Initial Processing

6.19.09 Deer Creek (D. Vann)

6.19.09 Deer Creek (D. Vann)

With tour having just concluded, there are so many thoughts swirling in my mind about the past three weeks and what this tour represented to the band and to us, the community.  It was an amazing feeling to be back on the road with Phish again, and by all accounts, Phish was very happy to be back on the road with us.  Throughout the tour, the one constant was the infectious energy that characterized each show.  Exploding from both the stage and the audience, the enthusiasm that oozed from the band and community each night was intense.  Everyone you saw- whether it was their first show or three hundredth- was giddy over the band’s first tour in five years and the limitless potential that lies in the future of Phish.

6.19.09 (D.Vann)

6.19.09 (D.Vann)

As expected, this tour was the next step of Phish’s “re-evolution” that started in Hampton, and will continue later this summer.  The band’s improvisation became more and more adventurous as the tour progressed, as this tour was part a much larger process- certainly not a destination.  Playing with an urgency and direction that was lacking in their last go-round, Phish used this early-summer run to get their sea legs back, re-acclimating themselves to the road in a whole new, sober, family-oriented atmosphere.  This change of scenery was never more evident than with Alpine’s “Brother” opener, which brought the family vibe to the forefront of the stage- literally.  Overall, the playing throughout this tour was incredibly encouraging, and bodes very well for late-summer and beyond.

The past three three weeks have also hinted at new musical directions that Phish is moving towards in their third incarnation.  Rededicated to playing tight compositions, the band’s precision was one facet of their game that jumped out at almost every show.  Sure, there were some flubs and mistakes- that was inevitable- but for most of the time, the band was very attentive to playing their songs carefully and without flaws.  This held true for longer pieces such as “Divided Sky,” “Fluffhead,”and “Time Turns Elastic,” as well as the composed sections of larger vehicles like “Reba” and “YEM.”  Throughout the tour, Phish tore through their most complex segments with a welcome accuracy.  Akin to years past, many eclectic compositions were in regular rotation.

6.21.09 Alpine Valley (D.Vann)

6.21.09 Alpine Valley (D.Vann)

In comparison to the looser funk era of the late ’90s and the exploratory post-hiatus years, Phish’s improv was far more direct and to the point.  Instead of letting jams settle or vamping over rhythmic patterns, this summer’s Phish dove straight into things with a purpose, also driving up the pace of their improvisation, resulting in creating shorter, more densely compact jams.  The result of this musical shift- hinted at in March- was more rock-based jams and a virtual absence of whole band funk grooves.  Even dance-staples like “Tweezer,” “Ghost,” and “Wolfman’s” saw themselves focused on whole-group builds and sustained peaks rather than laid-back grooves.  This served as a reminder that Phish, at their core, is a rock and roll band.

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

As the tour progressed, we watched them become more and more comfortable taking musical risks, delving further into exploratory improvisation by the time they pulled into their final four nights.  Yet, their intent on psychedelic experimentation was clear, while not omnipresent, in the tour’s first two shows with Fenway’s “Tweezer > Light,” and Jones Beach’s “Harry Hood.”  Focused strongly on structured improv for most of the tour, the band crafted many standout type-I jams which helped them lie a foundation for the more exploratory playing that seeped its way into shows slowly but surely.  A musical pattern emerged from their improv as well; the cultivation of a new sound.  Defined by cohesive, directional jamming Phish often progressed from rock-based textures into dissonant and contrasting ambient improv, forming a dynamic flow to their jams.  As we listen and re-listen to these shows, it will be interesting to see what other observations arise about the hybrid of new-school and old-school Phish.

