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. Wax Banks Says:

    @Mr C!!!!

    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.

    It seems we agree 100% that unself-consciousness (to pick a positively-shaded neutral term) is the goal of these collective experiences. I’m with you on that, no question – but then I don’t think ego and ‘analytical thought’ are coterminous or equivalent; I’m tempted to say (and this part is really tentative, I’m thinking aloud w/you) that what we call ‘analytical’ thinking is a subspecies of more generally ‘associative’ thinking, involving ‘derived’ connections which are a form of ‘perceived’ connections. And so I think you can get beyond the ego but maintain rational/analytical capacity, deploying your analytical apparatus as freely and unself-consciously as you would your emotional receptors/transmitters at a rock concert.

    Now, I don’t quite believe that there’s musical ‘secret’ communication going on between Trey and particularly hard-concentrating fans; there’s no physical channel that would likely serve such info-transmission, and while I think there are kinds of information that we’re not aware we’re aware of, I don’t think that kind of mind-melding is believable to me at the moment. Not to say it’s not possible, I just don’t think it’s necessary to explain the half-coincidental, half-abstract ‘Phish moments’ people seem to have together.


    I definitely think there’s something we simplistically label ‘energy,’ which is obviously shared in a creative moment between (e.g.) musicians and listeners. And I think a perceptive, sensitive musician is certainly cognizant of subtle (and not-so-subtle!) moods and ‘invisible’ emotional information passed unguardedly between people at a show – subtle differences of posture and expression, close correspondence between the shape of a musical phrase and the line of an improvised dance which the musician might amplify (as feedback) and which the dancer might respond to in turn, even more strongly…

    …and if we assume that coincidences are only coincidences, which can be made more or less likely by (un/conscious) cooperation, you can imagine Trey communicating via what seems like a multidirectional channel with other people in the room via a variety of media. The clearest example is, of course, the band’s communication – which has its analytical component (strategies and complex notions to be shared, which can be remarkably complicated or high-order) but which is nonetheless a primarily pre-intellectual exchange. That seems (to me) to be a collective activity that combines heavy neocortical business (musicmaking as high-order logical assembly according to complex internalized rules, e.g. of contemporary Western/blues harmony) with free-floating emotional (limbic) collaboration and resonance.

    I admire your dedication to generosity and shared experience at the shows! My own desire is to be able to hear every level of the music at once, to be part of its order and to evaluate that order simultaneously, etc. And I think shedding self-consciousness is the path to that total awareness – but for whatever personal reasons I think it’s important to preserve the option of engaging rational (i.e. partly verbal, i.e. symbolic, i.e. abstracting) mechanisms on the journey.

    This topic isn’t out of place on this board, but something tells me the discussion is. 🙂

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Chonz I need to sign off for now and get some work done for a few hours, and I’m going to have a busy night too. But, I and some other folks I know have had the same experience completely without psychedelics now. Happened the first time at a Trey show. So I would be interested in continuing this conversation but I might not be able to say much more today…

    /MrCompletely looks back and realizes how much he has already “contributed”

    good lord, I’ll shut up now

  3. Wax Banks Says:

    To return to one quick point: a coincidence is only a coincidence if you notice it; we tend to make them into stories, and I’m skeptical of the narrativizing instinct around allegedly psychedelic experiences rife with such an overabundance of coincidence. Truly random number sequences tend to contain ‘unlikely’ repetitions and patterns – which are only patterns if we label them as such. Moments of collective-consciousness are the same. Which is still a pretty fucking nice way to spend your time, I suppose…:)

  4. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @wax “‘When the Tao is lost, men begin to speak of good and evil’ – i.e. when the moment passes, what’s left is categories, personal preoccupations, shame that manifests as maintaining-order. The first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was…cover themselves. That’s what made God sad, you might say – not the apple but the shame. They’d made Him into something other than part of their community, so He had to let the poor bastards go. Y’know? It’s the shame that leads to the various sins that follow.”

    i assume you’re not referring to john milton here but rather the bible, but are you actually saying you believe in ‘god’?

  5. Mr.Miner Says:


  6. Wax Banks Says:

    i assume you’re not referring to john milton here but rather the bible, but are you actually saying you believe in ‘god’?

    I wouldn’t say so, no. Just talking about the story. 🙂

    I like that the story can be read to make a point quite contrary to the one its authors intended – which might be to say that guessing the authors’ intentions is a fool’s game, and the story is just powerful shit.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Wax – as I just said I don’t have time to respond in any detail – but very briefly, while I really feel where you’re coming from, and I do understand what you’re saying and certainly think your mode of experience sounds like a fascinating and deep one, this is just something that is essentially gnostic in its essence (meaning you’ve either experienced it or you haven’t).

