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. Marshall Says:

    Are you guys hitting the Orange Peel?

  2. MOonSHaKE Says:

    Orange Peel would be it or Lincoln Theater in Raleigh… I like Asheville better, even though its further for me than Raleigh

  3. Marshall Says:

    Wonder if Mike will play Sugar Shack a few times on the Get Basssed tour? I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the OP. The Beasties performed there the night after the Asheville phish show.

  4. Leo Weaver Says:

    Not sure yet about Mike’s show but not looking good…would REALLY like to catch it but I have a meeting the night of Asheville (not confirmed but getting more likely by the day) and can’t really swing a Raleigh mid-week show.

    @Mr. C, I thought the same thing re: “what it is”…I noticed it during several shows (3-4 I think)…I guess being a common chord or whatnot it’s easy for them to find themselves there during certain songs/jams…then they just go with it when they recognize it’s happening. Kinda the same with the RR SOAMelt relative to how they “find it and go with it”…I don’t think it was really shortened, could’ve gone a little farther, but the end was there. I think they all organically found the ending phrase/melody (whatever, I’m no musician) again and since it was raining, maybe took advantage and didn’t push it quite like they could have (or would have had it not been raining). First time I listened, it sounded as if they all hit the melody (or note “pairings/sets” within the melody) a couple of measures apart then “zipped it up”…this wasn’t as obvious as I’d recalled upon another listen but I think it’s there to an extent. Anyway, I’m rambling trying to ignore my work (and after a puff)…maybe you get what I’m trying to say.

  5. Marshall Says:

    Watching Limb by Limb from IT on DVD right now – Fishman is one loose goose.

  6. BrandonKayda Says:

    I only have The Green Sparrow, haven’t heard it in awhile

  7. Marshall Says:

    I have exactly zero Phish side project albums – all part of the whole “I’m too close minded about music” that I wrote about last week. I need to check all of the side projects out – but that would mean shelving Phish for a little while. Can’t be taking a man’s drink away from him like that, ya know.

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    “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.”

    ^its more than the chords….I should post the damn song.

    @Marshall: http://phishthoughts.com/2009/07/09/moments-in-a-box-the-midwest/

    Not sure why, but its a sendspace. There may be a few of these- you can do them if you have them, or record which ones they are for me later.

    you can serach for shows on using the search bar in MM-DD-YYYY form. (possibly MM-D-YYYY form for a single digit date) I never really was organzed in how i posted shows, which is why this is gonna be GREAT

  9. PT Says:

    Rosemary’s Digest meet-ups worked (as well as other groups) and so can a phishthoughts.com connection work. Festivals are definitely easier as people are relatively stationary for significant portions of the day. Second day works better. That said, multi-day runs work for the same reason. If there’s a local, they are often best able to suggest a meeting place easily spotted but not so crowded you can’t find each other. Closer to meet date emails/texts re: something you are wearing can distinguish you even in NYC.


  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    “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.”

    ^^ def. no question. Crosseyed for a tour, forget which one….but for sure. and sure, whatever with “what its called” but when I downloaded the song, the jam was conguent/

  11. Marshall Says:

    do you want the sendspace linked songs like this one sent up to MU?

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    @miner –
    lol. ok ok. its the song. i still hold out on wether it was intentional or not

  13. Leo Weaver Says:

    @miner…I’m with you, I think they found it, heard it, recognized it, and then played the song…and have done it several times this summer as Mr. C pointed out.

    @marshall…I have that close-minded about music problem a lot myself

  14. Marshall Says:

    Miner – I’m going to go ahead and send up the Omaha show to MU since I have it (I used the torrent link originally).

  15. Marshall Says:

    While we’re on topic of teases, there’s one that has eluded me for years … any help is appreciated.

    Deer Creek 2009/05/02 – during the Cities jam – beginning around 17:15 – is that some Doobie Brothers song? I don’t think so, but that’s what always got in my head during the tease. It goes on a for a while.

  16. Marshall Says:

    It’s very prominent beginning at 18:00 minutes. Damn that show was awesome (GTBT and Rotation jam followed).

  17. Marshall Says:

    OK – it would help if I gave the right dates, shit. Sorry.

    Deer Creek – 1997.08.10 (the other date was “date added” in iTunes – again – sorry).

  18. Jer Says:

    Ok, I started this so I had to go listen to it and, yeah, it most certainly is Praise You. They may tease it at other times during the tour, but at 12:00 of the 7-30 Ghost Page is without a doubt playing the main theme from the song.

  19. Robear Says:

    First official Phish Thoughts Meet-up:

    My Rv at Indio!!
    No, that will be the second one. First one, Waterwheel booth at Indio, the first day, and every day thereafter.

  20. Marshall Says:

    Really enjoying the Chalkdust/Jam from IT right now. Too bad they don’t use this song as a jumping off point very often.

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    man I’m sorry guys, I just feel like that is too generic of a progression to be directly quotable as Praise You. I definitely hear that it is essentially the same lick, but sped up (and I believe Page is playing a different third chord). I just listened to the songs side by side. I mean you could speed up franklin’s tower or werewolves of london and get a similar effect of what Page is doing.

    I think I am going to have to just consent to the majority on this one, and write it up to just not wanting to admit that Phish is playing a Fat Boy Slim song.

  22. Marshall Says:

    Any help on the DC 8.10.97 tease during the Cities jam? Seriously, I have wondered what this ever since hearing it at the show, twelve years ago.

  23. Marshall Says:

    26 minute Chalkdust – you definitely don’t hear that everytime.

  24. Robear Says:

    Hey Lycan, I’m glad you’re here, early and late! Hey Marshall! You two are going to Indio, si’? Let’s start some momentum to have a meet-up at the Waterwheel zone. It’s at every show, not sure how Indio will work, but I’ll find out.

  25. Robear Says:

    Fwiw, I’m just now listening to the Rock ‘N’ Roll from the Gorge. Great time to be a phan. I’m soaking this up.

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