The Final Four

The Gorge (G. Lucas)

The Gorge (G. Lucas)

If you’re a Phish fan, the summer of 2009 has been something of a fantasy; easily the most exciting season in years.  Beginning in Fenway Park on May 31st, we have whittled our way through a fascinating summer of band re-evolution, and we have finally arrived at those last four east coast shows that always seemed so far off in the distance.  Beginning tomorrow at Darien Lake, Phish will begin their four-night swan song on their historic summer tour.

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

The Gorge (G.Lucas)

Beginning with three weeks in June, Phish tour was once again a reality as we navigated the Northeast, Mid-South, and Midwest en route to a three-week return to the road.  With flashes of whole-show brilliance in Camden, Bonnaroo, Deer Creek, and Alpine, Phish was beginning to get there, but something was missing-  where was the band’s signature exploratory jamming?  As the first tour wound up in the Midwest, the band began to delve a little bit deeper, foreshadowing what was to come.

Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

But over the course of four unforgettable nights at Red Rocks, the entire Phish 3.0 paradigm shifted.  In a caterpillar-to-butterfly-like metamorphosis, the band’s style was all of a sudden more relaxed, confident, and focused.  The contained playing of June was history, and Phish began creating unique and original jams at almost every juncture.  Like an eight-set suite, Red Rocks, alone, featured more musical exploration than three weeks in June.  Our band was back, and the tightness they had honed over the course of the year had merged with a renewed spirit of exploration, resulting in an asteroid crash in our collective reality.  Highlighted by an insane second set on July 31st, of the like we hadn’t heard yet, Red Rocks ’09 will eternally be remembered as the run that Phish got their mojo back.

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

Shoreline (W.Rogell)

After a mid-week stop at Shoreline that seems to be settling into the dark-horse and overlooked show of the second leg, Phish moved up to The Gorge for two of the most musically sensational nights of tour.  With two magnificent shows differing in nature, Phish showcased their full improvisational diversity in the Northwest.  Strewn with musical highlights and the most laid back vibe of tour, The Gorge will no doubt go down as two of the best nights of music this summer.

Chicago (C.Smith)

Chicago (C.Smith)

And after a one-night stop at the stadium setting of Toyota Park in Chicago, we have come down to the final four shows of summer.  You can be sure that this triumphant conclusion to Phish’s summer will blow up.  Back where it all began, with four shows in the northeast, the band will begin their final run tonight in the amusement park setting of Darien Lake.  With a true sense of excitement surrounding this "homecoming run," the band has much to be proud of after the past two weeks.  Over the course of a summer, Phish has fully returned to prominence, and these four nights are going to be a celebration.  And I have a hunch that some of the tour’s most incredible is about to unfold.  Check it out…

458 Responses to “The Final Four”

  1. Stupendous Says:

    ^^ Very True Mr C
    the master class I took from S Bernstein this last summer was mind blowing.
    He’s def the hippest cat Ive met.

  2. Matso Says:

    If you like Masada and you like Phish, you’ll love Electric Masada!!

    Aside from Painkiller (another Zorn supergroup with Bill Laswell and Mick Harris from Napalm Death), the Electric Masada show I saw here in London was the loudest thing I’ve ever experience. Luckily I packed ear plugs for me and for my wife. Lots of people left. Too bad for them. Marc Ribot absolutely destroyed the place.

  3. Stupendous Says:

    Ribot is a Machine

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    we promoted several Sex Mob shows in the PacNW back in the day, really dug those guys. Did one set of gigs with Zony Mash where each show ended in a “Sex Mash” full contact improv session. Heady stuff. Got to know the players like Briggan Krauss and the amazing Kenny Wolleson, one of the hippest drummers working…

    Ribot is fucking unreal.

    Not sure if much if any Masada type stuff circulates freely, if that’s what you mean. Cyro Baptista plays in that band FWIW. It’s all klezmer derived improv based on Kabalistic numerology or some crazy ass shit like that, I forget the details.

    ^^^^ second one is mellower. both very dope. Most Zorn stuff is much MUCH further out than Masada btw.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    man, I’m glad this came up! I haven’t listened to Masada in a year! love it!

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    there’s a fair amount of live masada on iTunes FWIW

  7. Matso Says:

    Masada Live in Sevilla is a must own disc.

  8. cal Says:

    marc ribot’s ceramic dog (trio with two members of secret chiefs 3) made one of the top two albums of 2008, PARTY INTELLECTUALS. i highly recommend anybody check it out, it’s all over the place (ribot can do anything) but all amazingly good.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    here’s some towards the skronkier end of things

    brace for impact

  10. Stupendous Says:

    The Gift 1 & 2 by Zorn are incredible albums of more accesible Zorn

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    so Stupendous you took a class from Bernstein? what was it about, individual playing, or improv, or what? sounds really cool

  12. Stupendous Says:

    The idea of improv being a gesture and a song being something specific…
    He also stressed the importance of the 5th chord….If u can play the 5th you can play anything….and it makes for an interesting way to move through chords…. he is so down to earth and his voice, and how he speaks is just bad ass! It was part of Camp MMW.

  13. Stupendous Says:

    We def did some improv like the vid you posted at camp during illyB’s workshop It was so much fun.!!

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    he struck me as the most “new york” guy I had ever met

    in a good way, just so damn hip

    Sex Mob cover versions of like Ripple and Abba tunes are just hilarious and brilliant

  15. Stupendous Says:


  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    All I’ve heard of John Zorn is Naked City.

    Absolute jazzy-madness.

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    Torture Garden is the most extreme of the naked city type stuff

    i hate it, but someone had to create it eventually so whatever

  18. Doc Says:

    Show has started, you all – Sample opener.

  19. posternutbag Says:

    I feel a Simple coming

  20. Doc Says:

    Dinner and a Movie – now we’re talking!

  21. posternutbag Says:

    Dinner and a Movie

  22. Ocelot42 Says:

    Wow. Hoodstream sounds fantastic.

  23. Ocelot42 Says:

    Oh. It’s last night. Dang.

  24. Mugician Says:

    Whoa… did anybody here know that Les Paul died today?

  25. Stupendous Says:

    whos got my heady stream

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