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:

    and i thought the somali pirates were bad……geesh!

    For $20 your better off getting a g of some dank bubble hash that will last at least a day or two rather than something so fleeting and worthless as N20.

  2. SOAM Says:

    The only person I will buy nitrous from is a small female midget wookie scout.-She deals strictly in fresh medical-actually after gas money, tickets, hooch, beer I can barely afford the 6 veggie b’s post show.

  3. Albert Walker Says:

    prices on lot were a joke
    mostly garbage and everything over taxed

    I want to make a shirt that says
    Phish Lot
    where $75 is the new $60

    (full disclosure I think $60 is also a total joke)

  4. Danny B Says:

    Since everyone seems to be disclosing, I am 26 (caught my first show when I was 16) seen Phish in 1.0,2.0, and 3.0 and enjoyed every show, even Coventry. No matter what happens at a Phish show, you can always take home something really meaningfull from the experience. I have to remind my friends who haven’t seen Phish yet since they came back, and have only listened to one or two shows from summer tour and say that it isn’t the same. I have to remind them, that that is the point, every year sounds different, and that is why we go. As soon as you pull up into the lot, you remember why you go to phish shows, it is more than the music. I only caught JB3 and GW on first leg, but I am trying to hit Darien through SPAC on second leg. I missed Camden, eventhough I planned to go, but couldn’t get the time off from work. Eventhough I am bummed I missed that show, I couldn’t be more excited for the future. The ambient jam in between Tweezer and 2001 from 6/19, contains glimpses into the future, at least I hope. And for all the high scool and college kids hoping on the bus, godspeed!!!!!! Take peoples advice, don’t listen to jaded phans that hate everything, have fun, and be careful on the road.

  5. SOAM Says:

    The only fight I contemplated starting at a gig was when my chick wanted one balloon and the guy said 10 bucks-and I said “ok 5 for the balloon-which one of the ho’s in your stable is going to complete the sale by blowing me for the other 5-

  6. Wax Banks Says:

    @ Selector, I looked back and Wax was also shamelessly promoting his own blogspot in Miner’s forum, while taking shots at him. Not cool.

    I think you are misunderstanding what ‘promoting’ means, among other things. I linked to an essay I wrote. It’s good. I know things. I want people to read it, and since it’s about Phish, the people I tell about it are Phish fans. There are several Phish fans here. I don’t run ads. You’re complaining about one thing (‘self-promotion’) when it appears that quite another thing bothers you.

    Um, stop doing that.

    Seriously, I dunno, guy was given so many chances, i think everyone’s patience is/was run thin. He’s like a pampered puppy who shits on the rug because he thinks he owns the place. Sometimes you need to smack him on the nose and let him know what time it is.

    You are funny and very smart.

    @Selector – I missed that yesterday, I just went back and read that Wax post and I agree, I think it was a valid attempt at friendly banter. However there have been some edgy discussions over the last week and he’s been in the middle of a few of them so I think folks are primed to go off on him at a moments notice.

    @MrC –

    Thanks for the rereading and the good sense. Now that tour is over I think I’m better off not reading this site at all. This morning I finished off a long, long piece about Phish 2.0 – tracking jam-method development over 2003-04, etc. Don’t know how strong it is but it’s a nice change of pace to think through the music (and other matters) without being distracted by petty nonsense. This is not the place.

    On the other hand, I talk to basically two people (face to face) about Phish, and then only once every couple weeks. Phantasy Tour is a wasteland of teenage imbeciles and trolls, RMP is long gone. And I enjoy the Download of the Day here. Hence the return visits, and putting up with things like the above-quoted passage. No need for it, really.

    Actual content:

    The rock > ambient progression of so many of this summer’s ‘big jams’ is reminiscent of summer 2003, but without that tour’s fluidity and patience. There might be more textural variety this time out (I’ve gotta think about that) but the transitions were mostly uninspiring and the soloing was nowhere near as cohesive as in 1.0 days. Miner talks about ‘directed’ or ‘directional’ jamming, but Trey in particular is playing more fragmented, voice-like music than he ever has. Stylistically, the shit he was slinging this tour was previewed on the overrated (around here?) Classic TAB tour last fall: bold out-of-rhythm chirps and blue wails in the upper register, confident FX-laden low-register lines, the easy chord/melody-line integration of 2.0. What’s missing is the lockstep group movement of 1.0, among other things.

