Back At Home Again

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

Philadelphia Phish – there ain’t nuthin’ like it! As the band hit the first show of their major east coast arena run, they rolled out two sets of top-notch playing and a setlist that bordered on make-believe. With no filler in either frame, the band threw down a full-length party at the Wachovia Center last night. With a first set filled with rarities, and improv strewn throughout both sets, Phish slaughtered what has to be considered the strongest full show of the fall.

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

When looking at it on paper, last night’s first set appears to have been written by an online fan listing the songs he wanted to hear. With six songs appearing for the first time this fall, including “Camel Walk” for the first time since their return, the opening frame felt completely fresh and energetic. Throughout the entire set, and show, Phish sounded as good as they have all year, completely on point and flowing with their seeming effortless nature of lore. Nailing song after song as if they were mere calisthenics, the band was clearly overjoyed to be back in Philly again. Wearing a Flyers jersey throughout the set, Trey continued his guitar acrobatics, leading the band through a “Chalk Dust” opener and splashing into an early “Bathtub Gin.” With the first “Gin” of tour coming right at the beginning of the show, one immediately got the feeling that things were on for the evening – and that inclination turned out completely accurate. With tasteful, contained improv, the band took command of the audience right away, peaking “Gin” with a fury and eliciting a massive ovation after the fact. With the liquid funk of “Cities” and “Camel Walk,” Phish quickly found themsleves amidst one of their most exciting first sets of the year, and as they dropped into “The Curtain (With)” things only kept building. Taking their hallowed composition indoors for the first time since Fall 2000, the band floated floated into a virtually note-perfect “With,” where the band showcased both their compositional and improvisational chops. And we somewhere in the middle of the opening frame.

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

Following the the dancy combination of “Wedge,” “Moma,” Phish dropped the first “Reba” of tour, and this time, there wouldn’t be any flubs. In a spectacular rendition, Phish not only nailed a note-perfect composed section, they offered delicate smorgasbord of groove highlighted by unbelievably expressive soloing by Trey within a locked down band dynamic. A stunning overall version led into the seeming set closer of “Golgi,” but Phish wasn’t done just yet. Tearing into the burliest “Faulty Plan” to date, the band stretched the song into a growling dose of arena rock to close the set.

The Wachovia center buzzed with excitement at setbreak – everyone knew that they sat in the eye of the storm. Whatever came next, if one thing was for sure, it would be fire. Turning things on end, the band came out with their usual set-closer of “Possum” to kick off the second set. Building off its Cincinnati incarnation, this version followed a more boisterous path, forming a surprisingly spunky opener. Setting the table for something big, the band entered a section of ambient noise out of which emerged the tour’s second “Disease.” The only current Phish song that guarantees a completely open, type-II adventure, last night’s knocked the socks off the Philly audience. Akin in texture to Detroit’s version, the exploration piece built collaboratively into another piece of next-level jamming. Following an organic path into a blissful plane, Phish brought “Disease” way out into a finely woven psychedelic silk carpet ride through the universe. Getting into some completely original and textured group playing, this jam developed into a no-brainer highlight of the tour – and of the year. Certainly the the song of the moment, the band soared built a creative opus last night featuring both groovy and melodic abstractions that provided the one of the most indelible musical moments of 2009. Take a listen for yourself – as soon as possible! As Phish played the introspective excursion to its natural conclusion, they morphed from the sonic fallout into “Twenty Years Later.”

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

Played for only the third time ever, this song provided a mystical landing point for the majesty of “Disease.” Lyrically poignant and musically different than most Phish songs, it was good to hear the band feature their new song in a central position once again, and it worked great. Keeping the surprises coming, the band rolled, without hesitation, into a mid-second set “Harry Hood.” Sculpting a heart-tugging, cathartic epic, this version embodied pure hoodness to the hood degree. With sublime full-band interplay, and the continued masterful playing of Trey, this centerpiece “Hood” reached triumphant levels and exploded in one of those peaks that could inspire the world. This first incarnation of the tour provided a mega-jolt of energy to the middle of the show, which carried right over into the second “Mango” of the year, and into the unheard of combo, “Hood,” Mango,” “Mike’s!”

