A Sunday Spectacle


11.1.09 (Photo:Wendy Rogell)

After Phish unleashed a full weekend of music, and a Halloween show for the ages, they still had Sunday night left on their plate. With the highly-anticipated Halloween and acoustic sets behind them, the band had two more to let loose with their own brand of celebration. Daylight “savings” time provided us with a two-set show in the dark, despite its early 5:30 start time. A feeling of relaxation swept through the air, as everyone prepared for an all-Phish throwdown; and that is exactly what we got. With a second set comprised, almost exclusively, of the band’s darkest dance grooves, Phish concluded the Halloween weekend with the desert dance party that had loomed over the festival.  The 30th brought segued experimentation, the 31st brought soulful rock and roll, and the the 1st brought heavy, crunching rhythms. Squeezing “Tweezer,” “Free,” “Mikes” and “2001” all within one frame of Phish, the band left no doubt of their direction for the weekends final chapter.

11.1.09 (G. Lucas)

11.1.09 (G. Lucas)

The Indio “Tweezer” waited in the wings as the band took the stage for the eighth time at Festival 8. We knew it was coming soon, but when opening licks rumbled from the speakers to open the set, everyone strapped in for blastoff. Phish’s signature exploration followed the edenic path of the weekend, passing through a series of laid-back rock grooves before taking a turn for the spiritual. Playing off the festival setting, the band created a slowed down soundscape that matched their expansive surroundings, before collectively building out of the structured “Tweezer” jam. Trey and Page favored patient and sublime melody and harmony over rhythmic funk, forming an uplifting jam that peaked with blissful intent. Trey took the lead, gushing with heart-tugging lines that sailed atop with his bandmates’ backdrop.

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

Following this emotive peak, Phish dropped into a funkified section that saw Trey chop away some patented rhythmic patterns. But before long, the band moved beyond these grooves, landing in some spacey psychedelia that slowly spun its way down into “Maze.” This rare combination of songs kept the energy of the show at the highest level as Phish crushed their maniacal classic under the second’s set white-hot spotlight. The meticulous quality of the ordered chaos formed a mind-bending whole that hearkened back to the band’s earlier, more blast-your-head-off years. The juxtaposition of “Tweezer’s” triumphant swamp adventure and “Maze’s deliberate insanity showcased the sparkling polish that gleamed from Phish’s diverse skill sets. Stylistically opposite, both songs possessed a rabid cohesion that merged to form one of Festival 8’s most significant highlights. And just when it seemed like time for a breather, the band cranked up “Free.”

A perfect choice to follow the pent up tension of “Maze,” “Free” provided musical resolution without lessening the energy of the set one iota. The verses and chorus gave a short break from the bombast, but the drop into the jam threw us right back in. Still refusing to go all-0ut on “Free,” the band nonetheless got into some heavy, festival-sized grooves before setting their course for the songs conclusion. Strong versions of  “Sugar Shack,” “Limb By Limb” and “Theme” followed, but the set seemed at risk of  transforming into a series of standalone songs. But just as “Theme” came to an end, the opening riff of “Mike’s Song” obliterated any such possibility, opening the door to a menacing musical suite.

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

As Phish dropped into the apocalyptic “Mike’s” jam, the gigantic torches encircling the field rhythmically spat fire in the greatest use of the props all weekend. The music and fire converged perfectly for the first time, providing the palpable feeling of descending into the underworld. The massive sound enveloped the audience, as Trey set a fire of his own with a sinister solo. As the band annihilated the bass-driven patterns in a spectacle of epic proportions, the entire moment took on a life of its own. The jam absorbed the overwhelming energy of the masses, pumping the intensity back into the music, and up through the stratosphere. As Phish peaked their evil romp, one could already feel the segue into “Hydrogen,” but in the most exciting moment of the weekend, Phish kicked into the sloooow funk of “2001.” “Mikes > 2001” – the first time ever – 16 years after incorporating the funk-cover into their catalog. Gordon’s forged the crack-like space-funk with precise, booming bass lines that guided the crowd through one of the frozen moments from Festival 8 that will live eternally. Talk about adrenaline – this was another level!

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

As everyone and their mom expected the band to come tearing out of “2001” with “Weekapaug,” Phish delivered another left hook as they blended the sustained peak with the opening of “Light!” Unsure of where the music was headed, one thing I knew for sure – the band was flying through uncharted territory with an unconscious determination. As lyrics gave way to improv, they took off on a high-speed chase through some inspiring jamming that took on that sense that the instruments were playing the band. The energy flowed like a river through the entire festival as Phish explored one of their new-found excursions.

