A Sunday Spectacle

Rogell_indio3_3

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.

=====

Indio_Nov1_8

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

=====

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

Tags: ,

272 Responses to “A Sunday Spectacle”

  1. Marshall Says:

    Did anyone see the NYE cover page yesterday? I’ve been checking daily and I did not see it.

  2. snowbank Says:

    THX fromthetub. I can’t make it to 12/2 – way too much stress on the fam. I get in at 11pm on 12/2 to newark. Prolly gonna get a hotel room at EWR and head to my friends place the next day. I am not really sure why I am including these details, but now you know.

  3. fromthetub Says:

    Nice, glad you’re going to make the shows!

  4. Marshall Says:

    I placed my PTBM order as soon as I found out as I’m convinced that my late entry in the past is the reason for not scoring. Maybe I’m early enough this time.

    Watch me score first night only or some crap like that. Put in for 2+2+2+4.

  5. SOAM Says:

    It’s the number of Dead shows I went to…53 and how old Jerry was when he checked out

  6. llamalee Says:

    after re-listening to 11/1 today i have a couple realizations. big one is that i really like the song light (which i will admit at f8 at the intro i took as a sign for a bathroom run) and sugar shack is growing on me. the theme and limb by limb are the two best played songs of the final set with the mike’s to the end just being raw, nasty fun.

  7. beepaphone Says:

    tag team sex with Fishman and the standard midget lot wookette nitrous scout-

    what is it?? Rule #36?

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    miami woohoo!! anyone know where this bowie intro is from? Last time in Miami maybe? (I don’t know the shows very well..)

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    late entry doesn’t mean anything.

    I put in for Portland at 3pm on the last day and got 4 Floor GA.

    I truly believe that they are starting to use the old system of rewarding people who consistently go for tix. This was confirmed to some extent by a friend’s friend I spoke with at 8 who works for ticketing. He wouldn’t go on record with that, but he hinted that this was the case. He also wouldn’t confirm the attendance at 8 due to confidentiality agreements but said it was well below the promoter’s desired number, fwiw…

  10. KWL Says:

    any extras for cuse or MSG friday out there?

    have cash and/or MSG Thursday for trade

    keith dot lindner at gmail dot com

  11. beepaphone Says:

    pinch me. fall tour is a week from tomorrow.

  12. voopa Says:

    LOL @ SOAM 53 was my number of Phish shows before F8.

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    8’s Low numbers are perfect given that Goldenvoice are chumps and dickweeds in the business. They do have some prime geography though. this is industry knowledge my brother in law spewed upon learning the promoter. Actually he was politically polite and said nothing, but we all know silence can be deafenning.

  14. Birddog Says:

    KWL I have a Friday to trade for a Thursday

  15. sumodie Says:

    @cowfunk: Yes, it’s the Bowie intro from 12/28/03 -first song of the entire run.

  16. Kenny Powers Says:

    speaking of the Sugar Shack from F8, i haven’t listened back on it but i recall from being there that Trey butchered the guitar part big time. Which was a bummer because that’s one of those songs (the end of the song, anyway) where the melody is everything.

    Hey I can forgive hi, after all the amazing shit he did all weekend, not a gripe by any means, just noticed it is all. It is in a weird time signature.

  17. bearito Says:

    Sugar shack: 1st lick well played, he did improvise on the 2nd lick pretty good, 3rd lick played well, then it got a bit sloppy but whatevs.

  18. voopa Says:

    Yeah that part of Sugar Shack alternates between 7/4 and 4/4 or something like that…Trey nailed it the first time, but that was it. Kind of weird, but not too surprising. He should have it down by MSG.

  19. beepaphone Says:

    what a catchy, catchy guitar riff…stuck in my head just by mention of it

  20. T. Leo Says:

    How’s this for a dream job:

    http://careers.archivists.org/jobdetail.cfm?job=3227980

    sounds too good to be true

  21. Weekapaug Says:

    @Berzerker: I happen to work for and know some of the people with Goldenvoice and had the pleasure working Festival 8 with them. The folks I worked with are not fans of our band but embraced our community with respect. They were, however, dissapointed in ticket sales but hey, bussiness is bussiness.

  22. Kenny Powers Says:

    wow, that and Kevin Shapiro’s jobs…professional geeks. i’m in the wrong field.

  23. KWL Says:

    @Weekapaug, was it you that I’m remembering that posted a short audio mix of f8? Have the link handy?

  24. Weekapaug Says:

    @KWL – Yeah, the link is here. http://www.mediafire.com/?mjotgjy3knr its my first attempt at any kind of audio editing. Was trying to make a slideshow of my photos from the weekend with added music. enjoy!

  25. KWL Says:

    thanks!

Leave a Reply