A Feature Finale

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

In the aftermath of their return to MSG, Phish brought their fall tour home in Charlottesville, Virginia last night with one of the dirtiest throw-downs of all, anchored by thick dance grooves, uber-exploratory improv, and cash-money playing all night long. Despite a 15,000 person capacity, John Paul Jones Arena held a distinctly intimate feel after Madison Square Garden’s big city blowout. With a GA floor uniting all the kids for the fall finale, Phish responded with an unforgettable farewell set, albeit only for three weeks.

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

Stepping on stage for their final frame, it didn’t take long for Phish to drop the danciest and most addictive”Tweezer” since Red Rocks now-legendary version. Attacking the jam from a rhythmic perspective, Phish instantly transported the arena to a moss-ridden, Mesozoic swamp of groove. Using rhythm licks and staccato leads, Trey blended with the band in the type of sculpted, blissful ventures that drives my soul. Sliding with swagger into his solo, Big Red’s playing led the band in an instant classic. As the band raged in the post-peak section of the jam, Trey abruptly cut the jam with a recalcitrant insistence on playing “Light” at that specific moment. The rough transition hardly effected what is quickly becoming a Phish staple, “Tweezer > Light.” Having started the Summer at Fenway with the debut of the sequence, the band finished Fall with the same combo that packed a completely different punch.

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

Since its debut, “Light” has developed into the band’s newest and largest jam vehicle, growing in stature throughout the year, and recently featured as Madison Square Garden’s deepest jam. In the last version of a tour that has been nothing short of a revelation for the song’s potential, Phish unveiled one of their most psychedelic and abstract jam in ages. Morphing in and out of subtle grooves and with an amorphous mastery, this jam represented some peak sonic experimentation. The band passed through a passage that strongly suggested “Dave’s Energy Guide” en route to an incredibly cerebral masterpiece. Through all the “Lights” of fall tour, Phish illustrated an evolving desire to break new musical ground, specifically in the last few versions, and that couldn’t be a better sign for the future of the band.

Blending their cosmic jaunt into “Piper,” the band tore into another piece of music that has continually pushed their playing throughout the year. Last night’s full-throttle mind-game provided a dense passage of growling rock-turned-groove, in a jam that Trey, again, ended too quickly to play “Free” –  an interesting trend that could be theorized upon for hours. Splashing into the ultimate ’09 landing point for exploratory improv, the band concluded the initial non-stop section of the set with a dash of bass-driven arena rock before allowing anyone to catch their breath.

12.3.09 (W.Hermann)

12.3.09 (W.Hermann)

Featuring their “Exile” costume for consecutive shows, Phish used the appropriate “Sweet Virginia” as their final mid-set interlude of tour. Following the Stones’ southern ballad, Phish rolled into a magnificent “Harry Hood” whose completely sublime interplay between Mike and Trey made the many versions of tour look somewhat standard. Guided by a seemingly deeper spirit, the ethereal textures and other-worldly melodies of this “Hood” brought echoes of mid-to-late ’90’s classics, evoking the song’s essential core. Taking their early-epic for a regal ride, this version drew inspiration from the stirring set of music that had preceded. As the band sustained the song’s final note, one could practically hear the oncoming crash into “Suzy,” and when it came, “Hood’s” energy spilled into the super-spirited funk number that has dotted so many top-notch sets this year.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

Following “Golgi,” the band stamped the set complete with an “Antelope” that brought the tour to an upbeat ending with the altered lyric, “You’ve got to run like a naked guy, out of control!” referencing a first-set stage-jumper in the raw who wove his way around the band and their equipment, eluding two stage security like Barry Sanders breaking a busted play. A comedic ending to a top-notch affair, the band concluded in a place of extreme musical focus amidst tongue-in cheek hilarity; it sure seems that things are back on track in the world of Phish again. Finishing their tour with the first “Loving Cup” since Indio’s accompanied blowout, and the always fitting ,”Reprise,” the encore punctuated and enhanced the band’s farewell. Now at home again in both amphitheatres and arenas, the world is Phish’s oyster once again, and it’s just great to be a part of it.

Set 1 Notes: An eventful, though rather jam-less, first set featured the tour’s only appearances of “Ya Mar,” “Sneakin’ Sally,” and “Bold As Love.” “Bag,” “Chalkdust” provided an old-school kick start to the frame while “Faulty Plan” went through the entire tour fall without any of its anticipated indoor evolution. The band continues to kill “Divided Sky” with frequency because they can. A late-set combo of “Funky Bitch” and “Bowie,” by all accounts, should have ended the first half. But “The Wedge” followed before the hallowed Hendrix cover ended an extended opening frame.

