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

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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. gratefulcub Says:

    About Cincy, and seats behind stage:

    I had those seats, 30ish rows up behind Page. I wouldn’t want to do it often, but it was great fun. Being able to see the crowd, and being close to the band, was an interesting perspective. The sound was fine, there were speakers that I could almost touch.

    I’m there for night one this time, and I am looking forward to it. If that was my seat for both nights, that might be different.

  2. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    @ Paug, I get that they are after new markets and the old machine needs a truckload of Portland Suntan(WD-40). I was spewing heresay and misinformation based upon nonverbal feedback. From my perspective the festival was a smashing success and I am even further gladdened by the fact that there was a strong accepting embrace of our community. Plus I enjoyed your sneak preview of the grounds. 🙂

    I can see why som many promoters freak when they push a lot into the system to get the blimp off of the ground with the hope of recouping that outlay and some additional returns.

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    for those of you going to Cincinnati:
    I just read this thread @ Lossless Legs from a cat who lives there:

    I live in Cincinnati and I would like to warn everyone about the aggression of Cincinnati/Hamilton county law enforcement at the Phish shows.

    There are several things anyone coming here for these shows should keep in mind.

    1) The cops here know what to expect for Phish and will be prepared. Their tactics are crappy, i.e.: they will offer a ticket for “trade” and will then arrest you for trafficking if you go for it.

    2) Parking for U.S. Bank Arena is spread out over several garages and lots, so you will not have the anonymity of a giant Shakedown to hide in. It will be sketchy.

    3) The local court system is very cop-friendly, and will allow them to get away with illegal searches. The Bill of Rights is more of a “guideline” than a law here.

    4) Cops will be wearing both white (Cincy cops) and black (Hamilton County Sheriff’s Dept.) and drive both white and black cars, so be aware. There will also be undercovers running around.

    5) There also may be DUI checkpoints set up, you can check [url]www.cincinnati.com[/url] the morning of the show to see if any have been announced (by law they have to announce where checkpoints are ahead of time).

    6) Marijuana law is different inside Cincinnati than the rest of Ohio. In Ohio generally if you have less than 100 grams it is a minor misdemeanor that only carries a fine. In Cincy you can get up to 30 days in jail for anything under 200 grams, even if it is an old roach sitting in your ash tray.

    If y’all are coming here and intend to party, I advise you to get your supplies before you come here, or just drink.

    Good luck, have fun, see you at the shows.

    -Mike

  4. jdub Says:

    On a random note,

    Phish Thoughts community is bigger than you think. Miner had 700+ members on his facebook site. So, I was scrolling through the names thinking maybe I knew someone. I recognized a picture of a guy I had met the Friday before at a bar and talked to for about 30 minutes with no mention of the P word, small world.

  5. jdub Says:

    also,

    I am trying to get to 12/3 MSG as a lot of us are. I have 2 sec 207 row A tickets for trade if anyone is interested.

    email address is joshuawinkley@mac.com

  6. KWL Says:

    700+ holy snikes. How did I walk around Indio for the first 2 days in my phishthoughts shirt and not have a single person stop me?

  7. jdub Says:

    edit: Those two tickets for trade are 12/2 MSG

  8. gavinsdad Says:

    from back a few pages…SOAM rules…

    “1 fat tasty jiblet”

    funny motherfucker

  9. Kenny Powers Says:

    @ KWL i also rocked my PT tee that first day and didn’t see another person with one! then again i didn’t camp there so i’m talking inside the venue…

  10. KWL Says:

    well by the time I got into the concert field itself I had long sleeve shirts on covering up the shirt… but all day inside walking around the campsites & whatnot I was wearing it…

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    spent all GD years no tix…phish thru mid 90s the same way…I was a straight up 30 mins before the show go in and pounce type of guy. was enormously cocky about it…being tour and younger i thought it was a game…it was a super fun game to me…i didn’t get shut out.

    thinking about when i switched over to getting tix…97 i’d say…mail order or lottery or whatever it was became easier. i was sober…er, took a long break, from 93-2007…yes, i said that…so i didn’t execute and trades tho thats’ always the way to go.

