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”

  1. Mugician Says:

    Whoops… sorry people. I don’t actually have an extra anymore. My friend just snagged it. Sorry if I got your hopes up…

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Mug no worries my friend, I’ll get what I need. Thanks for thinking of me.

    @themanatee – probably would be Sat 7/11 anyway – still not sure about it tho

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    “What I do really like, that went away fast at the end of ‘04, is it sounds like they are having fun.”

    This is the main thing – anyone who has played complicated composed music knows that mistakes will happen – and in the middle of that big run of notes if you stumble, you usually aren’t going to get back until the next phrase begins. But at the end of Phish 2.0 you could tell Trey just didn’t Care any more – I remember at the end of alpine 04 when he didn’t even step up to the mic for the “you can feel good” line in hood – he just didn’t care. And Trey’s guitar lines and phish are so much about him caring and his enthusiasm. Right now it’s obvious, at the least, they are trying .. and what they’re doing isn’t easy at any age. At this point, the desire to go Furthur may have lessened esp. when considering the lack of mind alteration taking place .. As long as phish is having fun, so am I – and often I am when they’re not! 😉

    I also submit that the other guys often dont’ have parts that are nearly as difficult and / or prominent as Trey and it may not even be noticed if they were to miss a bit here or there.

  4. themanatee Says:

    the bowie was one of the weirder moments i have ever seen with phish, i almost thought they were going to stop playing. the encore was also incredibly strange and rather funny…

    wolfmans, tube, divided from the first set. i thought the wolfmans was off the chain … thick funk for a part and a real big, somewwhat extended peak. one of the best of tour i believe.
    tube-was speed funk with an all out barrage from page on the clav. trey hung back and let him take an extended extended run.

    disease>free got nice and out there…which is exactly what i was looking for..check this first!
    piper was a risk, as miner said. in parts seemingly disjointed in parts super sick,…but the band was going for it.

    hood, coil, yem was straight phishyness…joyous time. fantastic hood and yem.
    on to DC

  5. hairy pood Says:

    @ Cowfunk
    “Last 10+ minute tube anyone?? ”

    6/24/04 Deer Creek 12:40. once of the best post-hiatus jams, imo.

  6. Dave Says:

    I’m in Indianapolis and me and my buddy Asa saw Gordeaux jogging in a bright yellow cuttoff shirt. We said “MIKE” and he turned around and realized it was just some dudes that like his bass and he gave us a smile and a nod.

  7. Dave Says:

    First show man, wish me luck.

  8. Phish...Yup Says:

    Great discussions all around today fellas. Away from the interent for the weekend and can’t wait to enjoy all 3 shows No Spoilers style when I get back next week. Come on epic DC and Alpine squared.

  9. hairy pood Says:

    @Mugician- I’d love to take your 8/7 off your hands. I’m in Olympia, WA, and i still don’t have any tix for the Gorge.

  10. hairy pood Says:

    @Dave- you’re in for a good time. buy the ticket, take the ride.

  11. Wilson Says:

    Good post’n today people. Love you guys.
    on another note: Terribly hungover at work.

  12. Dave Says:

    Bought the ticket, on the ride. A nice girl named Lauren is picking us up from the library and we’re headed there. The question is…. first show, eat a small boomer? Half a tab? Sober? Beers and nuggets?

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    That ’04 Tube is great – that’s the one that they gave away on the end of tour disk right? That’s a go-to jam for me, it’s in my jogging mix…

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Dave – that’s a call you have to make for yourself, we don’t know where your head is at – but slightly spun is the way I’d go. Something not too heavy before, and if you’re feeling it, another one right near the end of the first set to kick things up for #2.

    YMMV.

  15. halcyon Says:

    @ Dave…that decision is yours and yours alone…the night will be whatever you choose it to be

  16. Icculus503 Says:

    Best set of the tour so far is Camden set II the Sand and Tweezer are straight out of Fall ’99 specifically the sleeper of that tour Raleigh ’99. My favorite and only sober Phish experience. The energy in that little basketball stadium on NC State’s campus was unrivaled. The wave went around the venue a good five times, lights out, Wilson opening the rest is phistory.
    The fellas certainly have it this tour. They will hit full stride before too long.
    Still looking for Gorge extras. Anyone got help?

