Red Rocks Redux

7.31.09 Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

7.31.09 Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

Wow! What an amazing four nights.  I can’t recall the last time I sat in an airport waiting for a post-Phish flight with such an optimistic glow.  Even a two-hour delay couldn’t damper my spirits with all eights sets on my iPod to peruse.  All the buildup behind the comeback, along with many jaded doubts and questions of whether the band could recapture their past glory, were put to rest more quickly than anyone could have imagined in Morrison’s live music mecca last weekend.  With a stand that will no-doubt go down in band history, Phish’s improvisational prowess returned to the forefront of their game, igniting a passionate fire in the community for the rest of this tour and the future of the band.  The mind-bending geological surroundings added a sense of majesty to the surreal affair whose indelible memories- musical, visual, and experiential- will not soon fade.

7.31.09 (A King)

7.31.09 (B.Carlson)

Not only was the band’s audacious jamming back in play, but they were also incredibly sharp through most complex compositions all weekend, infusing them with an fierce energy only derived from enhanced comfort and collective confidence.  The tentative feel that permeated many of June’s jams was gone, and Phish- like years past- improvised on the fly without hesitation.  Due to these shifts the entire live experience felt completely different with the band far less calculative and far more in the moment.  It genuinely felt that we- band and crowd- were again united in exploring the musical abyss on nightly psychedelic roller-coaster rides.  After night one, all we knew to expect was the unexpected, and that is what Phish has always been about.

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

The overwhelming emotions of the weekend were awe and disbelief as everyone’s expectations were blown out of the water with each successive set.  The highlights of the four nights are too many to discuss in any short overview, but suffice it to say that most of June has been rendered irrelevant in the face of Red Rocks’ improvisational greatness.  Camden and Deer Creek and some other highlights may sneak their way into the stereo every now and again, but everything else seems quite bland all of a sudden- and this is exactly what we were hoping for.  Stepping stones; we knew Phish’s return to prominence would unfold in stages, but the difference between stage two and stage three has been astronomical.  Perhaps the band hung out inseparably for five weeks and engaged in some latter-day Oh Kee Pah Ceremonies- who knows- but something crystallized in that time that allowed the band to step on stage this past weekend in a completely different form than we left them in at Alpine Valley.

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

Both as a band and as individuals, their playing was more open-ended and exploratory, resulting in multi-faceted music that seethed with cohesive energy.  Without feeling the need to push their jams in any particular direction, something that seemed prevalent in June, the weekend’s improv was strewn with incomparable creativity and excitement.  While all members are playing at a high level, both Mike and Trey certainly stood out.  Mike’s one-of-kind bass cushion complemented Trey’s fiery and fluid licks, playing off of each other with renewed originality.  And all music aside, the four of them continue to have a blast on stage together, constantly laughing and cracking jokes amongst themselves.  The boys are most definitely back in town.

8.2.09 (G.Lucas)

8.2.09 (G.Lucas)

And these were only the first four nights!  It was easy to forget that these represented only one third of the shows on tap, as we spent most of a week settled in the mountains.  Over the course of the next fortnight, the adventures will continue to intensify as Phish makes stops at some of their most legendary venues.  This Wednesday’s Shoreline gig is poised to explode as a mid-week sleeper with many fans heading straight to The Gorge for next weekend.  You can mark it down now- The Gorge will transform into one of the lasting highlights of the Summer as the prodigal band returns to their Northwest home.  Stopping in the Midway and moving back to the Northeast, it is hard to imagine the level of playing that may develop by the time the band reaches SPAC- not to mention Indio and beyond.  As Run-DMC one rhymed in a holiday verse that accurately depicts the current state of the Phish scene,” “The time is now, the place is here and the whole wide world is filled with cheer.”  But this year, Christmas came five months early.



7.30.09 Red Rocks (Matrix) < TORRENT

7.30.09 Red Rocks (Matrix) < MEGAUPLOAD

A great sounding matrix of night one that was passed my way.  (I don’t know the actual source and don’t have the FLACS.) Thanks, Mat!

I: The Divided Sky, Ocelot, The Wedge, Poor Heart, The Moma Dance, Horn, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Possum
II: Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Ghost > Wolfman’s Brother, Limb By Limb, Billy Breathes, The Squirming Coil, David Bowie
E: Loving Cup

7.31.09 Red Rocks (W.Rogell)

—————7.31.09 Red Rocks (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

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344 Responses to “Red Rocks Redux”

  1. cal Says:

    is everybody just ornery due to phish withdrawal today?

