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. larrybirdflu Says:

    i would just like to offer some thanks to miner for offering excellent writing day in and day out, and a forum for all of us to discuss this band we love so much. p.s. can i join the miner tour bus as well??

  2. nonoyolker Says:

    10 tracks on joy, you thinking:
    – Joy
    – TTE
    – Stealing Time
    – Ocelot
    – BDT#L
    – 20 Years After
    – Kill Devil
    – Sugar Shack
    – Light
    – Alaska
    Anyone have an updated track list? I have to say, REALLY hope Sugar Shack is on the album. That track will sound nice if polished in the studio.

  3. Jay Says:

    forgot to mention, live in Austin (have lived in Syracuse, Knoxville, Arlington, VA). Work as a software engineer for a company that writes software for non-profits. Have seen 50+ shows (I think). Thinking of moving to Vancouver. B.C. cause it is becoming too damn hot here.

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    @Dave & Mr. C .. I’m way too busy and have way too many big ideas already but this is one I want to make work. Hopefully before summer2 i’ll launch it. I just don’t want it to degenerate into trey bashing but maybe Ill just have to be heavy handed with moderation at first.

    Some things I’d like to discuss -> themes/riffs that permeate our favorite jams and where they appear. Common chord progressions / jam styles of “hose” moments .. how the band’s jam style has evolved over their history. It’s amazing with all of the music nerds surrounding this band that a more theoretical place hasn’t popped up – and I guess I’m looking to start that.

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    hm nono is that *all* of the new tunes from this summer?

  6. Dave Says:

    @cow – Cool man…let me know how we can help get this off the ground.

  7. nonoyolker Says:

    @ c0w, yeah, i think that’s all the new jams from leg 1. Does that fit too well though?

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    c0w – you would really have liked the Rhombus. I just read and lurked a bit, but it was a heady spot from what I saw. Best of luck, I know all about having too many projects afoot….

  9. Zach Attack Says:

    Can someone tell me the secret to unlocking torrent?

    I save the target to desktop and then????

    thank you very much.

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    holy crap 278 takes for tte that’s nutso .. nice to hear Trey’s being such a perfectionist though….

    @Dave — You know- my main concern is not being able to post enough to keep it going, but if I had some guest / other writers to help that may help a lot.. if you’re interested (or any one else for that matter) drop me an email .. c0wfunk AT yahoo is me

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    Although I don’t have a trained musical background, I always appreciate the technical discussions on here. I have friends who are professional musicians, and I can certainly understand the discussions while not always contributing-much appreciated to all.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    c0w you could build it with a wiki type setup, where certain “author” level users have permission to create whole new articles, but most people can only comment on existing articles…

    I’ve never set up anything like that but I know its doable

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Jay – I also work with nonprofits, and colleges, in the software/web world.

    Vancouver BC is pretty sweet if you like big cities.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    werd miner – and I’m not trying to take away from what you’re doing at all! Just to be clear – your work is always appreciated. This has been an idea of mine for a long time (writing a phish theory book really..) and you’ve sort of inspired me ..

  15. Selector J Says:

    @Jay! Austin is ridiculous with the heat. My sidebar is telling me it’s 104 degrees right now! If you ever want to grab a beer to cool off send me a line. Do you ever listen to Art Baker’s show on Sunday called Jamaican Gold? I’m going to be hanging out with him on the air from 1-2pm this Sunday.

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    and mr. c – I’ve been doing some wordpress development lately as I try to transition into web design and away from AV programming -> I believe it’s actually fairly easy to setup multiple authors in that format. What part of the software / web world do you spin out 0s and 1s in? I’ve been learning css, and php – i knew html back in the day but I’ve relearned it, and I know a little Java and have a little photoshop skill

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    At first I did old-school Photoshop/table based based html development in the 90s. Then I did a lot of css+xhtml+javascript standards-based freelancing for awhile, with flash projects on the side. Now I work in a custom XML tagset with Ajax style clientside adaptive widgetry building dynamic database front-ends for colleges and nonprofits.


    I do photoshop and illustrator art on the side – I did posters and web promo for bands and festivals for a long time too – now I do it for fun, thinking about putting some designs up for sale before long.

  18. whole tour! Says:

    speaking of riffs/ themes/teases

    there was a ‘come together’ tease in the asheville ‘possum’ and the knoxville ‘undermind’

    i also swore i heard a ‘honey pie’ end solo tease in another show…bonnaroo maybe?

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    right on .. I’m just starting out freelancing – tis certainly an adventure. I’m glad right now to have a semi-steady day job to keep it going while I get my act together… but it’s time for a change I’m sick of making rich people feel richer which right now is pretty much my gig.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    freelancing is an adventure – tru dat – it is great to have a day job as backup when you’re getting started. For a lot of ppl freelancing is a bridge to the really great steady job later, that’s how it worked for me, and almost everyone we hire here is a freelancer. Best of luck!

  21. Selector J Says:

    c0wfunk: I’d go to a site like that even if I’d need a translator for 80% of the stuff.

    By the tangential way, c0wfunk: Remember that band I was asking you about, Speedsquare? They’re the drums and piano duo that set up in the square in Asheville. I’ve known the pianist since high school. He used to rage our teenage parties with some Phish medley’s on my friend’s family piano in the den. If you ever see them busking, say “what’s up” for me.

    Here’s a video I shot of them (on their camera) while they were in Austin.

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    k I will – I certainly seem them around from time to time and I believe my buddy (who knows everyone) is friends with them. i dig what they’re doing for sure!

    Hey you said your wife knows mine right? What was her name again?

  23. Selector J Says:

    She goes by Rini. She definitely knows your wife from PB and JGz. She apparently met both of you at some point. Maybe at the PB meet-up in Asheville where all the PBs were staying at the hotel hosting the cop convention (and getting plenty stoned, I’m guessing… better than fiction, my friends)? We were living in Charleston SC at the time.

  24. empire01 Says:

    Hello everyone empire01 here im addicted to phish mainly
    nothing like free basing some tasty phish..
    I can relate to some of your stories on here, first saw the gd in Miami, my home town born and raised and still here. In 1994 I saw my first dead shows
    and just loved the scene..Then took my first road trip to Tampa in 95 and thats when I decided that I would travel and see as many dead shows as I could. Jerry passed away and that dream was destroyed. In college I met a friend who turned me on to phish by saying…Its the best party eva!!picked up ALO and loved what I heard. then Rift shortly after..First show was 11/16/1996 west palm beach…left the place laughing saying that I was totally hooked on phish.Flew to Plattsburg NY for the Ball and it changed my life forever!!! Im 32 years young.
    been to 57 phish shows loved every single one..gone to all shows with my girl. have an 11yr old son who I took to his first show in TN. he has actually been to 3 shows while in the womb..beat that brah.. been seeing phish since i was in the womb.. Love the site and all the great fans here…cant wait to see phish in august!!

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    lol J I remember that meetup! We had like 4 bowls going around at one point and me, my wife, and one other girl were the only ones left in the circle at one point – welcome to asheville girls ! We had that place fishbowled. That was right when we moved to town in 2000 I believe – we were both rocking the dreads still at that point.

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