Coupled with their explosive playing, the consistent flow of bust-outs speckled the path of fall tour. Each night, Phish reached deep into their catalog and pulled out at least one rarity they play only once in a blue moon; or at most, once per tour. This became one of the defining features of fall, and one that many fans crave, leaving many setlist pads sparkling. Without traveling across the country time and time again, some of these rarities may never be heard by regional fans, making the current frequency of these infrequent moments all the more exciting for so many. Sought after bust-outs carry the aura of the golden-ring; a reward for catching that particular show; a personal little treasure along the ride. Some songs become elusive between eras, fading in and out of existence, while others remain rare for their careers. This fall, Phish brought out more than a few songs that nobody saw coming, adding an refreshing element to their sets.
The multitude of bust-outs breaks down to the oozing confidence that Phish now boasts after relearning a good part of their repertoire. Their display of bravado began back in Hampton, with the very first song of this era – “Fluffhead.” Seen for years as the ultimate bust-out, and unplayed in the post-hiatus years because the band simply couldn’t handle its intricacies, “Fluffhead” made an immediate statement that Phish had a different attitude this time around. Unveiling one of their most difficult compositions right off the bat, the song has since become a staple of the band’s current rotation and a virtual musical microcosm of 2009 – tight, energetic, and hugely emotional. But the band also earned some others along the way, dropping more than a few rarities and spicing up setlists throughout the fall.
At some point during this past tour, Phish played, “Mountains In the Mist,” It’s Ice,” “Axilla,” “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars,” “Sleep Again,” “Fire,” “Train Song,” “On Your Way Down,” “Golden Age,” “Torn and Frayed,” “My Friend, My Friend,” “Tomorrow’s Song,” “My Mind’s Got A Mind of Its Own,” “Two Versions of Me,” “Sanity,” “Uncle Pen,” “Foam,” “Vultures,” “Walk Away,” “Meat,” “Dinner and a Movie,” “Crimes of the Mind,” “Timber,” “Pebbles and Marbles,” “Nellie Kane,” “Horn,” “Weigh,” “Peaches En Regalia,” “Glide,” “Shine A Light,” “The Curtain (With),” “Scents And Subtle Sounds,” “Cities,” “Camel Walk,” “Sneakin’ Sally,” “The Old Home Place,” “Carini,” “Freebird,” “Cool It Down,” and “Bold As Love.” Though there have been longer gaps between some of these songs than others, that’s quite a list for a bakers dozen worth of shows. Some of these songs represent mere kick-downs, while others hold more potential; the most significant of all being the return of “Scents and Subtle Sounds.” Though re-introduced in succinct fashion, the band has already reached sky-scraping heights with the surreal springboard. If “Scents” gets back into rotation, watch out.
While bust-outs can’t make a show on their own, they can certainly add some spice to an evening, especially within the current framework of first sets that rely so heavily on song selection. “Alumni Blues” or “Buffalo Bill” certainly don’t equal musical explorations – or jams at all – but they can make the time in between them all the more entertaining. With a clear focus on reacquainting themselves with so many of their pieces, it seems that Phish has laid the foundation for years to come. Armed with an infinite amount of material, a vibrant spirit, and a burgeoning sense of exploration, the light is, indeed, growing brighter now.
Jam of the Day:
“46 Days” 11.18.09
This is the first jam of tour, and holds up as one of the most engaging. Featuring some of the thickest funk and locked-in, methodical playing we’ve heard in a while, this one came our of nowhere late in Cobo’s first set.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
12.2.09 Madison Square Garden, NYC < Torrent
12.2.09 Madison Square Garden, NYC < Megaupload
I: AC/DC Bag, Chalk Dust Torture, Wolfman’s Brother, NICU, Ocelot, Brian and Robert, Poor Heart, Sample in a Jar, Peaches en Regalia, The Divided Sky, Cavern
II: Golgi Apparatus, Light > Slave to the Traffic Light, Tweezer > Joy, Sparkle, Harry Hood, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope
E: A Day in the Life, Tweezer Reprise
Source: Schoeps mk41 > KCY > Sonosax SX-M2/LS > SD 722 (@24bit/96kHz)Tags: 2009, Fall '09, Songs