  2. EL Duderino Says:

    @ AW that’s some funny shit!!! LOL

  3. albert walker Says:

    have fun out there Dude, you will love what you hear
    look for the new batch, makes 2000summer look weak
    tour was flooded

  4. AintNoTele Says:

    The piper from alpine too…he uses that damn pedal a lot for a ton of different sounds, digitech pedals usually don’t sound good either, too digital sounding hence the name

  5. EL Duderino Says:

    Good to know AW! Will be in front of the board for Toyota with some friends from SF

  6. nonoyolker Says:

    Wow, the negative energy is everywhere the past two days, which is odd because we are coming off a really solid and encouraging 4 nite run. There was less negativity on here the entire time before phish announced the reunion and we only had hypotheticals, solo tours, and favorite jams to discuss. Sad to see trollery and headier than thou attitudes prevail, especially because this forum never tollerated that behavior in the past. That bs is for the PT crowd. They might get a rise out of it.

  7. butter Says:

    my bro’s fiance got high for the first time on fri and had an awesome time at a really fun creative show. She loved it so much she wanted to do it again on Sat. During the Antelope she was screaming for Trey to leave the dark nasty side and come back to the light, ” please Trey fucking stop it” Witnessing that spoke to me of the upped intensity of Sat.

  8. AintNoTele Says:


    hell yeah, this isn’t the gloom room

  9. Ocelot42 Says:

    We’re followers of the Jedi here, yeah? Put down the red lightsabers!

  10. butter Says:

    We want you to be happy
    Don’t live inside the gloom
    We want you to be happy
    Come step outside your room
    We want you to be happy
    Cause this is your song too
    I never thought I could have it so good
    You were the song that my soul understood
    That time is a river that flows through the woods
    And it lead us to places we both understood
    Would be gone
    Before to long
    Would be gone
    Before to long

  11. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I gotta say after listening to the Billy K sit in, I don’t see what all the complaining is about. I thought the Undermind was really fun and I didn’t find his drumming to be a distraction at all. Maybe its because I am a big fan of the Dead and enjoy the sound of two drummers. It wasn’t the same as it would have been without him, but I don’t think it sucked or really took anything away from it. Plus, you can’t discount that having him on stage pumped up the band and maybe brought more out of them then without having him. The 2001 was a bit slow, but I didn’t mind it at all. In fact, slowing a song down can really add something to it, see Cavern from 8.8.98. Overall, I am psyched about the RR run, and I am really psyched for Chi-town (only show I will see this leg). I’m staying at the Holiday Inn by Midway if anybody else is going. I will be in town on Monday (making it a “business trip”) so maybe we can get a meet up on Monday night?

  12. butter Says:

    @GP420! – how close is Toyota to Midway?

  13. EL Duderino Says:

    It’s just a couple of miles butter

  14. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @butter – About 1 mile away

  15. fat bastard Says:

    @ butter
    5 miles

  16. butter Says:

    ^^sweet thanks

  17. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I’m planning on taking a cab, but I have heard that there might be a shuttle.

  18. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    definitely a lot closer than 5 miles

  19. GuitarPicker420! Says:,+il&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&cid=0,0,8883206890847407477&ei=a4F4SvKOHJLGlAeUyJWZBQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&resnum=1

  20. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Actually, I stand corrected, from hotel to Toyota Park is 4.2 miles because the train yard is in the way.

  21. butter Says:

    cool GP420! trying to work out details so I can make it, will give you a shout if i’m able to rock Chi!

  22. Ocelot42 Says:

    Yeah, that railyard inconveniences it. I wouldn’t try cutting across. “Back on the Train” = good. “Under the Train” = not so good.

  23. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Cab ride to venue = no more than $10. Cheaper than a DUI and definitely better than getting run over by a freight train. Plus, might end up doing some late night shenanigans in River North, just depends how I’m feeling. Andy’s is always a blast.

  24. bcb Says:

    I’m stoked for Chi! One of my friends lives within 3 miles of the venue, and is hosting our old crew for a backyard campout before/after the show. Gotta love a little camping after a show!

  25. bcb Says:

    Also, last couple times Mike has been in Chi, he has been spotted at Kingston Mines after the shows, so if anyone is looking for some late night blues and a chance to run into Cactus, it is worth a try…

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