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. bhizzle Says:

    @ BTB

    I have three lawns available. I scored pavs on the re-release and am looking to get rid of the ones I bought before. bri dot hyde dot yahoo dot com. I will be away from the pc starting in one half hour. so if you want them email me quick.

  2. whole tour! Says:

    sultans of swing

  3. Neemor Says:

    Thanks Mitch, I really feel it.

    Besides the Vultures>Harpua, I want to hear some really ‘Phishy’ stuff.

    In Deer Creek, the Wedge fit that bill.
    Guelah is way overdue.
    Scent of a Mule would be good.
    I also miss Jesus Just Left Chicago…a few people have been calling for it.
    I’d like a Forbin’s>Mockingbird to get into Trey’s head a little bit.
    Rift would be nice.
    I feel a Hartford Reba, too.
    Buried Alive opener would be cool again, sets up a hot show ala Hartford 2000.
    So many possibilities!
    I’d like to hear a huge 46 Days>Catapult>46 Days>Sand would be dope.
    Catapult in the setlist would do it for me.

  4. Brian Says:

    oh man, that Hartford show in 2000 was so good. second night (?) with the mikes>swept>steep>hydrogen>weekapaug.

    Mule seems like a given somewhere in the last four shows.

    I’d love to see the mythical four song second set before the end of the summer…

  5. Chalkdustin Says:

    Cheers to those out east and those traveling to the right side of the country in the upcoming days. Be safe and enjoy the show!

  6. halcyon Says:

    Morning everybody…..For those gearing up for the next few dates (myself included) Drive safe (watch for troopers in NYS, and CT), Don’t drink and drive, and have a blast. Btw, for those going to Hartford, I have heard that pay parking is better than the lots. Anyone know of any truth to this? Does anyone know of public transport to the lots as well?

    I wish I sync’d my mp3 player before I came back east for the shows. How I miss listening to The Gorge shows.

    Llama for Llamalee!

  7. fat bastard Says:

    funky bitch was sound check at toyota it sounded clear as day

  8. llamalee Says:

    ^yeah, i made front row that show. whats up with mr.miner hating on that show so much, i loved the 2nd set – lack of smooth changes doesn’t ruin a show for me, the music still never stopped.

  9. HSV 007 Says:

    @ whole tour….I like where you head is at. Some old school Dire (Six Blade Knife or something off Communique) would be the straight up fire!

    Looking forward to a rocking East Coast swing to finish up the summer!
    (Mule, Haley’s, My Soul, Harpua, Tela, etc, etc, etc….)

    Have a great time everybody!

  10. msbjivein Says:

    ^Miner doesn’t hate on Phish at all. He didn’t think the sets flowed well. I disagreed also. I never really felt that during the show. After listening I guess I can see what he was talking about. I had a blast and think some Great music came out of this show.

  11. BTB Says:

    Thanks guys. After a quick review it looks like there are a ton of extras for Darien.

    If anyone wants to unload a ticket call me, Brian, at 440-708-8247. I need 2 and am taking the ladyfriend so I’d like Pavilion if possible. I’ll available after 1 pm.

    Thanks! Re-elect PH: 4 more shows, 4 more shows!

  12. Brian Says:

    the Theme, Wilson in the middle of set II was odd placement. Definitely not bad, but also not seamless flow..set still kicks though. The Backwards>Carini is great. Nice 2001 and I’m usually not crazy about that one.

  13. Wax Banks Says:

    @stash –

    Why not skip the Fung Wah and just grab Greyhound or somesuch? It’s like 5-10 dollars more and less likely to catch on fire on the highway.

  14. gills Says:

    time loves a hero ————- bustout, u saw it here remember

  15. Neemor Says:


    Pay parking gets you close to the venue, but separated from the lot action a bit.
    But being that the Hartford lot is a mess, not really a bad thing.

    The two Hartford shows were both awesome.
    Buried Alive opener one night, Ha Ha Ha the next…crazy.
    The Halley’s was probably the best I’d ever heard.

    Hope they reprise it this year.

    Anyone have an extra Hartford to unload, and will meet me, would be greatly appreciated.

  16. whole tour! Says:

    @fat bastard, i was also told they soundchecked ‘sultans of swing’ at toyota. did you hear that?

  17. fat bastard Says:

    tonite mikes groove you can bank on it

  18. whole tour! Says:

    that hartford 2000 ‘halleys’ is the super groove jam

  19. fat bastard Says:

    didnt hear sultans at all but maybe there was a little tease. man that would be a bust out

  20. Wax Banks Says:

    @Brian –

    the Theme, Wilson in the middle of set II was odd placement. Definitely not bad, but also not seamless flow..set still kicks though. The Backwards>Carini is great. Nice 2001 and I’m usually not crazy about that one.

    I might be alone in thinking that ‘Wilson’ only belongs as a set opener, and is never worth listening to on tape. At shows it’s perfect fist-pumping fun, but on the headphones it’s just a dopey elf-rock song, Golgi’s blunt-edged cousin.

    But yeah, I think the Chicago show is as appealing as Shoreline, and can offer a few tracks to any ‘Best of Tour’ playlist (BTt#L>Carini>Jibboo in particular, the weird standoffish Hood, and the only strong-across-the-board 2001 of the year).

    I think the important lesson here is that the quality of Phish’s playing this year has been consistently high, and the best moments are on the late-90’s level, and I can’t fucking wait for Hartford. 🙂

  21. Chalkdustin Says:

    I heard the Funky Bitch at Toyota as well. Hoping you get a Jesus Left Chicago today- seems appropriate. Also anxiously awaiting a dirty Reba since one is way overdue.

  22. Brian Says:

    I get the sense that they were trying to put together a ‘different’ kind of set. Maybe it wasn’t totally successful, but it certainly didn’t take away from the playing. I momentarily forgot about that Jiboo..that shit was nice too.

    and man this Gorge Bathtub is great! 4th re-listen and it gets better everytime.

  23. msbjivein Says:

    Curtain W/ jam at Toy park is redic!!!! As good as Red Rocks IMO. Not as exiting to see as Red Rocks but the With jam is awesome IMO.

  24. tela'smuff Says:

    Hey. Need an 2 SPAC. I have two Hartford for trade and/or cash. Anybody? Could meet at Darien or Hartford for transaction!

  25. Bapslap Says:

    I’m so glad to see a mention of the Fung Wah!

    I often make the drive from Boston to Philly, and without fail, there is always at least one Fung Wah bus broken down somewhere on that stretch of highway. Even when it is running it looks like it is about to break down, or be engulfed in flames.

    A great alternative is
    $15 one-way fares, and on board Wi-Fi!!

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