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.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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


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47_Phish_at_the_Fox

Phish At the Fox – Photo: Brian Kisida

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209 Responses to “The Revitalized “Harry Hood””

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    Wax- write for the people to understand, not to make yourself feel smart, eh? 😉 I get what you’re saying, but seriously- don’t you think you can express yourself more effectively??

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    and yes- that Hood is amazing!

  3. whole tour! Says:

    lol…it’s a concert, not a math equation. jesus.

  4. Wax Banks Says:

    are you trying to show off your vocab now?

    No. I never ‘show off’ my vocabulary. I just like words and enjoying using a wide variety of them.

    A guy showing off his car parks it where other shitheads can see it and ‘admire’ it.

    A guy who loves his car drives it fast and takes care of it.

    This is what driving looks like.

  5. larrybirdflu Says:

    “the thesis that your writing is a load of shit, but im glad you finally finished it” just kidding wax your analysis is always very thoughtful.

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ my feelings excatly Whole Tour. You can over-intellectualize something and lose its essence….

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    “No. I never ’show off’ my vocabulary. I just like words and enjoying using a wide variety of them.

    A guy showing off his car parks it where other shitheads can see it and ‘admire’ it.

    A guy who loves his car drives it fast and takes care of it.

    This is what driving looks like.”

    ^^ one of the most absurd analogies I’ve ever heard. Do you TALK like this?

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    just playing man, but for real. Most of your points are lost in your “enjoyment” of your own words….

  9. Wax Banks Says:

    lol…it’s a concert, not a math equation. jesus.

    I assume you don’t have a taste for math? Solving complex equations is a goddamn trip. But you’re right – the one isn’t the other.

    How weird would it be if someone had suggested anything even remotely like that.

  10. KWL Says:

    “But know that your pursuit of wisdom is no more or less provisional, personal, and incomplete for involving fewer five-dollar fucking vocabulary words!!”

    Wax I don’t always agree with what you say (and sometimes I think the only ‘disciplinary knowledge’ you need can be found in Foucault’s Discipline & Punish), but you nailed it there!

    “I think the point of going to these shows, indeed of doing any mind-altering activity, is to be as complexly in the moment as possible: not only experiencing unmediated limbic interaction with others – unanalyzed emotions, ‘true love’ if such a thing is possible – but also continuous awareness of the constituent parts of things, the order(s) of assembly.”

    The pursuit is what it’s all about, regardless of how someone defines the ‘moment’ and what ‘being in it’ entails–your ‘complexly’ defined moment is another’s overload. I wouldn’t say you define the moment ‘more fully’, I would say rather that you define it differently. ‘More fully’ could entail a simplified sense of consciousness, no? And is that less ‘complex’ than analytical precision? (or take Miner’s point: ‘You can over-intellectualize something and lose its essence…’)

    For me personally, well, I think I lean towards your position in terms of what a perfect experience of music is… but I wouldn’t get in the game of defining one state as better or worse than another.

    Appreciate your thoughts Wax!

  11. Little Buddy Says:

    “I love the shiny music that descends from overhead” (My phish philosophy…) To each, his own.

  12. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Wax and Mr. C – I think I find myself between your two perspectives. In other words, I do like to lose myself in the moment, in fact, I LOVE to lose myself in the moment. However, at the same time, I can still appreciate, in the moment, a good version of a song, and can be disappointed by a bad version. I often turn towards my tour buddy (he and I have seen over 60 shows together) and make comments like at Bonnaroo #1 “gee, Kill Devil Falls doesn’t usually get this crazy!”

    I’m no philosopher, so maybe this is rudimentary stuff to that type, but I think that there are two ways of appreciating just about anything. There is the instant gratification of seeing or hearing something that is intrinsically beautiful, like the first time you see a band and you are like, whoa. However, there is another, deeper (to my mind) appreciation that comes from experience. Because of the wealth of knowledge and experience, the current moment fits into a context that makes appreciation of it unique. While I don’t have the experience of a Mr. Miner, I have seen Harry Hood live something like 17 times, thus everytime I see it, it instantly conjures memories of past Hoods, the excitement about getting to the scary part, the catharsis of the end. Thus, no matter how I try, the experience of the past creeps into the present moment, and leads to an either greater or lesser appreciation, depending on how well they play it. I’m sure, as Wax stated, there is some five-dollar word for that, but I chose to get an MBA so that I didn’t have to use words like that.

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    “but I wouldn’t get in the game of defining one state as better or worse than another.”
    ^^ agreed, this is a personal trip we are on….

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Surrender to the Flow” = the philosophy of Phish…..

    the moment ends…don’t miss it 😉

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Wax – as usual this is very YMMV territory so I can only speak from my own experience here. Also, we’re in difficult linguistic (or perhaps semantic) territory, where we run into trouble with clarity of meaning due to the lack of a suitable agreed-upon vocabulary. I say all that up front so I don’t have to soften every declarative statement that follows with an “I think” or “it seems to me” or whatever.

    In the case of *general flow experience* I would say you are absolutely correct. However, any rational or analytical action (including postrational facilities such as network-logic) in the mind has the effect of re-centering consciousness within the self. And the very innermost grail experience at shows for me is the one in which consciousness becomes nonlocal.

    The simple term for this is “group mind” but I find that this term sets off crackpot alarm bells among sophisticated thinkers as well as being decidedly inaccurate. There is no “mind” per se – but there is a “no-mind” in the Zen sense. That being said, the experience itself is profoundly real, as real as any subjective experience. Many phish fans and deadheads reject this idea, but at least as many more seem to experience something along those lines. I prefer the term “integrated consciousness” as a nod to Ken Wilber, who flirted briefly with being the greatest genius of the last 30 years before turning into just another hustling shuckster-guru.

