The Fourth Set of Tour

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 - The Crown (W.Rogell)

On some nights, creativity, energy and musical acumen converge in a frame of Phish that leaves us all glowing. Every Phish set has something to offer, but sometimes one can feel like Christmastime, as the sparkling musical gifts flow like creamy egg nog. Once in a while, the band eliminates all filler music and creates a cohesive experience that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. The first night of Cincinnati was one of these nights. Following three sets of legitimate, but less than full-on, Phish to start fall tour, The Crown’s second set immediately burst to the forefront with a confluence of improv and creative transitions, all bookended by deliciously addictive sessions of dance grooves. This set stoked an arena-sized fire, with a ripple effect that would be felt throughout the weekend, not to mention the rest of the tour.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

After a composition-heavy opening frame, Trey sparked the kindling of the second set with the opening guitar-scratches of “Punch You In the Eye.” Able to tear through “The Landlady” section almost routinely again, the band has brought “Punch” into greater prominence as of late. Nary a more spirited set opener, its adrenalized rhythms quickly dialed up the intensity in the historic arena. And out of the trill apex of the song growled the opening licks of “Tweezer.” Immediately igniting the crowd with a much larger flame, Phish opened the freezer door for the first time of the fall, kicking off the season in earnest. At the onset of the jam, Trey set up shop with a sinister and repetitive lick. The band quickly morphed into a thick musical canvas, as Trey narrated an addictive guitar fantasy over the sparse and driving pattern. Taking his time and phrasing each idea with utmost care, he let his new-found swagger shine throughout this piece. Eventually making a change into his dirty, uncompressed tone, Red influenced Fish to alter his beat into a dirtier, snare-heavy scene, while his story took a left turn down a dark alley with smoke rising from potholes all around. Navigating the ominous environs, the band engaged in a sequence of grittier grooves that complemented the first half of the jam’s smoother planes.

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

Forcefully, Phish climaxed the piece with a creative build that saw Trey unleash a furious solo. Settling into a post-peak section of spacier funk, the band slid through a drone soundscscape into “Light.” Another in the growing series of transitions from dark “Tweezers” into “Lights,” Phish brought this modern combination indoors for the first time. Breaking out their newest vehicle for its initial voyage of fall, all of a sudden Trey transformed into an intense geyser of colorful melody, shooting guitar lines through the sky like he was born to do. A beautiful foreshadowing of the many transcendent versions that would follow in the coming weeks, “Light”stoked the evolving fire of this phenomenal frame.

Breaking down the high-speed jam into a more percussive realm, Phish seemed headed for a completely new milieu. But instead of moving outward, the passage playfully blended into “Get Back On the Train.” A song usually reserved for first sets came out of a completely spontaneous place, a sure-fire sign that Phish’s creativity had been piqued on this evening. In their third consecutive segue, the band moved naturally from the back-country funk into the musically similar “Possum.” Taking one of summer’s most commonly played songs on its first arena adventure, the band attacked the song with an aggression unseen in the amphitheatres of ’09. Enclosed within cement walls, the copious energy bounced around the room, creating a celebratory conclusion to the set’s initial suite. And soon after “Possum’s” final note came to a crashing close, Trey delicately strummed the opening to “Slave.”

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

In a slot where the band would usually insert a ballad, Phish keep right on chugging with a centerpiece version of one of their most well-loved songs. Showcasing ethereal textures, the band showed utmost patience in allowing this version to unfold organically. Trey, Mike, and Page were locked in a delicate conversation as Fish slowly increased his rhythmic backdrop. Each member phrased their playing masterfully, coming together in an soaring rendition. Infusing powerful emotion into his guitar work, Trey took this outing to the top with determination, upping the ante for the song over the next few weeks. And then the cherry on top – “You Enjoy Myself.”

"YEM" 11.20.09 (M.Stein)

"YEM" 11.20.09 (M.Stein)

Phish put an exclamation point on this set with a sequence of crunchy rhythms and thematic improv that left the many generic, guitar-based, summer versions of “YEM” in the dust. Fishman proved integral throughout this jam, contributing intricate and evolving rhythms, begging bodies to move subconsciously to the beat. Trey hooked up with an old signature lick, leading the jam into sparser territory, as Mike and Page swam melodies around him. Mike gained an enhanced presence as Trey switched over to some swank rhythm chords, playing all his cards in this one. Following this rhythmic seduction, Trey infused a completely original melodic theme into the mix, and the band jumped on board. Taking the jam away from its typical bubble-funk destination for the first time in ages, the band was finally doing something creative with “YEM.” At the end of their three-week tour, this version of stood head and shoulders above the rest, with MSG’s rendition more than a couple lengths behind. Having fallen into a somewhat generic formula during this era, “YEM” broke that model in Cincinnati, providing closure to a wildly creative set.

This jam-packed frame of music set the community abuzz, as everyone spilled out of The Crown into downtown Cincy. The first exceptional set of the indoor season had just gone down, and everybody understood. Tour was now fully underway. We sat, carefree, amidst the first two-night stand, with nothing to do but kick it until the next evening, and ten more shows staring us down. And after a set like this one, spirits floated through the night on cloud nine, awaiting nothing, and enjoying every moment of the ride.


Jams of the Day:

“11.20.09 Set II” (listen only)


Enjoy fall tour’s fourth set in its entirety. Punch, Tweezer > Light > Train > Possum, Slave, YEM.