'Burble' During "Light"

'Burble' During "Light"

As the climbing jam reached a plateau, Page infused an ambient feel into the mix. The rest of the band latched on to this idea, forming an abstract spacescape behind Trey’s fading melodies. The entire band congealed into an amoeba-like ambient jam during which another Burble structure reached into the sky above. All props aside, however, the actual soundscape the band molded carried an ominous tone that continually delved deeper. Fish’s cymbal work gave way to a singular, drone beat that added to the eerie quality of the music. The balloon structure morphed to the side of the stage, attracting hypnotic stares. Minutes into the cosmic soup, Trey suggested a melody that subtly tipped off the jam’s destination. Softly oozing into the opening of “Slave,” another indelible memory had just unfolded.

Bringing a gorgeous resolution to the darkness, the composition sounded pristine, soon giving way to the band’s delicate creativity. Starting at silence, Phish sculpted the climactic bookend to the set-opening “Tweezer.” Phenomenally patient, the music seemed to unroll at a pre-destined pace amidst the near-silent crowed of over 30,000 people. Laced with majestic interplay between Trey and Mike, the band crafted a well-phrased, emotional exclamation point on an unforgettable weekend. Flowing with IT from the beginning of the set, Phish nailed their triumphant finale, leaving everyone drooling for more.

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

As the band came out for the encore, everyone expected them to follow “Grind” with “Weekapaug,” but in a far cooler move, the band began the site-appropriate carnival tale of “Esther.” Finalizing the weekend with a fire-driven “Reprise,” “Weekapaug” would wait for another day, leaving the otherworldly second-set sequence reading “Mike’s > 2001 > Light > Slave!” Coupled with the strongest first set of the weekend, Indio’s final offering quickly leapt into the upper-echelon of  2009. There’s nothing like ending on an high note, and the band concluded Festival 8 with, easily, their strongest set of Phish. With only weeks separating the band from the concrete confines of Fall Tour, things couldn’t have been better out west after a peak Phish experience.

Set 1 Notes:

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

11.1.09 (G.Lucas)

The most significant first set of the weekend started with the tightly wound combo of “AC/DC Bag” and “Rift” before opening up with a standout “Jibboo.” Ever since Phish’s return, and from Red Rocks in earnest, “Jibboo” has been a constant show highlight whenever it appears. A well-played, drawn out “Heavy Things” set the table for the arguably the best “Reba” of 3.0, with Jones Beach providing the only competition. The band absolutely nailed every note of the composed section until their infamous brainfart entering the jam. But nobody was left thinking of imperfections after the band slaughtered the sensual improv. “Undermind” saw Trey experiment with new textures amidst the chunky groove, also providing a highpoint of the set. Fitting nicely in its 3.0 slot, a dense, quasi-abstract “Split” punctuated the opening frame a with scorching version that certainly holds up on tape. All in all, this strong opening round foreshadowed what lurked around the corner.

I: AC/DC Bag, Rift, Gotta Jibboo, Heavy Things, Reba, The Wedge, Guelah Papyrus, Undermind, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt

II: Tweezer > Maze, Free, Sugar Shack, Limb By Limb, Theme From the Bottom, Mike’s Song > 2001 > Light > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Grind, Esther, Tweezer Reprise


Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Maze” 11.01 II




California Love - 11/1/09 (Photo:Graham Lucas)



11.10.90 Earlham College, Richmond, IN SBD < Torrent

11.10.90 Earlham College, Richmond, IN SBD < Megaupload


19 Years Ago Today

This is the only November 10th show, other than The Fox in 1995, over the span of the last twenty years. Happy anniversary to Earlham College! Enjoy the early-school SBD.

I: Reba, The Landlady, Bouncing Around the Room, Runaway Jim, Cavern, My Sweet One, Buried Alive > The Lizards, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself, The Asse Festival, Fee, Llama, The Divided Sky, Bike, Possum

Source: SBD

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272 Responses to “A Sunday Spectacle”

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    For shows where the weather is cold i found those ear-muff things that are real popular now( forgot the name), are great for stashs. There are little pockets in the fabric that work terrific.

  2. snowbank Says:

    LLFA – Transdermal infusion… love it.

    I find the socks work quite well for doobies.

    At F8, heading back into the venue for the last set, the security guard actually asked me “do you have any drugs or drug paraphernalia?” I couldn’t help it. I just cracked up. Uncontrollably laughing. Finally, with tears streaming, I managed to get a “no” out. and he was all, “okay, thanks”. Awesome.

  3. albert walker Says:

    I need my spliffs protected
    altoid tin is key

    don’t want the fatties to turn into flatties

  4. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ Lycan that Gorge Sally is epic. Another jam from summer that blows me away and grows on you like a fungus is the Merriweather 46 Days.

  5. gavinsdad Says:

    aw – like your style…8 spliffs…you’ve mentioned it before…my tolerance is a bit lower (smile) but i do bring in the pre-rolls…for me it’s the eclipse mint tin, a little smaller but crotched is definitely the way of the walk.

