The Conclusion of The Crown

11.21.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

11.21.09 (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

Sometimes one set can kick Phish into gear, and Friday night’s blowout seemed to do just that, as the band came back Saturday on fire from note one, triumphantly capping their first two-night stand of the fall. Using a far more balanced effort than either previous show, the band spread their jams over both sets, creating a fully engaging evening from start to finish. Completely settled into the arena groove, Phish put together another devastating second-set combo in “Rock And Roll > Ghost > If I Could,” but the jam of the show may have come before setbreak in the blissfully insanity of “Split Open and Melt.”

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

All of their jams, composed or otherwise, have been kicked up a notch since stepping indoors, and the first “Wolfman’s” of the tour held true to this pattern. As Trey picked lead lines over the band’s chunky groove, this version evolved into a smooth-operating dance-session to get the show underway in earnest. With jazzy grooves aplenty, the band got their improvisational chops warmed-up early on Saturday night. Following what has become a rather standard piece in “Ocelot,” the band dipped into their Halloween costume for the first time, breaking out the heavy favorite from “Exile” to remain in rotation,”Torn and Frayed.” Sounding even sharper than during their now-renowned cover set, Phish nailed a similar-length version that sounded sweeter than ever. Needing a new cover song oh-so-badly, the band chose a winner that fits their current style perfectly. A welcome addition to the catalog, look for a this one to open up a second set at some point this tour, leading into an extended piece of improv.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

But the no-brainer jam of the set – and, in my opinion, standout piece of the evening – came a few songs later with an utterly mind-numbing “Split.” Moving through multiple phases of creative jamming, Phish progressed through a sublime melodic build before arriving at a menacing musical dungeon. Increasing in both intensity and abstraction, the band created one of the most incredible musical moments of ’09. Patiently molding a lasting psychedelic masterpiece, the band nailed the change back into the “Split” jam with ridiculous accuracy, exploding into the groove. A most outrageous piece of music, this is one that needs to be heard to be believed.

After coming down from the madness with a soft musical pillow of “Dirt” and a “Limb” that featured incredibly lyrical soloing by Trey, the band soared into a set ending “Antelope.” Showcasing the overwhelming guitar mastery of Big Red’s fall tour thus far, he drove this “Antelope” into smithereens with his retro-machine gun style that has recently emerged. Ending the first half on an incredibly high note, the band finally played a far-reaching opening set that contained more than one pieces of legit improv for the first time this tour.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

On the first Saturday night of fall, Phish broke out one of their most popular openers in “Rock and Roll,” pleasing all in attendance with the cover-turned-type-II journey. Moving out of the blistering rock jam, the band broke things down into a series of percussive grooves that turned the music far more interesting and dancable. Naturally moving int  a textured canvas of rhythmic communication, the band carried some distinct momentum into this second portion of the jam. But as things moved forward they only got more intriguing as the band entered a third plane – a deeply inspiring ambient section likening alien intervention. Harnessing the power of the other side, the band had moved from rock to groove to all-out psychedelia before morphing into “Ghost.” Bouncing with the rediscovered indoor energy, Trey led the band in a high-octane version that picked up the pace from its summer incarnations. Another example of his uncompromising play in Cincinnati, Trey crushed this version with an extended series of stunning leads that varied from the fiery to the melodic. Without getting far out there, this “Ghost” absolutely smoked, providing a jolt of adrenaline, that coupled with “Rock and Roll,” created – potentially – the most creative segment of tour thus far.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

After a searing peak to a period of full-on jamming, the band dripped into a surprise landing point of “If I Could.” Maintaining the rearranged, more delicate, format from its Jones Beach return, the band collectively wove a gorgeous musical fabric that tickled the soul. This first half of the set presented us with one of the most engaging segments of improv this run; a tour that is slowly shaping up as the return of the well-oiled monster we once knew. At this point, the band turned to a series of singles to close out the show for the weekend crowd. Highlighted by a magnificent, multi-peaking “Caspian,” and a short but sweet “2001,” the band killed this run of songs despite the lack of any real jamming.

Building on an incredible two nights at the Crown, we make the quick turn-around up to Syracuse for the tour’s smallest show. With 8,000 people on a Sunday night, things are looking quite bright for tonight. I’ve got bags to pack. See you there!

I: Wilson, NICU, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Torn and Frayed, Strange Design, Ginseng Sullivan, Albuquerque, Split Open and Melt, Dirt, Limb By Limb, Run Like an Antelope

II: Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could, Backwards Down the Number Line, Prince Caspian, Suzy Greenberg, 2001 > The Squirming Coil

E: Sleeping Monkey, Axilla

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639 Responses to “The Conclusion of The Crown”

  1. HarryHood Says:

    Just got home from the show…… Wow. I’m pretty speechless. The energy was great. This show never let up!

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeah stick with it @mitch

    It gets way more twisted than you can imagine.

    I was sold on the fourth episode when locke was properly introduced

  3. YborCity Says:

    @Lucanthropist, are you all caught up with LOST? The finale of last season has me counting down the days til the final season begins. One of the best TV shows ever IMO.

    PS – Holy Phish-weekend! The boys are BACK! Cannot wait to get my hands on tonight’s show

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    lots of Lost fans on here, definitely

  5. skyballs saxscraper Says:

    reporting from the Cuse.