    Well, I’d take any of a dozen 2003 sets over every set this tour (start with 2/16/03 II, 2/26/03 II, both 2/28/03 sets…). Everything this time around was fun, skillful, involving. It’s a transitional music. That’s OK. I’m glad I still have my 2.0 recordings though, never mind the great old shit.

  7. Albert Walker Says:

    I feel bad for the new kids coming up now

    Dead 92 got my first baloon for $5 and it was the old school big daddys filled with medical grade till it almost popped

    now you pay $20 for a party baloon filled with automotive

    I’m mad I missed Jerry in the 60’s and 70’s
    I guess I should just be happy I saw the dead and Phish in the early mid nineties

  8. Wax Banks Says:

    Demographic disclosure: 30, first show 12/95, first album Rift (maybe a year or more before first show), hate everyone, fave set currently 6/14/00 II.

  9. SOAM Says:

    Wax-your gonna be a genius anyway……….but my head is empty mango’s so keep it simple-sometimes “Lesh is more”

  10. Whole Tour! Says:

    i was amazed listening to the livephish soundbaords from 2.0 that i could actually hear this little instrument called bass. I think this guy named mike gordon plays this thing called bass. I saw him, heard him, and felt him play this thing called the bass in asheville and knoxville this summer, but on the livephish summer 09 soundboards he is barely even scratching the surface. You can only hear him slightly well if trey, page and fishman are silent for a second, and even then there is no low end what so ever. The 2003/2004 soundboards sound more true to the live sound than these new ones. I kinda would like them to remaster them if possible and give them out for free to everyone who bought all the new “bassless” boards.

  11. msbjivein Says:

    You got to see the “Fatman”!! I didn’t. Definately be Happy!!!

  12. SOAM Says:

    “I wrote it-it’s good-I know things”-that would be Trey and the helping friendly book-not your NASA/MENSA evaluations of a rock and roll band.

    But I enjoy your diatribes although your briliance is sometimes overwhelming

  13. Albert Walker Says:

    these soundboards are terrible
    alpine’s are almost unlistenable

    well I’m out till RedRocks
    got to get back to trading and markets, not more tour
    keepin me from workin
    laterz and remember this is only the launch point
    they may have not reached 2003 levels but they are true professionals and the sky is the limit
    guaranteed 2nd leg every show is hotter than what we heard here

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    I want to party with you sometime SOAM – sounds like you rock it Hunter Thompson style – respect

    re: age – I just turned 40 so since “old dude” isn’t here that makes me the old dude for now. First phish show in early ’90 but I haven’t seen as many as a lot of you all ’cause I dropped out of the rock & roll scene from about 92 to 98 – perfectly timed to miss Phish at their best, duh – and when I got back into Phish I had too many obligations to go on tour. I saw about a half dozen back in the day and then a couple dozen more since the late 90s. I’m very lucky that my wife is at least as into Phish as I am, actually more, so the question is always just “how many can we manage?” and never “can I go?”

    Because my show experience is not really about the music directly, I have had an absolutely great time at every show I’ve been to, including a few in ’03 that were musically subpar IMO. As long as I can connect with the crowd and the band something interesting always happens and I always walk out feeling rejuvenated.

  15. SOAM Says:

    Demographic-Fat old hairy happy and drunk

  16. Albert Walker Says:

    since I’m out for a while I’ll leave my stats too
    33 years old, toured 93-96, seen between 100-200
    and after gettin pretty disinterested 97-2004 I’m glad to be back and seeing the boys playin with the energy and love of the music that helped me get into this band as a dumb young kid in high school

  17. Whole Tour! Says:

    i guess since everyone is giving FULL disclosure:



    i have a hair cut and a jobby job!

    first concerts: pink floyd -division bell tour- tampa 94
    GD – spring tour 04/07/1995 – tampa

    First phish show – lakewood summer 1995
    First phish show to slap me in the face and call me “bitch”: 11/02/1996 west palm beach, FL

    Total phish shows: 34

    other bands i have seen over 20 times:
    K-dubs williams
    Widespread panic

  18. sumodie Says:

    @ A Walker: thanks for the clear definition of ‘custy’.

