halcyon Says:

    actually cOwfunk…Spokane is closer…I am flying into Seattle because of better airfare cost and they have the flight times I need…

  21. ColonelJoy Says:

    The Stash wasn’t as good as Asheville and not as “out there” as advertised, from what I can tell. It doesn’t suck, but Trey does nothing for me in the mess that others confuse with ambient….JB Hood was ambient, this Stash is just not cohesive…on Trey’s part..

    But that’s okay, cause the boy has been on top of it.

  22. halcyon Says:

    is anyone doing the rideshare thing through phish/reverb/pick up pal?

  23. Marmot Says:

    Huge fun listening in last night, even with the choppy stream. Wilson!

    For fares and scenery on the drive over, Seattle is the way to go for flights into the Northwest. Eastern Washington has a beautiful and diverse landscape, which I90 manages to mostly avoid in favor of flat potato fields. And as a resident, I can vouch that Spokane is almost always the more expensive airport. Rental cars may be a different story however…

  24. ColonelJoy Says:

    Amazing thing about this band….other than Panic, nobody else can just effortlessly pump out a 3 hour straight set without even a sigh. They trained at fucking Shaolin. And of course, after an hour, panic would put you to sleep.

  25. Lifeboy Says:

    @ cowfunk:
    The Gorge is two hours from Spokane, which has a really mellow airport, I would go that way just to avoid the crowds of Seattle unless you will have time to check out the city. Also, there is a camping spot less than two miles from the venue where I camped in 03 with only a couple of other tents. You have to drive from the venue, but it’s right on the river, with porta-johns.

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