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. whole tour! Says:

    is today’s post being graded?


  2. whole tour! Says:


  3. halcyon Says:

    I know there is not much love for U2 in the Phish community, but I think a cover of U2 would be interesting. Some of their albums have room for improv, some songs have that build up and release that is found in some of Phish’s songs. Just my thought, as I was listening to some of their music today.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ love U2….The Unfiorgettable Fire would be great….

  5. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @halcyon – I dig on old school U2. The Joshua Tree tour was the 2nd concert I ever saw.

  6. whole tour! Says:

    ”and gasped when defeated
    he slipped off the EDGE”


  7. whole tour! Says:

    i always wondered if the line from rift is about the edge.??

  8. whole tour! Says:

    wait….he slipped off the edge…sounds funny. lol

  9. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Strolling through my local paper’s website and found a fairly good review of the Deer Creek show. Gave it 4 1/2 stars and wrote a fairly cogent article.

  10. Twiggy Says:

    Indio is at the foothills of Joshua Tree National Park. So I’m calling it now. U2 – The Joshua Tree for the musical costume. And then again, who has ever gotten the musical costume right? Not me, although I did say to my friends prior to ’98 that I thought that they would play the album that Sweet Jane was on, but that doesn’t count because I didn’t know the album “Loaded” at the time.

  11. Exree Hipp Says:

    Wax, you’re not wrong, you’re just way off base for the site and your audience. I have way more than my share of elite education under my belt and I would say what it’s taught me is that a Phish forum is not the place to take it out for a spin, to borrow your phrasing. If you are going to discuss the limbic area and the neocortex and not have any good reason for using the terms, nor the patience to explain why they might be at all relevant for those who have no use for that line of thought then yeah, you’re going to get shot down.

    I for one tend to agree with what you said about complexity of experience almost completely. I consider the height of the experience to be a shedding of my own needs and desires, a narrow focus on the moment, and a simultaneous analysis and appreciation of the performance in context with those that have come before it. As you said there’s not too much to being just narrowly in the moment – we can do that with television, donuts, whatever. But when heightened with the appreciation of craft, order, and yes, collective experience, it is a hell of a thing. I definitely got all of that during the JB Hood, which like Miner described, felt like a ripple moving through the audience. Thankfully it also had the cosmic power to shut the people behind me right the fuck up.

  12. Frankenstein Says:

    I’m looking for a way to download or stream shows from my iPhone…any ideas? I’m in Seattle, wouldn’t mind hooking up with some heads out here in the near future…I think Harry Pood is as close as Olympia, anyone else?

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    “I consider the height of the experience to be a shedding of my own needs and desires, a narrow focus on the moment, and a simultaneous analysis and appreciation of the performance in context with those that have come before it.”

    ^^ VERY well said!! Of course. I agree completely.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    that’s all it took, ONE really good sentence 😉

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    “I definitely got all of that during the JB Hood, which like Miner described, felt like a ripple moving through the audience.

    ^^ def one of my most spiritual experiences at a Phish show. It was the closest thing to collective energy/consciousness/whatever you want to call it that I have ever felt. EVERYONE – even strangers I met after the show seemed to echo each other’s sentiment that “something happened” during Harry Hood. It was crazy, as my friend and I waked, more and more people continued saying it, or something very similar….one of the most transcendent Phish moments I have ever experienced

  16. Bandnana Says:

    Man, I think I walked into the wrong class today.

  17. Exree Hipp Says:

    I agree, Miner. That was the most ‘alert’ I had been at a show since 97 certainly.

    Those days in 97 were one after another of feeling that way. In the span of just a few months I saw 8/17/97-2, 11/29/97-2, 11/30/97, 12/30/97-2, and all the shows in those runs, where I was just completely in tune with how the band was communicating.

    I remember after the Went thinking that the shows were much better than the Clifford Ball, which I don’t think at all anymore, but I know I felt that because of the way I locked in with their thinking. During the Went Gin I remember thinking (asking!) Trey to hear where Page was pointing him, and it all fused perfectly in a way I felt I’d seen before it happened (sober, FYI).

  18. Exree Hipp Says:

    ^I take that back – was definitely still feeling that at the island tour. But even then I think I had begun to lose it. By Lemonwheel I was past it, and couldn’t keep in the moment on 11/29/98 or 12/30/98, my other post-Lemonwheel shows that year. Took 99 off and had a blast in Fall 00.

  19. voopa Says:

    Objectivity is key at times, like my job, which is primarily comprised of crunching numbers…there are a couple reports I have to do each period which rely on my subjective decisions, and I hate it; but I try my best to be as objective as possible about them.

    Art is no place for objectivity. It’s all about the moment, and has nothing to do with whatever context in which anyone puts it. If you’re unsatisfied, that’s your own trip, pal.

  20. voopa Says:

    ^^^ like *at* my job (and any other errors you may find)

  21. AintNoTele Says:

    What’s wax’s website? Any consciousness talk is always welcome in my book, especially a phish shared experience. I’m working on a paper on how phish music with kuroda’s lights effectively teach synesthesia. Music paired with lights=feelings we pair with colors. Pretty basic, but it works. Just like those olfactory hues…

  22. AintNoTele Says:

    Any music with a light show actually

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    click his name and you can go read his website

  24. bearito Says:

    Great post today miner. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions as well. Very colorful and intuitive posts by all.

  25. AintNoTele Says:

    thanks, a little too easy…

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