Albany and Beyond

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

12.5.09 (G.Lucas)

Listen to the ovation at the end of “Seven Below > Ghost.” The roar that you hear is one of absolute celebration from all sectors of the audience; Phish had transformed into psychedelic juggernauts of yore. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the music itself, the band had showcased the qualities that made them famous – a musical abandon defined by uninhibited risk taking and, ultimately, golden musical pastures. Phish had just let it all hang loose for the first time since their comeback. Sure, the band had played some amazing jams, and certainly had put together more than a few awe-inspiring sets and shows, but this was a different story altogether. This was the exploratory magic of Phish at work again. For nearly an hour, the band pushed each other harder than we had seen them do in this era, experimenting with, and exploring, new musical planes, while arriving at some truly sublime segments of music along the way. In my memory, and in the memory of countless other fans, this was the type of passionate adventure that has always defined the Phish experience.

11.25.09 (HybridRadar)

11.25.09 (Hybrid Radar)

Throughout this fifty-minute stretch, Phish proved what most of us assumed – they could still throw down the gauntlet on a moment’s notice. Listening to Albany while driving last night, I felt like I was listening to Phish of a different era. A different energy blared from the speaker than I was used to hearing this year; the music likened the exploratory bravado that dripped from stages for years on end. I could truly hear the band searching for the sound, and then about halfway through “Seven Below,” hitting their stride like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains. Everything clicked deep into this jam; deeper than Phish had been usually willing to dig this go-round. And in no surprise, the first time the band let loose in this uninhibited manner, they succeeded with flying colors. With heart-tugging melodic themes and a connected conversation, Phish found themselves amidst the defining musical jaunt since their return.

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

12.5.09 (J.Thomas)

Once the band hit their stride, they never lost it for a minute. Careening to a triumphant peak of “Seven Below,” the band slid down the other side into “Ghost.” And from note one of this most unique jam, the band had everything locked down. Sewn together with profound musical glue, this piece would drive the band far beyond anything one would expect to hear from the song. Embodying the theory that if the band is flowing, it matters not what songs they play, Phish continued their musical theatrics with a multi-faceted jam that reached several sonic plateaus. Building from cooperative melodic grooves into a more abstract section of shimmering psychedelia, the music turned far more intense as Mike cranked up his filter and began crushing core patterns. The band continued to merge masterful sections of improv, landing in some of the most maniacal music of the modern era. This represented Phish without borders; jamming without preconceived notions of where things were headed; improvising in the truest sense of the word.

This is what Phish did in their prime, in various forms, from 1993 to 2000, and then again in 2003. Throughout these years, Phish always devised new ways to create original magic from similar springboards. Each year represented an evolution from the one before; Phish’s music built upon itself, morphing like a chameleon from one self-referential form to another. A freakish phenomenon, the band continued to reinvent their music year after year, proving to be one of the most creative forces in the history of the game.

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

12.4.09 (W.Rogell)

So here we are, at the end of 2009. With a New Years Run separating us from Phish 2010, the first year back in just about in the books. It’s been an incredibly positive year for the Phish community, one laced with more than a few memories of a lifetime. But musically speaking, I believe 2009 will be looked back upon as the foundation for everything that followed; the building blocks for the next musical evolution. The band needed to prove to themselves, more than anyone in the audience, that they still had their mojo. It took them a while to get back into the swing of things, with some sparkling highlights along the way. But I don’t think it was until Albany that the band fully realized the magic they were still capable of hatching. Listening back, one can clearly hear Trey trying to bring back the “Seven Below” melody, aiming for a safe ending to the set’s opening jam. But the band pushed on, unconcerned with what was supposed to happen, and diving off the edge. Emerging almost an hour later, the band had rediscovered the mystery of the unknown; those pristine possibilities that arise when they drop guard and allow things to happen. When the landing point is unknown, Phish is at their greatest. And listening to that crowd in Albany, I think everyone agrees.



Jam of the Day:

Birds Of A Feather” 11.25 II


The standout piece of improv in a lackluster second set in Philly.



