Finishing With A Bang

6.20.09 Alpine Valley (D. Vann)

6.20.09 Alpine Valley (D. Vann)

Phish ended their first leg of Summer ’09 in style, playing a second set filled with psychedelic exploration, and composing a masterful final stanza to cap their month of June. Completing a three-week tour at Alpine Valley, the band treated Sunday night’s crowd to a complete show whose second set will stand up against anything from this run. Complimenting Saturday’s upbeat show, the band erupted with darker improvisation in their final performance, leaving us with a gem to listen to during the five weeks off.

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

Coming out for their last set of the tour, “Crosseyed and Painless” was the last thing anyone expected to hear, and when they band broke out the cover to the roar of the crowd, everyone knew it was on. Taking a trek through searing percussive grooves, Phish completely killed the Talking Head’s cover as the entire band was taped in to the source. Exiting the verse and entering one of the tightest and most exciting pieces of tour, the band stretched out the rock grooves before launching into a purposeful and directed ambient jam, putting an exclamation point on the several ambient excursions of the tour. Stretching the psychedelia further than previous trips, Phish never lost their cohesion as they built a multi-layered piece of standout improv. Morphing seamlessly into the muddy bass intro to “Disease,” Phish pulled off a memorable transition as they stepped into their staple jam. The band combined two impressive explorations, ripping “Disease” every bit as cohesively as “Crosseyed,” and molding one of the most magnetic musical segments of the summer. Bringing the “Disease” jam “out” as well, Phish put together a textured palette as they wound their way into another abstract piece of aural art. Taking their classic vehicle in a distinctly ’09 direction, the band continued to carve out their newest sound- tightly wound jams releasing into ambient soundscapes. Out of “Disease,” Phish’s improvisational adventure dropped into “Bug,” a song that served as soaring mid-set landing point and whose ending was extended with a subtle pass into “Piper.”

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

6.20.09 (D.Vann)

Quickly adhering to the nights exploratory theme, “Piper’s” jam developed into a speed-funk excursion, led by Trey’s aggressive rhythm chops and Fishman’s driving beats. Riding a rhythmic roller coaster, Trey began to bend his notes, bringing the jam in a more laid-back direction as Page stepped up to complement his playing. Locked together, the band established a layered canvas on which Trey began to solo with ethereal lead melodies. The band progressed into a dense concluding part of the jam, heavily strewn with effects from each band member. With this abstract segment that could have sprang from somewhere deep in Summer ’95, the band concluded their jaunt with a poignant piano transition into “Velvet Sea.” The emotional ballad signified the impending end of tour, but as soon as anyone felt slightly bittersweet, the band picked the vibe right back up with the “dready-mama funk” of “Boogie On Reggae Woman.” A song that has brought thick bass effects and hot clav solos to the table for most of the tour, did just that, adding a spunky moment before Phish dramatically closed their set with a phenomenal “Slave.” The band took their time to nail their chosen farewell jam, building slowly and impeccably into a triumphant punctuation to an amazing set of Phish.

"Brother" 6.21.09 (B.Frye)

"Brother" 6.21.09 (B.Frye)

Last night’s first set was centered around the compositional side of Phish, highlighting “Divided Sky,” “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday” and “Time Turns Elastic.” The rocking first half of the frame saw the summer debuts of “Funky Bitch”- as a response to a fan’s sign- and “Brother”- played as a Father’s Day shout out with all of Phish’s kids comically sitting in a bathtub at the front of the stage. Yet, the most compelling aspect of the set was how the band tied together a string of more tender songs to close it out. Flowing naturally between “Horse > Silent,” “TMWSIY,” and “Time Turns Elastic,” the band created a mellower and intricate vibe to the second half of the set. Well-placed as a first set closer, especially in this context, “Time Turns Elastic,” came across better than the its previous mid-second set incarnations, and brought the set to a different sort of peak.

Capping off three-weeks on the road, Phish will have plenty of time to rest up for their late-summer run, and we’ll have plenty of time to break down what has happened over the course of the band’s first full tour in years. In the five weeks before Red Rocks, we will discuss, analyze, and investigate all the musical mayhem that has fully back returned to our lives. The future looks promising for our Fab Four, and we are all lucky to be a part of it.  Much more to come in the upcoming days….as for now, I’m signing off. Miner- over and out.

