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. voopa Says:

    I’ll have what SOAM’s having.

  2. Chuck D Says:


  3. Corey Says:


    What ages?

    Damn, it was not smooth. I much preferred Possum and Disease right at the start of Portland. Good movin’ tunes to get the party going.

    However, I enjoyed the unique placement of both. Also saw the Knoxville set opener Back On the Train, and I liked that placement too.

    Anyhoo, what happens before and after the Train>Possum sammich is great. Seeing PHiSH nearly every weekend is fun, no?

  4. Corey Says:

    I second what SOAM’s having, but I must go teach some music.
    Vacation is looming…
    See ya’ll later.

  5. Mr.Miner Says:

    @ SOAM –

    best compliment I’ve ever received!!!

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Miner, you should save that one

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    love SOAM.

  8. beepaphone Says:

    Smooth, absolutely…maybe a bit drawn-out though? Agree to disagree.
    I Love Phish

  9. chefbradford Says:

    Jesus talk today? Not what I was expecting. Hmm….I do see it interspersed with more hallucinogen-related comments though

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    maybe that SOAM entry will make it into the Phish Thoughts coffee table book

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    I just re-listened to that transition

    sounds 100% dope to me

    there’s a clam in there, but the fast musical conversation is great – to my ear they bridge from one song to another without losing any energy/momentum

  12. beepaphone Says:

    SOAM’s words today in the “critical acclaim” section. One page after the artistic rendering of Miner’s portrait.

  13. Willowed Says:

    It’s either going to make it on the Phish Thoughts coffee table or his application to the looney bin.

    Just kidding Soam. Much props for that little ditty

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    chef, don’t go by what you see now. we’ve had quite the time getting here. something to the effect of

    RTFM/B Jam>
    The Crown*>
    Guitar Techs Unite>
    EPIC Noggin’
    Crown Reprise**>
    Compression Jam
    Nog Talk>
    Hot Ghee Toddy

    *Egg Nog tease
    ** DOTD tease

    or something like that. I’m definitely missing some of the teases.

  15. beepaphone Says:

    SOAM should be approached with caution…He’ll take your girl for a wild ride, but won’t call her after or buy her breakfast

  16. BTB Says:

    I think SOAM is a phish fan.

    Been too busy to post lately with work and all, but Cinci night 1 set II was a lot of fun. The set was fantastic from beginning to end and really had ‘the flow’ all the way through. This coming from a guy who heard a Possum at almost every show in 2009.

    Great write up as usual.

  17. Chuck D Says:

    Is SOAM a mule or a melt? I… can’t… decipher…

  18. chefbradford Says:

    I think I helped get the ball rolling on RTFM, went to bed just before the wonderful RTFB comment. Unfortunately I just remembered, responsibility beckons, I’ll be back in a couple of hours (I hope)

  19. SOAM Says:

    neither mule nor melt…

    just a little lunch time Kush and the GHOST>PSYCHO KILLER from Hartford..I really dig Hartford-still after all the tasties of Fall – it can hang-a little rough around the edges but chock full of energy and solid song selections….

  20. HarryHood Says:

    As if I don’t spend enough time at work on this site, I actually went back and caught up on last nights conversation earlier. I usually wrap things up on here at 4:30 when I leave work and rarely have the time to check back in until the next day. I have to say that the late night banter on here is some good stuff. Really deep thoughts from KWL, Stitch, and Chef last night!

    KWL/Ghost ~ Glad I could share in some of those Ah ha moments in Albany. Truely a pleasure.

  21. JP Says:

    thinking about seeing Further this spring – anyone seen/heard them and/or seen any show reviews thus far?

  22. SillyWilly Says:

    i love it when someone makes a setlist of the conversation.

    its one of my favorite parts of this board.

    thank you, TypeIII

  23. whole tour! Says:

    journey toured again with a new lead singer.

  24. msbjivein Says:

    JP, I Heard Furthur is killin it right now. Haven’t actually listened to any but Phriends have been to a couple shows and said it was some of the better post Jerry stuff.

    “Fake” Jerry is killing it. ……….LOL!!! Had to throw that out there from yest…..

  25. beepaphone Says:

    I’ll have what Reba’s cooking in the 12/4 version…
    just now finally heard it.

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