12.29.09

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , , on December 30th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Some experiences are better left untouched – for a while…

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I: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Driver, The Connection, Wolfman’s Brother, Ocelot, Reba, Access Me, The Divided Sky, Cavern

II: Kill Devil Falls, Tweezer > Prince Caspian, Gotta Jibboo > Wilson > Gotta Jibboo > Heavy Things,  2001 > Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Sleeping Monkey, Tweezer Reprise

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Ebb and Flow

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 29th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

12.28.09 - Official Poster

In a half-empty arena that carried the vibe of an out-of-the-way stop along fall tour, Phish kicked-off Miami ’09 with a show that felt just a bit out of sync. With a opening act whose music came in waves, much like the waters that surround, the band interspersed some exploratory jaunts throughout some straight forward rock that kept their show enticing. The improvisational highlights of the evening came in the risk-taking of “Stash,” “Light,” and “Harry Hood,” all to varying degrees of success. Whereas Phish fought through some early speed bumps and came together gloriously in “Stash,” they weren’t as successful with their latest incarnation of “Light,” searching and searching, but not coming up with all too much. But perhaps the most sublime and psychedelic portion of the night, however, came in an late-set, ambient-laced dreamscape called “Harry Hood.”

“Stash” filled in its now-patented “First Jam of the Run” slot, but did so with far more skyscraping psychedelia that usual. Representing the only first set launchpad, the band let things hang out early, forming the most demented segment of the night. Following the jam’s standard path for a while, there came a certain point when the band veered off course into uncharted waters. Navigating a stormy sea of musical whitecaps, the band reached their darkest and most abstract points of the night in a scintillating episode that couldn’t help but trigger memories of “Stash’s” sacred trek in the same room six years ago. A musical adventure that teetered at points, finally peaked in a cascade of cacophony.

Miami '03 (M.Collins)

Following a first set that better resembled a mortuary rather than a Phish show, the band brought out their second-set defibrillators in the form of “Mike’s Song.” Sinking their teeth into the most gnarling version we’ve heard in a while, Phish passed through some sinister funk grooves before Trey let loose into a series of menacing guitar leads, narrating a twisting tale of darkness. Taking their head of steam and morphing into “Light,” the band seemed to almost get there a couple of times via their newest vehicle, but in the end fell short of any real greatness. After many of the stellar rides from fall tour, this “Light” just didn’t shine as brightly, but the band can’t be faulted for not pushing themselves, and that’s all we can ever ask.

And push themselves they did once again in an experimental, near-twenty minute “Harry Hood.” Starting the jam in near silence, Phish built, plateaued, and emerged again, through a sprawling cycle of full-band interplay. Transcending its composed build, this “Hood” drifted into more than one engaging musical segment before reconnecting to the its triumphant theme. In the most salient musical moment of the evening, this “Hood” seemed to bring direction and coherence to the band’s improv, in earnest, for the first time, all evening. Another risk taken; but this time, the band came out smashingly successful.

Miami '03 (M.Collins)

Despite the musical highlights, a noticeable lack of energy lent a strange vibe to a show that, at times, seemed like Phish was going at it alone. With virtually no one behind the stage, empty sections of seats on the floor, a black curtain quardening off much of the upper deck, last night felt like a complete juxtapostition to the through-the-roof energy that underlined fall tour; and hardly like a New Years Phish show. One must wonder what effect this feeling, if any, has on the band, their playing, and the their outcome of the show. After a first night that will, no doubt, be left in behind by the exploits of the next three, let’s come back tomorrow and see what’s up.

First Set Notes:

“My Soul,” unplayed since the band’s first farewell at Shoreline 2000, and “Roggae,” unplayed in ’09, came out one after another in a combination that seemed clearly linked by their relative scarcity. “Undermind” provided the first signs of musical vitality to the show with its punchy rhythmic interplay, while “Beauty of a Broken Heart” took the momentum from “Stash” and split it over a platter of groove in an entertaining spin. Overall, the first featured a rather sluggish flow and mediocre song selection, resulting in an underwhelming set of Phish to start off New Years ’09.

I. Sample in a Jar, NICU, My Soul, Roggae, Undermind, Bouncing Around the Room, Poor Heart, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Possum

II: Mike’s Song > Light > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Alaska, Backwards Down the Number Line, Makisupa Policeman > Harry Hood > Contact, Character Zero

E: First Tube

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Fun In the Sun – The Finale

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 26th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

12.31.03

12.31.03 - Miami (Unknown

New Years’ Eve – one of the most circled days of the Phish calendar. Throughout their career, the band has played several defining shows while sitting on the brink of January 1. New Year’s 1993, 1995, and 1998 jump right out as high points of the band’s year-end parties, leaving Big Cypress in a league of its own. Upping the stakes with three sets, a tradition started back in day, New Year’s Eve is the proverbial cherry on top; the icing of the four-night cake. While the first three nights usually provide the dark meat of the run, New Year’s Eve generally carries a more festive vibe. In Miami ’03, the excitement bubbled on December 31 just a bit more vigorously than usual, because other than 2002’s mediocre MSG comeback, the band prepared for their first full-scale New Year’s Eve since Big Cypress.

