Moments In A Box: The Northeast

6.4.09 Jones Beach (D.Vann)

6.4.09 Jones Beach (D.Vann)

There are so many moments frozen in time that occur over the course of a Phish tour.  One of the beauties of shows is that these moments can be completely different for each of us.  But there is a peculiar duality to the Phish experience- while being one of the most personal experiences on earth, shows are the sites of the most collective energy I’ve ever felt.  Firmly rooted in the personal, some moments are so grand and transcendent, that they become collective moments of catharsis.  These are those times when everyone is overtaken and living the moment- a different type of energy takes over the room.  This week we are going to revisit some of these moments from the first half of summer tour, region by region.  Today let’s start with the Northeast.


“2001 > Slave” Jones Beach, 6.5 II

Playing amidst a steady rainstorm, the inclement weather sparked a fire in Phish as everything clicked in their most adventurous set up to this point in tour.  As the band’s debut of “Twenty Years Later” carried out into a sustained note, Fishman’s snare hit, and the band spun into a late-set, torrential “2001.”  Unveiling their space-funk for the first time of the summer, the band took us on a rain-soaked excursion in groove.  The swirling drops against Kuroda’s vibrant backdrop enhanced what was an already supremely adrenalizing moment.  Entering some colorful and thick rhythms, Phish loosened up their playing as the crowd fed off the musical crack.

6.5.09 Jones Beach) (D.Vann

6.5.09 Jones Beach) (D.Vann

But when the song peaked, it was a mystery what the band would drop.  Having played so many of their big songs through the first couple nights at Jones Beach, I had no idea.  Out of left field came the perfect choice- “Slave.”  Just the thought of a “2001 > Slave” combo makes your spine tingle.  And amidst a clearing storm, Phish climaxed their first spectacular set of summer with this triumphant version.  Climbing slowly between the raindrops and beyond the clouds, we set sail on a sea of sonic bliss.  Hitting the top with a purpose, the band sat in an extended peak that sent everyone home smiling.  After this awing version capped a show that saw the band begin to coalesce, the drive to Great Woods seemed like a breeze.

Listen to 6.5’s “2001 > SLAVE” NOW!



“Fluffhead” Great Woods, 6.6 II

6.6.09 Great Woods (D.Vann)

6.6.09 Great Woods (D.Vann)

Following a searing set-opener of “Seven Below”- a musical highlight in its own right- Trey strummed the opening to “Fluffhead.”  Taking everyone by surprise, Phish centered the sought after suite in the second set spotlight.  Following some notably tight improv in “Seven Below,” the band was clearly feeling it, making the call for one of their most technical pieces.  Having notoriously avoided “Fluffhead” in the post-hiatus years, the band announced their new intentions by opening Hampton’s reunion with it, but this was the first time the band was playing the song in any sort of normal context; without battling butterflies.

As the “Fluffhead” started, the crowd erupted, upping the already intense audience ambiance.  As the band moved through the composition, they were not only nailing it precisely, but the music was popping with energy.  As a younger fan, I used to chase “the perfect Fluffhead,” and leaving this show, I thought to myself, “I have found it.”  Attacking the composition with enthusiasm, the band annihilated the song unlike they had done in a long, long time.  When they got to “The Arrival,” the roof of the pavilion was proverbially blown off, as Trey’s sky-scraping solo led the celebration; one of those moments when your ego is sucked into the glowing pool of collective consciousness.




“Tweezer” Camden, 6.7 II

“Character Zero” closes sets; “Tweezer” doesn’t.  Thus, when the band dropped the “Tweezer” melody at the end of Camden’s second set, a common first thought was, “Reprise?!”  Phish had dropped a stand-alone “Reprise” from time to time as an exclamation point to a show, but only once before in their career had the band ever played a “Tweezer” to close a second set, justifying everyone’s disorientation.   And this wasn’t your average set or show- this was Phish’s first true throwdown since coming back together.  Bookending the second frame with a twenty-two minute “Sand,” this “Tweezer” loomed large as the jam opened its jaws.

6.7.09 Camden (D.Vann)

6.7.09 Camden (D.Vann)

Jumping off one of their favorite launchpads, Phish splashed into some slow syncopated patterns, as that feeling of burning passion overtook your entire being; a spiritual surge of excitement that you can find nowhere else on earth.  As Mike pounded away heavy lines, Page hopped to the clav and Trey began playing a sinister, secret agent commando lick, that snarled off the stage.  Loving its sound as much as the crowd, he immediately looped the phrase, layering a majority of his solo- and the jam- over the recurring and addictive riff.  After finally dropping his commando loop, the band brought the jam, the show, and the audience to a colossal peak, crushing any traces of the tentative playing that characterized some the earlier shows of tour.

Dropping one of the tour’s defining jams at a particularly dramatic moment, Phish created an indelible memory for all in attendance, and a musical highlight for those who weren’t.  As we followed the lines going south to Asheville, everything was looking up in the world of Phish; and this “Tweezer” would remain in the upper echelon of June’s finest points.





6.6.09 Great Woods, Mansfield, MA < TORRENT

6.6.09 Great Woods, Mansfield, MA < SENDSPACE

Official Great Woods Poster

Official Great Woods Poster

A well played show from start to finish, with the second set bringing the heat.  “Seven Below,” “Fluffhead,” “Hood,” and “Possum” are all standout versions.

