Ending With Joy

SPAC 8.16.09 (D.Vann)

SPAC 8.16.09 (D.Vann)

As Phish stepped on stage for the last time this summer, it was their last performance before their album Joy would be released on September 8th.  Instead of relying on classic show-stoppers for their final set of summer, they artistically wove together Joy’s first and last song, creating a forward-looking musical highlight to cap the tour.  With the encore at SPAC including “I’ve Been Around,” the band completed their season-long preview of the forthcoming album (that was leaked all over the web just yesterday.)

SPAC (D.Perrucci)

SPAC (D.Perrucci)

Instead of dropping the expected and overdue “Mike’s Groove,” “Reba,” or “2001” as focal points of their final frame, Phish used two of their newest songs to craft the musical talking point of their last show, leaving us looking wide-eyed into the future.  After watching “Number Line” grow in improvisational scope throughout the second leg, when Phish dropped into its upbeat opening to open the second set, you had to figure it would be the meatiest version yet.  And when we walked away from SPAC that night, the conversations certainly centered around the sublime jam that stemmed from their newest launch pad.

SPAC (D.Vann)

SPAC (D.Vann)

Phish broke the noodly mold of the song’s first-leg versions at Red Rocks, and then grew it further at The Gorge and Toyota Park, gradually becoming more and more creative with the jam- but this version would surpass anything that had come before.  In a twenty-minute journey, the band took their music to much darker places than previously visited by the song.  Beginning with Trey’s altered leads, Mike and Page hopped aboard, shifting the canvas from happy to eerie.  Fishman was the last to leave the song’s rhythms, and when he did, things became a whole-band experiment in psychedelic beauty.

Building into the ether, this jam was not only the culmination of all the versions that had come before it, but also a symbolic culmination of Phish 3.0 through Summer ’09.  Each version had grown in scope- just as the band had- into its current form; a metaphor for all we have to look forward to.  Delving deeper into Phish sorcery than any previous rendition, this “Number Line” developed into a full-on exploration of the dark side of the psyche.

SPAC (D.Vann)

SPAC (D.Vann)

Landing in a lush, ambient forest, the band carefully took in the foreign landscape.  And out of this extended amorphous ball of sound came hints of something familiar.  Was it “Fast Enough?” “Man Who Stepped?”- thought my mind, racing through the past.  No- it was the first creative use of “Twenty Years Later,” and the band seamlessly slid into Joy’s retrospective closer.  This was the initial time we really got a feel for the song and its musical drama.  Put under the spotlight of the summer’s final set and crawling out of the murky musical fog, the slower composition flowed particularly well, hinting at its versatility.

SPAC (D.Vann)

SPAC (D.Vann)

At a time when Phish could have easily ran through some of their popular classics to finish tour with a bang, they used the first half-hour of the set to explore their newest material, signifying what direction this whole thing is moving.  And after creating the most engaging passage of the night with Joy’s bookends, they took it back to the old-school with a “Halley’s,” “Harpua,” and a “YEM” included in the rest of the set.  But using their last stage as an illustration, Phish made no bones about previewing their promising future while still honoring their past.

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Number Line > Twenty Years Later” 8.16 II


The musical centerpiece of the final show of summer.



8.16.2009 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY < Torrent

8.16.2009 SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY < Megaupload

3830241489_3fd2195c80I: Llama, The Moma Dance, Guyute, Anything But Me, Cars Trucks Buses, Chalk Dust Torture, Golgi Apparatus, David Bowie, Cavern, Possum, Ocelot, Run Like An Antelope

II: Backwards Down the Number Line > Twenty Years Later, Halley’s Comet > Rock & Roll, Harpua > I Kissed A Girl* > Hold Your Head Up > Harpua, You Enjoy Myself

E: Grind, I Been Around*, Highway To Hell

*first time played

Source: Schoeps MK41>KC5>CMC6>Sonosax SX-M2>Apogee Mini-me(aes out@24 bit/96khz)>COAX>Edirol R-44 SD-HC Card>USB>Soundforge 8 (tracking, resample/dither to 16bit/44.1khz)>FLAC (Taper – Andy Murray)

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335 Responses to “Ending With Joy”

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    “there is even a flub in the solo in Ocelot! ”

    ^ yeah, wtf is this about? Trey: “Ah, let’s just keep in in there!” ?!?

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    seems unlike Lillywhite to allow it.

    supposedly a perfectionist.

  3. MOonSHaKE Says:

    @ Mr. C: much appreciated, I completely agree with everything you said, and I echo your sentiment b/c this board would not be the same without you, either. In fact, I hope that some of the regulars here become friends enough that we can all meet up and see a show together. In fact, I think it should happen sooner than later. Kind of a phishthoughts party. Cheers =^)

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    no there IS… (in re: to Ocelot flub)..unless they wanted it to sound that way…

  5. Lycanthropist Says:

    would love a phishthoughts meet up
    would be there in a heartbeat

  6. Jer Says:

    re: 7-30-09 Ghost:
    d’oh….it is Praise You.