12.31.03 (Max Z.)

Phish responded right off the bat, starting off the last night of 2003 with the final minute of “Wilson” that they sidestepped with their opening transition into “Sand” the night before. Beginning the show with “Blap! Boom!…,” Phish tore into the final peak of “the song,” blending directly into the opening lick of “Mike’s.” Another bombastic opener, the band had now ignited the Miami shows with “Bowie,” “Piper,” “Wilson > Sand,” and “Wilson > Mike’s.” With a relatively standard run through the darkness, Phish got bodies moving immediately. Trey led with sustained melodies, warming up with a serious solo that drove this version. Struggling through several parts of “Hydrogen,” the band rejoined the same musical page as they dipped into a “Weekapaug,” fully loaded with traditional “Auld Lang Syne” teases that further amped the crowd for the midnight entrance into 2004. Though this “Weekapuag” went all over the place without any coherent structure, Trey provided a barely-audible vocal tease of “Jungle Boogie,” hinting at the cover that would open the third set.

12.31.03 (Ben)

"Jungle Boogie" - 12.31.03 (B.Linus)

With a whole lot of energy, but not much on-point improv, New Years’ Eve was underway. Stepping into a more simplistic piece, Phish followed up the opening suite with a safe journey through “The Moma Dance.” The momentum built over the first couple of nights had steadily worn off, as the band’s playing through the opening frame left something to be desired. Inexplicably, they selected one of their toughest compositions, “Guyute” to continue the set. As ESPN’s Chris Berman would say, they “Rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled” all the way through the piece, continuing the bumpy ride before completing the stanza with sub-standard fare in “YEM” and “First Tube.” Sprinkling in another dash of setlist creativity, the band moved from the peak of “First Tube” into the conclusion of the unfinished “Tube” from the night before. Stepping off stage after a lackluster set, Phish seemed to be losing the harness they had on their music for the first couple shows. But when they came back on for set two, the most awe-inspiring piece of the entire run would unfold.

12.31.03 (Unknown

The Miami “Stash.” If one was around in these days, the version needs no introduction. Retaking their firm hold over their improvisational chops, the band unleashed one of the defining jams of the post-hiatus era. Melting into the song’s canvas, the band settled into a near-silence to get started. The entire band illustrated a greater cohesiveness in the first few minutes of this piece than they did through the entire first set. Responding to each others’ subtleties, Phish invoked a precise musical interaction. Lifting off into an abstract excursion, the unique quality of this jam can not be overstated, and words would simply get in the way. Moving through darkness into sublime harmonies, Phish tapped into something greater on this occasion; one of those special times they channeled the outer universe. Getting into stunning ambient planes, Phish crafted a jam that will always bring chills with its memory. Language fails in instances of trying to convey the inexpressible, and this “Stash” was one of these deeply spiritual quests that people drive from sea to shining sea chasing down. Building out of heavenly textures, Trey brought the band back towards “Stash” with a prominent “Mind Left Body” tease that the band briefly latched onto before rejoining their original course, soaring into final peak to the actual “Stash” jam. Following this near-half-hour of soulful psychedelia, many looked up, aghast at the depths just reached. After a sloppy opening set, Phish came out and unveiled an other-worldly adventure that left people talking far after the show ended. Another example of the massive musical risks that defined this era, this “Stash” proved a spiritual cleansing that underlined the religious nature of the band’s most profound adventures.

Set III Theatrics - 12.31.03 (Unknown

This “Stash” brought the band’s crowning Miami moment, and though “Seven Below” continued with a strong follow-up jam, the show would musically fade from there. The set’s closing “Chalkdust > Slave > Chalkdust” felt completely forced for setlist entertainment, with two abrupt changes. And the third’s set marching band theatrics to ring in the New Year didn’t do much to salvage the music that came after. Though exploratory and moving through some unique segments, “Runaway Jim” meandered for a large part of the post-midnight jam. And to be honest, I don’t remember the “Reba” or the “Antelope” that came later in the set; and to me, that speaks volumes.

Page and The Bunnies (J.Pinsky)

New Year’s third sets are rarely musically astounding. Representing the down-swing for the band, these final frames always seem like party time more than any earnest endeavor. By the time their ninth set in four days has come, more often than not the band’s focus has checked out. Though often filled with feel-good Phish, not since 1995 has Phish done something both creative and astounding in a New Year’s set; not that there’s anything wrong with that. The entire New Year’s show is generally an anti-climax, with the best music of the run almost exclusively coming over the previous nights. But who can beat a three set Phish party for New Year’s Eve? There’s no place I’d rather be.

Nobody knew it, but Phish would be gone only two seasons after Miami, disappearing into the mid-summer night. What seemed to be the re-ignition of a hallowed tradition became a one-and-done affair. But what a difference six years makes. Now, one day from our return to American Airlines Arena, the community is laced with a sense of joy and confidence in the future. With a vastly brighter landscape, Miami circa 2009 seems to be something that 2003 turned out not to be – a bold step into a limitless future. Gather your personal belongings, the ride is about to begin.

