A Pre-Turkey Party

11.20.09 (C.Garber)

11.20.09 (C.Garber)

Following their first night throw-down in Philadelphia, Phish came back with a solid show that featured a slew of well-played rock and roll, but only a couple of jams that brought legitimate excitement. On the night before Thanksgiving, the band didn’t match the musical theatrics of the previous night, but played a rather generic show to bring us into the holiday break. The glowing setlist combo of “Tweezer,” “YEM” contained limited musical creativity, leaving the spotlight on the ferocious and exploratory “Birds of a Feather” that opened the second set as the shining moment of the night.

11.25.09 (Awd/HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Awd/HybridRadar)

Coming off a very standard first set that peaked with a nasty “Antelope,” Phish came out after the break and dropped their first “Birds” of tour – and third since their return. The band focused their collective energies in a shredding-turned-open jam that reached places seldom seen by the song before crashing back into it’s theme seamlessly. Though Fishman played straight ahead beats all night, constraining the band’s exploration, in this piece he let loose for a bit, and the band followed into the only type II jamming of the evening. Starting within their raging rock grooves the band entered some thematic jamming led by Trey’s melodic leads. Gradually turning darker within the uptempo milieu, the band drifted into an experimental canvas. Trey and Page’s offerings became more abstract and Mike and Fish explored rhythmic complexities for one of few times during the evening. As the band turned to the swamp, Trey began slicing the musical space with sharp rhythmic stabs that allowed the rest of the band to loosen into psychedelic textures. And then – boom – right back into the song as if you never knew they left. This jam was the goods on a night that wasn’t exactly a cornucopia of interesting Phish.

11.25.09 (Awd/HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Awd/HybridRadar)

Without needing a cool down song – the set had just kicked off – the band dropped into a randomly placed “Farmhouse” that diffused the energy a bit from the highlight opener. But that all changed when the band dropped into the second “Tweezer” of fall tour. While Cincinnati’s version provided a dance clinic, this version merely dipped in rhythmic playing before turning into a guitar showcase over an unchanging groove. No one but Trey seemed to bring anything original to the table in this relatively average rendition. Toying strictly with the “Tweezer” theme, this version simply didn’t hold up to most ’09 versions. At the very end it seemed they might be going somewhere as they descended from their guitar-rock peak, but their funkier playing lasted but a minute before they faded to silence.

Immediately starting “You Enjoy Myself” in the middle of the set, one figured the piece would counterbalance their arena rock with some extended funk, but this but this took a different, and interesting direction. Stepping into a laid back opening of the jam, Trey played staccato melodies from the start in this lampin’ segment of music. The band built out of this quieter section, into a more standard, yet raging second-half of searing “YEM” rock. Trey annihilated this section, and together, both halves amounted to a legitimate outing for the song, though after the spectacular Cincy “YEM,” this one sounded more straight forward.

11.20.09 (C.Garber)

11.20.09 (C.Garber)

The oddly constructed set continued with the always-pleasurable “Esther.” Playing the song as well as they have since their return, it provided an ideal interlude before the set’s final blowout. Time for one more big time song to lead us into Thanksgiving, Phish chose the least-exciting song in their repertoire, “Time Turns Elastic.” A real bonehead maneuver, Phish finished the show with their long-winded composition that should really find its way back to the orchestra. Sure, the band played it well, but really?!? Trying to defibrillator a dead horse, the band moved from their slowest piece into “Tweezer Reprise” in a harsh juxtaposition of styles. And like that, the set ended.

A welcome bust-out of “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” appeared for an encore, but it sure seemed like they should have played another song out of the ballad; a strange conclusion to an underwhelming evening. A night after blowing the roof of the Wachovia Center, Phish reeled it in a bit with a sharply-played show with an odds setlist that never really got off the ground. The highlights of lie in “Antelope,” “Birds,” and “YEM,” with “Birds” being the only must-hear piece of the night. Hey, ya’ can’t win em all, but it sure is fun as hell trying.