  6. albert walker Says:

    it’s the law sometimes 3 first set 4 2nd will get the job done and you just take a hit and let it go in the section during the encore

    during Slave at Alpine had this huge bubble hash spliff that I passed around saw it go about 5 rows back and 10 seats over.

    totally forgot about it, and then near the climax of the jam I get a tap on the shoulder, things only half gone

    whole section got irie

    you run into problems when I’m with my old crew and we all have 8 spliffs

    I know the eclipse. my back up if no altoids. great size

  7. albert walker Says:

    This light is one of my fav 2009 jams
    the vocals and build up into the jam are played perfectly

    when Page hits sustained synth note and Mike starts thumpin behind it
    this is why I get excited about 2009 Phish

    new sound, new song, and slick as hell

  8. beepaphone Says:

    Looks like theres a good chance i might be rolling into Detroit solo with extra tickets and extra hotel room space. Get at me if you need either for cheap (or a ride from Indy, Ft. Wayne, or anywhere en route from Indy to Detroit). rblack at greenwaysupply dot net.

  9. Selector J Says:

    fwiw I love the ‘behind the stage’ vantage. I usually end up there for GA shows (i.e. Hampton). By the time I get inside, the only thing anywhere near the stage is behind it.

    Sure, you get Mike and Trey’s back for most of the show but you do get to truly witness Fish. It’s quite a sight to behold being behind his kit. Having a nice Page view isn’t too shabby either. And then there’s the view of the crowd which is cool. Looking out at what the band sees can be interesting. From the crazies in the front row to the silhouettes getting down in the corridors, you get a whole new perspective of what Phish’s music does to 1000s of inebriated people.

  10. Selector J Says:

    Funny aside:
    My mom (picture Peggy Hill + Canadian whiskey) just asked me 1) if there were any Charlottesville tickets left, and 2) if I knew anyone with extras.

    She wants to go with some friends!

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    For the record: I am calling a DEFINITE Stash/Bowie at Cobo. Phish have played those 2 every tour opener in 09′ (3/6…5/31…7/30…10/30)

  12. joe Says:

    as an aside, I really dig the picture labled California Love. Red in red.

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ I agree. AMAZING shot!

  14. sumodie Says:

    Red in red is a helluva pic -will definitely add it to my ipod show collection

  15. flarrdogg Says:

    ‘You named your daughter after fucking Titanic? Haha, what’s this one’s name…Shrek?’- Kenny Powers. That show is the tits.

    As you were.

  16. ThePigSong Says:

    I’d have to say this is my favorite announcement on phish.com all year.

  17. T. Leo Says:

    Way off subject, but I am watching the World Series of Poker on ESPN and Jeff Schulman was just seen wearing a Phish baseball cap. I love to see some Phish love in uncommon places.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Good evening everyone! Maybe I just got used to the festival sized setlists around the holiday but I’m kind of digging these shorter setlists. The quality is still there but in this time before tour there seems to be less urgency and more patience. Another solid day put up with some nice tangents along the way.

    The Exclamation Point*>
    COBO (Blue Light Special)**>
    Queen City Plans***>
    Miami (Rumors)>
    Ticket Gambling****>
    Miami (Confirmed)*****>

    Low Attendance^^>
    Cincy Law Dogs
    Miner’s Army^^^>
    Picture Pages>

    E: The Pat Down

    1st set started with several different musical conversations eventually gelling together into a cohesive theme. Several conversations continued throughout the set.
    *RPJ tease, Veterans tease
    ** Under Quoting Mind teases
    ***Midget Wookette Lot Muff Jam
    **** Trading Jam, Rolling Solo Jam
    ***** Moral Dilemma Jam
    ^53 tease
    ^^ Shack tease
    ^^^ Behind the Band Jam

  19. T. Leo Says:

    On another note, anyone going to Cobo want to a taste of the real Detroit. Really, in the Motor City is all about Coney Island. The best around is downtown, Lafayette Coney Island. It has the best coney dogs around. If you are looking for gourmet, this ain’t the place. But if you had a long night good night and need a little greasy goodness to send you on your way to bliss, I suggest that is the place for you:


  20. T. Leo Says:

    Does anyone know any bars around Cobo that would be good for pre-game festivities. I know it is going to be difficult with the Red Wings in town as well, but I believe the more the merrier as far as crowded downtown Detroit establishments go.

  21. Pencilneck Says:

    “Midget Wooket Lot Muff Jam” – priceless

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    socks are a good place. for small stash, behind the wallet is excellent and typically works even in very high security scenes. but I second the @aw method absolutely – spliffs in crotched altoid tin. done deal.

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