Mid-Tour Momentum

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Building off of an extensive Summer and Indio, and stepping indoors at just the right time, Phish is clearly getting their groove back. Their playing has oozed confidence and comfort, while characterized by precision and fire. When the band chooses to jam, they are doing it with a determined and patient creativity, and as we move on to the second two-thirds of tour, I’d imagine we’d begin to hear more open jamming. It would be nice to see the band focus on grooves and psychedelia a bit more than shredding rock and roll, but beggars can’t be choosers. Phish are definitely playing what they feel and playing it quite well. The most profound change in their dynamic since this fall tour started has been Mr. Trey Anastasio. While he may have been the slowest member of the band to regain his unbridled confidence, he has recently transformed into an absolute monster. Allowing his inhibitions to fall by the wayside, he has been shredding with an abandon unseen in years. Using meticulous lyrical phrasing amounting to guitar narratives, his sense of thematic jamming has returned in force, and it has effected the entire band.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

The most compelling second-set improv thus far has stemmed from Detroit’s “Disease,” and Cincy’s “Rock n Roll” and Syracuse’s “Drowned”- the three vehicles they featured the most this summer. It seems like time to switch it up a bit from the rock-only set openers; time to drop in some darker and slower type-II springboards to open set two. How about opening up “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” or dropping another “Sand?” In the end, it doesn’t matter what songs they play, as long as they continue to evolve into more frequent psychedelia…Three of the central second set jams over the last two shows – “Rock and Roll,” “Drowned” and “Piper” have held a great similarity to each other – percussive grooves turned ambient space…The two dirtiest pieces of music thus far have ironically come in first sets – Detroit’s filthy, dripping “46 Days,” and Cincy’s evil “Split.” Now let’s see some of that type of improv stretched out under the spotlight of set two! As we turn the corner towards Philadelphia and Albany, two cities that have historically played host to legendary Phish, the band looks to build on the momentum from their opening leg as everyone moves towards Thanksgiving. And this year, we have a lot to be thankful for.

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833 Responses to “Mid-Tour Momentum”

  1. beepaphone Says:

    @ BTB hell yeah dude by beer line Saturday night after that awesome first set. Everyone was so happy on that setbreak.

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    rock chops are something i am glad to have more of – when phish was gone that was something missing from my world – serious Rock. It’s hard to rock in a way that I like.. I got lots of jazz, funk, bluegrass, and all the rest, but rock was the missing thing. Which I guess is why I’m so thrilled that trey is back to the shredmaster..

  3. halcyon Says:

    KWL…..I remember you asking for some fan art the other day. Check out http://www.phanart.net/ (, or http://www.phishposters.com (an art/poster/fan message board). Be sure to check out the Albany Print by Isadora Bullock. If I was hitting up the knick, I would be getting this print. It is awesome.

  4. beepaphone Says:

    According to my newbie friends, Phish is the epitome of the good rock concert experience.

  5. BTB Says:

    @Beeps- yeah that was random, I was drunk for Set II (Damn you $7 Heinekens) and grabbing a beer. I must have swerved my head around to catch you for 10 seconds. I think I offered to stub you to the floor, but you had a chill spot all set up.

    I must have stubbed more than 5 people to the floor for Cinci II. There was plenty of space down there. A lot of the seats in my section were empty.

  6. notkuroda Says:

    @gavinsdad-so I’m at Bear Creek last weekend, and I keep seeing this rubber chicken at the end of a tent pole sticking out of the audience everywhere I go. I keep thinking to myself “why the chicken? What’s so cool about it?” So I’m hoping that there’s some kind of really cool story behind it. I go up to the kid and ask “why the rubber chicken?”. He answers, “cuz it’s a rubber chicken maaaaaaannn” I asked if there was a story behind it and he said no but “isn’t it dope?”. So from here on out I’ll just leave it up to the imagination. Sometimes reality can be really disappointing

  7. ferd Says:

    posting this on this thread since the last thread died…

    i have three extras for wed night in philly. my brother and his friends decided to bail. i was hooked up with tickets via a friend of a friend, so i’m all set.

    section 211, low row number, on the aisle.

    if anyone’s interested, let me know. can meet up there since i’ll be there.

  8. HarryHood Says:

    So I have to mention this after my post last week concerning being nervous to bring my brother to his first show.

    My brother is one of these people who acts the part of a “responsible” adult to the point where sometimes I think that he should have been the older brother. I know that he’s got it in him to let loose and have a good time, but no ever sees that side anymore, including me. He’s very intolerant of people getting in his space and to be quite honest, he can be an ass at times.

    Sunday nights show brought out the fun carefree kid that I grew up with and I can’t thank our band enough to have set up the time and place for that to happen. I looked over during most of the second set and he was actually dancing and singing along with most of the songs. Half of them I had no clue he even knew! When Sample came on, he was literally high-fiving me and jumping up and down. For once in my life, I was not happy for ME at show, I was happy that someone else was enjoying what I’ve talked about for years. The big moment for me at the show was Theme. I looked over at my brother and he was leaned back against his seat just nodding his head and staring off into space. When the jam ended, he just turned and said “wow.” I laughed and said, that’s IT, that’s why I come to shows…… We didn’t need to say anything else.

    Sorry to ramble about my brotherly family nonsense, but it was a pretty cool thing to witness and I wanted to share.

  9. beepaphone Says:

    yeah it was all good…we had a good thing going in our section. Thanks for the offer though. Still yet to be on the floor at an indoor show. Gonna make that happen next time.