Set I Notes: Comprised of a lot of blues-rock, the only pieces of note the shreddier-than-thou, set-ending “Antelope,” a particularly well-played “Divided Sky,” and a stretched out “Ocelot” that developed into nothing more than an intense version of the standard jam…It’s hard to get exited about “Halley’s Comet” these days, as it seems to be settling in as a four-minute launch pad for the 3.0 era as opposed a jam vehicle as in the late ’90s…Phish brought Trey’s “Sleep Again” from Indio’s acoustic set into their electric show for the first time ever. A song I’ve always liked since Trey debuted it back in ’08, I’m sure this one will get mixed reviews from the peanut gallery…Though not nearly the caliber of Detroit’s slow, methodical death march, last night’s version of “46 Days” definitely packed a punch without breaking structure.

I: Kill Devil Falls, 46 Days, Sugar Shack, Halley’s Comet, The Divided Sky, Sleep Again, Ocelot, Train Song, Wilson, Run Like an Antelope

II: Birds of a Feather, Farmhouse, Tweezer, You Enjoy Myself, Esther, Time Turns Elastic, Tweezer Reprise

E: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

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1,300 Responses to “A Pre-Turkey Party”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    what’s the naem of the tv on the radio album this is on?

  2. Marshall Says:

    Aha – Thomas and Mack – 9/30/2000

  3. Weekapaug Says:

    James Booker is another great piano player to come out of New Orleans.

  4. c0wfunk Says:

    phish had a run there in 98 when they did some relatively contemporary covers (sabotage, been caught stealin, tub thumpin etc) but it’s been a long time since they busted covers of anything this new

  5. fromthetub Says:

    I’ve seen Greyboy a lot, always funky — excited. OK, officially heading out.

    You all are awesome. Thanks for being such and amazing community. (BTW, I did say I was thankful for “Face Melting Trey Jams” last night around the table at Thanksgiving. Funny thing was that my mother-in-law then said she was also thankful for the same and was sorry to repeat. :-) Ha!

  6. Weekapaug Says:

    haha, yeah, I said I was thankfull for having Phish back in my life. And of course, everyone looked at me and said “Who’s Phish?” :)

  7. halcyon Says:

    Cowfunk…….Dear Science.

  8. c0wfunk Says:

    thanks .. grabbed it ;) from what I’m seeing I”m not the only one..

  9. Henry Says:

    wasn’t Zep I the other album learned? wonder if we’ll see a zep song played at the John Paul Jones arena in charlottesville?

  10. c0wfunk Says:

    I’d say odds are pretty good of that.

  11. c0wfunk Says:

    how bout a big ole dazed and confused? Isn’t there a show of some party from like 86 or something where someone is yelling for that song, they attempt it, totally fail and trey says something like “it’s not as easy as it sounds” .. I remember hearing this a long time ago

  12. Henry Says:

    Dazed and Confused would be amazing. One of my favorite Zep songs, and one of my favorite movies.

  13. Marshall Says:

    @ Henry … where did you hear that Zepp 1 was the “other” album learned? I know there was another album, just wondering where you got the 411 that it was Zepp.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    I read that here at some point.. not sure where sourced before that

  15. Henry Says:

    From a Rolling Stone article. It had a quote that said the band toyed with a more recent album such as radiohead or MGMT, but ultimately settled on Exile over Zep I.

  16. Weekapaug Says:

    i think Sharon Jones stated in an interview with a Rolling Stone writer

  17. chefbradford Says:

    Did they seriously play TV On the Radio tonight? How the hell was it? Love that band

  18. Henry Says:

    I think i copied the quote here the other day when it came up. I’ll look for it again.

