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)

Tags: , ,

499 Responses to “Control For Smilers”

  1. Brian Says:

    I definitely think tonight is gonna be raging. Coming off the Red Rocks run the band and the crowd both are gonna be totally amped.

  2. Bapslap Says:

    I hope they start digging into Reba again. I’m a big fan of that song, but so far 3.0 has had sloppy Rebas with reserved jam sections. Perhaps the tune just isn’t exciting them in the same way as before, but I still love it!

  3. msbjivein Says:

    Phish will smoke Shoreline!! FACT!!

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    YEM opener?

    I just woke up at 2:30 today. Jesus Christ. I probably got like 10 hours of sleep though!

    Shoreline will be great, but I really haven’t been listening to a lot of Phish since RR. I’ve been listening to a lot of Grateful Dead. I think it was Completely who said this: The 5/9/77 Help>Slip>Franklin’s is the best.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    At this point if the whole tour doesn’t rage start to end it’ll be a huge shock

    they’ll play harpua again right after we give up on it

    full moon, yes

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Full Moon = Wolfman’s Brother tonight

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    8/1 to 8/9 every year is typically my Jerry Immersion time – odd for me to be listening to something else at all really, much less the close review of RR I’ve been doing

    still bumping something from the Fat Man every day tho

  8. msbjivein Says:

    See You at Chicago and Merriweather!!!

    Have fun These next 3 shows people. Don’t take Phish for granted!

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    nice call @Type III!!!!

  10. SOAM Says:

    Phills is comin out tonite for a phat Viola Lee>Llama>Masons.

  11. Brian Says:

    5/9/77 help>slip>franklin’s rules. the only better from that year (in my own opinion of course) is exactly one month later…6/9/77

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    6/9/77 is my birthday show and one of the best second sets they did

  13. larry bird flu Says:

    soam! i think the rest of this tour is gonna rage. i firmly believe that by the time the lights come up at SPAC that people will be salivating because of the fact that they have to wait another 2 months till indio

  14. Chuck D Says:

    Where’s Guelah Papyrus been? I cant recall hearing it since hampton… that for real?

  15. Brian Says:

    I am so excited for SPAC. Like, way more than I have been for a show since I was 16 or so…great feeling!

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    thats right @Chuck, would be real nice to see that one back in rotation

    hey somehow I glossed over Page’s piano transition from piper into Day In The Life the first time through. fun!

  17. larry bird flu Says:

    guelah will open up merriweather Fact

  18. Brian Says:

    @ Mr. Completely- absolutely. love that whole set. raging samson’s, help>slip>franklins…beautiful transition from estimated to st. stephen

    The Dead at their best no doubt!

  19. nonoyolker Says:

    WOW, loooong day. I am calling Scents and Subtle tonight. PLEASE, bring that song back!

    @ Brian – 6/9/77 is a beast of a show. The Eyes from the night earlier is my favorite version. Just bumping with energy.

    Wolfman’s is a huge unsung jam of the RR run. I don’t even like that song that much and i’ve listened to that a ton already. Moma was pretty hot too.

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    would like that Geulah at gorge…along with Mr. C’s list (the little one’s got some nice choices there)…and Taste, Theme, and Mango Song (go Team Mango!)…oh yeah, harpua would be nice…

  21. wvbrdr Says:

    6-9-77 is permanently on rotation in my short stack, as is 5-9-77. great shows.

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    The 6/08/77 Not Fade Away is one of the best of that year IMHO. Bobby teases the China Cat during it. The shit just smokes!!!!

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    his taste in Phish is pretty freaking great I have to say, the understandable Sparkle gaffe not withstanding – hearing him sing the chorus to Split (with the timing correct) is a parental experience like none other

  24. Dietrich Says:

    I could see a Wolfman’s tonight. Also could see some of these appearing:
    Ya Mar
    and maybe Golgi or Cavern…

    First Phish show ever that I can bike to! Sweet. Who will be there taping for no spoilers so I can give them a token of my appreciation?

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    they’ve been thinking about remastering and releasing the 6/7-6/9 run for awhile, that or March. The Terrapin > Dew from 6/7 is another highlight.

Leave a Reply