6.19.09 Official Poster

6.19.09 Official Deer Creek Poster

Finally- IT Happened.  Amidst a deluge and lightening storms surpassing the intensity of Raleigh ’97, the first real Phish show of the modern era happened at Deer Creek last night.  While Camden ushered in the band’s new age, Deer Creek’s 2009 edition will be forever remembered as the night that all things truly came together.  For two complete sets, Phish improvised their way through an epic evening that will forever be embedded in the annals of the band’s history.  After a couple of shaky shows, Phish delivered by absolutely slaughtering their one night in the cornfields with the most impressive group jamming of current times.

Menacing nature mixed with sinister Phish in a to-die-for second set that was delayed an hour due to severe weather danger.  As the set was due to start, a stage announcement asked everyone on the lawn to return to their cars due to the danger of lightening, and come back at eleven for the start of the second half; and boy was that a good idea.  As the lawn cleared the skies opened in a biblical sized storm with bolts of lightening that are still imprinted in on the back of our brains.  The stage equipment was covered and the left speaker stack lowered, while fans squeezed into the pavilion for what turned out to be a ninety-plus minute setbreak / rain delay.   But as promised, the tarps came off just before eleven and the stage lights began to glow.  As the rock and roll adage goes, “The show must go on!”- and go on it did.  Following the most improvised and adventurous first set of tour, everyone knew Phish would throw down something big- but what actually happened was far beyond anyone’s dreams.


6.18.09 Star Lake (D.Vann)

6.18.09 Star Lake (D.Vann)

Musically referencing the monsoon with the opening “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing,” this time we knew it was for real.  After a succinct guitar-based version in Knoxville, when the band dropped into the song this time, it had the aura of  greatness- and that would turn out to be the understatement of the year.  Peaking the heavy rock jam, the band briefly returned to the song’s theme before moving out into the deepest piece improv we’ve heard yet.  Without having listened back to the show, as I type in the car on the way to Alpine, I’ll go right ahead and say that this was IT; this is what I’ve been waiting for.  In a voyage of open-ended improv, the band naturally flowed through several stages of searing psychedelia.  This is the jam we’ve all been awaiting since the song was busted wide open at SPAC ’04.  Dark and exploratory, this version grew hugely ominous before Phish slipped out of the abstract textures and into “Drowned.”


6.18.09 (D.Vann)

6.18.09 (D.Vann)

Continuing the aquatic theme, Phish tore apart The Who cover with a ridiculously dynamic jam that also grew beyond its confines into the realm of the other.  Breaking down the improv with some rhythm chops, Trey helped bring the normally confined piece into unstructured territory as the band, again, took the improvisational plunge, stepping onto the precipice with another musical risk and succeeding.  As the band finished their thoughts, Trey ripped into the opening of “Twist.”- the final piece of this mind-bending puzzle.  Taking the vehicle far beyond its composed groove, we were knee deep in the most psychedelic set in eons.  “Oceans > Drowned > Twist”- put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

6.18.09 (D.Vann)

6.18.09 (D.Vann)

After a perfectly placed “Let Me Lie,” Phish brought the house down with the opening of “Tweezer.”  The over-crowded pavilion exploded as the band went for the jugular with a late set dance odyssey.  Splashing into the jam with some of the tour’s first earnest rhythm grooves, the band got dirty before stepping into the build of this “Tweezer.”  And once they started to climb, the band brought this jam to a glorious peak, yet the peak of the jam was hardly the end.  Phish delicately brought the music outwards into a layered ambient section that seemed heading for the stars.  Before too long, Fishman hit the snare and we spun into a sublime “2001.” Crafting a late-set transition that fed the craving of even the largest Phish-crack junkies, “Tweezer > 2001” was pure, unadulterated bliss.