I: AC/DC Bag, Chalk Dust Torture, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, The Divided Sky, Ya Mar, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, The Old Home Place, Cavern, Funky Bitch, David Bowie, The Wedge, Bold As Love

II: Tweezer > Light > Piper > Free, Sweet Virginia, Harry Hood, Suzy Greenberg, Golgi Apparatus, Run Like an Antelope

E: Loving Cup, Tweezer Reprise

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749 Responses to “A Feature Finale”

  1. SillyWilly Says:

    im glad i checked in when i did or i might have missed that BK is now Dr. Pronoia. that would have been really confusing.

  2. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    dang, end of the page. Sorry, I hate to do this, but I’m posting that link again for the non-looker-backer people:


    Dr. Pronoia is definitely my new favorite screen name.

  3. chefbradford Says:

    I’m not sure there even ARE any “non-looker-backer people” that frequent this site!

  4. fromthetub Says:

    I agree, Chef. Got to read back — don’t want to miss anything.

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    that’s true, chef. there’s too much potential to risk missing something great.

  6. chefbradford Says:

    Was it the last night of F8 we ran up something over 2000 comments? I’d hate to try to looker-backer through all of those

  7. stitchstash Says:

    hmmm, maybe I should go back and read some posts! Sorry guys. You should see me, I’m writing a paper, creating a field trip, doing research, and geeking out on Phish all at the same time. Not to mention my kids just went to bed. I usually just skim and skip a few pages. Sorry bad ettiquette.

  8. SillyWilly Says:

    its cool stitch, we all do it. theres nothing like phishthoughts to keep you from doing what needs to be done.

  9. halcyon Says:

    LLFA @ Type 3….hysterical version.

  10. Selector J Says:

    reggae bumping on the radio show…

    you should be able to click my name and start listening directly.

    Scratch Perry tribute tonight.

    (Won’t be able to read replies right away, so I’m not ignoring you… just super busy cue-ing(?) songs and TCOB.)

  11. stitchstash Says:

    Thanks Silly, did not mean to offend. I’m glad I went back and read the last several pages though.

    @ fromthetub, funny about the “internet friends”. My husband teases me all of the time about always looking up Phish on the internet. I wanted to be part of the meet ups for Syracuse and Albany but we are from this area and had a lot of people that we had to see. My husband didn’t sound to interested in me going to meet up with a bunch of people that I talked to on-line. I’m glad you were able to meet a few people. I hope we can boogie down together one day too!

    @ Leo Weaver, nice picks for first tube. (9/26, 9/28) I was at both of those shows.

  12. halcyon Says:

    Selector….listening to reggae tunes on a cold snowy night……awesome

  13. lot rat Says:

    does anyone here know how to hook up there labtop to a flat sceen. I have a hdmi cable hooked up, but i think i just closed a window with some type of program. any help would be appreciated as i would like to watch the First tube from msg in high def.

    thanks minerites

  14. chefbradford Says:

    Selector, I just tuned in, thanks for the heads-up. You’re in Austin?

  15. Selector J Says:

    yessir, chefbradford.

    An hour is way too short to do the upsetter justice….

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    haha@lot rat
    minerites is much easier to write than phishthoughters and cant be confused with phantasy tourers like PT’ers can be….

    i move to self-identify ourselves as minerites.

  17. stitchstash Says:

    I think Miami will get the long awaited Sand. The last time they played it before Camden was 12/30/03. Maybe that’s what they were saving it for.

  18. halcyon Says:

    Great music spun Selector….really dug the last track you played. Have you heard Dub Like an Antelope? I posted a dead link the other day. Here is a working one.


  19. chefbradford Says:

    Killer, I’m next door in Louisiana. I see your station frequency is 91.7, that’s the same freq as the college station here, incidentally. Enjoying the show, how often do you host?

  20. chefbradford Says:

    Dub Like An Antelope? Is it Easy Star Allstars or what? I’ve heard Dub Side of the Moon, and Radiodread. Please enlighten me

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    i hope they play it in Miami stitch…

    also my little sisters favorite song is lizards and i introduced her to the wonderful world of phish at Cinci II, so im hoping to get a lizards.

  22. chefbradford Says:

    I could do the ‘minerites’ thing. Sounds like an obscure religious sect though. Although, in a way that’s what we are, I suppose

  23. chefbradford Says:

    My first (and only) “Lizards” was bliss for me. Love that song

  24. halcyon Says:

    I have not listened to it, and am downloading the link as we speak. Hopefully the link is good.

    Dub Like an Antelope, featuring Steel Pulse, Toots, Chalice, and many others is a great reggae album if you like Phish or Not. But for those of you who do, it will be a real treat. ”

    01. Get Back on the Train
    02. Boucing Around the Room
    03. Farmhouse
    04. Bug
    05. Free
    06. Gumbo
    07. Wolfman’s Brother
    08. Slave to the Traffic Light
    09. Makisupa Policeman
    10. Boogie On A Reggae Woman
    11. Waste
    12. Wolfman’s Brother (instrumental)
    13. Makisupa Policeman (dub)
    14. Waste (dub)

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah chef, Mr. C. always calls us a tribe and hes always trying to give us our own mythology, so maybe minerites conveys that feeling?

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