Taste the Fear

Merriweather 8.15 (K.Pusey)

Merriweather 8.15.09 (K.Pusey)

With so much new Phish to listen to these days, one of the most engaging and protean jams of the tour hasn’t gotten its proper credit.  Buried in a lackluster second set at Merriweather Post Pavilion, the band played one of their finest pieces of music since their return.  After listening to “46 Days” a few times over, it is certainly one of the most diverse, far-reaching Phish jams of the summer.  From heavy groove to ambient psychedelia, this jam brought us deep into the primordial soup before delivering us to heights uncharted.

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

After a high-energy and exciting first set, comprised almost exclusively of bustouts, everyone was ready for the band to bring the heat in the second.  And when they opened with “Tweezer,” it seemed like Merriweather was about to explode.  But instead, Phish played one of the most uneventful renditions in  memory, on the way to a particularly slow beginning of the set.  Segueing quickly into “Taste,” we soon found ourselves listening to an “interlude” of “Alaska” and “Let Me Lie,” but nothing  spectacular had happened to necessitate one.  Thus when Phish started up “46 Days” it could have gone either way.  Phish could have just as easily played a eight-minute rendition of the song, continuing the pattern of the night, or they could have gone huge on the song- something they’ve done more than a couple times in the past.  Needless to say, they chose the latter.

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

After a quick pass through the composition, Phish got right into the thick of things.  Springing off a bass-driven platform, the band entered some slowed down molasses-funk, and immediately we knew we were in for a ride.  Before long, we found ourselves knee-deep in a murky swamp of the mind, trudging through layered musical sludge that became slower and spacier with each step we took.  Bombarded with sonic textures, likening an alien encounter, Trey threw us a rope to hold onto via slower sustained melodies stemming from the dark side.  Mike led the band into menacing grooves, killing it with a unique backdrop that only he can provide.  Offering a faster idea, Trey hopped aboard the bass line, and soon infused the jam with its first taste of happiness.

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

The band settled into a soundscape with Trey delicately atop, and soon built the piece into awesome whole-band ambient sculpture.  As the music reached its most abstract point, Trey added a faster rhythm pattern that, at first, seemed out of place.  But as the band built around his offering, the music became divine.  And as Trey started to solo in this vein, Fish kicked a dance beat and the band was off into some of the most organic, and spectacular improv of the summer.  Completely switching gears from its dark beginning, the subsequent music is pure Phish majesty.

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

Merriweather (K.Pusey)

As the band continued into a tight, rhythmic pattern, Phish was in complete destruction mode, flowing as their heart desired.  Disconnected from any song structure, they played as if no one were there, and it was perfect.  Trey painted the blissful music with surreal melodic themes that Page complimented masterfully on piano.  Reaching a higher plane, the band collectively blossomed in a splendid segment of pure and utter hose. Trey’s lines transformed into mind-bending waterfalls in one of those you moments you couldn’t believe, even though it was happening right in front of you.

Following the jam’s soaring peak with an artistic denouement and a slip into “Oh! Sweet Nuthin,” Phish gave everyone a moment to breathe after their signature excursion.  The ballad was played with an emotional purpose, punctuating the exalting music that had just gone down.  Though it was the only taste of  exploration all night long, “46 Days” gave Merriweather’s second set some street cred with one of the greatest- and most overlooked- Winged music notejams of the tour.


Jam of the Day:

46 Days > Oh! Sweet Nuthin” 8.15 II




8.5.09 Shoreline, Mountain View CA < Torrent

8.5.09 Shoreline, Mountain View CA < Megaupload

2266988757_3aedc34579This mid-week stop in the Bay Area carried provided more than a few highlights, though has lived in the shadows of Red Rocks and The Gorge.  This show offers one the most exploratory “Diseases” of the year, a fine second set run of “Cities > Maze, Mike’s,” a hot first-set “Bowie,” and the return of Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin.”  Check it out.