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Jams of the Day:

Stash” 12.31.03 II

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Tweezer > Cities ” 12.31.98 II

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.31.96 Fleet Center, Boston, MA SBD < Torrent

12.31.96 Fleet Center, Boston, Ma SBD < Megaupload

12.31.96 - Boston (Doug)

I: Axilla, Peaches en Regalia, Punch You In the Eye, Cars Trucks Buses, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar, Tweezer Reprise

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Wilson, Sparkle, Simple > Swept Away > Steep > Harry Hood > Prince Caspian, Character Zero

III: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease, Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope, Bohemian Rhapsody*, Julius**

E: Amazing Grace**

*Phish debut; w/ Boston Community Choir
**w/ Boston Community Choir

Source : FM SBD

Tags: , ,

New Years Run Together

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 24th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

12.31.02 (J.E.Remy)

Happy Holidays to all! As we approach Phish’s first New Year’s Run in six years, I have compiled some choice selections from New Year’s Runs past to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Totaling over five hours of music, these tunes should take you through Christmas and on down to Miami! Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday.

(Stay tuned for part III of the Miami ’03 retrospective after Christmas)

****

New Years Run Together < Torrent

New Years Run Together < Megaupload

1-3. “2001 > Auld Lang Syne > Disease” 12.31.96 III

4,5. “Ghost > Ha Ha Ha” 12.31.98 I

6. “Reba” 12.31.93 I

7,8. “Split > Catapult” 12.31.99 I

9,10. “Tweezer > Cities” 12.31.98 II

11,12. “Mike’s > Piper” 12.31.97 II

13-15. ” Bathtub Gin > The Real Me > Bathtub Gin” 12.29.95 II

16. “You Enjoy Myself” 12.29.98 II

17. “Tube” 12.29.97 II

18. “Harry Hood” 12.30.95 II

19-22. “Carini > Katy > Sally > Frankenstein” 12.30.97 E

23,24. “Twist > Caspian” 12.31.99 II

25,26. “Drowned > After Midnight Reprise” 12.31.99 II

27. “Roses Are Free” 12.31.99 II

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Jam of the Holidays:

Sand > Quadrophonic Toppling” 12.31.99 II

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The depths of  Big Cypress – soundboard style.

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"Soon Enough..." - 12.31.03 (Unknown)

Tags: ,

Fun In the Sun – Part Deux

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 23rd, 2009 by Mr.Miner

12.29.03 (M.Collins)

12.29.03 (M.Collins)

12.29.03

The night turned to day and then back to night, and before we knew it, we were back inside American Airlines Arena for night two. Phish wasted no time, starting right where they left off after the scintillating show the previous night. Much like “Bowie’s” beginning to the 28th, the band kicked off the 29th already in high gear, opening with a wide open jam in “Piper.” Starting off shows with colossal jams is one thing, but opening with this level of unbridled fury was straight up mind-bending. As if the guys never left the stage, Phish tore into a passionate piece, likening its own force of nature; a proverbial sixth element. In a summation of the countless cosmic chases that “Piper” provided throughout 2003, this opener had people holding onto their seats (think Maxell-XL II cases) trying to not get bowled over by the overwhelming intensity that shot from the stage in a sonic laser beam. Holding nothing back, Trey wailed like this was his last chance to ever play guitar, pouring every drop of emotion through his instrument, while delving deep into his arsenal of trickery. With knee-buckling lead lines, creative phrasing, and fierce rhythm chops, Trey put on a clinic for twenty straight minutes; not to mention his band mates, who were right there with him. Crafting diverse patterns and backdrops for Red to color with his aggressive work, Phish built one of the indelible jams of the weekend. With a menacing musical hose, the band washed down the audience with sheets of psychedelia, and the show had barely begun. Without concern for anything outside of the moment, the band grew this “Piper” into an improvisational trapeze act before dismounting with both feet firmly on the ground.

12.29.03 (Unk)

12.29.03 (Unk)

After such a celestial initiation, the band toned things down for the rest of the set. But when the second half got underway, Phish began a musical stanza including five songs strung together coherently, all with natural transitions: “Rock and Roll > Twist > Boogie On > Ghost > Free.” This fifty-minute curve of creativity carried a more upbeat vibe than the 28th’s plunge into the abyss, providing more than enough dance music along the way. Though none of the first three jams developed into individual monsters, the on-point communication and their fluid musical connection made up for any lack of depth. Many cite this segment as the highlight of the entire run, and while that is certainly debatable, it is an unquestionable Miami highlight, and a more-than-engaging passage of music.

12.29.03 - Miami (Unk)

12.29.03 (Unk)

The essential part of this sequence came with its finale, “Ghost > Free.” A popular combination ever since “Ghost’s” inception, this incarnation of the well-documented pairing brought the show to an undeniable peak.  Launching into a careful exploration, the band left their all-out aggression for a more intricate version that featured full-band interplay throughout. Gradually building into more searing offerings rather than any funk-based licks, Trey, with Fishman, pushed this “Ghost” from its mellow incarnation into a surreal groove. As Mike and Page locked into the pattern, the band hit a galloping stride, gaining momentum for an explosive second half of the jam.  Sustaining a more aggressive palette for the duration, the band slowly upped the cosmic residue, giving way to “Free.”