    If you haven’t experienced it that way, there’s no way to convince you, and that’s fine. But just real quick:

    “there’s no physical channel that would likely serve such info-transmission,”

    No proven physical channel. We know very little about most of what’s around us, Wax. How do you know it’s not communicated by resonance in the axion background Bose-Einstein condensate? 😮

    “and while I think there are kinds of information that we’re not aware we’re aware of, I don’t think that kind of mind-melding is believable to me at the moment. ”

    And that’s OK. I can’t convince you and won’t try. That being said, I have been un-tripping and heard a convoluted and very unlikely combination of possible notes ripple through my head from somewhere, and heard Trey play it note for note one bar later. I’ve had the same thing happen several times while high, and talked to many others who have had the same experience.

    It just comes down to which side you think Occam’s Razor cuts on. I think it’s more likely that there’s a currently unknown channel for information transmission and that it’s actually happening than that’s it’s all synchronicity and subtle perception of physical cues….

    agh, gotta go. be glad to pick this up some other time.

    I feel good, feel good about Hood!

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    only I could say “no more time” and post two more long posts. sorry. hijack over, or at least tabled!

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @wax – “guessing the authors’ intentions is a fool’s game” – can say that about just about any piece of writing (see derrida and deconstruction)

  10. Wax Banks Says:

    @fool –

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

    I find the cosmology and culture of Buddhism goofy and at times repugnant, but Zen teaching is important to me. I don’t think any of my unself-consciousness talk is incompatible with, say, sensuous Catholicism (modulo e.g. some guilt-about-sex and worship-of-authority stuff that should be jettisoned).

    i.e. I’m not ‘really debating’ about Buddhism, but some Buddhist teachings are relevant to the debate. As Mr C said.

  11. voopa Says:


  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @wax, now you’re just getting freudian

  13. wvbrdr Says:

    Age: 34
    Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
    Currently: Vashon, WA
    Past Residences: Morgantown, WV, Breckenridge, CO, Missoula, MT, Tillamook, OR
    First Show(s): 2/11/93 Bloomsburg University
    # shows: 42
    This Year: Gorge
    When I first got it:
    Most shows in a year: Summer tour 1996
    Most Shows in a venue:
    Fests: Clifford Ball, Went
    NYEs: 1996
    Favorite outdoor venue: Gorge
    Favorite indoor: Old Spectrum , they rocked that place
    Show attended worthy of an archival release/ most underrated: 12/29/96 Spectrum, Philly 08/13/97 Star Lake
    Biggest Phish Regrets: not seeing any shows since 1999
    Least favorite tunes: Bouncing, Velvet Sea,
    Holy Grail(s): Freebird, Bathtub Gin, Mikes>H2>Weekapaug, Reba, DWD

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    Wax- it seems like you’re having trouble believing anything outside of your personal box of experiences….pretty narrow view of the universe, don’t you think. I – like Mr C – am not here to convince you of anything- but to dismiss peoples real experiences- people every bit as real as you- is flat out narcissistic. I don’t believe it because I’ve never experienced it is like going through life with blinders on. You’re very good an waxing philosophic ( pun intended) about your musical theory and philosophy, but not so good at accepting things that you don’t deem “believeable.”

    to sum up my point, as echoed by Mr C- “Nothing I see can be taken from me.”

  15. guyforget Says:

    Age: 32
    Hometown: Randolph, NJ
    Currently: Scottsdale, AZ
    Past Residences: Newark, DE San Diego, CA
    First Show(s): 11/22/97
    # of shows: 35 i think…
    This Year: Fox, RR, Shoreline, Gorge, Indio?
    When I first got it: 11/22/97, went on a whim with a roommate who was into Phish, and i walked into Hampton Coliseum and that was it.
    Most shows in a year: ??
    Most Shows in a venue: Spectrum
    Fests: Lemonwheel, Oswego, Big Cypress, Coventry (god i hate that word)
    NYEs: Big Cypress
    Favorite outdoor venue: Coors Amp, but i’m guessing it will be RR after this summer
    Favorite indoor: MSG, Spectrum
    Show attended worthy of an archival release/ most underrated: 6/28/00
    Biggest Phish Regrets: not gettting to Hampton
    Least favorite tunes: tough one…Taste maybe
    Holy Grail(s): Tube, Punch, 2001, Ghost (97 style funk)

  16. gus Says:

    I have to say, I have had a lot of fun reading todays discussion. I should definitely start reading the comments more often.

