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)

Tags: ,

529 Responses to “Spinning In Circles”

  1. msbjvein Says:

    WT, That’s what I’m talking about!!!! Fish in the CAGE!!

  2. whole tour! Says:

    yep….the list is so far a whole 3 people strong….

    i’ll bump it to the fron t again later incase people miss it.

    That mock show thing might be a great place for a phishthoughts meet up.
    Or we can just pick a lot in front of the venue and meet up and pre game?

  3. whole tour! Says:

    lol….i was just a second off!
    type 3 gets the win!

  4. Willow Says:

    I think I found it!!

  5. HarryHood Says:

    My two biggest fears:

    People who are intolerant of other peoples cultures. And, The Dutch.

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I feel like we were talking about the cage thing right after Alpine though, so you might have come up with the idea in the first place, WT

  7. msbjvein Says:

    WT, I would love to meet up w/ as many Phishthoughters as possble in Miami!! We can start throwing out ideas and see what catches on. Mock Show is a great idea.

  8. Neemor Says:

    For Phish.net to list the Pyramid Stash>Theme as a segue is ludicrous.
    Granted, there’s the ‘contest’ banter, but to list it Stash>Theme is not correct.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Neemor, I’ve been meaning to ask you. What is the significance of the website linked in your name? Employer?

  10. Willow Says:

    Worst fears:
    Having to get a catheter
    When my finger breaks thru the paper when I am cleaning my nether region after pooping

  11. Neemor Says:

    Actually, TIIIP.O., I thought that it was de-linked….but since you ask, yes.
    I just wanted my name in orange.
    However, I built that site and maintain it, so I’m very proud of it…

  12. Neemor Says:

    Hood, classic line there.

  13. Neemor Says:

    The cover song I miss most?
    Will It Go ‘Round In Circles….

    The original I miss the most?

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    nice, Neemor. without that info it seemed like a random site to link to one’s name on a phish blog…

  15. Selector J Says:

    Fun fact before I spend the rest of the day actually doing work:

    Beneath the AA Arena in Miami there is a parking garage. Hardly anyone parks there (can’t remember if it’s super-taxed or you need some kind of season-tickets-pass thing… but very few cars parked in there and you do not need to have parked there to walk through it).

    In that parking garage, they will scan your ticket at the elevators that take you right into the concourse of the arena. In other words, no waiting in line to get in. Literally no line… just my 3 cohorts and I riding up with this cool elevator operator lady all four nights. Wish I could take advantage this year. Just fyi.

    Enjoy the rest of your day.

  16. HarryHood Says:

    I think it’s safe to assume where the Antelope Jersey’s came from now. llfa.

    I think we could get a good pick up game going. Neemor, were gonna need some more Antelope Jersey’s. The opposing team will have to be The Llama’s.

  17. butter Says:

    copy the list….paste it….and add your name:
    miami phishthoughts attendees:
    1) Whole Tour!
    2) msbjivein !!!
    3) sumodie
    4) butter

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I want a Spotted Striper jersey!

  19. butter Says:

    nice insider tip selecta, i love when vip is free

  20. whole tour! Says:

    @selector! thanks for the heads up on the hidden elevator!

  21. Selector J Says:

    Of course, now that this info has been leaked expect more than my 3 cohorts but… they will all be fellow PhishThought-ers 😉

    (And there are multiple elevators.)

  22. llamalee Says:

    copy the list….paste it….and add your name:
    miami phishthoughts attendees:
    1) Whole Tour!
    2) msbjivein !!!
    3) sumodie
    4) butter
    5) llamalee

  23. msbjvein Says:

    Anyone staying at the Holiday Inn next to AA arena??

  24. M00NSHAKE Says:

    “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.”

    yup… that sums it up brilliantly. If I could freeze those moments in time and revisit them at will, I don’t think I could ever feel down, no matter what the situation.

  25. beepaphone Says:

    Anyone know the answer to the Pyramid ’99 trivia question?

Leave a Reply