In our continuing remembrances of this past summer, let’s travel back to the final four shows of tour. Returning to the Northeast after an other-worldly run out west, Phish came home to some classic sheds to punctuate the season. While each show had improvisational highlights- many which have been discussed- here is a look at some of the moments that fit in between the more significant jams.
“Fluffhead” 8.13 Darien Lake II
At the conclusion of a smoking set that has been largely glossed over, Phish pulled out a massive version of “Fluffhead.” Following the opening ebb and flow of “Drowned > Caspian > Rift” and a ripping mid-set “Antelope,” Phish played a top-notch rendition of their once-elusive classic to close it out.. After an almost note-perfect jaunt through the many composed sections, Trey took command at the top, gushing with a triumphant solo that packed a heartfelt wallop. Out of the the many versions of “Fluff” this summer, this one sits in the upper echelon, and it served as a vibrant exclamation point to the band’s return to the circus tents of Darien.
“Icculus” 8.14 Hartford II
After Phish had shredded this set apart with improv galore, they reached a point of sustained banter. As Trey joked with the audience after “Catapult,” the band made a subtle change to “Icculus” in the background. Appearing for only the tenth time since 1990, the audience responded immediately and enthusiastically to the musical shift. Delving deep into Phish lore, Trey went on an early-nineties tirade about our over-technological generation, our need for the “fucking book,” and the “great and knowledgeable” prophet of Gamehendge. An undeniably significant moment in the re-evolution of the band, the passion infused into this ancient bust-out confirmed that things were once again in order in the land of Lizards.
“Party Time” 8.15 Merriweather I
When discussing the band’s forthcoming album and new family-oriented vibe after Hampton, Trey joked that they should ironically title the record, “Party Time.” This joke turned into a more substantial rumor when a track listing emerged from the band’s studio sessions in May that had “Party Time” amidst other songs. It could have been an inside joke- we had no idea, but when Trey happily introduced the Fishman-penned original at Merriwether, the band and crowd erupted in laughter and cheer. Kicking into their take on New Orleans party-funk, the band foreshadowed what could develop into a much larger and entertaining jam vehicle. If I had to guess, we’ll hear a extensive version to open up the band’s highly-anticipated festival in Indio come Halloween- but for now, it’s “Paaaaaarty Tiiime!”
“Harpua” 8.16 SPAC II
“Oom Pah Pah, Oom Pah Pah, Oom Pah Paaaaaaaah…” And SPAC exploded. On the final night of summer, Phish revived one of their oldest narratives about Jimmy, Posternutbag, and the fat, sweaty bulldog. Stamping a show as special with its mere inclusion, this go-round was even more significant, as it was the modern era bust-out of “Harpua.” In this story, a depressed Jimmy meditaded in his bedroom, summoning his spirit guide in the form of Fishman floating in his window. Imparting with him the all-powerful truth, Fiashman sang a spoof of “I Kissed a Girl.” An absurd tale, no doubt, this return of “Harpua,” coupled with “YEM,” brought a Phishy end to an unforgettable summer.
Jam of the Day:
This was our first taste of the wide-open exploration that would characterize the western shows. Like a breath of life into the world of Phish, this musical passage was the indelible memory from Red Rocks’ opening night.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
8.15.2009 Merriweather Post Pavilion < Torrent
8.15.2009 Merriweather Post Pavilion < Megaupload
A fun first set with many bust-outs was followed by the most tame second frame of tour. The “46 Days,” however, is one of the jams of the summer.
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
Source: Schoeps mk22> KCY> Schoeps VMS02IB> Apogee Mini-Me> SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)
(Taper – taylorc)