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. Neemor Says:


    I knew it was more than rumor coming from you, but I guess I’m always a bit skeptical that someone in recovery is sticking to the program.

    I saw enough people in rehab faking it to get by, to look the part.

    I actually felt better still having heard it from you.

    BTW, Miner, do you ever remember seeing a paper copy of the HPB on the lots in the mid-late 90’s?
    Just curious.

  2. Neemor Says:

    Yeah, AW, not so sure I agree.
    Opiates is opiates.
    Some people get hung up on the whole needle thing and if you’re just blowing H, you might as well blow OC’s.
    But that’s neither here nor there.
    Fentynol is where it’s at.
    Just kidding. Sort of.

    Just glad it’s in the past for Trey.
    Can’t wait to see him with the Philharmonic.
    Anyone else going??

  3. Robear Says:

    re my earlier post. 12/18/99 was not an ‘off’ show. I was just trying to put in perspective that tour closer’s are often intro-spective, (10/7/00) or celebratory and engaging of the fans, i.e., this SPAC show.

  4. albert walker Says:

    Bad conversation but opiates are not opiates.
    I don’t like the man made one’s most H junkies don’t just not dreamy and psychedelic enough.
    My point Trey was just going to the darkside.
    Just crossing over from pills to the real deal.
    Caught him just in time.
    In no way is blowing some china the same as blowing OC. Just not happening.
    It all sucks though, that’s for sure.

  5. Brimley Says:

    @Jer- “The past few nights I have been stepping back from 2009 and listening to some random shows from years ago. I just happened to push play on the 5-22-00 Ghost the other night.” It’s funny that you say that because I listened to this Ghost on Saturday night as I was getting ready to go out and thought that it’s an absolute masterpiece…It’s the definition of group play without Trey being overbearing, Mike’s basswork is phenomenal throughout, page adding the best fills, and Fish holding it down as usual…

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    5-22-00 Ghost is so great.

  7. Neemor Says:

    Did everyone get a chance to d/l the Hartford Soundcheck?

    Pretty funny.


  8. Neemor Says:

    Ghost 2.26.03

  9. halcyon Says:

    I have read articles, and other forums, that Trey’s arresting officer has been credited more than once with ‘saving’ someone’s life.

    ‘Fate’ has a way of working sometimes.

  10. Neemor Says:

    Drug Courts work.

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    why IS it that Monday’s are always downers? 😉
    makes for some depressing discussion it seems.

  12. msbjivein Says:


  13. Lycanthropist Says:

    word @msb

    im actually jammin joy right now as a counter agent

  14. Lycanthropist Says:

    yes i broke… sooner than i expected too.

    Oh well. Pickin up my copy when it hits the shelves anyway

  15. msbjivein Says:

    We want you to be HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Jay Says:

    ^^ “why IS it that Monday’s are always downers?”

    Monday Blues? Most of us are at work after a nice weekend? We just need a taste of Tuesday maybe? 🙂

  17. whole tour! Says:

    if they could simulcast coventry at the movies, why not 8?

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Jay –

    I mean no doubt, I get it. I had to work at 6AM this morning myself. I was definitely grouchy the first couple of hours. It just seems that at some point we (myself included) would learn to try and make the best of it, since that monday morning is always inevitable. 😉

    Its just funny how the Monday blues spread out over everything. Even to online forum discussion topics. I find it interesting.

  19. msbjivein Says:

    ^^Agreed… Why not?? I would love to spend my Halloween at the movies!!

  20. Lycanthropist Says:

    I’d still have to drive like 6 hours to get to a theater that would participate in that. Boo.

  21. Jay Says:

    Maybe they can broadcast from within Second Life 🙂

  22. msbjivein Says:

    Second Life Phish Tour!! LOL!!
    I wouldn’t miss a show!!

  23. Jay Says:

    Speaking of Virtual Reality, Check out Tad Williams “Otherland” series. Awesome blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

  24. msbjivein Says:

    “Total Recall” Phish Tour!!

    Sign me up!!

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    that would be awesome!
    i’m there with all the human shields i need.

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