11.20.09 The Crown, Cincinatti, OH < Megaupload

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

11.20.09 (W.Rogell)

I: Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance, The Divided Sky, Alaska, Water in the Sky, Fast Enough for You, Time Turns Elastic, Gotta Jibboo, Fluffhead

II: Punch You In the Eye, Tweezer > Light > Back on the Train > Possum, Slave to the Traffic Light, You Enjoy Myself

E: Joy, Golgi Apparatus, Tweezer Reprise

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

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648 Responses to “The Fourth Set of Tour”

  1. c0wfunk Says:

    that hotel review is hilarious!! I love this line: “Don’t know if this is typical or not, but I don’t plan to find out.” I can only imagine what these people must have thought with the “drinking alcohol, playing cards, eating pizza & playing music” all over the hotel. Such insidious pizza eating!


    right around 7:45 when trey is riding the oscillators he switches the tone – just at that moment page tosses in a few subtle victim or the crime piano teases (or just switches to a minor mode, but it’s similar)..

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    aw can you confirm this tone switch is the compressor? Sounds to me like it may be an envelope filter?

  3. albert walker Says:

    don’t have it here at work
    can’t remember off hand

    he has been experimenting with that envelope filter on Undermind and Wolfman’s I’ve heard it on a few others

    it seems like him and Mike are going to be bringing things into a heavy effects jamming pretty soon
    add in Page’s new synths heavilly effected and we should be in for some psychedelic treats

    the shit on that Undermind from Portland was pretty slick

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ the Tweezer in streaming as part of JotD if you want to check…very different from the effect you note on Undermind….almost sure its the compressor – or lack thereof

  5. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Not sure if this had been mentioned: Particle is playing in Miami post- phish on both the 30th and 31st.

  6. albert walker Says:

    remember he also has a few different heads now

    he could be switching off the compressor and onto a different amp
    maybe the Stones tone he has been using
    something with a little more growl
    I believe he actually has at least 2 and maybe 3 different heads he is playing out of

  7. c0wfunk Says:

    page has been getting a lot of mileage from that big old yamaha synth in the back (I thiink that’s still what’s back there).. the way he uses effects on his rhodes and clav also gives alot of the pileup. I’ve actually been surprised how little he uses the phatty – suzie solo, a little in yem, and some other places. But for space he usually goes to (the one in the back) or the rhodes w/ that weird ring modulator or whatever he’s got.

    Mike has really stepped up his effects game, really blending that low pass wah thing.

    And I Trey’s loops this fall jumped a level, from where he was at the beginning of the year. A lot less “weeeooohhh” random stuff and a lot more musicality there.

    mmmm phish effects

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    I feel you adub. Just pretty sure this is a lack of compressor a la 2003

  9. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Gracias for the whole set, Señor Miner.

    Interesting Guitar tech discourse.

    I still miss T3’s psuedosetlists. 🙁

    This Tweezer is rippin, seguro!

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Mike has really stepped up his effects game, really blending that low pass wah thing.”

    ^ that’s an envelope filter

  11. albert walker Says:

    Nothing I’d like more to see how the trading floor deals with the JOTD

    Tweezer anyone?

    Unfortunately no good tunes at work for this kid

  12. c0wfunk Says:

    right on aw – there is definitely a section where he is riding a feedback wash and playing with something until he gets it right..

  13. c0wfunk Says:

    you’re right miner, that is an envelope filter, but it sounds pretty low passy too (the wah wha kind of thing) .. envelopes can do many things!

  14. albert walker Says:

    yeah Miner

    from memory I believe you are actually correct

    by lowering the Ross levels the drop off his less apparant but you can still really hear it when it drops out

    at times the 2003-2004 tone was great. at times fall flat
    nice you get the best of both worlds these days

    back in the day the Ross was probably run a little hot anyway

  15. msbjivein Says:

    Can you set the crossover points on an evelope filter to any frequency? Or is it an set filter?

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    the judge decreed it
    the clerk he wrote it
    the clerk he wrote it
    down indeedy

  17. fat bastard Says:

    aw im getting the cbot onto tweezer 1 by 1

  18. llamalee Says:

    aint no tele can verify but during the punch i said a tweezer is coming next, i felt it. my best call at a show ever

  19. marcoesq Says:

    RE: Envelope Filter

    For those with any confusion, think of the beginning of Estimated Prophet

  20. Chuck D Says:

    Where my type II jams?

  21. msbjivein Says:

    I don’t know if crossover point is the best way to say that. My question is basically “can you adjust which frequencies can be filtered on a Envelope Filter. Or is an Envelope filter a set Filter at fixed frequencies?

  22. fat bastard Says:

    “Red influenced Fish to alter his beat into a dirtier, snare-heavy scene, while his story took a left turn down a dark alley with smoke rising from potholes all around”

    miner at his best

  23. marcoesq Says:


    I know that Boss makes an auto-env filter, that’s what I used to have but I know there are models that can alter the frequency for sure

  24. whole tour! Says:

    trey uses midi effects in the portland undermind reminescent of garcia’s midi effects from 94 – 95.

  25. msbjivein Says:

    Awesome thanks Marco. I’m pretty sure Mike would be using some high end piece that would allow him that flexability. Love The “Envelope Filter”!!

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