Control For Smilers

7.30.09 Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

7.30.09 Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

There were so many ridiculous jams and highlights from Red Rocks that it would be very easy to overlook one of the best pieces of the weekend.  Wedged in the middle of the tour’s first set, Phish dove deeply into “Stash,” obliterating any single piece of improv that we’d heard in ’09.  While first sets of tours can often be disjointed (though this one flowed better than most) there is usually at least one jam of note- but they are not usually like this.  Interestingly, the band has used “Stash” in each of their three tour-opening sets at Hampton, Fenway, and Red Rocks as their initial dip into psychedelic lava.  It seems that Phish likes to warm their chops on their revered classic before digging into further improv.  The previous opening-set versions have been legitimate, type one-ish jams- but this time things would be different.  Expecting another “warm up” jam, Phish threw down a twenty-minute odyssey, and after four days of bliss, it deserves to be revisited.

7.31.09 (B.Carlson)

7.31.09 (B.Carlson)

Placing “Stash” in the middle-to-latter part of the set, the band got some songs under their belts before pulling the pavement from under their nails.  Commencing the jam as the day’s light faded, we were headed into darkness in more ways than one.  As they opened the door to the evening, Mike led the band, thumping ominously-  foreshadowing his leadership throughout this jam, and his all-world playing throughout the weekend.  As the band worked through the initial part of the “Stash” jam, you could tell that something was different from June- they were flowing, and didn’t seem to be in their own heads so much; they were shredding as if sharing a brain.  Glued together and pushed by Gordon, they built their way into a nasty jam where each member contributed to the greater whole.

Fishman began to bring the jam off its linear course, dropping his driving beat in favor of softer, more shimmering rhythm.  Trey quickly took the invitation, following Fishman outwards, with Page and Mike not far behind.  After the music built into a cacophonous brew, Trey and Page charted a different course, adding a melodic direction to the improv, and at this point the jam really took off.

7.30.09 (G.Lucas)

7.30.09 (G.Lucas)

As the band soared into completely original territory, previewing the monstrous weekend we were about to have, we also got a taste of how well Trey and Mike would play together throughout the stand.  When Trey and Mike are complementing each other as well as they were at Red Rocks, it’s hard for the band to go wrong.  Both of them offered innovative ideas, and fit them congruently in place with each other.  Their musical conversations were precise and creative, leading to jams we never saw coming- and this “Stash” was the first.  Leaving the song’s structure completely, the band reached inspirational places that swept us away into a weekend we will never forget.  Once reaching a point of pure improv, the band wove a tapestry of beautiful darkness- a musical paradox that some of the best Phish jams embody.  Gradually increasing in tempo, the exalting piece reached an enormous peak led by Trey’s rolling melodies before the band seamlessly- and dramatically- crashed back into the “Stash” jam.

Carving away at the song’s final build, the band didn’t simply jump to the lick. Instead, they took their time to peak the composed “Stash” jam before wrapping up a monumental segment that had us staring at each other in disbelief.  What had just happened?  Was this now the deal?  We would soon find out that yes, in fact, it was; and this “Stash” in Red Rocks’ initial set was the first to let us in on that that little secret that we all discovered in Colorado- we have our band back again!


7.30.09 (G.Lucas)

7.30.09 (Photo: Graham Lucas)

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499 Responses to “Control For Smilers”

  1. EL Duderino Says:

    (707) 599-7569

  2. Matt Says:

    Costco in the NW has 12 packs of 22oz Pikes Brewery’s Naughty Nellie! One the box it says “Dinner Size”

    See you nutty people at the Gorge! (Still looking for a Premier Camping Pass!)

  3. Bapslap Says:

    How about a “Spices” opener tonight?


  4. notkuroda Says:

    I haven’t heard TTE live yet, I’m not sure if I want one or not. I kind of like the song, maybe the gorge will be the first HUGE tte. maybe

  5. snigglebeach Says:

    I look for a Stealing time from the Faulty plan opener.

    if i am not mistaken, they are probably playing on a fault line???
    my 2 cents

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    I don’t think there is such a thing as a huge TTE. This song just doesn’t cut it IMO.

  7. Brian Says:

    TTE is one of the new batch I’m not too into.