12.29.03 (Unk)

A syrupy version of the song plodded at a methodical pace, while Trey toyed with the top half of the groove. As the piece progressed, Trey and Mike engaged in a duel, trading licks back and forth, and weaving their lines around each others, before crashing back into bombastic textures. The audience appreciated this unique take on “Free,” responding with enthusiasm. Getting somewhat crossed up during their final interchange, the band, nonetheless, continued pushing the envelope, coming up with new angles on old songs. And once “Free” growled to a halt, concluding the near-hour long adventure, the band heard it from the crowd in droves, appreciating the twisting nature of the trek.

12.29.03 (M.Collins)

The crowd energy remained high through the end of the show, beckoning the band to come out for two separate encores of “Waste” and “Coil.” Having crafted two heavy hitters in a row, Phish sat halfway through an enticing New Years Run that had begun to shape up significantly. The next two nights would provide some eternal highlights, but neither show, in their entirety, would hold up to the first four sets of Florida Phish.

*****

12.30.03

12.30.03 (Unk)

With energy as high as possible following two top-notch evenings, the sky seemed to be the limit as Phish stepped onto stage on December 30th. The first set carried the same intensity and imagination as the previous two nights, but in the second frame Phish finally lost their snowballing momentum, inviting George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic to join them in what turned into a musical fiasco.

But the first set kept the Phish train rolling with a raucous opening of  “Wilson,” which slid, unfinished, into the only “Sand” of the post-hiatus era. Taking the rhythmic vehicle for an urgent mission, the band moved through the dance textures with focus. An ideal selection for the free-flowing nature of  their exploration of the era, Phish matched song and style impeccably, breaking out a piece that once seemed omnipresent. Coyly introducing the “Shafty” melody right into the full-on groove, Trey led the band in a patient and tasteful transition of the sorts that have been so elusive these days. Chugging into the bass-driven groove, for the  third night in a row, the band locked their seat belts and jumped into the fray mere minutes after the opening bell. Blending right into “NICU,” the band sported a playful attitude from the very start of the evening, a vibe that would permeate the entire show.

"2001" 12.30.03 (Unk)

After a string of bust-outs, including the liquid funk of “Cities” and the crazed bluegrass of “Scent of a Mule,” Phish capped the set in the same energetic fashion that it began. The opening notes of “Bathtub Gin” fired up the arena, but after some rocky parts through the composition and beginning of the jam, it took an awkwardly patient build to arrive at a real pocket. But when the band finally got there, they took off into some unique collaborative playing. Certainly not the highlight of the show, Phish salvaged the piece, moving to darker and groovier places, eventually setting the table for an ambient entrance into “2001.”

Able to let precision fall by the wayside and just groove, Phish closed the set with a series of looser funk patterns. Trey teased “Bathtub Gin” throughout the first musical verse, while foreshadowing the upcoming set with fully-quoted P. Funk melodies throughout the second. A solid frame that didn’t boast the tightness of the first two nights came to an exciting close, and regardless of the small step back, spirits remained high.

Phish and P. Funk - 12.30.03 (Unk)

The Parliament sit-in could be described in only two ways – “You had to be there,” or “an absolute debacle.” Whichever description one chooses to use, the guest spot stole a crucial twenty minutes from the middle of the second set, and absolutely derailed the band’s momentum they had built over the first two nights. When Clinton’s crew finally left the stage, more than a few fans were left scratching their heads. What could have been fun and quick, turned out to be boring and drawn out, as Phish took a backseat to the Funkadelic entourage.

12.30.03 - Miami (Unk)

Nonetheless, the band book-ended the second set with two fierce pieces of improv – “Tube” and “Down With Disease.” Opening any second set with “Tube” is like an adrenaline shot directly to the heart, and this extended version provided just that. With melodic guitar leads over an infectious groove, Trey brought a different feel to this jam. Coming out of a rhythmic breakdown where the band re-built the layers of the song, Trey came screaming in like a joker, cackling with menacing laughter, leading a section of candy groove. Phish soon infused their style of the time into the funk vehicle, moving into more dissonant psychedelia. Pushing into a dirtier place, Trey busted out his best Jim Morrison in a creative, but not-so-successful take on “LA Woman.” Stretching out the messy cover, the band made a necessary and abrupt change into “Birds.” Only halfway through, this set already seemed a bit off. Trey and George’s setbreak party probably didn’t help the situation either.

12.30.03 (J.Dorans)

But before the set came to a disastrous close, the band pulled it together, playing a powerfully emotive “Down With Disease.” Seemingly sensing their lackluster frame, the band made sure to slay their last jam of the night, taking the high-speed rock and roll piece on a cathartic jaunt. Out of the structured jam, Phish stepped into a segment of darker, gnarling interplay, but the piece’s defining moments soon began when the band pushed into dark ambient space. Trey used soulful melodies to gently caress the soundscape, and before long, the band converged in one of those moments of palpable magic. An amorphous jam united all members in a fragile musical glow, and they emerged with a segment of music that whispered directly to our souls. With utmost delicacy, Trey layered the “Disease” melody into the mix, bringing the band on a thematic climb through some of the most precious moments of the weekend; a triumph of the highest degree. Often overlooked at the end of this set, this one is a genuine diamond in the rough.

