The Starry Night

6.18.09 Star Lake Official Poster

6.18.09 Star Lake Official Poster

As Phish pulled into Star Lake, one of their hallowed summer sheds, last night, things felt like they were back to normal.  After the irregular indoor and festival shows of the south, it felt good to be back at a “regular” summer show.  And when Phish stepped to bat in the second set, it seemed that they felt the same way.  Creating a feel-good melange of improv that left everyone walking out with a smile, Phish played a set centered on jams rather than songs, a trend that is more than welcome among their fan base. Despite rather sloppy composed playing by Trey all night- we watched a “Bowie” fall to pieces in front of our eyes- the improvisation carried this show, and in the end, the jams are what count.  And that is why we’ll be listening to this second set quite a bit in between tours.

Phish @ The Fox (D.Vann)

Phish @ The Fox (D.Vann)

Leading off with “Disease,” an improvisational adventure was impending as the band played tightly through the song and far out into other territory in what turned into the highlight of the show, and one of the most engaging jams of the tour.  Moving beyond the composed jam for quite some time, Phish explored some darker places before twisting the jam into a similar ambient-groove that has been popping up all tour.  Following a dissonant and drone path, this murky improv morphed into the intro to “Free.”  While an appropriate and bombastic landing point for this course of improv, it has been avshame to see “Free” cut into a jamless song this summer after having being the staple of so much past summer funk.  At this point the bass bombs move directly into Trey’s guitar solo, leaving any full-band improvisation behind.  Maybe they’ll stretch one out at Alpine- though I doubt it.

6.16.09 (D.Vann)

6.16.09 (D.Vann)

After an oddly placed “Guyute,” Phish put the pedal back on the creative metal, launching into the tour’s second “Piper.”  Ready and willing to take another musical risk, the band laid it out in a jam that covered diverse territory.  Certainly exploratory, the band took the jam beyond it’s conventions, even building into a slower groove for a bit.  “Piper’s” musical trapeze act took several twists and turns before settling into into a mid-set rest in “Circus.”  But a brief rest it was as the band dropped into another fantastic “Harry Hood.”  This song has been completely revitalized this summer, and each time its reggae rhythms drop, we know we are in for a soul-searching adventure.  Once again taking the “song-of-tour” candidate on a delicate and triumphant journey, Phish crushed their magnificent classic with another unique path to the mountaintop.

6.16.09 (D.Vann)

6.16.09 (D.Vann)

Following “Squirming Coil,” the band didn’t take a bow, leaving time for one more monster.  After a few moments of silence, the opening of “YEM” sang through the pavilion; the perfect cap on a “Disease-Piper-Hood” set.  By far the most impressive rendition of the summer, the band blew up a vintage set-closing version of the song whose precise grooves and high-energy peaks were just what the doctor ordered.  Providing an all-out dance-fest to close the night, everyone was on a high for the goofy encore that saw Fishman perform his first song of 3.0- Syd Barret’s “Bike.”

Kicking off their four night run with a strong effort in Burgettstown, Phish and their travelling circus now head west to Noblesville and the cornfields of Deer Creek.  Looking to build on the last three weeks, the next three shows potentially represent the most exciting nights of tour.  And if the past is any indication, at Deer Creek and Alpine, anything is possible!

1st set note: Arguably the best versions of “Wolfman’s” and “Tube” since the comeback.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around The Room, Wolfman’s Brother, The Divided Sky, Heavy Things, Walk Away, Wilson, Tube, Alaska, David Bowie

II: Down With Disease > Free, Guyute, Piper > When The Circus Comes To Town, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself

E: Grind, Hello My Baby, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Loving Cup

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209 Responses to “The Starry Night”

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  1. Brimley Says:

    Looks on paper to be a pretty solid show…A listen is in order for sure to see if it lives up to it’s billing…

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    interesting to hear of the slop on bowie after the knoxville version was one of the best in years – was this characteristic of the whole night (guyute, coil, yem) or just a momentary glitch in the matrix?

