46 Days and Lots of Bustouts

8.15.09 Merriweather (J.Arthur)

8.15.09 Merriweather (J.Arthur)

A night after playing a second set of virtually all improv in Hartford, Phish played their second to last show of summer centered around only one adventurous jam.  The entire show was popping with energy from note one, strewn with spirited and precise playing throughout.  The band played a great show from start to finish, but in the end, Merriweather will be remembered for its array of bust-outs rather than open-ended adventure.  The first set saw the band drop seven songs they hadn’t played this tour including the promising debut of “Party Time,” but the second second set featured only one blowout jam.  Following Hartford with a show of a completely different vibe, Phish played their last Saturday night of the summer.

Darien Lake (B.Ferguson)

Darien Lake (B.Ferguson)

As the band stepped onstage following an enticing first set, they deciding to open the second set with “Tweezer.”  In a tour that has featured memorable jams out of almost every second-set opener, and a long summer that has showcased the song, we had the recipe for an epic throwdown.  We were finally in for the “Tweezer” we had all been waiting for- the last “Tweezer” of summer would no doubt be a creative highlight of the season.  In a tour that opened with Fenway’s distant highlight, it was only proper to end the summer with a massive psychedelic exploration of the vehicle.  But Phish played a dud.  Where most every second set opener has had several pieces of original improv, this “Tweezer” had zero.  Sounding like they were merely going through the motions, the band loafed through a version that was completely forgettable.  Before it peaked- or even got going- the jam fizzled into “Taste,” creating an ’09 version of their classic combo.  But this time “Taste” far outshone the “Tweezer.”  Launching into a soaring and creative version, it was as if Phish had somehow refueled their tank onstage- a bizarre beginning to the set, no doubt.

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

After a slight lull with “Alaska”- a song that has no business in the second set- and “Let Me Lie”- a ballad that seemed to come at a time where none was needed, Phish entered, by far, the most engaging segment of the evening with “46 Days > Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Harry Hood.”  Taking “46 Days” off the shelf for the first time since Bonnaroo, the band launched the blues-rock composition into the stratosphere, birthing a multi-faceted psychedelic opus .  Letting things hang out for the only time in the show, Phish oozed outside of the composition, into a jam that left the crowd in awe- something Phish is, once again, doing nightly.  Beginning with some lighter funk and moving into a growling ambient groove, the jam quickly progressed into a heavier abstract psychedelia.  The band laced up their musical adventure boots and went to play.  Amidst a soft melodic ambient canvas, Fishman kicked a dance beat and the band was off and running into a second half of the jam that was pure hose.  Trey was absolutely killing the fast-paced jams with melodic lines that tugged on your heart mightily.  The band took a big musical risk  with this jam, and while the entire thing didn’t flow flawlessly, the payoff was pure Phish glory.  The clear highlight of the evening gradually slowed down as Page rolled into the opening notes of the tour’s second “Oh! Sweet Nuthin.”

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Once again, completely owning the cover, the band used the ballad as an emotive breath of air before the summer’s final version of “Harry Hood” rolled off the stage.  A song that has shined all summer since it’s opening incarnation at Jones Beach, Phish took one last swing at their revitalized classic.  Another creative masterpiece, the full-band interplay of the jam was typical of the band’s many awing renditions of the tour, and provided a fitting end to the chapter of Summer ’09 “Harry Hoods.”

Well, we have wound our way to the end of the road.  That elusive SPAC show that never seemed like it would come is today.  Set up to annihilate their final show in one of their favorite venues, tonight will surely be one to remember.  Final shows of tours have taken on an iconic status in Phish history, and the end of such a magical road coupled the band’s first visit to SPAC since the their final flashes of brilliance in 2004, tonight should be something special.


Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

First Set Notes: The band came out of the gates, on the heels of Hartford’s epic night, with all sorts of energy.  Starting with the “Crowd Control” opener, Phish threw down seven songs not played this summer, including the debut of “Party Time”- one of the definite highlights of the show.  Written by Fishman, the polyrhythmic song that reminded me a Phishy take on a sort-of New Orleans funk riff.  Sure to be a huge part of fall tour, it was great to see the band begin to bring out their non-album new songs.  Look for a big “Party Time” to kick off Indio just a bit down the road.  Other notable well-played bust-outs were “The Sloth,” “Foam” and “Axilla.”  The set also featured a free-flowing version “Beauty of a Broken Heart” which is going to turn into some retro-Phish disco jams at some point soon.  Once again, the longest individual piece in the entire show was the set closing “Time Turns Elastic.”  Clocking in at just under 17 minutes, the song worked decently as a set closer, but at some point the piece just seems over-indulgent to continue playing in regular rotation.

I: Crowd Control, Kill Devil Falls, The Sloth, Beauty Of A Broken Heart, Axilla I, Foam, Esther, Ha Ha Ha, Party Time, Tube, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Strange Design, Time Turns Elastic

II: Tweezer > Taste, Alaska, Let Me Lie, 46 Days > Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Harry Hood

E: Good Times, Bad Times, Tweezer Reprise

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937 Responses to “46 Days and Lots of Bustouts”

  1. kenny powers Says:

    Marshall, it’s funny because right before Phish came back this year I hadn’t been listening to them much at all for a while, and was actually getting back into some harder stuff like I was 14 in 1991 again. Every heard of Mastodon? Anyway as soon as Phish spring tour started I put away the harder shit and have been listening to nothing but all of the shows from the past two legs and a few summer ’99 shows to get the whole “10 years ago” vibe. I go in total phases, kind of bipolar I guess.

  2. albert walker Says:

    you will lose respect pretty quickly pimpin Blind Melon references
    I did not know anyone really listened to that crap
    Wow, that is some terrible fuckin music
    the dancin bee and shit, wow, that’s all I can say
    maybe you need some more drugs so that music starts sounding as bad as it really is

    just kidding, kind of, I think

  3. Mugician Says:

    Trey fucking nailed it. It’s so fucking awesome to watch youtubes of 3.0 Trey having pure, childish fun. He’s clean, and he fucking loves it.

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ albert –

    not sure how to respond to that.
    however check out Soup and Nico and then get back to me.

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    it seems i have lost much cred with you already today with my anti-Syd tones, my love for Radiohead, and now apparently my love for Blind Melon.

    I suppose my taste of music is addled with sobriety

  6. albert walker Says:

    I’ll pass, thanks
    I knew some chicks in high school that dug that stuff
    did not know bros did too

  7. Marshall Says:

    @ Kenny Powers – I had pretty much given up Phish (keeping the drug references alive for the day) during most of 2.0 (for reasons not pertinent here). It wasn’t until October of last year when I got wind of reunion that I decided to break out a few shows and listen. Then I got lucky and scored Hampton tix, and since then I haven’t listened to anything else. I have returned to being a non-stop junkie. And I love it!

  8. Marshall Says:

    When can I get some more?! (in other words, when’s Fall Tour gonna be announed?!)

  9. albert walker Says:

    it’s all opinions man

    people on this site like Pearl Jam too

    nothing wrong with a little diversity amongst fans

  10. Ocelot42 Says:

    Heh, listening to hard stuff. That’s what I had been listening to most of this past winter. I knew the Phish reunion was coming back up, but my mind was in a totally different frame than their sound. About as far “down” as I got was Rush. Then, one day with the iPod on shuffle, the perfect song to take me from hard rock/metal back to Phish played and I was good to go from there to Hampton: 6/14/00 Carini.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    Frankly I am quite surprised at your responses Albert. They seem far too critical and overly assured.

    I am sorry if I offended you at some point earlier today. I would sure like to move past this and continue with a constructive discussion of musical tastes, rather than continue to be told that my listening choice is crap.

  12. Mugician Says:

    Mr. C, I seem to recall you had Arches advice months and months and months back. Was that you?

