Spinning In Circles

12.3.09 (W.Rogell)

12.3.09 (W.Rogell)

Energy – the word is thrown around quite a bit in reference to Phish. Oft cited examples are: “That set had such high-energy!” “Time Turns Elastic sucked all the energy out of the room.” “The energy of the show suffered from all the drunk frat boys.” “You could feel the energy in The Garden last night!” Regardless of cultural identity or the number of shows one has seen, one of the defining qualities of the Phish experience how the abstract concept of energy comes to life. Energy depends on the band; energy depends of the fans; energy depends on the dynamic exchange between the band and their audience. As Phish stepped into the arenas of the east, and out of the amphitheatres of the summer circuit, the phrase that best describes the experience of fall shows is “intense collective energy.”

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

12.2.09 (W.Rogell)

While fall tours have historically cranked the intensity level of the entire experience, Phish’s first fall tour since 2000 was destined to explode in white-hot fire. And if anything characterized the band’s performances throughout the tour, it was the tightly wound, explosive quality of their playing. With the ability to nail their songs precisely again, the band could let loose and allow their soul to flow into the music rather than think about what notes to play. What used to be a given about Phish in their prime, took almost a year to recapture – the subconscious flow of energy into their music. Thought processes seemed to fade away as the band embraced each moment of every song, measure and note. Phish imbued each phrase and beat with a renewed energy and enthusiasm that often resulted in raging, high-energy rock jams. Feeding off the band’s fervor, the audiences across the board responded ferociously, and the famed interplay between Phish and their live audience was reborn in a way it simply could not have been months earlier and in outdoor amphitheares.

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

12.4.09 (G.Lucas)

Beginning in The Crown, as Cobo carried the feel of a dress rehearsal, every single night was underlined by a palpable energetic interplay between everyone in the building. The band had regained confidence in their playing, and could again pull off the blistering runs of notes and bizarre time signatures that characterized their earlier days, and they were proud to show everyone. Trey played with an abandon we hadn’t seen in ages, tearing apart solos while nailing fugues. Page’s confidence brimmed as strong as ever, as his piano leads often drove the band in certain directions. His bold, melodic theme gets all the credit for pushing Trey out of his comfort zone and kicking Albany’s “Seven Below” into orbit. Mike, as on top of his game as anyone, pushed his own playing to new territories within the context of the band, using more notes and heavier effects, while influencing the destiny of many whole-band excursions. Fishman, who many feel needs to step his game up, still provided more than enough fuel to frame the fire. The result? The incredibly fierce, yet not always exploratory, music that laced fall tour.

This same energy that defined the band’s spirited playing also went into their improv when they chose that route. Whether structured or open jamming, Phish almost always succeeded in shredding most every song they played. When they did take risks, they took them with the same energy that defined their tight compositions and six-minute songs, resulting in some incredibly sublime moments sprinkled throughout the tour. And the crowds fed like vultures off this energy. Peaking with a series of insane moments at Madison Square Garden, this fall will always be remembered for the magnified return of the Phish community’s unbridled energetic interplay.

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Cincinatti’s “Split Open and Melt.” Syracuse’s “Piper > BBFCFM.” Philly’s “Bathtub Gin.” Albany’s “My Friend, My Friend,” and the awing “Seven Below > Ghost.” Maine’s “Undermind.” Charlottesville’s “Hood.” These are some of the most unadulterated energetic moments of tour. But there were two moments at MSG that stand up to any collective experiences I’ve witnessed at Phish. Something happened during 12.3’s “Fluffhead” peak, and 12.4’s “First Tube.” Anyone who was there will attest to it, though the actual moments are, literally, indescribable. A simultaneous, religious catharsis of 20,004 people blended together as one glowing ball of light, somehow contained by the bouncing floors and elastic walls of The Garden. Tidal waves of emotion, gushing like whitewater, flooded the mid-town arena in two perspective-altering episodes.

Regardless of the fanbase’s varying opinions on fall’s musical results, nobody can deny that Phish is, unquestionably, into it again. Clearly performing for the love of the game, Trey – specifically – looked like a kid in a candy store all tour long, living his refound dream. The band has refocused their energy on personal happiness and harnessing their emotion through their musical expression, and they are certainly accomplishing that goal. Seemingly carefree onstage again, the comfort and swagger of Phish has returned, and as we prepare to turn the calendar to 2010, that’s as good as an omen as any.


Jam of the Day:

Disease > Piper > Fluffhead” 12.3


The centerpiece of The Garden’s second show.



12.3.09 Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY < Torrent

12.3.09 Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY < Megaupload

headerI: Punch You In the Eye, Backwards Down the Number Line, Axilla, Taste, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Lawn Boy, Time Turns Elastic, Back on the Train, Julius

II: Down with Disease > Piper > Fluffhead, Cities > Free, Halley’s Comet, Also Sprach Zarathustra > David Bowie

E: Character Zero

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

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529 Responses to “Spinning In Circles”

  1. Chuck D Says:

    oooh, willow again. there’s to me being 6 months too young.

  2. beepaphone Says:

    here, here, Neemor

    @ msb llfa
    I love that kinda shit. First time I ever heard Weigh I was like NFW!!! Is this shit for real?! Hilarious and musically intelligent!!! BAAA!!!