I: Brother, Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, The Divided Sky, Joy, Back On The Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkanu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Time Turns Elastic

II: Crosseyed and Paiinless > Down With Disease > Bug > Piper > Wading In The Velvet Sea, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Grind, Frankenstein

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297 Responses to “Finishing With A Bang”

  1. Albert Walker Says:


    me too, could not have said it better myself
    and yes I think that stub is probably lost forever in the depths of her cave

  2. SOAM Says:

    Dangling amidst the foul walls-I came across an aging knight-who leaned against the rail with narly beaver-sorry-long day-week-year-life-shit

  3. lot rat Says:

    one word to describe me last night=ripped

    nice one teddy b

    whats with chittowndueschbaggery…get a grip buddy. its the first tour in 5 and your worried about repeats? stop livin in the past, its a fuckin song. see, wax makes great points and backs them up with very detailed facts. you just sound like an asshole who didnt get to hear tela, while i’m sure you have point about their playing, you deusch tone makes it impossible to listen to your complaining, its probably best you stick to legs from here on out.

    what with these rumors about phihs playing the coachella site outside of LA for halloween? Ive also heard Sam Boyd outside maybe…fall tour is just around the corner…dangle your stash

  4. Phish...Yup Says:

    Uber respect to Miner for some excellent coverage of the first leg. Having only gotten to Great Woods and Camden, I felt like I got a really good idea of the energy and atmosphere at each show through this blog and through No Spoilers of course. All the interesting comments by everyone here both during the show and the next day have obviously been appreciated too (except for chitownshanty that is). Looking forward to some more interesting first leg analysis and more coverage of the West coast run when that starts up. Can’t wait for Darien>CT>MD>SPAC to see em again!

  5. JB Says:

    Thanks for all the work guys. During this tour I would often think of the old days where we’d have to wait for our friends to get off tour to get the tapes of these shows. Man how things have changed. Your hard work made this a really exciting tour to watch unfold. Thanks again, your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and we really appreciate it!

  6. whole tour! Says:

    i had several musi-orgasms in asheville/knoxville. i guess it’s easier in person. i compare seeing the shows in person to an actual hooker, while listening to only tapes is like bad phone sex….lol

  7. whole tour! Says:

    that being said, god speed for fall tour, you’ll dig it!

  8. lot rat Says:

    ive listened to most of these shows now…cam>ASH>knox sound good, so does noblesville…diggin some of their new stuff. Backwards, Stealing Time, and KDF got some life in them, and ocelot/alaska are good little mid first set jingles.

    west coast has been waiting a long time for some action

  9. lot rat Says:

    Dangling amidst the foul walls-I came across an aging knight-who leaned against the rail with narly beaver-sorry-long day-week-year-life-shit


  10. SOAM Says:

    She was on her way to see Albert SCHWIIINGG

  11. Albert Walker Says:

    she’s not coming back either

    like a tour vigallante I made sure she knew she was not welcome
    I’m not a hippie and a city kid so when someone invades my sections space and acts fuckin stupid it’s definitely on

    I’m taking people out one at a time if they disrespect the scene I love

  12. SOAM Says:

    Chitown is planting hard drugs in trey’s ride and questionable photos in Mike’s pouch as we speak-he just wants to go back to…. no good live music-no dancing for another 5 years.

  13. Albert Walker Says:

    traded some goodies for 2 VIP tix real close
    it was taco night in the VIP section

    it’s so much better when there are so many free tix for everyone
    there were stax of lawn seats at the enterance to the venue
    a lot of custies stayin home after they got their Caspian, Waste, Zero on Saturday

  14. SOAM Says:

    Tacos and Tunes forever

  15. whole tour! Says:

    lol….TACOS and PHISH 4 LIFE!!!

  16. SOAM Says:

    I’m so pissed they didn’t play Llama-I’m never seeing them again.

  17. whole tour! Says:

    even better = phishTACOS!

  18. Albert Walker Says:

    I by the way was in no state to be eating Taco’s

  19. SOAM Says:

    is it true they sound checked Cat Scratch Fever with Mickey Hart on Vocals?

  20. whole tour! Says:

    all lot tacos come with a “swim at your own risk” warning.

  21. whole tour! Says:

    what’s this you say about a cat stevens/mickey hart/fishman collaboration?

  22. Albert Walker Says:

    food actually looked good, if you were hungry last night

    the VIP section above the bathrooms had catered food every night and bands after the show

    went to piss after the show and there was a shit ass dead cover band doin there thing

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    mmmmmmmmmmmm tacos

  24. SOAM Says:

    When I get out of a gig-it’s like thanksgiving-I eat like 6 burritos-4 GC’S-2 sloppy french pizza dongs-it probably a tie betweendope and food regarding consumption,,in the end.

    oh-yeah-if they ever play TTE again-I’m done

  25. sumodie Says:

    “what with these rumors about phihs playing the coachella site outside of LA for halloween? Ive also heard Sam Boyd outside maybe”

    After seeing the Grateful Dead at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, I’ve always thought that would make a great stadium venue for Phish (if a stadium became necessary at some point). However, I always wondered about the Dead playing there during the day (May -temps ok) -that part was not so good. Wasn’t sure if that was the band’s choice or the venue/city stipulation.

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