    To another’s point, what’s the difference between cutting phans using either custy or wook? It’s all the same to me no matter what word gets used, and quite often unnecessarily disrespectful. I’ll take a nice friendly wook over an out-of-control [insert type here] anyday 🙂 Just an observation, that’s all…

    Quick custy/wook story with karmic ending: Following Roo, this custy (me) gave a wook a ride to Baltimore so he could attend another festy. Two days earlier I had bought some favors from this wook which I now know to be bunk. Well, turns out this wook went to the Summer Solstice Projekt Festival, which got shut down Friday morning. Nothin like karma! (though it’s too bad the festy got shut down by the cops)

  19. SOAM Says:

    100-200 shows??-I’m burnt too-but thats a little vague

    60 dead shows between 90-95
    71 phish shows 93-present
    Best show-every single one was pure bliss-even the shitty gigs

  20. Albert Walker Says:

    good point as a ex-Wook now in recovery
    I always found puttin down the same people that put down the cleaner more college fans on this site kind of odd
    we are all just people with varrying degrees of showering and combing habits
    well that’s all I got

  21. Albert Walker Says:


    100 when I stopped counting which would be new years 96
    had a little bit of a H problem after that so as you can imagine counting became quite the problem

    I always found it funny when someone says I’ve seen 182 shows
    I’m just not that exact

    pretty safe to say it’s around 200

  22. tela'smuff Says:

    @Wax – I agree with you. Just so u know.

    @Mr. C – i didn’t read your whole Split theory, so I’m not sure if you’re giving it a +/- but I thought it was one of the more interesting jams of the tour. True, the ending didn’t give that realease needed after a mindfuck like that, but it was still wildly interesting to me.

    I for one can’t quite get how Piper from Alpine Night II isn’t immediatly claimed as the jam of the tour? It had all of the elements Phish explored this tour, and they were peak moments throughout. Best set of the tour – handsdown. But still, I left Pitt and Alpine1 leaving quite unsatisfied. DC was good, very good, but may be getting a bit overhyped due to weather. Both sets of Roo were as good, and Knoxville was better. Those are of course opinions based on the shows I attended.

    to add my details – 34 – first show 10/28/94 – reached 74 shows with Alpine! Hopefully Cincy fall will be my 75th!

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    “I’m mad I missed Jerry in the 60’s and 70’s
    I guess I should just be happy I saw the dead and Phish in the early mid nineties”

    One thing that hasn’t changed is that no matter when you start, no matter which band it is, according to people on tour you JUST MISSED IT DUDE!!!

    I have close friends whose first shows were the famous April ’71 Fillmore East run – they were told at those shows that they were silly kids who had missed out on the best days of the Dead.

    In 73-74 the scene was absolutely overrun with newbies who were into bad drugs (quaaludes/pills, the equivalent of today nitrous scene), and everyone talked about how Europe ’72 was the shit and missed the fact the band was playing the best music of their career.

    In ’77 it was all about how you missed ’74.

    In the early 80’s it was all about how you missed ’77.

    When I started going it was all about how you missed the early 80s – laughable, in hindsight!

    When I saw my first Phish show in ’90 I heard that the best days were past and I should have come up to VT and seen them at Nectars a couple years ago.

    …and the cycle has continued ever since.

    Sometimes it’s even correct. 1986 Dead was MUCH worse than 1985, and ’00 Phish wasn’t as good as 97-99. But something good is always happening, and if you’re focused on the past you’ll miss it – AND you’ll miss the next big wave when it comes through. Then you feel REALLY FUCKING STUPID a couple years down the line. Trust me, I have friends who bailed on the Dead in early 89 just before they caught fire, and other friends who bailed on Phish in mid 97.

    If all you got to live for is what you left behind
    get yourself a powder charge and seal that silver mine

  24. SOAM Says:

    Completes-I’ll be on Darien>Spac-I’d dig a little pow-wow.

    I am trying to get a job being Miner’s assistant so I can do the whole tour-Donations?

  25. Albert Walker Says:

    I hear ya complete, but with fat man gone it’s safe to say kid’s these day’s just are missing out on the magic- the foundation of Phish tour

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