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

Firing up their aggressive musical suite, the opening licks of “Mike’s” likened aural crack, knowing that we would soon be immersed in the wrath of Phish. Being indoors seems to be allowing the band to reconnect with the ethos of “Mike’s,” as they crafted a version whose bombast and full-on improv built on Detriot’s version in a snarling tale of horror. A nuanced and well-connected “Simple” provided a gorgeous interlude into “Slave?!” For the second time in three “Mike’s Grooves,” the band has inserted their divine build, one-upping Cincy’s centerpiece into arguably the most awing version of the year. Playing the initial section through with hardly a beat, the band came together like a four-headed monster in a version that fit right into the flow of the evening. And a “Slave,” “Weekapaug” show-closing combo doesn’t get much better – unless Trey to decides to instruct the band to drop into half-time to create an incredibly danceable set of grooves instead of the usual speed-rock of “Weekapaug.” Out of left field, Phish sprinkled one last dose of creativity to this show, creating an original take on a classic. As Trey sang, “Still trying to make a woman match your mooove…” all things seemed right in the world of now matured world of Phish. With a start-to-finish blowout, Phish returned to Philadelphia in fine style approaching the mid-week holiday with a show that immediately upped the ante for tonight and the rest of the tour. Ready or not, here they come!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Cities, Camel Walk, The Curtain With, The Wedge, The Moma Dance, Reba, Golgi Apparatus, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan

II: Possum > Down with Disease > Twenty Years Later, Harry Hood, The Mango Song, Mike’s Song > Simple > Slave to the Traffic Light > Weekapaug Groove

E: A Day in the Life

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1,014 Responses to “Back At Home Again”

  1. whole tour! Says:

    CITIES > CAMEL WALK ONLY PLAYED 3 TIMES IN PHISHTORY. 2 OF THOSE TIMES WERE IN 86!!!!

    MAN OH MAN…PHISH IS ON FIRE, I GOT MY MIAMI TICKETS IN THE MAIL YESTERDAY, AND LIFE IS GOOD!

  2. Mitch Says:

    Oh what a night… I’m gonna try and cram a lot into a little. Hope I dont spill over. Can I first mention how Miner didn’t write about the 2nd set and then a blip about the first. That’s because last night we had a throwdown Phish show of epic proportions. And I use epic sparingly so as not to have it be undermind but overusage. Now onto the show.

    It all started while sitting with gavinsdad before the show talking about Trey and Philly. I had mentioned that I bet Trey was gonna rock a flyers jersey and sure enough here he comes in this huge jersey walkin on stage with a big grin. Right from the start I was blown away by Trey nailing his jams and dancing around on stage. He was a jedi last night and I had to cup my ears to focus on Page and Mike a couple times who were slaughtering it themselves. Chalk was a ripping opener that at first had me like “ok, another chalkdust opener” but I quidkly said, no expectations, “this is Phish and you are at a Phish concert, and you like chalkdust, enjoy it.” Nice ripping jam and off we went. Gin was money and was a real indoor throwdown. Miner already said how we got started right away and hes really on point. Great jam. Ok, gonna try and stick to the high points and memorable things that arent on the setlist. I am still a little out of it since I had to wake up at 8 to move my car to a parking lot from the street.
    From now on, Phish shows are going to resemble more of a jonas brothers crowd, at least from the stage anyway. People are gonna start bringing the signs. Cities was played becuase of a fan sign from around the 4th row. Trey pointed to the sign and said “lets hear it for this guy!” and told him to spin around. We all saw the sign and blew up. Sure enough the cities funkville express was leaving the station. Hop on before it leaves you behind. Cities also included “its only the river, its only thanksgiving talking about the home cookin. It was really a non stop show and the funk kept coming. Other highlights in the first set were camel walk, REBA!!!! (fracking awesome jam) and the stealing time I’ve been looking for all year!
    At set break we didnt have much to say. Phish was attacking it at a rate I almost couldnt keep up with. I was trying so hard to burn the memories into my brain since I was on sensory overload. Everything was awesome and I was just trying to keep up. The playing was as on fire as they have been all fall and seriously people, when someone says the band is loving it, they arent kidding. So excited on stage.
    This was the first show I went to alone and it was awesome to meet up with gavinsdad but he rocks the aisles so during the sets I was just jamming by myself and with the people around me. Those who have said on here that a show alone is awesome every now and again are so right. Really fun time being in my own head and just raging it. I had some issues during possum with drunk dude (frat boy types) getting loud and singing along. Gavinsdad and I tried the smoke em out, shut em up but it wasnt taking. It wasnt until I told the guy to relax during disease becuase we were going to outer space soon that he calmed down. He looked at me and said “you called it, were in outer space!!” (i know, how unpredictable that call was) and then they relaxed a bit. Everyone has to check this jam out. Then we went to 20 years later. The crowd seemed to be a lot of either new fans or just philly locals. Nobody around me got bust-out excited for camel walk or mango or cities. The frat boys leaned over and told me after the chorus that it was 20 years later. I keep a setlist book and write it all down so I chuckled and just said “yup”
    Hood > Mango (dunno how to do the big eye smile on wordpress but in a word, wow.) Frankie said last night I was channeling the mango and it wasnt until this morning that I realized I was wearing my gorge tshirt under my phish thoughts tshirt. I really was channeling it. I said on here the other day after wearing my pt shirt during the cincy stream that it was a new lucky shirt. With these powers combined, crazy things will ensue. Ok maybe I’m tired and its coming out on paper, trying to stay focused. But anyway, the mango was great to hear, well played, the haters who talked about the flub at the gorge can shut up now. I was going nuts and jumping around and again people didnt really appreciate it. My phone kept getting texts. A friend of mine was a few rows behind me and she sent one that said “youre happy :)” indeed I was.
    Lets talk about this mikes for a minute. They are really raging the crap out of mikes but it was short. The band literally changed the song on a dime and dropped out of it. Amazing move but left me with mikes blue balls. Dude next to me with mouth agape said did you just see that?! I said yeah, bummer, where’d mikes go. He seemed confused and said, that was AWESOME! they totally switched on us! This was one of the more chill frat dudes and I could tell he had an IT moment. I had to assure him not to misunderstand that indeed that move was like pulling the rug out from under us and was awesome but was bummed mikes was over. If I recall correctly, Hood had a change too that made us think they were leaving it and then they just kept jamming. This band can go 90-0 in .2 seconds right now. Mikes then went to simple and the place was really on cloud 9. Nothing could stop the Phish from vermont. Slave was just over the top at this point. The people talking on here live last night said it best with comments like “ok this is just getting ridiculous now” We already had hood and we felt good about it (as robear told me to do at about 3pm, nice call robear) and now slave? Majestic-ness what? > Weekapaug. OOOOOHHHHHH weekapaug. Weekapaug changed mid way and its another must hear. I said it sounded like the Rolling Stones were playing Weekapaug. It went to straight up rock and roll. Awesome jam, it was a tight rope between rock and normal weekapaug that they handled awesomely. The jam to me at points sounded like a suzy jam toward the end of it but that could have been just me and I need to relisten.

