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. VoidBoy Says:

    Sure gives “Hot Ganji” a nice ring.

  2. beepaphone Says:

    Hot Buttered Irie Rum, dem say.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    ganja ghee is the stuff

    can actually be used for massages and related activities, picked up that tip from a yoga instructor

    I prefer infusing pure massage oil, but the ghee thing works great…rainbow hippie girls dig it

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    i am a digger of rainbow hippie girls

  5. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Mr. C, is there a transdermal effect from that?

  6. Corey Says:

    @Mr. Completely

    Wow, my old friends and former musical colleagues getting some love on that list: SDQ – Sexual Disaster Quartet

    Great musicians and greater friends, but they have recently taken a breather, changed bassists, etc. Here’s hoping they get it all back together. Name a style and they’ve played it.
    They certainly get the best name in the Sex category.
    We all went to school back in the 90s together in Lexvegas. Good times.

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    at least through the mucus membranes, yes

    probably not through the epidermis but we never did controlled experiments

  8. beepaphone Says:

    Yes epic post on the band names page for sure…that shit had me laughing here in the office, drawing all sorts of unnecessary attention to myself.

  9. gratefulcub Says:

    Where’s Lexvegas?

  10. VoidBoy Says:

    I’m a digger of “transdermal effect” girls… Put girls in anything it sounds way better. Sexual Disaster Quartet with girls… yes.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    rainbow hippie girls changed my life

  12. KWL Says:

    If you think PDTM isn’t the kind of band that has a logo, you’re wrong

    (Put Down the Muffin)


  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    keep in mind, basically all the interesting parts of the body are “mucus membranes” (horrible term)

  14. SillyWilly Says:

    a weird occurence that just now struck me as odd:

    I have lke 50 channels on pandora, but the only one they ever email me about is BigHead Todd and the Monsters. Once a day I get an email that says, “You should listen to BigHead Todd and the Monsters.” Its such a random band to constantly email me about. Its like they really want me to love BigHead Todd.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    PDTM got my attention as well

  16. SillyWilly Says:

    a rainbow hippie girl changed mine, mr. C.

  17. KWL Says:

    Bong Hits for Jesus

    that’s about the only prayer I can get behind.


  18. SillyWilly Says:


    I think the Mormons believe that Jesus cam back and preached to the Native Americans which means that Jesus smoked peyote.

    Peyote: The Smoke of Christ.

    growing up Catholic I always thought Jesus must have been a chill cat. All of his best miracles involved partying. He changed water into wine at a wedding. Then the night before he died he was just drinkin with his buddies.

  19. KWL Says:

    who was it that made a ‘bible’ with only quotes from Jesus in it? Took out all the interpretation & such & just left the quotes. Jefferson maybe? Probably a pretty compelling read.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    smoked peyote?!?

    that shit’s hardcore enough just eating it

    Jesus knows how to PARTY, wow

    next you’ll tell me he was dissolving eight-balls of blow in glasses of bourbon like Stevie Ray Vaughn…

  21. Corey Says:

    Hmm, Back On the Train>Possum seems different to me.
    Having been at that show, it was as though they (trey?) were done with Back On the Train and were seeing that it was going nowhere, thus a rough move to Possum. I thought this to be a bump in the road. A wonderful journey was had from beginning to end of this one, for me at least. This was a necesasary part of the PHiSH experience that evening.
    It wouldn’t have been a Cincinnati show without.
    So, natural transition to Possum — in groove, possibly. Natural transition in execution, I think no. — t left off for my german mother-in-law, as she would speak it.

  22. beepaphone Says:

    I thought it was a transition for the ages. Both whilst there and upon re-listen.

  23. Corey Says:


    Lexvegas = Lexington, Kentucky
    Lexington, Kentucky = where Bathtub’s are filled with the finest Gin (and bourbon)

  24. SOAM Says:

    as Trey narrated an addictive guitar fantasy over the sparse and driving pattern…Miner-you are fucking gone-and that’s why we love ya-…I defy anyone in phish nation to find a better-more communicative, intense, thorough translator of this music-in short-wood you sport over this band and your enthusiasm, relative objectivity and passion combined with extremely competent writing chops, at times no less than exquisite-make this set the most thought provoking realistic update/review of the current phish universe. Peace and JOY to you my friend, my friend during this holiday season…Your pen is your knife…20 years later-I ‘m still upside down over this music that “is only what I ‘ve found” during this strange design I call my life-It’s all rolls into one-these things on my mind-they seem to get lost and harder to find…in the end -the bus came by and we got on-and yes we still have fun…

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    any cat that says his body and blood are turned into bread and wine must be pretty hard core.

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