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)

Tags: , ,

335 Responses to “Ending With Joy”

  1. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Neemor – TOTALLY agree on STFTFP. That is a sleeping giant waiting to reak havoc. I picture that jam being very much a kin to ASIHTOS. They HAVE to stretch i out though. All versions played so far are almost note for note to the studio. I love the track though. Trey gets all anti-establishment. Go ahead Red, fight the good fight!

    re: boys lost steam headin east – eh? Hartford was a balls out, steaming, crispy, fun, creative night that holds up nicely on tape. I caught that and SPAC on leg too and while the latter was fairly standard, Hartford was undeniable. Listened to some of Merriweather and some of Darien and both had some nice highlights. Not sure it is fair to say the boys weren’t “on” back east.

    Also, I love the combo of PYITE and AC/DC because you can write it as “I loved Punch into Bag”

    @ El Dude: “the dude doesn’t like the panic.” – I concur

  2. Neemor Says:

    Punch You in the Bag and put you in the NICU.

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    The Camden ’09 video is also up @ the D. The few other posts from ’09 that are up there are not that great. A couple of them are the youtube shares in mp format. This Camden is sbd audio and a single cam on tripod. Check it!

  4. Neemor Says:

    I apologize…

    Upon further listening,
    It is indeed Party Time.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have no idea how I ended up here but I found this Jaco Pastorious and John Scofield video that’s fairly dope


  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol Neemor! that was fast!

    that’s song’s just pure fun.

    The only problem I have with Stealing Time being the new Ocean Sing is that we haven’t gotten nearly enough out of Ocean Sing yet, and I actually prefer it pretty strongly, tho I agree Stealing Time is a hot song.

    Could they make room for both? Sure. But they haven’t been exactly carving out a lot of jamming time for either one…

    hoping for more in the fall obviously

  7. sumodie Says:

    Re: SPAC/East coast

    I wouldn’t call SPAC a clunker or dud -that’s far too strong, imho. Just listened to BDT#L>20yr again and still love it. Most of the show was at least solid, and in general it was a more-than-satisfactory tour closer. Would agree that Harpua was great to hear but it is probably the weakest version I’ve heard live and would have been better off in set 1 (that KPerry tune didn’t sit well with me either -ugh. Not even trashy funny for me -oh well).

    Regarding the tour, a part of me was disappointed the boys couldn’t maintain the intensity of the RR/Gorge shows as they came eastward. Part of that is my own expectations, as I am always chasing the next crazy intense jam show. Overall, my 3 east coast shows left me happy, but not ecstatic, and looking forward to Indio.

  8. snigglebeach Says:

    I went to six shows this summer and had great seats to most. SPAC was the one show i had lawns for, (and def the stupidest and smallest lawn of any venue i have ever attended) and yet to me this show still sounded better than any show i had previously attended. The #L jam continues to be my favorite jam of summer, having now listened to everything at least thrice. And the segue into 20YL is also among cleanest, esp. with new songs.

    Secondly, i think the discussion got jacked today. Posternutbag and BoiseBag are clearly the same person. He opened another name and agreed with himself using the same language.

  9. albert walker Says:

    middle nights RR and both nights Gorge
    arguably all 4 best shows were on the west coast
    not that they played bad out east
    just hoping the upward momentum continued through the tour closer
    all in all though a great summer

  10. wvbrdr Says:

    Mr C, Scofield and Jaco are amazing, thanks for the link. I’ve been listening to a bit of Joe Pass this weekend, so that link flows for me today.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    “all in all though a great summer”

    ^^^^ that’s the bottom line

    “exceeds expectations”

  12. Little Buddy Says:

    The best shows were the RR and Gorge, no doubt. I didn’t see Hartford or SPAC, but I did see Darien and MPP. I gotta say, Darien just isn’t getting the love it deserves around here. One of the best first sets all year with inspired, but not necessarily exploratory, Bowie and Gin. The Drowned was amazing. A nice Rift interlude followed by the best Antelope in ’09, Suzy and a flawlessly played Fluff. Even the encore was pretty dope – nice Joy placement preceding 1st Tube rager. I mean it wasn’t RR 2 or the Gorge, but it was the best of the 10 shows I saw this year, I think.

  13. Little Buddy Says:

    I shouldn’t have used the word “best.” There really is no “best” since its mostly subjective, but you get my drift…

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Buddy – that show actually gets a lot of love on this board for all the reasons you rightly mention – if the term “dark horse” gets used any more in reference to that show, Miner will get sued by the comic book company of that name.

  15. nonoyolker Says:

    @ sniggle – nice fucking catch man! That is incredibly pathetic if that is the case. Weird, I tend to agree with myself too, though never post twice or in disguise….

    Sco and Jaco – awesome. Has to cleanse the musical palate following tour and have been all jazz/funk/fusion . Dusted off Miles – Big Fun and Get up With it. Cut a fucking rug all weekend!

  16. nonoyolker Says:

    @ wvbrdr – what Joe Pass have you been listening to? I have Virtuoso, Chops, and Meditation, but am always open to good suggestions. Guy is incredible.

  17. Little Buddy Says:

    Thanks, Mr. C. I’m glad to hear it. I haven’t been on hear enough lately to have seen the Darien=Dark Horse stuff. I’m glad to hear it though b/c over time I think that recording will stand up very well. Cheers!

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    it’s one of those that’s climbing the charts with repeat listens, like MPP set 1

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    “if the term “dark horse” gets used any more in reference to that show, Miner will get sued by the comic book company of that name.”


  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @nono – I’ve been doing the palate cleanse too – mostly African music. listening right now to Toumani Diabate playing with Bela Fleck at Telluride, it’s amazing stuff, the guy plays 3 parts simultaneously and the 3rd is a very fast, intricate improvisation…world class virtuoso stuff, I mean top level globally & historically, and beautifully musical too…

  21. wvbrdr Says:

    @ nono, Virtuoso

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    Dark Horse is in the same town I live in south of PDX, they’re hilarious, there’s like this Central Casting, Send Me A Small-Town Downtown and right in the middle of it there’s a glass storefront with lifesize, high end Alien and Predator models and all kinds of freaky-ass art

    really classes the joint up quite a bit

  23. wvbrdr Says:

    I’m always looking for new(old) good music to blow me away. I’m kind of in a rut these days. I’ll take Mr C’s suggestion and check out Toumani Diabate.

  24. Neemor Says:

    SPAC has the smallest lawn?

    I seem to remember an effin forest out back?!?!?

    That monstrous Piper from ’04 found me wandering through some woods on that very lawn….maybe you didn’t see that?

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @wvbrdr his stuff is all over the map from all-acoustic stuff to afropop fusion with horns and a big backing band

    I like the acoustic stuff because it shows off his kora playing which is trancey and very beautiful.

    There’s an album he did with Ali Farka Toure that’s a great place to start

Leave a Reply