  13. kenny powers Says:

    me too Marshall! I know it’s completely OCD but I don’t care. I’m sure I’ll ease off at some point, but as soon as tour started in June I got a 1TB hard drive and have built a library of like 500+ shows from etree in less than 3 months. I have a LOT of catching up to do. Never had a fast enough internet connection before to take advantage of bittorent, and didn’t have to patience/motivation for trading/mailing…but then came along FiOS. yummy.

  14. Mugician Says:

    Goddamn, NYE95 Mike’s is epic.

  15. Marshall Says:

    Actually I could say this another way…. bad music is a disease … and Phish is the cure.

  16. albert walker Says:

    I dig Radiohead man, just not my thing
    I think posing Blind Melon as some kind of talent you were asking for trouble
    I’m sure we disagree on pretty much everything musically, except maybe Phish
    no big deal
    I’m pretty open minded, love all genres, have a couple thousand vinyl records in my collection
    I just get instantly turned off when bad bands are talked up
    I had the same thing happen with Pearl Jam on this site
    happens every once in a while
    I’ve just been having a constructive conversation, no trouble

  17. Mugician Says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but how did they actually decide on Phish?

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    @lycan I fundamentally agree that devoting one’s life (or part of it) to hardcore drug use is *usually* a choice. And I hear where you’re coming from on that.

    but genetics and upbringing are funny things. imagine a kid who is maybe 18 or 19. he has the genes for addiction. he also has had a shitty home life or is predisposed to depression. at a party with cooler older people he tries heroin one time, and, as I have heard so often from people who went through it: he feels like he is home. for the first time he feels safe and happy and completely relaxed.

    how can we blame him for becoming an addict?

    at the same time, we know it’s not going to end well, and will have fallout for everyone around him.

    now it’s not like that for everyone that gets into it. but you rarely know what steps led someone there. maybe the pain they’re covering up is worse than you understand.

    like you, I have a lot of addiction in my family history. My dad’s a full on 12-stepper. And at 18 years old I was freebasing 8-balls of blow 3-4 days a week. But then I decided to stop and was able to almost without effort. It wasn’t an act of will. I have very little willpower when it comes to temptation. It just had no hold on me, for no good reason.

    when it comes to these questions there are no simple answers. that’s really my only point, that we can’t make any sweeping generalizations hardly at all.

    As for Syd – based on a few people I have known well who were A) brilliant, B) carrying undiagnosed mental health problems and C) using psychedelics a lot, I truly think he had no choice or control whatsoever. Schizophrenia is a terrifying thing to witness up close.

  19. Marshall Says:

    @ Kenny Powers – when I discovered Miner’s site in early January, I started the same thing downloading all the live shows on here, then found the google spreadsheet with every show linked in it. My count is around 250 on my hard drive at this point (I slacked off during summer tour focusing on the current shows).

    When I was “off” Phish prior to last October, I was actually pretty dead in terms of music. Probably had NPR on in the car more often than not. Since Hampton, I finally got an iPod adapter for my car because I got tired of burning shows to disc.

  20. Marshall Says:

    @ Mugician – not sure about origins, but can tell you the spelling was going to be GHOTI initially, but that turned out to be too hard to “get.”


    I think I read they wanted a name that didn’t imply any sort of preconception as to what the music was about.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Mug, not me on the Arches thing, actually one of the big ones I haven’t done yet

    I remember that conversation though

  22. Marshall Says:

    enough, women, and martian are used merely to demonstrate the phonetics … not meant to be a part of the name in any way shape or form.

  23. albert walker Says:

    having H take out half my crew in the late 90’s into 2000’s has made me pretty sympathetic

    just happy me and my girl got out

    praise Jah
    and the MMP
    marijuana maintennance program as we say in the 12 step program

  24. voopa Says:

    Beck & Friends cover The Velvet Underground & Nico

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @albert – word – i am just very conscious of how incredibly lucky I am, there but for the grace of [whatever] go I

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