Carrying the massive energy of the lightening-laced peak, Phish crashed into “Suzy,” putting a fun exclamation point on the second sky-scraping jam sequence of the set.  Although it seemed like an “Antelope” was lurking just around the corner all night long, this wouldn’t have been Phish 2009 without a “Possum” closer.  With the wave of energy cresting in the amphitheatre, Phish tore apart the set closer with an aggressive gusto that hasn’t engulfed every version this tour.

6.18.09 (D.Vann)

6.18.09 (D.Vann)

Reserved for slots following extraordinary Phish madness, the band broke out a “Sleeping Monkey” encore for the first time since returning, showing us that they felt exactly the same as we did about our night at The Creek.  Blowing out the show’s ending with a surreal “Reprise,” crackling bolts of lightening surrounded the stage, as the heavens once again split open, bringing on a storm every bit as intense as the one that delayed the show.  As the no-brainer show of tour came to a close, everyone who was there knew they had been a part of IT, and everyone glowed in post-show revelry.  In a most-unique scene, very few people left the pavilion for about a half an hour as the venue allowed us to let the storm pass before braving the outdoors.  It took on the feel of a post-show party, and we didn’t even have to go anywhere!  People mingled about, smoking and joking, as the wind and rain scoured every inch of land that wasn’t covered by the pavilion- a crazy end to a most crazy evening.

And that is just half the show!  The first set was by far the most impressive opening frame of the tour with improvisation galore.  Highlights included an incredible “Split Open” that popped up for the first time since Jones Beach, the first jammed-out “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” and the surprise appearance of Undermind’s “The Connection” that saw the band improvise a Dead-esque, noodly groove.  “Ocelot” appeared in its grandest form yet- an addictive song that continues to grow with each appearance.  And to close the set, Phish pulled a “Fluffhead” out of nowhere that brought a triumphant arrival to a set that foreshadowed the greatness to follow.

With only Alpine left to go, Phish has two more nights on their opening leg of summer.  And by the looks of things, our two nights in dairy land could bring some of the best nights yet.

I: Backward Down The Number Line, AC/DC Bag, Limb By Limb, The Moma Dance, Water In The Sky, Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, The Wedge, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, The Connection, Ocelot, Fluffhead

II: A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing > Drowned > Twist, Let Me Lie, Tweezer > 2001 > Suzy Greenberg, Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

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262 Responses to “Finally!”

  1. ColonelJoy Says:

    Yes, that split would be an appropriate soundtrack for a brewing storm, for sure. Must have been amazing. Of course, I can imagine it precisely.

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    The Connection sounds very, very good. This show is making me happy.

  3. Harpua Says:

    Just reread your post, and you’re right. Think I mistook chitown’s negativity for yours.

  4. Whole Tour! Says:

    that’s the same reason the 7-23-1997 SOAM was so amazing too…at the time there was this huge lightning storm over lakewood and during melt there were these red, churning clouds…it looked evil! it wasn’t just the dose messin with the dome either, because everyone around me saw the red clouds as well. Something i’ll never forget.

  5. ColonelJoy Says:

    A little too much Whaling in the Ocelot, but it isn’t bumming me out.

  6. Whole Tour! Says:

    come hide in the herd and float with the flock

  7. albert walker Says:

    Ocelot was tasty as hell highlight of the 1st set for sure

  8. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Just woke up from a crazy night. Phish at the Creek was, after 70+ shows, definitely in my personal 10 ten. It was a rockfest in the first set and then a jamfest in the second. The Let It Lie was perfectly placed, a nice 3 or 4 minute breather to let everybody catch their breath. A good ballad can really open a set up. And then to follow it with the funky beats that are Tweezer > 2001, well, clearly any song that ellicits that kind of follow up can’t be that bad. They always bring the heat to my hometown and last night was no exception. Without a doubt, best show of the tour…so far.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Mr Miner has traveled thousands of miles in search of something, and he finally found it during an epic thunderstorm in an Indiana cornfield. Maybe it isn’t what you were looking for, but he found his IT. What is wrong with that?

