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. Lycanthropist Says:

    he really NEEDS to go.. just got divorced, is in a weird place right now.. i think getting out of town will help him out

  2. whole tour! Says:

    some of that miget wookette lot muff works wonders on someone post-divorce.

  3. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @lycan – as a recent divorcee myself, I can tell you it was the BEST thing that has ever happened to me. 2009 has been the best year of my life. I forgot how much fun it is to be single.

  4. Lycanthropist Says:


    haha thats what i was thinkin.. he could go do that, and it would give me a chance to kick it with some you fellas

  5. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @wt – LLFA midget wookette lot muff, thats priceless. Sorry ladies.

  6. butter Says:

    Great write up Miner – you summed up my thoughts, i concur, no need for me to comment on that bad ass show,

    Where the hell is my box full of JOY?

  7. whole tour! Says:

    my bad….i have to apoligize to the lady (singular) who visits here.

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    c0w, I think he is just running through the sequence of notes in the Undermind “theme” in a slowed down tempo before he doubles up but I hear what you mean. I am probably totally wrong though. It does sound familiar…

  9. butter Says:

    i will add that my group laid down on that grassy field for the light space jam like we used to for GD space, i don’t remember doing that at Phish shows too often, ooooohhhhhh California

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    ok I got it – it is the turnaround riff from “back at the chicken shack” – he plays it, then sequences it a bit, then goes off into something different, right around the 5 minute mark of undermind.

    I feel better now 😉

  11. BigNasty Says:

    Gotta agree with Miner re: Jibboo…this soneg has provided some serious dance grooves and guitar shredding in the 3.0 era. The F8 version rips.

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice, c0w. it’s always good to be able to figure those things out…


  13. gratefulcub Says:


    Jiboos have been great in 3.0, but….

    I hate hearing about how the old days were so much better, and how people don’t like this or that from 3.0. This is not that post.

    I have been listening quite a bit to 2000 and 1999, just because there are no new Sands to listen too. Turns out, Jiboo, 2001, and Sand often went together at that time. And, while I am definitely not complaining, I do miss the deep dark funk of the old 45 minutes of Sand>2001>Jiboo.

    That being said, while short, the F8 2001 took me back like no 2001 of 3.0 has. The Mike’s>2001>Light>Slave, for me, is the best segment of Phish since pre-hiatus.

    Light, I love it. I started listening to the F8 version last night, got through the lyrics and decided that I had worn that one out, and I should check out the gorge version again. Oh My. Lyrically, the improvement is astounding. F8 is the first Light that matters.

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I love when this kind of thing happens: So I download the Ritz Power Jam (thanks, nono!) and what is the first song on there for my listening pleasure? Back At The Chicken Shack, of course.

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    wow nice

    I am revisiting the gd masterpiece 8-27-72 this morning. I am really getting used to the idea of streaming audio as an infinite source of music.

  16. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @type 3 – was listening to Jimmy Smith last night myself, though I was listening to Chicken Shack’s sister album, Midnight Special. I think they were both recorded within a couple of days of each other, regardless, same year, same lineup. BTW, Jimmy Smith makes for perfect background music for a romantic dinner.

  17. bhizzle Says:

    re: box

    “Barring any more delays, we should begin shipping during the first week of November”.

    re: miget wookette lot muff

    Awesome conduit to get you out of weird places

  18. Chuck D Says:

    miget wookette lot muff sounds like a weird place. its really just going from one wierd place to another IMO… everything is relative.

  19. sumodie Says:

    NYE Miami on ticketmaster now…

    Onsale is Saturday 11/21 @ 10am

  20. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Indeed, Señor Miner, excellent write up. I got all tingly reading it.

    I really dug the jiboo and focused on vibing that thing to the max! It worked for me.

    Free is me potty tune. It got that postion in the my song heirarchy in 97 in Austin when they dropped into it out of Hood after the Blister Tease. Never minded missing it so far this year: Hampton or Red Rocks or 8. It hasn’t gotten quite back there yet. I did sit through it during The Show but that was because we had waded deep and I knew the missus was going to need a chaperone to go pottty later(See Roses Heroine Jam). Glad I went potty at 8 or I would have missed part of the dance party set closer.

    It will be 90 degrees and sunny here today, tying a record. How’s your weather?

    Gotta say I am certain that having this place to visit makes not seeing phish better.

  21. Mitch Says:

    Im sure you all saw this already but tm has Phish in Miami for NYE on their site. I heard the presale site was up yesterday. Let’s get an announcement already.

  22. sumodie Says:

    Ha! In the blink of an eye NYE Miami is no longer on TM. Anyway, it was there for a bit, all 4 shows. Didn’t see a 4-pack option listed, all onsale at the same time, 10am EST. I picked up on the TM slip from the green board…

  23. axillalot Says:

    no where on the TM site is phish in miami listed.

    but yes, let’s get the announcement already.

  24. ThePigSong Says:

    Thanks for the funk mix Mr C!

    I’m getting funny looks in this airport…

  25. Mitch Says:

    who are you to doubt ME??!!


    thats the link but they took it down. coran got pissed i guess.

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