Moments In a Box: The Northeast

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

Darien Lake 8.13 (D.Vann)

Darien Lake 8.13 (D.Vann)

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

Hartford 8.14 (D.Vann)

Hartford 8.14 (D.Vann)

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

Merriweather 8.15 (K.Pusey)

Merriweather 8.15 (K.Pusey)

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

SPAC (D.Perrucci)

SPAC (D.Perrucci)

“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.


Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Ghost > Wolfman’s” 7.30 II Red Rocks


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.



8.15.2009 Merriweather Post Pavilion < Torrent

8.15.2009 Merriweather Post Pavilion < Megaupload

Official Merriweather Poster

Official Merriweather Poster

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)

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423 Responses to “Moments In a Box: The Northeast”

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  1. Baxter Says:

    The bust outs are what make each show worth the trip. Icculus was a tasty treat. Too bad they threw out the wook that threw the book, aka the Sloth.

    When will they announce fall tour?

    Thanx 4 the linx Miner!

  2. gills Says:

    # 2 on the boards ok time to go to bed

  3. c0wfunk Says:

    Loved party time .. When they were playing the song, a big group backstage was doing a hands in the air waving back and forth dance that was mirrored by the pavillion crowd .. Good stuff.

    A friend mentioned that it sounds like trey’s saying “potty time” but this is no piss break song! It was a little raw, but once they figure out exactly what to do with this one it’ll be a monster. The new orleans groove is one not often represented in phish’s repertoire so it’s a welcome addition (ya mar has that kind of lilt but I can’t really can’t think of another.

    And on an unrelated note, I just heard on npr that reading rainbow ends today.. A moment of silence please – best theme song ever! I can go anywhere….

  4. BTB Says:

    Interested to see what these very short songs on the Joy Box sound like. Wondering if they are scraps like the Bearsville/Ghost album or actual songs Tom/Trey wrote.

    Have to say it, that Party Time song is catchy and I imagine it as a great SET I opener. Grab beer, ticket stub in hand, walk over the hill onto the lawn; then the boys bust out a ‘peaches en regalia’ sounding Zappa tune like Party Time for everyone to gather themselves and find their seats. You can tell the guys goof on this one by the Merriweather version.

    Thanks for the friday entertainment at work Miner!

  5. BTB Says:

    “Take a look, it’s in the Fucking Book! It’s in the Fucking Book Kid! Read the Fucking Book CowFunk!”

  6. whole tour! Says:

    @ BTB “in a misty glade” was released on a 2 cd set of bearsville outtakes either from the recording sessions of “Billy Breathes”, “Ghost”, or “farmhouse.”

    I know i downloaded it like a year or two ago.

  7. BTB Says:

    I just remember bearsville having tons of extra material and page sifted through it all and something was eventually released. I could be wrong.

    So far I’ve heard the Lillywhite did a good job on the album. I don’t listen to Phish albums, but maybe, just maybe I’ll actually buy one!

  8. Wax Banks Says:

    I never bothered to listen to the Merriweather show, so this morning is the first time I’m hearing ‘Party Time.’

    My soul feels lighter.

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    @btb lol thanks for tying that together for me 🙂

  10. Danny B Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, all excellent moments from the last four shows (unfortunately I missed Party Time).

    One thing I have been thinking about as I listen back to all these shows from summer tour, is the new sound of Phish which largely stems from Trey’s new guitar tone. I personally have grown to really like it. It is grittier, and gives a lot of songs a harder edge. The only problem is that when Trey slips up it becomes more apparent than ever, especially on the SBD’s since he is so high in the mix.

    I have noticed that throughout the second leg of tour he has become better and better at concealing the flubs, and not letting any bumps in the road get in his way. As a guitarist one of my favorite parts of Trey’s playing was when he would take a mistake and turn it into something beautiful. He could sometimes turn mistakes into these unbelievable melodic runs that were always highlights for me.

    There are still points where Trey cuts out, and misses notes, and plays the wrong notes………but he is starting to conceal them and turn his mistakes into new melodic phrases. This is something I am very happy about, and I think has been missing from 2.0, Hampton, and first leg of summer tour. This is a very promising sign of things to come!

    End rant…..Need Coffee……Happy Trey is wielding the Axe the way he once did.