I: Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan, Nothing, Back on the Train, Golgi Apparatus, Sparkle, Gotta Jibboo, Lawn Boy, Let Me Lie*, Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Prince Caspian

II: Seven Below, Fluffhead, Scent of a Mule, Heavy Things, Harry Hood, Possum, Bug

E: Contact, Julius


Source: Schoeps mk41

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230 Responses to “Moments In A Box: The Northeast”

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  1. Greg Says:

    The 6/6 Fluffhead was definately one of “those” moments. We went bannanas when we heard the opening notes.

  2. Brian Says:

    I was wondering about how many times previous Tweezer closed a second set when I was walking back out to my car after Camden.

    It was definitely a sick version, but for me the show highlight was Sand

  3. Exree Hipp Says:

    With the ‘remix’ available I’ve been listening to Camden a lot more than I might have otherwise and that Sand jam has really grown on me. The synth peak and Fishman’s drum fill around 15 minutes in is my favorite moment from tour 09 I think, along with the JB Hood.

  4. sumodie Says:

    @ ColonelJoy:
    Just read an interesting piece in the New Yorker about a new book that explores the role that music plays in the lives of US soldiers stationed in Iraq:

    Interviews and videos from the book are here:

    “Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War”
    by Jonathan Pieslak

    Now back to phish…
    Great idea for a blog, Miner. Feeling the energy rippling through an entire phish audience is an amazing phenomenom to experience. Also interesting is when you can tell that the energy is only rippling through part of the crowd -a great 3.0 example would be the Destiny Unbound bust out at Fenway.

  5. HarryHood Says:

    “one of those moments when your ego is sucked into the glowing pool of collective consciousness.”

    ^ Right on.

  6. ColonelJoy Says:

    I just figured something out:

    I’ve seen Weigh performed twice…12-30-93 and 12-30-03….10 years to the minute…crazy…

  7. Little Buddy Says:

    Miner… Thanks for the “listen now” options today. They’ll help me get through this groggy monday morning at the ophice…

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I really had a feeling they were going to bust out Fluffhead at Great Woods (my friends all thought I was dreaming). I’m not usually one to play the “I called it” game but that was one case where I was glad to be right!

  9. HarryHood Says:

    Prior to the GW show, I had mentioned Fee as a bust out. It was a serious shot in the dark and I still can’t believe I missed it by one night!

  10. SOAM Says:

    There was some good points and some bad points-

  11. Kizzle Says:

    @ Exree Hipp, where’d you find the remix? Any hints??

  12. Jay Says:

    @Kizzle, check out the comments on Thursday’s Blog. Miner posted a link to the remix downloads.

  13. Jay Says:

    Just listened to the Camden Tweezer like 3 times in a row. That is some serious yummyness.

  14. JerZ Says:

    I thought that the JB SOAM was one of the tightest jams of the tour- go back and take a listen if you did not pay much attention.

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    Was at this 3 night run, nice recap. Old glory really did a number on me this past holiday weekend. This was a nice way to jog the memory. Still have a blank space where my mind should be though. Hope every had a solid 4th and made it out with all their fingers.
    Camden Tweezer was the serious hot shit.

  16. nonoyolker Says:

    Also, anyone else notice that the tour posters for Camden and Mansfield are WAY nicer than later dates of the first leg (examples: Burgettstown, DC)?

  17. phatty mcgee Says:

    @ Jerz

    I respectfully disagree. When I was there listening i thought it sounded forced and noncohesive. So I just listened to it again for the first time since and it sounds the same to me. O well

  18. Frankie Says:

    Forced and noncohesive? Really? I respect your opinion and i wasn’t there but that Tweezer completely took me by surprise after Zero as i did the No Spoilers and i thought it was THE BOMB! Probably my favorite jam of the summer so far for the placement and energy. To each his own i guess…

  19. Frankie Says:

    That riff by Trey is some inspired shit and stands proudly beside any other highlight from other eras…

  20. phatty mcgee Says:

    No Im talkin about JB SOAM read @ Jerz… 😛

  21. El Duderino Says:

    CM shnid#100000
    gd72-03-23 Academy Of Music – New York, NY.

  22. Jerrydamule Says:

    one of my favorite phish idiosyncrasies is what I refer to (for better or worse) as the “pregnant pause,” which we hear in Slave, among other tunes (see, composed section of Reba, or Gin). In slave it’s just after the guitar intro, as soon as fish jumps in and the band takes us into the measured melodic frames, but before we get to the opening lyric. There is always that “pregnant pause,” where I get the sensation that the band is dangling my soul just above the precipice of a cliff, before dropping me into the warm harmonic waters waiting below. on the 6/5 version, of the 3 pauses, the first is a bit rushed, but the 2nd and 3rd are nailed. When they nail it, I know they are totally in synch. I friggin’ love the pregnant pause.

    ok, I’ll stop now

  23. msbjivein Says:

    All of D.C. and 2nd night of Alpine were complete shows. They tapped into some otta this world energy @ D.C. and carried IT to Alpine. Those two shows were my favs of ’09 so far. Right up there w/ Hampton energy IMO.

  24. msbjivein Says:

    After listening back to the Tour one song really stands out to me. The Alpine Piper!!! This is by far my fav Jam of the Tour! Trey’s completely turns this high energy jam into a exploritory vehicle that turned out some off the hook Fish breaks and nutty guitar work. Can’t wait til RR!!

  25. Pencilneck Says:

    I’m surprised the valley was still there after that Piper. Seriously, I was cutting more rug than Ted Danson’s barber. zoo!

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