A Sunday Spectacle

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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

Winged-music-note=====

Jam of the Day:

Tweezer > Maze” 11.01 II

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Indio_Nov1_8

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

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.10.90 Earlham College, Richmond, IN SBD < Torrent

11.10.90 Earlham College, Richmond, IN SBD < Megaupload

Earlham-College

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. albert walker Says:

    Just got a lead on Friday row H section 116 for Cinci
    I’ve been here but have no memories
    Seem to be behind the stage kind of
    Does anyone have a better idea of this joint and whether or not these seats are any good

  2. Kenny Powers Says:

    great idea snowbank! might as well make this fun. only problem w/ your proposal is that it would mostly be whoever has the best imagination and comes up w/ the best story. i want to know the REAL story, lol.

  3. SOAM Says:

    if they don’t want to be involved in business -we have to deal with the ticket issue-it is what it is-better than the alternative.

  4. beepaphone Says:

    8 rows up diagonally behind fishman…not bad, i’d say

  5. albert walker Says:

    worried about the sound if all the speakers are facing forward
    not really directly behind the stage but those behind tix are usually hit or miss

  6. beepaphone Says:

    if you’re rolling solo, you probably won’t have to wander far to get some speaker love

  7. snowbank Says:

    @KP – yes, judging the truthiness of the stories is the key challenge. You could ask them for a reference? or how about “photographic evidence”? how about this – tell them the criteria will be based 50% on the how their compelling their story is and 50% on their ability to document their story. and just like any good RFP or job application… the one who is worthy will find a way to ‘document’ their story…

  8. Kenny Powers Says:

    don’t they put rear-facing speakers at all arena shows? i sure as shit hope they do that at MSG, i have some dank-looking seats dead center behind the stage, first row of second section. of the 50-55 shows i’ve seen, never once had the band’s point of view.

  9. Kenny Powers Says:

    great idea snowbank

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I like the idea of “best story” for your tickets, but this kind of thing can go the other way too.

    My wife and I were trying any way we could to get Hampton tickets this year and some assclown with a post on craigslist had the audacity to ask us how many shows we’d been to before he’d agree to sell his tickets to us for way more than face (and more than we ended up getting in for). Apparently, we needed to hit some threshold before we would be deemed worthy enough to go. Fuckhead. We reported his post. Actually, we had a lot of fun “banning” tons of scalping posts for Hampton. Made our misery at the time a little less (especially since we were able to get tix anyway).

  11. bhizzle Says:

    so that announcement is sweet. without moving the image with the cursor I swear after just listening to the musical attchement and zoning at the screen the squiggles were moving. fat cell with undigested sid must have broke down at that moment.

  12. snowbank Says:

    Craigslist Ad Mock Up:

    Wanted: worthy fan for Extra Phish Ticket

    I have an extra for the Cinnci show that I cannot use. Instead of selling it, I am offering it up to the phan with the most compelling need for a phree ticket. Here’s the deal: I am taking applications for the ticket. Send me your story about why you should get a free ticket and the best story gets the ticket. I am accepting applications up until XXXX. Submissions will be judged 50% on how compelling your story is and 50% on your ability to document said story. Anyone asking for further clarification will not be considered for the ticket. Good Luck!

  13. Stupendous Says:

    MIA NYE 03 traded my floor on the 3rd night with a girl that had never seen em for her behind the stage tix…had a blast… the closest ive felt to the band.
    sound was good though not as loud…Cant wait to put in my request!

  14. fromthetub Says:

    ^ That’s really good, Snowbank. I have an extra for the 11/20 Cincy show that I’m stuck with after someone backed out. I might have to use that…

  15. SOAM Says:

    That was me-you have to have been to 53 shows and be willing to have experimental tag team sex with Fishman and the standard midget lot wookette nitrous scout-then pay 3x face-do this and your in…

  16. bearito Says:

    nice snowbank!

  17. snowbank Says:

    since I am going to pay through the nose for MSG tickets, anybody have advice on what not to buy? are there there seats that suck particularly bad?

    Based on this:
    http://www.thegarden.com/seating/
    they all seem like decent seats.

  18. bearito Says:

    The ‘Theme’ from 8 is tasty!

  19. bearito Says:

    Just get in the door snowbank and the rest will fall into place.

  20. Marshall Says:

    What is or where is BM, in reference to the body paint earlier?

  21. snowbank Says:

    thanks for the props y’all. I think I watch too much reality tv!

  22. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    SOAM, I would have considered that. We were pretty desperate! BTW, how’d you come up with 53 as the number of shows?

  23. fromthetub Says:

    snowbank, I’ll know in a week if I have extras for the 12/2 show. High up but will gladly pass on for face+fees.

  24. snowbank Says:

    Bm = burning man. you likely know where that is.

  25. Marshall Says:

    Oh, got it. Yes, I do know where that is.

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