    never ever bought a ticket for a show i wasn’t going to. definitely did get a couple extras for philly and msg and now they are distro’d amongst friends and family.

    nothing i like more tho than having one for a hot one like msg and seeing that kid with the look in his eye like i know they are gonna just have a life changer inside and getting to give them a ticket. not an easy feat for fri nite msg but i still work for tix if only to get them for someone i don’t even know that well. my “corner” at msg (worked it at the dead shows this spring for a friend) is 8th ave and 31st st, NE corner. i got my 95 phish nye run ticket there so i’ve always considered it lucky.

    i’d speculated a month or so back about demand and we’re seeing elements of this…not at msg but at more outta the way spots…definitely not trying to make light of anyone’s ticket investments but i am still stoked that we’re thinning out here….the day i’m back in a 8500 (!) person room i’m gonna crap myself with joy.

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    ps….definitely behind the stage speaks at MSG and Wachovia. no doubt. i’d said it a couple times before that i roam those walkways hard…usually end up over fish’s shoulder at msg.

  13. KWL Says:

    though @KP I DID see a bunch of people with ‘Powers’ jerseys on. Was one of them you?

  14. jdub Says:

    Gavinsdad, How many GD shows did you attend in the style, whole tours? That sounds like a blast and you went into it with the right attitude to pull it off and not surprisingly it worked. Well Done..

  15. gavinsdad Says:

    jdub…i’m an old man now…GD for me was spring 87-spring 93. rehab after vegas>shoreline that last run was a killer my friend.

  16. Mitch Says:

    gratefulcub,
    I put the last tube on there so we have all the tubes.

    first tube > sand > 2001 > tube > jibboo > last tube > antelope

  17. llamalee Says:

    about sugar shack talk earlier, i think there should be a sugar shack “dance” kinda like the meat-stick dance. i’ve had the catchy riff from it in my head all day and have envisioned it perfect for a dance. probly just silly talk but i’m going to attempt to make one and encourage others as well

  18. Danny B Says:

    Some great photos of 8 on this blog check em out:

    http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2009/11/phish_with_help.html#more

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    great link, Danny B. I want to go back!!!!

  20. jay Says:

    the day i’m back in a 8500 (!) person room i’m gonna crap myself with joy.

    Indeed. Asheville was so tight. Miss those days when it was all theater shows and you could easily walk up front and stand 5-10 ft away. As for the Dead, saw them heavily from 85-89. Used to get whole tour booklets and trade the few I was not going to for party favors etc… Never got shutout either though had to scam my way in a few times (never gatecrashed). Never got shut out for Phish and until this year never had any problems getting tickets. I got real lucky and the kindness of some good friends I got into Hampton, Asheville, and RR.

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    @ jay etc..

    tour booklets! you’re dating me now ;P

    think it’s good we’re all sticking around and welcome to anyone new that loves this band. i’ve scaled back the # of shows i attend greatly..first with the wife..then with the kids…but i still get out…i’ve ridden the phish popularity wave and i take it as it comes…think the internet has really helped ppl execute trades before having to deal with a stubhub, or a parking lot stranger, or even a scalper (f that). but yeah, was jealous of you guys at ashville…and will be living vicariously thru those of you who hit cobo, cuse, and portland. sickness.

    and yeah…spring 89 GD i got a little frisky with the door pops and turnstile ticket take bribes but i was young and i only went solo on those missions. wasn’t into the violent shit.

  22. Kenny Powers Says:

    here’s the link to my Fest 8 Picasa web album. That shot of the German beer girl and guy (or Hansel & Gretel, which is what we tried to be) is my wife and I.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/digs5446/Festival8#

    @ KWL – nah i did not sport a Powers jersey, or see others doing so…that’s awesome!

  23. gavinsdad Says:

    kp – i can’t even take looking at these photos…too jealous….

  24. Kenny Powers Says:

    wow those other pics from that blog make mine look like shite! must be the work of a pro.

  25. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @kenny – nice pics

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