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. Mr. Completely Says:

    @bastard – um not sure – what do you need exactly? there’s an infinite amount of Dead torrents on bt.etree.org

    @stupendous – that’s one of my favorite years so a tough question! most shows besides the ones with the horn section are pretty great, I don’t really love those sets. Fall ’73 is one of my top 4 tour picks. If I had to pick a single show from that year it would be 12-6-73 due to my favorite Dark Star and some other nice jamming (Here Comes Sunshine esp). That Dark Star is extremely abstract and I don’t usually recommend it any more to people who are just getting into that era but it is my favorite.

    The Winterland box set from November has a lot of redundant versions of first set tunes but tons of top shelf jamming too.

    The Boston run from December has a lot to recommend it, including a lack of Donna; it’s a Dicks Pick. The DP from Feb. ’73 is cool too.

    I find that the highly circulated Kezar and RFK shows from the summer aren’t as good as most spring or fall but they’re still cool.

    Any Dark Star from 1973 is well worth hearing I think.

  2. Stupendous Says:

    ^ i love 73, dont have much….Im going for 12 -06-73 right ahead!

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    the craziest thing about 1973 is that Jerry was playing outer space music with the Dead, jazz, funk and r& b with Merl Saunders, and bluegrass with Old and In The Way – often within days of each other

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    watch out for dropout at end of Here Comes Sunshine. Best-ever version of that song which makes the cut really heinous. enjoy.

  5. Stupendous Says:

    bummer 12-6-73 is not on the sbd link i received… up until 12-4?!?!?!

  6. Stupendous Says:

    10-01-99 Antelooooooopppe!!!

  7. posternutbag Says:

    Stupendous Says:

    August 17th, 2009 at 3:57 pm
    the YEM from Gorge 2 reflected upon a floydish “several species of furry animals gathered in a cave and grooving with a pict” i was freaking…

    Definitely caught that, too. They got pretty far out there on that one.

  8. Stupendous Says:

    ^^^uber psychotik!

  9. fat bastard Says:

    thats the link MC. nice

  10. voopa Says:

    Yeah, 12-6-73 is great! I also enjoy 11-17, 11-11 (Dark Star>MLB>Eyes>China Doll), 6-30, and 12/19 (Dick’s Picks Vol. 1)…there’s much more out there, including Watkins Glen.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    all great calls by voopa. really, all of those are super solid. 11-11 Dark Star is the fraternal twin of 12-6.

    @stupendous, the dark star from 12-6 is in my mediafire as part of a mix. Go to the Grateful Dead folder, then Just a Dream volume 2, it’s the Dark Star and the “jam” track right after it (I added a track marker so I can skip on those days when I’m not in the mood for the “Tiger” uber-noise freakout section, there’s a beautiful free improv jam right after it as there often was).

    of course I’d say the whole mix is worth checking out, it’s all from 73 and 74

  12. Stupendous Says:

    cool ! big up!

  13. larry bird flu Says:

    just got back to boston from burlington after dropping off my tour partner. god damn what a run! i loved how there were some divergent styles all over, from oldschool translated to 3.0 in hartford, the MPP first set, all of SPAC and the darien set 2. just my initial thoughts, i want to sleep for a week but have to make it to work tomm.

  14. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @completely, do you have the official release ‘terrapin limited’ from ’90 by any chance? been trying to download it forever with no luck

  15. Kevin Says:

    I saw Blind Melon on their final tour, just a few nights before the end. They were a fantastic band to see live — something you wouldn’t necessarily guess from their studio work.

    I love seeing Radiohead shows, but I can’t listen to their albums much. I agree that it’s all really good, and the similarity I see between Radiohead and Pink Floyd is that they were both sort of on the edge of newly developing technology that everyone knew was going to be huge but nobody could really harness effectively. Both bands learned to manipulate new digital sounds in ways that blend naturally with traditional instruments, which, if you’ve ever tried, is insanely hard to do.

  16. halcyon Says:

    I suggest everybody take Matso’s advice and listen to SPAC set 2 BDTNL … so gooood. Set 1 from SPAC was the HEAT! Harpua was fun (great to see a bit of some old school Phish thrown in the mix).

    Having lawn seats for Hartford and SPAC, I will always try for Pavillions, or to get in very early next time.

  17. kb Says:



  18. Stupendous Says:

    That DS from 12-06 is taking me there!

  19. voopa Says:

    Just now listening to last night…holy fuck, I have to EQ Mike’s bass down again! Jeez…

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @f0ol – I should. I’ll poke around.

  21. whole tour! Says:

    terrapin limited = cap center 3/15/90 phil’s birthday
    excellent release with superb sound and playing.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    @wt! – near the start of my last…whole tour!

  23. voopa Says:

    I have Terrapin Ltd if you don’t. email me- vooopa at gmail (yes, 3 o’s)

  24. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    yep that’s the one whole tour. pretty much the only official dead live release i dont have except for most of the road trips… @completely if you find it i’d be eternally grateful if you could please upload it to your mediafire, no rush or anything

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    @voopa, would love it thanks, how would you send it? one of those filesharing programs?

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