    I’m eager to hear these new jams… but i’m still working my way through bonnaroo (really dig the rnr -> light -> 46 days! and the bruce stuff is great 🙂 )tour 3.1 almost completed – wish I was headed to the creek tonight!

  3. nonoyolker Says:

    Looks like a solid setlist. Downloading now. Better Wolfman’s than Camden? Gotta here this. Thanks for the great work Miner!

  4. Albert Walker Says:

    Wolfman’s have been a highlight of the tour
    not very exploratory like some of the late 90’s one’s but hard, tight, clav driven, in your face funk

    like Miner have not really cared about bust outs since high school but I’m sensing Sneakin Sally at the Creek tonight

    and Avenu Malkenu

    a lot of history at the Creek so lets hope the boys come through

  5. nonoyolker Says:

    I’m a grown assed man and i still love a bust out. Crosseyed, Roses, and Sneakin’ Sally are all about due. I am still looking for a nice spaceous S&SS and a high throttle Llama. This weekend should rage.

  6. Panic66 Says:

    I’ve been wanting a Scents & SS all summer! Thats ok….my next show is CT so they can wait till then if they want. I too enjoy bust outs! Perhaps we can get a Tela, Esther or a Dog Log this summer?

  7. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I’m psyched for tonight. It’s the 14th anniversary of my first Phish show. To mix metaphors, what a long strange trip its been. It is always nice to go to a hometown show, no matter where you are from, I have just been blessed to grow up in Noblesville and have seen tons of great shows here over the years. Tonight, I suspect we will here Kill Devil Falls, Ocelot, and Stealing Time. But then, that would come as no surprise to anybody. I think we might also hear Theme, Bag, Tweezer, and Fluffhead. But, no matter, what, I am going to dance ’til I’m all sweaty, party with my kid brother (who Mom let me drag all around the country), and generally have a good time! Bring on the Creek!

  8. Kevin Says:

    How was the Guyute? Please tell me they nailed it.

  9. Matt2112 Says:

    @ Miner

    Miner thank you so much for all you do. Your site is the first thing I do every morning at work. I like your insite and your passion…you are what they call a great “word-smith”.

    With that being said, I have to disagree with you statement “and in the end, the jams are what count.” For me – it is just as important and impressive for the band to nail a composed part. I started listening to phish because I am a huge prog-rock fan. So the compositions is what hooked me in. Then I started to understand the “jam” aspect of the band…I was completely blown away. But when I here these great composed parts being butchered its starts me in a very bad vibe, and even if we get hosed in the a killer jam I will say to myself “yeah but the composed part sounds horrible”. Just my 2 cents…

    Thanks again Miner…I love what your do for the phans!!!

  10. Matso Says:

    StarLake sounds like it was it’s usual reliable self. Very curious to hear the Wolfmans as I love the Camden version. Also curious to hear the flubs, which have been fairly contained and relatively minor so far.

    I would love to see S&SS back in rotation, especially with the intro. That was such a great feeling when they dropped into the composed rocking section and headed towards the blissful solo (and then obviously into one mindmelting jam or another).

  11. Mike M Says:

    Just about to hit the road for my 7-hour drive to Noblesville. I too am crossing my finger for a “bust-out”. Roses are Free would be my top choice, but for sure Crosseyed or SneakingSally would be more than welcome. I have also predicted the tours first “Beaut of a Broken Heart” will land in the 2nd set tonight. The cornfields will be rainy but that always seems to fire up the band. Here’s to tonight replacing Camden as the show of the tour!

  12. ColonelJoy Says:

    Conserving my limited download capability, I’m downloading only four tunes from this show:


    I’ve listened to the Wolfman’s so far. I would say it is good…not nearly as good as Camden, though….no way….just solid, but still too much Trey for me and not enough space….

    Mike is exploding on the second half of this Tube…very sick, and then Page is all over it as usual….much less Trey here, and the jam is better for it…, I’m fucking Trey hating lately. Don’t think I’m not cognizent of it….just feeling he’s a little more out front than I’d prefer.

  13. Bapslap Says:


    Where are you downloading from? I can’t seem to find the show anywhere.

