The Revitalized “Harry Hood”

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

One of Phish’s most revered songs, “Harry Hood’s” emotional quality and ethereal improvisation taps into the very ethos of the band and their grand musical experiment.  A tightly-woven path of exaltation, “Hood” jams, when played with intent, are like none other.  Peaking with a mind-boggling, yet blissful intensity, I consider “Hoods” to be musical metaphors for life itself.  One of the band’s most magical pieces, “Harry Hood” is pure Phish.

But there came a time, around ’98 through ’00, where the band continued playing the song, but with much less passion.  Often noodling their way to generic peaks, the start of “Harry Hood,” instead of giving me instant goosebumps, was almost a letdown, because I knew how great it could be.  Then came post-hiatus.  With more energy and an exploratory spirit, Phish began taking “Hoods” where they’d never gone before- crafting two for the record books in Charlotte and Camden in the Summer of ’03.  But just as the band was getting into things, it was over.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

Fast Forward to this summer.  Beginning with Jones Beach’s other-worldly experimentation, “Hood” announced itself on the summer scene with a deeply-psychedelic excursion, leaving the entire crowd buzzing long after the show.  Bringing the jam to a new realm of ambient space, Phish made a statement with “Harry Hood,” reawakening its hibernating spirit from the corner of the universe, and back into our lives.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

When Phish dropped the next “Hood” at Great Woods, those goosebumps were back.  Combining musical urgency and a delicate patience- seemingly a paradox- Phish played perhaps the tightest and most triumphant version of the summer.  Extending the jam with mini musical tangents, this was the type of “Hood,” that when it finally arrives at its peak, finds the entire crowd involuntarily blissed out.  All four members carried on a vibrant musical conversation, each offering creative musical phrases; none dominating at all.  If Jones Beach represented a dark spiritual awakening, this climactic version was a soulful sprint through an open meadow with deepest blue sky and long green grass swirling around you.  “Hood” was officially back- and it had never felt better.

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

6.16.09 (B.Kisida)

As Phish continued to drop frequent “Hoods” throughout June, each and every one was welcomed with rife anticipation of where the ride might take us.  Remaining anchored in the jam’s structure, each brought a brilliant improvisational path, as the band and audience rejoiced in one of their most hallowed pieces.  Knoxville and Bonnaroo’s versions each crafted a gentle journey that was a highlight of their respective sets.  June’s final version came at Star Lake, a soaring and emotive rendition led by Trey’s dynamic playing- again, one of the jams of the night.

“Harry Hood” fell right in line with the band’s June trend of tight, purposeful improvisation that remained, largely, inside the box.  But being a song that never strayed far from its path (other than in ’03) this suited “Harry” just right.  With a renewed intent, Phish crafted spiritual excursions out of “Hood” all tour long, reconnecting with their own souls as well as ours.



6.18.09 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < TORRENT

6.18.09 Star Lake, Burgettstown, PA < MEGAUPLOAD

Official Star Lake Poster

Official Star Lake Poster

The first of June’s final four nights, Phish improvised coherently throughout the second set.  Warming them up for Deer Creek and Alpine, this show became far more interesting after setbreak.  The “Disease > Free,” “Piper,” and “Hood” are all highlight explorations, while the “YEM” was, in my opinion, the best of tour.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Chalk Dust Torture, Bouncing Around the Room, Wolfman’s Brother, The Divided Sky, Heavy Things, Walk Away, Wilson, Tube, Alaska, David Bowie

II: Down With Disease > Free, Guyute, Piper > When The Circus Comes To Town, Harry Hood, The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself

E: Grind, Hello My Baby, Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Loving Cup

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S(din)-FOB > Lunatec V2 > Sound Devices 722 (24/48) – Taper: Z-Man



Phish At the Fox – Photo: Brian Kisida

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209 Responses to “The Revitalized “Harry Hood””

  1. Anthony Says:

    Mr. Miner, I thouroughly enjoy reading what you have to say, but I disagree with your statement that during the years of ’98 to ’00, Phish played Hood with less passion. I remind you of probably my favorite version, 9-28-99. It may have been because I was at the show, but even now with 60+ recordings of Hood in my iTunes library, that Hood at Oak Mountain still gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. I know these topics can be discussed infinitum so I think I’ll just listen to Hood now…Rock on!!!! :>

  2. AintNoTele Says:

    I love this damn site, makes the work day breeze. I feel like a high school kid looking at porn when my boss walks by. It’s like “minimize that shit asap and pull up my email!” “Its not what it looks like mom, I was cleaning it and it went off”

  3. sumodie Says:

    “Wax, you’re not wrong, you’re just way off base for the site and your audience.”

    I disagree with this statement. For example, I don’t follow a lot of people’s posts when they’re dissecting the elements of a phish song, but I wouldn’t want then to dumb down their writing. In fact, I find it easier to understand Wax’s posts today than much of the song dissection that goes on.

    No matter….another day of interesting discussion.

    BTW, someone on PT claimed to have insider info that the Indio deal fell through a few days ago. Of course there’s NO reason to believe him -just wondering if anyone else heard something similar. And the rumor mill churns on……also no update…

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ sure, but when there is a discussion going, and someone starts a post “This is a bit off topic, but…” and then launches into a personal dissertation about something else time and time again, it can get tiresome, regardless of content…

  5. butter Says:

    i feel good about hood

  6. Selector J Says:

    Red Rocks ’09 Hood shall be epic.

    (Is anyone still awake reading this? Just wondering.)

  7. Selector J Says:

    Wow. What a co-inky-dink.

  8. Piece of Tinsel Says:

    I’ve got an SAT-worthy analogy:

    Phish 1.0 is to Charlie Dirksen as Phish 3.0 is to Wax Banks

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^^ wow that is an excellent analogy!

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