  10. Phish...Yup Says:

    Headed to Philly in 15 minutes from DC. Pretty much the most ideal way to start a Thanksgiving break from work ever.

  11. Robear Says:

    great story HH, helps us ‘only childs’ to live vicariously.

  12. BeantownBoy Says:

    @ Harry

    Nice post. I had a similar moment with my younger sister at MCI Center in DC, during Fall Tour ’99. For years she listened to me go on and on about Phish and after getting her a ticket as a Christmas gift decided to accompany me (up to that point she had largely been a DMB fan).

    I will never forget looking over at her when the house lights dropped, and they opened with a sick DWD, and she had her hands covering her mouth. She stayed that way for a good two songs.

    Needless to say, we’ve since experienced IT, together, and are going to MSG next week.

    Ain’t nothing better than sharing in the groove with your loved ones.

  13. oldskool Says:

    Based of off my thoughts and conjectures I very much expect either a Lifeboy or Dog Faced boy in Philly

  14. cal Says:

    HH–awesome, that was a big part of what made Cinci so amazing for me–for the first time in the seven years I’ve been with my girl, she GOT it. For the longest time, I think she mainly had a good time vicariously through my appreciation for the music, but it never really reached her until this weekend. Just remembering how that happened for me–that feeling you can only have once–and seeing the giddiness and joy and amazement in her, that was pure heaven.

    I’m still kinda jealous though, because that’s never going to happen with my brother…he hates concerts because you can’t talk.

  15. Robear Says:

    May all your ballads be ‘If I Could’

    Best blast from the past this year?

  16. beepaphone Says:

    I must inquire, Harry Hood’s brother…..

    Glad he had such a good time. The old friend of mine I brought to Cincy has been a little too responsible since college. It was great to cut it loose together like we were 18 again.

  17. Locust the Lurker Says:

    Just caught up with today’s posts. Some great food for thought here. I keep hearing things along the lines of “now that the band is sober…” and it makes me wonder how anyone knows this to be the case. I mean we all know about Trey and his tribulations and from hearing and looking at him we know he is. But the rest of the band? While their playing certainly indicates a level of seriousness, maturity, and some serious chops, who’s to say they don’t occasionally enjoy a nice fatty, a few tasty beers, or a few caps from time to time? I’m not saying they do, necessarily, but I just wonder how so many ppl here can say so unequivocally that they don’t. And really, as long as they continue to make such incredible music together, what does it matter?

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    I believe they are truly looking at song placement in such a grander scale than ever before.

    Something that was always a bit lacking for me and is now starting to come into focus. Good observation.

  19. BTB Says:

    Chalk me up for a Cincinnati conversion as well (Phish the Baptist: performing miracles). I think my girl gets IT now. Telling all her friends it was the best concert she’s scene.

    I think having great seats helps. The sound of the floor on saturday was great. What a party

  20. BigNasty Says:

    Guys – just jumping in here. I’m in my office listening to the 11/22/09 Drowned>Twist>Piper>BBCFM. Terrific stuff, imo. The Drowned jam sounds a lot like a Piper jam. I can clearly hear a Piper tease in the Drowned jam (13 minute mark). Reminds me of the 6/21/09 Piper from Alpine (a great 3.0 Piper!). I love that “wah…wah,waaaaah” thing Trey does.

  21. ferd Says:

    btb, i hear you re: the floor on saturday. i thought i was going to go deaf after antelope finished. the place was rocking.

    and wed will be my girlfriend’s first show. we’ll see how it goes 🙂

  22. randomreader Says:

    finally i have something to add, instead of being “that guy” who says whatever the hell.

    until 3.0, i figured i would always live with the bittersweet pleasure of having my last show be camden ’04, the last show before coventry, which i was not able to attend for a wide variety of reasons. adding to the depths of meaning for me was the fact that i convinced my brother, 17 at the time and very much not the sort who would naturally gravitate to this type of scene, to come along for his first (and so far only) show. by ’04 standards that one was a doozy, and while it may not have turned him into a phan, it certainly was one of the greatest bonding experiences we’ve ever shared, so thanks phish for that one! add it to the long, long, long list of things to be thankful for.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    even tho i’m a bit of a flailing dancer i find a place where i’m not gonna hurt anyone.

    Oh, I get down in full on hippie Soul Train fashion. But if you’re in tune with the people around you, you’ll mostly fit into the empty spaces each person leaves behind. That’s actually some of the coolest stuff – when it’s a little too crowded, and everyone is getting down really hard, but it fits together like a big moving puzzle…

    ps…sorry for the novels guys/gals.

    For Jeebus’ sake please keep posting as much as you feel like, that’s classic stuff. Congratulations on finding the new balance in terms of sobriety.

    FWIW I feel like some drugs are, or can be, sacraments – and some aren’t. You can use weed as a crutch, to keep yourself in a haze, or you can use it in more constructive ways. Psychedelics can be used to hide from the world, or to get more deeply in touch with it.

    It’s just about mindfulness and intent IMO.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    @c0wfunk – you know I actually like the post Band of Gypsies lineup with Mitch Mitchell a little more, the one on the Isle of Wight DVD. But the Gypsies lineup is amazing. For one thing I really like that latter era material a lot…

  25. BTB Says:

    Anyone looking for Albany floors????????????

    They are onsale on the Time Union Center for FACE!!!!!!!!

    If you don’t have any grab em!!!!!!!!!!

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