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. beepaphone Says:

    ^ i’d like molly if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s a bitch in the morning. Nothing like hating your life in the midst of all thats good and glorious. You probably played it safe on the mini-dips.

  2. butter Says:

    i don’t know about GA only, looking back at it i just see

    best available
    taper preferred
    taper only

  3. snowbank Says:

    of course it is chemically impossible to cure the molly hangover, but taking melatonin and getting a good rest really helps according to my buddy. I am still a molly virgin. Thought I would break the seal at 8, but it didn’t happen.

  4. jay Says:

    plus molly makes you forget. So, you wake up with a ragin mollyover and no memory of the show at all. Blank space where your mind should be. Double bummer.

  5. Kenny Powers Says:

    sadly life at 32 (for me anyway) is pretty much about playing it safe these days. which is probably a good thing when it comes to psych’s and serotonin spikers like molly. i should probably be playing it safer with booze, but hey that’s the Irish in me.

  6. beepaphone Says:

    @ KP
    Hey I totally understand…mid-20’s here and I can’t rage nearly the way I could at 18-21. And bottoms up to the Irish blood…a little functional moderate alcoholism is still acceptable in society.

  7. butter Says:

    for me its the day 3 that sucks about e, next day still groovin, not really my thing anymore, but if its yours:

    vitamin C (those emergency C packets, OJ, or straight vit C pills)
    potassium (bananas, coconut juice)
    5htp supplement pills to replace and reboost serotonin levels
    Calcium (milk – also coats the throat, giving you back your voice….
    i know all the girls dig the sexy raspy voice tho)
    -vegans or non-milk drinkers figure out a diff calcium source

  8. Kenny Powers Says:

    Lol, “a little functional moderate alcoholism is still acceptable in society”. So true, and part of my problem. In addition to me being a happy, funny, non-emotional drunk.

  9. Weekapaug Says:

    I don’t know what you guys are talking about. Molly is the only drug I don’t get hungover on. After being on it for a week at burning man, i felt a little down but that was it. That’s the great thing about good Mooly, you don’t come down hard like other drugs.

  10. beepaphone Says:

    nothing worse than an angry, humorless, emotional drunk.


  11. sumodie Says:

    I am thinking about going in on Miami ticekts, so I can sell or trade them for MSG tix. Is that morally wrong?

    I have nothing against people buying extras to shows that they are attending -I do that too. I am all for spreading extras (for face n fees or trades) within the community.

    Buying tickets to shows one is not attending starts to go into the gray area, but I don’t hold any serious objections to this practice either. I don’t happen to engage in this practice.

    However, buying tickets to expressly sell above face n fees is morally wrong. I find this practice both distasteful and hurtful to our community.

    I also realize its impossible to be ‘good’ in all areas of one’s life. Thus I am in no way trying to sound ‘headier than thou’, as I have plenty of foibles myself. Just my two cents.

  12. beepaphone Says:

    I can imagine there are enough females wearing nothing but body paint at BM to eliminate any kind of sadness or e-hangover

  13. sumodie Says:

    looking for tickets sucks

    Absof*ckinlutely 8)

  14. butter Says:

    hangover is also proportionate to quality

  15. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ sumodie,

    “Buying tickets to shows one is not attending starts to go into the gray area”

    That is a gray area I have dabbled in but am now considering abandoning, purely for aggravation reasons. I’ve been doing that to help my chances of getting tickets for a show i know i want to go to – i.e. using the other ones as trading bait. If I don’t find a trade I end up selling for face or below…so i assumed that was still having a neutral if not slightly positive net effect on the community.

    but now i wonder if i’m contributing to making it harder for people to score tickets when they go on sale, seeing as though if there were fewer people doing what i’m doing there would be less of a bottleneck for those who truly can and want to go to a certain show.

    It’s also just becoming a chore and I don’t want to ever say that word and Phish in the same sentence!

  16. sumodie Says:

    of course it is chemically impossible to cure the molly hangover

    Take 5-HTP (the precursor molecule to serotonin, which is 5-HT) or an anti-depressant SSRI like Prozac the next morning or two. Vitamins, proper food and rest, and exercise also significantly help.

    That’s the great thing about good Mooly, you don’t come down hard like other drugs

    Not necessarily true. As with anything, get educated and practice moderation.

  17. SOAM Says:

    Hangover cure:

    1 Bloody Mary (double vodka)
    1 fat tasty jiblet
    2 perc’s

    give it 20 minutes…your there.

    the key is not to repeat the next day (and the next and the next), turning a small hangover into a 3 day one can be problematic.

  18. sumodie Says:

    That is a gray area I have dabbled in but am now considering abandoning, purely for aggravation reasons.

    Agreed, the aggravation/risk is the primary reason I don’t do it.

    I too wonder how much we fans are contributing to the ticket problem as compared with the scalpers, presumably who are non-fans. Guess we’ll never know…

  19. beepaphone Says:

    Boomers and herb are the only 2 in my experience that are without any type of hangover. And even the slightest lucy hangover is offset by whatever slightly life-changing self-revelation I had the prior evening.

  20. sumodie Says:

    I can imagine there are enough females wearing nothing but body paint at BM

    You don’t even need to wear body paint at BM. Though you’re well advised to wear sunscreen, foot protection, and have water and dust-storm protection close at hand.

    Riding a bike around Black Rock City in my birthday suit is one of my all-time favorite memories…. 🙂

  21. Kenny Powers Says:

    I think what would make me happiest in terms of this Cobo extra I’m stuck with is to somehow know how to find some awestruck 15 year old kid who’s been obsessively listening to Phish for a couple years but has never gone to a show, has no money or connections for getting a ticket. It would be cool to miracle that dude and have it be a life-changing experience for him (or her).

  22. snowbank Says:

    I seriously doubt that fans are the problem. Here is a website with several hundred tickets:

    maybe 5% of those are fans who bought tickets but couldn’t make it?

    Here is my solution to the ticket problem:

    half of all tickets are sold for $50 lottery style. except there is no ticket. you have to show up with an ID and the credit card to enter. there are several drawbacks to having to show id, but if you want an anonymous ticket see part 2. the biggest being that your group would have to enter together, but I figure you make people put down a DL# for each ticket, so they can enter together. Mr C has also said that they can print you DL# on the ticket. that’s another option. details.

    the other half are regular tickets sold eBay style after people get lottery results. these would be normal, resaleable tickets. The ting is, there is no reason for scalpers to bid on them, because they will sell for the going market rate.

    that’s my plan and that’s why I am running for mayor of phishville. thank you. vote early and often.

  23. beepaphone Says:

    ^ @ KP HELL YEAH!
    ^^@ sumodie HELL YEAH!

    Fratty high fives all around

  24. snowbank Says:

    Kenny – you could probably post an ad on craigslist saying you have an extra for the best story. then ask people to mail their story to you. could be fun. shoot, sound like so much fun that I might do that with an NYE ticket for fun. I could post the stories here for our amusement.

  25. beepaphone Says:

    ^ I might do that too if BTB doesn’t end up needing mine

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