    Camden was lacking in any jams from the new songs. Of course given the sets I can’t complain too much. I’d like to see a nice BDTNL, Kill Devil Falls, or Waves at SPAC.

    also, bring back scents and subtle sounds!

  8. wvbrdr Says:

    has anyone brought their kids to see phish yet? my son is 6 and i was considering it, but then decided against it. he’s been to see a few shows, YMSB, Michael Franti, but those are pretty mellow. the energy is different at phish. i think my focus would be on him and not the music. he’s more into the dead than phish anyway.

  9. posternutbag Says:

    I was not a big fan of TTE through June, but I opened up to it a bit at Alpine. Miner commented on it afterwards, and I think he was right that it only really makes sense as a first set closer (esp. on day 1). Otherwise, the band tends to seem really confused in the following song.

  10. ColonelJoy Says:


    I’ve finally settled on my A/V system…thanks for the help yesterday….if i could find a steal on Paradigms I’d get them, but I doubt I’ll find that.

    Receiver: Harman Kardon 2.1 channel x120watts ($350)
    Speakers: Polk Monitor 70s ($450 pair)…were $900, so that isn’t bad
    Television: Panasonic 42″ G10 Plasma 1080p, THX cert ($1000)

  11. Donald B Says:

    Where is tonight’s stream?

  12. notkuroda Says:

    it’s too bad because it’s obviously a song that had a lot of thought put into it. Trey was probably thinking “epic” when he put it together. He’s just not getting the audience reaction he envisioned.

  13. Donald B Says:

    Doesn’t seem like hoodstream is gonna hook it up tonight…

  14. posternutbag Says:

    I’m sure once they get used to playing it (and we get used to hearing it) people will think of it differently. I wasn’t sure about a lot of the new songs until I gave them a few listens, and now I can’t get enough of some (BDTNL esp.). The jam on the backend of Kill Devil Falls has been pretty sweet, too.

    For this weekend, I really hope we get the monster Harpua that’s been lurking in the shadows. A big simple will probably come out tonight or this weekend too – I think they’ve only played that once in 3.0. If I had only one wish though, it would be to be enlightened by the writings of the helping phriendly book…

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I reeeeeally thought they would break out Harpua on 7.31 after the 1st set rain (“Look, the storm is gone…”) but I’ll take the Drowned>C&P they dropped instead. The more I think about it, the more I realize Harpua is probably not rearing his head until Indio. And I’ll be there.

    Phish just twittered the re-release of Gorge tix…

  16. wvbrdr Says:

    Yeah, a Harpua would be nice. I thought if there was anywhere they were going to bust out a Harpua, it would have been RR. Let’s hope they’re saving it for the gorge.

  17. Brian Says:

    yeah, its definitely possible TTE just hasn’t gelled yet. I dunno, I feel the same as I did about walls of a cave…certainly wouldn’t be upset to hear it but wouldn’t mind if I missed it this tour either.

    Backwards, stealing time, KDF though…I definitely want to hear one of those.

  18. Pence Says:

    @poster….Any type of narration would be a blessing for the venue who is lucky enough to get it. For some reason I think their repetoir is still to vast for something like that. Possibly gorge cause of how amazing it is, but I dont think tonight. Although no narration type songs have ever been played at the gorge (col. forbins/harpua) that I can see/remember, scents and subtle sounds has been.

  19. notkuroda Says:

    I think tonight’s gonna be sick

  20. snigglebeach Says:

    not to be a “debbie downer” but i don’t expect a Harpua until Halloween.

  21. larry bird flu Says:

    was just looking through the earlier comments from today, someone asked about a fall tour. i had someone mention to me yesterday, who is pretty reliable, that they might start a post turkey day run with 2 nights in portland me

  22. notkuroda Says:

    that would be sick, my wife has family up there, it’d be a cool excuse for a visit.

  23. Brian Says:

    yeah I def don’t feel like Harpua is a given, though I imagine something else interesting will pop up in August. I think it’ll be at one of the ‘sleeper’ shows though…

  24. larry bird flu Says:

    yeah its only about an hour from my house, would indeed be sweet, especially if they also do a garden show too

  25. notkuroda Says:

    it’s a full moon tonight right? Camden had a full moon. Just sayin…

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