A set that represented both the successes and pitfalls on on-stage risk-taking, the 30th didn’t hold up to the previous two nights; but such is the nature of improvisational music. And despite some on-stage antics, there were more than a few high points that carried the show. It was back to the beach for one more day before New Year’s Eve’s three-set extravaganza; and the best jam of the weekend had yet to unfold.

To Be Continued…

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Jam of the Day:

“Down With Disease” 12.30.03 II

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY

11.21.09 The Crown, Cincinatti, OH < Torrent

11.21.09 The Crown, Cincinatti, OH < Megaupload

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

Oops! Forgot one of the best from the Fall.  “Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could” and “Split” are all keepers. And the “Antelope” is short, but smoking. All of fall will be in the archive soon after the new year.

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

Source: Schoeps mk22 > KCY> Schoeps VMS02IB > Apogee Mini-Me > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)

Tags: ,

Fun In the Sun – Pt. 1

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 22nd, 2009 by Mr.Miner
12.28.03 Miami (J.Pinsky)

12.28.03 - Miami (J.Pinsky)

Phish’s last visit to Miami came at the end of the triumphant year of 2003. Only two and a half years after their hiatus, Phish returned to the road teeming with wild creativity. Essentially jamming their faces off, over their extensive summer tour, every show became a blast into the unknown. Armed with new vehicles and destroying old ones, the band impressed many fans with their nightly explorations, while others seemed turned off by the wide open, risk-centric playing. Sometimes meandering, but always experimenting, the band reached yet another creative peak in 2003, pushing jams further and further to places they had never been before.

12.28.03 (J.Pinsky)

A new “ambient” sound emerged almost immediately in the winter of ’03, and developed throughout their extensive summer tour.  Their new direction featured spacier and more layered textures than characterized the amorphous “ambient” playing of ’98. More often than not, jams took a turn for the dark side, akin to four mad scientists inventing new formulas on the fly. With a clear focus on improvisational adventure,  Summer ’03 represented a super-fueled, ridiculously engaging period of the band’s career. After listening through these nights so many times over, I’ve, literally, never understood a Phish fan not liking this era. Bottom line, the band tried new things nightly, and next to Summer ’95, 2003 represents the most outwardly psychedelic period of the band’s career. The groove-based playing that had dominated the end of their first career was left behind while new songs, old and new, opened up in brand new directions.  And Phish jammed ferociously night after night.

12.28.03 (J.Pinsky)

If comparing the band’s improvisation in their comeback years alone, 2003 blows 2009 out of the water, reaching planes the band hasn’t approached this year. The key difference is that 2010 is looking a hell of a lot better than 2004! Having taken things slowly this time around, Phish will be arriving at the future very soon, while in 2003, the band dove deep immediately, eventually self-destructing. But I am a firm proponent of the opinion that the jams never suffered on the way down; they only got more creative.

With only four relatively lackluster “Turkey Run” shows separating Summer from Miami, the sun beckoned all as Phish announced the first-ever four-night  New Years Run outside the Northeast. Ever since the band started doing New Years Runs in the early-90’s, they were affairs renowned for bitter cold, huge snowfalls, and wintry conditions. But in 2003 everyone traded in their parkas for bathing suits, and scarfs for shorts, taking the party to the ideal destination of Miami, Florida. Pools, frozen drinks, beaches, and sun by day and Phish and Miami by night, there was no denying that the formula trumped driving around up and down the salted highways of I-95.

12.28

When entering American Airlines Arena on the 28th, everyone found the basketball-only arena more intimate than expected. With a shorter floor, and seats that went up more than out, everyone seemed to be on top of the stage. Notoriously laid back security ran the show for all four nights, as the community took reign over the south Florida venue.

12.28.98 (J.Pinsky)

12.28.03 (J.Pinsky)

Stepping into a new room for the first time, one figured Phish would acclimate themselves to their environment before digging deep, but not this time. Coming out for the first of eight sets, the band slowly built an eerie spacescape to open the entire run. So much for warming up! And after moving through this dark intro, the band dropped into “David Bowie.” At this point, everyone sensed something special in the air; as the  four nights unfolded, everyone’s senses would be confirmed. Unleashing their fury like Hurricane Andrew, Phish attacked Miami early and often. Separated by only “Sample,” the band let loose on a laid back, swanky “Tweezer” that continued the instantaneous full-band interplay. Jumping into a melodic corridor, Trey led the troops with well-phrased melodies out of the gate, as Page added spacey effects behind the bulbous backing. Within the first half an hour of the four-night run we taking full-on “Bowies” and “Tweezers” to the dome like Glass Joe. Taking no time to get into the thick of it, the band continued with some of the run’s most cohesive psychedelia out of the late-set “Frankie Sez.” Blowing out jams like there was no tomorrow, Phish created at atmosphere of excitement and unknown before anyone had a chance to realize what had hit them. Punctuating the first set of the run with “Tweezer Reprise,” people were a bit more wide-eyed than usual when the lights came on for setbreak.

