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. whole tour! Says:

    i heard that for the upcoming summer “frankenstein” encores, fishman will have the full tommy lee roll cage that will lift up over the audience and do flips during the drum solo.

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    love the credits on that vid, nice post

  3. Davey Says:

    That was just from memory and I’m surprised I even got 4 out of 5 of the necks in the condition I was in.

  4. whole tour! Says:

    always nice to have the “standard blunt smoking crazy cab driver”….LMFAO!

    The post knoxville lot did turn into a vietnam-esque all out nitrous war. Rival nitrous mobsters were lobbing hand grenades and tossing flares to gain control of their turf. No way they were gonna let that $10 for one bubble slip past them to a rival gang. These nitrous gangs were no joke…99.9% of them complete assholes who don’t even know who this band called phish is, but they rule the lot post show with an iron fist. One of them looked like he wanted to slash my throat when i offered him the old standard $5 for a balloon. It was borderline scary in a zombie movie meets rambo way.

  5. larrybirdflu Says:

    in response to the question of demographics, im 24, started listening to the phish during the hiatus, became obsessed, and was lucky enough to catch 9 shows before they called it quits. and man am i glad there back.

  6. msbjivein Says:

    @WT, My buddy and I were talking the same shit about Fish!! LOL!! That would seriously blow my fucking mind Dude!!

  7. whole tour! Says:

    in tough economic times, only gold and nitrous maintain and even DOUBLE in value. Since when has there been a 100% mark up in the cost of N20? I guess since this summer….lol

  8. whole tour! Says:

    Right on msbjivein….by the end of this summer, tommy lee won’t have shit on fishman! (not that he already does…lol)

  9. nonoyolker Says:

    @ empire01, best of luck homey. Things will turn around in no time. Stay positive! You seem to have a firm grasp on what is truly important.

    @Davey, good looks on getting nice and spunzo for first shows man. I think a 5 neck guitar w/ red at the helm may have broke my mind for a first go-’round. Or i would have giggled uncontrollably for hours. Either/or.

  10. msbjivein Says:

    I’ve yet to see any of this sketchiness on lot. Just pigs messing w/ peeps. That’s totally normal though. Hopefully I’ll never see any of that shit go down. Especially fighting over NO2. WTF???

  11. Jay Says:

    next encore will be the 4 dressed in KISS outfits, platform shoes, stage explosions as they play some KISS cover!!!

  12. msbjivein Says:

    Rock n Roll all night and party everyday!!!!

  13. whole tour! Says:

    the “fighting” was kinda exaggerated…but the guy wanting to kill me for offering him $5 for a baloon was very real. The street thugs in the RV in the lot at the end of the train tracks was also no joke. Shady-ness on a level i have never seen before. The guy incharge of the RV/nitrous gangsters looked like a fat slob 50 year old porno producer who was hitting on all the chicks who walked up with the worst sleaziest pick up lines i have ever heard. I felt dirty even being near him. It was odd to say the least.

  14. nonoyolker Says:

    3 song KISS encore Dr Love -> Beth (bring the lights down, page solo) -> Rock and Roll all Nite

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    ..Page dropped the synth solo in suzie g (hampton, fenwat featured it) and went to the wah-clav at the end of tour. Oh and this creek possum is fantastic .. A little “silent jam” type thing and they bring it up very patiently. This song may have been played a lot but each one has a unique charm. One of the cool things about the blues form is how much you can vary it but stay within the structure generally.

    Also the tweezer – 2001 is some of the best jamming I’ve heard in 09. Very very sublime in all sections.

    Davey love the stories props bro sounds like u did it right and lol at “treys head” @ alpine. That’s a lot of what I felt in aville, though without the delix.. Usually I feed off of whatevers around tho so its all the same..

  16. msbjivein Says:

    I heard about fighting at JB and the Fox. There was a rumor that someone got shot at Fox over NO2. Hopefully just a rumor. That is just fucked!!!

  17. Jay Says:

    knoxville nitrous mafia were pretty close to how WT describes it, They had bouncers willing to kick your ass if you got outa line with them.

  18. msbjivein Says:

    @CFunk, Totally agree w/ the Possums this tour. All have been great. If you haven’t yet check the GW possum. Yeah That Tweezer,2001 from DC is SICKNESS. Super funked out 2001. Trey’s doing some realy cool shit on that version!

  19. Albert Walker Says:

    know ya’ll don’t like this term but it’s the only one that fits

    some custy came up to me after Alpine was like
    “hey man where’s the nitrous at?”

    I said you don’t want it it’s automotive and he answered

    “know I tried it already it works great”

    I guess he does not know automotive gas works great but gives you terrible head aches and tastes like ass

    by the way custy= customer
    it’s an old ghetto street dealer term
    if you spend money on lot for favors you are a custy
    whenever I use this term I get attacked on this site and it’s true meaning is not even negative

  20. nonoyolker Says:

    Winner of best new name of the board: “larrybirdflu” – awesome!

  21. msbjivein Says:

    Thanks for explaining your reasoning behind using the term “Custy”. I jumped your shit once about it.(Was having a shitty day that day) I know what it means. But there are people that use the term to cut on other phans. That’s what I don’t like. Just cause someone is not wooked out doesn’t mean they’re a “Custy”. If used properly I’m not worried about it.

  22. empire01 Says:

    I was hoping that the nitrous would be a thing of the past, but from what I saw it has gotten worse. Its just an ugly scene no matter how you look at it. Everyone gets all desperate and shit. The band has always been against the N20 and it just brings a real bad element. for those of you that truly care about the scene dont buy that shit from these scum bags. go drink a beer or puff one instead.. I cant believe that anyone would buy a balloon of gas for 10+ dollars.

  23. whole tour! Says:

    yeah it’s a shame….at their prices i told them to basically F**K Off. Way bad, violent element that has no cares for or place in the phish scene. People are more than happy to fuel the fire for some reason.

  24. msbjivein Says:

    @ GW they were asking $20 a balloon………………..WTF?

  25. msbjivein Says:

    When we walk by dude w/ $20 ballons. We said $20 WTF?!?! Dude said “This is how I feed my wife and kids Man!” I wanted to punch that guy.

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