    As an aside, does anyone know where I can find a good copy of the From the Archives show from Bonnaroo? It doesn’t look like one was seeded at bt.etree. I did find one, but there are horrendous mp3 encoding errors that completely kill it. It might be my favorite FtA with some classic selections (5-22-00 Ghost, 11-23-94 Tweezer dedicated to Dirksen, 12-31-99 After Midnight jam, 9-28-99 Sneakin’ Sally, and the incredible debut of Lengthwise).

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    Yeah, we’ve tried the whole meetup thing…didn’t work so well, we were all over the place (in more than one way) 😉

    But from what I’ve figured out, many of us have seen shows in very close proximity to each other (closer than just in the same venue) if not together…in fact some of us have been in line right next to each other without knowing at the time. And some have in fact developed friendships (real, not just online handles). It’s really a very small and interconnected world around here…

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    im still not sold on that being a “praise you” tease. Those chords and that progression is so common… and its not difficult to stumble on during improvisation. It just seems coincidental to me.

  9. Lycanthropist Says:

    evening Leo –

    I am hoping to meet some of you in Indio. who all here is planning on going?

  10. MOonSHaKE Says:

    let’s plan it, Lycan, as soon as fall/winter tour dates become posted. Mr. Completely should be there, as well as dyda, butter, marshall, voopa, am I missing anybody, oh… and of course, Mr. Miner.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    not sure if I am going to be able to make any of the Fall Tour dates. I am planning on touring with my bands during that time..

    trying to go to Indio or NYE

  12. MOonSHaKE Says:

    Leo: if we had a clever person to organize this, it could work out swimmingly well. I’m thinking MSG or Miami for NYE…

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    “im still not sold on that being a “praise you” tease. Those chords and that progression is so common… and its not difficult to stumble on during improvisation. It just seems coincidental to me.”

    ^^ download “Praise You” and then listen to both. Granted that is a common chord progression, but they were definitely quoting that song note for note. we downloaded it the night after the show, its exactly the same. (note: I have no vested interet is Phish teasing Fatboy Slim. In fact, I didnt know who he was before 7.30.09. Really.)

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    Miami sounds like great idea. Whoever has the biggest suite 😉

  15. Jer Says:

    “im still not sold on that being a “praise you” tease. Those chords and that progression is so common… and its not difficult to stumble on during improvisation. It just seems coincidental to me.”

    You’re right…my wife was watching the Wendy Williams show today (yikes…though it might be for the unintentional comedy?…I can’t believe I’m admitting this in any sort of public forum…) and I noticed that the theme song has the exact same chord progression…so yeah, I’d say it is pretty common. Nevertheless, I certainly don’t think this has the gravity of the disputed FOTM tease/jam in the 12-31-95 Drowned (which I -still- don’t hear) :).

    I (and possibly Miner) was just reporting what the Phish.net setlist says.

  16. Billy Breathes Says:

    More Wax Banks!!!

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    Miami is closer to me but still fairly far. Still I may try to catch that, depending on finances after touring.

  18. BrandonKayda Says:

    How about a Maryland New Years 4-Nighter? I’m too far from Miami 🙁

  19. Lycanthropist Says:

    @Miner –
    i hear ya. The chords are pretty much it. I just feel that it was a coincidence rather than an itentional reference. But who knows what they were thinking.

  20. Leo Weaver Says:

    Evening Lycan…not gonna be at Indio unfortunately (man oh man how I wish I were). Got anniversary duties…the only part of the whole “phish in the desert for 3 days” that appeals to my wife is the possibility of eating peyote in the desert and maybe hearing BD#L and Lizards.

    @moon…haha, we had it so well organized going into the gorge 🙂
    As of now, looking like I’ll be there for the MSG run, probably not NYE though. Would be glad to try it again in the Big Apple! But lemme know next time you’re in the Charlotte area…maybe you can pick up cottle on the way and we can get Marshall, Nabby, and c0w into town for a Phish Thoughts, Cackalack edition…first round’s on me!

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    thanks for the kind words @moon

    a meetup should be doable at some point, seem like. if only we had some way to visually identify each other.

    hey so I think we’re missing the point a little on is it or is it not Praise You specifically. The interesting thing about it is that – whatever it “is” – it recurs, undeniably, several times throughout the tour, in various forms and to various degrees. It’s the “tour jam theme” or something.

    Isn’t this fairly common? To have a theme recur over the course of a tour or a year or whatever? I don’t know the tour-by-tour in detail well enough yet, but I’ve allusions to this kind of thing before.

    Anyway, Praise You or not, it works well…there’s enough there to build on but not enough to be constricting.

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    Miles said “call it what it is”

  23. Marshall Says:

    this is out of left field …. but ….

    how fucking loud was hampton during the “powerful pills” part of Fluff? Those few seconds might be the high point of any concert/show I’ve ever been a part of.

  24. MOonSHaKE Says:

    Leo: dat be fantastic… maybe we can get BASSED in Asheville!!!

  25. Marshall Says:

    Miner – what tags can I use to try to find 11.16.96 Civic Center, Omaha on this site? I tried “1996” as a tag but no love. I also searched for 11.16.96 and no love again. trying to find it and see whether its a MU upload or needs to be put up. Thanks for the help.

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