I: Golgi Apparatus, Halley’s Comet, Chalk Dust Torture, The Divided Sky, When the Circus Comes, Time Turns Elastic, Ya Mar, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Suzy Greenberg, David Bowie

II: Backwards Down the Number Line, Down With Disease > Limb By Limb, Oh Sweet Nuthin’, Cities > Maze, Mike’s Song > Simple, Weekapaug Groove

E: Let Me Lie, Bold As Love

Source: Schoeps mk41> KCY> Schoeps VMS02IB> Apogee Mini-Me> SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)
(Taper- taylorc)



Merriweather Post Pavilion 8.15.09 (Photo – Kenny Pusey)

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362 Responses to “Taste the Fear”

  1. whole tour! Says:

    that’s what i’ve been saying all along…during leg one, people were quick to brush off hampton as “fluff” when leg two hit. Just as folks are sweeping leg one under the rug now that leg 2 has come and gone. There are no “bad” phish shows. I recently embarked on my phish 2009 rewind project, where i have basically forced myself to listen to the 2009 fron to back in whole, in order.

    When i went back to hampton i was surprised to hear QUALITY phish. Was it 100% functional phish that we came to know and love? not at that moment, but it’s still phish and worthy of every spec of praise lumped upon it at the time and now 5 months in the future.

    Go back and actually listen to hampton and leg one and might be surprised in “the things that you might find, liie scents you nev er noticed and many subtle sounds”

    Was leg 2 musically better than leg one and hampton: yes!
    are leg one and hampton to be swept under the rug and not appreciated because clearly leg two was more exploratory and back to the phish we love?: NO!

    An experience is an experience. Be it hampton. Be it leg one. Be it red rocks, gorge, hartford, spac. It’s all phish. I have distanced myself from the “best show ever” syndrome and comparing experiences in general.

    Take a step back and realize that at this time 2 years ago, there was no phish. Then put 2009 in perspective.

  2. Marshall Says:

    Hampton night 1 was the best show experience I’ve ever had (not necessarily the best show but it was great, IMO). More energy in that place than I’ve ever felt.

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    Hm I just listened to the rr fluffhead , really dig trey’s energy even if he’s a little over exuberent. I didn’t think of it in the context of deg but I guess there was a little of that in there eh?

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    Wt dude nice rant love it

  5. whole tour! Says:

    i know people who listened to hampton and at the time said “that’s not phish, what are they doing?” I was not one of them. At the time i told this person that if they wait until summer/fall things will fall into place again and it will be the new phish of old. This guy i know was willing to jump ship after hampton night one because it didn’t live up to their expectations. Now this same guy is telling me what a tool he was to doubt them and i just said “dude, i told you to be patient.”

    These things take time. For any other band it might take 10 years. But for phish, it just took 5 months.

  6. MOONSHAKE Says:

    I wish I had the chance to go to Hampton shows this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t win lottery, and neither did about twenty other people i knew that tried for it. tickets on ebay were so expensive there was no chance i’d be there. i was there in 96,97,99. lucky for you that were there hampton is a great venue, general admission, hotels in walking distance, can’t beat it. and the setlists looked really good, too. congrats.

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    WT…everything you said is exactly how I feel about 2009…VERY well said sir!

    And yes, Marshall, the Hampton weekend was easily one of the best show experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

  8. whole tour! Says:

    ^ i wasn’t one of the lucky ones at hampton either. But this DVD i got sure helped! night one dvd from “sliced nipple productions” is abaout as good as it gets. Made me feel like i was there.

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    @WT, kudos on your front to back listen, great idea, wish I had the discipline to do it. I’ve got Asheville 2 playing right now, about to start Ghost. And re: Hampton…the jam out of RnR>LxL is still one of my favorite jams of ’09…the segue into LxL is pretty cool. And I think that Ghost>Piper was pretty good too from what I recall (haven’t heard them in a while so I may be thinking of something else).