  11. Dbone Says:

    Glad to see Party Time get some attention. I agree with the general consensus that this one could be fun and has potential to be big. I don’t really seeing it as being a huge 20+ minute jam vehicle, rather a more contained groove jam. That’s just my gut reaction but I would love to be wrong.

    When listening to it, I thought it had some Yamar feeling to it and it also reminded me a lot of CTB partly in the style/groove but partly in terms of what song it might turn into and what spot/role it will fill in shows. I agree with Miner and BTB that I could see it as a show opener or a nice mid-first set treat.

    Speaking of CTB, after just one listen on shitty headphones while riding my bike (slowly), the CTB from SPAC sounded either slightly re-worked or much more collectively jammed out than I recall from times past. Anyway, I can see why it’s not going to get so much attention amidst all the other highlights of that show, but it sounded like a nice little gem in there that probably shouldn’t be overlooked.

  12. AbePhroman Says:

    Harpua was the shit.

    CTB was the shit.

  13. SOAM Says:

    I really want phish to cover “Wheels on Fire” by Dylan and the band

  14. Mitch Says:

    please go to this link immediately:

    the picture on the side is priceless.

    i can go anywhere, friends to know and ways to grow, its reading rainbow!
    i can be anything, its in a book, so take a look, its reading rainbow!

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    mitch nice pics 🙂

    @dbone – good call re: ctb, definitely has that new orleansy swing to it – and the rework is that they added a section of “trading 4’s” to the end – which is a jazz technique – it usta go:

    head (the melody of the song) -> solos over form -> back to head,

    but now it’s head -> solos over form -> trading 4s -> back to head..

    what trading 4s means is that each player takes 4 bars for a solo, then the next 4 are a little drum solo (usually insinuating the form), then another player solos for 4 , then back to the drums for 4, and you do this as long as you want and then triumphantly hit it back into the head at the end to end the song.

    It’s fun, it’s cool, it’s swing 🙂

  16. c0wfunk Says:

    I’m thinking the hampton version had this as well btw..

  17. Dbone Says:

    thanks cowfunk. I really appreciate it when those with the musical theory background knowledge are able to break it down for people like me. Sounds like a pretty standard technique, but it sure made CTB a little more interesting. I’ll have to go back and check out Hampton again.

  18. Leo Weaver Says:

    my favorite CTB has to be from 9.26.99 with Michael Ray and Tim Green…smokin’…and fitting considering that was a NOLA show…

  19. Marshall Says:

    The 4/26/96 version from Jazzfest (also with M Ray) ain’t too bad either…

  20. bhizzle Says:

    I also found Party Time enjoyable. Although Trey’s guitar seemed more a nuisance during the beginning, but soon got it together.

    Also, I am going to go out on a limb here and say I attribute the NOLA feel coming from Page. Not only has he been playing PBS frequently, but that style can be heard on on his album.

  21. Marshall Says:

    Remembering Jazzfest reminds me how fans used to be able to enjoy new music for the first time at a show even if it wasn’t a song’s debut. At jazzfest, I’d been to 4 shows before and didn’t have a huge stash of tapes (certainly not every show from tour like now), so I actually just thought CTB was a Jazzfest NoLa jam created on the spot. I had never heard the song.

    I sort of miss the days of flying blind, so to speak. There was some joy to it.

  22. Neemor Says:

    I see Party Time as centerpiece to a themed set ala Moby Dick 7/11/00.

    12/4/09 Madison Square Garden

    Set I:
    Party Time*, AC/DC Bag>Party Time**>Walfredo,Yamar>Party Time Jam#>Maze>When the Circus Comes to Town>Antelope,Cavern

    * Includes Fishman Vacuum Solo
    ** As Trey set down delay loops and moved on to the piano, a rotational jam format evolved. Fishman to Bass, Gordon to Guitar, Page to Drums. The exciting jam slowly and deftly melted into Walfredo.
    # A 23 minute funk jam ensued based on the Party Time riff and including teases of Brother, Possum, Guelah Papyrus (The Asse Festival), and included a ‘Reba’-type Jam.

  23. bhizzle Says:

    Page on drums? eek…

  24. Neemor Says:

    Yeah, that’s how Walfredo was done on 9-30-00. Vegas-style.

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    I like that Neemor…but have to agree with bhizzle – Page on drums???

    @Marshall…yes, that is a good CTB! That song’s made for horn accompaniment…as is Free Thought from the same 9.26.99 show.

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