11.29.09 CCCC, Portland, ME < Megupload

CCCC - Portland, ME

CCCC - Portland, ME

I: Possum, Down with Disease, Nellie Kane, Weigh, When the Circus Comes, Kill Devil Falls, Water in the Sky, Stash, Meat, Undermind, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: The Moma Dance, Rock and Roll > Light > Crimes of the Mind, Pebbles and Marbles, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Golgi Apparatus, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

E: Free Bird, Carini, Waste

Source: Beyerdynamic CK930 > Grace Design Lunatec V3 > Sonic AD2K+ > Marantz PMD-661 (@ 24 bit / 96 kHz)

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870 Responses to “Albany and Beyond”

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  1. chefbradford Says:

    First again? Wow

  2. chefbradford Says:

    And, of course, another superlative write-up, Mr Miner. This Seven Below has, along with choice cuts from the Exile set, lived in my car ever since I purchased the LP SBDs.
    I hear it like this, in the -7: about 11 minutes in, Trey tries to edge into something else, like 2001, or maybe close out Seven Below. Fish follows suit, Mike picks it up too. PAGE SAYS NO!

    Hell yes! PAGE SAYS NO!

  3. chefbradford Says:

    Here’s hoping that the soon-to-be-legendary 2010 has some of Phish’s best shows played in the South!

  4. chefbradford Says:

    Dammit. If you’re just staring at your walls…..

  5. chefbradford Says:

    Oh well. Lycan, if you’re there, I’m starting the 12/11 show

  6. chefbradford Says:

    And right off the bat, Enticement put a big smile on my face

  7. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan, where’d you go, this show is KILLER

  8. chefbradford Says:

    Two words: White Squall

  9. chefbradford Says:

    Erm…if I’d realized I was this repulsive I’d have taken another shower or something

  10. chefbradford Says:

    Down By The River, ballsy, very ballsy. Vocals are in the right place, let’s see how the rest of it runs. This is a favorite Neil tune of mine

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    hey sorry @chef

    was watchin some tv.. probably bout to hit the sack

    glad you are enjoying

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    you can email me though with notes ill check it in the morning

  13. chefbradford Says:

    Lycan, I’ll either email you or catch you here later. LOVED the Down By the River, and that’s not a cover I take lightly!

  14. Corey Says:

    Sally and Rock and Roll at the Gorge and this two-fer were something.
    In these moments PHiSH really let the music take them…and us.
    Great time in Albany. My wife had a blast (just to tie in from significant other posts in the past) from start to finish. She got her fav YEM to finish us all off. We heard cats screaming, SCREAMING!!

    Smiling wife after concerts = gold, pure gold.
    …and we prefer dogs.

  15. Corey Says:

    22:40 on are some “heady PHiSH” minutes. That’s for you Craig, if you’re out there lurking.

    Best 2 minute drill I’ve ever seen. Wish Fish kept that snare riff
    ‘badadada” going into Ghost…Perhaps Seven would’ve gone even further.

  16. Corey Says:

    In the 2:40 range of Ghost, is Trey thinking about Holding His Head Up?
    Seems like he pondered it for a couple strokes.

  17. Corey Says:

    Thought he might put Mike on the spot for missing the vocal entrance.
    “The latch was left unhooked.”
    Secretly wishing Fish serenaded his bass player on the va’cuum, as an offensive penalty. He’ll come out of the penalty box for some va’cuum in Miami, i’m sure. Perhaps a little trombone?

  18. chefbradford Says:

    Has the vacuum been unveiled this year? I can’t even remember.

    Lycan, if you’re still lurking, check your e-mail, I think you’ll be pleased by what you find

  19. chefbradford Says:

    Trombone? Maybe we’ll get the live debut of “Riker’s Mailbox”

  20. Corey Says:

    not sure if this works but here you go…
    Fishman and his vacuum, complete with commentary.

    you may have to copy and paste…

  21. Corey Says:

    Saw Jon up close in Hampton this year, as far as actual PHiSH gigs are concerned.

  22. chefbradford Says:

    Sorry, all, I have to do it. I MUST pimp Lycanthropist’s 12/11/09 show. Apparently the audience at this show was god-awful, but I’m about halfway through the music, and it’s f-ing amazing. Terrific show, absolutely wonderful. If you like our boy Lycan’s bands, or him, or music, or whatever, please check this show out. Fantastic. Pimping done. Apology extended. Forgiveness welcomed

  23. chefbradford Says:

    Sorry, that would be Lycanthropist’s Chance Fisher show, please excuse…

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    Whoever said that 2010 will be Phish’s “77 Dead'” year, good point. I am looking forward to 2010 for sure.

  25. BrandonKayda Says:


    Show is nuts Chef, listened with Lycan last night. Really dark, heavy stuff

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