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Deer Creek (D.Vann)

Another piece of the emerging picture of Phish 3.0 is their array of new- and excellent- songs that were debuted over this tour.  Some played in full rotation, and some played only once, it is clear that Phish has many new choices in their repertoire to pull from.  Combined with their already vast catalog, the new rule for Phish shows is, “Anything goes!”  All songs are fair game- from “Destiny Unbound” to “Lengthwise,” and from “The Connection” to “Crosseyed”- setlists now contain songs spanning the earliest years of Phish to the unreleased.  New pieces, such as “Ocelot,” “Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan,” “Kill Devil Falls,” and “Backwards Down the Number Line,” hopped right into rotation and began to grow in improvisation with each subsequent version.  Others, like the “Sugar Shack” and “Twenty Years Later” only appeared once, leaving much to be discovered come August.  Songs such as “Light,” “Let Me Lie,” and “Joy” fell in between, appearing a couple of times during the three week tour.  Needless to say, Phish’s upcoming album could be their best yet, and we have barely scratched the surface of the many musical realms that these new pieces will take us- (see Bonnaroo’s “Kill Devil Falls” and “Light”).  Never shy with pushing their new material, this could be the strongest new batch of songs we’ve heard from the band since the summer of ’97.

The next chapter of Phish has arrived.  The next month-plus will give us time to give a closer look at all of these musical trends, specific jams and more.  While certainly a building block for August and beyond, this June run had its fair share of incredible moments and magical Phishy rides.  And by the looks of how tour ended- with the two most improvisational shows in the last three- the band is just beginning to hit their stride.  With only a little over a month before their long-awaited return to Red Rocks, we finally have plenty of new Phish jams to keep our ears busy until then!



6.19.09 Official Poster

6.19.09 Deer Creek Noblesville, IN < TORRENT LINK

My favorite show of June- by far.

I: Backwards 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


Source:  Schoeps CCM4V’S (din) > Lunatec V2 > Benchmark AD2K >
Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Recorded by Z-Man

headcountCheck out Andy Gadiel’s guest blog on summarizing Phish’s massive presence on the internet in this new age! CREEK6_19
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327 Responses to “Initial Processing”

  1. SOAM Says:

    I hear ya Alberts-I have walked several miles in those shoes as well.

    “Lost my boots in transit babe-pile of smoking leather”

  2. msbjivein Says:

    What the Hell?? This looks fun………….
    -’92 someone gave me a Phish sticker at the zoo in Cincy. I was 14. Never heard of them.
    -’94 Started listening to Phish tapes (Parents wouldn’t let me go to a show)
    -‘Planned on doing Dead tour after I graduated HS.
    -’95 Jerry Dies(Killed my dream)
    -’96 Graduated HS Started “Further” tour.(Dumbass Idea on my part)
    -’97 Finally saw my 1st Phish show @ Deer Creek(ABOUT FUCKIN TIME)
    -’98 Did my first mini Phish Tour saw 9 shows that yr.
    -’99 17 shows
    -’00 12 shows
    -’03 18 shows
    -’04 5 shows
    TOTAL OF 71 shows to date!!!!!!

  3. SOAM Says:

    I think Miner should rent a bus for the 2nd leg-sooner than later he is going to become band publicist and leave all us behind.

    The miner express-no drugs-no ride

  4. SOAM Says:

    I still have 6 dead fall tour 95 tickets-unfortunately-nothing comes for free.

  5. Davey Says:

    I really dug Alpine 1. The second set was my dream come true. Not too much jamming but it was sweet. A vocal jamless YEM>NICU but they did cut NICU a little short. Right when I was REALLY getting into it.

    The ‘tris scene was crazy. I got a couple free ones because the cops came and the guys had to get the balloons of the tanks and run and he just basically threw them at me. (the big ones) so a little gas came out and I snatched them. They were asking $20 for the big ones. RIDICULOUS. They had their gang shooting off fireworks WAY away from the ‘tris to attract the cops over there and a whole operation going down. 3 scouts one money man one filler 2 bouncers 2 tanks. Crazy scene for my 3rd show. The ‘tris was fun though. Can’t go wrong if it’s free I say.

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    “The miner express-no drugs-no ride”

    ^ I like 😉

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Tela – I gave it a thumbs up but agree with you and others that the peak wasn’t there – “interesting” is a good word for it

    @Albert – interesting, I also stopped counting @ 100 (dead shows) in summer of ’90 – I have never pieced it together exactly – I think around 125 + 15 JGB + ~30 Phish + 5 Trey, then everything else too.

    stereotypes are problematic but often rooted in truth. there are cool wooks (dready brothers who live on the road and are usually super kind) and then there are WOOKS (braindead boozy groggy bunk-selling passing-out headier than thou idiots) – some of my best friends are (or were) fully “wooked out” Rainbow family brothers.