  14. Cellar Door Says:

    When are they going to jam out Tube? Please, for the love of God, let’s see some of that “stop-start” action during Tube….

  15. chitownshanty Says:

    Star Lake was SLOPVILLE!!!!

    Yes there were some good jams…but why CAN’T they keep it together and FINISH?

    To me, I believe the sub-standard music is representative of what is going on off stage, and their day to day lives with one another, or lack there of.


  16. c0wfunk Says:

    the tube jam has been pretty well contained since like 98 or so – I know the hampton comes alive fall 98 version is pretty tight, though funky… but I think there were some that summer that were long and funky.. Last 10+ minute tube anyone?? first would be dayton 97 I believe? Complete with post – tube jam .. slc 11-2-98 was pretty jammy too I think

  17. ColonelJoy Says:

    Wow, at around 3 minutes in the Bowie, in the middle of the composed section, as Miner says, Trey just, well, disapears….I guess maybe I wasn’t getting too much Trey!!

  18. ColonelJoy Says:

    Miami 03′ NYE run had a huge Tube….

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    word col – I’m a little phish2.0 ignorant! I guess Tube is one of those that goes back and forth based on intent and set placing..

  20. dyda Says:

    great show! couldn’t have asked for more. tube was sick. wolfman’s was damn tasty too. bust outs of walk away and bike (!) both for the first time in 10 years. fishman was really hamming it up and did band intros during the ‘trainwreck’ portion of the show as he refered to it.

    i didn’t notice many flubs, but there were a couple mostly from trey, but he covered them pretty well most of the time. actually the band played the composed material really tightly and well, imo. the drop into the bowie jam was botched and i think there was another part where trey fell behind on his lead and just waited until the next change to come in, but really i can only think of those two off the top of my head.

    crowd was really good. venue didn’t look sold out at all – thurs night may have something to do with that. weather was perfect. lot cops and whatnot weren’t a hassle. shakedown was kinda weak. i’m finding that i’m kinda in the middle of the two age group followings. there are the mid 30s who grew up with the band, but also a decent amount of younger folks too. that was good to see.

    such a good time even though my group was being difficult and there was drama. honestly, i’m glad i’m going to be on the road for the next 3 weeks and not have to worry about anything but myself for a change cause i was going between the group which was a letdown (seemed like they didn’t want to be there) to working down into the bulk of the lawn crowd where the energy was much better and everyone was groovin.

    oh, i called the bowie, tube, hood and yem. didn’t think i’d get all of them, but hey….

    friends called coil and guyute. i was glad to see the ugly pig and the red red worm. first set divided was a treat. the b&d segment of yem was sick.

    driving off to indiana this afternoon for another serving…then on to alpine. see you all out there!

  21. ColonelJoy Says:

    In general, though, I’m not certain 2.0 had many big Tubes besides that one.

    I tell you what…Coventry was rough, but this Starlake Bowie…Meh…

  22. SOAM Says:

    I’m sure what is happening here is that this band is being compared to the old band-but I still love them-no one stays young and super talented forever-we all have to degenerate into dust-but it’s very early in their comeback.

    I do not believe that “It’s just not that great anymore”-but I remember older heads saying the dead were useless post 91 and I for one-have been permanatly altrered emotionally and spiritually by the dead and I saw them only from 90-95.

    They will still do great things-I find it odd that Hampton was so well recieved and now with some touring under their belts-being less well recieved-maybe it’s a grass is always greener thing.

    There are things you can replace and others you cannot.

  23. Yome NetSan Says:

    Hi there !
    Just a quick thanks to Mr Miner for the great posts. Been reading for several mounth now and they are always nicely written and ojective.
    And thanks to the comments-men for the great community. I stated to think that there were only haters (most of PT…).

    Speaking of community, Do you guys know if there is an active community of European Phish fans ? I’m french and I’ve never been to any Phish show nor meet any living fan since I discovered Phish in Long Island back in 1997… So I’m feeling rather alone !

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    last walk away alpine 00 or have there been others?

  25. chitownshanty Says:

    Curtain tonight. Time to get PHISHY boys & girls.

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