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. Mr. Completely Says:

    so what are the very highest performance highlights from RR?

    Stash, Curtain, Drowned > Crosseyed, Tweezer…?

  2. msbjivein Says:

    Pence,Nice……You forgot “Taste” though that’s a shoe in for tonight.
    My Friend opener………………

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    There are 18 seeders on that 5/08/77 link I just posted people so get you some fresh Barton Hall – Cornell U.

  4. Leo Weaver Says:

    “The Man”…that’s good stuff. Wish I had that wife luxury. She’s been to quite a few phish shows, but never really got it, just went with the crowd…definitely a type-I girl.

  5. voopa Says:

    Mr. C, I love that 9/19/70! Great stuff.

    10. Maze
    9. Gumbo
    8. Taste
    7. Glide
    6. Llama
    5. Golgi
    4. Scents
    3. Rift
    2. BBFCFM
    1. Union Federal

  6. msbjivein Says:

    Completely, You can’t forget YEM(I think it’s the best in ’09),Undermind, Bowie,Free(also best of ’09 IMO)I would say Mound but it wasn’t very tight. Hood was pretty good w/ the Dirt and Free teases.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    1970-09-19 i believe they played that dark star in honor of jimi

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    with May 77 Betty Boards I can see your point tho it depends on the night.

    but if you haven’t heard the Jerry Moore FOB matrix of 6-23-74 I very strongly urge you to give it a try…I don’t see it on bt tho…

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    Split? Ghost? Wolfman’s? Gin? Jiboo? Boogie On?

  10. voopa Says:

    Fee, Foam, Mango…

    …sure, now watch the only bustout tonight be Golden Lady…

  11. Chuck D Says:

    My RR highlights, in chron. order:

    Stash, Ghost > Wolfmans

    Drowned > Crosseyed and Painless, Joy, Tweezer > Backwards Down The Number Line, Fluffhead > Piper > A Day in the Life

    The Curtain With, Mound, Gotta Jibboo, Guyute, Punch You In the Eye, Tube

    Boogie on Reggae Woman, You Enjoy Myself > Undermind

    Primarily Day 2 Set 2, and Day 3 Set 1

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    “Primarily Day 2 Set 2, and Day 3 Set 1” <– agree

  13. Chuck D Says:

    ^^ lots a highlights. me enjoy myself

  14. Pence Says:

    @msb…I think u could be right on that My friend opener..I called ocelot for night came in second, called chalkdust night 2 came in second, and called AC/DC bag night guess night 4..I love the My friend opener nice and dark

    my friend > sick cover (a la whipping post from the funk bunker aka deer creek aka verizon wireless music center)

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Chuck D – ditto on Day 2 Set 2. I think easily the top set of the run. Every song was popping, some great improv in the C&P and Tweezer, and some subtle segues taboot. I even dig the track joy as a ballad

  16. Pence Says:

    Would you buy a “Page is my Daddy” t-shirt.. with a picture of page on the back…or replace Page is my daddy with “mad scientist”, with a pic of page?

  17. Chuck D Says:

    I want a “Page side, Rage side” shirt… saw one at RR

  18. Pence Says:

    The ____ is my daddy would work for anybody…Trey/Gordo/Jerry/Fish/Val Kilmer

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    Mr. C wrote:
    I rarely use db.etree ’cause it’s confusing and what if you find a source you want and then there are no seeders?

    That’s the whole deal about collecting, sometimes the source you want isn’t there right away, so you have to wait it out, and when you least expect it…BAM there it is. God I love collecting shows!!!

  20. Pence Says:

    thats a good one Chuck

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I saw that “Page Side Rage Side” shirt too. My crew made shirts for Friday which had a line drawing of Trey with “RED ROCKS!” written underneath on a red shirt. It works on so many levels…

    too bad the rain kept us from showing them off for most of the show.

  22. Leo Weaver Says:

    @pence…mad scientist much better…I’ve been waiting on someone to do one based around Peanuts graphics with a nod to Linus…I ALWAYS think of Peanuts’ Linus n Lucy when I see Page with his head down, bobbing like he does so much – they’re almost the same…and hey, Linus could lay down some nice shit on the keys…at least the kids thought so.

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    Page so looks like Krusty The Clown now with the balding and the winging of his hair!

  24. Leo Weaver Says:

    @type III…nice concept, simple and very effecitve.

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    thanks, Leo. they were even Iron Ons!

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