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    k night for good ..

    you just gotta keep livin – l-i-v-i-n
    ;)

  20. beepaphone Says:

    I’m glad peeps, and even peeps who weren’t there, are still talking about the Cobo 46 Days. DWD>Free and Mikes Groove were great, but when that 46 Days was going down, there was no doubt in my mind that I was witnessing something special. A lot of it was my mindset at the time, and CK5 was goin’ off on the back wall, but it so good.

    FWIW I really dig the setlist tonight, though I didn’t follow on hoodstream and haven’t heard it yet. Timber, MFMF, Gumbo and Fluffhead in the same night, while not major jam vehicles, are all so hot. I won’t be surprised if this show doesn’t have a lot of re-listen value, but I’m sure those who were there are on cloud nine.

  21. vtpeperman Says:

    wtf happened tonight?

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    you imagined the whole thing

  23. Al Says:

    how was the show? No real jams? Not really diggin’ the setlist. Bag opener….uuuaaa!???

  24. Al Says:

    My dream-setlist for Albany2 looks like that:

    SET 1:

    A Song I heard the ocean sing > (12:20)
    Free (9:10)
    Scents & Sounds (14:53)
    Runaway Jim > (8:40)
    My Soul (6:10)
    Billy Breathes (5:20)
    Split Open (13:10)
    Taste (10:20)

    Set 2:
    Crosseyed & Painless > Jam > (15:00)
    David Bowie (13:10)
    Theme from the Bottom (9:10)
    Joy (6:00)
    Mike’s Song > (14:00)
    I am Hydrogen > (3:10)
    Weekapaug (9:00)

    ENCORES:
    Harpua >
    Billy Jean >
    Hapua II
    Chalkdust Torture

  25. andrewrose Says:

    Quite the unique show last night. Golden Age was a real treat, and was very danceable with a neat jam; definitely more than a ‘novelty’ cover. I hope they keep this in the rotation. With On Your Way Down following it it was pretty clear they were intent on throwing a few curve-balls. Maybe this is just my projection it being my first fall show, but as the second set wore on it really felt like there was a lot of genuine emotion being put into the songs. Fluffhead felt particularly poignant. Though the Piper jam never went anywhere to fascinating, I give points for at leats going for it and getting weird. The more they do this the more interesting stuff i going to happy. The Tomorrow’s Song (was this the live debut?) felt a bit forced.

    I actually thought the highlight of the show was the Hood, Suzie, Coil. Something happened in Hood that felt old school, it hit some amazing peaks and I felt like the venue really lit up, late in the show, and the band rode it home. It kind of seemed like a welcome home party for Page, who really shone throughout. The Suzie was off the hook, and the Coil solo was so beautiful and long that the rest of the band (who had excited ala encore) came back on to do I’ve Been Around. Very good energy to close to the show, the kind of vibe that translates into tour momentum.

    The first set has some nice gems, Timber and Maze were both pretty hot. I just wish Trey would relax a bit instead of always going on the attack. I guess it’s a function of how hungry he is and itching to work on his chops … but it’s that old habit of his where he just doesn’t give any room for Mike and Fish to lay down a groove and do some rhythmic stuff before he starts ripping. I’m not asking for 97 space funk, but a little patience and rhythm guitar would go a long way to getting the whole jam trajectory back on track.

    Sidenotes: did some relevant listening on the way down to Albany. The 11/27/98 show. I forgot how the highlight of it is really the super long Weekapaug jam out of the second ending. 11/28/97, my only fall 97 show. God damn is it funky. One of my favourite all-time YEMs. And because I had it with, the 2.20.03 Rosemont show, which officially now gets my vote as most underrated 2003 show. Do yourself a favour on go listen to the second set. Tweezer->PYITE->FEFY, Seven Below, P&M. The Tweezer is an obvious precursor the Nassau one that would follow 8 days later (and almost as good). And the Seven Below is a 22 minute monster that never gets boring. Don’t know why they’ve layed off that Round Room material so much it’s unfortunate, because the songs are so great. Miles ahead of the Joy material IMO.

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