    So thats my wrapup so far that I can think of. Last night was too early to process it all. Really cool to go to a show solo and rock out alone for once. Gavinsdad hooked up the hospitality mobile and we went to Pats afterwards for a gut full of cheesesteak. Perfect show topper. I think all of the phish crowd relocated there because the line was loooong. I thought after that there wasnt a point in the show that lulled. 20 years later was the only point where I would say even came close and the jam prevented anyone from even saying that. WOW! looking at the setlist, there were no breathers, there were parts where you could relax for a min but no songs I wouldnt have wanted. Perfect. And we got all the songs we talked about pre-show taboot. We talked about the gin and reba that were missing and the Mikes groove I had mentioned would be cool since its been raging lately.

    All in all, I’d say that this show goes to 11. Why not just make 10 louder? Because it goes to 11. Get your hands on this asap but let me warn you to handle with care. This show smokes and I dont want anyone burning themselves. Have a good day everyone. I’m sitting here saying “tonight cant top last night” but that idea has been played out this tour. Nobody knows what can happen. Like golgi last night. We said will this close the set or be a fake set closer? Followed by a melting stealing time. Bring on tonight and MSG. Even if the next 4 shows suck (which they cant possibly with the pace the boys are on) but even if they do, last night will have made up for the rest. Hope this was a worthwhile review. Not quite a miner review but I hope I filled in some gaps. Have a good one ya’ll. See you guys tonight. hit me up at tickets at facemelt dot net if you wanna meet up.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    Gnarly novels batman…damn Mitch, quite an effort…gonna have to get a refill on the joe before I start that one!

    @silly…no problem man, glad to help!

  4. In Flagrante Delicto Says:

    Last night was everything that you’ll hear that it was, if not more. There is a reason I just keep coming back to see these guys. All the shows are fun, and all the music is good, but every once in a lucky while, you’re lucky to bear witness to a real throwdown.

    I think they had a hotlink to my brain on the setlist. And while the rarities are always fun, the pure bliss moments were on tunes you’ll see one out every four or five shows and know like the back of your hand: Reba, Disease, Hood, and Slave. And the half-time Weekapaug was great, although it seemed to me to be a “happy mistake.” I haven’t relistened (yet), but from my perspective, Fishman jumped in with the Paug beat tentatively (like maybe he didn’t know if the band wanted to close with Slave and save Paug for the encore). Then Mike came in late, and everyone was out of synch. Trey walked over to Mike and Fish, pointed at himself and the man in the dress, and busted into the slowest Weekapaug I’ve ever heard.