12.28.98 (J.Pinsky)

12.28.03 (J.Pinsky)

The non-stop explorations continued into the second frame, opening with the holiday-grooves of “Jibboo.” Exploding with crystalline dance patterns, Phish spun the room into a ball of bliss before dropping into a rather sinister piece of improv out of “Suzy Greenberg!?” Morphing from the song into a heavy metal journey into the eye of the monster, Phish unleashed their some of their most menacing music of the year. Exploiting his uncompressed tone, Trey growled with terror as the band sunk deep into a swamp of insanity. This type of jam is why 2003 Phish is fucking great, relentlessly pursuing the source with unending layers of psychedelic sorcery. Showcasing some of the most mind-bending guitar work you’ll ever hear from Trey, this was the man screaming from his soul; a rare guitar confessional. One of the defining moments of Miami, not to mention 2003, Trey rarely takes liberty to expose this side of himself  so deeply. It was a humbling privilege to be a part of – seriously. Leaving the audience in silence and absolute awe, Phish bled into an ambient soundscape. Continuing to choose each note passionately, Trey added subtle melody to the dissonance, and at the end of a  twenty-minute odyssey, the band splashed into the cool waters of “Theme.”

American Airlines Arena *(J.Pinsky)

AA Arena - Miami, FL (J.Pinsky)

Annihilating their landing point, Phish crushed anything in their path on this night, setting the tone for the following three. Culminating the set with “Harry Hood,” the band continued to take the typically happy jam outside the box. Entering some scorching places before rejoining the song’s theme, the whole band built to a dizzying peak. Climaxing a dream-like set, “Hood” put an exclamation point on a show that, contained two sets of full-on improv; in effect, two second sets.

Reveling in the neon glow outside the venue, an electricity pierced the warm winter air. Phish set the bar incredibly high, a bar they wouldn’t quite reach for the rest of the run. But if one thing seemed for sure, Phish would try their best to rip every pitch out of the park. And over the next three nights, they’d hit more than a few home runs.

To be continued…

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Jam of the Day:

“Suzy Greenberg > Theme” 12.28.03 II

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.28.95 The Centrum Worcester, MA < Torrent

12.28.95 The Centrum Worcester, MA < Megaupload

With all the shows of fall having been posted, let’s turn our attention to New Years Runs of the past.

I: Split Open and Melt, Gumbo, The Curtain > Julius, Guyute, Horn, Rift, Fast Enough for You, Possum

II: Timber, Theme From the Bottom, Wilson, Buried Alive > Tweezer > I Didn’t Know, Uncle Pen, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Fee, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps CMC64 (split 10 ft, OTS) > Stewart BPS-1 power supplies > Sony TDC-D7

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Miner’s Picks – Fall ’09

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 20th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Madison Square Garden (Brian Ferguson)

As we turn the page from Fall Tour and begin to look towards Miami, I have compiled the latest installment in the Miner’s Picks series – “Fall ’09.” This time around, you’ll find some repeats throughout the eight-hour highlight reel due to Phish’s proclivity for using similar vehicles throughout the run. The band chose their weapons for  this tour and slayed them each time out, playing some of the most engaging jams from similar launchpads. Providing a legitimate summary of the past tour, “Miner’s Picks: Fall ’09” arrives just in time for the holidays to spice up any dinner or cocktail party. Enjoy the psychedelia with your holiday cheer, and get ready for a Miami New Year!

MINER’S PICK’S: FALL ’09 (ALL) < Torrent

MINER’S PICK’S: FALL ’09 Pt.I < Megaupload

MINER’S PICK’S: FALL ’09 Pt.II < Megaupload

1-4. “Tweezer > Light > Train > Possum” 11.20 II

5. “46 Days” 11.18 I

6. “Undermind 11.29 I

7. “Reba” 12.4 I

8-10. “Rock and Roll > Ghost > If I Could” 11.21 II

11,12. “Disease > Twenty Years Later” 11.24.II

13,14. “Piper > Tomorrow’s Song” 11.27 II

15. “Split” 11.21 I

16,17. “Seven Below > Twist” 12.4. II

18.19. “Light > Slave” 12.2 II

20. “Harry Hood” 12.5 II

21,22. “My Friend > Golden Age” 11.27.II

23,24. “2001 > Bowie” 12.3 II

25-28. “Mike’s > Simple > Slave > Weekapaug” 11.24 II

29. “YEM” 11.20 II

30-32. “Disease > Piper > Fluffhead” 12.3 II

33. “Bathtub Gin” 11.24 I

34. “Birds of a Feather” 11.25 II

35,36. “Seven Below > Ghost” 11.28 II

37. “Stash” 11.22 I

38. “Antelope” 12.5 II

39-42. “Tweezer > Light > Piper > Free” 12.5 II

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Jam of the Day:

“Carini > Wolfman’s” 12.28.98 II

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On the darkest day of the year, here is some Phish to accompany the mood.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.25.09 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA < Torrent

11.25.09 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA < Megaupload

Philly (B.Ferguson)