  10. ColonelJoy Says:

    Another strong Fluffhead….not something we were saying in 2.0

    I would say, placed against every other first set played since 93′, this first set is in the 75th percentile. That’s pretty good at this point.

  11. Whole Tour! Says:

    i just hit the bonaroo “jiboo” > “PYITE”…..the pyite is outstanding. They have been ripping the intro jam to shreds!

  12. ColonelJoy Says:

    Thunderhead would have been nice last night… of my fav slow numbers for sure….

  13. albert walker Says:

    I was fairly neutral on the 1set also the fire comes in the 2nd
    I liked the song selection personally, but more contained in a 2009 kind of way, but much tighter and not too many mistakes compared to other nights

  14. Wax Banks Says:


    Nowhere (that I can find) does this page say ‘Phish critique’…rather, it’s Phish Thoughts. I think if you understoond perhaps that Miner is approaching it differently than Dirksen,, etc, you’d understand that this page is more about one man’s love for a band, and his, well, ‘thoughts’.

    I know – that was the purpose of my mantra! To reset my expectations. Lately the conversation’s been stronger than I’ve ever seen it here, and the posts themselves have been incidental at best. I made the mistake of reading Miner’s post looking for criticism, and needed to lower the bar a little bit. 🙂

  15. chitownshanty Says:

    tonight……..they are probably rather tired from last night. look for more repeats from several shows ago that are now due again.

    ((this could be a very good thing))

    although might be more of a ‘shroomy’ show with a lot of mellowness.

    …for some reason these guys love playing alpine. as did the Dead.

    i guess it’s ‘the Chicago’ shows.

  16. butter Says:

    any one that critiques dc in a neg fashion, i’m going to go ahead and say is insanely pissed/jealous that they missed it

  17. Wax Banks Says:

    Side note: I used to live and die by Dirksen’s reviews, back in 95-96. Now I see that he’s always been a narrowminded borderline musical illiterate high on his own opinions. The Mockingbird Phish book is riddled with his silly pronunciamentos (e.g. his tiresome NYE95 ‘FOTM tease’ obsession, the predictable privileging of the mid-period shows he attended as ‘greatest ever,’ etc.).

    Ho hum.

  18. Whole Tour! Says:

    when i win the powerball lottery i’m going to follow phish full time. my dream is now clearer than ever. off to the 7-11 to buy lottery ticket(s).


  19. ColonelJoy Says:

    SIHTOS….yeah, that’s very floydish here, almost thought someone was going to sing, “I’m going to cut you into little pieces”

    Now this is ambient with a purpose…..check it out Wax Banks

    Excellent ensemble work here. Fishman, Trey….everyone

  20. Whole Tour! Says:

    i gotta give props to the “waves” > “SIHTOS” > “Bowie” trio that blew my mind in knoxville…it was sick like EBOLA!

  21. albert walker Says:

    @Wax banks

    I’m one of the biggest assholes and negative fuckers you will ever meet and it’s hard to find much negativity about this one

    I think the first set may have lacked some intensity and exploratory jamming of days past, but I think the song selection was one of the stronger on tour

    yes, maybe something else in Let me Lie, but shit it worked I can’t complain

    I really think set two is the closet thing to old school Phish we have heard on this tour and if anyone disagrees I’d be interested ot hear why

  22. ColonelJoy Says:

    Wow, an actual transition into Drowned!

    Some of the things being passed off as transitions on this tour….

  23. Wax Banks Says:

    I really think set two is the closet thing to old school Phish we have heard on this tour and if anyone disagrees I’d be interested ot hear why

    Looking forward to hearing it! This afternoon I suspect.

  24. ColonelJoy Says:

    Okay, the “jam” after the JB Drowned was horrible…lets see what’s coming here….

  25. Wax Banks Says:

    Good lord!! Was the ‘Hello My Baby’ screwup at Star Lake deliberate? I assume so – I don’t think any two of the boys were in the same goddamn key to start the tune…hilarious. When Fish gets up to the mic to bust out ‘Bike’ I want to die laughing.

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