    The Day in the Life encore is the classic “we have 5 minutes until curfew” choice.

    After a rager like last night, I’m hoping the “half-time” Phish continues. Slow funk night in Philly.

    PS. It is truly a new era, not just for the band, but for me, when the drug I regret not taking the most at a Phish show is Tylenol.

  5. Mitch Says:

    The continual build of excitement and anticipation will only continue to grow throughout this tour, in turn feeding massive explosive energy to the band and music, sending everything deeper into the groove and once again the next show will be the best show.

    ^exactly. half the reason I was so amped was because of the shows I had heard so far on this tour. They were all monsters.

    p.s. for those of you who didnt read last night, I was type II dancing last night. They funked my face off in that first set and melted it in the 2nd. WHEW! ok, done talking for now.

  6. Mr. Palmer Says:

    great review Miner and Mitch. 1st time in my life i was jealous of Philly. Please save some goodness for Albany boys.

  7. Mitch Says:

    the stealing time I was looking for all year was becuase it was jammed out a bit. Saw it a few times this summer but nothing like last night.

    sorry to keep hogging the board. leo is right, I tried to put only good stuff in there and it wound up that long. have some more java and enoy leo.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    great write-up, mitch! thank you very much for sharing your experience. it softens the disappointment of missing the show and makes us all feel connected.

    you know, in a way, all of us at phishthoughts are in the venue for every show because those that are there have conversations on this board in the back of their minds. i know when i was in cinci i kept thinking “i cant wait to tell everyone what i saw and felt and heard.”

  9. marcoesq Says:

    somehow (boss kept me late, car troubles) I MISSED THE SHOW!!! ARGGGGHHHH!!!

  10. Leo Weaver Says:

    “Why not just make 10 louder? Because it goes to 11.”

    ^I fucking love it!!! Can’t wait for MSG…

  11. Pencilneck Says:

    wow. looks like it was quite a nite. great write-ups too. can’t wait to listen.

  12. bl68300 Says:

    the hood>mango>mikes>simple>slave or as i called it, the mikes simple slave while watching harry hood eat a mango, will rival any combo up to date…bold statement!!! bold show!!!

  13. gratefulcub Says:

    Mitch,

    Your post made me smile and giggle just because I could tell how excited you are. good stuff.

    I am planning on picking up a solo MSG night one, and can only hope to have surroundings as good as yours (talking frat boys excluded).

  14. Mitch Says:

    oh yea! and we got to see the band pull away with a cop escort as gavinsdad was taking me to his car a few parking lots away. we were the only two standing there as the busses had to make real slow U-turns and we could see inside. we were still in awe and I was just grinning and watching them pass. should have stuck my thumb out. haha.

  15. Stupendous Says:

    HOLY SETLIST!!!
    I Cant believe they threw C-Walk!!!!

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    it is a many layered title….philly…east coast…arenas….raging music…

  17. bl68300 Says:

    when i burp it still tastes like Pats, that makes me happy! also another scorcher for this evening!!!! see yall there, ill have the shirt that says whatever you do take care of your shoes! w/a big converse in the middle, find me!!1\

  18. BTB Says:

    Thanks for the reviews/effort Mitch and Delicto.

  19. fat bastard Says:

    m8ner you are the cyberspace mvp…..

  20. marcoesq Says:

    in one of my previous posts I has posted curtain>carini>camelwalk encore but who’s complaining

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    anybody have a non-etree DL? I can’t access etree at work but I need to hear this show in a capacity better than someone’s iphone!! Who’s got my AUDs?!?

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    I’m sure this day will be a flurry of excitement but I just wanted to throw my d’oh! on the pile .. I try to stay present and not get jealous and appreciate the shows I see but .. DAMN ..

    philly was always a given for me when I was touring out of md and nova, and I was close to heading up north for this weekend for family..

    Camel Walk is That Song to me that I always miss by 1 show or they play it at a show I almost went to. Still waiting… I don’t know if this decreases increases my chances of hearing it at cvl or the new years run.

    Can’t wait to give it a full listen, glad to see some NewNess injected into the paug..

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    @harry…did I see where you posted re: MSG Wed extras? I’m looking for one.

    Anybody with a single for Wednesday MSG hit me up at cannondawg at gmail dot com. ‘preciate it!

  24. HarryHood Says:

    @ Leo

    I’ve got 2 in Sec 215 Row B. Face if you want them.

  25. Leo Weaver Says:

    ^don’t need (and can’t afford) both…can you do a single?

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