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. Mitch Says:

    That sucks on the no 4 day option for those going. Who wants to fly down there to have to worry about getting a NYE ticket when you have the other 3.

    dont pass up the gorge light. That thing is $ or (.V.)’s or whatever.

    heres to your first tube > sand > 2001 > tube > jibboo > last tube.

  2. Leo Weaver Says:

    heres to your first tube > sand > 2001 > tube > jibboo > last tube

    ^me likey 🙂

  3. beepaphone Says:

    As much as I’m happy for folks scoring such cheap Cobos, it kinda blows when you score extra tickets at the on-sale time with the intention of hooking people up at face, and then the tickets you paid good money for have essentially become worthless. That said, I’ll probably have an extra Cobo that I would love to get 1/2 of face or and equal value trade for.

  4. Birddog Says:

    so I always thought that Mike was wearing “knickers” all that time

    It turns out that knickers are actually ladies’ wear

    So evidently he has been wearing ladies clothing or more likely “Knickerbockers”


    I wonder if he will be wearing knickerbockers ar MSG?

  5. albert walker Says:

    I learned my lesson at Alpine, Creek, Toyota
    Used to never buy tix an advance. Always would get in for light trade or $20 or whatever.
    Ending up kicking down 2 tix at each show for free this summer.

    Did not buy any this time around (learned my lesson)and I’m seeing floor Cinci going for $30 on Craiglist in Chicago
    Should get in for half eighter of heads at most each night

    That’s how it always was and should be. A $20 bill is all you should ever need for a non new years Phish show
    I know certain venues like MSG are different but that was generally the rule back in the day.

  6. snowbank Says:

    Thanks for the great write up Mr Miner… it’s like being taken back to indio for a few minutes…

  7. bearito Says:

    Hola everyone! I’ve been off the radar lately due to being sick and working way to damn much. Just catching up on the last couple days and boy is there some catching up to do.

    Great write-up’s Miner! The word’s took me right back to that special place in the desert. Thanks for your dedication to this site, the band, and their music!

    I was physically worked by the end of the 2nd set on 11/1 but was ready to see how the band would wrap it all up. I can still feel the energy that the boys exhibited opening the set with that ‘Tweezer.’ The ‘Mike’s>2001’ will go down in the books for me as I didn’t see that coming. I had been waiting for a ‘Maze’ all weekend and this one doesn’t disappoint, & coming out of tweezer no less! The Free was SOLID as well. Light jam = bueno! Maybe it was my lack of stamina but the Slave didn’t do much for me, but I haven’t re-listened yet so I may be eating these words later on. All in all, it was a magical night and a great closing set list imo.

    Just found out I can get off for New Years! Miami here I come!

  8. BTB Says:

    @ Beeps – RE: Cheap Cobos

    Yeah, its good and bad. I’m taking my ladyfriend for $5 eventhough I paid $60. Oh well, Boogie on the Floor for $30 average tix, cool with me.

    Also, I hope the band knows Cobo didn’t sell out. Somebody please tell them. I love it when that happens. You know they’ll make you pay for missing it!!! If that place is looking half full, you can bet they’ll throw down some nastiness.

  9. beepaphone Says:

    @ AW
    I’ve always been the paranoid type to worry that I won’t score on lot, but time and again, your theory is proven right. I may be thick and stubborn, but I think with this hit I’m taking on my Cobo purchase the lesson is truly sinking in. I would be thrilled to get a half-eighter or even a single J for my Cobo, but sadly, starting to doubt it. If only the secondary market could fine a happy medium…Damn-fucking lotconomics and instability.

  10. beepaphone Says:

    @ BTB
    The place will fill up, I just hope it fills up with the right people. I have no doubt in my mind that the show will be a rager, worth all of my travels and troubles.

  11. BTB Says:

    ^ Where’s your extra cobo???

  12. beepaphone Says:

    c14 or so…second row of the upper balcony…direct stage view. Small chance it might have a happy home, but I won’t know till the weekend.

  13. sumodie Says:

    Excellent write-up of Sunday night, Miner.

    Although I enjoyed the leg 1 & leg 2 shows immensely, I waited all summer long for a show as groove-tastic as Sunday night. What a fitting exclamation point for F8.

    While I’m not questioning how people label the Sunday sets (3 sets vs. acoustic show + evening show), I think Sunday night’s throw down is directly linked to the crack-o-noon acoustic set. The noon set warmed up the boys, and it was also mellow as well as an unexpectedly overwhelming success. These factors all helped to set the stage for the band to throw down so hard in the opposite direction of acoustic mellowness on Sunday night.

    And as others have already commented, the unexpected choice of song selection and flow was brilliant, especially the >2001>Light and Esther.

  14. BTB Says:

    If you can’t unload it, I might be interested. I haven’t bought my 2nd tix yet. I’m just going to stub my lady down to the floor. I have an aisle seat on the floor so that should work. btbuckeye at gmail. Let me know by next Tuesday.

  15. beepaphone Says:

    Will do. Thanks!

  16. Beezee Says:

    Hey folks. Pretty stoked on fall tour. Question. Has anyone received their lottery tickets yet? Feeling just a bit anxious. In other news, I’m feeling a Meatstick, Sand, and Camel Walk @ MSG.

    See you there!

  17. Pencilneck Says:

    yo Beezee, i got my lotto cinci tix last nite.

  18. gratefulcub Says:


    “heres to your first tube > sand > 2001 > tube > jibboo > last tube”

    ditch last tube, Close it with a Hood or Slave, or something else that is mellow-ish and pretty, just to cap the funk dance party with some traditional phish, and that might be my ultimate set.

    Listening to Gorge Light again now. No complaints, except it isn’t 8.

  19. Beezee Says:

    @pencilneck. word. thanks.

  20. axillalot Says:

    nye announcement is now on phish.com

  21. sumodie Says:

    Cobo is poised to be the only sleeper show of the tour. I am mighty envious of all those attending.

  22. Kenny Powers Says:

    anyone need a Cobo extra who doesn’t mind being in the upper bowl?

    I have a single mail order ticket that I’ve had absolutely no luck unloading, even for $35. I’ve posted it at the PT ticket board, cashforyourextra.com, and Detroit craigslist.

    At this point I’m accepting the fact it will pretty be someone’s miracle…lesson learned as far as trying to score lotto tix purely for trade bait.

    Anyway I’ll entertain offers, would obviously like to recoup some of the money i spent on it, but MUST mail this sucker in the next couple days so it gets there in time. Would rather not spend even more on FedEx expedited or whatever.

    digs5446 at Gmail dot com.

  23. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Right there with Bearito.

    I was terminated with extreme prejudice post show on 11-1. Initially we had contemplated getting off grounds and deeper into the desert and more on our way home. No such luck once I slammeed two beers and brushed my teeth. Dormido!

    I trust No Spoilers will be in effect for the Fall Run, Señor Miner?

  24. beepaphone Says:

    Maybe, but I doubt in the end that it will stack up to MSG, and for that, I too, am envious.

  25. beepaphone Says:

    @ KP – you too eh?
    did you end up “dabbling” at 8?

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