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’

Source: Sennheiser MD441U > Edirol R4Pro ( Oade preamp mod ) @ 24/88.2

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Weekend Nuggets: An Autumn Assortment

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on December 18th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEKEND:

11.18.09 Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI < Megaupload

11.18.09 (M.Christie)

1: AC/DC Bag, Foam, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Bouncing Around the Room, Sample in a Jar, Kill Devil Falls, It’s Ice, Horn, Mountains in the Mist, Poor Heart, 46 Days, David Bowie

II: Runaway Jim, Down with Disease > Free, Waste, Taste, Bug, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Cavern

E: Character Zero

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Lunatec V3> SD 722 (@24bit/48kHz)

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Jam of the Weekend:

2001 > Bowie” 12.3.09 II

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The exclamation point on a non-stop set of Phish.

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VIDEOS OF THE WEEKEND:

10.31.09 – Indio, Team Hood’s Four Camera Edit ——————— (Click white You Tube links for widescreen)

“Torn and Frayed”

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“Ventilator Blues”

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“I Just Wanna See His Face”

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Moments In a Box: Four More From Fall

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 17th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

Today, to end the week, we look at some final moments from fall tour that left a mark on our collective memories. Two are jams and two are songs, but all four are illustrations of those times at shows when time stands still and we swim in the shrine of the Phish.

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“Disease > Free” 11.18 II

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

11.18.09 (M.Stein)

Phish usually drops one of their anthems to initiate and conclude their tours; creating thematic welcomes and farewells for all involved. This fall’s welcome-to-tour jam came as part of Detroit’s second set in the form of “Down With Disease.” Turning the upbeat rock and roll into a sharper piece of improv, Trey brought the band into darker thoughts using a dissonant tone. Shedding his strong guitar leads for a more collaborative affair, Trey offered fluttering melodies that accompanied Page and Mike’s offerings. An amoeba-like jam, the band pushed, pulled and stretched as one unit, without anyone dominating the mixture. Descending from the peak, the band sat in the musical denouement for a bit before Trey introduced the chords of “Free.” Allowing “Disease’s” jam to come to an organic conclusion, something the band hasn’t always been able to do this year, they moved quite naturally into the next song. Though “Free” hasn’t exactly been a vehicle for the band since their return, Trey added some gnarling guitar work, stretching Detroit’s version into the most significant of the fall. A bombastic landing pad for some other-worldy music, Cobo bounced in super-slow-motion with the over-sized bass grooves en route to the second-set’s standout sequence.

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“Torn and Frayed” 11.21 I

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

11.21.09 (W.Rogell)

When Phish broke out this fan favorite from their “Exile” set, many people’s hopes were answered – Phish would continue to play “Torn and Frayed” as part of their catalog. Given the most interpretative treatment out of all the “Exile” songs in Indio, the song emerged as the leading contender to remain in the band’s catalog. And coincidentally, “Torn and Frayed” became the first song played off the double-album this fall. In line with the band’s current sound, were it not for the song’s significant legacy, it sounds like a piece that could have been cut in the studio while recording “Joy.” A narrative of the rock and roll lifestyle, “Torn and Frayed” is lyrically appropriate for Phish as well, referencing the path once traveled. Though I expected the song to pop up later in tour as a jam vehicle, the band kept it under wraps while bringing out three other songs from their cover set. Perhaps in Miami?

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“Camel Walk” 11.24 I

11.24.09 (B.Ferguson)

11.24.09 (B.Ferguson)

“Camel Walk” represented the moment everyone knew the first night of Philly would be something special. Significant not for its musical blowout, but for its mere inclusion as the fourth song of the show, “Camel Walk” foreshadowed the incredibly entertaining night that would unfold. Following a smoking triumvirate of “Chalk Dust” “Bathtub Gin,” “Cities,” many expected a dip in the first set excitement. Instead, the band continued the non-stop opening frame with 2009 bust-out of their funked out, old-school piece. Phish locked the switch in the “on” position from the first note of this show, and never took the pedal off the metal. With a set of musical bellows, Phish stoked a setlist fire, and “Camel Walk” added a necessary spark to the early stages of an already burning blaze.

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***

“Piper > BBFCFM” 11.22 II

Official Syracuse Poster

Official Syracuse Poster

In a building that bled with an old-school energy, Phish played right along with the feel of the miniature arena. Transforming this second set “Piper” into a manic musical passage, Phish upped the intensity of their break-neck journey with a high-speed percussive chase. Tearing into a set of power chords, Trey lent a harder edge to the music, while Page initiated an effect-laden synth pattern that quickly grew into the focus of the jam. Sprouting a unique musical root, Phish cranked up their tongue-in-cheek homage to death metal, “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.” With an aggressive transition likening a gasoline on a fire, Phish unleashed a mid-set inferno. Complete with nonsensical on-stage antics, the band launched a ludicrous escapade into the occult. Eventually emerging from the bizarre in a comedic ending, Trey tipped his cap to Fishman and his family in their home town of Syracuse. A throwback moment of the highest degree, it was refreshing to see that Phish still carried their spirit of absurdity into this era.