    My primary psychological exercise at shows for many years now has been to forget about myself completely. Not out of avoidance or anything, but out of interest in others. Shows are transformative experiences and I’ve had plenty of those, more than my share; now I find myself trying to focus on other people in the room who might be struggling with the moment in some way, working out the kind of internal issues that used to occupy so many of my experiences.

    The other thing that happens is when you get to contribute directly to the improvisation. Based on conversations I’ve had with improvising musicians, and interviews I’ve read, I’m finally comfortable believing this is really happening. It seems as if, during many of the peak jams which become so famous, there are…a few? several? a dozen or so? people in the room who are so highly tuned to the moment that, to put it bluntly, Trey can hear what we think. Musically speaking, not like your inner thoughts or whatever, though that fear tends to cause contraction back within the self.

    Anyway, at most shows I go to, there’s at least one jam that I feel is fully co-created by the audience, or specifically, by Trey in hidden dialogue with audience members.

    Perhaps I’m still not supposed to talk about this openly, but I just don’t care anymore. And FWIW, I don’t think it’s magic, I’m quite sure that if it’s real there’s a physical basis for the transmission of information.

    Anyway those are the things I think are going on at shows that are blocked by analytical process of any type. You may well think it’s humbug and that’s fine. It’s the real reason I go to shows and I find that I can only get there if I am at my most mirror-like.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    we are giving out PhDs today an Phish Thoughts. 😉

  17. larrybirdflu Says:

    im with mr. c. i think you hit it on the head. and very eloquently taboot.

  18. KWL Says:

    @GP420, agree completely, with the caveat that I would say there are many more than two ways of appreciating… but in general I would rather take categories apart than put them together or seal them off. That is part of what Phish’s music does for me–it pushes to the other side, it breaks out of what we thought we knew, it surprises, it leaks, it becomes-otherwise…

  19. Albert Walker Says:

    I dig wax, but come on

    posting on a blog is similar to your showing off analogy
    wouldn’t a journal be more in line with your driving fast

    when you are posting for all to see, showing off makes more sense

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Guitarpicker – “However, at the same time, I can still appreciate, in the moment, a good version of a song, and can be disappointed by a bad version.”

    *absolutely*. I don’t mean to imply that I’m in some kind of transcendental state or whatever for the whole show, or that that’s the goal. For the most part I experience the show much in the way Wax described* and that’s fine. But when things start to condense to that laser-beam state of unity, that’s when it’s time for me to flip the switch and go for pure mirror mode.

    * FWIW I definitely think Wax is simply trying to express difficult and complex concepts and is using the tools at his disposal. However I also the think the fact that it’s so difficult to even describe the problem analytically is a clue that the analytical approach is profoundly limited in this area.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    lol i wonder if you guys realize that what you are really debating about is buddhism

  22. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Mr. C – You, sir, get the prize. You have captured exactly the way I feel during the shows. There is definitely an organic something that happens between people, especially when its really, really good. Like the Dead said “while the music plays the band.” On more than one occasion, I knew exactly where they were going, and have felt that connection, not just with Trey. Its weird, its more than somewhat egotistical, but it is what it is.

    A quick side anecdote on the group think. I was at a Phil and Friends show back in 2000 or 2001, when they had Herring and Haynes. I was up in the balcony the whole show, fairly melted as it were. Somewhere in the middle of Stella Blue I got the overwhelming sensation that they were trying to conjure up the spirit of Garcia. After the show, I was downstairs waiting for my buddy to get his tape deck since he was patched in for the show. I was talking to a taper and he was so animated about what a great show it was, and then he said, “what was really sublime was that moment during Stella Blue when they tried to conjure up Garcia.” His exact words. I was stunned. To this day, I believe that it is quite possible for a room full of people who are melting their faces to share very similar, if not exactly the same, thoughts.

  23. R1 Says:

    I understand (more or less) what Wax is saying, I just don’t know why he’s saying it.

  24. Chonz Says:

    “The other thing that happens is when you get to contribute directly to the improvisation. Based on conversations I’ve had with improvising musicians, and interviews I’ve read, I’m finally comfortable believing this is really happening. It seems as if, during many of the peak jams which become so famous, there are…a few? several? a dozen or so? people in the room who are so highly tuned to the moment that, to put it bluntly, Trey can hear what we think. Musically speaking, not like your inner thoughts or whatever, though that fear tends to cause contraction back within the self.”

    Holy shit, YES! I thought I was the only one acid-addled enough to think this. Have to head home fom work now, but looking forward to continuing this discussion….

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @guitarpicker – “Its weird, its more than somewhat egotistical”

    Only if you fail to recognize that even if it’s coming *through* you to Trey, it’s still not coming *from* you. Also, if you’re ever in that moment and get all ego-y about it, it breaks. It’s NOT you. You can *help*. Trey has talked a LOT about how it’s not coming from him and the same is true for the rest of us. I’ve fallen victim to that illusion more than once, but I think I’m done with it.

    @f0ol – I certainly do, and since Wax referenced Zen (no I have not read that, sounds interesting) I suspect he does as well. However, Buddhism in most of its forms makes no direct reference to the mass-transpersonal aspects of what I’m talking about, and most forms of Buddhism also dismiss any Dionysian or ecstatic approach to enlightenment completely (tibetan tantra being one exception).

    But in terms of the mechanics of manipulating one’s own consciousness, Buddhism is unmatched.

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