  17. hairy pood Says:

    yeah, it was on that disc. that night was one of the best of 04, imo. 2 great sets at Deer Creek. that was the last show they played there. how i wish i was there right now!

  18. Brimley Says:

    Just finished listening to the Fox show and i’m usually somewhat critical and listen closley….I don’t see where all the blasting is coming from..? Sure, it’s not the best show of the tour but I was expecting Coventry after listening to peoples reviews and even Miners downtrodden report…Not spectacular but not nearly as boring as some made it be…Speaking of ’04, this show was quite a bit better then my last show Alpine ’04 as far as flubs and energy are concerned…Speaking of flubs and bust outs, they played a horrible version of Roses in ’04 and I hope they try to for a shot at redemption tomorrow night, 2nd set opener…

  19. SJC Says:

    ^Saaaaaaaand!!! (18 min in as I type this). 3.0 perfection.

    @Dave – Rip it up tonight, kid!!

  20. Hunter Says:

    Some interesting discussion about the collapse during this David Bowie. On one hand, I understand that with the families being a bigger part of their lives (which I wholeheartedly support), they can’t be bothered to practice for days on end like in years long past. They are grown men now, and going through days-on-end drug-fueled musical conditioning (hopefully) just isn’t on the agenda anymore.

    On the other hand, I don’t quite buy the argument that the improvisation is the only thing that matters. To me, a slickly executed composed section can be just as invigorating as an inspired jam. I understand mistakes happen, and Trey has always flubbed composed parts even when the band was at the absolute height of their powers (see the 12/31/95 Reba). Thankfully they sound infinitely more energized than they did in 03/04, so I’m a bit more forgiving towards the occasional flub of a profoundly difficult section of music. As long as we don’t get the kind of trainwreck misery heard at Vegas ’04 and Coventry, I’ll be fine. To me, that kind of sloppiness and musical disregard, and charging people to suffer through it, is the epitome of rock-star pomposity, and I hope and pray that the band never allows itself to sink that low again. I’m sure the band agrees, which is why I’m psyched about this tour. It’s also why I’m starting a workout routine to prepare my dancing bones for the trial they will surely endure at Toyota Park. 😀

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    @Dave…like Mr. C said, that’s a call you’ve gotta make. Now that I’m a little older, I prefer just a few beers and nugs…seems to do the trick just fine. Now back in the day, I wouldn’t go without some extra curriculars and usually ended up totally spun out of my gourd. And again, like Mr. C suggests, a little before the show, then a little just before the setbreak (if you can control the quantity). I just can’t do that stuff anymore tho…tends to spin into my work days, making it tough for me to talk to my clients…real world and responsibility sucks! But I guess it pays my way to shows now…

  22. Jack O Roses Says:

    On the road now but a quick note…

    Old school vibe at the show last night. possibly best show of tour? First set was tight, aside from the Bowie flub. No biggie… Big time fireworks set 2. DWD was on fire. I agree with Miner that Free could stand to be stretched out a bit. Hood was a thing of beauty. The encore scene was so fun. Just a couple of guys having the time of their lives. Henrietta in full effect. So excited to hear and see what comes next! Yay shows!

  23. SJC Says:

    “On the road now but a quick note…

    Old school vibe at the show last night. possibly best show of tour?”

    “Yay shows!”

    That, andrewrose, says it all.

  24. voopa Says:

    I read somewhere last night that the band punked Fish by abandoning Hello My Baby mid-song, leaving him alone and basically making him have to do a Henrietta segment. Can anyone confirm this?

  25. snigglebeach Says:

    I will start by admitting i may be totally wrong.

    But these “breakdowns” that have been happening from time to time this tour, I never saw these happen before. I think Fishman is too far away from the rest of the band. I have sat behind the stage at a lot of stadium shows, and Trey would turn around and signal Fish very often during the show. Mike too. (more trey) I like the look of all 4 out front, on equal ground, but it stands to reason there is reason the drummer is always in back in the middle.

    On the flip side, this instant age we are in, I think we have such access to setlists and performances, the shows just seem not as fresh as they used to. I assume most of us didn’t used to go to every show on tour. you caught a bunch if possible. and u prob had not heard any of the shows u missed until weeks later. This instant-access online world has dilluted our brains.

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