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Winged-music-note=====

Jam of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind” 11.29 II

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Cumberland County’s improvisational meat of the second set.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.22.09 Onondaga War Memorial, Syracuse, NY < Megaupload

Onondaga War Memorial

Onondaga War Memorial - Syracuse, NY

I: David Bowie, Julius, Sparkle, Kill Devil Falls, Lawn Boy, Heavy Things, Funky Bitch, Sample in a Jar, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Let Me Lie, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Stash

II: Drowned > Twist > Piper > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Tube, Theme From the Bottom, Maze, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Character Zero, First Tube

E: Good Times Bad Times

Source: DPA 4021 > Sound Devices 722 (24/96)

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Albany and Beyond

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on December 17th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

Listen to the ovation at the end of “Seven Below > Ghost.” The roar that you hear is one of absolute celebration from all sectors of the audience; Phish had transformed into psychedelic juggernauts of yore. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the music itself, the band had showcased the qualities that made them famous – a musical abandon defined by uninhibited risk taking and, ultimately, golden musical pastures. Phish had just let it all hang loose for the first time since their comeback. Sure, the band had played some amazing jams, and certainly had put together more than a few awe-inspiring sets and shows, but this was a different story altogether. This was the exploratory magic of Phish at work again. For nearly an hour, the band pushed each other harder than we had seen them do in this era, experimenting with, and exploring, new musical planes, while arriving at some truly sublime segments of music along the way. In my memory, and in the memory of countless other fans, this was the type of passionate adventure that has always defined the Phish experience.

11.25.09 (HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Hybrid Radar)

Throughout this fifty-minute stretch, Phish proved what most of us assumed – they could still throw down the gauntlet on a moment’s notice. Listening to Albany while driving last night, I felt like I was listening to Phish of a different era. A different energy blared from the speaker than I was used to hearing this year; the music likened the exploratory bravado that dripped from stages for years on end. I could truly hear the band searching for the sound, and then about halfway through “Seven Below,” hitting their stride like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. Everything clicked deep into this jam; deeper than Phish had been usually willing to dig this go-round. And in no surprise, the first time the band let loose in this uninhibited manner, they succeeded with flying colors. With heart-tugging melodic themes and a connected conversation, Phish found themselves amidst the defining musical jaunt since their return.

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Once the band hit their stride, they never lost it for a minute. Careening to a triumphant peak of “Seven Below,” the band slid down the other side into “Ghost.” And from note one of this most unique jam, the band had everything locked down. Sewn together with profound musical glue, this piece would drive the band far beyond anything one would expect to hear from the song. Embodying the theory that if the band is flowing, it matters not what songs they play, Phish continued their musical theatrics with a multi-faceted jam that reached several sonic plateaus. Building from cooperative melodic grooves into a more abstract section of shimmering psychedelia, the music turned far more intense as Mike cranked up his filter and began crushing core patterns. The band continued to merge masterful sections of improv, landing in some of the most maniacal music of the modern era. This represented Phish without borders; jamming without preconceived notions of where things were headed; improvising in the truest sense of the word.

This is what Phish did in their prime, in various forms, from 1993 to 2000, and then again in 2003. Throughout these years, Phish always devised new ways to create original magic from similar springboards. Each year represented an evolution from the one before; Phish’s music built upon itself, morphing like a chameleon from one self-referential form to another. A freakish phenomenon, the band continued to reinvent their music year after year, proving to be one of the most creative forces in the history of the game.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

So here we are, at the end of 2009. With a New Years Run separating us from Phish 2010, the first year back in just about in the books. It’s been an incredibly positive year for the Phish community, one laced with more than a few memories of a lifetime. But musically speaking, I believe 2009 will be looked back upon as the foundation for everything that followed; the building blocks for the next musical evolution. The band needed to prove to themselves, more than anyone in the audience, that they still had their mojo. It took them a while to get back into the swing of things, with some sparkling highlights along the way. But I don’t think it was until Albany that the band fully realized the magic they were still capable of hatching. Listening back, one can clearly hear Trey trying to bring back the “Seven Below” melody, aiming for a safe ending to the set’s opening jam. But the band pushed on, unconcerned with what was supposed to happen, and diving off the edge. Emerging almost an hour later, the band had rediscovered the mystery of the unknown; those pristine possibilities that arise when they drop guard and allow things to happen. When the landing point is unknown, Phish is at their greatest. And listening to that crowd in Albany, I think everyone agrees.

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Winged-music-note=====

Jam of the Day:

Birds Of A Feather” 11.25 II

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The standout piece of improv in a lackluster second set in Philly.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.29.09 CCCC, Portland, ME < Megupload

CCCC - Portland, ME

CCCC - Portland, ME

I: Possum, Down with Disease, Nellie Kane, Weigh, When the Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, Stash, Meat, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: The Moma Dance, Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind, Pebbles and Marbles, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Golgi Apparatus, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

E: Free Bird, Carini, Waste

Source: Beyerdynamic CK930 > Grace Design Lunatec V3 > Sonic AD2K+ > Marantz PMD-661 (@ 24 bit / 96 kHz)

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