  17. sumodie Says:

    Love the discussion, including Wax and his style of writing (of course, all of us could write more clearly). And I agree with most of Wax and Mr. Completely said (and I think their ideas were more in agreement with one another than not).

    To keep it short n sweet, the only thing I might say is that magic is magic until science evolves into being able to explain it (e.g., gravity, sickness, etc).

    I’m a believer in the music playing the band, and on any given night, the band picking up information/vibes/energy from the crowd that completely informs the music. For now we call it magic, but someday we might call it science.

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    @chonz…as a follow up to Mr. C, I got IT during Divided Sky in Asheville…first time in a LONG time. I’d had a few good beers and puffs, but was otherwise sober…no extras. IT was flowing everywhere. I think cow would agree…

    Can’t wait for gorge…

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @miner, subjectivity can be a very scary thing for some (most?) people

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    There is virtually no objectivity to life….

  21. Selector J Says:

    @ wax: Before you submit this to your committee, may I suggest revising the first chapter. Your usage of the ‘triune brain’ components, limbic and neocortex should be omitted. Dr. MacLean’s theory in evolutionary neurology is seen as controversial at best and more commonly as obsolete. 😉

    I do agree with your stance on the ‘Phish moments.’ At present, I don’t believe in a supra-conscious communication between band and audience. I wish I did. Maybe if I believed in such a phenomenon, I would be more susceptible to having an experience that would convince me of its existence? Maybe that’s fucking crazy? 😛

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    Objective reality is real but one of the less interesting parts of reality, I think. If you jump off a 2000 foot cliff it doesn’t matter what words your language uses for “jump” or “cliff” or what the symbolic meaning of cliffs might be in your culture, or why you did it for that matter. You still splat just the same.

    But as soon as you get away from simple physical reality it’s all about subjectivity – absolutely. I really wish there was a better word than “intersubjective” for the subjective realities co-created from multiple viewpoints. It’s a terrible and really boring word for a fairly interesting idea.

    Having your center of consciousness leave your body and mind and go floating around, getting shot into hyperspace by the hose, or merging willy-nilly with whatever else is flopping around out there can be quite terrifying. Most people assume they’re either dying or going nuts, run away, and never come back. If you don’t just write it off as hallucination it tends to be a rather strong lesson in subjectivity.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Selector – a perceptive question. I should say that while I have notions as to how such a thing might be true, and experiences that point to it being true, I am still deeply skeptical in many ways. Certainly it will never be tested experimentally, and there’s real danger in talking about it too much. If nothing else you turn into John Dwork, if that name means anything to people here. The String Cheese circa 2001 phenomenon.

    It might be said that a *disbelief* in such phenomena might make it impossible to experience them, while *belief* (in the religious sense) might ensure it in a self-fulfilling projection kind of way, which would rob the whole thing of merit.

    So I try, and usually fail but sometimes succeed, to strip myself of all thoughts and expectations and see what happens.

    I am profoundly uncertain as to what is actually occurring. But I am glad that people are at least interested in talking about it.

  24. Selector J Says:

    @Mr. C:
    Don’t mind me. I’ve been deconstructed by the killjoys of academic science. I’m hoping Phish tells me some secrets at Red Rocks, though.

  25. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    As far as collective ecstasy, I read a fairly interesting book on the history of the subject called “Dancing In The Streets” by Barbara Ehrenreich sp? As a historian, I found the connection from early man (did you know that the earliest surviving images of mankind are of him dancing?), to Bacchanalia, mystery cults of the late Imperial period, through Carnivale (in the medieval European connotation, though its still a party today!), and ultimately to modern events like sports and Phish shows (though she mentions the Dead in particular with no mention of Phish). Basically her thesis is that man has an innate need for moments of collective ecstasy. It is basically a cultural universal. However, after the Protestant Reformation, there was a systematic effort to suppress these rituals, primarily because they challenged the dominant power structure, and of course they involved lots of drinking, dancing and sex, which our puritanical forebears, and many on the cultural right today, find just distasteful, to the point of outlawing it. She goes further (and this is where I think she hits shaky ground) to argue that the rise in depression, which makes a major appearance in writing after the Reformation, was concomitant with the supression of these rituals. In other words, she argues that taking part in collective ecstasy is necessary for a healthy life.

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