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:



    Haven’t listened to in in ages….
    I have an import/bootleg CD set with most of the show and the soundcheck at home. I bought it at one of those Trade/Barter?Pawn CD brokers that also slung imports. I picked it up in 1994 when I still lived in Denver. It was digital Phish without a DAT player. 😉

    In the spirit of Giving, I’ll share what I a got for the folks here et al.

    Tonight I have some projects on the computer after the kiddos’ bedtime.
    1. Watch RR1
    2. Encrypt partition with secret codes to the Collossal Coincidence Control Center
    3. Consolidate all video files for further disk fragmentation and additional un-use/non-views.
    4. Toad’s MP3 convert and post. Link to be shared tomorrow Upon my arrival to the office 8ish AZ time. We don’t fuck with our clock out here so I am an oblivious fool about the local time zone. Couple that with being watch-free for nearly 13 years and you have my time: Justino Time.

    Gotta say in the car Party Time is the disc du jour and my kiddos like Only A Dream. Mike tune, go figure! Windy City has been growing on me along with the rest of the album for the most part. I Think I’ll Like Alaska

  4. sumodie Says:

    Anyone “jamband” media outlet (if not other media outlets) is bound to have senior staff chomping for a phish interview.

    @Miner: Perhaps I’m a bit late to the table, but I too would suggest trying to get media credenitals/sponsored by an appropriate media outlet in order to interview one or more band members (and I lack any useful knowledge/contacts in this regard).

    Maybe you could write a primary article for the media sponsor and a reprint/2nd article here. Even if you couldn’t publish your interview results here, you know we’d all go read it anyways.

    I hope you keep trying to go for the gold!

  5. Selector J Says:

    Good stuff! You should have serenaded them and then when they inevitably asked, “who is this?”
    “Well, Rick Moranis, of course.”

  6. Brimley Says:

    You should trump all of the chumps Miner!

  7. voopa Says:


    How about “Willow”?

  8. Willow Says:

    This whole time it was looking me right in the face!!

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    selector, yeah, I’m with you on Dub Like an Antelope. I dig the Slave and Makisupa (both versions) are good. I like the Wailers version of Makisupa a little better though. Hearing Yellowman on Bouncin’ is kind of funny. I definitely picked up on Chinna and my first thought was Police and Thieves (always have loved that tune). Steel Pulse doing Farmhouse is oddly appropriate.

  10. whole tour! Says:

    weigh is an awesome song.

    Basically i think it’s about someone who claims to hate phish and the phish scene or is overly critical and understands not what the whole phish thing is about.

    So the song basically tells the guy that they have shit for brains (cut your head off so i can weigh it….5 pounds, 6 pounds, 7 pounds)

    Then to furthur add insult to injury it suggests that the guy has little to no friends… or at least such a small amount that they could be put into a small swimming pool and their combined weight is very small.

    Also it could be making fun of someone who shaves everyday (because their job forces them to?) “gather all the prickly hairs, so i can weigh them”

    Why weigh on a sunny day? – basically telling someone to not be so critical and to just go with the flow. Why waste a beautiful day complaining or picking something apart.

    weigh = awesome song….100% gordo’s view of things.
    love me some weigh!

  11. Neemor Says:

    Nice, PB….
    My name is actually Andrew, so that shit was out of left field and fun for me.
    Whatever you can come up with, I appreciate.

    I’m pretty sure you said you’d link a copy, but as usual, I only digested about 33% of your post!

  12. msbjvein Says:

    Sel J, LLFA!!

  13. Neemor Says:

    I just thought of “Bagman”….?

  14. BlackamoebaVoidBoy Says:

    @ Neemor,

    I can relate to getting into more of their songs… been a good year for newness with these guys back.

  15. msbjvein Says:

    I just realized we didn’t get a KEYTAR Frankenstein this Phall WTF?

  16. voopa Says:

    Miami backstage auction

  17. halcyon Says:

    Wook Museum!


  18. Neemor Says:

    Or really any favorite song followed by ‘man’.

    Oblivious Fool
    Red Worm
    Aaron Wolfe (if you can handle being hated)

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    msb, they didn’t play it all Fall Tour, did they? I’m expecting the next one will have the keytar, flaming bass, multi-neck guitar, and Fishman in a rolling cage above the crowd. maybe some sharks with lasers too.

  20. whole tour! Says:


    they were waiting to borrow tommy lee’s roll cage for fishman’s drums.
    The frankenstein encore on 1/1/10 will feature:
    gordo on flame bass
    Page on Keytar
    Trey on 5 necked guitar

    Fishman inside the tommy lee roll cage with full drum set….that goes over the crowd and does flips while fishman does tyhe frankenstein drum solo.

  21. Neemor Says:

    Dr. Langue

  22. msbjvein Says:

    WT, Is the list still at 3?

  23. whole tour! Says:

    lol @ type 3….

    love me some sharks w/ lasers!
    metalocalypse rules!!!!

  24. Neemor Says:

    My worst fears:

    Sharks with Lasers
    Someone looking at me from the end of my bed while sleeping
    Paper cut on eyeball

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    beat ya, WT!

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