    Nearly EVERY jam was just EVIL DARK SHREDDY GOODNESS. Even GTBT! No Gin, Reba, or Hood – they were all too soft to come to this party.

    Face it – when they open with Bowie – buckle up. everyone was wiped following the show, including me – come for the Big Twisty Drowned Piper From Mars , stay for the 1st set bowie/stash bookends.

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    just catching up on listening after a busy weekend

    phish has their swagger back!

    sbds are finally tight, loud and clear with punch and nuance.

    tweezer and split are where they should be.

    light has become fully realized.

    breakouts continue apace. transitions are mostly sharp and fluid. sets have multiple peaks. sublime ~10 minute open jams continue to happen.

    we’re not grading on a curve anymore…this is really pretty high level stuff

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    this split is so weird it’s making me laugh out loud with headphones on. 2nd set version please

  8. sumodie Says:

    Truly my kind of twisted show.

    I posted over at the green board and now I’m too wiped to properly think through and rewrite things sensibly here, but there’s some stuff that happened last night that I want to hear others feedback on (Miner especially). Apologies for the following jangled thoughts:

    Last night was one of the most unique phish shows I’ve ever seen. This was the real Halloween show, full of dank dark evil that just ground us up last night.

    Some guy took an epic nosedive during setbreak that apparently EVERYONE around me saw but me (not that I wanted to see something apparently so fucked up -I pray the guy is ok). Then the cops got brought in and dragged him out, and lots of people were even more ruffled. Again, I didn’t see it, so I have no idea what’s right/wrong here. And I’ve read some other comments that seem to indicate the cops did everyone a huge favor.

    I think the house lights were turn on in the beginning of set II because someone was pissed or freaked out about the set break nosedive event. I’ve NEVER seen such unprofessional conduct, ever, and yet the band dug their heels in and played their ASSES OFF! At least, that was my perspective.

    The “Big Twisty Drowned Piper From Mars” (to quote skyballs) was some of the most twisted madness I’ve ever seen from this band. The BBFCFM bust out was ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC -one of my best phish moments ever -such a perfect mindfuck of an exclamation point to the whole inexplicable madness that preceded it.

    And it was the most intense first set I’ve heard this year. In fact, the whole show was one of the most intense phish shows I’ve seen -the darkness is very much alive in the 3.0 era.

    I’m really fading now and I’m dying to read Miner’s take on last night’s events. The show seems to be polarizing people.

    For me, last night obliterated any minuscule stray thought at the back of my mind that Phish is not back to crush it big time. Miami is going to be mindboggling after this fall tour.

  9. m00nshake Says:


  10. c0wfunk Says:

    crazy story sumodie .. looks like a great one last night, got it on the way now can’t wait to listen! What can they possibly do with 9 minutes of bbfcfm? Second set pushing it all the way through – break songs tube theme horse >silent? Wild!

  11. MisterChristian Says:

    Re: Lost

    Me and the lady decided to give the seasons a try earlier this year since you can stream them off netflix now. We are now near the end of the 4th season and are totally hooked on it, and I’m generally not into TV comedy or drama these days.. The diversity in the characters and heady plot definately make this one of the best TV shows ever. Its got a few loose ends and sometimes strays from its focus but this last season really brought it all together. Can’t wait to tear through season 5, should be out soon. Last season will be a throwdown! Too bad they’re going to split it up though.

    Re: Last nights set.
    Wow. And I was just thinking about BBFCFM last night. Too bad I won’t get my Theme in Albany, good chances for Sand though!

  12. st8 of mind Says:

    Just got back from Detroit>Cincy>Cincy. All I can say is wow! I’ve seen 11 Phish 3.0 shows and these are my favorite. I loved the flow, song choices, and preciseness of Detroit. Cincy was just downright ridiculous, especially second night. I am just so happy to see the boys back in form. Watch out for the rest of the tour. Wish I could be there. I love Phish!

  13. Mr.Palmer Says:

    8 sets of Phish so far this tour. 11/20 Set II is the best by a lot IMO. From top to bottom its tough to beat it. For selfish reasons i hope they top it friday in Albany. Not to slight the others at all. but they all had their peaks and momentary valleys. Cincy 2 set II has no valley, all peak.

  14. Gordo Says:

    WOW !!! What a show I was literly speechless afterFriday night was over. What a second set. It was like the bust out part of 2001 all night. Oh my god they never let up, until they let us chill for a sec with joy in the encore then knoked it home with the reprise. Hands down Sickest YEM I have ever heard.. I have seen phish quite a bit through the years and they always seem to rock out in Ohio. My first show was the famous show at the Nutter Center in Dayton 12/7/97. This one might be a close second. The song selcetion and placement were perfect. The show just had a fluidity and flow that I haven’t felt in a while. They seemlesly wove in and out of every song and they never let the crowd go for one second and man were they feeling it. The whole band especially Trey just seemed so happy and completly into the night1 and so was the crowd… There was an electric energy in the areana mainly because of the amazing music which gave the show the 97 feel for me…. They are def back and seem to be a little sharper than the summer tour. Trey seems to have grown 15 fingers all of the sudden with some of the crazy intricate jams he is pulling off. We are all extremely lucky to get to experience this incredable music again.. For those of you who are newer to Phish and were there… it doesn’t get much better than Fri night.

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