  10. MOONSHAKE Says:

    About Hampton…

    how did all of you get tickets? Did you get lotto, have a friend, or just broke down and dished out the extra couple hundred dollars for each night? And… did you see any tickets for sale at all out on the lot? were there people there looking for tickets or did they all just give up on hampton? there are usually a lot of ppl looking for tickets, and i would have been one of them, if i thought i had a fighting chance

  11. whole tour! Says:

    @leo and cowfunk

    thanks guys! i stopped at the bar for happy hour bloody marys after work and i started thinking just how good we really have it. Although i was only lucky enough to see 2 shows in 2009 so far, this overwhelming sense of appreciation swept over me. That missing piece of all our lives is finally back and it literally almost drove me to tears of joy earlier.

    Cheers to you all! We really are living the dream.

  12. Leo Weaver Says:


    @Moon…I’ve got a friend connected to some of the “big-league” booking and artist management firms in Nashville and LA…and still had to pay thru the nose. The tickets were the nice-looking mail order tix…not sure if they came directly thru the agency or if my friend knew someone who got ’em thru the lottery. Almost didn’t get the first night due to some miscommunication and delivery snafus. I’m still paying for that trip but damn it was worth it!

  13. whole tour! Says:

    what really set me off earlier, in a good way, was reading kevin shapiro’s thoughts on the eventual big cypress release. To know that other people feel the same way as i do concerning that event really sent me into the stratosphere.

    I was on you tube and i saw this video “phish big cypress” and when it showed clips of the fireworks during dwd and the reba jam…i literally burst into tears. That one night pretty much sums up my life to me. It was a turning point for me, for the band, for the entire phish community. At the time i felt as if the world was our oyster(head) 🙂

    i hope that feeling never goes away and to this day if i look deep inside myself it is still there and that’s when that feeling of overwhelming joy swept over me. That was last weekend and i’m still catching a buzz from the memory.

  14. Leo Weaver Says:

    and there were a FEW singles floating around the lot…least I saw one go for was $150 and that was Sunday night about an hour before showtime.

  15. Leo Weaver Says:

    and passing it on…thanks

  16. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^that was in response to WT’s last post…

  17. ATL 007 Says:

    Finally Head-phoned the Stash from 7-30-09….Wow, makes me wonder when was the last time we heard a Stash played that well?? Been a long time. So new and fresh. And Mike sounds a lot like an early 70’s Phil Dark Star throughout the middle of the jam. Anyone hear that?

    Also….On the Hampton topic I was lucky to be in for all three. The Guelah was my highlight!

  18. whole tour! Says:

    we really are the keepers of a special vibe.
    thanks for letting me vent guys.
    thanks for keeping it alive!
    have a good night everyone!

  19. Marshall Says:

    I got mine the second they went on sale. Lucky. Wasn’t as lucky for RR.

  20. Marshall Says:

    Hampton wasn’t Phish? Those people are crazy. It wasn’t 2.0 but who cares. They were BACK! Haters be damned. They didn’t deserve tickets. Fuck!

  21. Leo Weaver Says:

    @marshall…this’ll make you sick 🙂 …I’ve got a buddy who got all 3 Hampton, 4 RR, and Asheville thru the friggin’ lottery…lucky sum’bitch…

    @ATL..enjoyed that Geulah immensly! It made me feel very good to see the little dance again…I still get chills when the crowd erupts near the end.

  22. Marshall Says:

    I’m so sick of people “listening” to shows And then dissing. With a few exceptions, every show is freaking nuts if you are there. This is the problem with the asap availability of the recordings.

  23. Marshall Says:

    I paid a hefty sum for Aville. Got my DC and AV tix in the lot for face (probably overpaid but I never feel bad for paying face). 5 shows ain’t bad. Europe here I come. My new name will be Whole EU Tour!

  24. JP Says:

    @ whole tour! – u rock man! thank you so much for posting the link with the shapiro archive sets – I am listening to the 7.4.99 ghost right now – haven’t heard this since being there (besides aud) and i’m in heaven! add in my two favorite bags – 9.14.99 and 12.30.97 and i’m in shock at the good fortune! thanks again – very very cool.

  25. fat bastard Says:

    I’m not listening to the 8 or so shows leading up to Halloween 95, one a night. They were just destroying Divided Sky back then. When I hear it now it is almost like a breather song but back then it was electric. Sam thing with Runaway Jim IMO

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