    There are also cool custies (some dude who buys stuff in the lot cause he has a real job and no time to make his own gooballs, but is a serious fan and there for good reasons) and then there are CUSTIES (fatheaded expense account/trust fund types who come to the show *only* to buy drugs and get wasted, and deserve to get ripped off by the bunk-selling w00ks).

    Bunk-selling w00ks and trust-fund custies are both totally real and form a nearly perfect closed ecological cycle.

    Problem is when we pigeonhole people based on the way they look, as usual. I know an MIT physics PhD who is a wook, appearance wise, and I know LOTS of super heady guys who fit the “custy” mold visually.

    Usually I’m just kidding when I use either term.

  8. Davey Says:

    1 money man and filler/tank**

  9. Jay Says:

    47 yrs old, saw my first Dead show in 1980, saw approx. 30 shows /yr from 85-89. Saw my first Phish show in Syracuse in a Bar because Fishman was from Syracuse and went to a rival catholic high school. started seeing them a lot starting around 91. was completely hooked by 93.
    stopped seeing the dead around then. Seeing more shows this year than I have in many many years.

  10. Davey Says:

    I look like your average dude and nobody was giving me shit, I did hand out some Uno cards third night of Alpine. Red Team, Green Team, Blue Team, Yellow Team looking for fellow yellows. I had a draw 4 Wild in my hat. It actually was pretty fun. People were usually first like “What is this?” I’d just say “you guys are green team” Then all the Uno cards I saw inside I’d yell out “YELLOW TEAM” or something and their whole crew would get psyched. It was pretty fun.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    fuck, Alan Moore would get called a wook if he was in a Phish lot, and he’s the greatest storyteller of the last 25 years.

    …actually he got kicked out of school for dealing LSD so that’s actually not a bad call, LOL

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Jay we were probably at *at least* 50+ of the same shows…cool stuff

  13. msbjivein Says:

    Oh yeah I’m 31yrs old.

  14. Chalkdustin Says:

    New Phish album called “Joy”

  15. chitownshanty Says:

    I feel like today’s postings have been one big Oprah show. LOL!

    Phish is family. It’s a special place that takes all types.

    One last apology, did not mean to offend or upset anyone: black, orange, green, skinny, tall, medium, supersized, rectangular, circular, square, oblong, high, low, inbetween, medium +, rare, etc, you get the point.

    Now, I am one of those peeps who do not like Maze, at all. Hey – just being honest. But that friggin’ Maze from Alpine was scaaaaarrrrrrryyyyyy. I was 25th row center and Trey was BRINGING that shit the whole way. I swear I felt like a freight train was about to come roaring out from behind the stage.

    Although…I’d rather like to mention that cute little Antelope they dropped to close the set. Yah, real CUTE and NASTY…

  16. Chalkdustin Says:

    ^Time Moves Elastic? Geeze…..

  17. Davey Says:

    @tela I didn’t really like Piper much until I saw it live. What a raging blow off of energy. It was super fun fun fun.

    @ I wish it was called light turns to a joyful ocelot.

  18. msbjivein Says:

    SWEET!!! JOY!!!!!! I likey!

  19. Davey Says:

    @chitown, that was right about the time Trey’s Head started floating and taking over the crowd. Read back in the comments.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @chitown, in a strange coincidence, I have lost, then gained, then re-lost the same 20 pounds 3 times today, so good call there

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    oprah is a custy

  22. whole tour! Says:

    oprah rocked my socks off in ‘the color purple’.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    Stealing Joy? Let Me Kill Time Years Later, Elastic Ocelot!

    ^^^ could totally be a missing Stash lyric, fwiw

  24. sumodie Says:

    “Bunk-selling w00ks and trust-fund custies are both totally real and form a nearly perfect closed ecological cycle.”

    That line belongs in a sociology textbook -LOL!

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    is the the relationship parasitic or symbiotic? discuss

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