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

Tags: ,

272 Responses to “A Sunday Spectacle”

  1. voopa Says:


    I saw you guys walking in and was wondering if they’d let you in with those steins…nice! We were right behind the Esquandolas Polo Team on our way in too.

  2. sumodie Says:

    @kp: nice pic of you & your wife!

    Damn, there were tons of Halloween costumes that I missed seeing…and some a little extreme 8)

  3. jay Says:

    spring 89 GD i got a little frisky with the door pops and turnstile ticket take bribes

    Yea, using a previous night’s ticket and a sawbuck usually did the trick. At Alpine ’87? I just waited till their back was turned and walked right in. Most venues got their shit together now. You just knew you were getting in somehow. True jedi mojo for sure.

  4. sumodie Says:

    @kp: Seeing images made out of clouds is one thing, but in a glass of beer? Are you promoting a new psychology test to replace ink blots?

  5. Jedi_Apprentice Says:

    PHISH NYE Run in MIAMI – 4 Nights – Announced!

  6. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ voopa, that’s crazy you were right there and saw me! we were also not sure if they’d let the steins in, but (a) they were plastic and (b) they cost $2.50 at Kmart.

    @ sumodie – haha, haven’t you noticed that before? it was nuts, all three shots were within a few minutes. it kept morphing.

  7. voopa Says:


    Yeah, we were right next to each other at one point…look how similar this photo is to yours:

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    I was a tour book guy for awhile too. Liked having all that in hand ahead of time so I could think about other things in the lot. Just the idea of being shut out was too much of a nightmare to contemplate – being at the show, outside with no way in? not gonna happen

    I did relax a lot once I realized you could baksheesh your way in. I was so naive as a kid, I had no idea for probably 2 years on tour that you could bribe your way through the door. I was stunned the first time I saw it. Same thing the first time I saw a lot dealer pay off a cop – “hey, you can DO that?!?!”

  9. jay Says:

    I had no idea for probably 2 years on tour that you could bribe your way through the door. I was stunned the first time I saw it. Same thing the first time I saw a lot dealer pay off a cop – “hey, you can DO that?!?!”

    Yea, exactly. Seeing that really changed your perception of the whole scene. Like, this is ours. We are in control. If it means we have to pay off the corrupt power rangers, then so be it. It’s funny when someone (cop, door security) does not cooperate your like, “Dude, WTF? Don’t you know how this works? Where’s your superviser?” 🙂

  10. Kenny Powers Says:


    wow, totally! small world.

  11. albert walker Says:

    I saw you too KP during that day set

    easy to remember the costumes.

  12. snowbank Says:

    sadly, i still am naive. So naive, i’ll admit to being naive. i was shocked when I heard people were bribing security to get their supplies into to F8. I’m glad there are people out there who are smarter at circumventing security than I am. I get too stressed out when bending the rules anymore.

    that said, baksheesh, will give me some comfort as I head to NYC sans ticket…

  13. snowbank Says:

    Mr C – thx for the etree link. I have been having a field day with etree. totally forgot about that site.

  14. whole tour! Says:



  15. Kenny Powers Says:

    no way Albert!

    security saw a huge nugget in the….uh…chestal region of my wife’s costume. we figured there’s no way they’ll pat her down there. but i guess it was pretty obvious visually, so they said “you have to go get rid of that before you come back in”.

    the next night my other friend had 5 joints taken from her that were in her sunglasses case. they would’nt even give her the case back!

    funniest security-related thing i saw was a guy trying to “sneak” in a liter of Jack. why so subtle dude?

  16. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I used the trusty back pocket under the wallet method which has yet to fail me in getting a J into, well, pretty much anywhere.

  17. Matthew Schwarz Says:

    @nonoyolker: thanks for the hotfile link. I’m dowloading it (slowly) now.

    Good Morning everyone (my time is ahead of you guys) and Happy Veteran’s Day!

  18. joe Says:

    re: shady security. Funny story from a dead show at Boston Garden 1992 or so. Guy working security frisks me hard and takes a glass bowl off of me. My buddy is behind me in the same line, it turns out that the guy happens to be a friend of his, and my buddy buys a bag from the security that he had yanked from someone else. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that I’d had the bowl taken or he could have gotten it back. I like stories.

  19. joe Says:

    also glad to hear good opinions of behind the stage msg tickets. I have some diagnal from fishman in the front row of section 218. Good chance that one of them will be unused for Thursday. Waiting on a definite answer from my buddy and my girlfriend. Pretty sure neither can make it, but can’t quite give it up just yet. Will post the info on the board here for those interested once I confirm. Likely just looking for some commodity trade, or something similar.

  20. albert walker Says:

    I usually go with 8 spliffs as a general rule for a 2 set show
    got 2 taken away and it was in a sunglasses case also

    I could have thought of about 2000 not as obvious stash spots
    I think I was kind of challenging them
    seeing what they had

    I’m still kind of pissed. Taking a man’s herbs is about the lowest of lows

  21. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Got my Fri. MSG. sec.70- I think i can spit on Fishman from there! woo-woo

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    not that i would!

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    Gorge Sally you get me every time…..

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I’ve always been an in-the-sock guy when closed toed shoes are in play. No security person wants to bend down that far, much less smell some hippie’s feet.

    Of course, it depends on the condition of your feet and what you have your stash in too. Heading into Hampton for the second night this spring my friend had a couple of extra capsules he put in his sock. No problems getting in, but he never took them out of his sock. Mid second set when he is completely off his gourd (in a good way) he realizes he’s been getting a steady transdermal infusion of molly throughout the show. He had a great night but learned a lesson about protecting your stuff too.

  25. albert walker Says:

    old school when I brought pices in

    in the hoodbof the hoodie for glass. have seen a few check but usually fine
    in the sleeves of hoodies also
    they have you raise your hands and rarely go down your sleeves

    these days 8 spliffs chll perfect in the crotched altoid tin

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